Which Lens is Closest to Human Eye? (2023)

which lens is closest to human eye

Hey, it’s again Mehmood from Camlense. Today I am going to answer a query asked by many people which lens is closest to human eye? We were asked which one of the camera lenses gives the natural eye field of view? So here are two answers.

Which Lens is Closest to Human Eye?

The 50mm lens is closest to the eye and thought to provide the natural field of view on a full-frame camera, and in terms of DX body, the 35mm which is henceforth the closest to a 50mm is your natural eye field of view lens.

50mm vs 35mm Which is more like Human Eye

Generally, most professionals consider a 50mm lens to be the closest to the human eye but on the other hand, some people might argue that 35mm is more like it. Here I am going to explain both in detail.

50mm is best on a full-frame camera and I think most professionals will vote for my answer but in DX body, 35mm is the more human eye and that’s why you will find a lot of people who prefer 35mm f/1.8 rather than 50 f/1.8 on a DX body especially for street shooting as it feels closer to the eye which make them do street photography.

So, the 35mm which is closer to the 50mm is better on a DX body because we have the 1.5 crop factor, so the 35mm is in that case closest to the natural eye field of view and 50mm in general full-frame view.

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Difference Between Field of View and Perspective of Eye and Camera

There is a difference between the field of view and perspective though. Perspective is noticeable by the difference in the apparent size of far and close objects.

As a photographer and a student of photography, it’s better to know the specs of the human eye and its comparison to cameras and lenses. Essentially, what is the closest lens to the human eye, and why is this lens so commonly used by professional photographers? This is what we are going to be discussing in this post.

Larger focal lengths will have more realistic representations on size comparison of close and far (basically revealing that the closer objects are not as large in comparison to distant objects) and shorter focal lengths will allow a massive difference between the apparent sizes of close and far (a nearby cup may seem the size of a distant doorframe).

When swapping between Full-frame and cropped sensors like an APS-C, a 50mm lens will give you the same human-eye perspective on both sensors, but side-by-side, the Full Frame will seem to magically add an extra field of view around the edges without having changed the zoom.

If you want to be able to fit and frame the same as the Full Frame 50mm, you’ll have to get a 35mm for crop sensor but it won’t have the same perspective and will be slightly more distorted between close and far. I actually bought the 35mm for the APS-C sensor and it still didn’t seem as ‘real’ or deep.

I used my friend’s 50mm for APS-C and was able to look through the optical viewfinder with my right eye and into my scene with my left eye and my two eyes were able to seam them together perfectly as if the camera was my right eye and it was perfectly matching my other eye, just with less field of view (though a Full Frame sensor and lens at 50mm would expand that).

Cone of Visual Attention

What is important in the human eye is the cone of visual attention NOT the peripheral vision. Studies have measured the cone of visual attention and found it to be about 55 degrees wide, which is equivalent to 43 mm on a full-frame camera. From my experience, I prefer to use the 40mm STM lens as an everyday lens (or equivalent in the crop which is about 24mm). I think that’s why Canon designed 40mm for full-frame and 24mm for the crop.

Can u still get nice portraits with 35mm with the blurry effect? of course, u have to go closer but maybe the face looks wider than natural? so the 50mm should be much better for a better natural proportion of the face? I guess I have to buy both anyways but first the 35mm for the natural eye field.

Nope, it’s 28mm. the eye sees at roughly 42mm not 50mm. 35mm gives you an equivalent of 50mm on the crop but if you want to see what the eye sees then it’s the 28mm all the way. Incidentally, it’s by far the most used focal length in movies for this very reason.

Field of View and Magnification

The Field of View and The Magnification are the two different aspects of determining which lens is closest to what your eyes see.

I found out (on my Olympic EM5ii + 12-40) that in the 30mm, the subject looks to be the same size as when I look at it with my own eyes – no matter the subject’s distance.

But if I want to capture the whole field that my eyes can percept, then it would be closer to 10mm (of course the eyes are not focused on the whole field – but when you’re looking at a picture, you also can’t focus on the whole image…)

So, in FF terms, I’d say that a ”natural” magnification would be 60mm, and the ”natural” whole field of view would be 20mm.

Has anyone else tested this out?

I was also testing this on my Nikon DX, and if I wanted to match the magnification of my eyes, it had to be 40mm on Sigma 17-50mm (so in FF terms, again, 60mm)

Is the human eye concave or convex?

The Human Eye Lens is convex as it tunes the focus to form the image on the retina which is then interpreted by the brain.

Focal Length of Eye

The focal length of the Human Eye is 22.7mm. The focal length can vary from person to person because everyone has different eye sizes and eyesight. The maximum normal focal length is considered as 25mm. The Human eye’s focal length is the distance between the eye lens and the retina.

Is the focal length of the eye lens fixed?

It is possible to vary the focal length of the human eye. The focal length variation is possible with the help of the curvature. The ciliary muscles inside the eye hold the eye lens. Thus, the focal length variation is possible to an extent with the use of these ciliary muscles.

The Aperture of Eye

The aperture of the Eye is not the same for everyone, in fact, it is not the same for a single person either. The eye is a living organ and its structure and size change with time and health condition. On average, the aperture recorded for most people lies in the range of f/2.1 to f/3.8.

It means that the eyes have a very wide aperture and that’s why humans are able to see clearly in lowlight conditions. Also, the aperture changes with light conditions too as in high exposure, the pupil size decreases, and in lowlight conditions, the pupil size increases to allow more light to hit the retina.


Now here we have answered your question and now I ask you a question, which do you use for your photography, and which one do you think is closest to the human eye. Answer your question in the comments section below.

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