Kultivate Contributor Myra Wildmist is back with a new tutorial. This time she demonstrates how to simulate a 20 mm lens in SL:

Last time, I showed how to change your Phototool settings to mimic different types of lens. I’m going to review this, again, because using different lens isn’t at all intuitive to people in Second Life. It’s very confusing, in fact. But if you learn to do this, it’s a very powerful photography technique.

You can mimic any real life lens in Phototools by looking up the tech specs for the lens you want to use. For the 20mm in this example, I use the AF-S NIKKOR 20mm as my guide, but the specs from any 20mm lens will do fine.

From the AF-S NIKKOR 20mm lens specs, you’ll only need:

FX* Maximum Angle of View – 94 degrees
Focal Length – 20mm (That’s easy enough.)

F-number (Min and max aperture in the tech specs) – f/1.8 to f/16

*FX and DX are different sensor formats. FX is the wider one, so use that one.

Now, go to Phototools (Alt-P). Select the DoF/Glow tab. Under Depth of Field Settings check Enable Depth of Field (DoF). This turns on your depth of field – you need DoF on to mimic different lenses. (You should use DoF for almost all your photo, in my opinion, but that’s just my opinion.)

You need to do some math, now. Don’t be scared. Convert 94 degrees to radians. RapidTables has an online converter that does the math for you: 94 degrees is 1.64 radians.

Enter 1.64 in the View angle field in Phototools.

Enter 94 degrees in the FOV field.

Enter 20 in the Focal length field.

The f-number is a recommended range. Stay in the 1.8 to 16 f-number range for best results, but you’re not going to blow anything up if you move beyond the min and max f-numbers.

Phototool settings for a 20mm lens

Now your 20mm lens is “attached”, and you’re all set to take some photos. There’s no need to change the View angle, FOV, and Focal length while you’re using this lens.

Change the f-number to control the amount of blur – smaller numbers mean more blur.

A 20mm is a wide-angle lens. That means the field of view is increased – it’s wider. A wider field of view allows you to capture more of a scene. I think the 20mm is a great lens for SL landscape photography, especially if you’re trying to capture the entire sim.

Here’s an example I took at Furillen. The first image was taken with the default lens setting; the second with the 20mm. Notice, the 20mm will “pull back” the camera and give you a wider view (It’s not really pulling back; the camera position remained the same.). You’ll lose some sense of depth, though, so keep that in mind.

Photo of Furillen with default settings


Photo of Furillen with 20 mm settings
Photo of Furillen with 20 mm settings



3 thoughts on “Simulating a 20mm lens in SL

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