What Is a Normal Lens and How Is It Used When Taking Photos?

A ‘normal lens’ is a Lens with a focal length approximately equal to the diagonal of the film format or of a digital camera’s image sensor. A scene viewed through a normal lens appears to have the same perspective as the way your eye sees it. Most 35mm cameras normal lenses have a focal length of approximately 50 mm. Normal lenses are extremely popular with street photographers because the perspective captured in an image shot with a normal lens will be extremely true to life, having the effect of placing the viewer in the scene as a witness.

A 50mm normal lens.
Photo: Dan Carr