What Does 33mm Mean for a Camera?


Understanding your camera lens will add more artistic control to your digital photography. The term "33mm" refers to the focal length of the camera. A 33mm camera provides a wide-angle photo that magnifies the photographic subject area. The focal length of cameras ranges from less than 21mm for extremely wide-angle photography to a 300mm narrow telephoto camera.

Focal Length

  • A focal length of 33mm on a camera works well for taking pictures of wide areas, such as a landscape. The length of a lens defines the angle view and magnification for a photographic area. Small focal lengths correspond with wide-angle lenses. Telephoto lenses have larger focal lengths and a narrower view of the photographic area.

Wide-Angle Lenses

  • Having a camera with a small focal length of 33mm and a wide-angle lens means that the size and distance of the photographic area you are viewing will appear blown-up in relation to size and distance. Objects close to you will appear massive and objects far away from you will appear tiny.

Interior and Small Spaces

  • A 33mm camera is good for taking pictures in smaller spaces as well as landscapes. Using a normal lens, the photographer cannot move far enough away from the subject to view the picture surroundings through the camera's lens. A wide-angle lens compels the photographer to be close to the subject to focus the camera. This gives a spacious look to the photograph in an otherwise tight photographic environment.

Tips for Using a Wide-Angle Lens

  • A wide-angle 33mm camera will exaggerate the near and far distance boundaries. It is important for the photographer to be as close to the subject as possible to maximize the size distortion effect. It is also helpful to organize your photographic area with a variety of subject matter in a near-far arrangement. Point your camera at the horizon before taking a picture to prevent vertical lines from converging, causing picture distortion. The photographer can practice posing for different camera-view perspectives by relocating his body position around the photographic subject.


  • Photo Credit 35 mm image by Claudio Calcagno from Fotolia.com photografer image by Mladenov from Fotolia.com
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