Viewing Equivalent Focal Length


Today’s Question: I use several cameras with different sensor sizes, and therefore different factors for multiplying the focal length. Is there a way to display the 35mm equivalent focal length for all cameras in Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Lightroom Classic is only able to display the 35mm equivalent focal length if that information was written to metadata by the camera. For supported cameras, you can view this information in the “Focal Length 35mm” metadata field.

More Detail: Lightroom Classic will not automatically calculate the equivalent focal length for cameras with different sensor sizes. Some cameras, however, write the full-frame (35mm) equivalent focal length to metadata. For those cameras, you can view the equivalent focal length in metadata within Lightroom Classic.

Unfortunately, many (if not most) cameras do not write this metadata to the photos. For example, as far as I am aware none of the Canon or Nikon cameras with sensors smaller than full frame write the equivalent focal length to metadata. Therefore, the utility of this field is limited depending on which camera models you’re using.

If you’re using a camera that updates the “Focal Length 35mm” field (or if you want to check to see if your camera does) you can enable the display of this field in Lightroom Classic.

The first step is to switch to the Default metadata display configuration using the popup to the left of the Metadata heading on the right panel in the Library module in Lightroom Classic. Next, click the Customize button at the bottom of the Metadata section. This will bring up the “Customize Metadata Default Panel” dialog, where you can turn on the checkboxes for the metadata fields you want to have displayed in the Metadata section when you’ve enabled the Default view option.

Once you’ve turned on (or off) the desired checkboxes, you can also click the Arrange button to adjust the order of the metadata fields. You can then click the Save button in the Arrange Metadata Default Panel dialog, or the Done button in the Customize Metadata Default Panel dialog, and the Metadata section will be updated based on the changes you made.

This can enable you to display the “Focal Length 35mm” field to view the 35mm equivalent focal length from metadata, but again that information will only display if it was recorded by your camera. But you can also update the overall list of metadata fields displayed in the Default configuration based on your preferences.