Object close to the lens appears abnormally large relative to more distant objects, and distant objects appear abnormally small and hence more distant – distances are extended. Compression, long-lens, or telephoto distortion can be seen in images shot from a distant using a long focus lens or the more common telephoto sub-type (with an angle of view narrower than a normal lens). Distant objects look approximately the same size – closer objects are abnormally small, and more distant objects are abnormally large, and hence the viewer cannot discern relative distances between distant objects – distances are compressed.
Note that perspective distortion is caused by distance, not by the lens per se – two shots of the same scene from the same distance will exhibit identical perspective distortion, regardless of lens used. However, since wide-angle lenses have a wider field of view, they are generally used from closer, while telephoto lenses have a narrower field of view and are generally used from farther away. For example, if standing at a distance so that a normal lens captures someone's face, a shot with a wide-angle lens or telephoto lens from the same distance will have exactly the same perspective on the face, though the wide-angle lens may fit the entire body into the shot, while the telephoto lens captures only the nose. However, crops of these three images with the same coverage will yield the same perspective distortion – the nose will look the same in all three. Conversely, if all three lenses are used from distances such that the face fills the field, the wide-angle will be used from closer, making the nose larger, and the telephoto will be used from farther, making the nose smaller. [wiki]
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