aligning camera with Ctrl-Alt-Num0

Blender 2.54

I would like to ask how exactly aligning camera works. It is written that in order to render the scene currently visible in 3D window, press Ctrl-Alt-Num0 and it aligns the camera with the viewport.

It works only partially for me. After pressing the keys, there appears a rectangle representing the camera viewport. However, the viewport is usually either too small or too large to contain just the scene. It seems as if the camera is too close or too far. I can rotate the camera with normal rotation keys, but can’t change the distance (how high above the scene it is). In order to do this, I must go to side view and then drag the camera further. Or alternatively, adjust the lens angle by trial and error.

So I am wondering if there is a quicker way to render what is really visible in the 3D window when pressing Ctrl-Alt-Num0, or somehow automatically adjust the camera distance or lens angle, so that it truly aligns itself to the current visible scene in 3D window.

It seems strange to have to do the manual adjustments each time I want to zoom-in and zoom-out the camera to different details of the scene, when in 3D window it is a 2 seconds operation.

True, Blender’s camera isn’t the easiest thing to place.

Only tip I can give is after pressing Ctrl+Alt+Num0 to align the camera to the view, with the camera selected and still looking through it, press G (grab) and ‘z’ twice. This way you can move the camera on it’s local z axis; you push the camera closer or further away from the scene.

or simply press Z once to move the camera up and down the global z axis. You can also render the 3D view “WYSIWYG” by clicking the camera button below the 3D view.

G+Z+Z does the trick!

I also tried the WYSIWYG render button (with camera) described as “OpenGL render active viewport” but it is not rendering any textures, while F12 does render textures.