What is the real difference between "Ver" and "Mirar". They are quite close in meaning but what are the differences between them? What are the rules to know whether we should choose one or the other?
"Mirar" emphasizes the act (to see, as "to look at")
"Ver" emphasizes the perception (to see, as "to perceive")
In some cases, only one of these is acceptable. In many cases, both can be used.
"¿Me estás mirando?" (Are you looking at me? a-la Taxi driver)
"Con estos lentes no veo nada" (With these lens I don't see a thing)
"¿Qué película estás viendo/mirando?" (What movie are you watching?)
The difference is related to your degree of concentration on the object.
"Ver" only implies your eyes are receiving light from the near objects, not a real attention to what you are seeing. If you start to look at something, that's "mirar". Anyway, the converse is not necessarily true, you could use "ver" if you are paying attention to something, but maybe not-too-much atention. However, in all cases it follows this order relationship for the degree of attention: Ver < Mirar
According to the RAE:
tr. Percibir por los ojos los objetos mediante la acción de la luz.
tr. Percibir algo con cualquier sentido o con la inteligencia.
tr. Dirigir la vista a un objeto. U. t. c. prnl.
tr. Observar las acciones de alguien.
The difference degree of attention is also clear in the definitions.
For example, If you want to request another person's attention to some object, you would say "mira eso" no "ve eso". Actually, "ve eso" more usually is figurative to "take charge of that".