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Of and relating to the specifics of lens construction and manufacture.

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12
votes
2answers
3k views

How does an apodization filter improve bokeh?

The new Fujifilm Fujinon XF56mmF1.2 R APD has an "apodization" filter, which Fujifilm says "smoothes the outline of the subject to create a more natural bokeh effect". The Wikipedia article on ...
4
votes
1answer
610 views

What are STF lenses?

What are STF (smooth transition focus) lenses? How much do they differ from other fast lenses? What artistic techniques are done with them? For example Sony has an a-mount 135mm F2.8 [T4.5] STF. What ...
1
vote
3answers
101 views

How can I increase the flange focal distance (back focal length) of DSLR lens?

I am working on a custom setup where I am using a DSLR lens (Canon 50mm f/1.8) to project an image onto an image sensor (image plane). For my application, I require a very large distance between the ...
29
votes
2answers
4k views

What is a pancake lens?

I've read about a "pancake lens" but don't really understand what that means. What the pros and cons of having a pancake vs. another type of lens? I'm thinking of getting a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 ...
4
votes
1answer
114 views

Is there a difference in the image produced from a 50mm rangefinder or slr lens?

Particularly, I am interested in the performance on film for Canon leica thread mount (LTM) 50mm lenses versus their FL/FD SLR lenses, in aperture size 1.2/1.4/1.8. Their performance on full frame ...
13
votes
4answers
760 views

What is the Leica look?

What is the Leica look that fans of the company claim is unique to them? What concrete differences are there that are most obvious to a layman?
0
votes
1answer
164 views

Projector Design and lenses

I am working on a project where I need to project a single image onto an object, Originally I was looking at the digital projector route but due to cost and complexity this has been ruled out. I found ...
2
votes
1answer
112 views

Why do zooms have small apertures even around 50mm?

A 50mm f/1.8 prime from one of the major manufacturers can easily be found for $200 or less, but zooms that include 50mm in their range always seem to have much smaller apertures even at 50mm until ...
15
votes
3answers
381 views

What lens design limits derive from the width of the lens mount?

I'm familiar with the lens design limitations imposed by the flange-to-focal-plane distance. But what constraints are caused by the width of the lens mount (that is, the size of the hole in the ...
4
votes
3answers
548 views

Why did manufacturers stop including DOF scales on lenses?

Seriously why? I hate it and I hate memorizing it or check my phone app for the depth of field of the current aperture. I find it so useful in old lenses. The DOP preview doesn't help that much (IMO) ...
1
vote
1answer
103 views

Could someone please give simple explanation of “Principal plane” & “Nodal plane”?

I have read "cardinal point" on Wikipedia for number of times but still I can't get it. My English is not perfect. could someone please explain it in simple English?
12
votes
2answers
453 views

Does focus breathing make a lens slower when close focusing?

I've heard that focal length of some lenses will become noticeably longer when focusing to a close distance, an effect called "focus breathing". Since f-number is focal length divided by diameter of ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is my large format lens so much smaller (in length) than my 35mm-format lens?

In general I have found that as the focal length of 35mm (or APS-C) lenses increases, the physical length of the lens increases as well. However, my large format lens is much thinner than other 35mm ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

Which Zeiss lenses are actually made in Germany?

Recently, I used a Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 2/100 ZE only to find a big "Made in Japan" marking on it. Which of their lenses are made in Germany, and does it matter if it's made there vs. Japan?
3
votes
2answers
209 views

Why do superzoom designs keep expanding on the telephoto rather than wide-angle end?

Why do bridge/semipro/superzoom camera manufacturers keep increasing the telephoto end rather than the wide-angle end? For example, the Nikon P900 has a 35 mm-equivalent focal length of 24 to 2000 mm....
2
votes
1answer
64 views

What are the (dis)advantages of moving the entire lens for focusing vs. only parts of it?

There's a lens adapter available that adapts Leica lenses to Sony mirrorless cameras. It's called TECHART PRO. The key feature is that it allows to use autofocus with the manual lenses. This works by ...
0
votes
2answers
138 views

How much have tele-prime lenses improved over the years?

Context I'm considering the Nikon 500mm f4 AIS P lens as a way to get longer reach that's better than my current setup Nikon 300mm f4 AF with 1.4x TC to get birds and related wildlife. I've heard ...
1
vote
5answers
163 views

Why are filters only added to the front of the lens and not the back, too (or even the camera)?

I see how some filters have to be attached to the front of the lens, because they require some amount of interaction, like a graduated neutral density or circular polariser filter. But what about the ...
2
votes
2answers
212 views

How do I design a secondary lens for my fixed-lens camera to narrow its field of view?

My goal is to put a lens or an array of lenses in front of my actioncam to use its high resolution for recording of undistorted normal-eyed footage, to avoid having to buy two cameras for the ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

Nikon Lens: A (Auto-focus) vs. A/M (Auto-focus/Manual)

I have two lenses which are 18-140 VR and 50 1.8G. On the 18-140 VR I got a button showing A and M while on the 50 1.8 I got a button showing A/M and M. I understand that A is for auto-focus and M is ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

What are ED elements?

I find that some lenses are indicated with the letters "ED", referring to some special type of lens element. What are ED elements, and what advantages do they bring? Note that this question isn't ...
0
votes
1answer
895 views

Below which focal length are lenses considered to be wide angle?

Focal length is the only factor that decides whether a lens is described as being normal or wide angle. Below which focal length are lenses considered to be wide angle? Is this focal length the same ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Are all DSLR lenses made of glass?

This question is about lenses to "big" DSLRs, not system or compact cameras with interchangeable lens. Are all lenses made of glass in DSLR? And if not, is there a notable difference between: kit ...
1
vote
3answers
692 views

What does a megapixel designation on a lens actually mean?

I know that in a CMOS sensor the megapixels give you an idea of how many pixels are actually there to capture the light. In terms of a lens however, I cannot find any relation between the megapixels ...
1
vote
2answers
304 views

Does Apple make its own lenses for iPhone cameras?

Does Apple make its own lenses for iPhone cameras? Or, does it at least design them? If not, does it source from a lens maker like Zeiss, or a camera maker like Canon?
12
votes
3answers
1k views

How do zoom lenses restrict their widest aperture at the telephoto end?

Does the aperture ring lock the apertures beyond, say 5.6 at length lens's telephoto end? Does the lens introduce an obstacle to the aperture ring so the lens can't be opened anymore beyond the ...
34
votes
5answers
7k views

How do constant aperture zoom lenses work?

Cheaper zoom lenses usually are faster at the wide end and slower at the long end (for example, the $150 Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6). More expensive constant-aperture zoom lenses have the same ...
4
votes
2answers
266 views

Is having a lens with vignetting a real world negative for portrait lenses?

After reading this answer for another post: I don't mind the vignetting as it actually improves the look of portraits however if you're doing astrophotography what's the point in a lens that's f/1....
4
votes
1answer
386 views

What is meant by 'centering quality'?

I'm reading lens reviews and I have encountered the term 'centering quality' a few times (e.g. http://www.photozone.de/sony_nex/720-sony50f18nex?start=1). What does this term mean? What are the ...
4
votes
4answers
194 views

Which focal length lens generally has the sharpest lens? 24, 35, 50 or 85?

Context I realize that the above four focal lengths lend to having a different perspective that make them all unique. It might be possible to use one as the other but that isn't always true with the ...
2
votes
2answers
62 views

Have lens/camera bodies been repairable by the consumer/user back in the day?

Context I've been skimming LensRental and related websites and I see most all modern lens are extremely complicated, intricate, expensive but they work, mostly. I see that with a7rII, there is an ...
25
votes
3answers
4k views

Why do wide angle prime lenses have relatively small apertures?

I've noticed that many of the wide angle prime lenses (at least for Canon) have somewhat smaller apertures than their normal or telephoto counterparts. E.g. the regular Canon 24mm prime is f/2.8 while ...
1
vote
4answers
763 views

Why does crop factor apply with APS-C lenses, and why aren't these brighter than FF ones at same aperture?

I know that the image circle of FF-lenses is bigger than it needs to be on APS-C sensors, thus the FOV spears narrower. I've heard that APS-C lenses sit closer to the sensor, thus projecting a smaller ...
5
votes
4answers
478 views

How do manufacturers come up with focal lengths for lenses?

There are a lot of lenses for each camera, and I understand that each lens caters to a different use case, but my question is on how they arrive at the specific focal length numbers. For example, ...
2
votes
1answer
65 views

Does the type of lens adapter matter for manual focus?

Context I use a cheap adapter that has an Aperture Ring for the new Nikon G lens but also works for older lens as well. I use a Sony a6000 which has focus peaking and related. Question Assuming ...
35
votes
4answers
24k views

What does the number of elements and groups in a lens mean?

All lens specifications include a statement of how many elements the lens contains, and in how many groups, for example: Nikon AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-300 mm 1:4,5-5,6G: 17 elements in 12 groups (two ...
0
votes
1answer
192 views

How do lenses focus? (and zoom?) [duplicate]

My understanding of focal length is that it is the distance from the lens to the sensor; in my observations: higher focal lengths make for longer lens. Then I started thinking about how a lens ...
23
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it physically possible to build a long zoom (17-300 mm for example) at an aperture value of around 1.4 or 1.2?

I'm curious if the physics allow a company to build such a lens of course with good IQ, minimal color aberration, maximum sharpness, and little to none lens vignetting or edge softness
0
votes
3answers
209 views

Why don't we have a single lens e.g. say a 18-200 f/1.2 lens for the SLR camera? [duplicate]

Right now we have multiple interchangeable lenses. So why don't we have a single lens, say a 18-200 f/1.2 lens? Are camera manufacturers deliberately avoiding that or it is that it is physically ...
0
votes
1answer
905 views

What is an electromagnetic diaphragm?

What is an electromagnetic diaphragm, how it works, and how is it different with regular diaphragms? A specialized electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism operates in precise sync with the camera's ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there any secrets in lens design?

Lens manufacturers usually share diagrams like this for their products. However, they conspicuously omit specifications that would allow one to completely analyze the optical system, like the power ...
2
votes
6answers
230 views

Should lenses of equal quality for smaller sensors be cheaper?

In theory do we expect lenses of identical specs and quality to be cheaper when designed for smaller sensors? My expectation is that the answer is yes, because all of the things that lenses struggle ...
2
votes
2answers
794 views

Are there lenses that exhibit absolutely no focus breathing?

As noted here focus breathing can be problematic, especially for macro focus stacking. Are there lenses that exhibit absolutely no focus breathing? Is there some way to find lenses that minimize ...
5
votes
2answers
230 views

How does the Sony 135 F2.8 [T4.5] STF twin aperture lens design work?

I stumbled across the Sony 135 F2.8 [T4.5] STF other day. I have read through the review but I can't for the life of me figure out what the twin-aperture setup is supposed to do!
3
votes
1answer
209 views

How is focus-breathing controlled in lens design?

Answers here note that minimizing focus-breathing is especially desirable for cine lenses, and that it is one of the common features of those higher-end lenses. How is it achieved? Also noteworthy ...
1
vote
1answer
141 views

Why don't all zoom lenses have variable f-numbers? [duplicate]

As I understand it, the f-number is a ratio between the focal length and the aperture diameter. A zoom lens can change focal length, but shouldn't the maximum aperture be a fixed size? If so, that ...
11
votes
3answers
587 views

What is the limiting factor in lens construction when it comes to f-stop values?

This widely praised Nikon 105mm macro lens has a maximum f-stop value of 2.8. I've held it in my hands, it's a big lens. Meanwhile, this 50mm Nikon lens can go up to f/1.2, despite being 25% cheaper ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

What are the advantages of a lens having a fixed maximum aperture?

What are the advantages of a lens having a Fixed Maximum Aperture? Previous answers have indicated that "pros tend to want constant apertures in zoom lenses". While in general lenses with a fixed ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

What kind of lens are used in mobile phones?

Usually what kind of lens are used in mobile phones. I mean of the types similar to convex, concave etc.. Are they fixed focal length usually? How do we get the focal length of camera from digital ...