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Optics is the science of light, and in photography often refers more specifically to to the properties and construction of lenses or the technical aspects of light sensors.

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How do anamorphic lenses produce lens flare “streaks”?

For example: What contributes to this streaking? Why doesn't spherical lenses have this effect? How is it used in photography?
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3answers
278 views

What factors make a lens brighter? [duplicate]

Let's say I have two lenses of 50mm, one with maximum aperture f/1.8 and another with f/1.4. I understand that when using maximum aperture, for the latter lens more light will get to the film or ...
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4answers
762 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 ...
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2answers
95 views

Does say a 35mm on an APS-C camera have the same facial/other deformations as a 35mm? [duplicate]

I am about to purchase a 35mm (Nikon 35mm F1.8 DX) for my APS-C camera, to get the equivalent of a 50mm lens. I want to use it for portraiture a bit, but I'm worried the facial deformations will ...
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1answer
165 views

How do wavefronts/wavelets propogate in three dimensions, and why is this important for photography?

The photography book I have talks about waveforms, but it doesn't do a good job of explaining them. So, here's my understanding from the book and google searches (it could be unbelievably wrong.) In ...
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1answer
145 views

Where do rays of light from one point strike the film?

I am a programmer and I am doing a camera simulation, I am stuck in a matter of how to know where does every ray of light incident after traveling through the lens, every point of the object will give ...
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2answers
294 views

Is it worth it to read The Book of Optics

Is it actually worth it to read the Book of Optics by Alhazen to get basic knowledge about Optics? I know it's way too old but this book was important in the optics field. Also where can I find it ...
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4answers
132 views

Does aperture effect the “depth” of faces in a portrait? Wide aperture make noses look shorter, wrinkles less pronounced?

Having a debate with myself that F/10 makes my portraits look better by making faces have less "depth." What I mean is I feel like wider apertures such as f/4 make my nose look longer and wrinkles ...
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1answer
70 views

Why can a lens still function when subject to severe physical degradation?

Consider the following two modifications to a camera lens: Obstructing the about 75% of the lens's front element with an opaque filter as shown here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43W159gPpdQ. ...
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1answer
318 views

How do add on macro smartphone lenses allow you to take macro photos?

It may sound obvious, but how exactly does an add on macro lens allow you to take close up photos? Can someone give technical reasons? I'd like to know the physics behind add on macro lenses and how ...
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1answer
288 views

What's the difference between a diopter and an extension tube?

It seems both allow close up shots of a subject but what are the differences both physically and in use cases?
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2answers
901 views

What is the quantitative relation between f/# of the lens (aperture), exposure, and ISO?

Let's say we shoot with a DSLR camera and we have two interchangeable lenses. Lens #1 has aperture f/X, X between 1 and 2 (see below). Lens #2 is f/4.5. Same focal length and other characteristics as ...
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2answers
598 views

Is there a formula to calculate the physical size of an image?

I'm trying to figure out the size of the physical space an image represents (IE, how many meters long/wide the real world in the image is), but I can't seem to find a formula that works with only the ...
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2answers
448 views

What causes barrel distortion?

Here are some scenarios for barrel distortion: When a target is too close to a camera, the photo will show barrel distortion. My flip cell phone's camera often produces barrel distortion. Some ...
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2answers
417 views

How can I build an underwater camera housing?

I'm thinking about building simple waterproof housing for camera. I don't expect high quality I want to record some videos good enough to identify fish species, nothing more for now. My housing will ...
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1answer
1k views

Size of the entrance pupil vs size of the aperture

I understand that the entrance pupil is the image of the aperture as seen from the front of the lens. However, is the size of the entrance pupil the same as the size of the effective aperture? In ...
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2answers
552 views

What does it mean for a telecentric lens to be focused to infinity?

I have a question about a telecentric lens Ive been studying (for physics research!) and was wondering if you guys could help clear some cobwebs in my head. For starters, I am simplifying the TC lens ...
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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?
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1answer
66 views

If a lens has a 4% Barrel Distortion, what does that mean for images?

I know what barrel distortion is, but how do I take a 4% rating and relate that to an image?
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4answers
209 views

What lens designs are sharper than a pinhole lens but also allow for multi-month exposures?

I have a homemade pinhole camera (film) that I use for taking super long exposures (multiple months). And while the results are fun, I would like to improve the sharpness of the image. Is diffraction ...
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4answers
219 views

How can I compare different lenses in terms of quality?

I am currently looking to buy a new lens to replace with kit lens, having an extra reach, faster, better image quality and also better video quality. Without buying all the lenses I have shortlisted, ...
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3answers
400 views

Can I estimate the light gathering power of a lens by measuring size of entrance pupil?

Supposing I have an unknown lens of which I don't know f/# and focal length. I want to estimate the total amount of light that my lens can collect which, I believe, is given by the solid angle that my ...
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1answer
146 views

Macro mode: Should I make sure the lens is all zoomed out?

It appears that on most compact digital cameras, the macro mode (flower symbol) works best (or only) when the zoom lens is at the widest setting (comparable to e.g. 35 mm). What is the reason? ...
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1answer
98 views

What is the fastest T Stop available?

What is the widest T Stop possible We are having f stops of below even 0.7 NASA lenses What will be the T stop of such lenses with f stop below ONE?
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3answers
100 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 ...
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61 views

Where is the focal point of a camera lens? [duplicate]

If the distance between the center of the lens and the film is called Focal length, does that mean the focal point of the camera lens is located on the film?
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1answer
129 views

Is the Panasonic Leica Summilux the same quality as a non-Panasonic Leica summilux?

Is there an advantage to having a Leica Leica lens vs. a Panasonic Leica lens? To my ability to examine them, they look like the same on the inside. Would this be correct? The Leica Leicas are ...
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2answers
159 views

Why human eye doesn't exhibit aberrations?

Eye's optical system is composed of single lens and is capable of producing very sharp results, but if I use single lens (monocle) with my camera I'll get soft image.
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2answers
92 views

Distortion Removal=Parallax Removal?

So, as the title suggests: does distortion removal caused by lenses means that the parallax is also removed from the pictures?
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3answers
618 views

Equivalent focal length and aperture of 150mm medium format lens on a 35mm camera

I'm mounting a Hasselblad Sonnar C 150 mm f4 on a 35mm sensor (43mm diagonal) camera. What is the calculation to get the new angle of view and equivalent focal length? Does this also affect the ...
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4answers
97 views

Aperture iris in front of lenses (in object space)

This question discusses the iris placed in camera body and this question does not reveal too much details about external iris. I recall from scattered information that I have read that iris placed in ...
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5answers
3k views

Why image at 400mm is LARGER THAN DOUBLE of image at 200mm? (according to lens formula)

Like most of us, I thought it was yes. Until I really look into the Lens Equation: (1/subject distance) + (1/image distance) = (1/focal length) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lens_%28optics%29#...
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49 views

Mirror vs Lens: do either or both invert the image?

Answers to this other Question on photo stackexchange have prompted me to seek clarification on this. consider for example the following images: Original scene How a mirror "sees" it (flipped ...
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1answer
111 views

Pentax k-30: can i buy all lens not stabilized?

I'm interested to buy a Pentax K-30. I'm wondering : can I buy not stabilized optics because of body' stabilized sensor ? Is the overall image quality comparable to an optic with stabilizer (like ...
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73 views

Nikon J1, takes pictures but they are all black, doesn't seem to “see” things, lens not the problem

I have a nikon J1, it has always worked well. Today I wanted to take a picture and the screen appeared black, like something was blocking the light completely or I was trying to take a picture of a ...
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2answers
167 views

Why does the same f-number mean same amount of light? [duplicate]

Intuition tells me that a bigger lens will collect more light with the same f-number than a small lens. But photographers tell me I am wrong. I cannot understand why. There are quite a few posts both ...
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1answer
177 views

Aperture and field of view - percepted by eye vs camera

I very well informed and I know about how aperture works and why is it not restricting field of view, but I somehow cannot get around the following: Aperture doesn't restrict field of view for the ...
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1answer
641 views

Where are the principal planes located in a camera lens?

I want to find locations of the principal planes of a camera lens. I have looked at the specification for my lens here and here, but did not find what I need. But there are many other parameters in ...
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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 ...
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1answer
110 views

Exact specification of N1-CL1 Nikon Closeup lens

On nikon site (and everywhere else) I've been unable to find any exact specification of tne N1-CL1 filter lens -- only thing I need is to know the exact focal distance of this lens (or dioptres, or ...
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4answers
6k views

What is the most versatile lens for the Sony NEX-6? [closed]

I received a Sony NEX-6 body (no-lens) over the holidays this year and I am looking to find the right lens to match. I am searching for the most versatile lens available for this camera. In other ...
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2answers
74 views

What is the most general theoretical reason images out of focus appear blurry?

Don't know if I should ask here or physics for optics. But I am wondering how come images out of focus appear blurry? It seems to me that if a given lens geometry has a given focal length, then ...
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1answer
148 views

Lenses round ..Photographs square shaped why? [duplicate]

If camera lenses are round then why is the photograph taken by the camera is square-shaped? photography
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1answer
69 views

Is there an “optimal” background distance when striving for a minimally distracting background?

Let's assume a thin lens and an object O in focus at a distance of dO from the lens. Further, let's assume there's a large out-of-focus background object B at a distance of dB. Now, we know ...
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1answer
134 views

How do focal distance reductors affect image quality?

I have a bunch of lovely old full frame K mount lenses (like the 50mm f1.2 and the 135mm f2.5) and the idea of using them in a proper mirrorless body (I have the K-01 and that's a hell of a brick) ...
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1answer
84 views

Should a fisheye converter be sharp when I look through it directly?

I bought a fisheye converter some days ago. Now, I am unsure if such a converter should create a clear image if I look with my eye straight through it. I found a video on youtube with the hint that ...
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1answer
46 views

Recommended F-Stop for older Canon 35mm F/2 [duplicate]

I have a few year old Canon 35mm F/2 lens (Here it is on Amazon). I've been shooting wide-open, but I realize that doesn't make for the sharpest photos. What would you say would get me the sharpest ...
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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 ...
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0answers
43 views

Technical question about aperture and lens [duplicate]

F stop = focal length / iris diameter So for example, my Lumix 20mm pancake, f1.7, has iris diameter of 12mm at that f stop, correct? So if Panasonic wanted to make a faster lens, could they do it ...
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48 views

What defines camera's size? [duplicate]

Smartphone cameras are small while others are big. I know some functions like zoom can change physical size, etc. So, ignoring a zoom lens, what defines a camera lens? I want to get the general idea ...