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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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2
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1answer
135 views

How to obtain 180° FOV and little optical errors?

I'm thinking about building an all-sky camera, i.e. an automated camera that points straight up to the zenith and that captures the entire sky down to the horizon. The idea is to capture celestial ...
2
votes
1answer
56 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
70 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 ...
47
votes
8answers
20k views

Why do light sources appear as stars sometimes?

See for example this photo: From my experience, the longer the exposure the stronger can this effect be observed. Is this correct? Are there any other factors that influence the creation of these ...
3
votes
1answer
42 views

How is a lens distortion model performed?

So, as the title suggests, how is a lens distortion model (e.g. Brown-Conrady or pinhole camera model) applied on an image? I know it uses some calibration parameters (principal point's coords,focal ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Does wide angle equivalent in crop sensor skew image?

I see many posts on both this forum and elsewhere the discuss the use of a wide angle on a crop sensor. For example, they discuss how at 14mm lens is 14mm on a 35mm film or full frame, but with a ...
6
votes
2answers
165 views

How do lenses control “projection”?

How is a fisheye lens made differently from a normal ortholinear projection lens? How are real lenses acting differently from the ideal "thin lens" or pinhole, in terms of how the 3D scene in front ...
5
votes
5answers
234 views

Does sensor size impact the diffraction limit of a lens?

My understanding of diffraction, is that with a small aperture the 'airy disk' (which I understand is the pattern light from a given direction relative to the lens will form on passing through the ...
5
votes
4answers
635 views

Categorization of 14mm lens as rectilinear?

I used the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5 -5.6 Asph. / MEGA O.I.S. Lens to take a photo from my balcony. Here's the original RAW (ORF). The symptom I am experiencing is that different ...
11
votes
4answers
4k views

How can a lens with a single focal length focus on more than one plane?

By definition, a prime lens is a fixed lens system with a fixed focal length. Then, simple physics tells us that it should be able to focus only on one plane (at a fixed distance) in front of it. But ...
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2answers
208 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the shape of the focal plane?

This is something I just realised I don't entirely know the answer to, so I'm going to ask it here as I think it's interesting. In most non-scientific writing on depth of field, diagrams generally ...
2
votes
5answers
286 views

Why does it seem like large sensors are necessary for good low-light performance?

Phone manufacturers have recently started advertising the size of the photosites on smartphone camera sensors. They argue that larger photosites lead to better low-light performance. I think a good ...
6
votes
2answers
180 views

Do nano coatings actually make a difference?

Nikon famously has "nano coatings" on it's higher ended lens, and many photographers online swear that this visibly improves their images. However, it's not clear what the actual improvement is ...
7
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
148 views

Does a lens exist that is parfocal, has a linear zoom throw, and is affordable?

I'm working on a project to create, essentially, a servo-powered zoom lens, using a (D)SLR zoom, a zoom ring gear, and a stepper motor. After mounting the zoom ring gear, I'll attach a pinion gear to ...
0
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2answers
54 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 ...
36
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3answers
3k views

How do I interpret an MTF Chart?

As part of how Canon (and other lens makers) give technical information about their lenses, they supply an MTF (Modulation Transfer Function) chart. How do I read and interpret what the chart is ...
2
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2answers
123 views

How do universal clip-on iPhone lenses work?

So, recently I see a lot of clip-on Universal iPhone lenses like this (aliexpress link). I have a CCTV camera at home. It has a lens which looks like this from m12lenses.com. Can I clamp these iPhone ...
11
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2answers
7k views

Why is depth of field affected by focal length?

As the focal length decreases, the depth of field increases as well. Why is this? I'm not so much interested in a physics lesson as I am interested in a simple, down-to-earth explanation.
10
votes
2answers
177 views

What model does Lightroom use for lens correction?

I use Adobe Lightroom to remove the barrel distortion from GoPro images. Does anyone know if this software uses the Brown-Conrady model to achieve the lens correction? If not which model does it use? ...
0
votes
2answers
85 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?
34
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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 ...
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4answers
125 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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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) ...
16
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3answers
675 views

What is Chromatic Aberration?

What is Chromatic Aberration? Is it a physical part of the lens, or just an optical illusion?
2
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4answers
147 views

How can I fire two cameras simultaneously with different settings but the exact same view?

I have an idea I want to play around with and I was hoping something already exists for it but google has turned up nothing. I want to use two cameras synchronized to fire at the exact same time and ...
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0answers
82 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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vote
1answer
62 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?
21
votes
13answers
25k views

How does the lens diameter influence photo quality?

I have tested two different 50mm lenses in my camera. One was a Nikkor 50mm ∅52mm. The other one was a Sigma 50mm ∅72mm. I took some pictures with both lenses using the same setup for aperture and ...
1
vote
4answers
682 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 ...
27
votes
3answers
8k views

What is a zone plate?

I was looking into alternative methods of photography and I happened upon something called a 'zone plate.' Three questions: What is a zone plate? How does it work? What can I do with it?
3
votes
2answers
300 views

How to compare the speed of lenses taking transmission into account?

When comparing the speed of two lenses, you almost exclusively hear about the maximum aperture. This of course makes sense, since at a certain lighting condition, a larger aperture in general allows a ...
16
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2answers
1k views

Does a specific f number across all lenses denote same amount of light?

When we say a light source emits 1500 lumens of light, it does not really matter if the light source is incandescent, CFL, diode etc. Similarly, when I say f/1.8 can I assume that all lenses pass the ...
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1answer
89 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?
2
votes
3answers
129 views

Light Capture of Full-Frame Lens on Crop Body [duplicate]

Given two lenses: a full-frame lens and a crop lens, both at focal lengths necessary to capture the same frame on their respective systems and at the same f/stop. The physical size of the aperture ...
12
votes
3answers
15k views

What is the Chief Ray Angle (CRA)?

I want to select image sensors for a particular application. One term that I have come across regularly in their datasheets is the CRA. I was comparing 2 image sensors and although they were of ...
1
vote
3answers
231 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
179 views

What is the “airy disc”, in simple language?

In my understanding, this is relevant to photography because if you are shooting light of a certain wavelength (or primarily so, and such as: a blue scene), your aperture size can affect the sharpness ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is infrared light's focus point different from that of visible light?

When reading about infrared photography, it's often mentioned that IR's focus point is slightly different from visible light. Why is the focus point of infrared light point different from the focus ...
1
vote
1answer
154 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
151 views

Is it possible to make your own focus distance scale?

I'm using a Nikkor 18-105mm kit lens and it doesn't have a distance scale on its focus ring, is it possible to create your own distance scale by knowing the 0 and the infinity focusing points on the ...
2
votes
1answer
226 views

Why does the “fisheye effect” look stronger or weaker with different scenes taken with the same lens?

It seems that the fisheye effect can look different with the same lens. So I want to understand how it works. For example, I use a Dji Phantom vision 2 drone to take pictures, all of my pictures have ...
4
votes
3answers
522 views

Does focal length change when I adjust the focus? [duplicate]

When I adjust the focus of my camera, in general, does this affect the focal length? I have heard that it does.
34
votes
4answers
23k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
174 views

Can a teleconverter make lenses designed for a “crop” sensor cover full frame?

I have a crop lens. Can I fill a full-frame sensor adding an appropriate tele converter (focal length extender? Specifically, I have a 1/2" C-mount lens and terrible vignetting on a full frame camera. ...
3
votes
1answer
284 views

What could cause this visible artifact which seems to a be a glowing inverse of something outside of the frame overlayed on this photograph?

An acquaintance recently posted an image to FB from his recent trip to the JFK Historic Site asking for an explanation of a visible artifact he states was not visible to the naked eye but was visible ...
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vote
1answer
122 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
45 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
206 views

How can I calculate the effect of a supplementary close-up lens (a.k.a macro filter)?

If I have a +1, +2, +4, or +10 close-up lens which attaches to the front of my regular lens, how can I calculate its effect on close focusing distance, figure out how much magnification I can get from ...