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 in the centre and f/2.0 at the edges? Having said that vignetting is not really a problem with a crop camera.

I was wondering if astrophotography is really the only reason that one should be concerned about a lens that has strong vignetting. If I am purchasing a wide aperture prime lens such as a 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.2, or a 135 f/2.0 that will primarily be used for wide open indoor portraits - is vignetting a non concern?


2 Answers 2


If you shoot raw and run all of your photos through something like LightRoom then it's one of the more minor lens defects as vignetting correct is very easily applied, and you'll probably find you only need to correct some images.

You have to ask yourself what the alternatives are. Vignetting is a feature of wide aperture primes some are worse than others but at the end of the day you're comparing two different levels of vignetting, if you don't want it you'll end up correcting images regardless of the lens you choose.

I would look at other factors first (price/aperture/sharpness) and not worry unduly about vignetting.

  • \$\begingroup\$ hi just a side question, I do shoot RAW and use LR, but does the vignetted part of the image lose any detail or is degraded because of the vignetting? Thanks \$\endgroup\$
    – apertur
    Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 15:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Natalie Correcting heavy vignetting does introduce noise, so in an already noisy low light photo this can be undesirable. In this case I would simply leave the vignetting in as it draws attention to the subject, and compose carefully to avoid having to crop (see James Youngman's answer). \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 15:40

Mild vignetting doesn't bother me. But I'd certainly rather apply vignetting in post-processing rather than be stuck with it on every photo.

Below half a stop, I won't even notice the problem myself. Above half a stop, I would make sure that the post-processing software can reverse the vignetting (Lightroom will do this for many camera-manufacturer-brand lenses). Around two stops of vignetting or so, I would start to worry about the effect this fixing has on the quality of the resulting image.

I very often crop my DSLR photos to 8x10. If the lens vignetted the captured image, the cropped version would look lop-sided, unless I only ever cropped the centre of the frame. But that's common; I often crop to change the framing, so the vignetting would be in the wrong place.

However, if your composition skills are better than mine, you may not have this problem :)

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for the cropping issue. As an unapologetic croppist, it's very common for me to correct the lens vignetting and then apply post-crop vignetting in Lightroom. \$\endgroup\$
    – coneslayer
    Commented Mar 4, 2012 at 15:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @coneslayer - +1 for croppist \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Mar 4, 2012 at 15:57

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