Questions tagged [lens-design]

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

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49
votes
3answers
8k views

What image-quality characteristics make a lens good or bad?

When reading lens reviews on the Internet, I often find subjective statements about the image quality that a lens produces, such as "good contrast" or "sharp". The problem is that I don't think I am ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the advantage of a lens with a curved focal plane?

In this answer it is noted that: many lenses intended specifically for portraits or fisheye lenses, are designed to have a spherical field of focus What advantages does having a spherical (or ...
8
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4answers
3k 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 DOF preview doesn't help that much ...
46
votes
7answers
10k 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 ...
20
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2answers
5k views

Why do zoom lenses and compact cameras have varied maximum aperture across the zoom range?

Why does a camera's maximum (allowed) aperture get smaller when you increase its zoom?
31
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8answers
4k views

What is the difference between in-lens image stabilizing and sensor-based image stabilizing?

And which one is more effective?
27
votes
4answers
3k 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
19
votes
2answers
9k views

What is the benefit of an internal focus lens?

The "IF" in Pentax DA★ 200mm f/2.8 ED (IF) SDM stands for "Internal Focus". I know what this means: the lens doesn't change in size as I focus. (And it's true; it doesn't.) What's the point of this, ...
30
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3answers
7k 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 ...
3
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2answers
3k views

What's the difference between real and effective aperture?

I understand that the simple idea that f-stop is focal length divided by aperture really applies to a simple single-glass lens, not the compound lens systems used to provide good image quality in ...
5
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4answers
1k views

Variable focal length for macro lenses?

True macro lenses come in fixed focal length. Are there any macro lensens which have variable focal lengths? And please explain why yes or why not?
60
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5answers
2k views

Is there development in the world of lenses?

Now, I'm not an expert, so if this post makes you laugh, you're welcome. Still, as far as I know there are basically two components that determine the potential quality of a camera's photos: Sensor ...
13
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3answers
2k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
4k views

Why are 50mm Lenses Cheaper?

There is no doubt that 50mm lenses, if all other variables are held equal, will beat any other lens when it comes to value for price (lower f/number). I want to know why. Possible theories I have ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

What are the theoretical minimum and maximum apertures?

Is there such a thing as a maximum aperture that a lens can be open to? What about a minimum aperture that it can be closed to? Do these concepts even make any sense? Is there a lens with the ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

What about lens construction influences bokeh?

I can understand how certain elements of a lens can correct an aberrations or make it sharper - but specifically, how do lens manufacturers influence the bokeh - the quality of the blur? There's a ...
8
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
37k views

What is the relationship between “macro” and “telephoto” lenses? [duplicate]

Can anyone explain the difference between "macro" and "telephoto"? I know that a macro lens will give you a magnification of 1:1 but how does it differ from a telephoto lens?
16
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4answers
72k views

How does a spherical lens differ from an aspherical lens?

Many lenses (like the Pentax DA 15mm f/4 Limited, or the Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.4G) are described as having "aspherical lens elements". Does this mean that regular lenses are spherical lenses? What's the ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Why are so many kit-lenses parfocal if it's an expensive feature?

According to this answer, parfocal lenses (lenses that can zoom in/out without losing focus) are relatively rare and more expensive. However, the original poster's kit-lens is parfocal. Additionally,...
37
votes
3answers
4k views

When you zoom in with a lens on an SLR why does the lens go in then out?

I guess this is more a question of optics than photography but I just got an SLR with a basic 18-55 lens. I noticed that when going from 18 to 55 or 55 to 18 the lens physically comes back in and ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

How close can a lens focus?

From my understanding, if you want to do some macro photography it is better to have a lens that can focus when it is really close to the subject. Sometimes people buy extension tubes to help them ...
17
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8answers
8k views

Will using a lens at max aperture (“wide open”) result in poor images?

I’m looking to add a second lens to my kit lens I got with my Nikon d7000. I have read several reviews on both the 35 and 50 mm lenses made by Nikon in particular that said using either lens at the ...
3
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1answer
4k 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 ...
25
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5answers
7k views

What is special about lenses with f-number < 1?

Talking about fast lenses, Wikipedia mentions Nikon TV-Nikkor 35mm f/0.9-Fastest Nikon lens ever made Why don't, for example, f/0.5 lenses exist? Is there some special construction that comes ...
16
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9answers
4k views

Are all kit lenses poor? (And if so, why?)

Kerri Shotts says (emphasis mine): Also, if you already have great glass, there is little reason to get more (unless you need it for a certain reason). E.g., if you have a 70-200 f/4, don't rush ...
14
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
21
votes
0answers
601 views

Is Image Stabilization better in the lens or the body? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between in-lens image stabilizing and in-sensor image stabilizing? Some DSLR manufacturers have image stabilization (IS) in the body of their cameras, ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the constructional differences between a macro and a regular lens?

I understand that to reduce minimum focusing distances, macro lens design must focus on maintaining certain distances between the lens and the sensor. However, is the placement of the lens and its ...
3
votes
2answers
318 views

Is there a difference in sharpness between aperture stops?

Is there a notable difference in sharpness between aperture stops of a lens? If so, where can I find that information for my Canon 550d Kit lenses?
23
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4answers
21k views

Why is the aperture ring removed from new Nikon lenses?

Maybe I'm wrong, but I notice that Nikon's newer lenses don't have an aperture ring. For example, an older AF 35 mm f/2D is now replaced by AF-S DX 35 mm f/1.8G, or AF 50 mm f/1.8D is replaced by a ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

In what way does the lens mount limit the maximum possible aperture of a lens?

In many answers to questions about different aspects of really large aperture lenses it's pointed out that the lens mount sets a hard limit on the maximum possible aperture of the lenses to that ...
14
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1answer
2k views

How does a macro lens focus so close?

How does a macro lens focus so closely and how is the system different to that of a non-macro lens?
2
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2answers
4k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
782 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the base f-stop when counting an ideal f-stop for lens?

I've read a lot around this site that an ideal quality of the lens is achieved when using f-stop roughly 2 stops slower than the fastest value of the lens. Firstly, I'm not exactly sure what "2 stops"...
1
vote
4answers
2k 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 ...
41
votes
4answers
37k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
108k views

What is the difference between Nikkor D type and G type lenses?

I recently bought a Nikon D5100. And along with this camera, I got the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens as kit. It's "G" type lens, right? One of my friend suggested to buy a 50mm f/1.8D ...
13
votes
6answers
8k views

Do lenses lose sharpness when they age?

I was reading this answer where it mentions, "..it's a lens that can lose sharpness as it ages.." and was wondering if this is true and if yes, true for all lenses. Reasons as to why this happens and ...
8
votes
3answers
844 views

Fast telephoto primes for APS-C mounts — would they make any sense?

I can see the benefit of designing and manufacturing a wide-angle lens specifically for APS-C sized sensors instead of full-frame sensors: you will get smaller, lighter, and cheaper lenses. But is it ...
4
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
10k views

What's the difference between the Canon and Nikon lenses mounts?

I was wondering what, if any, are the technical differences between the two mounting systems. Does one auto focus faster? Can one hold more weight? Things along those lines that make them different.
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Why aren't more lenses white?

So high end Canon lenses are white. This is to reduce heat, correct? If so why is this something that only appears in really high end Canon lenses. I wouldn't think that painting a lens white ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is anamorphic bokeh oval shaped?

I understand that an anamorphic lens "stretches" an image when it is recorded, but when it's played back, it's "un-stretched" so that it looks normal. But with images shot with anamorphic lenses, ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Why we can't use telephoto lens for macro objects?

As I know the focal length of macro and tele lenses are the same, which is around 200mm. Now I wonder, why we can not use tele lens for macro photography? P.S: Both macro and tele lenses have a focal ...
4
votes
2answers
541 views

What is the maximum aperture consistent with the Nikon F-mount?

In a related thread, it's been debated whether there is a hard limitation to maximum possible lens aperture; it seems there is none. However, using the example of the nikon F mount, this technical ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

How does a focus ring bring a subject in or out of focus?

When you manually adjust your focus ring on the lens, what actually happens inside the lens? Is this changing simply the point at which the lens is focusing, so that anything at this distance away ...
2
votes
1answer
712 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 ...