Distortion In Camera Lens

Distortion in Camera Lens

  • When photographing regular, grid like forms, as in architectural photography or in copying artwork that contains square or rectangular elements, you may notice that lines that are straight or parallel in the subject are reproduced as curves in characteristic ways. A door or window, or a drawn rectangle, may appear to have its sides curved inward ("pincushion" distortion) or outward ("barrel" distortion). This aberration, by the way, has no effect on image sharpness.

  • Any such distortion is inherent in the lens design and is not correctable. Fast wide-angle lenses are especially likely to display noticeable barrel distortion. If you are buying a lens with the intention of using it at least in part for careful photography of rectilinear forms, beware. Look instead for low-distortion lenses, such as are designed for architectural work or for copying, and are advertised as such.

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