Lens distortion: everything every photographer must know

Lens distortion: everything every photographer must know

Types of lens distortion

 

Below are examples of common types of lens distortion illustrating how they affect your composition.

Barrel Distortion

Barrel Distortion

Barrel distortion creates an image in which lines bow outwards towards the edges – making rectangles appear barrel-shaped.

Pincushion Distortion

Pincushion Distortion

Pincushion distortion makes lines appear to bend inwards towards the centre – making rectangles appear like the outlines of a pincushion.

 

Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration (or achromatism) is usually seen through the colour fringing it creates on lines and edges in the image.

 

Vignetting

Vignetting

All lenses create an image that’s darker at the edges than in the centre – this is known as vignetting, and can be used as a stylistic device.

 

No Distortion

No lens distortion

No lens distortion, where lines are as straight as in reality. There’s no darkening at the edges, and all the colours are focused at the same point.

PAGE 1: Common questions about lens distortion
PAGE 2: Types of lens distortion
PAGE 3: Why does chromatic aberration occur?
PAGE 4: Learning the lingo

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