Lens distortion correction: improve lens performance with in-camera adjustments

Lens distortion correction: how to improve lens performance with in-camera adjustments

Not all of us can afford expensive lenses, but that doesn’t mean we have to put up with poor quality images. In this quick tutorial we’ll show you how to make simple lens distortion corrections in-camera to fine-tune your lens’ performance and help eliminate imperfections like colour fringing and chromatic aberrations.

Lens distortion correction: how to improve lens performance with in-camera adjustments

Of course, there’s no beating the quality of really good lenses, whatever camera body you are using. Even so, if you’re limited to budget lenses, there are often various settings that you can change on your camera that will improve results.

For quite a while now, Nikon cameras have had automatic corrections for chromatic aberrations, or colour fringing. Canon has also started offering this as a menu option in most of its recent cameras, including the new entry-level Canon EOS 100D / Rebel SL1.

There’s also automatic ‘peripheral illumination’ correction, to reduce vignetting. Automatic distortion corrections are available in some SLRs, which is particularly handy when you’re using zoom lenses.

However, one thing you do need to bear in mind is that all of these automatic corrections are only likely to be available when using the camera manufacturer’s own lenses.

Corrections also won’t be applied if you shoot in raw quality mode and process your images in most independent editing programs, like Photoshop Elements, for example.

How to apply lens distortion correction in-camera

How to apply lens distortion correction in-camera: step 1

1 Chromatic aberrations
Colour fringing is usually most visible towards the corners of the image frame. Enabling automatic correction in recent Canon DSLRs works well but can slow down the shooting rate in continuous drive mode.

 

How to apply lens distortion correction in-camera: step 2

2 Peripheral illumination
Vignetting is most common when combining wide apertures with wide-angle lenses or zoom lenses at their shortest focal length. Enable automatic correction to give better brightness levels in image corners.

 

How to apply lens distortion correction in-camera: step 3

3 Distortion
Most zoom lenses suffer from barrel distortion at wide-angle settings, and from pincushion distortion towards the telephoto end. Automatic correction is based on specific models of lenses and helps to tune  out distortions.

 

How to apply lens distortion correction in-camera: step 4

4  Sharpness and contrast
Editing the picture style (picture control for Nikon users) enables you to adjust image attributes like sharpness, contrast and saturation. It’s safest to be fairly conservative with the adjustments and tweak the raw files when editing.

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