In-camera lens correction idea; myth or reality?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by RichA, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. RichA

    RichA Guest

    The contention: That lenses that are meant to be used in conjunction
    with software corrections are actually superior to those that aren't.
    Here is (supposedly) why. The lens designer leaves out corrections to
    the lens for things like geometric distortion and this allows
    distortion to be corrected in software while freeing up the lens
    design to achieve higher corrections in things like chromatic
    aberration and spherical aberration than would be possible IF
    distortion where also corrected optically.
    IMO, this idea, floated on Dpreview, is nonsense because we know that
    one of the in-camera software corrections IS for chromatic aberration,
    at least on Panasonic cameras. Therefore there is no proof (and
    absolutely no way to prove it because you'd need identical lenses, one
    corrected in conjunction with software and one corrected
    conventionally) that a lens that uses software correction for some of
    its distortions shows any evidence of having higher correction in
    other aberrations.
     
    RichA, Jan 27, 2012
    #1
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  2. RichA

    John A. Guest

    On Fri, 27 Jan 2012 14:25:37 -0800 (PST), RichA <>
    wrote:

    >The contention: That lenses that are meant to be used in conjunction
    >with software corrections are actually superior to those that aren't.
    >Here is (supposedly) why. The lens designer leaves out corrections to
    >the lens for things like geometric distortion and this allows
    >distortion to be corrected in software while freeing up the lens
    >design to achieve higher corrections in things like chromatic
    >aberration and spherical aberration than would be possible IF
    >distortion where also corrected optically.


    Assuming a lens design can either correct entirely (practically) for
    one distortion or aberration at the expense of others, or make a
    balanced compromise, I can see where the former might save you a bit
    of time in post-processing since you'd have one less thing to correct
    for. What the greater corrections needed for the other
    distortions/abberations would do to your final image quality is
    another question.

    So, assuming the above is true, that you can eliminate the need for
    one type of correction and thus eliminate a step in post, would there
    be a price to pay in ultimate image quality? Or is this simply a great
    work-flow optimization available to digital photographers who always
    post-process anyway? Assuming it's true.

    >IMO, this idea, floated on Dpreview, is nonsense because we know that
    >one of the in-camera software corrections IS for chromatic aberration,
    >at least on Panasonic cameras. Therefore there is no proof (and
    >absolutely no way to prove it because you'd need identical lenses, one
    >corrected in conjunction with software and one corrected
    >conventionally) that a lens that uses software correction for some of
    >its distortions shows any evidence of having higher correction in
    >other aberrations.


    If we're talking about interchangeable lenses, there's your answer:
    the software has to be able to correct for whatever
    (correction-compatible) lens you throw at it. If the particular lens
    does not need a particular correction, that parameter will presumably
    be zero. And if the correction code is well-enough-optimized it will
    simply skip that correction in its calculations and maybe save a bit
    of time & battery power.
     
    John A., Jan 27, 2012
    #2
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  3. "RichA" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > The contention: That lenses that are meant to be used in conjunction
    > with software corrections are actually superior to those that aren't.
    > Here is (supposedly) why. The lens designer leaves out corrections to
    > the lens for things like geometric distortion and this allows
    > distortion to be corrected in software while freeing up the lens
    > design to achieve higher corrections in things like chromatic
    > aberration and spherical aberration than would be possible IF
    > distortion where also corrected optically.
    > IMO, this idea, floated on Dpreview, is nonsense because we know that
    > one of the in-camera software corrections IS for chromatic aberration,
    > at least on Panasonic cameras. Therefore there is no proof (and
    > absolutely no way to prove it because you'd need identical lenses, one
    > corrected in conjunction with software and one corrected
    > conventionally) that a lens that uses software correction for some of
    > its distortions shows any evidence of having higher correction in
    > other aberrations.


    Yes, it makes complete sense, as it gives the optical designer more
    freedom. In similar vein, consider how when you design the lens and
    sensor together you can get better performance, or a smaller, lighter,
    less complex arrangement for the same quality. "Superior" may also mean
    lower system cost for the same performance, as well as higher performance
    for the same cost.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jan 28, 2012
    #3
  4. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    "David J Taylor" <> wrote:
    >"RichA" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >> The contention: That lenses that are meant to be used in conjunction
    >> with software corrections are actually superior to those that aren't.
    >> Here is (supposedly) why. The lens designer leaves out corrections to
    >> the lens for things like geometric distortion and this allows
    >> distortion to be corrected in software while freeing up the lens
    >> design to achieve higher corrections in things like chromatic
    >> aberration and spherical aberration than would be possible IF
    >> distortion where also corrected optically.
    >> IMO, this idea, floated on Dpreview, is nonsense because we know that
    >> one of the in-camera software corrections IS for chromatic aberration,
    >> at least on Panasonic cameras. Therefore there is no proof (and
    >> absolutely no way to prove it because you'd need identical lenses, one
    >> corrected in conjunction with software and one corrected
    >> conventionally) that a lens that uses software correction for some of
    >> its distortions shows any evidence of having higher correction in
    >> other aberrations.

    >
    >Yes, it makes complete sense, as it gives the optical designer more
    >freedom. In similar vein, consider how when you design the lens and
    >sensor together you can get better performance, or a smaller, lighter,
    >less complex arrangement for the same quality. "Superior" may also mean
    >lower system cost for the same performance, as well as higher performance
    >for the same cost.



    You're right, but it took me some time to come to terms with that.
    When I first tried m4/3 I was using a Panasonic GF1 with a 20mm f/1.7
    lens. The results seemed fine, but I made the error of sitting in on
    a bench test of that lens. The quite severe rectilinear distortion
    came as something of a shock. Given my keen interest in architectural
    photography, that was enough to put me off m4/3.

    Now I am trying m4/3 for a second time, I have put my discomfort to
    one side and just concentrate on the results. Using the same 20mm
    f/1.7 lens on my G3 gives results that I am very happy with.

    It pays not to think too much about how the software correction works.
    It works well, and that's all that matters.

    The correction works pretty well with zoom lenses too. Zooms usually
    display a lot of barrel distortion at the wide end and tend to
    pincushion distortion at the long end. With m4/3, the appropriate
    amount of correction is applied throughout the zoom range giving very
    low overall distortion.

    The result is that m4/3 lenses tend to be small, light and cheap yet
    they perform exceptionally well - all thanks to software correction.

    I'm not sure I will stay with m4/3 in the long term. The Fujifilm
    X-Pro 1 is very attractive and I look forward to a full range of
    lenses including the all-important 35mm equivalent - actually a 23mm
    f/2. There will be a Leica mirrorless system announced at Photokina
    in September. Either of these top quality systems may be too tempting
    to ignore.

    But in the meantime, m4/3 is gradually winning me over. The cameras
    and lenses are small, light and robust and the results are far better
    than I expected.
     
    Bruce, Jan 28, 2012
    #4
  5. "Bruce" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    []
    > You're right, but it took me some time to come to terms with that.
    > When I first tried m4/3 I was using a Panasonic GF1 with a 20mm f/1.7
    > lens. The results seemed fine, but I made the error of sitting in on
    > a bench test of that lens. The quite severe rectilinear distortion
    > came as something of a shock. Given my keen interest in architectural
    > photography, that was enough to put me off m4/3.
    >
    > Now I am trying m4/3 for a second time, I have put my discomfort to
    > one side and just concentrate on the results. Using the same 20mm
    > f/1.7 lens on my G3 gives results that I am very happy with.
    >
    > It pays not to think too much about how the software correction works.
    > It works well, and that's all that matters.
    >
    > The correction works pretty well with zoom lenses too. Zooms usually
    > display a lot of barrel distortion at the wide end and tend to
    > pincushion distortion at the long end. With m4/3, the appropriate
    > amount of correction is applied throughout the zoom range giving very
    > low overall distortion.
    >
    > The result is that m4/3 lenses tend to be small, light and cheap yet
    > they perform exceptionally well - all thanks to software correction.
    >
    > I'm not sure I will stay with m4/3 in the long term. The Fujifilm
    > X-Pro 1 is very attractive and I look forward to a full range of
    > lenses including the all-important 35mm equivalent - actually a 23mm
    > f/2. There will be a Leica mirrorless system announced at Photokina
    > in September. Either of these top quality systems may be too tempting
    > to ignore.
    >
    > But in the meantime, m4/3 is gradually winning me over. The cameras
    > and lenses are small, light and robust and the results are far better
    > than I expected.


    Thanks for those reports, Bruce. Appreciated. I am now think about what
    might replace my DSLR in the future and, of those you mention, I would
    rule out the Leica on cost grounds, and I like the idea of multiple
    suppliers which the micro-4/3 systems offer. Fuji - I would have to wait
    for the 28-300mm (equivalent) lens (which I know won't get the best from
    the system).

    With the advances in lens design brought about by computers, we are now
    seeing the extra improvements brought about by image processing made
    possible by fast processors in the camera.

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Jan 28, 2012
    #5
  6. RichA

    Martin Brown Guest

    On 28/01/2012 08:24, David J Taylor wrote:
    > "RichA" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> The contention: That lenses that are meant to be used in conjunction
    >> with software corrections are actually superior to those that aren't.


    They can be or they can be manufactured to give the same final image
    quality more cheaply. This is fairly obvious if you stop to think about
    it - the lens designer is freed to focus (excuse the pun) on only the
    issues that cannot be corrected afterwards in software. Namely bringing
    all the light from the subject to a focus at a flat perpendicular plane
    irrespective of wavelength (or a best approximation to that ideal).

    >> Here is (supposedly) why. The lens designer leaves out corrections to
    >> the lens for things like geometric distortion and this allows
    >> distortion to be corrected in software while freeing up the lens
    >> design to achieve higher corrections in things like chromatic
    >> aberration and spherical aberration than would be possible IF
    >> distortion where also corrected optically.


    There are two sorts of chromatic abberation in play.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromatic_aberration#Types

    The longitudinal one which *has* to be corrected by the *lens* is
    ensuring that all wavelengths come to focus in the same plane. Otherwise
    all bright points are surrounded by a usually purple halo.

    But lateral chromatic abberation can be easily corrected on digital
    sensors (but not on film). It doesn't matter on a digital sensor if the
    size of the image is slightly different in each of the red, green and
    blue channels the final result can be rescaled in software. I have
    previously demonstrated this on images posted here in the past.
    (long before it was realistic to do it in-camera)

    >> IMO, this idea, floated on Dpreview, is nonsense because we know that
    >> one of the in-camera software corrections IS for chromatic aberration,
    >> at least on Panasonic cameras. Therefore there is no proof (and
    >> absolutely no way to prove it because you'd need identical lenses, one
    >> corrected in conjunction with software and one corrected
    >> conventionally) that a lens that uses software correction for some of
    >> its distortions shows any evidence of having higher correction in
    >> other aberrations.


    It is obvious that if you have to match several hard constraints
    simultaneously that it is much harder to obtain a design that works.
    Reducing the number of constraints makes it easier to get a high
    performance lens by moving certain of the geometrical corrections (scale
    and pincushion/barrel distortion) into software.

    The designer is then freed to make sure that the in focus point spread
    function is as tight as possible and and in a flat perpendicular plane.
    >
    > Yes, it makes complete sense, as it gives the optical designer more
    > freedom. In similar vein, consider how when you design the lens and
    > sensor together you can get better performance, or a smaller, lighter,
    > less complex arrangement for the same quality. "Superior" may also mean
    > lower system cost for the same performance, as well as higher
    > performance for the same cost.
    >
    > David


    And the correction in firmware is a lot cheaper than polishing aspheric
    surfaces and exotic low dispersion quirky to work with fluorite glass.

    --
    Regards,
    Martin Brown
     
    Martin Brown, Jan 28, 2012
    #6
  7. RichA

    PeterN Guest

    On 1/30/2012 10:45 AM, bugbear wrote:
    > RichA wrote:
    >> The contention: That lenses that are meant to be used in conjunction
    >> with software corrections are actually superior to those that aren't.
    >> Here is (supposedly) why. The lens designer leaves out corrections to
    >> the lens for things like geometric distortion and this allows
    >> distortion to be corrected in software while freeing up the lens
    >> design to achieve higher corrections in things like chromatic
    >> aberration and spherical aberration than would be possible IF
    >> distortion where also corrected optically.
    >> IMO, this idea, floated on Dpreview, is nonsense because we know that
    >> one of the in-camera software corrections IS for chromatic aberration,
    >> at least on Panasonic cameras. Therefore there is no proof (and
    >> absolutely no way to prove it because you'd need identical lenses, one
    >> corrected in conjunction with software and one corrected
    >> conventionally) that a lens that uses software correction for some of
    >> its distortions shows any evidence of having higher correction in
    >> other aberrations.

    >
    > You appear to be confusing the validity of an idea
    > with the quality of a particular implementation of the idea.
    >
    > BugBear



    Sounds more like he is confusing gobbledegook with reality.


    --
    Peter
     
    PeterN, Jan 30, 2012
    #7
  8. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    Bowser <> wrote:
    >On Sat, 28 Jan 2012 10:00:31 +0000, Bruce <>
    >wrote:
    >>It pays not to think too much about how the software correction works.
    >>It works well, and that's all that matters.
    >>
    >>The correction works pretty well with zoom lenses too. Zooms usually
    >>display a lot of barrel distortion at the wide end and tend to
    >>pincushion distortion at the long end. With m4/3, the appropriate
    >>amount of correction is applied throughout the zoom range giving very
    >>low overall distortion.
    >>
    >>The result is that m4/3 lenses tend to be small, light and cheap yet
    >>they perform exceptionally well - all thanks to software correction.
    >>
    >>I'm not sure I will stay with m4/3 in the long term. The Fujifilm
    >>X-Pro 1 is very attractive and I look forward to a full range of
    >>lenses including the all-important 35mm equivalent - actually a 23mm
    >>f/2. There will be a Leica mirrorless system announced at Photokina
    >>in September. Either of these top quality systems may be too tempting
    >>to ignore.
    >>
    >>But in the meantime, m4/3 is gradually winning me over. The cameras
    >>and lenses are small, light and robust and the results are far better
    >>than I expected.
    >>
    >>

    >I came to the same conclusion with the GX1. The usual comparison to
    >the NEX 5n showed me that the Panny is all but equal at lower
    >resolutions, and about a stop behind further up in the scale. But the
    >glass available on the m4/3 side convinced me to go that way. And
    >while Sony keeps introducing new NEX bodies, the glass situation for
    >native E mount lenses is pretty bad. And no, I refuse to use a clunky
    >adapter to use good glass. If I could have a NEX body and sensor with
    >m4/3 glass, it'd be perfect.



    The situation with E mount lenses for NEX is getting desperate.
    Although NEX cameras are selling well, Alpha DSLRs and SLTs are not.
    So Sony has decided to cut back on lens development and a total of
    nine lenses have been cancelled.

    The result is that Alpha and NEX will be starved of good lenses for
    the foreseeable future.

    Meanwhile, Panasonic and Olympus are both investing heavily in new
    lens designs.
     
    Bruce, Jan 30, 2012
    #8
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