Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lens and Camera Profiles Are The Future

When I was shooting with my Olympus E30, my lenses were very low distortion tele-centric lenses and with relatively low Chromatic Aberration (CA).  I had a hard time understanding the need for the sort of auto correcting software that Lightroom, and CaptureOne and some others offer.  The distortion that MY lenses were providing was extremely minor, why are these people using crummy lenses?  

I just couldn't understand the reason why some people were making such a big deal out of it. Were they pixel peepers of the worst sort?  The kind of people who cared less about the content of the photo than of its form?  This seemed like the ultimate non-issue to me.

But now that I have a Micro Four Thirds Camera and  lens, I get it.  Because of size and weight restrictions, the mirrorless cameras simply CAN'T afford to use the tele-centric lens design where the Camera and lens is designed to record only the most perfect center of the image projected onto the focal plane.  The lenses would simply be too large to be popular with the sort of consumer who was looking for maximum portability.

And designing higher quality lenses, while fine for professionals and the wealthy might serve a small niche of the lens buying public, the ever increasing cost of producing REALLY good lenses make that solution economically non-viable for the majority of people.

No, software correction, either in camera with jpgs, or built into raw developer software is the only viable solution.  With it, an affordable lens can be made to perform in a manner similar to a lense we simply couldn't afford.  This model makes too much economic sense to the camera manufacturers who are already facing economic distress in the changing photographic landscape.  This will only continue to expand to larger, more expensive, camera and lens families.

Unfortunately for the publishers of third party raw development software, this means adding the auto-correction technology to their programs.  Those who do not do so will be left behind.  Those software publishers who haven't developed or licensed such technology will find themselves being abandoned by users otherwise happy with their product.  

I'm afraid this movement is inevitable. 


  1. Ignoring the post date being 1 April for the moment, and treating this post seriously, may I point out that the old tele centric lenses were only needed because of the use of CCD sensors which were very sensitive to the orthogonality of incident light. These tele centric lenses do NOT confer an advantage on a Micro Four Thirds camera body, because they all use CMOS sensors that are not sensitive to orthogonality of incoming light.

    Therefore it was not just weight and price: there was actually no longer a need.