Ever wondered what an Aspherical lens element actually is? Here you go

Sep 5, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Ever wondered what an Aspherical lens element actually is? Here you go

Sep 5, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Every time a new lens is announced, the optical makeup is always listed. This many elements in that many groups and a certain amount of them are “aspherical”. But what exactly does that mean? Is it just nonsensical jargon that doesn’t actually mean anything? Well, in this video from Michael the Maven, you’ll find out exactly what they are, how they do what they do and why they’re a big deal.

Michael’s video is essentially a primer to lens optics and aspherical elements. But put simply, “aspherical” means “not spherical”. In this context, it means that the lens optic isn’t a perfect circular curve section when viewed from the side. Here’s an example of what I mean. See how the curve starts to bend in the opposite direction to the centre as it goes out towards the edges?

These are complex elements, they’re more difficult and expensive to make, and they’re often patented. So, coming up with an original design for a new lens presents lots of challenges. But they are what enable more expensive lenses to reduce things like distortion, chromatic aberration, coma, softness and other issues common to lower-end lenses that only contain spherical elements.

But have a watch of the video above, and the next time you buy a lens, you’ll know what you’re looking for.

[Image via Wikipedia]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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4 responses to “Ever wondered what an Aspherical lens element actually is? Here you go”

  1. Johnny Martyr Avatar
    Johnny Martyr

    Aspherical elements take the character out of the lens!

  2. Branding Door Avatar
    Branding Door

    Really this is nice video, i learn some important point about lenses. Thank you…
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  3. Steven Burton Avatar
    Steven Burton

    Well done, concise explanation!
    Quibble:
    It’s a·spher·i·cal, (EH-spher-i-cal), not ass-spher-i-cal.