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Carl Zeiss ZF.2 15mm f/2.8 Distagon T*

Field Curvature with Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon

The Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon has one significant weakness: field curvature. Most lenses have some field curvature with only a rare few having what can be termed a “flat field”, such as the Zeiss 100m f/2 Makro-Planar. And even it might have a faint trace of field curvature on a 36+ megapixel DSLR at some focus distances.

A flat field means that a planar (flat) subject will be focused by the lens onto a plane (e.g., the sensor or film). Field curvature means that a planar subject will end up focused in a warped shape— sharp (perhaps), but sharp on a curved surface (do not confuse this with distortion, which changes the shape of the image).

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  • Eases into photographic challenges with an introductory section.
  • Covers aspects of digital sensor technology that relate to getting the best image quality.
  • Technique section discusses every aspect of making a sharp image handheld or on a tripod.
  • Depth of field and how to bypass depth of field limitations via focus stacking.
  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
  • MTF, field curvature, focus shift: insight into the limitations of lab tests and why imaging performance is far more complex than it appears.
  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
  • How to test a lens for a “bad sample”.

Intrigued? See Focusing Zeiss DSLR Lenses For Peak Performance, PART ONE: The Challenges, or (one topic of many) field curvature.

Aperture series 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11 available in full article
Zeiss 15/2.8 Distagon @ f/5.6, camera level

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