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Testing for Lateral Chromatic Aberration

Please first read the Lateral Chromatic Aberration page.

Testing for lateral chromatic aberration (LCA) is easy:

  1. Choose any high-contrast target, preferably one that is neutral in color (so the effects are most easily seen). A good choices is something metal, such as aluminum.
  2. Place the target off-center e.g., at the edges or corners.
  3. Photograph the target at f/8 (making sure not to overexpose). By shooting at f/8, other optical aberrations will be all but gone, and focus error is less likely to confuse the results.

When LCA is present, color fringing is easily observed as a red fringe along high contrast edges.

The best targets for clearly and unequivocally seeing LCA is a high contrast black and white target. Simply printing out a page of lines and/or letters is a good enough test chart.

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Diglloyd Making Sharp Images articulates years of best practices and how-to, painstakingly learned over a decade of camera and lens evaluation.

Save yourself those years of trial and error by jump-starting your photographic technical execution when making the image. The best lens or camera is handicapped if the photographer fails to master perfect shot discipline. High-resolution digital cameras are unforgiving of errors, at least if one wants the best possible results.

  • 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.

Test shot for lateral chromatic aberration
(Nikon 20mm f/2.8D)

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