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Ray Angles for Zeiss DSLR Lenses

Ray angles are to the corner of a full-frame 35mm sensor.

DSLR lenses inherently have a digital-friendly ray angle because a lens designed for a DSLR has to clear the mirror box. Hence ray angle is never at a troublesome level, though it can approach levels at which effects do occur. Still, lenses with less optimal ray angles can and do suffer slightly in performance at the periphery when sensor cover glass filter is too thick.

Sensor design can mitigate negative effects for less optimal ray angles and that trend is likely to continue. Unfortunately, most sensor designs use a too-thick sensor cover glass filter, and since this varies by brand and even camera within a brand, lenses such as those from Zeiss can never fully deliver their potential. It is why modern optical designs with digital-friendly ray angles can outperform older optical design that on paper ought to be better.

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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.

Variants Sorted by Angle, Sorted by Focal Length available in full article
Ray angles for Zeiss ZF.2 / ZE lenses, infinity focus, Data courtesy of Carl Zeiss

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