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Ray Angles for Rangefinder Lenses

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

Ray angles are much steeper (unfriendly) for rangefinder lenses than ray angles for DSLR lenses; A “steep” digital-unfriendly ray angle is 30° or more, a figure approached or exceeded by many rangefinder lenses.

For the best color shading and sharpness, a more perpendicular (smaller) ray angle is desirable. The following generalizations are found to hold for all the Zeiss ZM rangefinder lenses. Leica M lenses will behave similarly:

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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.

Ray Angles for Zeiss ZM lenses

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