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Ray Angle and Entrance Pupil

Ray angle to the sensor is a factor in both color uniformity and sharpness; rays entering steeply are more refracted by the sensor cover glass, including the IR blocking layer (which tends to block more red resulting in a cyan cast). As well, higher angles impair image sharpness, a phenomenon that can be of great severity with rangefinder lenses that are adapted to mirrorless cameras.

However, DSLRs have an inherent advantage: the ray angle must always be “reasonable” by the simple fact that a lens designed for a DSLR has to clear the mirror box. Hence its ray angle is never at a problematic level.

The effect of ray angle varies by “camera”—meaning the thickness and type of sensor cover glass. It is one reason that Leica uses a very thin sensor cover glass on its Leica M digital cameras.

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Table of ray angles for Zeiss ZF.2 / ZE lenses, infinity focus
Data courtesy of Carl Zeiss
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