physics

Why Lens Coatings Are So Important in Photography

In recent years, some lens designers have updated their lenses with new lens coatings. For instance, Pentax's newest limited lenses feature an existing optical design with only a few improvements, including a better lens coating.

Why the Inverse-Square Law Might be ‘Wrong’ for Your Photo Shoot

Think you know the inverse-square law? How much of a "law" is it actually in the practice of photography? We are taught that the inverse-square law is the holy grail of understanding the laws of light. Some condense all the wonderful knowledge about light concepts to the inverse square law only. In this article, I want to invite you to take a step back and see how the inverse square law is wrong. Sometimes.

What Every Photographer Needs to Know About Reflections

Reflections are the sole reason we’re able to see objects. An object that absorbs 100% of the light is invisible. Fortunately, we don’t encounter these in our daily lives. Any lighting-conscious photographer would be aware of the fact that their light positioning directly influences reflection and hence the viewer experience.

A Photographer’s Introduction to Light

What is light? This perhaps may be the most simple question with the most complex answer in photography. Light enables us to see, create, and most importantly convey meaning through our art. Light also gives us the oxygen we breathe (through plant photosynthesis).

These Photo Represent the Seven Base Quantities of Physics

The International System of Quantities defines seven base quantities in physics: length, mass, time, electric current, thermodynamic temperature, amount of substance, and luminous intensity. For his project Base Quantities, photographer Greg White set out to shoot 7 photos representing these 7 fundamental quantities.

Scientists Develop Camera System that Captures ‘5D’ Images

An international team of scientists has developed an experimental camera system that can simultaneously capture five dimensions of information from a single snapshot. The concept works by combining two types of sensors together to gather a wealth of information all at the same time.

Matter Deconstructed: The Observer Effect and Photography

Photographs are omnipresent in our daily lives. From social media and advertising to family photos hanging on your wall. Images are used for identification and as evidence, as well as informing us at a cultural level about who we are.

Lighting 101: Everything You Need to Know About Light Fall Off

Photographer Gavin Hoey recently produced a video for Adorama TV that tackles a critically important subject for photographers: light fall off. Mathematically captured by the so-called Inverse Square Law, it's vital that photographers understand this property of light, especially when working with strobes.

Diffraction Explained: Why Your Lens is Worse at f/22 than f/8

It's common knowledge that most lenses are at their best (i.e. sharpest) between f/5.6 and f/8, depending on the lens. But why is that? Why does stopping down further actually make the image softer? This is what YouTuber ZY Productions explains in the video above.

Could Nikon Make a Medium Format Z-Mount Camera?

Photographer Matt Irwin recently took to his YouTube channel to share a theory—or maybe it's just a glimmer of hope—about Nikon's plans for the mirrorless Z mount. That theory is that Nikon wants to turn the Z-Mount into an all-encompassing system that includes APS-C, full-frame, and medium format cameras.

Hypercentric Optics: This Camera Lens Can See Behind Objects

Engineer and YouTuber Ben Krasnow over at Applied Science has put together a fascinating little optical demonstration that explains the physics behind 'hypercentric' optics and how they allow you to see around and behind objects. He even shows you how to build your own.

Reaching the Megapixel Limit (for 35mm Camera Scanning)

Since I first started camera scanning, I've always advocated using the highest resolution camera you can get ahold of. (My first camera scans were with the 1.3-megapixel Nikon E2n, so it's been a long road.) That advice is changing.

Goodbye Aberration: Physicist Solves 2,000-Year-Old Optical Problem

When you look through your viewfinder and things seem a little bit blurry or lacking definition, it's probably because you are using an “el cheapo” lens. So you read reviews and buy a much more expensive lens, and what do you do next?

Why Dedicated Cameras Will Always Be (Optically) Better than Smartphones

It’s September, which means another generation of Apple iPhones. This year, the iPhone XS (pronounced “ten ess”) adds a slightly larger sensor plus significantly more computing power via the A12 Bionic Chip to enhance the phone’s image signal processing.

The Physics Behind Sunbursts and How It Can Help You Focus Your Photos

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and when it comes to “sunbursts” in photos – those points of light with rays streaking out of them – people often have polarizing views. Optical diffraction is the physical property that causes this effect. The appearance of sunbursts is more technically described as “diffraction spikes,” and it’s caused by the bending (sometimes referred to as spreading) of light around an object like the edges of your camera’s aperture.

Schlieren Photography Lets Us See an Invisible World

Have you ever wondered what a gale-force sneeze would look like if you could see air currents, temperature gradients, and differences in pressure and composition of the air? Or, less disgustingly, the strike of a match? This fascinating 6-minute video demonstrates Schlieren photography, which makes the invisible visible.