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Why & How Does A Circular Camera Lens Produce A Rectangular Image? Your Answer Is Here!


Why & How Does A Circular Camera Lens Produce A Rectangular Image? Your Answer Is Here!

Photography is something that is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, besides knowing this fact, everyone loves to try their hands on to what they secretly consider as ‘Girl Magnet’. It is a common misconception among many wannabe ‘PHOTOGRAPHERS’ that the bigger the lens is, the better she gets impressed.


But have you ever noticed something ? Camera lenses are of cylindrical shape and have a round circumference. Well, this is not what I want you guys to FOCUS on. It is the shape of the pictures that we generally get from these circular lenses where I want to shift your focus. They are RECTANGULAR ! ! How can a circular lens produce a rectangular image ? Read further to know more.


At first, we need to address some key points. The images produced by these circular camera lenses are not directly through them. These camera lenses work in compliance and parallel to many other important camera components that finally produce a picture. In older cameras, that other key element was called film. In newer digital cameras, it’s known as the image sensor.


Whatever we see today is because of the light and colors bouncing off from that object. That is simple ‘Optics 101’ or for better understanding go ahead and watch ‘Mr. India’. When we try to take a photograph of a particular object, the light popping out of the subject enters the camera lens. Now the job of the camera lens is to simply bend the light onto the ‘film’ or the ‘camera sensor’.


Why a Round or a Circular Lens ?

Another optics lesson that I want to share is that round lens (convex lens) focus the best due to its shape. And this property of convex lens was smartly implied by the earlier camera makers for the production of the camera lens as they did the most efficient job of focusing light onto film or sensors.


But why the heck they had rectangular sensors or rectangular films ?

When the bent light from the subject falls onto the sensor or film through the round lens, we observe distortions which are generally known as aberrations. However, the central part or the central portion of the projected image on the sensor or film are quite sharper and clearer than its edges. This is because light must be bent more to reach the outer edges of the circular images.


Now in order to get the clear and crisper image without any distortions, the only possible way is to cut/crop these circular portions. And that is how rectangular sensors and films came into existence as they can efficiently crop out the outer edges of the circular image from the lens.

So in short, the purpose of rectangular images is to give us the best portion out of a circular photograph in terms of quality and resolution.

Now apart from this ‘technical’ aspect, there are indeed some more reasons as to why we prefer rectangular photographs.

1. It is because of the wider availability of rectangular frames since their manufacturing is quite easy as compared to round or circular frames.

2. It is also because of the fact that cutting a rectangle out of a sheet produces less paper wastage as compared to cutting a circular shape photograph out of a sheet.

3. And I guess no one would want to see a movie on a circular television, RIGHT ?

So here were some reasons as to why we get rectangular photographs even when we click pictures through a circular lens. If you have some more information regarding this subject, please share it in the comment section below ! !

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