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Archive 2013 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"
  
 
Ghostinz
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


Surfing the comedy channel the other night I came across and older Steven Wright stand up.. he delivers a very monotone matter of fact comedic act with such questions as "If you drove your car the speed of light, and turned on your head lights, would they work??"

Anyway, one of his lines really caught my attention.."if pictures are square, why are camera lenses round?"

An interesting observation! And one that I don't have a precise answer. Why aren't camera lenses square?? Of course, you would need a different focus and perhaps aperture mechanism, not to mention mounts and such..

But it will be entertaining to hear views from all of you! Could a lens be square??



Jul 17, 2013 at 05:27 AM
EB-1
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


It should be the other way around. The sensor should be a circle.
The square lens will not produce a square image anyway.

EBH



Jul 17, 2013 at 05:48 AM
runamuck
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


It is far easier to make round lenses than square lenses. Far cheaper, too. Sensors come from a round blank also.


Jul 17, 2013 at 06:38 AM
trenchmonkey
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


...because the sky is blue!


Jul 17, 2013 at 01:24 PM
Ghostinz
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


runamuck wrote:
It is far easier to make round lenses than square lenses. Far cheaper, too. Sensors come from a round blank also.



Yes..i would assume the are all cut from a round wafer, right?



Jul 17, 2013 at 01:47 PM
Ghostinz
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


trenchmonkey wrote:
...because the sky is blue!


Quite profound answer!



Jul 17, 2013 at 01:49 PM
swoop
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


Because rounded and shaped glass can focus light, square glass is called a window. And film is easier to manage in rolls rather than "discs." If you've ever used a large format camera it really makes you appreciate roll film.


Jul 17, 2013 at 11:54 PM
MalbikEndar
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


> if pictures are square, why are camera lenses round?

Because the bokeh sucks for square lenses.



Jul 18, 2013 at 02:12 AM
jimmy462
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


...for the same reason manhole covers are round...so they won't fall in the hole...


Jul 18, 2013 at 02:29 AM
justruss
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


It's because cutting a round disc of glass into a rectangle would be an extra manufacturing step-- and increase the cost of lens production. And because the extra glass in a round lens makes it easier to attach the glass to the rest of the lens assembly; a rectangular lens would still need extra glass for attachment and in order to improve corner characteristics.

It's easier/cheaper to fabricate, polish, and test round lenses. Much of the mechanism involves circular shapes/closures/movements.

The actual image format being rectangular or square is essentially a subjective choice. If as a culture we decided we wanted circular (or triangular) final images we could pretty easily produce film/sensors of that shape. But for a combination of reasons rectangle/square has stuck; paintings are mostly rectangular/square. Most people shooting circular images-- at least at first; perhaps always-- would end up cropping to some square/rectangular format anyway-- and MOST people making photographers can't be bothered to crop at all, let alone when the choice of aspect ration/shape is introduced. Only a small % ever adjust exposure or contrast or saturation (in-camera or in post), and fewer still crop at all.




Jul 18, 2013 at 07:20 AM
 

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Glenn NK
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


Ghostinz wrote:
Surfing the comedy channel the other night . . . . .


Perhaps this was the important clue?

Glenn



Jul 18, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Jman13
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


Let's all do round pictures now!




Jul 18, 2013 at 08:08 PM
scottam10
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


Can you imagine turning the zoom ring or focus ring on a rectangular lens?

Kinda like square wheels on a car



Jul 18, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Photon
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


In addition to the practical reasons given, because our retinas* and lenses are round, and the human eye preceded eyeglasses, telescopes and cameras?

*no, not Apple Retina screens!



Jul 18, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Mike V
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


Some cine lenses are square fronted e.g. 10mm Primo, 35mm Lomo.

Sensors are rectangular because paper is rectangular.




Jul 19, 2013 at 02:26 AM
Ghostinz
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


Jman13 wrote:
Let's all do round pictures now!










this is awesome Jordan! Now..where can I buy some round paper for my printer!!



Jul 19, 2013 at 03:54 AM
Ghostinz
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


Glenn NK wrote:
Perhaps this was the important clue?

Glenn


...The guy is funny in his own way. His illogical question about why aren't lenses square just seemed to crack me up! I am sure some creative person here could photoshop a round lens to look square...that would be impressive actually!



Jul 19, 2013 at 03:57 AM
Glenn NK
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


I really miss George.

Glenn



Jul 19, 2013 at 04:42 AM
BlueBomberTurbo
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


Ghostinz wrote:
this is awesome Jordan! Now..where can I buy some round paper for my printer!!


Hope you're not using one of those old square printers my grandparents always told me about.



Jul 22, 2013 at 10:58 PM
runamuck
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · "if pictures are square, why are lenses round?"


scottam10 wrote:
Can you imagine turning the zoom ring or focus ring on a rectangular lens?

Kinda like square wheels on a car

Mythbusters on Discovery channel did an episode where they put square wheels on a pickup truck. Didn't work too well. Kind of broke a bunch of suspension parts that kept falling off.

My grandfather always swore the New York Central RR ran a freight at 3 AM with square wheels.



Jul 29, 2013 at 03:44 AM
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