In one optical system, light frequently passes with one or an ext lenses and also when the does so, several species of optical aberrations can occur.

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In this article, we will discuss a type of aberration that is common in photography and astrophotography, namely Chromatic Aberration.

A blue gloriole is visible around this star because of the result of chromatic aberration.

What Is Chromatic Aberration?

Chromatic Aberration, also known together purple fringe or dispersion, is one optical aberration typical in photographic lenses and refractor telescopes.

Chromatic Aberration (CA) is visible as colored fringes about highly contrasted edges, such together branches and also buildings edges against a bright sky.

What reasons Chromatic Aberration

You may all be familiar with the basic experiment of using a prism to decompose white light right into its different components, likewise known together colors.

A prism supplied to decompose white light in the different components (colors). (Image credit: Wikipedia)

What happens as soon as white light passes v a prism is the the various wavelengths (colors) the compose interact differently v the glass the the prism and get deflected in slightly different directions.

When the light comes the end from the prism, the colors perform not “superpose” anymore, and you can see lock individually, forming a rainbow.

In photography, lenses space made so the light decomposition (dispersion) is greatly lessened or avoided altogether.

But no lens is perfect and light dispersion can still occur, an especially with entry-level gear.

When a lens cannot emphasis all the different colors in the exact same point, we have CA.

Different species Of Chromatic Aberration

There space two different types of CA: longitudinal, or axial, and lateral, or transverse.

The project of a lens is to focus light top top a plane, the emphasis plane, and also all the colour on a point.

The difference between the two varieties of CA is in the method the lens fails to focus on the different colors in a single point.

Longitudinal (Axial)

With longitudinal CA, red, blue and green colour are focused on different planes: if you emphasis on red, you will have actually blue halos, if you focus on blue, girlfriend will have actually purple fringing.

The scheme depicted the origin of Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration. On the right, exactly how this sort of CA affect the image.

Here is a real life example of longitudinal CA: note exactly how the color of the fringe alters with the focus.


True Longitudinal CA is not straightforward to correct throughout editing, however it deserve to be diminished with accurate focus and, as presented in the image above, however stepping down your lens.

Lateral (Transverse)

Lateral, or Transverse CA, occurs once the red, green, and also blue colour are focused on various positions on the exact same focal plane, as shown in the system below.

The Origin and also manifestation that Lateral, or Transverse, CA.

This form of CA affect targets that room off-axis, as it is an ext evident through light coming right into the lens v an angle. Together the best image over shows, the central part the the structure is CA free.

I took the image listed below at dawn through an ultra wide-angle lens, and also lateral CA is evident around the dock poles.

Lateral CA is visible approximately the dock poles in this crop of picture I took with an ultra wide-angle lens.

Unfortunately, while that is less complicated than longitudinal CA to eliminate in article processing, lateral CA can not be diminished in-camera by stepping down the lens.

How go Chromatic Aberration affect Images In Astrophotography?

Astrophotography is really demanding not only for the photographers but additionally for lenses and also telescopes.

A lens taking wonderful photos in daylight can give average or subpar outcomes when provided for astrophotography.

The M13 open Cluster. Mine Olympus Zuiko OM 300 f/4.5 is a decent legacy lens because that daylight and also even Moon photography, however the star shape is quite awful, even stepping the lens under to f/8.

The factor why astrophotography is for this reason demanding is the need to gain both the stars shape and their size right.

Optical aberrations such as coma and field curvature will create weird and elongate stars, specifically towards the edge of the frame.

And climate there is the CA, i beg your pardon is shown in the image as blue halos around bright stars.

Chromatic aberration is visible around the brightest star in the photo as a blue halo. Various other times CA is visible together purple fringes, prefer purple rings around the shining stars.

Purple fringe is even much more common and is visible about many stars, prefer in the photo below.

Purple fringe around the brightest stars.

Finally, CA can often be seen roughly the Moon too.

The usage of low dispersion glasses in a lens or telescope strong reduces or fully eliminates CA.

Tips To stop Chromatic Aberration

There space a few tips you deserve to follow in order to attend to CA once you shoot.

It need to be provided here that lenses and telescopes do suffer native a particular amount that both longitudinal and axial CA.

Tip 1: use High quality Gear

High quality lenses and also telescopes have extra lenses make of Extra short Dispersion (ED) glass to reduce or get rid of CA.

Photographic lenses with this kind of glass regularly have “ED” in their name. Refractor telescopes utilizing ED lenses are dubbed Apochromatic, and also the terms doublet, triplet, and also quadruplet describes the variety of ED lenses these telescopes use.

Reflectors room CA free, together the light does no pass v a lens, however bounce turn off mirrors. Instead, quick reflectors nearly always suffer from coma (bad star shapes) and also need a coma corrector.

While photographic lenses frequently have a great correction for ar curvature, telescopes need ar flatteners when provided for astrophotography.

Tip 2: action Down The Lens

Longitudinal CA in photographic lenses is regularly stronger once the lens is provided at that widest aperture (smaller f-number).

Stepping under the lens by one or 2 f-stops can considerably reduce the CA.

CA roughly Saturn and also how it transforms by stepping under my lens, one Olympus Zuiko OM 300 f/4.5 tradition telephoto lens. The equivalent CAI is likewise reported.

Because photographic lenses have actually variable aperture, you deserve to take advantage of the Chromatic Aberration Index, CAI.

For a lens through no ED glasses, prefer old heritage lenses, the CAI is an index to estimate the quantity of CA: if the is same or bigger than 3, climate the picture is usually CA free.

The index is calculated as the ratio of diameter, d, that the front lens in inches and the f-number, f:

CAI = f / d

Let’s consider the image above: that was taken v an Olympus Zuiko OM 300 f/4.5, 72mm in diameter, equal to 2.8 inches.

To have actually no CA, the CAI need to be 3 or higher: let’s consider a worth of 3.

The f-number the will offer a CAI of around 3 is: 3 * 2.8 = 8.4

As you have the right to see native the image above, at f/8 the CA is negligible, while it is fine visible for faster apertures.

If you space interested in using legacy lenses, favor smaller sized diameter lenses, together they enable you come use wider apertures.

Tip 3: nail The Focus

The more you space out that focus, the more powerful the CA. Specifically if your lens exhibits strong CA, take your time come accurately focus on the stars or the Moon.

Tip 4: use A Fringe Killer Filter

There are filters for astronomic uses, such as the Baader Semi APO or the Baader Killer Fringe, which room designed to alleviate the CA.


The Baader Semi APO filter in size M48.

These filters perform so by removing the light that is not focused properly, at the expense of introducing a same amount of shade cast.

The subject is debated: some say this filters work and are worth using, rather say that is money you might spend better.

Do store in mind the these space filters because that astronomy, therefore they come in 1.25” and also 2” sizes, which exchange mail to one M48 photographic filter, so they room usable with little diameters lenses only.

Tips 5: avoid Low top quality Teleconverter, Barlow Lenses and also Eyepieces

Teleconverter, barlows, and also eyepieces of short quality deserve to introduce CA on your own, but even good quality ones will certainly magnify the CA from your lens or telescope.

And this is true both because that photographing and observing.

How To deal with Chromatic Aberration: Two an easy Techniques

Nowadays, CA have the right to be easily corrected and also reduced with any post-processing software.

I mostly use Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop for my last editing and also image tweaks, but you deserve to reduce CA in Affinity Photo, Gimp, and also all the other Adobe alternatives.

CA have the right to be corrected by using and combining different techniques, and also here room two of them I regularly use.

For this, let’s consider the complying with image, where some mild violet fringe is visible approximately the stars.

A stellar field in Cygnus, with an Olympus Zuiko OM 200 f/4 heritage lens, used at f/5.6.

Use The Eyedropper tool To Sample shade Fringes

In Photoshop, duplicate the level include the image and go to Filter->Camera raw Filter to fill the current image right into Adobe Camera Raw.

In Adobe Camera RAW, magnify the picture 100% for exact sampling.

From the sidebar on the right, pull under the Optics Menu, containing the setups to eliminate the CA. Here, you have the right to use the eyedropper come sample the color of the CA you desire removed, and also the software program will perform the rest.

Sampling fringes in Adobe Camera Raw.

You deserve to use the sliders come manually fine-tune the setups the program has used ~ above the basic of her sampling.

The final result with the CA removed.

You can more tweak the strength of the mediate by to reduce the opacity that the level.

Blur The Colors

For this technique to work, you have to use Photoshop and also Layers.

The idea is to blur the colors of the photo so the CA it s okay “smeared” away. The procedure is fairly quick:

Duplicate your image in a new level.With the new level selected, use a gaussian blur using a radius big enough that CA is removed.
Gaussian Blur applied.Blend the brand-new level using the shade mode.
Blending the blurred photo in shade mode.With the level of the original photo selected and also the blurred image visibility toggled off, select the Select->Color Range role to select the CA approximately the star with the eyedropper. V Select->Modify->Expand increase the an option of few pixels and also Select->Modify->Feather to smooth the selection.Use the mask symbol to develop a mask and also drag the mask from the current level to that of the blurred image and also toggle ~ above its visibility.Finally, friend can additional tweak the stamin of the correction by reducing the opacity of the blurred level.
Example the masks used to selectively apply the shade blur to remove CA.

Both approaches are quite an easy and fast and also give great results.

Comparison in between the original Vs the CA corrected image.


Chromatic aberration is a very common concern in photography and astrophotography. Using high quality devices is the best way to save CA under control, but carefully focusing and proper camera setup will certainly go a long way in reducing CA through low budget and even legacy equipment.

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Finally, residual CA deserve to be further lessened or entirely removed in post-processing v the simple techniques we debated in this article.