Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

My friend bought two normal mirrors from some shop probably IKEA, looking like this one: enter image description here

My images are different from the two. One is a little fatter and shorter, and the other a little thinner and taller. I wonder what can possibly be the reasons?

  1. They basically look the same, smooth and flat surfaces, almost the same size (one has a label saying 37x134cm), except one having a little thicker decoration border than the other. The one with thinker edge is the one giving me fatter and shorter image.
  2. I don't have other things to place them, so I just make both of them stand on the floor, with a small angle lying against the wall. Although the two mirrors are placed in the same way, will different placement of the mirrors change my image?
  3. What kinds of mirrors (size, ...) and how to place them will give me more realistic image of myself?
share|improve this question
    
presumably a webcam is accurate, so perhaps a webcam can be the "mirror" –  picakhu Aug 2 '11 at 19:42
    
@picakhu: I need a full body image. –  Tim Aug 2 '11 at 19:47
add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Image distortions you describe are because of the mirror being slightly bent. With sizes you mention (very elongated) the main reason would be the frame not rigid enough and deformed while being stored or transported.

Also when you leave them resting onto the wall they will bend more and this will make the distortion slightly worse, so hanging them onto wall would be advantageous, but is not likely to fix the problem completely.

Frame rigidness can be fixed by enforcing the frame - the first thing that comes to my mind is attaching some thin rigid hollow metal bars on the frame but if you're interested you can ask on DIY SE.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks! So the mirrors placed that way are more likely concave, which makes me look taller and thinner? –  Tim Aug 4 '11 at 11:49
    
@Tim: Yes, you shouldn't let the mirror bend under it's own weight. –  sharptooth Aug 4 '11 at 12:03
add comment

When mirrors give distorted images like that, it's usually because they're slightly curved. A "fun house mirror" is a typical (though extreme) example of this effect. So to get a realistic image, all you need to do is find a mirror that is as flat as possible. The placement of the mirror doesn't have any effect on whether the image is distorted, although it does allow you to see yourself from a different perspective.

Edit: Removed, was placed here erronously

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.