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I'm going to buy a lens and I would like to understand what means "distortion < XX%"? It's a vari-focal 10-60mm lens and mentionned distortion <12-1%. According to my understanding @ 10mm focal the distortion will reach 12% and 1% @ 60mm. Is that right? How do they calculate this per cent?

enter image description here

If someone could explain me this graph


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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Distortion is a magnification which varies with field angle. Given as a percentage, it describes the image height of an object at the edge of the field, relative to the height it would have without distortion. That graph you have shows you the relative error in image height across the whole field. When people talk about distortion as a single percentage, they usually mean the maximum value taken by that graph, which is usually at the edge of the field.

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Thanks you for the answer –  Raphael Jan 12 '12 at 14:52
@Raphael: If you like it you can upvote it or accept it. –  Colin K Jan 12 '12 at 14:54

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