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Digital camera features: In-camera lens correction

Unlike film cameras, digital technology provides the ability to adjust images in-camera or on a computer after capture. One area this can prove useful is in correcting for optical performance.

When lenses are designed, optical physics dictates what is possible, along with the price point of the lens and the complexity in manufacturing. It is fundamentally impossible to make a perfect lens so, based on its design, every lens will exhibit a greater or lesser degree of optical irregularities. These will manifest themselves as either corner shading in an image (peripheral illumination), where the corners of an image frame are slightly darker than the centre due to light fall-off, or in chromatic aberration that's visible along high contrast edges as a fringe of red or green colour.

By mapping the performance of each camera and lens at a variety of focal lengths, focus distances and apertures, it is possible to correct for these irregularities and bring the lens performance closer to ‘perfection’.

These corrections were first made available in Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software, but the increased processing power of cameras has made it possible to carry out corrections in-camera directly as the images are captured. The EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 50D DSLRs saw the introduction of Peripheral Illumination Correction to adjust the images shot on the camera to correct for corner shading, so brightness is more even across the scene.

Both the EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III DSLRs feature not only in-camera Peripheral Illumination Correction, but also saw the introduction of the removal of colour fringing and halos around high contrast edges (Chromatic Aberration Correction), thereby improving the overall image quality and maximising the performance of Canon lenses.

By default, data for around 25 lenses is stored within EOS cameras, however there is space for up to 40 lenses to be registered. Lens data registration is performed using the USB cable provided and Canon’s EOS Utility software.


Menu screen showing the in-camera lens correction options of the EOS 5D Mark III: Peripheral Illumination Correction and Chromatic Aberration Correction.