What is pincushion distortion?

Pincushion distortion is one of the small camera lens problems that can occur and create unwanted effects in your images. However, it is easy to correct or reduce when you know what to look for and why it happens.

What is pin cushion distortion?

Pincushion distortion is a lens effect that causes images to be pinched in the middle. Think of it as the effect on a pin cushion when a pin is pressed into it: the substance surrounding the pin moves down and toward the pin as pressure is applied.

Another way to visualize the wash coast distortion is to look at a piece of grid paper. Press on the center of the paper and notice that the straight lines of the grid start to bend inwards in the direction of the notch. If you are photographing a long building with straight lines, the coil distortion of the lens will have the same effect.

Spool pad distortion is mostly associated with telephoto lenses , and in particular, zoom telephones. The distortion usually occurs at the telo-end of the lens. The pin cushion distortion effect increases with the distance the object moves from the optical axis from the lens.

This is the opposite effect of lens distortion and, like its counterpart, the coil distortion is most visible in images with straight lines (especially when the lines are near the edge of the image).

Pin cushion attachment

Pincushion distortion can be easily fixed in modern image editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop, which includes a “lens distortion” correction filter. Free photo editing programs also offer slightly less sophisticated fixes.

Just like the rotation of the coil cushion, the coil distortion is enhanced by the effects of perspective on images . This means that some of this distortion in the camera can be corrected.

While shooting, you can take a few steps to eliminate or reduce coil coastline distortion:

  • Since pin cushion distortion mostly affects objects with straight lines, you can reduce the effect of pin cushion distortion by shooting objects that do not have straight lines. (Not always possible, right?)
  • Try to avoid shooting with the maximum magnification of the Telephoto zoom lens. Move closer to the subject and zoom out if possible or shoot the image slightly wider than you want and washed in the computer.
  • Move to another location and see if a different perspective of the object reduces the pin cushion effect. You can also completely change perspective and avoid photographing the object straight so that the distortion becomes a good aspect for the aesthetics of the image. (If you can not solve it, improve it!)
  • If you have straight lines in your object, try to keep them as close to the center of the frame as possible. Lines along the edge of the frame will also be more deformed because the frame is a perfectly straight line.


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