Lightroom CA and Distortion Lens Corrections (And why I love Micro Four-Thirds).

An often overlooked edit in Lightroom is the Lens corrections for Distortion and Chromatic Aberration.  No lens is 100% perfect, the act of passing light through 10-20 glass elements introduces errors to the image, although slight it can be noticeable in the corners of a photograph when looking close (1:1 zoom in a viewer).  If you haven’t been making lens correction to your RAW images you may have imperfect images in all your shots you process.

Chromatic Aberration (or CA) shows up as purple and green fringing in high contrast areas that can become distracting with poor optics.  And Lens Distortion usually occurs when at wide angles, especially with lenses that have a broad range of zoom like a 24-200mm super zoom lens.  Rather than type up the pages of documentation of how and why this occurs I’ll just throws this link in if you want to know more about CA and Distortion.

Lightroom has options to correct both of these in the “Lens Corrections” tag of the Development module.  If you find the issue is distracting or you’re a perfectionist you can correct the CA and Distortion.  There is also the option to load pre made Lens Profiles that are already customized for your Lens and Camera Body combination that know the peculiarities of your combination and auto edit the image accordingly.  For the Details on how to do this check out this great link; and find the Lens Profile Downloader here.

The reason I don’t want to type a big mess on how to correct Lens Distortion is that I don’t have to deal with it.  When the Micro Four Thirds standard was create it created smart digital lenses know their own flaws and embed the corrections into the RAW file itself.  Lightroom is smart enough to see these built in corrections and apply them at import.  It’s like having Adobe’s Lens Profile Database but they travel with the lens and are added to every RAW image file.

One of the often questioned issues is if Panasonic Lenses still apply Distortion and CA correction on Olympus camera bodies and vice-versa.  The answer is yes, it still works.  Here’s the info from Lightroom on a Panasonic 7-14mm wide angle lens with an Olympus OMD EM5 Mk.II.

Lightroom corrects Panasonic Lens on Olympus Body
Yes, a Panasonic Lens on an Olympus Body is still auto corrected.

I played around to see if I could further refine the lens corrections and it only makes the issues worse since it’s already at optimal settings.


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