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Science foi the

Cuiious Photogiaphei
An Introduction to the Science of Photography
Johnson.indb i 3/18/2010 9:38:58 AM
Science foi the
Cuiious Photogiaphei
An Introduction to the Science of Photography
a k peters, ltd.
natick, massachusetts
Charles S. Johnson, Jr.
Johnson.indb iii 3/18/2010 9:39:00 AM
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Editorial, Sales, and Customer Service O ce
A K Peteis, Ltd.
5 Commonwealth Road
Natick, MA 01760
www.akpeteis.com
Copyiight 2010 by Chailes S. Johnson, Ji.
All iights ieseived. No pait of the mateiial piotected by this copyiight notice may be iepioduced oi utilized
in any foim, electionic oi mechanical, including photocopying, iecoiding, oi by any infoimation stoiage and
ietiieval system, without wiitten peimission fiom the copyiight ownei.
Te following pioducts and tiademaiks aie used thioughout the book: AT&T Bell Labs, B+W, Canon, Cibach-
iome, Ciga-Geigy Coip., CoCam?, Cokin, ColoiMunki, CombineZM (fieewaie), Dynamic-Photo HDR, East-
man Kodak, Kenko, Kodak, Kodachiome, Epson, Faiichild Semiconductoi, Focus Magic, FocalBlade, Foveon,
Fujichiome Piovia, Fujilm, Helicon Focus, Heliopan, Hoya, Ilfochiome, Intel, Kiik, Life Pixel, Leica, MaxMax,
Manfiotto, Nikon, Olympus, Photokit Shaipenei, Photomatix, PhotoPio RGB, Photoshop, Polaioid Coip., Rol-
leicoid, Schott, Schneidei-Kieuznach, Sigma, Sony, Spypei3, Tamion, Texas Instiuments, Ti n, Wiatten, and
Zeiss.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Johnson, Chailes S. (Chailes Sidney), 1936
Science foi the cuiious photogiaphei : an intioduction to the science of photogiaphy i Chailes S. Johnson, Ji.
p. cm.
Includes bibliogiaphical iefeiences and index.
ISBN 978-1-56881-581-7 (alk. papei)
1. Photogiaphy. I. Title.
TR146.J556 2010
770dc22
2009047521
Piinted in India
14 13 12 11 10 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
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To Ellen, my wife and best friend
Johnson.indb v 3/18/2010 9:39:01 AM
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vii
Pvrrcr ix
cnv:rv 1
What Is Photogiaphy? 1
cnv:rv z
What Is Light? 5
cnv:rv
Te CameiaAn Intioduction 9
cnv:rv
Images: What Is Peispective? 15
cnv:rv
Why Does a Cameia Need a Lens? 19
cnv:rv 6
Elementaiy Optics: How Do Lenses Woik? 23
cnv:rv ;
Te Simple Tin Lens and What It Does 27
cnv:rv 8
How to Make Lenses that Aie Good Enough foi Photogiaphy 31
cnv:rv ,
Coming to Teims with Real Cameia Lenses 41
Table of Contents
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viii
cnv:rv 1o
Fisheye Lenses and How Tey Captuie the Whole Sky 49
cnv:rv 11
What Is an Equivalent Image? 55
cnv:rv 1z
How to Get Veiy High Magnication 63
cnv:rv 1
Do We Need Filteis Anymoie? 77
cnv:rv 1
Te Limits of Human Vision 89
cnv:rv 1
How Can Coloi Be Managed? 95
cnv:rv 16
Image Captuie and Piocessing 113
cnv:rv 1;
What Is Peiceived Image Quality? 125
cnv:rv 18
Te Cieation and Appieciation of Ait in Photogiaphy 137
vvroix
Histoiical Note on Enlaigeis 149
vvroix n
What Is Behind the Rules of Optics? 151
vvroix c
Deiivation of the Lensmakeis Equation 155
vvroix o
Gaussian Optics and the Piincipal Planes 157
vvroix r
A Macio Lens with Attachments 159
vvroix r
Captuiing Photons with Photogiaphic Film 161
vvroix o
Micioelectionics and the Path to Digital Sensois 167
vvroix n
Iiiadiance and Illuminance Units 169
iorx 181
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I ordered a Rolleicord III medium format camera. It
served me well and is still functional.
From the beginning I was fascinated by all
aspects of photography. I love the equipment,
the techniques, the processing of images, and,
of course, the chance to photograph interesting
things. Photography also provided a summer job
and a doorway to business and social interactions.
Photographs documenting those years reveal
small-town life in the 1950s and a few cheesecake
pictures as well. My career as a scientist and a uni-
versity professor took me away from photography
for many years, but in the past decade I have re-
turned to that early love. I spend a lot of time on
nature photography now, and I enjoy photo shoots
with the Carolinas Nature Photographers Asso-
ciation (CNPA). Of course, everything is digital, so
the chemical darkroom is no longer necessary. Tis
has given me a new world of opportunities and an
array of new subjects to understand.
M
y love of photography started very early.
As a teenager I worked in a small full-
service photography shop. Portraits were
made, events were photographed, snapshots were
developed and printed, and equipment was sold.
From that experience, I learned about photographic
techniques and the value of quality cameras and
lenses. I started developing and enlarging my own
photographs, and I searched for ways to learn more.
Fortunately, I found the book Lenses in Photography
by Rudolf Kingslake in the photography shop, and I
studied it diligently. I still have that book and refer to
it frequently. At that time (the 1950s), my uncle was
serving with the Air Force in Germany, and he was
able to buy ne cameras for me. First, I got a Zeiss
Ikonta 35. It was bare bones, with no rangender
or light meter, but it had a wonderful Zeiss Tessar
f2.8 lens. It was great for documenting sports and
other high school events. Later, when I started do-
ing freelance photography (while still in high school),
Preface
ix
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x
On the other hand, some great photographers and
other artists as well have beneted from a knowl-
edge of their media and ways to get the most out
of it: Ansel Adams comes to mind. In addition to
making awe-inspiring photographs, Adams wrote
technical books on cameras, negatives, and prints.
To each his/her own, but I believe that in photog-
raphy, as elsewhere, knowledge is power.
I have worked on this book for four years, try-
ing the patience of my wife and friends. I appreci-
ate comments from all those who have read sec-
tions of it at various stages of its gestation. I am
sure to leave out some generous and helpful peo-
ple, but here is at least a partial list of those who
have contributed at various times with corrections
and advice: John Fowler, Archibald Fripp, Richard
Jarnagin, and Calvin Wong.
CHARLES S. JOHNSON, JR.
In my case, understanding the way photog-
raphy works has increased enjoyment of it. Each
new question is a challenge. Te process of work-
ing through the concepts of photography from
basic optics and image sensors to human percep-
tion of color and the appreciation of beauty was
an exhilarating experience for me. I have written
this book for those who also enjoy photography,
and who want to know more about their photo-
graphic equipment and the operation of their eyes
and brain as well. Te book is specically aimed
at those who enjoy science and are not afraid of
a little math. Of course, perfectly good photo-
graphs can be made by those who have no inter-
est in the scientic side of photography. Tey see
a clean separation between the scientic part and
the artistic part, and they reject the scientic part.
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