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Film - Digital

What is parallax error?

With any camera that does not view directly through the taking lens ( a Single Lens Reflex or View Camera) there is a discrepancy in what the viewing device or lens sees and what the taking lens exposes.

This happens because the two lenses - the taking lens and the viewing lens - are physically positioned in a different locations from each other and there for the perspectives are slightly different.

At long range where the subject is some distance away, there is minimal difference, but as the subject distance is decreased the parallax error increases and becomes significant. The closer the subject the greater this discrepancy becomes, until it reaches a point where the viewfinder is unreliable. While the illustration shows a Twin Lens Reflex camera, this also applies to direct vision view finder cameras etc

Move over image to view roll over image

Original scene

What is seen in the viewfinder

What is seen by the taking lens and photographed by the camera




Although the closes focus distance on some camera may not be close enough for the parallax error to show, to some degree it is still apparent. This also applies to compact digital cameras that have a direct vision finder and no live view LCD screen.




Some cameras with parallax error.

Many simple consumer cameras across a range of makes and models suffered from this problem.




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