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Behind the Lens by Jay Holben

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2.11Modulation Transfer Function: Understanding Lens Resolution

OK, bear with me… this is actually much deeper, technically, than I normally venture in this column, but it’s an important topic to understand.

This month, I’m going to talk about modulation transfer function. It’s a fun mouthful of words; try it—modulation transfer function. You can almost hear Marvin the Martian asking, “Where is my elunium pu36 modulation transfer function?”

No?

OK, maybe that’s just me…

Modulation transfer function (MTF) is a methodology for measuring the resolving power of a lens, or an entire imaging system for that matter.

The Basics of Mtf

Let’s break it down:

  • What are we modulating?
  • What are we transferring?

No lens is 100% perfect. In fact, it’s physically ...

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