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Aspherical lens

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A lens element that doesn't form part of a sphere. This is physically difficult to manufacture as most grinding/polishing equipment operates with a spherical action. This sort of lens is often moulded out of plastic or coated onto a glass element.

Related Terms

(Not be confused with Fixed focus lens!) A lens that only has one focal length (as opposed to a zoom lens). A fixed focal length lens (also called 'prime lens') will often have good brightness, contrast, and be optically well-corrected. For that, it doesn't need any special glass or aspheric lens elements. Fixed focal length lenses are always superior to zoom lenses if they're made with the same optical materials and standards. They usually offer a wider maximum aperture than zoom lenses. They're often preferable for indoor shooting, but are also favourite choices as long telephoto lenses used for wildlife, sports and news photography.