Remember film? Back in the day my photography bag consisted of a couple of SLRs, a few additional lenses (macro, zoom, telephoto), and a couple dozen filters. That was then and this is now and my so-called camera bag is digital. I shoot with a point-and-shoot, the iPhone, or a DSLR, but all the work is done post shot on my Mac.
One of those little photographic utilities that every Mac user should be collecting is Lens•Lab. It’s a virtual lens simulation app for your Mac that graphically displays how depth of field and field of view relate to your camera and lenses. It’s also a good tool to learn about both.
Lens•Lab does depth of field calculations in an instant (unwieldy on the Mac version, but there’s also an iPhone version, similarly priced).
Each of Lens•Lab’s overlays are configurable independently.
- Hyperfocal Distance
- Far Depth of Field
- Focal Distance
- Near Depth of Field
- Total Depth of Field
- Vertical Angle of View
- Distance Scale
- Simulated Blur
You get options to control aperture, focal length, and focal distance using simple sliders. It works well for full frame 35mm cameras and even newer Four Thirds models.
The iPhone version is great for field work and has similar functionality.
When it comes to using your Mac or iPhone to create a virtual lens simulation, it’s difficult to top Lens•Lab. I’d like to see more numerical precision in the onscreen sliders, though.