Definition: Lens element; Element

Definition: Lens element; Element | Glossary entry

Lens element; Element

In a modern photographic lens, there is usually more than one individual glass optical lens. Each glass lens is referred to as an “Element” or “Lens element” of the photographic lens.

In some photographic lenses there will be many individual glass elements arranged in groups. Each lens element does a part of the overall shaping of the light which contributes to the final image projected onto the digital image sensor.

The front and rear lens element can be seen and touched. They are the most vulnerable. They need to be looked after. Always use a lens cap on each end of the lens when it is out of use. Make sure that both ends are clean at all times. Use only chemicals recommended for cleaning lenses.

The front and rear lens element is usually coated with a special coating to reduce flare and other forms of aberration. Be careful not to rub the lens too much or allow it to touch rough surfaces. These can mark the coating, or even the lens below it.

•  Theoretical Lens diagram • Theoretical lens layout showing single lens elements and groups.

Click image to view large
Generalised photographic lens layout showing showing the principle features. Each of the glass parts are lens elements.

Comments, additions, amendments or ideas on this article? Contact Us


Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.