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The wavelength of an incident light can be determined based on its diffraction pattern.

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Credit: 55Laney69
Source: http://flic.kr/p/bT7pDn
License: CC BY-NC 3.0


Normally when diffraction comes up, most people think of light bending around a corner.  But diffraction doesn’t just apply to physics, it also is relevant to photography.  It plays an important part of how images end up, whether day or night, cloudy or sunny.

Creative Applications

  1. Research the basics of a camera.  What is aperture and what do f/2 and f/24 mean with regard to lens size and light?
  2. Using a dSLR or any camera that can adjust aperture, take pictures of the same object in same lighting.  Try staying indoors to keep lighting constant. (For simplicity visit http://d2f29brjr0xbt3.cloudfront.net/921_diffraction/comparison2.jpg to see effects of apertures on photos)  What do you notice about the image when aperture changes?
  3. Based on your results, why is it generally advised to mainly use apertures of f/8-f/11?  What does this have to do with diffraction?  





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  1. [1]^ Credit: 55Laney69; Source: http://flic.kr/p/bT7pDn; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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