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Camera Facts: How important is the Lens?

Every camera lens has two main attributes: focal length and f-stop.

Focal Length:  The focal length determines how close or how wide you can get with the lens; an 18mm lens can produce a very wide angle shot, while a 200mm lens can get you very close to the subject.

F-Stop:  The f-stop determines how wide the aperture can open; a lens that can reach f/1.4 will be much brighter than one that can only reach f/4.0.

Video Borescope

Arguments are often made that the quality of the lens is more important than the camera.  While this can be true under some circumstances, the reality is that recording a good inspection video usually comes together with a variety of different tech working together.  That said, a good lens can make a hell of a difference.
Lenses capable of admitting more light (usually accompanied by wider apertures like 5.6 and lower) are often heavier and bulkier.  This can make them unsuitable for a lot of RVI applications.  A video borescope like the Mentor Visual IQ for instance, only has the capacity on the probe to accept a lens or optical tip of a certain physical size.  In this case, the more important consideration would be lens focal length.  When your lens is tiny, it’s usually more helpful to have a wide angle capability.  This reduces the effects of sudden jerky movement on the video that would occur with a longer focal length.

Ultimately, the better the lens is at admitting light, the better your final image or video will be.


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