How to Use Lightroom to Hunt Down Chromatic Aberration in Your Images

Chromatic aberration is an extremely common lens problem that can leave your images with weirdly colored edges. In its more subtle incarnations, it can be easy to miss until you've already exported the image, but it turns out Lightroom has some helpful tools to help you see where it might be hiding. 

Chromatic aberration is a type of aberration that is caused by lenses having different refractive indices (the ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum versus that material and a measure of how much said material bends the light) for different wavelengths of light. The result is that varying wavelengths are bent by varying amounts, causing the lens to be unable to focus all colors to the same point. The unfortunate consequence is that your images contain green or purple (typically) bands around high-contrast edges. However, when you're check for its presence in an image, it can be difficult, as it is often only a few pixels wide, and in a complicated image with millions of pixels, you might not see it at first. This helpful video from Anthony Morganti shows you some of Lightroom's hidden built-in tools for tracking it down and correcting it. It's a quick and effective way to improve your final output.

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3 Comments

Spy Black's picture

Funny, having shot for years back in the film days, I sometimes actually like the effect CA has on an image. Some lenses however have it in a way that I find obtrusive. Certainly if you want an old school look, you should accentuate it by moving the sliders to exaggerate it. So CA can actually be used as a creative distortion at times.

Didn't seem worth doing in that photo if you have to zoom in that far and watch in HD to see it :-)

Alex Cooke's picture

You say that... but then you print it and all you can see is that purple border! :P