A lot of consumers these days want to get their hands on cameras that have the highest megapixel available in the market. Whenever new ones come out, they buy it right away. When a customer gets their hand on a DSLR camera, it is only natural to look for lenses to use in different styles of photography. There are only some people that know how to read the specification for a very good lens. It is safe to assume that most of them buying lenses are just taking it after a recommendation or two from prominent or iconic photographers online.

Each lens that is sold in the market pass through an MTF test first to record its optical performance and publish it together with the lens when they are being sold. These MTF records can be very difficult to discern from an average person’s point of view, but you will learn here the basics of how to read them. Companies specializing in MTF conduct tests on all types of lenses that are to be used in devices like cameras, periscopes, microscopes, etc.

The MTF charts can be very painful to read and look at, but the least is that you should know the basics. In here, you will learn more about how to read your very first Modulation Transfer Function chart and the benefits that you get from it. Before you read the most complicated chart provided by the lens manufacturer, it is best that you start your search first with the simplest MTF diagram you can find online. A lot of experts have made the extra mile for people to understand the diagram better without going back to school on what that graph meant.

The MTF chart is provided in every lens available in the market. It will provide you clues on how the lens performs when it comes to edge contrast, resolution or even the most popular tags for photographers – bokeh!

You will find diagrams that show you an alternating black and white lines where it passes through the lens and then translated to the camera. This is about lenses that are used in cameras. The parallel lines that you see in the diagram are referred to as the Sagittal lines, while the perpendicular ones are referred to as the Meridional or the Tangetial lines. However, these names are not that important to memorize. The least is that you are familiar with them.

Before you even begin understanding the MTF chart, you will be introduced with the Resolution and Contrast first. These two terms are used extensively in the photography world, and in different means as well. For photographers, what they mean about contrast pertains to the slider in popular photo editing software – this refers to the increase in global contrast in the images to make them “pop.” Resolution refers to the image resolution itself, like the ones you see in the image settings “1024×768.”

While it may not be enough to provide you the information that you need about reading the MTF chart, you can find more of that at