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Why is the chief ray angle important?

Updated: Oct 16, 2023


What is the lens chief ray angle?

The lens chief ray is the ray path from an off-axis point that passes through the center of the aperture stop of the optical system. The lens chief ray angle or CRA is the angle of incidence of the lens chief ray with the image plane.

When I first heard of a CRA requirement for an image sensor, I struggled to understand why it was important. A CRA spec wasn't something that was taught when I went to school! Digging deeper, I learned about the amazing microlens technology developed for the mobile phone camera market. What I learned is shown in the graphic below.

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