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Optics for Photography: Examining Optical Components Through a Wide-Angle Lens

4th May 2021

When you think of optics, perhaps one of the most commonly considered applications is photography. Here at Knight Optical, we have provided custom-manufactured optical components for all categories of photography – from sports and architecture to high fashion, landscape and even astrophotography. In this article, we explore the use of a handful of our optics within photographic applications. 

optics for cameras

Take a walk on the wild side

As well as a lot of patience, wildlife photographers require state-of-the-art optical components to capture dramatic photos successfully. Not only do these optics help photographers take picture-perfect shots, but they also enable them to get up close and personal without the risk of physically intruding on dangerous predators’ territories – and view nocturnal species in the pitch-black night.  


Professional (and sometimes amateur) wildlife photographers regularly use thermal imaging to differentiate and identify species and even determine the sex of an animal. Typically, these thermal cameras are recognised for their ability to spot warm-blooded animals at night-time; however, photographers can also use them in the day to detect well-camouflaged mammals. 


Here at Knight Optical, we supply a wide range of stock and custom-made optical components for thermal imaging, such as:

  • Germanium Windows: Offering a high refractive index and an excellent infrared (IR) transmission range, covering from 1.8 to 16µm, our stock and custom-made IR Germanium Windows are sought-after components for high-specification thermal imaging and night vision applications.
  • N-BK7 Windows: Where IR materials such as Germanium are limited to a small band in the IR spectrum, N-BK7 works well throughout the entire visible and into the NIR, making it a perfect material for a protective window for use within a Thermal Imaging Camera.

Dive in 

Land-based photography isn’t the only environment that poses issues for photographers. Capturing images from the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean is certainly no mean feat. Loss of colour, backscatter and lack of sharpness are just a few of the common obstacles that underwater photographers ordinarily encounter. Whilst these problems and the subject of a photo may be hard to capture, add light to the scenario and a perfect picture seems completely inconceivable. With suitable optics, however, even the most conspicuous of objects can be captured. 

We’ve supplied a wide range of custom-made and stock premium-quality optical components for underwater photography applications, including ROV systems.

Common optics include:

  • Custom-Made Domes: Thanks to their extreme durability, our Custom-Made Domes are commonly used for both underwater cameras and submersible devices. As well as a wide range of stock BK7 (or equivalent) varieties, which offer excellent transmission from 300nm up to 2µm, we also offer custom manufactured domes in a variety of substrates to meet every photographer’s requirements.

These materials include:

Setting the scenery 

Back on dry land, not only do landscape photographers have light to contend with to capture realistic textures and create show-stopping photographs, but they also have the issue of movement. For those focusing on moving elements, such as clouds, waterfalls and rivers, one optical component is considered quite the must-have amongst landscape photographers. Neutral-Density Filters, or ND Filters, as they’re also called, effectively work by reducing the amount of light that enters a camera without impacting colour, contrast or sharpness. These filters enable easy manipulation of landscape photographs, for example, creating silky or misty textures of water or wispy or smooth forms of clouds.

Here at Knight Optical, our stock and custom-made ND Filters are extremely popular for landscape photography applications.

Our portfolio comprises three main varieties:

Perfect portraits 

Of course, nature, sea life and animals aren’t the only subjects for photographers. Portrait photography also requires specialist optical components to diffuse a camera’s flash and improve photos that have been exposed to harsh light and shadows. Ideal for these photographic applications, Knight Optical’s high-quality Optolite Plastic Diffusers offer a far superior, more uniform diffusion than Ground Glass alternatives.

Why Choose Knight Optical for your Application? 

Here at Knight Optical, we supply a range of optical components for photographic applications. Discerning photographers rely on Knight Optical not only for the premium quality of our output and in-house state-of-the-art Metrology Laboratory and QA Department‘s capabilities but because – as well as a range of Stock Optics (available for next-day dispatch) – we also offer a range of sought-after Custom-Made Optical Components.

This year, we look forward to celebrating 30 years in business. With three decades’ experience under our belt and a whole host of long-standing world-renowned customers on our books, we are proud to have worked on some of the most ground-breaking innovations.

If you are looking for premium-quality, bespoke optical components, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the Technical Sales Team today.