LensFun library goes back to its roots

LensFun library goes back to its roots

Tired of waiting for your latest photography gear to be supported by free software? LensFun 0.2.6 is out with several dozens of new entries in the database of cameras and lenses.

Apparently the project got a new maintainer who released this version with changes that accumulated over last 2 years. He also intends to bring updates rate back to the normal, and we salute to his plans.

Since there is no detailed list of changes, LGW had to roll up the sleeves and dig into SVN revisions. Below is the human readable version of what we found.

Essential changes

The single most interesting thing here is contribution from Thomas Modes of Hugin team who added conversion between orthographic, stereographic, equisolid, and Thoby lens types. Sounds like fun? No? Here's the deal.

Originally LensFun was started as a project to build a free database of cameras and lenses, as well as tools for fixing various lens distorsions. The idea came from the Hugin team during Libre Graphics Meeting 2007.

The actual library project was started later same year by Andrey Zabolotny who used the previously available initial database. That database relied on panotools model for fixing geometric distorsions. He also picked Hugin's model for fixing vignetting.

The project rapidly took off, and right now pretty much all free software for digital photography uses LensFun: darktable, Rawstudio, UFRaw, digiKam... There even is a plug-in for GIMP, and an initial version of a GEGL operation. As you can see, lack of support for LensFun in Hugin didn't quite fit the trend.

So Thomas got LensFun back to its roots: in March 2012 he implemented support for reading and writing lens parameters to/from LensFun database in Hugin. That was the reason for adding the aforementioned conversions to the library.

Honestly, with lens calibration tool released last year, it was only to be expected. This new version of the famous free panorama stitcher will be available later this year. In fact, the Hugin's team is currently discussing the release.

Apart from that Niels Kristian Bech Jensen corrected the vignetting formula from Pablo D'Angelo (initial Hugin developer). As a matter of fact, over last couple of years Niels was one of the most active contributors to LensFun and thus deserves a lifetime LGW award for being awesome.

The project also got support for Python 3 and a whole new CMake-powered build system.

Mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras

In September 2011 another LGW award winning contributor, Pascal de Bruijn, suggested to honor the trend for producing cameras with lens mounts and no mirrors and suggested to move their descriptions to separate files. So all this cameras and lenses are in separate XML files now.

That includes new cameras that use Micro Four Thirds system, and most of Samsung's NX series

  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1, DMC-GX1, DMC-G1, DMC-G2, DMC-G10
  • Olympus E-P1, E-P2, E-PL1
  • Samsung NX10, NX11, NX100, NX20, NX200

As well as lenses:

  • Olympus M 17mm F2.8 Pancake
  • Panasonic Lumix G X VARIO PZ 14-42 мм/F3.5-5.6, G VARIO 45-200/F4.0-5.6, GF1 20mm F/1.7
  • Samsung 30mm F2 Pancake, 20-50mm F3.5-5.6 Compact Zoom

DSLRs and lenses

There's quite a log of gear released in these few years that's now supported:

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 550D, 600D, 1000D, 1100D, 60D along with rebels and their digital kisses.
  • Nikon D800, D800E, D4, D5000, D5100, D7000, D3100, D3200, D7000
  • Sony Alpha 33, 35, 55, 65, 77, 290, 390, 450, 560, 580
  • Pentax K-5, K-r
  • Olympus E-5, E-M5

Surprisingly, not many Nikon lenses got added, in comparison to some other vendors:

  • Nikon:
    • Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G
    • Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S
    • Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D AF got a new profile with crop 1.0
    • Nikkor 50mm F/1.8 D and Nikkor 18-105mm F/3.5-5.6 got distorsion calibration
  • Canon:
    • EF 35-105mm f/4.5-5.6
    • EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III
    • EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
    • EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
    • EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 III
    • EF-S 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS got distorsion calibration
  • Sony:
    • 50 mm F1.4 SAL 50F14
    • Sony AF DT 16-105 mm F3.5-5.6
    • Sony AF DT 55-200mm
  • Pentax:
    • DA 40mm F/2.8 Limited
    • DA L 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
    • DA 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR
    • K 30mm F/2.8
    • M 50mm F/2
    • M 150mm F/3.5
    • Takumar 135mm F/2.5 Bayonet
  • Tamron:
    • 35-70mm F/3.5 CF MACRO
    • AF70-300mm F/4-5.6 LD MACRO
    • 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD
    • SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD
    • 18-250mm 3.5-6.3 Di II LD Asperical Macro
  • Tokina:
    • 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 SZ-X
    • AT-X 116 for Nikon F AF
  • Sigma 50-500mm F/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM


Support for newer compact cameras is limited to Canon SD950 IS camera, G7, G12, and A650 IS, as well as to Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3.


Even though the new version was released in late June (yes, we totally missed that), it isn't yet available in all Linux repositories. So if you really need it, we suggest you to annoy your Linux vendor till they give up in despair and update the build. Alternatively, you can fetch the source code and build it.

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2 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. Nice read! I had a collection of pictures, for work, which where taken on my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 4K, i was viewing them on my Samsung 4K SUHD JS8500 and i can tell you it was amazing to work with, level of detail was just superb! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5rjQcO5Byg

  2. Having a blast reading, good one!