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tool links
- a collection of links to programs, calculators, simulators, tables, formula's, and applets related to photography and optics
- een verzameling programma's, calculators, simulators, tabellen, formules en applets op het gebied van fotografie en optica
last update: aug 31 2004


f/Calc suite - by Warren Young. f/Calc is a calculator for photographic formulas. These formulas are at the heart of many interesting questions about the technical side of photography. You could compute these functions by hand, but they range from tedious to difficult, even with a good scientific calculator. When you let f/Calc do the hard work, you gain an intuitive feel for what the results mean, because you can quickly try new input values to see how they affect the result. The Windows, Macintosh and Tcl/Tk versions of f/Calc are free software, licensed under the GNU General Public License. The Palm OS version is shareware. It has dof; hyperfocal distance; angle of view; spotmeter angle; magnification! Great tool set!
Expose - Pocket PC Freeware by Jonathan Sachs. Exposure 1.0 is an automated exposure guide for photographers that computes recommended exposures given film speed, filter being used, type of film, and scene illumination level. It can operate in either aperture or shutter priority mode and it incorporates a knowledge of the proper exposure for many different lighting situations, including corrections for filters and film reciprocity failure. The filter, film and scene databases are customizable.
Other tools:
Stoptime is a stopwatch; Ephemeris, a sun- and moonrise etc tool; Eval, a scientific calculator.
DOF 1.0 - Pocket PC Freeware by Jonathan Sachs. Dof 1.0 is a program for photographers that computes depth of field of lens given its focal length, f stop, resolution and focus distance.
It reports the near and far focus limits and the hyperfocal distance (the minimum distance you can focus at and still keep infinity in focus). Jonathan Sachs is Digital Light & Color.
I think I will give his Stop Time chrono a spin at my Ebay bidding.

The ultimate exposure computer is not a computer at all, nor a program, but a very usefull chart and a very long manual. By Fred Parker.
Exposure Calculator - Robert E. Barrett. Based on Fred Parker's chart: this Calculator will, for the given light conditions and film speed, calculate the appropriate camera settings to yield a correct exposure.
Vade Mecum a program suite for theHP48GX, HP49,TI89, Palm, Windows CE, palm size (HP Jornada, Compaq Aero, Casio E-100). Free download. Info in pdf.
Schärfentiefe-, Abbildungsmaßstab- und Nahlinsenrechner - Tom Striewisch, Alexander Kluge und Erik Krause. Deutsch; German (very, truely German in the best sense). Sehr sehr komplett. Wirklich alles ist drin. Zerstreuungskreis berechnen; Umrechentabelle für Digitalkameras; usw.usw.
If you understand a little bit of German this is the last DOF and Close-up calculator you'll ever need. Is this one complete! Calculates just about everything and discusses all the major choices. This one is from the people that make the german photography newsgroup probably the best on the net. My personal favourite.
Circle of confusion calculator - Don Fleming. If you want to use depth of field calculators with your digital camera, here is a list of camera's and a calculator. It is the calculator used in Don's DOFMaster program (see below). Some good articles about depth of field theory and dof-equations are here too.
DOFMaster - online depth of field calculator - Don Fleming. A very basic online calculator, BUT his free downloadable DOFmaster for Windows and DOFmaster LE for Palm OS are excellent. DOFmaster allows you to print scales for any format, in the old round Kodak paper calculator style. They even fit on your lenscap! Neat.
Depth of Field is another free download from Digital Light and Color.
DOF calculator - Simon Walton. Java. Also as a free download. 16mm and 35mm only, because it is intended for use in motion-picture cinematography. It can calculate the depth-of-field given the focus distance and lens settings, or the required focus distance and f-stop for a given depth-of-field. It also calculates hyperfocal distances. Where is it? Has Simon vanished?
DOF calculator - Nicholas V. Sushkin. Nice plots. Good, simple and very useful.
Depth-of-Field Calculator - Michael C. Gillett at the site of Bob Atkins, who wrote a good and comprehensive article explaining it. Werkt ook in meters. Decimal too. Atkins has some very useful discussions and charts on MTF and diffraction.
DOF calculator - J. Dudak. Very extensive. Calculate depth of field or find the f/stop and focusing distance needed to keep a known near and far distance sharp with this depth-of-field calculator. You can also compare up to five different settings or lenses at a time.
Depth-of-Field calculation applet -
Klaus Schroiff, Photo-Zone
Tiefenschärfe > toolbox - Harald W. Spoddig. Deutsch. In German: dof.
Calculate field of view and compare focal lengths of all the major film formats with this field-of-view calculator. It's three calculators in one. You can also calculate focal length and focus distance.- J. Dudak.
Imaginatorium - Brian Chandler. A collection of articles and applets. His piece on close-up filters is really very good: What is a close-up filter? - I got so annoyed by people using the term "close-up filter" I wrote this. Includes the basic stuff about a lens (1/u + 1/v = 1/f), and calculators for this and lens combination.
Yes, but this is OK for simple lenses in the school physics lab. A real camera lens isn't thin, and it costs lots of money: surely the same rules don't apply?
Real lenses are more complicated Well, money rarely buys exemption from the laws of nature. This guy is funny!
He lives in Japan (160 km from Mt Fuji) and reveals the correct pronounciation of the word Bokeh. Sorry: Boke(h). (I had it right all along.)
Another useful one: Adjusting exposure for teleconverters and extension tubes.
Hyperfocal distance calculator - M. Baltuch. This is a java applet that calculates the hyperfocal distance for a given film format, focal length and f-stop combination. The Hyper Focal Distance is the focus point, such that anything between half the distance to the focus point and infinity is in focus. From this page you can also download a Hyperfocal Distance Chart for 35mm lenses. The chart is sized so that you can print it out, laminate it and it will fit neatly into a camera bag.
Focus Pocus - Thomas Hallstein. Hyperfocal Calculator; Near Field-Far Field Calculator .
The Hyperfocal Distance Chart Maker and Near - Far Focus Limits Chart Maker require payment.
The Bokeh Simulator - Daniel Wexler. Virtual bokeh!
Bokeh Rendering. Select different lens curves and apertures.
Bokeh describes the out of focus quality of a camera lens. A point that is out of focus will normally be a soft, uniformly dense, circle. Different lens systems produce elipsis or hexagons and different distributions of light across the shape.
Polarizing filter simulator - David Rea. Even up to three filters here.
How long a lens do you need?-Calculator - Philip Greenspun on his great
Calculate action-stopping or blur-producing shutter speeds or the blur rendered by a shutter speed with this shutter speed calculator.- J. Dudak.
The JavaCam of ArtKids allows you to view a scene via the the camera's viewfinder and lets you take a picture. You have control over the exposure by adjusting the camera's shutter speed and lens aperture controls (in manual mode). Alternately, you could set the camera to one of its auto modes (shutter priority or aperture priority) and see how the camera sets the exposure.
And this is for children? Wow! Great simcam! The best for free.
Simcam - G. Cheng. A good online 35mm slr simulator.
WebSLR - An even better online 35mm slr simulator but not for free:$ 18.95 a year. Visitors have limited access.
Pinhole Camera Calculators - Larry Fratkin: Determine the f stop for pinhole view cameras or any camera with a variable focal length. Generate an exposure chart for your pinhole camera. Generate an ISO/DIN chart for your pinhole camera: use a standard light meter to determine exposure time. More tools: Variable Focal Length; Fstop Calculator and ZonePlate calculator.
Zonentendo - Tom Striewisch. Great applet. Nintendo-like zone finder. No-language. Tom is german and he maintains a great tutorial site on photography. (This is in german.)
Zone System Emulator - Lewis Downey, Circada. You noticed that everytime you 'metered' on a subject and submitted the form, the subject that you metered on was reproduced as middle gray. That is the whole point of your camera's metering system (traditionally speaking anyway).
Zone System Filmtests - Lewis Downey, Circada. Graphing test results. Graphing app.
PN90 Buddy from Palm Computing® Connected Organizer Software - Ken Hancock. N90 Buddy connects to your Nikon N90/N90s using a Palm serial cable and the Nikon MC-31 cable. N90 Buddy allows you to turn on the camera's memo holder, download frame exposure information, and set a number of custom options previously found in the Sharp Wizard/AC-nE card, OPTN90S shareware, Nikon Datalink software, and Nikon Photo Secretary software. Win and Mac versions available too. (+Scuba log; Tide tables!) this used to cost $15, but is free now.
SoftTALK 2000 - Jaco Mostert. Win/mac/palm pilot software that enables pc's etc to communicate with Nikon cameras over communication cables, like Mosterts own HarTALK. Supported: Nikon F90 N90 F90X N90s F100 F5. $45 -An evaluation version SoftTALK 2000 is now available.
F90-Tool - Frank Minne. For the Psion 5 / Psion 5mx / Ericsson MC218 and Revo.
It makes them communicate with Nikon F90 / N90 / F90x / N90s with or without the Multi-Control Back MF-26. All possibilities of the Nikon Photo Secretary, but not as expensive and you don't have to carry along your PC in the field. 30 Euro.
F100-Tool - Frank Minne.The F100Tool is software for the Psion 5 / Psion 5mx /Ericsson MC218 and Revo. It makes them communicate with the Nikon F100 camera. It can change all custom-settings of your camera, but now clearly explained. It can also change the memosettings of your F100 so it will remember all the shooting data. 30 Euro.
Sun moon stars earth

World time zones map with current time. Includes a good sunclock. Very usefull during travel. You may not survive Australia without it ;-) It certainly saved me a couple of times.
Sonnenstand > toolbox - Harald W. Spoddig. Deutsch. In German: really great applet wich shows position, angle and (roughly) color temp of the sun.
Sun Position Calculator
- By Simon Walton. This calculator will give the time of sunrise and sunset for any date and location. It will also plot a graph of the Sun's elevation and bearing over the course of that day. Java applet. Where is Simon Walton?
Sunrise Sunset Calendar - Print your own custom sunrise and sunset calendar. Moonrise and moonset time and moon phase information is also available. There is a list of predefined cities or you can enter your own location and get a calendar for anywhere in the world.
Moonrise -
Bruce Sidell. Moonrise version 3.5 is a very simple to use, yet very accurate program. If you put it in your Startup folder, it will greet you everyday with the day's sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset, and twilight times. You can easily see the next series of moon phases, and see a graphic of the current phase. Shareware $20,-
Heavenly-Opportunity - John Bartholow. For Better Photos Involving the Sun and Moon.Choose from over 30,000 Photo Locations in the United States. Including over 500 National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, and Recreation Areas. As well as 2500 named Mountains, Lakes, and other Important Landscape Features. And All other Cities and Towns in the US. Or Enter the Latitude and Longitude of Your Photo Destination Anywhere in the World. Shareware: $19.95 - fully functional free demo.

Fuji-VIT or Digital Imaging Control Tool "Digital Quality" or "Visuele Test Set" is
not a download, but a cdrom. Simple colour calibration for photo print jobs. This info is in German. Hier is wat info in het nederlands.
Colour and contrast in display technology - Hans Brettel. Java applets: Variable greyscale step wedge. Estimate the gamma of your CRT monitor. (Note: it works perfectly on my LCD's as well.
Also: Interactive demonstration of colour appearance for the 'colour-blind'. And web design for the colour-blind. Interesting!
Another really good gamma estimator: The Amazing Gamma Measuring Applet - Alyosha Efros. Java applet. (Take a look at his ray tracer.) And his:
Simulation of Human Visual Response at Varying Levels of Illumination - Alyosha Efros This is the simulator the gamma applet was meant for.
Optics, color etc

Why Things Have Color This interactive figure demonstrates how an abstract concept can be made accessible in an introductory course by putting it in the proper context.
Physics of Light and Optics (JAVA applets) - S. Hershfield, Department of Physics, University of Florida Multimedia Course (Text & Images). Applets include Planar Mirror; Concave Mirror; Convex Mirror; Converging Lens; Diverging Lens; Polarization.

Optical calculators.- JML Optical Industries. This one is for the serious. Their online calculators were not here the last time I looked, but this is still there: the downloadable Optic Toolbox (even more enhanced calculators). 18 calculators include Hypotenuse Form; Radius Tolerence; Effective Focal Length; Object to Image. This feature, nicknamed “Shop Talk,” is an interactive optical formulae calculator. You are able to find answers to various optical formulae and conversions of units of measure.
Physics of a rainbow - Ku-Kwun Hwang, Department of Physics, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan "The most charming example of chromatic dispersion is a rainbow. More applets include: one that lets you see the view as seen by your fish, looking up at you. More applets include the world of color, about mixing colors and pigments; and thick and thin lens combinations. He still claims: I am not a professional programmer, I am a physicist. It is clear: he
loves physics, and enjoys playing with physics.
Shadow/Image and Color - Ku-Kwun Hwang
Optics (or rather: Patterns) in Nature - Steve Beeson. Examples of optics and light in nature are all around us--rainbows, glories, sundogs, irridescence on animals, halos, and the earth's shadow. These are just a few examples of the myriad of natural optical phenomena that happen everyday, in your backyard or right over your head.
Rainbows; double rainbows; optics; mirrors; lensens; light. These are no applets; nor is it a program, but it is a superbly illustrated small course. Worth a look!
The basics of optical systems and lenses ; Aberrations applet ; Lens design - Dave Whittington. Coma; spherical aberration; field curvature; simple lenses etc.
OSLO Optical Design Software OSLO is software used by scientists and engineers to design lenses, reflectors, optical instruments, laser collimators, and illumination systems. It is also used for simulation and analysis of optical systems using both geometrical and physical optics. In addition to optical design and analysis, OSLO provides a complete technical software development system including interactive graphics, math, and database libraries. There is a free version of OSLO intended for educational use.OSLO stands for Optics Software for Layout and Optimization of optical systems. OSLO is used primarily to determine the optimum sizes and shapes of the elements in optical systems in cameras, consumer products, communications systems, military/space applications, scientific instruments, etc. In addition, it is used to simulate the performance of optical systems, and to develop specialized software tools for optical design, testing, and manufacturing.
Optics live - Bernhard Michel. Collection of JAVA-applets about lightscattering, effective optical properties, radiative transfer.
Fresnel Diffraction of Circular Aperture. James C. Wyant.
Image Formation by a Converging Lens ; Image Formation by a Diverging Lens - Single-Slit Difraction - Sergey Kiselev and Tanya Yanovsky-Kiselev.
Refraction of Light - Walter Fendt.

Optics 1.1
(JAVA applet) - Wolfgang Christian. This applet allows users to simulate standard optic elements (lens, mirror, dielectrics, sources, apertures) and observe the ways that light rays propagate through these elements. Welcome to Christian's Physlets, Physics Applets, small flexible Java applets designed for science education.
Selected applets - PHYS 104, Spring 2003 - department of physics University of Maryland (almost around the corner now, since I came to live in DC - the bike shop is nearby) a whole list of physics applets, most of which are just fun to play with. I must remember to calculate the drag of my different mice!
What is there for photography or the photographer? What about the Venturi applet...? Yes if you ever wondered how your baryta print washer worked! Ok the baseball or frisbee applets are just fun. More of use: several black body radiation applets. And a lot of the applets that are on this list: Actually these are not all on their own site: it is a list like mine, like this page you are looking at. Because they link to this page, I thought it nice to include them here.

This one is too well made to leave out: Feynman himself would have loved it! He probably would have wanted to make it. Two slit experiment. A sort of third person shooter with the Electron Interference. Why is it of interest to the photographer? This is particle/wave duality at work. Ok maybe light doesn't work like that after all.
I admit I am a Feynman fan.

Schneider Optics America have a nice design program for free:
Theatre Design Pro, for cine- and digi-film theatre only. I wish they would add beamers and slideprojectors.
Some calculators or converters

Luminance Conversion Converting From Photopic to Radiometric Units.

Picture Card Capacity Calculator - Kodak. This nifty little application lets you calculate the capacity of a given flash card, in pictures, when placed in a given camera, at a specific resolution.
Weight conversion calculator - here on my own site: kilogram (kg); gram (g); milligram (mg); U.S. Pound (lb;) Ounce (oz). -

Which is absolutely totally insignificant compared to:
The best converter I know:
TEK Unit Converter - Tadahiro Iyama
It converts almost all units, at this moment covering approx. 330 units of 32 physical quantities. It also enables conversions between binary, octal, hexadecimal and decimal numbers. Tek Unit Converter will answer the purpose of really practical use for engineers, students and those who have the necessity to convert various units easily and quickly.
Or for a european like me who tries to figure out an IKEA flatpack or how to convert miles to the gallon into kilometers per liter. Ever wanted to know how many fathoms to the nautical mile? Ok that was easy, but li to the mile? Even warp-speed is included! (As a joke.)
The best: it is free!
The Universal Currency Converter™ The Universal Currency Converter™, the world's most popular currency tool, allows you to perform interactive foreign exchange rate calculations on the Internet, using live, up-to-the-minute currency rates.
Fee calculators

The Estimator - Ken Richardson. To help calculate your charges for assignment photography, stock usage or reprint fees use the Estimator. You will first need to know what the circulation figures are for a particular publication as well as the advertising rate. For American magazines you can use the Magazine Database to help with this. Online and download.
The stock price calculator from Photographersindex. Disclaimer: If this pricing program causes you distress, financial loss, or marital discord, we take no responsibility - If it increases your income, business success, or educational standing, you are not obligated to pay for its use. ;-) Online.
APA Estimating Software - APA (Advertising Photographers of America) believes that the key to business success is the adoption of efficient and professional business practices. That's why APA has created the APA Estimating Software (version 3). The software is a runtime version of Filemaker Pro that can run on both Mac and Windows platforms. Download.

You want one too? A calculator on your site? Here is where all these dof calculators come from: Free Calculators This is the artist formerly known as reftools. Home of the Pet Tools. And what about the Road Speed Calculator? Uhh.. hold on officer I was doing 4000 revs in three...and my tires are 20" ....

Looking for software downloads? Try this excellent page of Steve's Digicams: Image Viewing; Camera Control/Download; Image Printing; Albums & Organizers; Graphic Editors; Image Databases; Driver Updates; Photo Stitching/Panorama; General Utilities; Web Page Generators; PhotoShop Plugins/Actions; Pro Digicam Utils. And very important: several Image Rescue Programs! Just in case Scott, Brains or Virgil are not at hand and it's Saint Murphy's Day again.

- the tool? 2 really blank cd's in front of the ixus ;-)

tulip fields near haarlem

wooden shoes in flowerbulbs

Gaudi Barcelona

ixus for an eye (and a cd)
- again 2 really blank cd's
planparallel in front of the ixus ;-)