I’m not really a stickler when it comes to distortion in my images, but a flickr buddy of mine recommended PTLens to me a couple weeks go, and after giving it a try tonight, I decided to purchase it. For a mere $25, you get a program that will correct lens pincushion/barrel distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberration, and perspective. You can technically achieve the same results in Photoshop, but what makes PTLens so special is how incredibly easy it is to correct an image. The first image above (top) is the corrected file from PTLens, and the second image is the original file. Notice the pretty apparent barrel distortion in the second image (vertical lines aren’t vertical), along with the perspective issues (the tops of the buildings seem to be leaning away from the camera), and how well these problems were fixed in the image above.
Here’s what the software looks like in action. PTLens has profiles set up for dozens of cameras and lenses (even for my Panasonic LX3!). It automatically pulls the camera and lens information from the image EXIF data, and based upon the lens’ unique distortion characteristics, applies the right amount of correction to barrel or pincushion distortion. I then manually dialed in a little vertical perspective correction, and that’s it! In seconds, I had corrected the image to my liking. I’m really excited about this new software, and plan to use it a whole lot for my photos, especially the ones that include architecture.