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Apochromatic (APO) and achromatic lenses exhibit noticeably higher image quality when compared to conventional lenses with the same speed and focal length. However, these lenses differ in terms of what they do and their effects. This article will cover apochromatic vs achromatic lenses and their advantages and disadvantages.


What Are Achromatic Lenses?

An achromatic lens is created by joining together two lenses of differing focal powers in a way that the resulting image is unaffected by color fringing or other chromatic aberrations. The most popular and oldest achromatic lens is the achromatic doublet, which is a set of two lenses, one convex and one concave, used to correct color aberrations.

Manufacturers use crown glass to craft the convex lens. It equalizes the distance at which the blue and red wavelengths fall on the focal plane, correcting their differences. This lessens the chromatic aberration for two wavelengths and spherical aberration for one wavelength.


What Are Apochromatic Lenses?

Apochromatic lenses are composed of three lenses and are sometimes referred to as an apochromatic triplet. Compared to monochromatic and achromatic lenses, they offer superior correction of aberration and significantly reduce the amount of dispersion.

It corrects for two wavelengths in order to reduce spherical aberration, and it corrects for three wavelengths in order to minimize chromatic aberration. The wavelengths that it corrects are blue, red, and green. In addition to this, these lenses are made up of fluoride elements of some kind, flint glasses, and specialized lens coatings, all of which work together to focus the different wavelengths into one focal plane.



Benefits and Drawbacks of Achromatic Lenses

As with all things, achromatic lenses have advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few pros and cons of achromatic lenses.

Benefits of Achromatic Lenses

Increased Picture Quality

The achromatic lens dramatically improves image clarity and brightness due to the elimination of color fringes, which is especially noticeable in polychromatic photography.

Low Cost of Production

There is a more advanced version of the achromatic lenses, but they are prohibitively expensive. Nevertheless, the achromatic lens is the most economical approach to obtaining crisp white light images and offers a wide range of corrections for a variety of common imaging needs. Although achromatic lenses work best in pairs for finite conjugate applications, their primary purpose is to accommodate infinite conjugate ratios.

When using a lens pair for a finite conjugate application, both the object and the image are located a fixed distance away. Therefore, its primary function is to reduce or do away with chromatic aberration. Keep in mind that the best achromatic lenses can be purchased directly from the company that makes them.

Effective Light Transmission

In contrast to singlet lenses, achromatic lenses maintain their on-axis presentation regardless of aperture size. Therefore, you can fully utilize all the available light.

Drawbacks of Achromatic Lenses

While beneficial, achromatic lenses are not perfect. Here is a disadvantage of achromatic lenses.

Increased Secondary Spectrum

Profile and magnitude of the secondary spectrum change with focal length and lens type. The higher aperture (speed) a lens has, the longer its focal length, and the more the secondary spectrum degrades the image quality.

Extreme cases of this can cause the secondary spectrum to become the limiting element in image quality, and this occurs with achromatic lenses. Hence, you might need to use an apochromatic lens in a case like this.


Benefits and Drawbacks of APO Lenses

Similar to achromatic lenses, APO lenses have some advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of those benefits and drawbacks.


Benefits of APO Lenses

Improved Image Quality and Experience

APO lenses significantly improve the overall quality of an image, from improved color contrast to better image sharpness. Furthermore, they help to reduce eye strain and allow for more extended glassing periods due to comfort.

Better Spherical Aberration and Chromatic Aberration

They focus light from three separate frequencies and offer greater chromatic and spherical aberration correction than achromat lenses.

Drawbacks of APO Lenses

Now that you know about the benefits of APO lenses, here are some drawbacks of these lenses.


Apochromats are only seen in high-end gadgets because of the high expenses associated with production, from the intricacy of the process to the high-quality materials required.

Heavier than Other Lenses

In order to reduce the lens’s overall heft, apochromatic designs typically employ only three components. However, these triplet lenses are significantly heavier than the achromat lenses used in the majority of binoculars nowadays due to the weight of the glass used in their construction.



Achromatic and apochromatic lenses are essential tools in optics. Achromatic lenses correct the light in order for two colors to lie in a single image plane together. In contrast, apochromatic lenses correct light in a way that lets three colors merge into a single image plane.

Both lenses have significant benefits, such as increased image quality and better light emission. However, they do have some drawbacks, like achromatic lenses not reducing secondary spectrum and apochromatic lenses needing to be more pricey.


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