Neale, W., Hessel, D., and Terpstra, T., "Photogrammetric Measurement Error Associated with Lens Distortion," SAE Technical Paper 2011-01-0286, 2011, doi:10.4271/2011-01-0286.
All camera lenses contain optical aberrations as a result of the design and manufacturing processes. Lens aberrations cause distortion of the resulting image captured on film or a sensor. This distortion is inherent in all lenses because of the shape required to project the image onto film or a sensor, the materials that make up the lens, and the configuration of lenses to achieve varying focal lengths and other photographic effects. The distortion associated with lenses can cause errors to be introduced when photogrammetric techniques are used to analyze photographs of accidents scenes to determine position, scale, length and other characteristics of evidence in a photograph. This paper evaluates how lens distortion can affect images, and how photogrammetrically measuring a distorted image can result in measurement errors. Lens distortion from a variety of cameras is analyzed, and the ultimate effect that this distortion has on the image is evaluated, with a discussion on the overall difference this distortion would cause to measuring evidence in an image, such as tire mark distances and curvature. Ways of correcting this distortion are also addressed.