focal length

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The focal point F and focal length f of a positive (convex) lens, a negative (concave) lens, a concave mirror, and a convex mirror.


focal length (plural focal lengths)

  1. (optics) A measure of how strongly an optical system converges or diverges light, the inverse of optical power. In the simple case of a single convex lens, it is the distance along the optical axis from the principal plane of the lens to the lens's focal point (where, for instance, the film would be placed in a camera). For more complex or multi-element optical systems, focal length need not correspond to any obvious measurable physical distance.