Have you ever wanted to get a better understanding of the science behind photography? These incredible Flash applets from Stanford will take you through the physical optics and software solutions that make our cameras work. The program starts with a very basic little applet that shows off the interplay between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, but rapidly ramps up the detail. Before long, you’re looking at how telephoto lenses work, how depth of field is calculated, and how autofocus works (both in SLRs and compact cameras). The applets aren’t just devoted to lenses either, they delve into color theory, gamut mapping, gamma correction, and even panoramas.
These were originally created in 2009, but the information is still accurate and relevant, and shows off an incredible amount detail and research. If you have any interest in the technological underpinnings that govern why your camera behaves the way it does, then go and have a play with these little applications. You’ll probably even learn something.