EN: Cos4law


States that light fall-off in peripheral areas of the image increases as the angle of view increases, even if the lens is completely free of vignetting. The peripheral image is formed by groups of light rays entering the lens at a certain angle with respect to the optical axis, and the amount of light fall-off is proportional to the cosine of that angle raised to the fourth power. As this is a law of physics, it cannot be avoided. However, with wide-angle lenses having a large angle of view, decreases in peripheral illumination can be prevented by increasing the lens aperture efficiency (ratio of the area of the on-axis entrance pupil to the area of the off-axis entrance pupil).
Canon glossary EU