A manufacturing error in the orientation of the working planes of a reflecting prism, such as an angle error or an edge error, will cause the optical axis to deviate and the image to lean. So does an adjustment (position error) of a reflecting prism. A universal method to be used to calculate the optical axis deviation and the image lean caused by the manufacturing error of a reflecting prism is presented. It is suited to all types of reflecting prisms. A means to offset the position error against the manufacturing error of a reflecting prism and the changes of image orientation is discussed. For the calculation to be feasible, a surface named the “separating surface” is introduced just in front of the real exit face of a real prism. It is the image of the entrance face formed by all reflecting surfaces of the real prism. It can be used to separate the image orientation change caused by the error of the prism’s reflecting surfaces from the image orientation change caused by the error of the prism’s refracting surface. Based on ray tracing, a set of simple and explicit formulas of the optical axis deviation and the image lean for a general optical wedge is derived. © 1997 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.