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Proceedings Paper

The Lens Designer-An Endangered Species
Author(s): J. D. Lytle
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Paper Abstract

One observation one might readily make about some optical systems of recent manufacture is that their imagery performance is appreciably superior to that obtainable from outwardly similar designs originating in the 1960's. Many camera buffs for example, have had the recent experience of acquiring a varifocal (zoom) lens which replaces (and possibly out-performs) anywhere from two to four of the fixed focus lenses purchased only a few years ago. Though it is not appropriate for the purposes of this presentation to delve into the specifics of the pertinent performance criteria, it is clear to most lens designers that the improvements in performance have oc-curred for several reasons. In addition to the fact that the level of sophistication of the average designer has probably increased, the software currently available is certainly more versatile and dependable than that of years past. It is also true that many modern optical systems are sufficiently complex (and expensive) that designers are, in some cases, becoming less reluctant to take advantage of the extra degrees of freedom afforded through use of the more exotic glasses, and even aspheric surfaces. Ever increasing availability of awesome computing power at reasonable prices has probably been at the real root of the dramatic performance improvements, however. It is probably safe to guess that the average lens design specialist today employs roughly ten times the computing leverage as might have been applied only five to seven years ago.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 March 1974
PDF: 4 pages
Proc. SPIE 0054, Effective Systems Integration and Optical Design I, (1 March 1974); doi: 10.1117/12.954226
Show Author Affiliations
J. D. Lytle, Lockheed Missiles & Space Company, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0054:
Effective Systems Integration and Optical Design I
Gary W. Wilkerson; Robert Poindexter, Editor(s)

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