Modern lens designs for digital sensors, such as those required in medium volumes for cinematography, often require the use of one or two high departure aspheric surfaces. With departures from best fit sphere of up to a few millimeters, the use of such surfaces are accompanied by a number of consequences: high cost metrology, very tight opto-mechanical tolerances and image artifacts due to the sub-aperture grinding and polishing process. Previously we examined the use of multiple aspheric surfaces with very low departures from best fit sphere (BFS) and concluded that advantages may be gained in standard and telephoto lenses, but not in wide angle lens designs<sup>1</sup>. In this work we consider the potential benefits of low departure aspheric surfaces, as applied to wide angle lenses in particular. We review the number, placement, and nature of aspheric surfaces in some wide angle lens design examples, and look at the potential to redesign with an increased number of low departure aspheric surfaces that have the potential to be manufactured without the need for computer generated holograms (CGH’s). The use and limitations of modern interferometers capable of measuring aspheric surfaces without the use of CGH’s will be considered. In one example we examine the performance, manufacturing, and cost perspective, paying particular attention to testing and mechanical alignment tolerances.
Modern cine lenses require a high degree of aberration correction over a large and ever expanding image size. At low to medium volume production levels, these highly corrected designs also require a workable tolerance set and compensation scheme for successful manufacture. In this paper we discuss the design and manufacture of cine lenses with reference to current designs both internal and in the patent literature and some experience in design, tolerancing and manufacturing these lenses in medium volume production.
High performance, compact cinematography lenses working over a large sensor area are demanding designs which are achieved using one or two high departure aspheric elements. With sag departures from best fit sphere of up to a few millimeters, the use of such aspheres is accompanied by a number of consequences. These include high cost metrology, very tight opto-mechanical tolerances and the potential for image artifacts produced during the sub-aperture grinding and polishing process. A modified asphere manufacturing process was utilized to reduce artifacts by eliminating the subaperture grinding and pre-polishing. This method is limited to aspheric surfaces which can be directly polished from a spherical base surface with aspheric departures of <15μm. These very low departure aspheres have the benefit of inexpensive metrology and tolerance relaxation compared with high departure aspheres. Interferograms, slope maps, and out-of-focus images demonstrate the feasibility and advantages of direct asphere generation from a polished sphere. A series of large format lenses covering focal lengths from telephoto to wide angle, were redesigned to determine the feasibility of the use of very low departure aspheres. Increasing the number of aspheric surfaces but reducing the aspheric departure to less than 15μm was demonstrated. We conclude that 3-5 very low departure aspheres are sufficient to provide similar performance to the high departure asphere designs for most focal lengths. One limitation encountered was in the wide angle lenses. The exception was the wide angle lenses where it is difficult to reduce departures below 30μm while maintaining the same optical performance.
With the growth of uncooled infrared imaging in the consumer market, the balance between cost implications and performance criteria in the objective lens must be examined carefully. The increased availability of consumer-grade, long-wave infrared cameras is related to a decrease in military usage but it is also due to the decreasing costs of the cameras themselves. This has also driven up demand for low-cost, long-wave objectives that can resolve smaller pixels while maintaining high performance. Smaller pixels are traditionally associated with high cost objectives because of higher resolution requirements but, with careful consideration of all the requirements and proper selection of materials, costs can be moderated. This paper examines the cost/performance trade-off implications associated with optical and mechanical requirements of long-wave infrared objectives. Optical performance, f-number, field of view, distortion, focus range and thermal range all affect the cost of the objective. Because raw lens material cost is often the most expensive item in the construction, selection of the material as well as the shape of the lens while maintaining acceptable performance and cost targets were explored. As a result of these considerations, a low-cost, lightweight, well-performing objective was successfully designed, manufactured and tested.