Happy New Years to you too and thanks for all the reviews and even more so generally being a helpful.
Enjoy the opera (well building - and take a few pictures). I've been down there but never at night but I love that park - they have some nifty spiders.
Happy New Year!
I hear Gin and Tonics will be all the rage this year!
Happy new year!
Happy new year everyone!
2015 is the international year of light, it will be a special one for all of us working in optics oro who use optics regularly.
We're on the cusp of several new technologies becoming more mainstream, all the way from manufacturing to design.
On the manufacturing side of things,
Mangetorhelogical polishing, MRF, allows the production of aspheric and freeform optical surfaces with very fine surface quality - better than even diamond point turning. Over the next several years MRF will likely eclipse current methods of aspheric lens production alongside molding techniques with low TJ (thermal junction) glasses. QED is shipping more MRF machines every year, and MRF is so vastly superior to traditional methods of asphere production that the only reasons not to do it are cost and the necessity to have a human being near the machine to test the part before and after polishing.
Schott, Ohara, and Hoya have also discontinued large portions of their glass catalogs for environmental and health reasons (bye bye, lead dopant) forcing the use of a smaller subset of glasses - about 40% of the old selection. This will force designs into a different solution space, as many old glasses have nothing remotely close enough to a direct replacement. This will mandate the re-design of many lenses - expect to see a higher-than-average turnover rate when it comes to replacing old catalog lenses in the coming years. Many of the old glasses are now "inquiry" glasses, so they cost more and you need a large volume order to even acquire them from 'nice' manufactures. China will still make the old materials, but it has always been unfavorable to use CDGM in your supply chain for large volume work. To avoid a sudden inability to manufacture lenses and to reduce cost many old lenses will be redesigned and re-optimized.
On the design side,
In the last several years the glass selection tools within CAD software have also improved. Code V and Zemax are now able to very intelligently aid a designer in making the ideal choices in material selection.
Freeform optics is also gaining increasing importance as more and more systems approach the difraction limit and become faster. Very high speed systems that are near their diffraction limits exhibit freeform effects due to small errors in alignment. This has led in the last couple of years to an increase in the awareness of freeform effects. In particular, if NASA had read a paper published by my research group a couple of years ago it would have saved them 8 months of stalled head scratching with the James Webb space telescope. What a greater awareness of freeform effects means for photographers is a refined design for manufacture methodology. This ultimately will lead to either better or cheaper lens designs.
On a more photography-centric side of things, we see a push towards reducing the mount flange distance with mirrorless cameras. This is good! Design for an SLR requires that you constrain the optimizer from pushing the lens up near the sensor. This often drives the design. We have also seen an insurgence of curved sensor designs and patents for alternative sensor designs (i.e foveon-style or layered sensors). These are good, as they also drive the lens design. A curved sensor will allow designers to correct the petzval (field curvature) in a less ideal way while still achieving ideal performance. In the mobile phone arena, this will result in an increase of the speed of a lens. Research projects have seen lenses thin enough to fit in an a 7mm thick phone that resolve better than current phone lenses across the frame, while functioning at f/1.4, or the ability to simplify the design and include optical image stabilization in the same size while holding at f/2.
Layered sensors allow the lens to be merely achromatically corrected while seeing an apochromatic level of correction in the final image, having the freedom to have the level of CA at what used to be "1-1.5px" while coming out to "~0" will allow better lens design.
Welcome to IYL2015 folks, this begins the century of the photon. Times are going to change reaal fast over the next couple of years in optics.
Given what we have seen lately I am somewhat less optimistic for high quality wide-angle lenses on mirrorless cameras though (other than on MFT). It seems as if the problems are really massive here and they amplify exponentially towards larger sensors.
If they change the flang distance; doesn't that mean they have to introduce a new system ? Would fuji, olympus or sony drop their current systems to do this ? I suppose fuji or olympus could try a full frame (or full frame+) system though neither have shown an inclination to do so (I think olympus would benefit the most given the gap between m4/3 and full frame is larger).
The current mirrorless players are overspending on R&D right now - i.e losing money for the sake of getting out a product line or advancement quickly. They cannot sustain their current spending indefinately,and 'starting over' with a new mount would be very poorly thought out.
My comment was pointed towards the shift towards mirrorless cameras from 45mm-odd flange distance SLRs to 15-20mm-odd flange mirrorless mounts.
If the designers of the wide-angles were more skilled the flange distance would not present a problem. Rearside telecentric design eliminates any angle of incidence problems with the sensor. The 'issue' is that that requires being smart/very well educated in lens design, and starting from scratch at first order then moving to third order and finally actually completing the design. That doesn't fit with at least one of the constraints imposed by most of the mirrorless manufactures.
I am wondering why they just don't use the lame trick of making the lenses longer - thus increasing the flange distance i.e. essentially providing a DSLR lens in a native mirrorless lens body. It feels as if Fuji is going that way to some degree - their lenses are comparatively big. I haven't verified this regarding their designs though.
Seems as if at least Sony is purposely sacrificing quality for smaller size/weight (in the APS-C league) - possibly in order to kill MFT from a paper spec perspective. This feels as if driven by marketing, less so engineering though.