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2000 Year Old Optical Mystery Solved

Posted: Sat 06 Jul 2019, 08:13
by Mike Farley
I cannot claim to comprehend in full the science described in this article. What I do find amazing is that the problem of spherical aberration in lenses has been known for 2,000 years. That is long before I thought people were investigating optics. Ancient Greek mathematician Diocles first wrote about the issue in in his book "Burning Mirrors" and it has preoccupied scientists ever since.

The good news is that a Mexican physicist, H├ęctor A. Chaparro-Romo, has found a solution. Apparently. If he is right, we will soon be seeing an improvement in the lenses we use. Which is good news for our photography, but a less welcome development for our wallets.

https://petapixel.com/2019/07/05/goodby ... l-problem/

Re: 2000 Year Old Optical Mystery Solved

Posted: Wed 10 Jul 2019, 19:23
by abennettphotography
The really interesting thing about this is does it make obsolete the larger mount sizes and bigger lenses to accompany the faster f stops?

Re: 2000 Year Old Optical Mystery Solved

Posted: Wed 10 Jul 2019, 23:51
by Mike Farley
abennettphotography wrote:The really interesting thing about this is does it make obsolete the larger mount sizes and bigger lenses to accompany the faster f stops?

I am far from being any kind of expert on optical design so I might be way off beam (yes, I know), but I suspect that the two are not related. As I understand it, the larger lens mounts allow for lenses to be formulated with fewer compromises and also makes it easier to create lenses with faster apertures. Nikon has been the main beneficiary of the change. The F mount dates to 1959 and has quite a narrow throat. Canon's EF system was introduced in 1987 and its dimensions are only slightly smaller than the new R mount. So far as I can tell, this discovery does not affect that aspect since it allows lenses to be sharper across the frame without degradation towards the edges, at wider apertures especially.

What I expect to happen is that lenses will approach or even exceed the performance of Leica's technically accopmplished and eye wateringly expensive APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH, but at a lower cost. Actually, that might not always be a good thing from a compositional point of view. Sometimes having the edges less well defined helps direct the eye to the main subject. It just goes to show that you cannot please everybody. :shock:

https://uk.leica-camera.com/Photography ... m-f-2-ASPH

Re: 2000 Year Old Optical Mystery Solved

Posted: Sat 10 Aug 2019, 07:36
by Mike Farley
It transpires that this breakthrough might have limited practical application and rather than being a full solution, instead represents another step towards the goal of making the perfect lens, if that is feasible. Which is not to say that the research involved does not represent a considerable achievement. The first featured comment in the linked article below was written by someone who appears to have a greater understanding than most people. It has also been written in a way that makes the topic comprehendible to the layman. No mean feat itself.

https://theonlinephotographer.typepad.c ... d-dio.html