Monday, October 19, 2015

A Post-Lens-Design World

Are we approaching a post-lens-design world? We might be.

Lots of stuff is easily correctable in post these days, and quite small sensor sizes are becoming increasingly useful. Anyone can design a lens that covers a chip the size of a fingernail. If the chip goes to ISO 1,000,000 and I can add shallow DoF in post, who cares about full frame or medium format anything any more? You can make the lenses out of plastic, if you use 10 modules and computationally push the results together.

Are people designing really outré lenses out there based on what is and is not easily correctable? Can one build a 2000mm f/16 lens with a ton of correctable aberrations for $200? That would be wicked cool. Is anyone trying it out, or is it all about making the kit zoom (which isn't a very interesting lens, ultimately) very very very cheaply, still?

It's sort of a shame, because, really, who doesn't love dorking around measuring immensely heavy pieces of superbly engineered stuff? Even I kind of dig it. But those days are winding down.


  1. You remember the Hubble telescope and its failed optics? If these had been correctable with computers, Nasa would not have sent a shuttle crew in space to retrofit the telescope.

    Some optical defects can be corrected, but a fuzzy lens will remain a fuzzy lens after corrections.

    1. ah, yes, but you can go look at the pictures the hubble took when it was broken, they're still more than sharp enough for aesthetic purposes.

      Unless you really want to go about counting the rivets on a bridge that fills 1/100th of the frame, most lenses do juuust fine.