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07-01-2008, 12:27 PM   #1
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I Cut My Lens in Half!

OK, I didn't really, but if I had, and it had been German, I would have sent it to this museum. It's worth seeing those Leica lenses chopped in half, and really makes you think twice about opening one up to clean it...

07-01-2008, 01:09 PM   #2
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makes you wonder how they even pulled off the engineering of those lenses before the advent of computer aided design. Pencils, paper and big erasers I suppose....

Cool site
07-01-2008, 01:56 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by bigben91682 Quote
Pencils, paper and big erasers I suppose....
Or else, tracing paper and razor blades... not to mention slide rules and log tables.
07-01-2008, 06:18 PM   #4
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interesting, those lens diagrams always make it look much simpler than i would have imagined

07-01-2008, 08:51 PM   #5
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It was mentioned in the feedback at the bottom that the complicated lens there is a new ('90s) Tri-Elmar, nonetheless, I too am floored at the complexity of it. Lets you know why you're paying 5k for one anyways...
07-01-2008, 09:01 PM   #6
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Makes me feel not so bad about LBA because a good part of the $ I spent would have gone to the factory workers who put the lenses together.
07-01-2008, 11:05 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kguru Quote
Makes me feel not so bad about LBA because a good part of the $ I spent would have gone to the factory workers who put the lenses together.
Do you think?
07-02-2008, 12:36 AM   #8
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It's an interesting article, though typical of Wired it shows the gross naivety of a magazine that is utterly amazed that anything technically complex was made before most of it's target demographic were born.

Keep in mind that designing a lens for even a tiny RF camera is nothing compared to, say, the Norden bomb sight or any number of Swiss watches with complications.

Hell, not even Swiss watches. John Harrison, a genius Brit, made accurate chronometers back in the 18th century - this was just as the industrial revolution was kicking off, not a hundred years later!

Incidentally, I was reading a page dedicated to one of the earlier Leica R SLR's - the Minolta clone, basically - and they mentioned something that seems relevant:

Two groups of engineers, one Japanese, one German, are told to figure out how to join two pieces of metal together.

The Japanese team runs a dozen computer tests, stress tests on the metal, compensating for varying types and sizes of screws, and finally comes up with an ingenious screw that no one's ever seen before.

The German team looks at the metal, does some tests, but then just go with their instincts and they say, "What the hell - we'll just use two screws, the biggest we can find!"

Vive la difference!

07-02-2008, 02:00 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
Incidentally, I was reading a page dedicated to one of the earlier Leica R SLR's - the Minolta clone, basically - and they mentioned something that seems relevant:

Two groups of engineers, one Japanese, one German, are told to figure out how to join two pieces of metal together.

The Japanese team runs a dozen computer tests, stress tests on the metal, compensating for varying types and sizes of screws, and finally comes up with an ingenious screw that no one's ever seen before.

The German team looks at the metal, does some tests, but then just go with their instincts and they say, "What the hell - we'll just use two screws, the biggest we can find!"
Reminds me of the story Richard Feynman related in one of his books. Not a mechanical engineer himself, he needed to design something that needed a set of gears and was perplexed about which gears to get so he asked a mechanical engineer for advice. He was told to go to some supply catalog that was standard in the trade and for the gear ratio he needed to pick a set in the middle. The explanation was (paraphrasing from memory), "Look, if they could make a set with coarser teeth without excess noise/grinding, they would. And if they could make a set with finer teeth without excess breaking, they would. So just pick something in the middle and you're good to go."

And of a story, perhaps apocryphal, of a tech show where some European engineers were showing off what they touted as the world's thinnest wire. Some Japanese engineers in attendance asked to borrow a piece. After a while they brought it back with and told them, "Now it's the world's thinnest tube."
07-02-2008, 02:56 AM   #10
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Oh I love looking at these things! Saw a cutaway of a Praktica with Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 lens. Really lovely.
07-02-2008, 07:43 AM   #11
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I'm glad you guys liked it. Cutting stuff in half is also interesting when it's a human body. Anyone been to any of those Bodies exhibitions run by that German doc?

To be honest, a lens looks more complicated than a human body
07-02-2008, 08:14 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miserere Quote
I'm glad you guys liked it. Cutting stuff in half is also interesting when it's a human body. Anyone been to any of those Bodies exhibitions run by that German doc?

To be honest, a lens looks more complicated than a human body
But I'd rather have to put the lens back together, hehe.
07-02-2008, 01:30 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by thePiRaTE!! Quote
But I'd rather have to put the lens back together, hehe.
And the lens is probably easier to clean, too
07-02-2008, 07:26 PM   #14
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This article is full of errors and inaccuracies. The first two Leitz lenses are wrongly identified, the third one is a Meyer-Görlitz presented as a Leitz lens ("the font on the ƒ-stop scale looks familiar") and so on. I particularly liked this part: "the glass was almost steaming up with testosterone"!

Cheers!

Abbazz (not steaming up with any kind of hormone)
07-02-2008, 08:01 PM   #15
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Technology before we were born? Hm? Like this: http://www.deutsche-rundschau.com/archiv/02_11_12_98/Peter Henlein.htm translate it, it's about the first pocket watch.
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