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03-10-2012, 05:43 AM   #1

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Lenses: Glass vs. plastic and size vs. quality


Last edited by beholder3; 08-11-2013 at 07:39 AM. Reason: [deleted]
03-10-2012, 09:02 AM   #2
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Good article!
03-10-2012, 12:27 PM   #3
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Funny, my Zeiss lenses don't smell especially professional. Maybe they're too old -- so they smell emeritus or something. But I digress.

Making small sharp lenses isn't so tricky because the immense DOF of short focal lengths sharpens everything. As mentioned, the trick is to match those wee tiny lenses to small sensors with enough resolution to capture the projected sharpness. The tiny (probably plastic) lens on my ancient (ca. 2001) Sony DSC-P20 is quite sharp. But the 912x1216 px / 1.1mpx sensor, even with nice fat juicy low-density pixels (6mpx/cm2 density, compared to 4 for my K20D and over 45 for newer P&S's) doesn't deliver that lens sharpness except with small displays|prints.

The article mentions that plastic lenses are limited to small sizes because of thermal instability, ie they change size with temperature. But I recall that many larger lenses may have plastic internal elements because of their moldability into optically kewl shapes. What are the real upper limits for plastic optics?

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