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01-25-2023, 01:38 AM   #1
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Rectangular lens possible?

Just another random crazy thought of mine !

Wonder if it is feasible and practical to produce retagular lenses instead of commonly used rounded ones, as we do not use the entire glass surface to capture the image, part of the glass surface is wasted, and rectangular lens is space saving easy to pack. With the help of computer it is possible to design rectangular corrected glasses and produce with moulding, but moving glass elements perfectly in sync corner to corner for focusing and zooming would be extremely difficult to achieve, only fly by wire control possible, aperture control also a difficult problem to solve. I am not sure if such design exists on non camera equipment.

01-25-2023, 01:47 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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Personally, I'd stick with circular lenses and move to circular sensors. I can even envisage an alternative world where TV screens and computer monitors are round.
01-25-2023, 02:10 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by lotech Quote
Just another random crazy thought of mine !

Wonder if it is feasible and practical to produce retagular lenses instead of commonly used rounded ones, as we do not use the entire glass surface to capture the image, part of the glass surface is wasted, and rectangular lens is space saving easy to pack. With the help of computer it is possible to design rectangular corrected glasses and produce with moulding, but moving glass elements perfectly in sync corner to corner for focusing and zooming would be extremely difficult to achieve, only fly by wire control possible, aperture control also a difficult problem to solve. I am not sure if such design exists on non camera equipment.
Round lenses are simply the most cost effective way to achieve a workable lens, that's easily focused, with reasonable cost. It would be physically possible to make square, rectangular or other shaped lenses, but costs would go up astronomically, so finding buyers for such a thing may prove difficult.

I am reminded of Panavision lenses which are sometimes partly rectangular. They do cost a small fortune.
01-25-2023, 02:29 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Round censor would be ideal!

Horizon is always good.
Your choice of maximum crop size.
And you never have to hold the camera in portret again.

Greetings Hans,

01-25-2023, 02:37 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hanz Quote
Round censor would be ideal!
That of course incurs its own costs as there is far more wastage cutting them out - maybe compromise on hexagonal?
01-25-2023, 03:01 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
Round lenses are simply the most cost effective way to achieve a workable lens, that's easily focused, with reasonable cost. It would be physically possible to make square, rectangular or other shaped lenses, but costs would go up astronomically, so finding buyers for such a thing may prove difficult.
Most viable and worthwhile would be large front groups of internally focusing lenses, such as the DFA 85mm/1.4, e.g. a partially rectangular design. But as new ways to produce the non-barrel shaped parts of the housing would still have to be developed, the first lenses would be prohibitively expensive. Except for some ultra-wide lenses which can't use them anyway, incompatibility with screw-in filters would be another drawback. A rectangular focus group would potentially be viable for linear-motor driven (PLM) lenses. Again, all just thought experiments, the cost would outweigh the merits by a large factor, only a large-scale lens designer and manufacturer like Sigma could pull this off to create a 'curiosity USP'.
01-25-2023, 03:15 AM - 2 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hanz Quote
Round censor would be ideal!

Horizon is always good.
Your choice of maximum crop size.
And you never have to hold the camera in portret again.

Greetings Hans,
I am ready for this new tech

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01-25-2023, 03:17 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by lotech Quote
Just another random crazy thought of mine !

Wonder if it is feasible and practical to produce retagular lenses instead of commonly used rounded ones, as we do not use the entire glass surface to capture the image, part of the glass surface is wasted, and rectangular lens is space saving easy to pack. With the help of computer it is possible to design rectangular corrected glasses and produce with moulding, but moving glass elements perfectly in sync corner to corner for focusing and zooming would be extremely difficult to achieve, only fly by wire control possible, aperture control also a difficult problem to solve. I am not sure if such design exists on non camera equipment.
The optics would most likely give some really strange abbreviations with square lenses. Fully symmetrical optics just give ore pleasing images as light inside the lens can travel the same in all directions.
It is also not easy to grind/polish square lenses, so they will most likely have to start as round and then be cut down to square size, which lead to an extra step in manufacturing of lens elements.
It is most likely also more difficult to design focus/zoom mechanism inside the lens with square elements. And also assemble lenses with square elements.
01-25-2023, 04:03 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by lotech Quote
Just another random crazy thought of mine !
When you get an idea like this, make sure you send a letter to the patent office, before you post it in the forum, to make sure no one else can patent your idea.
Then if a lens manufacturer develops and commercialize a square lens, you can ask for royalty payments (and share drinks and snacks with other photographers).
Will your new lens have a square diaphragm as well?
01-25-2023, 04:58 AM   #10
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Rectangular magnifying glasses exist. But how much you want to bet they start off with a round blank and cut it down to a rectangle? Talk about waste.
01-25-2023, 05:55 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
Rectangular magnifying glasses exist. But how much you want to bet they start off with a round blank and cut it down to a rectangle? Talk about waste.
No more glass required than for a round lens with the same parameters. Optical viewfinders btw. often also use cut-down rectangular lenses.
01-25-2023, 06:10 AM   #12
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The initial thought I had was that this shape would increase the difficulty of controlling reflections inside the lens. Additionally, performance at the edges is often degraded, so a round lens offers a “cushion” outside the used image zone where performance isn’t as important.

I think the basic answer is that it is possible, but the benefits are limited and the downsides are many. Molded elements probably aren’t too hard to imagine as the basis for such lenses. Ergonomically I think they would require a new way of holding and operating them that could prove less comfortable and less than ideal.
01-25-2023, 07:57 AM - 2 Likes   #13
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I always figured it would be easier to make boards with square trees!
01-25-2023, 08:01 AM - 1 Like   #14
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Optically, all of the glass in a round lens is used for any type of sensor, round or square. Light from the subject striking the front element anywhere eventually ends up hitting the sensor (less any losses due to absorption, reflection, etc.) That's one reason the iris can be roundish (which, by the way should be square for a square lens to keep the universe from exploding),
01-25-2023, 09:43 AM - 4 Likes   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
… I can even envisage an alternative world where TV screens and computer monitors are round.
To envisage a round TV screen, just go back in time to the early TV sets. They had round CRT tubes — albeit they were masked off top and bottom to give a sort of rounded rectangular shape.
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