Lens designing is a culmination of numerical calculation.
This is an undeniable fact.
The movements of each light ray that goes through each lens surface are calculated. Higher accuracy of the calculation results in more accurate lens design. The basic idea is that lens gets better with more calculation.
This is why we see the computer technology advancement behind the advancement of lens design.
The reason that FUJIFILM developed FUJIC, the first computer in Japan in 1956, was to process the mass amount of calculation that was needed for lens designing.
In fact, FUJIC had 1000 times the computing power of previous calculating process, a group of people doing calculation manually.
Today, the advancement of computing power in 60 years is nothing to compare. FUJIFILM developed its own software that can not only calculate light ray movement, but also handle various simulations, in high speed. We can now predict things without actually building a lens and testing them in the field.
So has the job gotten easier for the lens designer?
We had thrown the question in the past.
The answer is “No”
As the computer gets more powerful, The calculation gets more precise. We can look into simulations now that we didn’t in the past. The demand for better quality lens has gotten higher.
“The work does not get easy” was the first thing the designer said. “It is all about imagination and judgement at the bottom line, so the level of difficulty for the job doesn’t change.”
They imagine the vision that the lens create with the numerical value they have from their calculation. They imagine if the image adds depth and not being flat. They also imagine if the depiction that the lens produce is what the users look for the type of lens that they are designing. They also imagine and look for parts for improvement. They imagine all these things upon designing a lens and need to make judgement in the end.
There are universities that teach optics. It is established as academic. But there are no universities that teach the optical lens engineering. The lens designers learn the know-how when they start their career at the lens manufacturers. It is said that, it takes a long period of time before one becomes a fully professional lens designer even in FUJIFILM.
Imagination, Judgment, and Computing power, these are the three elements of lens design.
Continue to read episode 4:
Episode 4 -Coating-