View Full Version : Good 20 minute video on the History and Science of Lenses

26-Dec-2015, 15:29
Dear Friends,
I stumbled upon this interesting video/online tutorial of the history and science of lenses. While it cannot be compared to Kingslake it does help you visualize what Kingslake is trying to teach you in his books on photographic lens. The video is about 20 minutes in length and the instructor (John P. Hess) uses lasers, smoke and lenses (no mirrors) to demonstrate refraction, lens design, zoom lens, reflection, and other lens design defects.

Here is the link/URL: https://vimeo.com/148926774

Please don't hold me accountable if there are any errors in this tutorial as I am not an optical engineer or photography historian. I just really enjoyed being able to visualize what many instructional books try to teach with words and drawings. The other video in the series are also interesting if you have the time.

Best regards,


Mark Sawyer
26-Dec-2015, 16:32
Please don't hold me accountable if there are any errors in this tutorial as I am not an optical engineer or photography historian.

I won't hold you accountable, but there are more than a few problems in there. All the illustrations of light passing through a lens show it bending/refracting midway through the lens rather than as it enters and exits the lens, which really undercuts the understanding of how lenses really work:

http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g139/Owen21k/Screenshot%2044_zpsaqabmcio.png (http://s55.photobucket.com/user/Owen21k/media/Screenshot%2044_zpsaqabmcio.png.html)

And the comment at around the 18-minute mark, "These four lens types, the French Landscape Lens, the Petzval Portrait, the (Harrison-Schnitzer) Globe, and the Rapid Rectilinear Aplanat were the four go-to lenses found in every nineteenth-century photographer's bag." was nonsense. I doubt if any nineteenth century photographer had that particular array in his bag...

But the lasers were fun. :)

26-Dec-2015, 16:38

You are absolutely right, I did not notice that! I was being bedazzled by the Laser show!


26-Dec-2015, 18:48
Yeah, the history is a little goofy at times, but the science is a rather nice survey, nonetheless!

26-Dec-2015, 19:34

It's sort of paradox the citation of Kingslake in your first post, as the video doesn't even cite Eastman Kodak in any moment,



Sirius Glass
26-Dec-2015, 20:12
First of all it was not 20 minutes it was 25 minutes 23 seconds. "Please don't hold me accountable" ... I am holding you accountable. I want my money back.

Pierre 2
26-Dec-2015, 20:43
25 minutes well spent. Thanks !

Jim Noel
14-Jan-2016, 15:21
Interesting and very well done. The one error concerning the lenses in each photographer's case does not detract from the effort.