View Full Version : Books about Lens design?

12-Dec-2006, 06:23

I am interested to know if there are any good books for learning about optics/lens design in general and in specific about design of lenses for large format cameras.

Thanks for any tips.


Ole Tjugen
12-Dec-2006, 06:35
"A History of the Photographic Lens", by Rudolf Kingslake is a good one.
Another nice one (if you read German) is Naumann's "Das Auge meiner Kamera".

Both of these are long out of print, but can be found on ebay every once in a while.

Leonard Evens
12-Dec-2006, 06:49
Try "Applied Photographic Optics" by Sidney F. Ray, published by Focal press. It is a good introduction to most aspects of photographic optics, including lens design. (Unfortunately, it has several technical errors, which I think are the result of carelessness on the part of the author or his copy eidtor. The author is highly qualified and certainly should know better. )

Emmanuel BIGLER
12-Dec-2006, 07:10
We could add "Lens design fundamental" by Kingslake, covers all you should know ; but if the contents is not outdated as far fundamentals are concerned, design procedures described in the book are probably no longer in use at the age of fast computer-aided design.
However it is fascinating to read in 2-3 pages only all the required computations for the tessar or the celor/apo-ronar ! The design of a perfectly symmetric 4-element lens like the apo ronar is incredibly simple ... on paper.

Both classic books by Prof. Kingslake have been reprinted recently by Academic Press, ISBN: 0124086403 and ISBN: 0124086500 but they are not cheap.
(due to the hard pressure applied to me by this forum, I eventually succumbed and do not regret the purchase at all ;-)

If you really want to play with lens designs you should read "Modern Lens Design" by Warren J; Smith. the book is big and based on simulations with the OsloŽ software. You can download freely OsloEdu which is limited to ten surfaces ; with 10 surfaces you can design everything up to the a 4 element lenses (maximum 2 surfaces per lens plus objet and image plane ; the tessarwith a cemented doublet only requires 9 surfaces).

Two books actually, the basic book and a supplement :
Modern Lens Design McGraw-Hill ISBN: 0071438300
Modern Lens Design: A Resource Manual ISBN: 0070591784

13-Dec-2006, 16:13
Thanks so much for your tips on the books. I am going to be a bit busy for a while trying to get a hold of these books and reading then :)



Eric Woodbury
13-Dec-2006, 18:04
Ole, "A History of the Photographic Lens", by Rudolf Kingslake is available from Amazon. I bought one last year and apparently is printed on demand.

Helen Bach
13-Dec-2006, 19:42
There's the two volume set by Conrady as well: Applied Optics and Optical Design.


Dan Fromm
19-Dec-2006, 06:56
Sorry for the late response. http://www.optics.arizona.edu/ot/opti502/MIL_HDBK_141.html