Sunday, June 11, 2006

Eric Fossum Opinion on Liquid and Computational Lenses

Eric Fossum posted his opinion about liquid lens and computational lens technologies on dpreview forum:

"These lenses, liquid lenses (several companies) and other tunable lenses tend to work alright at VGA (0.3Mpixel) and maybe 1.3Mpixel resolutions.

However, prescriptions to achieve performance for 2 Mpixels etc. need to be very precisely controlled and this is difficult. My opinion is that the 1-part in a million (spatia) control for tunable lenses will be difficult to obtain.

Liquid lenses have already been totally rejected, for the most part, for even cell phone cameras, based on performance and environmental reliability (e.g. freezing temps, hot temps, etc.). Furthermore, tunable lenses tend to wind up thicker than conventional lenses, believe it or not, just because of the difficulty of mounting and attaching signal lines.

Last but not least, computational lenses - lenses where the focus is computed by a processor, will also be limited. Remember, we could not adequately restore the focus in the Hubble Space Telescope by computation even though we knew exactly the prescription of the errant optics. This is because numerical round off etc. limits computational accuracy, esp. in the presence of shot noise (low light photon noise).

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