----- Original Message ----- From: "Marc James Small" <marcsmall@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <rollei_list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> Sent: Sunday, November 04, 2007 4:53 PM Subject: [rollei_list] Re: changing lens formulas Several of you, especially Eric and Richard, have made really solid contributions to this thread. One point to bear in mind, as both of them pointed out, was that lenses were hand-assembled and hand-calibrated up to World War II. What they failed to point out was that automated lens assembly methods came into use during the War, especially in the US and Germany, and also to a lesser degree in the UK and Italy. Automated assembly is a compromise: you get rid of the bottom level of poorly assembled lenses, but you miss out on the very best which only human assembly can provide. Since the 1950's, automated assembly has been mated to automated calibration, so that lenses produced for the past thirty years have been much more uniform and muchbetter calibrated, all in all, than was the case in earlier years.
I would not automatically toss a Prewar Magnar out of the window, of course: some of these were excellent. But they were all hand-assembled by guys in the Zeiss telescope department, and hand-calibrated. So some Magnars are better than others, albeit MINE is a great lens. By 2970, everything was automated and the only human intervention was with a lens which would not assemble or a lens which would not collimate. This happens, of course. The East Germans discarded such lenses, and the West Germans reworked the lenses to make them work. Now that the Germanies are united again, I am not certain just how Zeiss or Rollei or Leica handle those alarm-buzzer cases. Marc msmall@xxxxxxxxxxxx Cha robh bàs fir gun ghràs fir!I have heard many references to automated production of lenses but I am not sure what this could include. The process of making a lens begins with a blank. In the old days this was a chunk of glass the right size broken out of a "pot" of glass but a later method was to mold the glass into the approximate size and shape for the element. The elements were then ground on machines which ground many lenses at once. Several steps are used to grind the lens from rough grinding to finished lens. About the only hand work I know of was the making of aspherical surfaces which is done now by automated machines. AFAIK such operations as centering and cementing must still be largely hand work although the determination of the center can be done by a sensor working an automatic centering machine. Centering is very important especially for elements wich are to be cemented. Lens mountings must be quite precise but are the sort of machining that can be done by CNC machines. To some degree the exact curvature and thickness of an element can be varied to compensate for small variations in glass constants. Usually, the glass is measured before its use in production to verify its constants. While glass manufacture has advanced a great deal there are still some small variations. These can affect all optical aberrations. I simply don't see that automated manufacure and assembly results in more precise production although it probably lowers cost. The fact is that some very fine lenses were made before automation.
--- Richard Knoppow Los Angeles, CA, USAdickburk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
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