Testing Procedure

Small cameras, big challenges: the Schneider-Kreuznach lens system for Kodak EasyShare cameras

The on-going miniaturisation of digital cameras results in continuously increasing demands for compact camera lens systems. The basic rule here is that the wider the focal length range and the smaller the lens and sensor diameter, the more complex the correction of residual optical errors. Schneider-Kreuznach meets these challenges with highly specialised computing power, the unique expertise of its optical component engineers and sophisticated test procedures. In addition, a close and trusting cooperation with its partner company is of central significance for the optimum interaction between camera and lens.

From idea to product

The new and further development of lens systems can basically be divided into four phases. The workflow between Schneider-Kreuznach and Kodak can be described as follows:

Phase 1: the concept

It all starts with consumer requirements and optical and technical future trends. Which features should the camera have and which the lens? In response to these questions our marketing and engineering divisions develop a concept for a new camera or the further development of existing models. Even in this phase, close cooperation is important in order to define the optical, technical and design details.

Phase 2: lens design

Once specialists from both companies have matched parameters such as production costs, lens performance and the interaction with the camera hardware and firmware, Schneider-Kreuznach builds a lens prototype. The lens designers get their bearings from professional experience and quality criteria.

Phase 3: testing the lens prototype

During this phase, the lens prototype is subjected to a comprehensive series of nine tests, during which the main optical parameters of focal length, azimuthal alignment of the lenses to each other (symmetry), spectral transmission and possible defects, such as chromatic aberration, distortion, image curvature and edge shading, are examined. The lens design is modified as required in order to achieve the defined performance characteristics.

Phase 4: combined camera/lens tests

The tests carried out in Phase 3 are repeated with the lens integrated into the camera prototype and extended. During this phase Schneider-Kreuznach uses no less than 16 elaborate individual tests in order to examine optical characteristics and residual errors, such as distortion, shading, modulation transfer (MTF), azimuthal lens alignment in all focal length ranges, colour rendering quality and the degree of chromatic aberration. Any deviations from the predefined target value are eliminated through further adjustment of the lens and the camera.

Schneider-Kreuznach quality is based on continuous monitoring

In addition to these 25 initial tests Schneider-Kreuznach continuously monitors the lens quality during series production. The result is a lens performance that deserves the name Schneider-Kreuznach – not least due to the fact that the same measuring instrumentation is used as for the tests for high-end products.