Fun Facts

Tongue twister

The Schneider-Kreuznach logo, which can be found on many lens systems for digital cameras, is difficult for some to pronounce - as can be seen and heard on YouTube.

Schneider roundabout

After several months of construction, Bad Kreuznach’s mayor officially opened the roundabout at the junction of Bosenheimer Strasse and Dürerstrasse on 26 June 2009, together with the CEO of Jos. Schneider Optische Werke GmbH, Dr. Josef Staub.

The eye-catching sculpture is built from designs by Darmstadt-based designer and artist Peter Patzak. The work symbolises the link between optics and mechanics and thus the interplay between the materials glass and metal.

50 years of computer engineering – from walking pace to the speed of light

The basic job of a lens is to represent reality as realistically as possible. The precise projection of three-dimensional reality onto the two-dimensional surface of a film or sensor is a great challenge for lens designers. Lenses must be designed in such a way that all the rays originating from any point of an object re-join at a single point behind the lens. At the same time, the entirety of all points in an object plane must be represented correctly in the image plane. These are precision-optics requirements that result in high computational effort.

Calculating light beams with a slide rule

Today’s home PCs can now achieve what previously required the teamwork of dozens of employees. Early lens design workshops were very like classrooms at school. The workflow was managed by colleagues sitting in pairs at twin wooden desks in the mathematical office. With the aid of logarithmic tables and a slide rule – and later also typewriter-sized electrical calculators – one of the pair calculated the deflection of the light beam according to the optical law of refraction. His colleague then checked the result and handed it to the colleagues on the bench behind who did the same calculation for the second lens radius, etc.

Feeding data with punch cards

The vacuum-tube computer ZUSE 22 The introduction of the ZUSE 22 at the end of the 1950s made the design process at Schneider-Kreuznach much less labour intensive. The first programmable computer worldwide was the size of a wardrobe and had a total of 415 vacuum tubes. Punch cards were used to feed the optical design data into the ZUSE 22; a special program then calculated all the required light ray paths. The ZUSE was followed by mainframe computers from other manufacturers, such as IBM and Digital Equipment.

Progress: from walking pace to the speed of light

Since 1956 computing power has increased by a factor of 10 to the power of 9 (1,000,000,000 = 1 billion). In comparison: If we were to compare the speed of early computing systems with the walking pace of a pedestrian, today’s computers have reached the equivalent of the speed of light. Today’s fast, powerful PC workstations have therefore revolutionised the calculation of optical design. Modern computers can calculate modifications to one or several design parameters, such as radius, glass type, lens distance or coating, in next to no time at all, presenting the effects on the imaging characteristics in the form of tables and diagrams.