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Modern Lens Design by Warren Smith

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Chapter 16The Petzval Lens; Head-up Display Lenses

16.1 The Petzval Portrait Lens

In 1839 Joseph Petzval, assisted by “two corporals and eight bombadiers skilled in computing” was commissioned by the Archduke Ludwig to create a new lens design. Six months later this group had designed two lenses, one of which was the famed Petzval portrait lens. Ironically, the Petzval lens did not win the contest in which it was entered. The contest winner soon faded into obscurity, while more than 8000 Petzval portrait lenses were sold by 1850. This may have been the first mathematically designed lens.

The basic Petzval lens consists of two positive components, spaced apart so that the astigmatism is controlled to be either zero or slightly positive. Usually ...

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