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Photographic Optics Science and Engineering Books
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2024 2:03 pm    Post subject: Photographic Optics Science and Engineering Books Reply with quote

I couldn’t find a dedicated thread/topic yet with recommended books for photographic optics science and engineering theory.

There is an endless supply of general photography manuals and books that explain photographic equipment, techniques, and how to use them, but very little in the way of books that describe how the underlying engineering and science works, especially re. the physics, math, and detailed production methods involved for the optics.

The photographic engineering and science practitioners no doubt have unlimited access to countless research papers and articles, but for the average keen photographer sometimes books that collate all that theory are a more convenient place to start. But, these books can be hard to identify amongst the mountain of general photography books.

So, post here any recommended books re. the subject matter, old or new. The caveat is that some of these books are on the pricey side, but if you are spending thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on equipment in order to enjoy this hobby, a few hundred spent on actually understanding how and why it all works may be worth it for some. Hopefully this list can help those who are looking for particular subject matter in ready available book form.

I’ll start it off, with my own editions (there may be later editions available):

The Manual Of Photography, Photographic and Digital Imaging, Ninth Edition, R.E Jacobson, S.F. Ray, G.G. Attridge, N.R. Axford, Focal Press, 2000. 459 pages.

First published in 1890(!) this is probably one of the most well-known books, covering the theory and practical aspects of photography in modest level of detail. It explains some of the underlying maths and physics, and how this translates into practical photographic systems & equipment. A good book for those who like diagrams and visual explanatory aids, rather than a lot of maths.

Applied Photographic Optics, Third Edition, Sidney F. Ray, Focal Press, 2002. 656 pages.

First published in 1988. Whilst somewhat similar in overall scope to The Manual of Photography and maintaining much of the same visual explanatory aids, this book covers the mathematical aspects in far greater detail.

Physics of Digital Photography, Second Edition, D. A. Rowlands, IOP Publishing, 2020.

This book describes the process/physics of photographic imaging lenses and how this interacts with the physics of digital sensors. It does so from the perspective of a physicist, using concepts such modulation transfer functions and point spread functions, their convolution, and associated spatial sampling theory. As such the maths may be unfamiliar to many, but the conclusions drawn in conjunction with the diagrams and illustrations provide a helpful understanding about the sampling and processing issues specific to that of digital image sensors.

Lens Design Fundamentals, Second Edition, Rudolf Kingslake, R. Barry Johnson, Academic Press, 2010.

A good book for understanding the issues involved in actual lens design, from individual elements to multi-element compound systems, lens aberrations, choice of stop position, glass types and their dispersion characteristics, choice of glass, calculation of Seidel aberrations, lens bending, ray tracing calculations and software, common optical configurations incl. mirror lenses etc. The mathematics is at the level of summarising the most important derivations and conclusions, it won’t turn you into a lens designer.

Optics, Second Edition, Eugene Hecht, Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1987.

This is my very old copy of a very well-established course book used in University undergraduate-level Physics courses. There is a much more recent 2016 Fifth Edition. It picks a fairly random selection of optics topics, more as an illustration of how the underlying physics applies as opposed to being of direct help to photographers.

Prism And Lens Making, Second Edition, F. Twyman, CRC Press, 1988 (1952)

This is a reprint of a book first published in 1952. This book shows the (1952!) state-of-the-art production methodologies for lens manufacturing, especially the equipment, materials and tools involved in measuring lens curvature, grinding, polishing, cementing, centering, coating, etc, right down to the procedures and temperatures used for preparing soft, medium and hard balsam solutions from raw Canada balsam. Whilst very dated, it does describe the production methodologies involved for so many of the manual focus lenses we like to collect and use. Whilst dated, nevertheless many of those old technologies and procedures are still in use to date and, other than Karow's book mentioned next, you will struggle to find a book that describes them in as much detail as this one does. A classic.

Fabrication Methods For Precision Optics, Hank H. Karow, Wiley Interscience, 2004.

Think of this as modern equivalent of Twyman’s Prism And Lens Making, omitting some obsolete production methods but adding the more modern equivalents. Detailed, and a must for anyone who wants to know in more detail how lens elements are actually manufactured.

Optics Manufacturing - Components and Systems, Christoph Gerhard, CRC Press, 2018.

A broad overview of modern optics manufacturing methods. Much less detailed than Twyman or Karow, but with some details that the other two missed out on. A good complement to the previous two books rather than a replacement.

Mounting Optics in Optical Instruments, Second Edition, Paul R. Yoder, Jr., SPIE Press, 2008.

As the title suggests, this book concerns itself largely with how optical elements are mounted in optical equipment (screwed retainers, burnished mounts, centering mounts, spacer ring chamfers and bevels, etc.) Given the limited topic matter it is surprising that it has 752 pages, an indication of how deep this book delves into all the relevant detail. If you want to be able to separate facts from myths when it comes to mounting tolerances, centering tolerances, self-centering mounts etc, then is the book to get. Many, many explanatory diagrams with some maths where relevant.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2024 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like 1 Like 1 Thank you! You have most excellent Library!