The Evolution of Lens Technology

Image By

Industry Trends

September 2023

September 2023

The Evolution of Lens Technology

From the early days of photography, manual focus lenses have been a staple, with businesses and photographers alike manually adjusting the lens's focus by hand1. This form of focus adjustment was the only option available until the advent of autofocus technology2.

As a 40-year-old lens manufacturer, we have witnessed the remarkable evolution of lens technology over the years. One of the most significant advancements in this field has been the transition from manual focus to autofocus. In this blog post, we will take you on a journey through time, exploring the fascinating progression of lens technology and its impact on security.

1. The Birth of Manual Focus:

In the early days of lenses, they were manually focused, and only used for photography. They required photographers to adjust the focus ring to achieve sharpness. These early lenses did not allow for security monitoring. However, manual focus lenses laid the foundation for future developments in lens technology, and today’s manual focus lenses are lightyears ahead of the original prototypes. Today’s manual focus lenses like this one can be great for applications such as robotics, machine vision, inspection, and labs.

2/3" 12.5-75mm f1.2 6X Manual Zoom, Manual Iris with locking set screws (C-Mount)

2. The Advent of Autofocus:

The introduction of autofocus revolutionized the security industry’s capabilities. The autofocus system utilizes mechanical, optical, and electronic components to adjust the lens focus automatically, allowing for quicker and more accurate focusing and optimal placement. Suddenly, organizations of all kinds can secure all corners of their property from various heights and angles.

3. Phase Detection vs. Contrast Detection Autofocus:

Two primary types of autofocus systems exist: phase detection and contrast detection. Phase detection autofocus (PDAF) uses a dedicated sensor to measure the phase difference between light rays, resulting in faster and more precise focusing. Contrast detection autofocus (CDAF), on the other hand, analyzes the contrast levels in the image to achieve focus. Both systems have their strengths and are used in different security systems.

4. Continuous Autofocus and Tracking:

Continuous autofocus (AF-C) is a feature that enables the lens to continuously adjust focus as the subject moves. This technology is particularly useful for capturing actions and events, such as in a large sports complex or college campus. With advancements in lens technology, AF-C has become more accurate and responsive, allowing businesses to easily capture a critical moment.

5. Silent and Ultra-Fast Autofocus Motors:

Lens manufacturers like us have also made significant strides in developing silent and ultra-fast autofocus motors. These motors ensure near-silent operation and enable lenses to focus quickly, reducing any lag between pressing the shutter button and capturing the image. This advancement is particularly beneficial for speedy conveyor belts and busy warehouses where time is of the essence.

The evolution of lens technology from manual focus to autofocus has transformed how we capture images. Autofocus systems have made monitoring various environments possible and our cities safer. We continue to push the boundaries of lens technology, striving to provide businesses with the best lenses to deliver top-notch security and quality control.