Lenses in Photography

1951 – Rudolf Kingslake

Toronto. The late Rudolf Kingslake was born and educated in London, England. In 1938 he joined Eastman Kodak in Rochester NY as a lens designer. By the time he published this book in 1951, he was the Director of Optical Design at Eastman Kodak.

This book is intended to be, “the practical guide to optics for photographers“. It is written in plain English with a few charts, graphs, diagrams, and formulae to clarify some items.

In University we learned from an older/newer (1949/1958) book titled, “Optics” and  written by Francis Weston Sears. Illustrated in colour in this printing, Sears used many more formulae, and much more intense writing to convey the basics of optics for those intending to specialize in the field.

It may be surprising to some that photography demanded special lens designs (dating back to Petzval’s portrait lens for a Daguerreotype camera). The goal was to keep the field of sharpest focus flat to match glass plates and film; to cancel out as much distortion as possible; to focus at least two wavelengths of light in the same plane (anastigmatic) and ideally three (apochromatic); and to have a wide aperture to let in enough light to allow fast shutter speeds to be used in spite of very insensitive (slow)  media (glass plates and film).

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