# Untangling the megapixel lens myth! Which is the best lens to buy? And how to make that decision!

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1 Untangling the megapixel lens myth! Which is the best lens to buy? And how to make that decision! 1

2 In this presentation We are going to go over lens basics Explain figures of merit of lenses Show how to measure performance of lenses Tell what to look for once it is measured Explain how not to get fooled by the numbers Ultimately, choose the best price/performance lens for your application and budget

3 What does a lens do? Transfers an image from one place to another Magnifies or de magnifies the image Ex. You have a 10mm sensor, and a 1000mm image. You want to de magnify or reduce by a factor of 100 You have a 10mm sensor, and 1 mm object. You want to magnify by a factor of 10 Standard lenses work well de magnifying from infinity to about 3x Microscopes are used when magnifying by >5x

4 How to calculate mag and focal length To start with, you must know a few things to choose a lens: You must know what size sensor you will use You must have an idea about the size of the object you are imaging (also called the Field of View: FOV) You must have an idea about how far away the lens is from the object being viewed Lenses come sized by Focal Length. MAG = CCD size/fov size Focal length = Object Distance/ (1 + 1/MAG) If you know any of the 3, you can calculate the 4 th!

5 So what makes lenses different Lenses are rated by their resolving power, which we will see later on is given in line pair per mm (lp/mm) This can be plotted vs. contrast to give the Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) Other measurements include distortion and aberration.

6 HOW DO WE DEFINE RESOLUTION? 6 Resolution is a measurement of the imaging system's ability to reproduce object detail. Exaggerated example in which a pair of squares are not resolved(a) and resolved (b). In figure (a) the two squares are imaged onto neighboring pixels and are indistinguishable from one another. Without any space between, they appear as one large rectangle in the image. In order to distinguish them a certain amount of white space is needed, as in figure (b). This can be represented by a line pair.

7 HOW DOES CONTRAST DEPEND ON FREQUENCY 7 Suppose two dots are placed close to each other and imaged through a lens. The two spots will blur slightly. Moving the spots closer causes the blur to overlap and contrast is decreased. When the spots are close enough that the contrast becomes limiting, the spacing is our resolution. At each spacing of the spots we obtain a specific contrast. We can plot this information in the form of a Modulation Transfer Function (MTF).

8 How does contrast depend on spatial frequency: MTF? 8

9 MTF vs. Pixel Size 9 Consider that each pixel pair is a line pair Measured Line Pair in mm, lp/mm Nyquist theorm says you need to be at least a factor of 2 So to resolve a pixel of x um, we need to have at least 0.5 * 1/pixel size (in mm). We can plot this information in the form of a Modulation Transfer curve to see how a lens will perform vs. a certain size pixel pitch.function (MTF). Pixel Size (um) MTF limit (lp/mm)

10 Sensors, Resolution and Lenses Usually, the more pixels you have, the smaller the pixels get A ½ sensor has a width of 6.4mm If it has 640 pixels across, each pixel is 10um If it has 1280 pixels across, each pixel is 5um! Unless you make the sensor bigger, in this case, more pixels = smaller pixels You trade off spatial resolution vs. optical resolution You can see finer detail as you put more pixels in the same field of view, but if the pixels are smaller, you must have the optical ability to resolve them!

11 EXAMPLE: FIELD OF VIEW AND RESOLUTION x 480 pixel (0.3 megapixels) 1600 x 1200 pixel (2 megapixels) PROPRIETARY - Property of Edmund Optics, Inc Copyright Edmund Optics, Inc.

12 RESOLUTION COMPARISON: SAME LENS, DIFFERENT SENSOR 12 The images below are of the same target at the same magnification, using the same lens and identical lighting conditions. The image on the left is created with a low resolution color analog camera, while the image on the right is created with a high resolution color digital camera.

13 SAME RESOLUTION CAMERA, DIFFERENT LENSES 13

14 THE STAR TARGET 14 Another common target is the star target. Circular pattern of black and white wedges. Radial pattern allows tests of astigmatic errors. Wedges have continuous frequencies that can be calculated by radial distance.

15 STANDARD LENS COMPARISONS 16mm fl 15

16 STANDARD LENS COMPARISONS 6mm fl 16 6mm

17 5 MEGAPIXEL LENS COMPARISONS 25mm fl 17

18 The megapixel myth 18 Lots of Manufacturers now call their lenses Megapixel or 5 Megapixel lenses As we saw before, lenses are rated in lp/mm. what you need to know about the sensor is the size of the pixels. Sensor # Pixels Pixel Size (um) MTF limit (lp/mm) Sony ICX MP Sony ICX MP Sony ICX MP Kodak KAI MP Kodak KAI MP Here we see that the 11MP sensor needs the LOWEST quality lens! DO NOT AUTOMATICALLY EQUATE THE NUMBER OF PIXELS TO A MARKETING DESCRIPTION OF THE LENS

19 LENS QUALITY 19 Notwithstanding what I just said in the previous slide, once one manufacturer started calling their lens a 5 MP lens, all the other manufacturers did the same! HOWEVER, there is no standard for this rating, so THERE ARE HUGE DIFFERENCES in the performance of A s 5MP lens vs. B s 5MP lens! The biggest rule of thumb to go by with lenses is: You usually get what you pay for! A \$500 lens WILL be better than a \$100 lens. However, on a small scale this won t be true (e.g. a \$150 lens might not be better than a \$125 lens) Newer designed lenses perform better than older design lenses at the same price point.

20 What 1stvision did for its clients 20 We are an independent distributor of products. We don t have any dog in the fight. Our goal is to solve your problem given your time and budget constraints using whichever of the products are best suited and available. We carry all the major brands of lenses (in alphabetical order) Computar, Edmund, Fujinon, Kowa, OEM, Pentax, Schneider, and Tamron Each of these brands has multiple lines, e.g. megapixel, 5MP, size, 10MP, etc.

21 Manufacturer s lens ratings Some manufacturers don t give out any data Some manufacturers tell you lp/mm BUT don t give you a contrast curve with it, or tell you if the measurement was done on axis, off axis, center, sides, etc. So how can you determine which is the best lens?

22 You can t, but we tested them! 22 Schneider Optics lent us their projector with a resolution slide that looks like the picture on the right. The rectangles represent sensor sizes. On the corners, middle, and sides of each rectangle are resolution charts We took a 10MP Nikon camera, and put it in macro mode so we could image each rectangle up close

23 You get results like these

24 The results? 24 Unless you are looking at these on a large high resolution monitor, it is very hard to see the subtleties between lenses, though of course some do stand out Easily see differences between a \$100 lens and \$1000 lens Unfortunately, each picture is 10MB. For each lens we took 5 pictures. We tested about 15 different lenses. So the datafile is 750 MB! We can t that or put it up on our website We can t compress the data, or else you won t be able to see the differences.

25 The results! What we can tell you If you are using a ½ or smaller sensor, and looking directly on axis, and don t need to measure, any lens we carry will work! Otherwise, there are too many variables, many which are application dependent, and many variations are subtle. One lens brand might be great on axis, but not off, or better with chromatic aberration, etc. etc. So we can only say, Call us to tell us what your application is, what camera you are thinking about, what your budget is, what you are willing to compromise on, and we can discuss which lens(es) would best fit your needs!

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