Shocking Flat Lens Technology Threatens to Upend The Lens Market

by Hugh Brownstone5 Comments

In this installment of yet another we-just-made-it-up series called “Nail in the Coffin,” we recognize our limitations – and then go on to ignore them.

When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When you have Apple on the brain like I do, almost everything looks like it can be used by Apple to disrupt…something. Except in this case, maybe, it’s really true: a “wafer thin” flat lens that obviates the need for curved glass? Sounds like just the thing for an iPhone internal zoom lens.

None of us at planet5D have any idea what the practical limitations of this technology are, but we do know this: one of the keys to Apple supplanting traditional cameras is upping their game in optics, and this looks like a game-upper.

Yeah, OK, it also looks like a way to make ILC mirrorless optics even smaller and lighter too — and with fewer lenses in their systems than Canon or Nikon, it might be less costly to for Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, or Fuji to make the transition.

Either way, this flat lens technology from Harvard feels like another nail in the coffin of what are now considered traditional video DSLRs.

Let’s see what happens next. [bctt tweet=”New Flat Lens Tech Another Nail in Video DSLR Coffin?”]


This New Flat Lens May Revolutionize the Lens Industry

Via Premiumbeat:

When it comes to optical technology, or more specifically lenses, sharpness is the name of the game. In fact, accurate sharpness in terms of color reproduction is typically how you can discern a good lens from a bad one.

Poor lenses typically suffer from a phenomenon called chromatic aberration, where colors are distorted due to different wavelengths. Chromatic aberration is usually identified by “purple fringing” in an image’s areas of contrast and it can be pretty annoying if you are trying to get a clean and crisp image.

Newer lenses have their optics designed to minimize chromatic aberration, whereas older lenses tend to feature more color distortions. However, no matter what lens manufacturers do, they will always have to deal with color distortion if they are using curved lenses. But what if lenses weren’t curved?

This was the question proposed to a team of Harvard physicists who have successfully created a wafer-thin lens that uses only flat glass elements. The lens pushes the boundaries of what is physically possible in optics.

Read full article at Premiumbeat “This New Flat Lens May Revolutionize the Lens Industry”

flat lens

Photo via Premiumbeat Source: Harvard School of Engineering


The following video shows the flat lens in-action. Notice the amount of bokeh that can be achieved using this lens:

A Flat Lens

Note: it is our policy to give credit as well as deserved traffic to our news sources – so we don't repost the entire article – sorry, I know you want the juicy bits, but I feel it is only fair that their site get the traffic and besides, you just might make a new friend and find an advertiser that has something you've never seen before

(cover photo credit: snap from Premiumbeat)

Hugh Brownstone

Hugh Brownstone

Hugh is the founder of Three Blind Men and An Elephant Productions. He and the team write, direct, shoot, score, and edit web-centric films; conduct photo shoots; and write copy, white papers and blog posts. Hugh also writes screenplays (he recently optioned a TV pilot) and just published his first eBook (Apple's iPhone: The Next Video Revolution). If it's about telling stories, it's in their wheelhouse.

And always with the ambition of authenticity, humanity and wit.
Hugh Brownstone


  1. Wow! Uhh…I’d like one please…uh…make that two…Canon and Sony mount please!

  2. Pingback: Shocking Flat Lens Technology Threatens to Upend The Lens Market | planet5D DSLR video news and more! | DGMUVU Knowledgebase

  3. Missing from this article are a lotta words that
    are normally associated with a discussion
    about lenses:
    depth of field
    focal length
    hyper focal distance
    minimum focus
    Both Sony and Canon risk poaching their video
    product lines. It is, therefore, IMHO, doubtful
    they’re going to take the lead on this.
    On another topic, regardless of their seeming
    committment to the DSLR, none of these three
    have offered frame store or picture cache; a
    feature that would be of great benefit to nature
    and sports photogs.

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