Freeform Lens for Smartphones
CINEMATIC IS THE NEW TREND
As screen quality increases and lenses widen (from 5:4, 16:9, 18:9 to 21:9,) smartphones with super wide-angle cameras are surpassing the performance of the traditional DSLR. Consumers are producing, viewing, and sharing online movies and videos as these smartphones imitate the theater experience. The next big differentiator for OEMs is a cinematic movie camera in their smartphone.
Traditional wide-angle camera suffers of following problematics
- Camera aspect ratio 4:3 does not match wide screen aspect ratio
- Distortion on the corners and software correction cropped the field of view and reduce image resolution
- Camera optic doesn’t optimize sensor and screen coverage
- Acutance and image quality (MTF, relative Illumination) is lost
Freeform and anamorphic wide-angle technology (optic and software) is the essential building block to create the next generation of super wide-angle camera for cinematic video.
Problematic 1: Smartphone accommodating a super wide-angle video 4:3 to 21:9 screen by adding blurry left and right bands.
Problematic 2: Smartphone cropping a super wide-angle video 4:3 to 21:9 screen format.
FREEFORM CINEMATIC ANAMORPHIC LENS AND ASSOCIATED CHALLENGES
Traditional optics pile up multiple lens elements refracting the light from the object space to the sensor.
Those elements are rotationally symmetric, limiting the possibility of controlling the optic size, field of view, anamorphic ratio, distortion and MTF
Designing and manufacturing such miniature rotationally symmetric optics achieving cinematic quality is a challenge
The freeform lens technology adds degrees of freedom in lens design but comes with a certain degree of complexity
Freeform by definition is a non rotationally symmetric complex lens shape. This lens shape allows an advanced control of light in the optical system
Example of D-cut alignment strategy on elements of freeform shapes used to create a 5:4 or 4:3 anamorphic ratio for cinematic lens.
Freeform lens design comes with a set of challenges
- Iterative freeform optimization using both raytracing and aberration theory
- Surface freeform terms optimization based on field aberration dependence
- Custom image analysis using full-field display
IMMERVISION’S FREEFORM ADVANTAGES
Immervision’s innovative cinematic optical design combines freeform lenses with video distortion correction software.
Aspect ratio has been increased to 16:9 and beyond (e.g. 21:9.) No longer will FoV or pixel be lost on the top, bottom or the corners of the video. Distortion is reduced when playing back on TV.
In addition, optic size is reduced, sensor and screen coverage are maximized with better MTF and Relative Illumination using freeform surfaces to maximize sensor ISO sensitivity.
WHY CHOOSE IMMERVISION?
Immervision has 20 years of experience in wide-angle cinematic lenses with freeform and anamorphic lenses — from smartphones to Cine-Broadcast cameras.
Building on its success of launching 7 different wide-angle freeform and anamorphic lenses, it has also designed and produced a 6P super wide-angle anamorphic lens for consumer applications.
Its expert understanding of the smartphone imaging pipeline makes it an ideal licensing partner for lens vendors or OEMs wanting an exclusive advantage and time-to-market over the competition.
Immervision has strong patents and IP in wide-angle cinematic lens. Freedom-to-Operate and protection from third party infringement claims (US patent 6,865,028, Europe patent 1,362,255, China patent 1,554,036, Japan patent 3,878,910)
To tackle your next design and improve the video quality of your next-generation device with the best-in-class freeform lens
Contact us to discuss lens design projects and technology licensing opportunities (Freedom-to-Operate)
THE FIRST FREEFORM LENS DESIGNED IN 2004
Watch the video featuring Professor Simon Thibault, P.Eng., MSc, Ph.D., Principal Optical Designer at Immervision. Learn about his experience in designing small freeform lenses for broadcast and security applications and how 20+ years of lens design can contribute to developing better experiences.
Read Simon Thibault SPIE published white paper on the challenges to create a small freeform lens