Optics is the field of physics that deals with the production, transmission, and association of waves of light with wavelengths ranging from ultraviolet to deep infrared in the electromagnetic spectrum.
Various manufacturers sell either custom optics or custom optical assemblies and structures, e.g., with extra-high precision or unique properties. Such solutions are often costlier compared with stock optics.
When to Use Custom Optics?
Using stock lenses in production yields better advantages than custom optics in nearly all situations. However, there is no advantage of using traditional optics if a consumer needs many lenses when production sizes are equal or often much greater for custom choices.
In addition to saving time and money, stock lenses are initially used to show prototypes and validate overall designs and then migrate any or all lenses to custom designs to improve performance or simplify the optical device. For instance, Aspheres are used for saving weight and complexity to remove some standard optical components.
During the prototyping process, designers and producers can benefit from stock lenses. Thanks to a stock lens’s affordability, construction and processing time can be significantly decreased when using a stock lens rather than a custom lens.
However, you may have to make several tradeoffs such as in size, type of glass, focal length, and functional AR coating if you choose regular lenses over custom optical lenses.
To satisfy requirements, uncoated stock optics can be assembled without a coating and then coated with a unique custom coating.
Since the construction of a custom optic requires dedicated manufacturing, and at the different stages of production have specific lot sizes, several more lenses are being manufactured to achieve the desired end amount. In comparison, the costs of running a coating chamber and manufacturing coated lenses are nearly fixed.
What Changes Is Possible to Make?
Mechanical features such as focusing interface features, cap size/shape, markings, and so on are external mechanical features. Generally, such improvements involve a lead time of 4-6 weeks, assuming that long-lead materials are still in storage.
Another adjustment possible is Lens Specifications. Although each standard lens has some default parameters, some of these may be customizable for particular OEM applications. Few widely updated specs include decentration, MTF, EFL Resistance, reliability checking, or more regular sampling of critical parameters.
F/# is a straight-forward improvement that will significantly optimize those use cases with little expense and effort. It usually is much easier to increase F/#. Still, it can also be possible to reduce F/# on a single lens. Usually, there are no optical or mechanical improvements involved. So increasing F/# is typically only a matter of many charges and 5-6 weeks lead time to create a limited number of prototypes.
As we see, if desired, there are many ways to modify your standard lens. Suppose a standard base-line configuration can be changed to suit the specific specifications. In that case, a custom lens design can save months of design time and considerable costs.