The invention of the camera in the early 19th century has led to a large array of lens designs intended for photography. The problems of photographic lens design, creating a lens for a task that would cover a large flat image plane, were well known even before the invention of photography due to the development of lenses to work with the focal plane of the camera obscura, a device for projecting images used as a novelty and an artist’s drawing aid that had been around for hundreds of years. Since the invention of photography many types of lenses have been tried. The succession of designs was never uniform since an older design that performed a task the photographer needed (such as working better portrait versus landscape, working at the wavelength of light the film collected, etc.) would still be used in unison with newer designs. Even today the job the lens needs to do, the laws of physics, the limits of engineering, as well as the practical considerations of size, weight and cost, means there are many designs available.
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