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Types of lenses

Types of Lenses

A lens Is a transparent glass or plastic with at least one curved surface. We can see things with a microscope that are invisible to the naked eye. Lenses, which are amazing curves of glass or plastic, enable all these events. The night sky's stars and planets can be seen through telescopes, large-scale images are projected onto screens by movie projectors, and light beams are sent out to sea by lighthouses.

Working of Lenses

Refraction is the technical word used to explain how a lens alters the light rays' route as they pass through it. Objects seen via a lens appear to be either larger or smaller than they are because the rays appear to emanate from a location closer to or farther away than it truly is.

Different Types of Lenses

There are various lens types; Convex (or converging) and concave (or diverging) lenses are the primary ones.

Convex Lens

The recognizable lentil-shaped convex lens, also known as a positive lens, has glass (or plastic) surfaces that extend outward from the center. Because it causes parallel light rays to bend inward and meet (converge) at a point directly beyond the lens, known as the focal point, a convex lens is frequently referred to as a converging lens. Convex lenses are used in telescopes and binoculars to focus distant light beams on your eyes.

Concave Lenses

On the other hand, parallel light beams will curve outward or diverge when viewed through a concave lens because their outer surfaces will curve inward instead of outward. Because of this, concave lenses are occasionally referred to as diverging lenses. Equipment like TV projectors employs concave lenses to spread light rays into the distance. This operation is simpler to do in a flashlight with a mirror instead of a lens, which is typically lighter and less expensive to produce.

Compound Lens

Convex and concave lenses can be combined to create lenses with more complex behavior. To do this, a compound lens is made by fusing two or simpler lenses.

Determining the Power of Lens

Suppose you have used binoculars, a telescope, or a magnifying glass. In that case, you are undoubtedly already aware that some lenses amplify (or reduce) an object's apparent size much more than others. A lens's effectiveness can be determined simply by its focal length. The focal length of a lens is the distance that must pass before light rays are focused.

The lens becomes more powerful as the focal length gets shorter. The regular glass would behave as a lens with an unlimited focal length and not focus light at all, which is an easy reason to understand. On the other hand, a lens with infinite power would have a focal length of zero and be able to focus light beams over an infinitely small distance. A real lens is somewhere between these two extremes.

Common length measurements like centimeters, millimeters, or inches, as well as specialized optical units called diopters, can be used to indicate focal lengths. One diopter equals one meter, two diopters equal 0.5 meters, three diopters equal 0.33 meters, and so on, when the focal length is divided by the diopter. On the prescription for your eyeglasses that the optician writes, the strength of the corrective lenses you need is normally stated in diopters.

The focal length of a lens is not the only significant component. Larger lenses might be able to gather more light than smaller ones, which makes the image appear brighter. This is crucial when selecting a lens for a camera because the quality of the image depends on how much light the lens collects.

The f-number, determined by dividing the focal length by the diameter, is widely used when analyzing camera lenses. Low f-number lenses generally produce images that appear brighter. More of the subject and its surroundings will be in focus at once when using a lens with a higher f-number.

What are Adjustable Lenses?

Regular lenses can only focus on one topic at a time because of their fixed focal lengths. But what if you prefer it to be a little bit closer, a little bit louder, or more concentrated? Our eyes and brains use flexible lenses to address this problem. These lenses may receive information from the ciliary muscles that surround them and use it to alter their shape. The focal length will change if the lenses are changed.

A focusing screw that changes the separation between the lenses inside the tubes is the answer for binoculars and telescopes. Similar to this, zoom lenses on cameras have multiple lenses that can be turned using the fingers or, in the case of automatic cameras, moved together or apart by depressing a motorized joystick. These zoom lenses are referred to as optic zooms.

When a digital zoom-in camera zooms in, the software determines how much of the original image to use and how much to magnify (when they zoom out). Compared to optical zooms, digital zooms lose information more quickly and produce blurry images.

Creation of Lenses

In the 20th century, cutting and shaping solid pieces of glass was virtually always used to make lenses. Concave grinding tools were used to create the lens's rough form, which was then polished. Air bubbles and other imperfections in the common glass we use for windows and dinnerware prevent it from being used as lenses.

These result in light beams deviating from their intended paths, warping images, or changing how different light colors behave (problems that optical scientists refer to as aberrations).

Instead, lenses made of optical glass, a more advanced material, are employed. Plastic lenses are being utilized in eyeglasses more frequently since they are safer and lighter than optical glass. Plastic lenses can be made in far larger quantities and for less money than glass lenses since they don't need to be ground to form.

Ordinary plastic can have a thin layer of protective material, like diamond-like carbon, put on it to reduce the probability of damage (DLC). Some optical lenses are also coated with thin plastic to reduce irritating reflections further; you can read more about how these anti-reflective coatings work on our page on thin-film interference.

What Functions Do Lenses Perform?

Lenses are all around us, from flashlights and automobile headlights to the LED lights on electronic instrument panels. Our eyes' lenses rank among the most amazing things ever made. Think about what happens as you take in your surroundings. You pause for a second and focus your eyes on the ground in front of your feet. Then, an airplane screams past for a brief while before flying directly in front of you as you turn to look at it.

Ordinary (optical) microscopes use several glass lenses to magnify small objects, whereas more powerful electron microscopes use electromagnets to bend electron beams, allowing users to see much more detail.

Movie projectors and projection televisions employ lenses to magnify small movie images so that several people can view them at once. In contrast, cameras concentrate distant light beams onto either chemically modified plastic film or light-sensitive electronic chips called CCDs.


Being an optician is not necessary if you want the best lenses for your glasses. Keep in mind the information shared above to make informed choices.