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Digital Technology

New Ceramic Lensed Exilim Ex-S100 209

stuart miles writes "pocket-lint has managed to be the first to review the new ex-s100 3mega pixel from Casio that uses a ceramic lens rather than the standard glass version. "
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New Ceramic Lensed Exilim Ex-S100

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  • This is bad? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stilist ( 753415 ) <ignazvonstraubing.gmail@com> on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:03AM (#10520943)
    Since when is a 3.2 megapixel size bad, especially for a small digital camera? Guess I'm just behind the times...
    • Re:This is bad? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:09AM (#10520971)
      I don't understand this either:

      "The bad:

      Only 3.2 megapixels, no SD card in the box"

      No SD card in the box is a GOOD thing, who uses wimpy 8-16MB cards that come with the camera? SInce the Casio Exilim line has builtin memory (10-20MB), there is no sense in including small SD card.
    • Re:This is bad? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Technician ( 215283 )
      Since when is a 3.2 megapixel size bad, especially for a small digital camera?

      My biggest beef with this camera is the battery choice. Re-chargable batteries self discharge. When I need shots, I need to grab and go. Expensive batteries that may or may not be ready to go are not an option for me. This camera takes a Li-ion battery. This means, dead camera at unexpected times, insufficient capacity for the birthday party, parade, sporting event, wedding, Burning Man weekend, etc. I'll take a slightly l
      • Re:This is bad? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by liquidpele ( 663430 )
        You are the only person I have every known to prefere un-rechargable batteries.
        We used our digital camera all through Europe. We had 2 Li-ion batteries, and they each lasted over a week when being used, and never died without heavy heavy use. Perhaps you have a bad battery or camera?
        • Perhaps you have a bad battery or camera?

          Actualy I do prefer rechargables. I have come to not rely on them as a single power source as I often find them dead after the first 10 shots or so. This is true for the intermittant amature photographer. In regular use, the batteries are maintained, charged and used before they self discharge. In an amature setting, the state of charge is not known due to self discharge and discharge by the camera to maintian the clock and such. This is why I often have batte
          • Re:This is bad? (Score:3, Informative)

            by mrsev ( 664367 )
            There is one thing that most people forget is that there are huge variations in the amount of power stored in rechargable batteries. You need to look on the side to see how many mAh (milli Amp hours) the can store. For the AA size this can vary from 800 to 2300. I had a set of 1200mAh batteries and they would die after 30 shots on my Canon A20 camera. I switched to 2300mAh batteries (that cost much more) and now I can shoot more than 300 shots with the display on, without problems. Expect to pay around 15 E
            • I have an older Nokia cell phone and did the same thing and got the "big" battery for it. If I use it lightly now, I can get more than a week's worth of use on one charge.
          • I've taken to carrying a set of "dummy" alkaline batteries in the device (which serve to maintain the time/date/etc. in the camera), and carrying my Li-ion batteries separately. When I need a quick shot, I simply replace the batteries and go - takes less than 30 seconds. So long as I'm in a situation where 30 seconds isn't a big deal, it's no problem... YMMV.
            • Okay, this will remove the drain of the status display etc from the LiIons, but it won't do anything about self-discharge. There's really not much you can do about that, apart from freezing it which merely slows the process. Different battery chemistries have very different self-discharge characteristics, though, some take tens of years, other months.
          • Hmmm...

            I often find them dead after the first 10 shots or so

            I am currently on my 4th digital camera, a Canon 20D. The 3 previous - Fuji 4700, Fuji 6800 and Ixus SD-10 took 150+ photos (a full card) on their rechargable batteries (I used 2100mA AAs in the 4700). The 20D's battery is rated at 1000 shots w/o Flash. I charged the battery when I bought it - a week and a half ago - and have taken, viewed, dumped, etc over 700 photos so far. The battery is still going strong.

            On the other hand, when I went to
          • ...are Powerex 2300mAh NiMH batteries. Four batteries + charger cost $50 total. My charger is a "slow/cold" charger that bounces polarity to reduce crystallisation. I haven't charged my batteries in over two weeks, and I'm at around 150 shots, about 30-40 with flash with no problems. The camera is a Canon PowerShot A70.

            My mom's Kodak is a devourer of batteries. I don't know why anyone would put out a camera that can only take 30 shots before running out of juice. I take up to 150 is a typical outing.

      • Re:This is bad? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wizrd_nml ( 661928 )
        I've had the exact opposite experience. Because of their memory effect, NiMH are the most inconvenient batteries to use. You have to spend about 24 hours prior to using the camera to discharge and rechard them to make sure you have the maximum charge.

        No thanks, I'll take a couple of Li-ion any day. Just plug them in a few hours before I intend to shoot and off I go. One Li-ion generally lets me take about 90 photos at 3.2 megapixel resolution, with a bit more than half using flash (Casio has pushed that l

        • Re:This is bad? (Score:4, Informative)

          by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <slashdot@neGAUSSxusuk.org minus math_god> on Thursday October 14, 2004 @06:34AM (#10522325) Homepage
          Because of their memory effect, NiMH are the most inconvenient batteries to use.

          NiMH have very little 'memory effect' - NiCd's are the offenders there. However, all batteries need to be treated correctly - I keep my batteries in sets and don't mix the batteries within those sets, that way I never end up mixing fully charged batteries with semi-charged, etc (which really does kill batteries).

          NiMH cell capacities are now on-par with Alkalines, the only downside of NiMH cells is that they do discharge over time.

          Whilest Li-ion's have a higher energy density, they are also not compatable with alkaline batteries, and when I'm on holiday and stuck with a dead battery I'd prefer to have the option to buy some alkalines from the shop rather than do without my camera.

          (I have a HP Photosmart 850 and am _very_ happy with it)
      • Re:This is bad? (Score:3, Informative)

        by RedBear ( 207369 )
        Typical viewpoint. Everyone else in the world != you.

        NiMH AA rechargeables self-discharge much more quickly than Li-Ion, and as you point out they take up more space for the same amount of power. You don't like the camera? Fine, don't buy it. Yay, free market capitalism. But many people are just casual camera users. For them it often makes sense to have a very compact camera that doesn't have batteries that need to be topped off once a week and treated gingerly. Yeah, you can buy some alkalines in a pinch,
      • Re:This is bad? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by inflex ( 123318 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @05:58AM (#10522217) Homepage Journal
        My other hobby other than listening to trash on /. is model aircraft - specifically electric powered ones.

        Li-Ion batteries have the lowest discharge rate around, superior to NiMH and definately NiCd. Better yet would be Li-Poly but they're still a tad risky for some people's likings (I have videos of model planes bursting into flames due to a bad lipo).

        The trouble with Li-Ion/Poly is that they have a comparitavely low draw capacity on demand, especially if they're cold. This is where a lot of people pick up the feeling that Li-based batteries are a poor choice relative to NiMh/Cd. Typically if the battery cannot supply the required current the apparent voltage drops and it seems like the battery is 'flat'. The trick is to keep them warm - not always an option I know.

        Incidently, I've had lipo cells have nearly full charge (over 80%) despite having been left after a charge for more than 2 weeks.

        Oh, one other last problem with Li based batteries is that if they drop below a specific voltage then technically you're not supposed to try revive them (else things can go boom!). A lot of laptops with Li based batteries suffer to this, people throw out 'dead' packs which actually just were left too long without a charge.

        PLD.
      • Well, my Exilim Z40 (I think) lets me take over 300 pictures without changing. The Z50 supposedly has even better capacity according to the ads. I only have a 128 MB SD card, so 300 is plenty for me, even when I delete a lot. NiMH doesn't give as good battery time in my experience, at least when you only have 2. And even 2 AAs is much bigger than the Li-Ion in my camera.
      • Re:This is bad? (Score:3, Informative)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 )
        If you need maximum battery power for your professional work, you need a professional camera, and multiple batteries. A pro wouldn't use a Fisher-Price Kodak 110 camera, either, unless maybe they were doing something experimental. If you don't want the batteries to self-drain, leave it connected to the charging system at all times. Easy peasy.
    • Re:This is bad? (Score:3, Informative)

      by RedBear ( 207369 )
      3 megapixels is "bad" if you ever want to print your photos larger than 8x10. We've had 5MP cameras since 2001 (Minolta Dimage 7 was the first, I think). There are currently many compact cameras with 4-5MP chips, and a new crop with a 7MP chip although they aren't quite compact. So having a new camera come out with "just" 3.2MP isn't too impressive.

      Going up just one step there is a group of prosumer cameras with an 8MP chip that have all been out for several months. 8MP will give you the ability to stretch
  • Ceramics==Transparent?
    • Re:ceramic (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:10AM (#10520973)
      Yeah, ceremics can be transperent. It's harder for cermics to be, however, seeing as it's just a bunch of (transparent?) granules smushed together under high heat.

      Optical quality (and price) general go as the following:

      Cermics
      Amorphous Solid (glass)
      Single Crystal

      The more "regular" the structure (the less interface bounderies and material gradients) the better the optical qualities are.
      • Re:ceramic (Score:4, Interesting)

        by uberdave ( 526529 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:25AM (#10521054) Homepage
        So, they are using a cheaper, lower quality lens and expecting people to pay 350 pounds for it? That's about US$630! Am I missing something? Is the ceramic lens harder/more scratch resistant? You could buy a 7 or 8 megapixel camera for that kind of money.
        • High quality glass lens's were probobaly too cheap to produce so they had to switch to ceramic so they can still charge $600.00 by calling it a nano-composite microstructured giggily fart. At least that's my theory anyway.

    • Re:ceramic (Score:2, Informative)

      ceramic==usually more scratchproof
      eg: the rado ceramic watchface cannot be scratched with mild steel.
    • Re:ceramic (Score:2, Funny)

      by morcheeba ( 260908 ) *
      I'm holding out for a lens made of concrete [slashdot.org] or Aluminum [slashdot.org]!
  • image noise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spacerodent ( 790183 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:09AM (#10520970)
    they mention image noise several times in the article and act like it's isn't a big deal. If you can see image noise on a normal 3 megapixel image (assuming its somehwere around 1024x768 or greater) then its probally pretty bad. They mention it twice too. I wonder if it has anything to do with the ceramic lens which seems to be the only interesting thing about the camera. Otherwise it seems pretty average in about every category.
    • Re:image noise (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cujo_1111 ( 627504 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:19AM (#10521017) Homepage Journal
      1024 x 768 is only 0.8 MP, not 3 MP.

      3 MP is more like 2048 x 1536.

      The image noise is probably more due to the ludicrously small CCD unit (4.54 x 3.42 mm) that Casio are using. As a comparison the 2.8 MP Nikon D1H uses a largish CCD of 23.7 x 15.5 mm and I know which one would give better photos, lenses notwithstanding.

      The ceramic lens would impact the sharpness of the photo more.
      • Re:image noise (Score:3, Informative)

        The more pixels a digital camera has on its CCD sensor, the larger the pictures you can take. The following is a list of the maximum size an image may be (measured by height x width) for the three most popular types of digital cameras on the market today. * 2-megapixel digital cameras - 1600x1200 * 3-megapixel digital cameras - 2048x1536 * 4-megapixel digital cameras - 2272 x 1704
        • Re:image noise (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cujo_1111 ( 627504 )
          You have a point, but if you have two 6 MP CCDs, one 5 mm x 5 mm and the other 25 mm x 25 mm. The larger CCD will take the better photo.

          This is one case where smaller is not necessarily better.
          • Re:image noise (Score:3, Insightful)

            by arodland ( 127775 )
            On a related note, if you have two CCDs, one 5MP, and the other 8MP, both 11mm diagonal, the 8MP one doesn't necessarily look much better ;)
    • What I want to know is why a ceramic len is more useful than a glass one. I presume it's more durable, but I don't remember the last time a lens in a consumer electronics digital camera broke before the CCD went kaput. Does it have a higher defraction index? Is it more transparent to a wider range of colors? What's up with that?
      • I believe the ceramic lens are stiffer than their glass counterparts, so that the lens can be made thinner without deforming. Also, the phrase you are looking for is "refractive index".
      • by klang ( 27062 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:39AM (#10521129)
        dpreview [dpreview.com] had a press release from Casio a few weeks ago..

        Highlights: ... higher refractive index than glass. [snip]... thinner and stronger than conventional glass. ..[snip] reduction in the profile of a lens system by approximately 20%.
      • Does anyone happen to know if a ceramic lens would be "more" or "better" suited to ultraviolet photography as opposed to a glass one? I know that around, oh, 315nm UV won't penetrate the glass. UV photos supposedly look "fogged" when trying to shoot at or below 315nm with conventional glass-based optics. At that point a UV photographer must invest in hideously expensive crystal-based optics.

        I do a tiny bit of UV photography [exocet.ca], BTW.
  • Ceramic vs. Glass (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HotshotXV ( 710849 ) <dhocking AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:10AM (#10520976) Homepage Journal
    You know, the review did a good job of letting you know that ceramic lenses allow you to make the camera smaller... but is the image quality the same through ceramic? Wouldn't it be more translucent, and thus more susceptable to light refractions? Someone help me out here.
    • Re:Ceramic vs. Glass (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, 2004 @01:56AM (#10521403)
      Just would like to point out how silly all of this ceramic vs. glass business is, since glass is considered a ceramic! And, "ceramics" encompasses quite a lot of materials. You really have to take announcements like this with a grain of salt, and realize that while it may be better, it is also a gimmick when they say something like new "ceramic" lens! Oh yeah, and I'm a ceramic engineer...
      • Oh yeah, and I'm a ceramic engineer...

        Cool potters job title, but is that the "I design high-tensile turboprop blades" type of ceramic engineer or the "I slipcast plates for a living" type?

        (not attempting to undermine you, just wondering where you fit on the scale...)
    • Re:Ceramic vs. Glass (Score:3, Informative)

      by fossa ( 212602 )

      As the other ceramic engineer pointed out, glass is considered a ceramic. What makes it good for lenses is the fact that it is amorphous, i.e. has no periodic crystal structure. Thus, light will pass through it without being refracted in strange ways because on a macroscopic level, all the glass is the "same" (or the heterogeneity is small enough and distributed evenly and randomly).

      Now, I didn't read the article, though I wouldn't expect it to get into details. I assume by "ceramic" they mean "crystallin

      • Re:Ceramic vs. Glass (Score:3, Informative)

        by Discordia ( 101 )
        There's another way to make polycrystalline (as opposed to single crystals) ceramics transparent: Make the grains smaller than the wavelength of light you're trying to transmit, eliminate porosity completely, and eliminate the sintering aids that go to the grain boundaries and fudge up the refractive index there.

        Transparent polycrystalline alumina (not aluminum) has been in regular use for 40+ years. It's called Lucalox by GE and is the refractory material that makes up the tube used to hold the molten s
  • Skeptical (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hao Wu ( 652581 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:10AM (#10520979) Homepage
    Sounds like a gimmick. Can someone say if ceramic is truly better than glass, or just better "in theory"?
    • I would think a ceramic would be optically worse due to the fact that the structure would be less regular....
      • Re:Skeptical (Score:3, Informative)

        by servognome ( 738846 )
        I would think a ceramic would be optically worse due to the fact that the structure would be less regular....
        Umm you're calling glass "regular", glass is amorphous, it doesn't get much more irregular. Ceramics have an ordered structure.
    • Re:Skeptical (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mysticgoat ( 582871 )

      Sounds like a gimmick. Can someone say if ceramic is truly better than glass, or just better "in theory"?

      I'm guessing, but I think in this case the ceramic is better than glass because production can be less expensive.

      Cheap cameras of this size use plastic lenses formed in molds, where the chosen plastic has a relatively low index of refraction. The lens is thicker, but is tolerant of the surface imperfections from the molding process, and is generally lighter than a glass lens that had the same optica

  • review (Score:3, Informative)

    by AresTheImpaler ( 570208 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:13AM (#10520993)
    There is also a review in Steve Digicams [steves-digicams.com]. I like their reviews because they also include some sample pictures you can use to compare to other cameras (of course the pictures are taken of the same buildings, etc. but they differe in light available. The sample pictures are still good).
  • by RandyOo ( 61821 ) * on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:15AM (#10520999) Homepage
    I don't see how they were the first, when Steve's Digicam's [steves-digicams.com] has a review for this exact model dated two weeks ago. It's a much better and more thorough review as well, IMHO.
  • expensive! (Score:3, Informative)

    by harshbarj ( 651829 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:17AM (#10521006)
    I paid less for my nikon 4mp camera. Sure this is a smaller camera but smaller is not always better. I already feel like I'm going to break my current one and it's huuge next to this one.
  • another review (Score:5, Informative)

    by Leto-II ( 1509 ) <slashdot@4@tobye.spamgourmet@com> on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:19AM (#10521020)
    There's a much better review at Steves Digicams [steves-digicams.com]

    Might want to check that one out too.
  • by xmas2003 ( 739875 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:20AM (#10521021) Homepage
    Hulk drop Puny Human Glass digicam - stops working.
    Hulk drop Ceramic digicam - still works.
    Hulk get angry, SMASH ceramic digicam - stops working.

    Hulk running for president.
    Puny Human /.'ers vote for Hulk here! [komar.org]

  • by Da Twink Daddy ( 807110 ) <bss03@volumehost.net> on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:25AM (#10521055) Homepage
    Save yourself some time and jump to the full review [pocket-lint.co.uk], the verdict [pocket-lint.co.uk], or the reader reviews [pocket-lint.co.uk]--doesn't look like readers agree with the 9/10 rating.
  • uhhh digital? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by deglr6328 ( 150198 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:28AM (#10521068)
    Why is this story under the Digital Equipment Corporation [wikipedia.org] category? Does the submitter not know of the once great now dead company?
  • Ceramic lenses (Score:5, Informative)

    by nels_tomlinson ( 106413 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:39AM (#10521125) Homepage
    I had no idea what a ceramic lens is, so I googled and found: this press release [dcviews.com] and this [gizmodo.com] on Gizmodo.

    In a nutshell, the transparent ceramic lens can be thinner and lighter than a glass lens because it has a higher refractice index (bends light more). It's also stronger, they say. Nifty, just what you need to make a smaller camera. Of course, if you put that tiny lens in front of lousy electronics, you get a lousy camera. As another post mentioned, the review said there was a lot of noise, which sounds like a lousy camera to me.

    • where's our transparent aluminum!
  • Here's a quicktime VR of the camera if you are interested:

    360 view [steves-digicams.com]

    LS
  • What is a ceramic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LS ( 57954 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:50AM (#10521181) Homepage
    Stupid question #1: Why isn't glass considered a ceramic? I've googled around for information on what a ceramic is, and I haven't found anything that precludes glass...

    LS
    • Well, ceramics are generally made by forming something (such as clay) and then subjecting it to high heat. Glass, on the other hand, comes out of high heat and is formed before it cools down.
    • Difference in microstructure. Ceramics have an ordered structure, while glasses are amorphous. Glasses is considered a sub-category of ceramics
    • Re:What is a ceramic (Score:5, Informative)

      by goneutt ( 694223 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @03:28AM (#10521716) Journal
      Oddly enough, Steel with 6.67% bw Carbon is Iron Carbide, a ceramic. According to my material science book, Ceramics are compounds of metallic and nonmetallic elelments. Ionic or Covalent bonds form which are stronger than metallic bonds.

      Glass is an amorphous solid, a liquid that is cooled at a rate too high to allow crystals to form. Glass ceramics have a high crystalline component to their microstructure. As a result the hardness of a glass ceramic comes to a higher level.

      And yes, I am a Mechanical Engineering student. (Who should be typing a lab report for his material science class right now)
      • Steel with 6.67% bw Carbon is Iron Carbide, a ceramic

        Rubbish. Iron carbide is a ceramic, but steel contains not more than 2% carbon. Thus, steel is a mixture of a ceramic and a metal, with most of its properties determined by the metal.

        There is more detail about this here [vt.edu] than you want to know, unless of course you are a taking a materials science class, and are confused about what exactly steel is.

        • Your generation doesn't know how lucky it is. I wish we had had clickable points on phase diagrams in my day, instead of getting looked down on by lecturers when we asked stupid questions (that nobody else in class knew the answer to either...)
          And we had to make our own steel out of charcoal, magnetite and a lot of clay...and we were lucky, our neighbors were still living in the Bronze Age.
  • Refractive index (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LS ( 57954 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @12:54AM (#10521205) Homepage
    Here's a picture [logicandsanity.com] of the lense. Apparently the cool thing about this lense is that it has a higher index of refraction, allowing it to be thinner and take less space, hence the slim profile of the casio.

    LS
    • Re:Refractive index (Score:3, Informative)

      by eclectro ( 227083 )
      Indeed, that is the key point. From this list [gsu.edu] you can get an idea of the index of refraction of common materials. This ceramic glass has index of refraction of 2.08 [murata.com].

      Presumably this ceramic glass has the advantage of being hard and have a very low cost, otherwise they might as well use cubic zirconia [jewellerycatalogue.co.uk] (index of refraction 2.17)

      This might be a case of a solution finding a problem.
    • Re:Refractive index (Score:2, Interesting)

      by JazzHarper ( 745403 )
      It seems that the properties of a ceramic lens offer only marginal benefits to a camera, particularly one with such a small lens in the first place.

      Reduced weight and greater resistance to scratches would be of great value in eyeglasses. Where can I get Lumicera lenses to put in front of my eyeballs?
      -
  • FINALLY!!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by stevok ( 818024 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @01:19AM (#10521278)
    Now I can take pictures of Mt. St. Helens' glowing rocks! Before, my camera lens kept melting. With this new ceramic heat-resistant lens, my time on the volcano is only limited by the durability of my asbestos suit!
  • by mtec ( 572168 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @01:45AM (#10521357)
    take pictures of really hot women!

    *sorry*
  • The lens is made by MuRata and is called Lumicera. Info can be found at http://www.murata.com/opt/lumicera.html [murata.com]

    Comparison of Refractive Index between Transparent Ceramics and Conventional Optical Glass
    The refractive index of the transparent ceramics is 2.08 (lambda = 587 nm). It is quite high compared with that of conventional optical glasses (between 1.5 to 1.8). Furthermore, as there is no birefringence in the ceramics, there is a potential for downsizing and advancement of optical devices with optical
    • Birefringence (Score:3, Informative)

      by djmurdoch ( 306849 )
      Furthermore, as there is no birefringence in the ceramics, there is a potential for downsizing and advancement of optical devices with optical elements, such as lenses.


      I didn't know what birefringence was, so I looked it up: it's the phenomenon in certain crystals that causes them to have two indices of refraction, so light beams entering are split into two parts.

      It's not a problem in glass lenses, but would be if you made a lens out of those crystalline materials.
    • Furthermore, as there is no birefringence in the ceramics, there is a potential for downsizing and advancement of optical devices with optical elements, such as lenses.

      For those not familiar with birefringence, it means that the material would have different refractive indices for different polarizations of light. Since most light is usually a mixture of different polarization planes, a birefringent lens would create a blur of multiple images.

      Many ceramics are birefringent, because the ordering of the

  • Ceramics and glasses (Score:3, Informative)

    by panurge ( 573432 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @03:08AM (#10521660)
    This is largely marketing speak, IMHO. Glasses are supercooled liquids but inevitably contain a certain amount of crystallised material. Ceramics are crystalline, but unless they are single-crystal will usually contain a certain amount of glass in the matrix. This is one reason why ceramics usually have a softening range rather than a sudden melting temperature as with pure crystals. (The other is that the variation in crystal structure also creates a range of melting.)

    I suspect the actual achievement here is managing to produce a transparent lens from a high refractive index material, but explain that to the masses who buy low-end digital cameras.

  • piece of crap (Score:2, Informative)

    by Djinh ( 92332 )
    Check the pics in this review [dcresource.com].

    No matter that it's ceramic, the lens is still crap...

    What will it take before we see a smallish digicam with a decent lens???
  • Thinks he was first in posting a review.

    His review is dated: Review posted on October 12 2004 16:38 GMT by Stuart Miles

    Digicam Resource's review [dcresource.com]is dated: Originally posted: August 28, 2003

    Steves-Digicams review [steves-digicams.com] is dated: Review posted 10/1/2004

    It looks like stuart was third at best.
  • by Inode Jones ( 1598 ) on Thursday October 14, 2004 @11:37AM (#10525659) Homepage
    We are told that the ceramic material has an index of refraction of 2.08 and is more durable than other glasses.

    Being highly myopic, I am interested in ophthalmic applications of new materials. Right now, I am wearing a Nikon 1.74 index plastic lens, which is quite thin for its power.

    The highest-index material that I am aware of currently being marketed for eyeglass use is the Zeiss Lantal 1.9 index glass. However, this material is quite shatter-prone, having only 1mm center thickness. I am told that one can poke a finger through a Lantal lens.

    In addition to refractive power, for eyeglass use one must consider other optical properties, in particular the Abbe value. The Abbe value characterizes the chromatic aberration of a lens. The lower the Abbe number, the worse color fringing will be; some eyeglass wearers cannot tolerate high-index lenses because they typically have lower Abbe values than plain plastic.

    Interestingly, Abbe is potentially irrevelant in a digital camera, because any chromatic aberration can be digitally removed. Effectively, you treat the R/G/B images from the sensor as three independent images and size them individually to compensate for the aberration. This cannot easily be done with a film camera, and is not possible at all with eyeglasses.
    • High dispersion is still a problem in digital cameras. Digital processing cannot completely fix chromatic focus errors. Even with three sensors at different focus points, there is an error band across the split spectra.

      High index material also causes more problems with internal reflections. This is solved with coating (and multicoating), but I've read that suitable materials to multicoat high refractive index optics are unavilable.

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