Lens design advances

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Steerpike Regular Member • Posts: 104
Lens design advances
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In the review of the Lumix LX100, (https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonic-lumix-dmc-lx100/9 ) this comment was made when comparing the lens of the LX100 with the lens of the LX7: "Perhaps the most impressive engineering feat on the LX100 is its lens. Back when the LX7 came out, it was impossible to design a lens compact enough to work with a sensor this large. But lens design has evolved a lot, as you can see below" - it then shows a graphic that illustrates how big the new LX100 lens would have to be if it followed the same design approach as the LX7.

OK, so I'm an IT guy and it's commonplace to see major advances in electronics, but I am really surprised to see that lens design - which is basic physics - could be advancing so much.  Semiconductor science is a billion-dollar industry and the payback for increased miniaturization and feature improvement is amazing - people will throw out their old iPhones, tablets, laptops, etc if the new one is faster/better/shinier. But lenses - where are the advances coming from? Where's the payback for major investment (smartphone cameras is probably the biggest push?).

Can anyone give me some perspective on this - what are the types of advances being made in lens design, and what is enabling these advances - what exists today that didn't exist 6 years ago (when the LX7 came out, in this context)?

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Panasonic LX100
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