Are lens designs scalable?

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quadrox Senior Member • Posts: 1,229
Are lens designs scalable?

The "sharpest lens" thread in the Canon lens forum got me thinking about what aspects would make designing a sharp lens easier. My first thought was that longer focal lengths might be easier because rays would be more parallel, but then I figured that could not be true, ray parallelism must depend on f-stop. But if that were true, ultimately that should mean that lens design should be completely scalable?

So if you have a design for a 200mm lens that is very sharp for example, you could scale everything by 200% and get a 400mm lens with the exact same optical properties as the 200mm lens (apart from angle of view of course). Our you could scale it down to 50% and get an 100mm lens?

And since this is rarely done, I guess the reason for that is mostly weight/size/cost?

EDIT: After DM sent me some funny images of tiny DSLRs I came to realize that at least the rear mount would present problems with this scalable approach. Since the rear mount has to fit on the camera it cannot simply be scaled, and thus the whole proposition probably falls apart.

Still, I wonder how much of a design you could copy and scale - could the rear mount issue be solved somehow?

 quadrox's gear list:quadrox's gear list
Canon EOS 5DS R Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM +1 more
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