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Paul Ruben's List of Questions for Custom Lens Design

Below are the engineering questions that need to be answered in order to complete a custom lens design that is fully suited for its intended use.  If you already know what all these questions mean and are ready to answer them, you are already a good ways along the road of designing the lens. 

If not, not to worry: fill out this form as much as possible and click Send Request below, click here to download a Word document version of this form, or call the ImportOptics.com team, and we’ll help translate these questions into understandable English, and get your design underway!

Type of System and Use

Select from List:

Describe the product, system use, and operation:

Customer Data

Design Due Date
Production Qty.
Target Cost.
Other Info.

Reason for Design

What unusual requirements or characteristics distinguish it from existing systems?

Focal Length

What is the required focal length, or object-to-image distance for a finite-conjugate system?

Is there a minimum back focus?


Express as a ratio, such as 10X or 1/2X.

What is the object-to-image distance, with tolerances?

Field of View

Provide angular field, or the object and image size, with tolerances.

Relative Aperture

What is the maximum relative aperture?

Minimum aperture, if any? Express either as an f-number, numerical aperture, or working f-number or numerical aperture for finite conjugate systems.

 Iris diaphragm required?

Is there a T-stop requirement?

Field Illumination or Vignetting

Specify any unusual vignetting requirements.  Does required corner illumination include cos4 factor?


Specify if known.


Specify principal wavelength and range.

Give spectral response of system if known, or spectral sensitivity of receptor.

Size and Space Limitations

Provide any mechanical limiting dimensions or spacing which might affect the system design.

Is space envelop available?

Special Materials

Identify and explain any requirements for special materials.


Can you define resolving power or MTF, or compare quality to an existing system?

 Is there a tolerance for focus shift, distortion, lateral color, and field curvature?


Identify special requirements for temperature, pressure, humidity, shock, or focus athermalization.

Exit Pupil

Is the size or location of the exit pupil and eye distance important?  If so, please specify.


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