NWS Instruments AG introduces 23mm APO, 110mm APO lenses and the Akrobat™ Modular Instrument Positioning System
NWS Instruments AG Akrobat™ and 23mm APO Lens (Photo: Business Wire)
This first 2019 release includes two 120 lp/mm, large image-circle lenses: the 110° 23mm APO f/3,5 wide angle, the macro-focusing 110mm APO f/3,2 telephoto; and the revolutionary Akrobat™ Modular Instrument Positioning System.
These products meet and exceed the extreme demands in academic, research and scientific visual documentation, as well as exacting commercial photography such as advertising, architectural, automotive, industrial, jewelry and tabletop. They deliver superb optical performance from infinity to minimum focus distance with edge-to-edge resolution through all-metal, precise mechanics.
To assure experts get exactly what they expect, a Performance Verification document showing actual MTF measurements is included in the delivery of every instrument, and certifies it to meet published specifications with a ±10% tolerance. “No-middlemen” pricing allows “Made in Switzerland” quality to be more affordable and acessible.
In press releases to come later in Q1 2019, we will detail expert testimonials of our instruments, along with how evaluation and purchase processes work in our “no-middlemen” model.
Here are some technical details about the products:
The 23APO and 110APO InstrumentsA 120 lp/mm MTF50 rating enables these lenses to fully exploit the resolution potential inherent in the latest 40+ Megapixel digital cameras and backs, Chromatic aberration is nearly eliminated in both lenses, being limited to under 10µm, or about 2 lateral pixels on a 50Mp sensor, Linear distortion is 4.8% for the 23APO and 0.8% for the 110APO while covering their respective image circles of 70mm and 55mm, Significant efforts have been made to render out-of-focus areas with pleasant, natural Gaussian distribution. Aperture control uses 15 blades, and is graduated with a dual scale on the lens barrel – the traditional f/ number for each opening, as well as the Point Spread Function (PSF) in microns (µm) at each corresponding lens opening. NWS Instruments pioneers the use of PSF markings on the lens barrel to quantify inherent optical performance. PSF is a function of the effects of diffraction and residual optical aberrations: the lower PSF diameter, the higher possible optical resolution. Their large image circles – 70mm for the 23APO and 55mm for the 110APO were specified to provide sharp coverage for Micro Four Thirds, APS-C, Full Frame and 33x44 sensors as well as 6x4,5 film with generous margins for perspective and sharpness movements. To facilitate compatibility across many camera systems, the lenses are fitted with Hasselblad V-compatible lens mounts with a back focal distance of 74,9mm, allowing them to use widely available adapters to attach to almost any camera. Please note that these lenses were not designed to be used on Hasselblad V-cameras due to significant incompatibilities. The 23APO enables perfect instrument leveling with another NWS Instruments innovation: a certified spirit level from Wyler AG in Winterthur, Switzerland can be incorporated directly on the lens barrel. An optional, fully mechanical Shift Adapter provides the correct adaptation of the lenses to cameras with Canon EF- and Nikon F-mounts. The adapter shifts laterally ±12mm and rotates 360° continuously around the optical axis with spring-loaded detents every 45° starting at Top Dead Center. Focus control on both lenses are fully manual. The focus ring turns 90° on the 23APO to a minimum distance of 25cm and the 110APO turns 270° to its 40cm minimum. Optical performance is fully optimized along its focusing range through differential optical element movements. In addition, the 110APO adds a unique focus adjustment torque control – from very light resistance to enable rapid focusing, to complete fixation to avoid focus creep - by incorporating a full-perimeter brake mechanism inside the lens barrel controlled by a graduated knob for repeatability. As ultimate assurance of product quality, NWS Instruments is the first to deliver every lens in series production with a Performance Verification document showing test results from a state-of-the-art Modulation Transfer Function measurement system. The results verify that the measured lens meets published specifications within a ±10% tolerance.
To deliver our promised optical performance, both optical and mechanical components require very precise manufacturing by experienced experts to extremely tight tolerances – this is why we are located in Switzerland, close to our factory partners who have been established for years in the heart of the Swiss precision manufacturing industry.
The Akrobat™ Modular Instrument Positioning System
The Akrobat™ is a modular 4-axis instrument positioning system that many would call a “view camera”. It is compact, robust and designed to make corrective optical adjustments and movements easy, secure, repeatable. Best of all, a complete Akrobat™ setup is compact and very transportable.
The heart of Akrobat™ is the NWS-designed, patent-pending 4-axis head. “4-axis” means movements such as tilt, rise/fall, shift and swing are all accomplished on the head. It has separate locks for each pair of movements: tilt and rise/fall are locked by one lever, while shift and swing are locked by another. Each axis is equipped with an engraved scale for repeatability, and center detents on every axis allow set up to be done quickly and precisely.
A single head can be configured as a tripod head, while 2 heads connected with industry-standard 15mm rods can form the basis of a “view camera” when combined with front and rear standards and a film or digital camera. Since the head uses a1/4”-20 attachment thread, many compatible objects may be mounted. The payload capacity of the head is approximately 5kg.
A 4-axis head configured as a front standard of a view camera can accept NWS’s lenses, other Hasselblad V-mount lenses, or via optional NWS-designed adapters traditional view camera lenses mounted on Compur/Copal No. 0 or No. 1 shutters. Focusing with NWS lenses should be done on the lens to take advantage of optimized optical performance based on focused distance, while out-of-range adjustments or Compur/Copal-equipped lenses can be done by moving the standards on the 15mm rods.
To facilitate extremely precise focusing, an optional micrometer-mount focusing kit is available to accommodate industry-standard micrometers with up to 52mm thimble diameter, as well as translation stage linear actuators. An additional feature of this kit is the availability of an M6 screw hole and a 6mm dovetail so adjustable metrology positioning arms, such as the Fisso brand Made in Zürich, Switzerland, can be used to hold a French Flag to precisely shape ambient light around the lens or to anchor the Akrobat™ to non-conventional locations such as vertical iron pipes or steel ceiling beams.
For the rear standard, several options are available – a Canon EF- or Nikon F-mount DSLR frame that locks conveniently in either landscape or portrait positions, a Hasselblad V-compatible frame compatible with corresponding film magazines and digital backs, and a Sinar p/p2-Multipurpose Frame-compatible extension that opens the system to many 4x5 accessory attachment possibilities including 6x12, 6x17 panorama and instant film.
Pricing will be announced when actual series-production costs can be confirmed by our partners. We aim to make our pricing affordable and accessible while maintaining the highest quality standards. We also plan to offer attractive “Early-Bird Bundles” during our Kickstarter campaigns.
About NWS Instruments AG
NWS Instruments AG was founded by industry veterans to serve expert users by inventing, designing and producing precision optical and mechanical instruments. All our designs are originals conceived and refined by the NWS team, with precision manufacturing, assembly and quality control performed in Switzerland and shipped directly to customers worldwide.