Quote Originally Posted by David Lyga View Post
Wiltw quote: "back when computers were not used for lens design"

My question: What was the year that things changed? Or please give a short continuum of years defining the (sudden or gradual?) 'improvement' in zooms due to computer determination of formula, as opposed to manual determination. My rudimentary guess is the 'late 70s'. - David Lyga
Throughout the early Eighties old-school "hand-designed" lenses coexisted with computer-generated lenses. I think by 1985 most lenses were computer-designed. I remember a lens test showing a recent Nikon SE lens performing much better than the more expensive, heavier, old-design Nikkor. (OK it was heavier also because it was better realized mechanically). Must have been 1985 or so.

I think it was just at that time that Leitz made an agreement with Minolta for the realization of their first zooms (based on Minolta designs). Leitz being a small, quasi-artisanal firm did not have or could not afford a research centre able to deal with the new design tecniques, I imagine. Computer-aided design made zoom lenses possible for photographic purposes. Until then they were basically only seen in the motion picture industry or in small movie cameras. "Turrets" or "bifocals" were the alternatives.