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Interview with Zeiss Senior Optical Scientist (2 Viewers)

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
...In several comments he refers to the extensive use of computerized human eye models to reach final design decisions — clearly revealing Zeiss' orientation to man-machine optimization rather than simply stand-alone instrument optimization....

Not to be too grumpy about it, but I wish that process were more apparent in the outcome of the design of the 8x32 FL. It has superb center-field resolution, extremely low CA, and many other amazing qualities, but its performance is _painfully_ dependent upon perfect alignment of the eyes with the oculars.

--AP
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Hi Lee,

I'd like to add my compliments to the pile.

Being oriented to human factors design, I found several statements by Thomas Steinich to be eye opening:

This is pregnant with meaning. At long last there is concrete evidence that designers (at least at Zeiss) are concerned with ~spherical curvature of the retina.

[/B]What he means is that unaided viewing includes a change in distortion as a function of field angle, i.e., a visual gradient. But his use of the word also indicates to me that he's a student of Gibson's theory of spatial perception. This is consistent with him being a nature observer (like myself) where realistic spatial perception is an important viewing quality. In a more expanded discussion I suspect he might have commented on the value of matching eye and instrument field curvatures with regard to spatial perception.

In several comments he refers to the extensive use of computerized human eye models to reach final design decisions — clearly revealing Zeiss' orientation to man-machine optimization rather than simply stand-alone instrument optimization. As I suspected there's a lot more going on in the design labs than what appears in sales brochures.

Anyway, he's quite an impressive technical guy and many thanks for doing this interview with him. I learned a lot. Good work! :t:

Ed

Thanks Ed ! :t:

I think I learned more from your post than Zeiss gave away :)









Chosun :gh:
 

elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
Not to be too grumpy about it, but I wish that process were more apparent in the outcome of the design of the 8x32 FL. It has superb center-field resolution, extremely low CA, and many other amazing qualities, but its performance is _painfully_ dependent upon perfect alignment of the eyes with the oculars.

--AP

I'm grumpy too —

Ed
 

ownerd

Member
That's a pretty candid interview. Usually someone this high up is a bit more coy and not so forthcoming. Great read.
 

Omid

Well-known member
United States
What he means is that unaided viewing includes a change in distortion as a function of field angle, i.e., a visual gradient. But his use of the word also indicates to me that he's a student of Gibson's theory of spatial perception. This is consistent with him being a nature observer (like myself) where realistic spatial perception is an important viewing quality. In a more expanded discussion I suspect he might have commented on the value of matching eye and instrument field curvatures with regard to spatial perception.


Ed,

It is one thing to allow certain amount of distortion in the visual field of binoculars so that they don't cause visual discomfort while panning across. It is quite another thing to think the product designers are influenced by Gibson, Kaufman, Fender, etc. Gibson's research has been published more than 50 years ago. If Zeiss or anybody else were to pay attention to facts of human perception, they would have done so back in the 20th century when they were a leading non-bankrupt company. You are living in the dreamland my friend! Wake up and welcome to the 21 century where the grandest consideration in binocular design is "the Ergo Balance concept meaning you have to shift the centre of gravity closer to the user" :)

Perception_Books.jpg

-Omid
 
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jan van daalen

Well-known member
Ed,

It is one thing to allow certain amount of distortion in the visual field of binoculars so that they don't cause visual discomfort while panning across. It is quite another thing to think the product designers are influenced by Gibson, Kaufman, Fender, etc. Gibson's research has been published more than 50 years ago. If Zeiss or anybody else were to pay attention to facts of human perception, they would have done so back in the 20th century when they were a leading non-bankrupt company. You are living in the dreamland my friend! Wake up and welcome to the 21 century where the grandest consideration in binocular design is "the Ergo Balance concept meaning you have to shift the centre of gravity closer to the user" :)

View attachment 742301

-Omid

Hi Omid,

...........were a leading non-bankrupt company.

Are you living in a dreamland? Due to Swarovski's lack of stock sales of Zeiss is sky rocketing.


Jan
 

tenex

reality-based
Aha, there's my reading list! ;)

But the unfortunate thing about this (somewhat implausible) claim that optical designers have simply been ignoring important practical implications of modern understanding of visual perception for the last 50 years, is that you don't consider yourself free to give a single example. You have to admit that doesn't allow much of a conversation.
.
 
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PeterPS

MEMBER
Hi Omid,

...........were a leading non-bankrupt company.

Are you living in a dreamland? Due to Swarovski's lack of stock sales of Zeiss is sky rocketing.


Jan

Hi Jan,

That's interesting, but why people don't prefer the FPs? Imo they're priced quite competitively; anyway Zeiss SF are more expensive. Maybe the answer is that some people want the latest and "greatest".

Peter
 

jan van daalen

Well-known member
Hi Jan,

That's interesting, but why people don't prefer the FPs? Imo they're priced quite competitively; anyway Zeiss SF are more expensive. Maybe the answer is that some people want the latest and "greatest".

Peter

Hi Peter,

No, it is more a matter of availibility.
Yes, the FP is more popular but when it is not available people choose a different/next in line model.
"I need a bin and I want it now"......

Jan
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
Hi Peter,

No, it is more a matter of availibility.
Yes, the FP is more popular but when it is not available people choose a different/next in line model.
"I need a bin and I want it now"......

Jan

Hi again Jan,

I thought you meant that Swaro cannot keep up with the demand for the NLs, which I know is true; are you saying that even the FPs are in short supply?

Peter
 

tenex

reality-based
But his use of the word also indicates to me that he's a student of Gibson's theory of spatial perception.
I finally got around to the article you linked, admittedly brief, but am having trouble seeing the relevance of Gibson's theory to the design of optical instruments... or, well, to anything. First there's the nearly total lack of evidence:
"In fact, it has been noted that 'Gibson wrote with a strange authority, merely stating his position rather than marshalling experimental evidence'."

Then there's the central role for him of motion of the observer, whereas one doesn't typically move while using binoculars etc.

Aspects of the theory seem unnecessarily baroque:
"If a person is moving straight ahead, the gradient flows everywhere with the exception of the point toward which the person is moving, which, being at the center of the optical flow pattern, stays constant. Thus, a person's ability to stay on course as he or she moves towards an object is attributed to the ability to keep the unchanging (invariant) center of the optical flow pattern centered on the desired destination."
I would have thought that staying on course was due simply to keeping the destination straight in front of me; "flow" seems irrelevant (though I'm sure it's impressive when flying a jet fighter).

And even his basic idea seems meaningless, either linguistic confusion or conceptual error:
"Gibson's claim is simply that perception can occur directly, in a single step, based only on the information contained in the stimulus, with no intervening cognitive processing being necessary."
What is this "perception" if not a cognitive process itself, and moreover one that has required (as Goldstein points out) a good deal of learning to develop? Is there a Cartesian homunculus lurking here?
 
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jan van daalen

Well-known member
Hi again Jan,

I thought you meant that Swaro cannot keep up with the demand for the NLs, which I know is true; are you saying that even the FPs are in short supply?

Peter
Hi Peter,

Sorry for the late reply.
Yes, for some time there is a delay on the complete line. Something Zeiss certainly profits of. Seen in that light I wouldn't call them bankrupt, like Omid does.
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
Hi Peter,

Hi Jan,
Sorry for the late reply.
No problem at all.
Yes, for some time there is a delay on the complete line.
I was not aware of that, I thought that only the NLs were in short supply. Something is happening at Swaro, and it does not look good. I had a recent bad experience with their online store, among other things they told me they need 8 weeks to refund a purchase---I might report my experience on the Swaro sub-forum. I hope they'll get back to "normal" soon.

Peter
Something Zeiss certainly profits of. Seen in that light I wouldn't call them bankrupt, like Omid does.
 
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range

Well-known member
I noticed the prism cage question was not answered.
That was the one I'm most interested in.
 

range

Well-known member
Actually after several days use of the SF 1032, I'm already bored.
I have lowered my expectation much after I took part in its premier in early September (http://www.bggd.com/bbs/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=451102) in case you are interested.
But I have to admit the increased afov does not make adequate difference to take the viewing experience to a new level, the same with the NL models.
They are still ordinary alpha binoculars, good instrument but no more.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
FWIW

Range’s link in post #76 is to a Zeiss promotional event. The page is 50 MB in size, mainly due to 37 full size images from the event
The images include: those who were at the event, the band that performed, the food available and the night skyline
And there are no particularly informative images of the Zeiss products

So especially is you’re using a handheld device you may not wish to open it

My one takeaway is that:
The attendees preferred to use the seagull hold on binoculars
i.e. elbows out, so little skeletal support to minimise muscular tension
(thanks to PeterPS for the descriptor, from: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/swarovski-nl-8x42-first-impressions.393180/page-38#post-4068439 )


John
 
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elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
I finally got around to the article you linked, admittedly brief, but am having trouble seeing the relevance of Gibson's theory to the design of optical instruments... or, well, to anything. First there's the nearly total lack of evidence:
"In fact, it has been noted that 'Gibson wrote with a strange authority, merely stating his position rather than marshalling experimental evidence'."

Then there's the central role for him of motion of the observer, whereas one doesn't typically move while using binoculars etc.

Aspects of the theory seem unnecessarily baroque:
"If a person is moving straight ahead, the gradient flows everywhere with the exception of the point toward which the person is moving, which, being at the center of the optical flow pattern, stays constant. Thus, a person's ability to stay on course as he or she moves towards an object is attributed to the ability to keep the unchanging (invariant) center of the optical flow pattern centered on the desired destination."
I would have thought that staying on course was due simply to keeping the destination straight in front of me; "flow" seems irrelevant (though I'm sure it's impressive when flying a jet fighter).

And even his basic idea seems meaningless, either linguistic confusion or conceptual error:
"Gibson's claim is simply that perception can occur directly, in a single step, based only on the information contained in the stimulus, with no intervening cognitive processing being necessary."
What is this "perception" if not a cognitive process itself, and moreover one that has required (as Goldstein points out) a good deal of learning to develop? Is there a Cartesian homunculus lurking here?
tenex,

Sorry for not responding sooner, but this post eluded me in my frenetic efforts to deal with the new BF system. :rolleyes:

Gibsonian theory is in some ways similar to Darwin's evolution theory, in that it provides an overall framework for understanding perception, the details of which get filled in over time. Goldstein's article (published 39 years ago) is a thoughtful review of Gibson's three published books, and he concludes by saying: "He chose to focus not on providing data, but on providing a framework to help researchers think about perception." Gibson, of course, was an experimental psychologist and several of his experiments produced factual information that I personally find useful on a day-to-day basis. That's not to say the rest of the world does, or cares. :unsure:

Thomas Steinich's comments simply lead me to believe that he is also familiar with Gibson's work, and that to some extent it guides his thinking. Since I'm reading between the lines, however, I could be wrong.

If you don't mind me saying, even if I were to agree with your interpretation of the article you're still being far too dismissive of Gibson's insights. For that you'd have to read his actual research papers.

Ed
 

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PeterPS

MEMBER
FWIW

Range’s link in post #76 is to a Zeiss promotional event. The page is 50 MB in size, mainly due to 37 full size images from the event
The images include: those who were at the event, the band that performed, the food available and the night skyline
And there are no particularly informative images of the Zeiss products
The SF 42 unit in the pics seems to be the grey version. I believed the grey version was discontinued----personally I prefer it to the black version.
So especially is you’re using a handheld device you may not wish to open it

My one takeaway is that:
The attendees preferred to use the seagull hold on binoculars
i.e. elbows out, so little skeletal support to minimise muscular tension
(thanks to PeterPS for the descriptor, from: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/swarovski-nl-8x42-first-impressions.393180/page-38#post-4068439 )
I am impressed that you remembered my post about the seagull hold, but imo in this hold your arms become tired more quickly than in a hold in which the elbows are closer to the body.
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi Peter,

When I read your original post, I was so taken by the mental image that I made note of it for future reference!
And I’m in full agreement with you about such holds
I think that one reason for their popularity, is the association of the triangular shape made by the arms with strength and support
However that's only so if the triangle has three complete sides or the base is supported

- - - -

An elbows out hold has at least two distinct consequences:
a) An elbows out/ hands in position places active tension on the arms. And it’s aggravated by the weight of the binocular
If you concentrate, you can feel the tension running through the forearms to the elbows and then to the upper arms
(and in turn to the shoulders and neck) *


b) As the hands are rotated outward, the binocular has to be ‘pinched’ between the thumbs and fingers
If you were to open your thumbs the binocular would fall (though ideally only to the limit of the neck strap)

In contrast, with the alignment of the elbows under the hands:
the binocular can rest on the ‘drumsticks’ at the base of the thumbs, which are over the forearms (so vertically bone-on-bone),
and the fingers can rest relaxed on top of the binocular

Of course in describing the above, one needs to be aware that an individual may need to make a degree of adjustment,
to allow for limitations or preferences


* In formal target shooting disciplines, where a lot of attention is paid to such things, advanced practitioners distinguish between:
i) external techniques, which comprise physical components, including stance and hold, and
ii) internal techniques, which comprise mental aspects, including the sensation of the physical components such as relaxation or tension
So the internal monitors the external, and provides feedback for control and adjustment


John
 
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