How a f/0.71 lens helped advance TB screening

Charles G. Wynne (1911-1999) was a lens pioneer, but not in the traditional sense, i.e. his forte was not traditional photographic lenses. We presume sometimes that all advances in photography were made in the realm of cameras, but there are other fields that require lenses as well. Wynne began has optical career at Taylor, Taylor and Hobson Ltd. in 1936, after graduating from Oxford. Wynne worked for TT&H until 1943, when he moved to Wray Optical Works. Here he was not just an assistant, but a lens designer in his own right. His first job at Wray was improving the short focal length aerial reconnaissance lenses that the company made for the RAF.

Wynne designed a series of interchangeable lenses for Wray’s 35mm SLR, the Wrayflex camera, the only British full-frame 35mm SLR camera ever made. Around 1950, there was an opportunity for developing fast lenses for use in the photography of cathode-ray tube (CRT) images and the phosphor screens that were used in X-ray machines. Wynne developed a f/0.71 lens, which although too expensive for industrial CRT photography, was ideally suited the the mobile mass screening program of the 1950s that helped eradicate TB. Wynne likely gleaned some personal satisfaction from this lens, as he had contracted tuberculosis whilst at Oxford. The f/0.71 lens used exposure times eight times shorter than a typical modern photographic lens with an aperture of f/2.0.

The Wynne 64mm f/0.7 lens
  1. Wynne, C.G., Wray, P., “A new form of f/0.71 lens for 35 mm cine-radiography”, Journal of Scientific Instruments, 28, pp.172-173 (1951)
  2. Maxwell, J., Wormell, P.M.J.H., “Charles Gorrie Wynne“, The Royal Society, p.499-514 (2001)

One thought on “How a f/0.71 lens helped advance TB screening

  1. Pingback: The first forays into computer designed lenses | Crafting Pixels

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