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A Breakthrough Camera Lens? ....... No Way Says Judge. (1 Viewer)

Peter Kline

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Judge Says Oscar-Winning Camera Lens Doesn't Work

Fri Apr 11, 9:49 PM ET

By Gina Keating and Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A federal judge in Los Angeles has nullified the patent for one of Hollywood's most advanced camera lenses, saying the cinematographer who won an Academy Award for inventing it lied to U.S. patent examiners about its capabilities.

The Panavision/Frazier lens, invented by Australian wildlife photographer James Frazier, was touted as having revolutionary depth-of-field capabilities. That is, the lens could hold small objects in the foreground and background images in sharp focus at the same time.

Complete story:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...n_lawsuit_dc_2
 

Ricardo C

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How could he get away with lying about the lens' capabilities? It either works as advertised, or it doesn't. I assume it was tested before it was granted the patent.
 

James Zubb

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Patents are never tested unless they are challenged in court. There are not enough skilled people in the patent office to test everything out.
 

Peter Kline

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Ricardo,

He provided bogus info and tests about the lens to the patent office. Read the article and not just the first paragraph!

Peter
 

Sean Laughter

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I can understand the patent office being fooled, but you'd think the people doing the Academy Awards would know better.
 

Peter Kline

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The thing is not that the lense didn't work, it just wasn't the breakthrough it was represented to be. Also false "proof" of it's superiority was filed with the patent office which caused the judge to dismiss the patent.
 

Seth Paxton

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But Steve Gainer, a working cinematographer and museum curator for the American Society of Cinematographers said he would be surprised to learn that the lens was not the technological breakthrough it seemed.


"I'd be surprised because so many people have embraced it as new and wonderful," he said. "It's fabulous."
I'm not sure what Gainer means when he says this. Does "embracing" mean that people have used the lens and achieved noticeably improved results? Seems unlikely if it really doesn't allow for any better focus, and that seems unlikely if the premise was that a basic lens could somehow have a different focal length than a similar lens. At some point it is just the physics of light at work and there is nothing you can do about that.

I would like to hear from people who have USED the lens and see their results (in their films), not Frazier's own commericials.

Gainer's quote almost makes it sound like people just assumed it worked and saw it as "fabulous", so therefore it must be.
 

Everlasting Gobstopper

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I'm not sure what Gainer means when he says this. Does "embracing" mean that people have used the lens and achieved noticeably improved results? Seems unlikely if it really doesn't allow for any better focus, and that seems unlikely if the premise was that a basic lens could somehow have a different focal length than a similar lens. At some point it is just the physics of light at work and there is nothing you can do about that.
Well, it doesn't. Supposedly what it does is function as a dual focus lens. Essentially, two lenses are couple together, one establishing a near focus and one establishing one farther off. This does not establish a large depth of field, but rather two which obey optical laws (the nearer focus is shallow, the farther one deeper). I think the reporter misinterpreted the judge's ruling, saying not that it didn't work, but rather that it did nothing new and Frazier didn't invent the system. There's a discussion on photo.net which goes into further details. It's quite technical (it being a photo site), but you should check it out. It seems from this discussion that the lens has been in use on many projects for a while now. I seem to recall it being used in Three Kings, and it being discussed by the cinematographer in his commentary.
 

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