Optical Lenses are often categorized by their shape. Two common surface shapes are spherical and aspherical. Each offers unique characteristics that make it suitable for different use cases.

Limitations of Standard Optics in Aerial Imagery Applications

As a leading provider of precision-engineered optical solutions, JML Optical offers a full selection of services including opto-mechanical design, thin-film coating, glass and metal fabrication, prototyping, environmental testing, metrology, and full assembly and testing. In addition to many others, aerial imagery applications frequently use our solutions. We can give our customers what they need for applications such as drones, high-resolution aerial photography, and more.

The following are some of the limits that aerial imagery applications often experience with standard optics, along with the solutions that can overcome them.

Aerial Imagery Applications

Aerial imagery is any kind of imagery captured from aircraft such as planes, balloons, and drones. The defense and aerospace industries often use aerial imagery to perform surveillance or mapping. Additionally, disaster management applications often use drones to map a specific search grid for rescue missions. Other potential applications for aerial imagery include:

  • Precision agriculture through the use of remote sensing data to help maximize crop yields, improve decision-making, and minimize waste
  • Monitoring assets such as public and private facilities to help save resources
  • Monitoring for habitat loss and climate change based on environmental indicators in habitat protection applications
  • Mapping cities and specific areas in urban planning applications

Limitations and Challenges

Depending on the application, aerial imagery using standard optics can present certain challenges and limitations.


One of our customers, an international imaging company, needed design and fabrication expertise for a new lens assembly concept. Standard optics solutions wouldn’t help improve the design and manufacturing process, but with the help of JML Optical, this customer received the assistance they needed based on their unique design specifications.


This customer specifically required an aerial imagery product that standard optics wouldn’t allow. These design requirements included fast aperture, a long focal length, a wide field of view, high resolution, ruggedness, and athermal performance in a compact package. They also required a prototype quickly. Additionally, they needed to manufacture the product with some of the tightest tolerances in large production quantities.


To help solve these challenges and limitations, JML designed a lens assembly in accordance with the customer’s specific vision. After completing the design process, we manufactured the optical components and assembled them with precision. To meet their needs when it came to tight deadlines and high production volume, we also helped develop an improved manufacturing process.

JML developed several rapid prototype lenses for lab and field testing. When testing these prototypes, we discovered areas that could benefit from improvement to the design and manufacturing process. Based on the test results, we made the necessary improvements and provided metrology upgrades to meet our customer’s testing needs. 

Once we’d developed and implemented these solutions, we continued to work with the customer to facilitate total integration of our completed lens assembly into their existing imagery system. From there, we were able to make continuous improvements to further optimize this customer’s aerial imagery systems. 

Custom Optics for Aerial Imagery from JML Optical

Depending on the needs of a specific aerial imagery application, JML Optical can provide a complete custom solution that goes beyond the capabilities of standard optics. We can assist with every step of the design and manufacturing process, from prototype to production. Regardless of the imaging challenges and limitations you’re facing, we can help resolve them with reliable solutions based on your individual project specifications.

If you would like more information about our solutions and capabilities, contact us today. To get started on a custom solution for your application, you can also request a quote from us at any time.