A calculation program of the modulation transfer function (MTF) of a fish-eye lens is developed with the autocorrelation method, in which the sixth-order wave aberration theory of ultra-wide-angle optical systems is used to simulate the wave aberration distribution at the exit pupil of the optical systems. The autocorrelation integral is processed with the Gauss–Legendre integral, and the magnification chromatic aberration is discussed to calculate polychromatic MTF. The MTF calculation results of a given example are then compared with those previously obtained based on the fourth-order wave aberration theory of plane-symmetrical optical systems and with those from the Zemax program. The study shows that MTF based on the sixth-order wave aberration theory has satisfactory calculation accuracy even for a fish-eye lens with a large acceptance aperture. And the impacts of different types of aberrations on the MTF of a fish-eye lens are analyzed. Finally, we apply the self-adaptive and normalized real-coded genetic algorithm and the MTF developed in the paper to optimize the Nikon F/2.8 fish-eye lens; consequently, the optimized system shows better MTF performances than those of the original design.
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