A new optical concept for compact digital image acquisition devices with large field of view is developed and proofed experimentally. Archetypes for the imaging system are compound eyes of small insects and the Gabor-Superlens. A paraxial 3×3 matrix formalism is used to describe the telescope arrangement of three microlens arrays with different pitch to find first order parameters of the imaging system. A 2mm thin imaging system with 21×3 channels, 70°×10° field of view and 4.5mm × 0.5mm image size is optimized and analyzed using sequential and non-sequential raytracing and fabricated by microoptics technology. Anamorphic lenses, where the parameters are a function of the considered optical channel, are used to achieve a homogeneous optical performance over the whole field of view. Captured images are presented and compared to simulation results. © 2005 Optical Society of America.