In conventional light microscopy, the physics of lenses impose relations between resolution and other optical parameters of the system. For example, the numerical aperture of a lens cannot be increased to improve resolution without either increasing the size of the lens or decreasing the working distance. The technique presented here, Synthetic Aperture Optics (SAO), removes many of these constraints by decoupling resolution from other optical parameters. In particular, the resolution is primarily determined by the illumination, while the working distance, depth of field, and field of view are primarily determined by the objective. Thus the working distance, depth of field, and field of view are significantly greater than can be achieved without greatly increasing the size of the lens or reducing the resolution of the images.