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Lenses are tough to make

This video looks into the lens-manufacturing process at JML Optical. Somehow I thought it was a lot more automated than this.

Update: Mark Wallace of Snap Factory points me to the even more detailed Canon Virtual Lens Plant, which has video covering the lens manufacturing process from glass-forming to lens assembly. Canon's process seems even more complex. Just to get the glass for the lens, a glass mixture is blended from raw materials (different mixture for each lens), fused in a crucible, cast, broken apart, and recast into a sheet. Then the sheets are cut to the right shape/weight, ground, reheated, pressed into lens shapes, and annealed. Then you start the 'lens machining', i.e. actually grinding and polishing the lens. For this stage, the lens is rough ground with a diamond grind stone, fine ground with a diamond pellet platter (1/1000mm precision), polished, milled to the right diameter, and coated. The final lens assembly process is all expertly hand-done from the inside of the lens out. It's impressive how many steps have to go right to get to the final product. (got all that?)

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Also check out the step by step video of Canon producing their lenses. It's very detailed and a fun video to watch. I really enjoyed the last part.

http://web1.canon.jp/camera-museum/tech/l_plant/index.html

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on May 30, 2007 8:07 PM.

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