The Mind-Boggling Process of Making a Modern Lens
Friday 20 September 2013 — Category: Equipment
Today I came across two fascinating articles about the engineering and manufacturing of modern camera lenses.
The first — A geek’s tour of Sigma’s Aizu lens factory: Precision production from the inside out — is a detailed recounting of the author’s tour of a Sigma lens factory in Japan, complete with many photos taken during the tour. If you’re at all geeky like I am, I think you will find it very much worth reading. This photo to the right is one the author took, showing machines polishing lenses at the factory. After reading this article, my mind was boggled by the amazing process of manufacturing a modern lens.
The second article, on a related note — There Is No Perfect Lens — is an in-depth discussion of how the limits of manufacturing tolerances and of the laws of physics are reached when trying to produce high-quality lenses for a reasonable price. The author makes clear that if you are willing to spend $20,000 to $40,000 for a lens you can “get into the neighborhood of near-perfection” — but that in the end, the lack of perfection in affordable lenses isn’t that noticeable in actual photographs. Another great read!
Now, if only I would get out there and use my wonderful modern lenses instead of just reading about them!
UPDATE — MARCH 2015 — Just ran across a follow-up article, with a different author touring the factory ... see Making 'Art': We go inside Sigma’s lens factory.