Somehow I missed this my first time through Strobist, but there is a nice YouTube video which shows how lenses are made. Admittedly, it is a bit retro, but it answered a lot of questions I had. For instance, I've always wondered how they grind lenses and pack them in the barrel.
Since it is appropriate, I added a picture of my only retro lens. I guarantee the polishing process was similar to the video back when the Nikkor-H 50mm F/2 was on the assembly line.
While I was at it, I'd figure I'd find a few more 'inside the lens' pages:
- Take a look at the guts of a Canon 75-300mm. After all, the video shows a prime, understandably a zoom lens has to be a lot more complicated. There's even another page on the 75-300 (make sure you click to see the larger pics, it is worth it!).
- Even more detailed is this dissassembled Canon 28-105 USM (ever wondered what a ultrasonic motor looks like? Not at all like a motor!).
I also realized something else: I have an AI lens, not a non-AI as I initially reported. I could have easily figured that out but it never occurred to me to check. This page makes the difference between the different Nikon lenses clear. Oops!