Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How Do They Make Lenses?

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:

Then I got thinking... exactly how old is my Nikkor-H? So I did a little research which led me to this page of Nikon Lens Serial numbers. My lens's serial number is 3578810 which puts it as made sometime in 1977 (coincidently, I was also made in 1977!). It's amazing how a precision mechanical lens from three decades ago can be picked up for $20 or less on eBay!

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!

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