How It’s Made – Camera Lenses [Video]

Have you ever wondered how camera lenses are manufactured? Why it takes days to make a new lens? Well, here’s an interesting look into how lenses for DSLR cameras are made. It takes a total of six weeks to make one optical lens. Camera lenses go through several inspections to make sure that the glass gets to the final stage without defects or any dust particles on it.

Here’s a video that demonstrates how camera lenses are made –

The Process:

There are four main manufacturing processes.

  • Grinding and Polishing lens elements
  • Coating lenses
  • Producing the barrel
  • Assembling the lens

The videos show a step-by-step procedure on how a Canon 500mm lens is made. These videos were taken in Canon’s lens manufacturing factory in Japan.



The steps in  manufacturing  a  camera  lens is not (all) computerized. Camera lens requires  fine adjustment and testing until computerized machines are used.

In the above video, you can see that the manufacturing of the lens  goes through a series of steps. Here are the lens manufacturing steps as shown in the above videos:

  1. Material blending
  2. Pre-fusing
  3. Melted glass is allowed to cool naturally
  4. Cutting the glass into pieces
  5. Fusing
  6. Mixing
  7. Churning
  8. Clarification
  9. Homogenization
  10. Shape the glass into sheets
  11. Shaping and pressing process
  12. Grinning processes
  13. Heating the glass and form its shape by pressing (by hands or by automatic machines)
  14. Annealing
  15. Further polishing
  16. Rough grinding that produces that curved surface of the lens
  17. Fine grinding
  18. Polishing and surface curvature adjustment
  19. Optical inspection
  20. Clean with ultrasonic washing machines
  21. Alignment
  22. Coating
  23. The lens assembly process itself (done by hand for Canon L lenses)

Hat tip to Digital Photography Writer for sharing this.

Published by

Joel Fernandes

Joel Fernandes (G+) is a tech enthusiast and a social media blogger. During his leisure time, he enjoys taking photographs, and photography is one of his most loved hobbies. You can find some of his photos on Flickr. He does a little of web coding, and maintains a tech blog of his own - Techo Latte. Joel is currently pursuing his Masters in Computer Application from Bangalore, India. You can get in touch with him on Twitter - @joelfernandes, or visit his Facebook Profile for more information.