The Anatomy of a Camera Lens

Ever wonder how they make your camera lenses? Want to see what the guts look like? I ran across a neat video posted on YouTube that shows how TV camera lenses are made, from glass cutting, to grinding, to coating, to assembly. The video is a clip from the Science Channel’s How It’s Made show — a favorite among engineers and other curios folks such as myself.

SLR camera lenses are probably a bit different in anatomy and construction, but the basic concept is the same. Most of the higher-end lens makers are also probably a bit more automated in their process, but again, the concept is the same.

The Sigma site also has a good lens overview page that details various lens constructions. They explain things like aspherical lenses, APO lenses, optical stabilizers, inner focus versus rear focus, floating elements, dual focus systems, and zoom macros. There are some good pictures to go along with the descriptions, so it’s pretty easy to follow.

If you want to go back to the basics, try looking at some of the information and links in Wikipedia’s Optical Lens page. That covers the single lens element fairly well, plus there are a bunch of links to more specific categories.

So next time you’re planning on buying a lens, you may have a better understanding (and acceptance) of the price tag attached to it.

This entry was posted in Equipment, Roundup on by .

About Brian Auer

a photography enthusiast from North Idaho. He's also the guy behind the Epic Edits Weblog. As a hobbyist photographer since 2003, his passion has been to constantly improve his photography skill set, to share his own knowledge with others, and to become an integral part of the photographic community.

5 thoughts on “The Anatomy of a Camera Lens

  1. wingerz

    Wow, that video was pretty interesting. Hadn’t really thought about how labor-intensive the whole process is. Will definitely feel less bad about plopping down over $1K for a lens if I can ever afford it.

  2. shah

    Yeah lenses the good one is expensive. Love to own one. Great knowledge here. Will come back and read more to gain more knowledge from you.

  3. photo challenged

    Definitely appreciate the quality that goes into my camera now. Very nice video its amazing the things that are now possible. On the price of the lens, ya I though I was done after I bought the camera, wrong but after watching the video I believe the lens is worth the extra $$

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