After last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Canon and Nikon have been forced to shut down major camera and lens manufacturing plants due to damage and injuries to employees. At Canon’s Utsunomiya plant — which contributes to much of the company’s lens output and appears as the letter “U” on the date code — 15 workers were injured and operations have been suspended indefinitely. Nikon’s Sendai plant — which has produced all of Nikon’s pro-level DSLRs including the D3S, D3X, and D700 — has been shut down as well after an unspecified number of workers were injured. No word on when operations at the plants might resume.
The two companies are also doing their part in contributing towards the relief efforts: Nikon is making a cash donation of 100 million Yen (~$1.25m USD) to the Japanese Red Cross, while Canon is donating 300 million Yen ($3.7m USD).
The massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake that devastated Japan today was located just east of the city of Sendai, which subsequently suffered major damage due to the resulting tsunami. What you might not know is that the city is home to Nikon’s flagship manufacturing facility — the plant that produces Nikon’s professional DSLRs (e.g. D3s, D3x and D700). Fortunately, Nikon reports that there have been no reports of injuries among its employees in that city, and the plant seems to have escaped serious damage as well. Read more…
We’re waiting for the day when someone makes this kind of video for how DSLRs are made, but in the meantime, here’s a neat “How It’s Made” episode by the Discovery Channel showing how Arri movie cameras are manufactured.
Lexar posted this interesting behind-the-scenes video showing how they make memory cards from start to finish. May the ingenuity and engineering-prowess of man amaze you and cause you to appreciate your memory cards more. Imagine what it would be like to watch this video back in the early 1900s…
An interesting story that popped up a couple days ago is that Sony is planning to outsource some of their CMOS sensor production to Fujitsu in an attempt to reduce production costs. Sony is currently the 6th largest maker of CMOS sensors, with an output of 16,000 sensors a month. Fujitsu will be taking some of the load off Sony’s hands, producing “several thousand” per month. Finalizing the sensors requires proprietary technology, and will still be done behind closed doors in Sony’s facilities.
This is an interesting development that is relevant not just to Sony digital camera users, but possibly to Nikon camera owners as well. Nikon has had a long history of designing their own sensors but having Sony manufacture them. The origins of current Nikon DSLR sensors is an oft-discussed topic in online forums, through Nikon has officially confirmed their use of Sony sensors in the past (e.g. the D3X).
Here’s an interesting behind the scenes video that shows the creation of a Canon 500mm f/4.0L IS lens. It’s a neat look at the guts of glass, and an opportunity to see how exactly the various components of a lens are created and put together.
You get to see the entire process, starting with raw materials and ending with the finished, $6,000 lens.
Seeing how fine-tuned many of the steps in the process have to be, it’s no wonder these lenses can end up costing as much as a car.