Optics 101

Camera Lenses - How Camera Lenses are Made

Designing camera lens starts off by pinpointing the potential market that will use the final product. The designer then has to decide on the optical design, material and the suitable fabrication method once the market has been identified.

Many challenging options arise for lens designers due to the development of new materials. The designer must take into account the numerous types of plastics and glasses that can be used for the production of camera lenses.

When the design is complete, the performance of the lens is examined with the use of computer simulations. Once the lens passes the simulation test, a prototype lens is produced to determine the actual performance.

Camera Lens - The Manufacturing Process

Optical glass is supplied to the lens manufacturer typically in the form of a pressed plate or sliced glass plate from which the lenses are produced. A curve generator is used to shape the lens into concave or convex forms. This is also the first step in the grinding process.

A series of processes is used to shape the lens to reach the required specification. The grinding process takes place in a water environment containing polishing particles. The size of the polishing particles decreases in each process as the lens becomes more refined.

After grinding and polishing the lens, a coating is then applied to protect the lens material from oxidation and to meet the intended spectrum transmission requirements. The lens surfaces are carefully cleaned before coating is applied.

Final Assembly of the Camera Lens

Approaches to the manufacture of lenses can vary significantly among different manufacturing companies. Some uses full automation such as industrial robots to produce camera lens, while others use large assembly lines. Regardless of different manufacturing approaches, the quality and precision are essential to lens production. The raw materials and components are thoroughly examined to ensure the highest quality and the fulfillment of required engineering specifications.

Source: AZoOptics

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