Factory Tours

LEICA Portugal Factory Tour (PDF)

This is the story of a city, a river, a region, wine, craftsmanship, transportation, lenses and cameras. They are all connected. Porto is the second largest city in Portugal, a 3-hour drive north of Lisbon. Seventy miles upstream by boat or car, vineyards cling to the terraced hills of the Douro Valley. For centuries, boats called barcos rabelos carried the wine… read more…

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SIGMA Cine Lens Factory Tour (PDF)

Aizu is 300 km north of Tokyo: two hours by high speed Shinkansen and then a scenic hour on a local railway. The train winds through high mountain passes and follows the foot of 5,968’ high Mt. Bandai. Skiing in winter is superb, as are the soba noodles and sake from the many Aizu breweries that benefit from the pristine mountain… read more…

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Visiting Vitec’s OConnor Factory in Costa Rica (PDF)

“How would you like to build an OConnor 2575D?” Steve Turner  asked. Being the consummate geek, I immediately accepted. “Meet your professors,” John Hill said as he introduced me to the grinning OConnor assembly group. Were they smiling because this was a crazy idea? Would I manage to emerge unscathed, with all fingers and toes intact? Could I actually help build a finished fluid head from the 635  parts arranged in bins to our left—with names like Sector Drag Assembly and Upper Wiffletree Bearing? Download our 22-page PDF Report of the Factory Visit to Vitec Videocom Costa Rica. read more…

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ZEISS Factory Tour 2015 (PDF)

ZEISS Factory Tour 2015, Museum of Optics, Interviews, Lenses. 7 MB PDF Free Download. Newly updated September 2015. This is a free online PDF reprint from FDTimes September 2015 Edition along with back issues. 50 pages. read more…

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ARRI Alexa Mini Factory Visit

I visited ARRI in Munich this May to get a first-hand look at assembly of the Alexa Mini. This is a reprint from the report in FDTimes Issue 70 — June 2015. read more…

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Panasonic VariCam 35 Factory Tour (PDF)

In January 2012, Panasonic’s professional video factory moved to Okayama, 180 km (111 miles) west of Osaka. The picture above was composited from portraits of every employee. At Okayama, the entire manufacturing process from parts mounting to final assembly takes place on a single floor. This layout improves logistics and speeds production. The new factory has gigantic clean rooms for assembly of optical units in the cameras. Panasonic controls the entire process—making everything from the sensors and optical assemblies to the circuit boards, mechanical parts, housings, and components. read more…

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Leica Spring 2015 Special Edition (PDF)

26 MB PDF Free Download Newly updated Spring 2015 Edition. This is the free online PDF version of the printed copies handed out at NAB and available in the LA Leica Gallery. (previous edition was Photokina 2014). 126 pages. Perhaps lured by the glamor and excitement of the movies, dreams of exotic locations, and life outside the laboratory, Oskar Barnack built a… read more…

ARRI Full Factory Tour (PDF)

Special for Camerimage 2014. Free Reprint and Update from FDTimes issues since September 2013: AMIRA Factory Tour from issue 62-63, ALEXA 65 Special Report, ALEXA SUP Updates, ARRI Accessories.

80 pages. Best viewed in Adobe Acrobat with View-Page Display set to Two Page View, and Show Cover Page in Two Page View. read more…

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Angénieux History (PDF)

The Angénieux company has been designing and building motion picture lenses for more than 78 years–lenses that defined the look of many films and influenced the way they were shot. This special report follows a time-line of Angénieux’s history, from its founding by Pierre Angénieux in the 1930s to the new lenses that continue to be developed today. We take… read more…

Cooke Book 2013 (PDF)

The Cooke Book, A Cooke Look Back, and other reprints of Film and Digital Times articles about Cooke Optics.

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Sony Tour – Updated Reprint – April 2011 (PDF)

Sony invited us to tour their facilities in Japan to see their latest cameras and technology. Our 28 page report takes us from the Atsugi Tech Center south of Tokyo to Kumamoto on the south island of Kyushu, where Sony’s 20 Megapixel CMOS sensors for the new F65 cameras are made. We learn about the F65, SRMemory, Recorders, 3D, NXCAM… read more…

Fujifilm – Fujinon Optics Factory Tour (PDF)

In March 2011, we visited the factory where Fujinon lenses are crafted. This 14-page report is an overview of the company’s history, shows the breadth of product design and developement, and then takes us where cinematographers want to go: to see lenses being ground, lens meisters measuring to incredibly fine tolerances, and one of the most advanced MTF testers being… read more…

ARRI ALEXA Report (PDF)

Join us on a 24 page Cinematographer’s Tour of ARRI ALEXA from Concept through Construction.

A Cinematographer’s Tour of Kodak (PDF)

This report could be called “My Trip to Kodak.” I was recently invited to take a whirlwind tour compressing a hundred years of film manufacturing progress into a few fascinating hours. This is not intended to be a technical treatise on how to build your own film factory, but to illuminate the process of film manufacturing so that fellow cinematographers… read more…

Aaton: Special Online Report (PDF)

We travel to Grenoble, France to speak with Aaton’s Jean-Pierre Beauviala and explore the ‘artisanal’ craftsmanship involved in the cameras’ manufacture. read more…