Making 'Art': We go inside Sigma's lens factory
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Making 'Art': We go inside Sigma's lens factory

Final assembly in progress. After this comes the checking stage, to make sure that finished lenses are up to specification. This stage makes good use of Sigma's 'A1' testing rig for MTF measurement. The A1 is built around the company's 'Merrill' generation APS-C Foveon sensor, which for full-frame lenses is shifted to create four overlapping exposures, from which edge to edge MTF measurements can be taken.

Every single lens in the 'Global Vision' series is tested in this way, and I have a fascinating picture of the A1 in use, which I'm afraid I can't show you. Mr Yamaki allowed me greater access to his facility than any other manufacturer has on similar visits during the course of my career but some things - even at Sigma - are secret.

Editor's note:

Like Dave Etchells over at Imaging Resource (who's excellent and delightfully techy writep of a 2013 tour of this facility can be found here) I love factories. Unlike Dave I'm not an engineer, even less an expert on optics, but it's fascinating to see things being made. The sheer complexity of modern lenses, and the precision with which they are built is difficult to fully comprehend, even after you've seen the production lines.

I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour as much as I enjoyed taking it. On behalf of myself and dpreview I'd like to sincerely thank Kazuto and Shinji Yamaki for their help and hospitality during my visit. I just wish I'd been able to get a closer look at that prototype lens...