From Fujifilm. Thanks to Stephen Scharf for sending this along.
Note that the first half of the video concentrates mainly on the top plate—historically one of the most difficult parts of a camera to manufacture and one that can account for a surprisingly high percentage of the overall manufacturing cost. I don't know if that's still the case, but the video indirectly implies that it might be.
P.S. Here's the link. It's a very retro design—it channels Japanese SLRs of the 1960s.
Original contents copyright 2015 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
John Krumm: "I like these assembly videos, even though the music in this one made me think I was watching a propaganda film. It would be fun to see a more human side—smoke breaks, union meetings, assembly screw-ups—still waiting for the reality TV show I guess. But I do love watching what we humans are capable of building."
Tuomas: "You really shouldn't have done that, Mike—now I want to get one! And I already have too many cameras...."
Stephen Scharf: "I found this to be a very cool video to watch. Putting my Six Sigma Black Belt hat on for a moment, I find Fuji's manufacturing prowess to be very impressive. A great deal has been done to remove variability in parts manufacturing and assembly operations. As a result, I would wager the scrap rate on top covers is actually quite low, with Fuji using SOTA manufacturing best practices. e.g. lean, precise measurement systems, and poke-yoke to maximize quality and prevent defects. It's reasons like this why I use this company's products; they actually listen to user needs and are passionate about providing maximal quality and value for their customers.
"For those interested, here is a link to a video on the manufacturing of Fuji XF lenses. I find this to be even more impressive than the camera body manufacturing because the tolerances and engineering specification required are even higher."
Bill Tyler: "In his excellent book, Camera Technology, The Dark Side of the Lens, Norman Goldberg stated that the top plate, with the prism hump, was the single most expensive component of a traditional SLR. I highly recommend the book if you're at all interested in how pre-digital cameras functioned. It's not really a photographer's book, but if mechanical stuff fascinates you, it's a great read.
Mike replies: I agree. That book is a minor classic. And it's available for Kindle, which I didn't know before right now.
Jon responds to Bill and Mike: "That Camera Technology book is the kind of thing I love to read! Too bad it is $45 which is beyond what I can pay for books at the moment. Any other great mechanical/technology books to recommend like Camera Technology? They don't have to be camera related, I won't tell!"
Mike replies: Sure, off the top of my head I can recommend Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea by Gary Kinder, about a technological genius who figured out how to first find, and then retrieve, an inaccessible sunken treasure in deep ocean; Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, by Dava Sobel, about the race to create the maritime chronograph (there's also an illustrated edition; The Mapmakers by John Noble Wilford (he also wrote a great book about clockmaking); The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough; The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance by Henry Petroski (you laugh, but I'll just warn you, once you get addicted to Petroski...), and one of my favorite little books about making stuff, the classic The Nature and Art of Workmanship by David Pye. When you finish those, ask again and I'll give you six more.
Peter Croft: "Likewise, I love watching these clips, but how I wish they'd hold the shots and show me more. It's too fast, too soft focus, too hard to see properly. Only about three seconds on the Chemical Conversion Coating. How does that work? I wish....
"I've always loved watching manufacturing machines and wished there was a TV program. Yes, I know about Super Factories or whatever it's called, but they are plagued by cameraman's disease—wave the camera around, whiz pan, out of focus, jerk zoom. And edited at a frantic pace—never leave a shot to screen for longer than one second. And endlessly dip to black between shots. Cliché, cliché. I'm thinking of starting a new career as a cameraman. I could do an even worse job and get paid for it. I wish...."
Bruce Rubenstein: "The top plate of the Fuji is made in a completely different way, out of different metal than a traditional SLR top plate. A typical old school top plate was made from sheet brass and 'drawn' on a press with dies that formed the part. There are several hand finishing steps to complete the part. It was just a protective cover and not a structural part. The Canon AE-1 was, I think, the first SLR to use an engineering plastic molded cover. The Fuji top plate is similar to the AE-1 except for using metal. By using a casting, features can be made for attaching other parts and assemblies. A video of the top plate assembly is sexy, because it's a shiny part with lots of 'touch' labor. The real high precision is in the guts of the camera like making the sensor assembly and the alignment of it to the lens flange."