PDA

View Full Version : How Kodak lenses are (were) made.



ScottPhotoCo
22-Oct-2014, 11:00
I came across this video this morning and found it quite interesting so I thought I'd share. Enjoy.


http://youtu.be/tpziDTklPs0

Randy Moe
22-Oct-2014, 11:31
Great film, as it was shot on film!

Loved it all, I worked in factories like that, fortunately I worked in Product Development, not QC or Manufacturing.

I have used many of the tools shown.

I miss it.

Andy Eads
22-Oct-2014, 12:35
Thanks for posting this link. I teach photography to high school kids so this is a look into the "way back" machine.

goamules
22-Oct-2014, 13:01
Love it! I really like part 2:23: "...this electronic calculator is used...the calculator can do in several weeks, what used to take up to a year...." and it fills up a room, with the girl checking it's meters. That would now be an iPhone app.

Randy Moe
22-Oct-2014, 13:03
Love it! I really like part 2:23: "...this electronic calculator is used..." which fills up a room, with the girl checking it's meters. That would now be an iPhone app.

and it would solve a problem in weeks, not a year...

Alan Gales
22-Oct-2014, 15:10
It was very interesting. The one thing that struck me funny is the lady wearing street clothes in the air conditioned dust free room.

I was working out at the old Ford plant in the paint booths years ago. We (sheet metal workers) were replacing stainless steel access doors on the booths. We were required to wear full disposable plastic suits including hair coverings so no hair could contaminate the paint booths. It wasn't air conditioned though. At over 100 degrees and in plastic suits, it was pretty hot.

Drew Wiley
22-Oct-2014, 16:12
Those were "large format" computers back then.

Bob Mann
22-Oct-2014, 16:43
Thanks for posting, I actually worked in the Hawkeyes plant for a short time polishing lenses in the 60's.

Lee Rust
22-Oct-2014, 17:02
The sheer scope and scale of that lens making operation is awesome. Aside from increased automation and precision, how much of this process has changed over the past 60 years?

John Kasaian
22-Oct-2014, 20:42
Cool! Thanks for sharing. I didn't know so much went into all those lenses that came aboard all those Kodak cameras over the years. Watchig that film was a bit like time traveling to the late 40's or early 50's.

Jim Andrada
22-Oct-2014, 20:44
And here's how it's done today

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovxtgj4SsiI

Andrew O'Neill
22-Oct-2014, 21:20
I love watching stuff like that. Thank you for posting!

David Karp
22-Oct-2014, 21:34
That was fun! Thanks.

Jim Graves
22-Oct-2014, 22:09
I'll never complain about the price of a lens again.

Shen45
22-Oct-2014, 23:10
Not that I didn't, but I have so much more respect for my Kodak manufactured lenses. Thanks for posting. I really didn't realise the size of the Kodak lens making facilities.

Ari
23-Oct-2014, 07:33
Ok, I'm definitely not selling any of my Ektars.

goamules
23-Oct-2014, 07:42
When people say "it's not hard to make a lens, someone should make a new ...." show them this film. Photography was a huge consumer pastime, along with military, comercial uses. The money Kodak, Wollensak, all the Rochester companies spent on buildings, equipment, chemicals, is staggering. The lines of thousands of workers walking into dozens of plants like this back in the 1950s is amazing. Imagine all the people that worked there, bought houses and cars, raised good families, and retired due to this industry. Today....a worker can be a burger flipper or door greeter. It's really sad to think America [I]used to be such a manufacturing powerhouse. Now we've given it all away, letting overseas workers do all of the above.

Randy Moe
23-Oct-2014, 08:07
+1.

Darin Boville
23-Oct-2014, 08:52
Nice. Thanks,

--Darin

Tracy Storer
23-Oct-2014, 09:30
Wow ! Pretty sure the "lens designer" the silver haired fellow working at a desk, is Rudolf Kingslake !
How cool is that ?

Alan Gales
23-Oct-2014, 09:40
When people say "it's not hard to make a lens, someone should make a new ...." show them this film. Photography was a huge consumer pastime, along with military, comercial uses. The money Kodak, Wollensak, all the Rochester companies spent on buildings, equipment, chemicals, is staggering. The lines of thousands of workers walking into dozens of plants like this back in the 1950s is amazing. Imagine all the people that worked there, bought houses and cars, raised good families, and retired due to this industry. Today....a worker can be a burger flipper or door greeter. It's really sad to think America [I]used to be such a manufacturing powerhouse. Now we've given it all away, letting overseas workers do all of the above.

I agree. It's a damn shame.

I once heard Donald Trump on the TV asking, "How can we be a country when we don't make anything?".

fuegocito
23-Oct-2014, 10:09
Wow ! Pretty sure the "lens designer" the silver haired fellow working at a desk, is Rudolf Kingslake !
How cool is that ?

I was thinking that too! and I'll second the comment about never complain about lenses being expensive again!!!

Bernice Loui
23-Oct-2014, 10:28
Thanks so much for sharing this. Much of what was in this film became verification of what was told to me by a photographer who worked at Eastman Kodak's research and development department.

Since the early 1980's Kodak Commercial Ektars and Ekatar lenses have been by fave and been using them since non-stop. During that time, they have been compared to most all the modern offerings from Rodenstock, Schneider, Fujinon, Nikon and... Vintage APO Lanthar, Zeiss Planar, and more. Yet each time, the Kodak Ektars ended up being the keeper for color or B&W.

Their only limitations, the ilex shutters which are not always on good behavior. As a solution, they are used in barrel (when possible) with a Sinar shutter.

Kodak IMO, made some of the very best view camera lenses.. ever. Yes, modern lenses have higher contrast, reliable shutter, and ... yet the images these Ektar lenses produces are excellent with a look of their own.

As for Lanthium glass, Kodak was the first to widely use it commercially in many of their lens offerings.

Kodak produced the entire product from glass to metal work allowing them to control every aspect of product production and the end results of the product. This is part of the reason for their product excellence.

Credit and recognition should be given to Professor Rudolf Kingslake who designed lenses, directed engineering and production of so many Kodak lenses. His legacy at Kodak Hawk Eye remains to this very day.

One Kodak Hawk Eye story that is not often discussed or mentioned today was the back-up mirror they built for the Hubble Telescope. It was indeed "perfect". Mostly due to using traditional ways and means of testing and production. The defective mirror that ended up in space was built by Perkin Elmer which did not have the production testing and rigor used by Kodak to produce the back up mirror.



Bernice

Bernice Loui
23-Oct-2014, 10:47
Trump and company are at the root of this problem. Investing over seas as their return on investment appeared better.

Today, the trend has been "on-shoring" or trying to bring manufacturing back to America... except the skill personal and knowledge to make stuff has been lost.
A healthy economy and wealth creation comes from making stuff, not by moving funds around.


The Kodak Hawk Eye facility is just one example of American manufacturing all done under one roof. Hewlett Packard, Tektronix, Varian, American Tool Works, and many, many more all made their products under one roof resulting a superior high quality products that lasted with excellent customer satisfaction.




I agree. It's a damn shame.

I once heard Donald Trump on the TV asking, "How can we be a country when we don't make anything?".

Bob Salomon
23-Oct-2014, 12:53
"One Kodak Hawk Eye story that is not often discussed or mentioned today was the back-up mirror they built for the Hubble Telescope. It was indeed "perfect". Mostly due to using traditional ways and means of testing and production. The defective mirror that ended up in space was built by Perkin Elmer which did not have the production testing and rigor used by Kodak to produce the back up mirror."

A good friend, and former neighbor from our days in Norwalk, CT wasan engineer on the Hubbell. He always stated that the error was NASA's decision not to test the mirror and not from production errors. In short, it was produced to the specs given to them and tested as directed.

Drew Wiley
23-Oct-2014, 13:24
The replacement lenses for the Hubbell were made right here in town. I sold them the sealant for the mounts. Don't get me wound up on outsourcing - I classify it
as deliberate economic suicide that benefits nobody except a handful of jerks gaming the stock market. Donald Trump can't even run a sleezy gambling empire
successfully. But he is a genius at marketing BS, just like lots of these high-profile types.

brucetaylor
23-Oct-2014, 15:18
Thanks for sharing the link, Tim. What an amazing operation, I had never really given any thought to the volume of lenses Kodak needed to produce to satisfy the demand for professional lenses or for the millions of snapshot cameras they produced. I imagine the film was shot with a Kodak 16mm camera equipped with Cine-Ektar lenses! Now I know why I like my Kodak lenses so much.

Drew Wiley
23-Oct-2014, 16:14
Wish there was a modern sequel to Kingslake's lens book, outlining the evolution of taking lenses into the modern era of multicoatings, new glass types, and
computer assisted design. Of course there are text books and courses for optical engineers per se; but it would be nice to have something dumbed-down for someone like me to read during an airline flight. But I suppose some of the facts are still inside secrets, and pretty arcane subject matter overall.

Bob Salomon
23-Oct-2014, 16:39
Wish there was a modern sequel to Kingslake's lens book, outlining the evolution of taking lenses into the modern era of multicoatings, new glass types, and
computer assisted design. Of course there are text books and courses for optical engineers per se; but it would be nice to have something dumbed-down for someone like me to read during an airline flight. But I suppose some of the facts are still inside secrets, and pretty arcane subject matter overall.

Actually I have a catalog from RPO (Rodenstock Precision Optics) that does most of that. But it would be a long plane flight.

I can arrange for you to borrow it. To do so you will have to contact me with your contact info and I would send it to our Bay area rep who would then contact you and arrange for you to pick it up either fromhim or one of our Bay area dealers. However, I would need it back by Dec. 1st.

Mark Sampson
23-Oct-2014, 17:50
Well. Haven't had time to watch the whole clip yet but...memories.
I worked for Kodak as an industrial photographer and darkroom tech from 1984-2004. I walked in that door of the Hawk-Eye plant almost every day of those years... the Ektars we like were long out of production by then but I made thousands of photographs with lenses made in the neighboring department, some of which may never have left the building complex where they were made. Some of the people who appear in the film were still working there in '84, I'm sure. The optics department moved to more modern facilities on the other side of Rochester by the late 1980s, btw. I have lots of stories, perhaps I should write a few of them down.

Bernice Loui
23-Oct-2014, 18:48
IMO, there is too much dependence on apps, software and the like today by users who lack the expertise, experience, understanding to use them properly. 'Puters, apps, technical app notes and the like are not a substitute for experience, expertise and more, they should be and are often a tool to be used properly within the proper context by qualified personal.... they are NOT and never will be instant expertise in a techno device.

The optical designers and engineers from that era understood well the limitations of what they were creating on a much deeper level than just the math. There is definitely an artistic and creative aspect to optics design. Over my years of using many various optics and related, the all have distinct personalities. Learning what this might be, what they do best, their limits, their problems, their needs are key to getting the very best out of them.

Women have a long history of involvement with computers..
http://www.ieeeghn.org/wiki/index.php/Women_Computers_in_World_War_II

Bernice



Love it! I really like part 2:23: "...this electronic calculator is used...the calculator can do in several weeks, what used to take up to a year...." and it fills up a room, with the girl checking it's meters. That would now be an iPhone app.

Ari
23-Oct-2014, 18:51
Well. Haven't had time to watch the whole clip yet but...memories.
I worked for Kodak as an industrial photographer and darkroom tech from 1984-2004. I walked in that door of the Hawk-Eye plant almost every day of those years... the Ektars we like were long out of production by then but I made thousands of photographs with lenses made in the neighboring department, some of which may never have left the building complex where they were made. Some of the people who appear in the film were still working there in '84, I'm sure. The optics department moved to more modern facilities on the other side of Rochester by the late 1980s, btw. I have lots of stories, perhaps I should write a few of them down.

Yes, please.

Bernice Loui
23-Oct-2014, 18:57
The problem was FAR more complex that just meeting NASA's spec by Perkin Elmer. PE relied on one specific test to verify the curvature of the mirror. The test fixture had a Invar setting rod where it's protective end was damaged causing it to be 1.3 mm short (there is an image of this setting rod and damaged end coating in the report). This error turned out to be the one of the root problems that caused the mirror to be made wrong. There were test records that showed early on there was a problem, they were mostly ignored. Compounding the problem was PE's restrictive access to verify what PE was doing and how it was being done.

It's in this unclassified report..
http://www.ssl.berkeley.edu/~mlampton/AllenReportHST.pdf

This is similar to what happened to the O-ring failures that destroyed the shuttle Challenger and killing all aboard. The drive to launch was to get US military funding to launch their stuff. There was serious money involved. This caused NASA management to make reckless decisions that ignored the facts presented to management by technical and engineering folks.


Bernice





A good friend, and former neighbor from our days in Norwalk, CT wasan engineer on the Hubbell. He always stated that the error was NASA's decision not to test the mirror and not from production errors. In short, it was produced to the specs given to them and tested as directed.

Randy Moe
23-Oct-2014, 19:31
IMO, there is too much dependence on apps, software and the like today by users who lack the expertise, experience, understanding to use them properly. 'Puters, apps, technical app notes and the like are not a substitute for experience, expertise and more, they should be and are often a tool to be used properly within the proper context by qualified personal.... they are NOT and never will be instant expertise in a techno device.

The optical designers and engineers from that era understood well the limitations of what they were creating on a much deeper level than just the math. There is definitely an artistic and creative aspect to optics design. Over my years of using many various optics and related, the all have distinct personalities. Learning what this might be, what they do best, their limits, their problems, their needs are key to getting the very best out of them.

Women have a long history of involvement with computers..
http://www.ieeeghn.org/wiki/index.php/Women_Computers_in_World_War_II

Bernice

Great link and story. Very interesting.

Thank you!

Jim Graves
24-Oct-2014, 17:58
IMO, there is too much dependence on apps, software and the like today by users who lack the expertise, experience, understanding to use them properly. 'Puters, apps, technical app notes and the like are not a substitute for experience, expertise and more, they should be and are often a tool to be used properly within the proper context by qualified personal.... they are NOT and never will be instant expertise in a techno device. .... .

Bernice

This has always been true ... I'm sure when the first light meters appeared there were those who decried the artificial reliance on technology to understand the nuances of the lighting in a scene.

New tools are truly helpful only when they are used with understanding of the underlying principles inherent in the process.

That being said, the new digital tools available are tremendously helpful AND convenient. But, as always, you have to know what you're doing and why you're doing it.

etorix
27-Oct-2014, 08:27
I worked for Kodak as an industrial photographer and darkroom tech

heh, how cool it is to be able to say that, excellent

and another thing about Kodak .. they did a huge amount of basic research, they didnt just fabricate

Steve Goldstein
27-Oct-2014, 09:38
The problem was FAR more complex that just meeting NASA's spec by Perkin Elmer. PE relied on one specific test to verify the curvature of the mirror. The test fixture had a Invar setting rod where it's protective end was damaged causing it to be 1.3 mm short (there is an image of this setting rod and damaged end coating in the report). This error turned out to be the one of the root problems that caused the mirror to be made wrong. There were test records that showed early on there was a problem, they were mostly ignored. Compounding the problem was PE's restrictive access to verify what PE was doing and how it was being done.

It's in this unclassified report..
http://www.ssl.berkeley.edu/~mlampton/AllenReportHST.pdf

This is similar to what happened to the O-ring failures that destroyed the shuttle Challenger and killing all aboard. The drive to launch was to get US military funding to launch their stuff. There was serious money involved. This caused NASA management to make reckless decisions that ignored the facts presented to management by technical and engineering folks.


Bernice

Bernice, thank you for posting this report, I'd heard of it but never seen (or searched terribly hard for) it. It's fascinating reading, and made for the most interesting lunch hour I've had in quite a while.

Tracy Storer
27-Oct-2014, 09:51
I spoke with my Mother yesterday. She worked in Hawkeye in the late '50s, but never saw the manufacturing side, she was involved with aerial recon work that was highly classified at the time.

Jim Andrada
28-Oct-2014, 19:31
A few (well, maybe more than just a few) years back I had occasion to visit Kodak in Rochester to discuss a possible joint development project for high capacity optical tape. Very sharp engineers indeed. It's hard to fathom how a company that invented so much of digital imaging fell so far behind. Same thing with IBM when you come to think of it. Their semiconductor fabs used to be the envy of the world and they just recently had to pay another company $1.5Billion to take them! Not to mention HP. Something is wrong!

Randy Moe
28-Oct-2014, 19:44
MBA schools are what is wrong.

ScottPhotoCo
28-Oct-2014, 20:43
MBA schools are what is wrong.

I think that there is another thread for this topic.

Drew Wiley
29-Oct-2014, 12:00
MBA's are just more efficient than the rank and file ..... they're specially trained to put manufacturing corporations out of business as quickly as possible. It's what
keeps our economy moving (in a downward spiral).

Lightbender
2-Nov-2014, 22:44
Fantastic film!