A look at the meticulous process behind one of last year's most celebrated cameras.
We were all excited about the release of Sony's affordable 4K mirrorless camera, the a9, last year. We met the camera at NAB, and have since written and talked about its impressive specs and its selection as the 2017's best new camera by The European Imaging and Sound Association.
Now, thanks to Rich Sibley from Photo Gear News, we can get a rare firsthand glimpse into just how these little machines are made. Sibley was invited by Sony to visit its factory in Chonburi, Thailand near Bangkok, and witness the intricate steps involved in the camera's manufacturing. As Sibley notes, there are up to 40 workers involved in the creation of a single a9, with each person having a particular station and a skill that they are specifically trained for. Check out his video and our breakdown below:
As outlined by Sibley, the multi-step process includes the following:
- Circuit boards are printed by machine and then taken to the main assembly line, where each remaining step is completed by human beings.
- Buttons and dials are added to the top plates.
- The electronic viewfinder, the LCD display unit, all the main circuit boards, and the sensor unit are added.
- Ribbon cables are used to connect the different components to the main processing board and the surrounding body is assembled.
- Before testing, dummy batteries are installed and firmware is added.
- The shutters are tested using a special fixed lens to calibrate the AF system and then a
- color chart is photographed to check the color calibration.
- One person checks each sensor for dust. A speck grabber and really strong lighting are used for the examination and removal of any dust particles.
- The body cap goes on, the camera body is checked, and the plastic screen protector is applied.
- Finally, the a9 is boxed and ready for shipment. All of the accessories are placed in a box with the correct power lead for wherever the latest shipment is going, then the serial number and the barcodes are scanned and each box is weighed. If the weight isn't correct, then it's checked to see which accessory is missing.
...and voilà! The a9 is now at a B&H near you!