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Author Topic: Optical Technician ?  (Read 2805 times)

rafaelsynths

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Optical Technician ?
« on: July 08, 2012, 06:29:27 PM »
Does anyone have advice for me?  It's hard for me to find any information about working for Leica Cameras or Canon Cameras.  I'm a Freshman in college going through my General Education, i was pretty much wondering what degree do i need to be able to make camera lenses or even cameras for these brands?  Any Advice is welcome Thank you !

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Optical Technician ?
« on: July 08, 2012, 06:29:27 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Working For A Camera Brand?
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2012, 07:26:26 PM »
Lenses and Cameras are assembled by technicians.  They certainly do not need a college graduate putting the tiny pieces and parts together.  What is needed is tiny hands, slim fingers, good eyes and a willingness to work for low wages.
Designing cameras will take engineers from several discliplines, mostly mechanical, but still a lot of different specialties.  Designing lenses is done by PHD's with optics specialties, computer programmers to write sophisticated ray tracing routines to find new lens formulas, and mechanical and electrical engineers to do the hardware part.
Grinding lenses is a job where you start young doing the helper work and over the years are allowed to do more and more of the high end grinding.  Those who make the top grade lenses are those who have developed a "feel" for the almost impossible tolerances that can only be measured indirectly by interferometry.
If you want to be one who assembles things, a trade school is a good start. 
If you want to create lenses, join a local astronomy group and learn to design and build your own telescope, and take a course in college physics.  You will want to find a school that is pre-emminant in optical physics, and get accepted into their program. 
As is usual, the technology will change before you graduate, so its a lifetime learning process.
Good Luck.

rafaelsynths

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Re: Optical Technician ?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2012, 10:26:08 PM »
Lots of information Love It ! I didn't expect a job to put lenses and cameras together was a low wage job/trade school.  I'm inspired to go into optic physics.  A Doctorate's degree sounds like the challenge i need not a trade school certificate/AA or BA.  I found a program at Arizona State and learning more to transfer. Again Thank you for everything !  :)

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Optical Technician ?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2012, 11:04:18 PM »
Lots of information Love It ! I didn't expect a job to put lenses and cameras together was a low wage job/trade school.  I'm inspired to go into optic physics.  A Doctorate's degree sounds like the challenge i need not a trade school certificate/AA or BA.  I found a program at Arizona State and learning more to transfer. Again Thank you for everything !  :)
The University of Arizona is toward the top.
 
http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-science-schools/atomic-science-rankings

PeterJ

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Re: Optical Technician ?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2012, 11:38:36 PM »
I wonder with Leica / Canon having their headquarters in Germany / Japan how much design work is done in the USA? Unless you want to relocate and/or learn those languages it wouldn't do any harm to contact the HR departments of a few companies you're interested in working for and see what kinds of opportunities they have in various locations.

FarQinell

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Re: Optical Technician ?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2012, 04:16:42 AM »
Does anyone have advice for me?  It's hard for me to find any information about working for Leica Cameras or Canon Cameras.  I'm a Freshman in college going through my General Education, i was pretty much wondering what degree do i need to be able to make camera lenses or even cameras for these brands?  Any Advice is welcome Thank you !


It's optics and electronics expertise that is required to design modern camera lenses. To make them you need machine tool design experience ie mechanical engineering expertise.

The Japanese are far away in the lead in these fields - so you could add Japanese language also as an essential requirement if you want to join Canon/Nikon design teams. They most certainly will not be using English!

However US and UK defence industries also need optical engineers - designing tank gun sights, periscopes, space satellite cameras etc etc.

Bottom line is you need optics, electronics as well as a good maths knowledge if you want to be an optical designer - difficult challenging subjects.

If you want to be a just an optical technician - just assembling and repairing Japanese lenses then perhaps you could drop the maths bit. Depends how high your sights are.

Best of luck!

dmills

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Re: Optical Technician ?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2012, 05:29:31 AM »
Just to throw my two cents in about the Japanese language side of things, as an American that speaks both English and Japanese, and lives in Japan... It's not worth trying to learn Japanese in order to work for a top Japanese company doing something like lens design. It's unlikely that they would ever hire a foreigner for work like that. Japan is still very closed in quite a lot of ways. I'm sure you could get a job in a PR or marketing position, or some other position where your English would be an advantage (if you were very lucky AND you spoke great Japanese AND you were willing to "become" Japanese in the ways that are important in a Japanese company [being willing to work crazy long hours, not asking "why", and doing business in radically different ways than you're used to]). Overall, I wouldn't say it's impossible, but the language is difficult, and the culture is more difficult. Even if you were born here, you still wouldn't be "Japanese" to anyone looking to hire anyone. Japan is still VERY racially discriminatory.
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Re: Optical Technician ?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2012, 05:29:31 AM »

AmbientLight

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Re: Optical Technician ?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2012, 05:31:28 AM »
Many decades ago I had the same dream. Sadly it never came to pass. I ended up with a diploma as a nuclear physicist, but never worked in the field nor in optics.

First of all studying physics will yield some surprises: Optics is not exactly what you would call a focus area in research. Your best bet will be to specialize in solid-state physics. If you are lucky, you may be able to acquire useful know-how regarding lens coatings.

Then once you have completed your studies there is the next surprise: The companies you would like to work for are few and far between. They may be doing their research in regions you have not expected. Now the internet allows for something I then had no chance of doing: You can easily research information on the target companies. How many optical engineers do work there? Would you want to work there? What would be the payment? Is it a good idea specializing in such an area?

You will find good information using both Google and Wikipedia, the latter being highly useful, because you will be able to find information about company histories, which are otherwise mostly unavailable. This will broaden your view and yes, there are also companies amongst the Leica spin-offs doing research in the U.S., but as far as I know only regarding military equipment (rangefinders, night vision devices and so on).
« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 05:34:34 AM by AmbientLight »

adhocphotographer

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Re: Optical Technician ?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2012, 05:51:29 AM »
If memory serves the former Lytro CEO Ren Ng came up with his design during his PhD... 

I would suggest that doing a solid physics/materials undergrad, followed by a PhD in a optical lab of some sort (developing telescopes for nasa or the likes) might be the best... coming out of a PhD with pioneering technology is usually better than coming out with known technology...  by definition, known technology can be taught! :)

Crazy idea, contact Canon/leica and ask what their designers/engineers did? :)


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skinkfoot

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Re: Optical Technician ?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2012, 06:27:06 AM »
Hello,

I worked for Leica for 7 years. Everyone has answered your question quite well.  I had an option to apprentice as a "Fine instrument Technician",  the end job was high-end electo-optical assembly.  I opted to be a "Prototype Mechanic", which meant I built the physical mechanical prototype for lens assemblies and production fixtures (I ended up with a Tool and Die maker C of Q).  It was a great job( I work in medical prototyping now).  I built a lot of grinding fixtures, and I have to say watching grind lenses  is not that glamorous, hard work. and patience.  I didn't work much with Optical engineers, but, I worked daily with mechanical engineers,  That seemed like an okay job.  It was pretty flooded with cheaper labour before I left. but, there was still some room for higher wage earning.

Hillsilly

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Re: Optical Technician ?
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2012, 06:35:36 AM »
Most lens designers have degrees in physics.  I assume that would also apply to camera lens designers.  But I've always had the impression that the lens designers for Canon and Leica were a very small, select group of people.  I doubt they have a lot of job vacancies.  Its good to set your sights high, but as stated above, I'd contact the companies directly to see what they look for.  Canon runs a graduate program.  Perhaps look into that.

Also, its often joked that Canon is run by accountants, not photographers.  Perhaps as one of their senior cost cutting, feature cutting, profit maximizing accountants you could have a real impact on their camera design.
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AmbientLight

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Re: Optical Technician ?
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2012, 06:46:00 AM »
In stark contrast to a certain competitor Canon is highly profitable.  ;)

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Re: Optical Technician ?
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2012, 06:46:00 AM »