Gallery: Deconstructed Camera Gear

A unique look at the guts inside cameras and lenses.

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We see a lot of camera gear every day, but rarely do we get to go behind the shiny cases that hold in all that glass and technology. For Photokina, though, a few companies deconstructed some of their gear and put its guts on display. This is a** Sony 500mm f/4 G** prototype lens without its outer casing. Out of context, it looks like it could easily be a piece of a space shuttle or the Terminator.
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While this naked view doesn't give any insight into the arrangement of glass on the inside, it does help us to remember exactly why these lenses weigh as much as they do.
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Just the thought of cutting a Leica lens in half is enough to make a camera nerd swoon, but the result is truly incredible. This lens is a Leica Tri-Elmar M 28-35-50mm f/4. While it's hard to pin down an official price for the lens, the hood for it alone will set you back at least $150, so it's safe to say that it would fetch a pretty penny when intact.
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The outward appearance of Leica bodies conveys a sense of elegant simplicity, but this topless M8 reminds us of just how intricate and complex the inner workings are.
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Long before the Leica M8's get their red dot, they start with a utilitarian metal case. It's a huge part of what gives a Leica body that unmistakeably solid feel.
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The inner workings of Samsung's new NX100 interchangeable lens compact are decidedly more complex than what you'll find in the Leica film cameras. Here's a rundown of the pieces you're currently looking at (from left to right): Front cover, CMOS-sensor, main frame, DSP board, AMOLED display, and back cover.
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A closer look at the sensor and the main frame of the Samsung NX100.
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The Zeiss booth offered up a fairly comprehensive look at what goes into their lenses. Almost all Zeiss glass starts in raw blocks like the one pictured above.
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From there, the glass is cut into blanks, which need to be ground, polished and coated before they're ready to see the inside of a barrel.
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This is an exploded view of the elements that go into a single group of lens elements. There will be several of these groupings of various sizes inside the barrel of the final product.
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And here is the final product. This is a cross section of a Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2. This is a manual focus lens. An auto focus lens would be even more complex.
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We had to come back to Sony's awesome metallic telephoto. Here it is compared to its fully-dressed counterpart.
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OK, this is the last one. Promise.
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