Fukushima – The Panasonic plant in this small city is where all those components get assembled into Lumix cameras. (As an indication of how Times Have Changed, the Fukushima plant opened in 1970 to assemble. . . radios.)

While robots still do plenty of work in this factory, you see much more human handwork at this stage of camera production. Workers, organized into cells that put together specific camera models, are trained in multiple skills so that they can move into other assembly tasks as needed. The most human interaction occurs in quality control, where every camera is tested for image quality and proper operation. That’s every camera, not just a statistical sampling.

The level of efficiency is astonishing, as is the care that goes into more complex assemblies like DSLRs and lenses.

After our tour of the plant, we boarded the Bullet Train for Tokyo for a bit of sightseeing and departure back home. Thanks to Panasonic for an experience both entertaining and enlightening!