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Voigtlander Bessa Leica Mount Cameras Made in Japan by Cosina in partnership with Voigtlander, the many modern Voigtlander Leica Screw Mount and Leica M mount bodies offer inexpensive and often unique options into entering the world of Leica rangefinder photography.

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The Making of Cosina Voigtlander
Old 10-06-2013   #1
bonatto
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The Making of Cosina Voigtlander

I wish I knew what he was saying, but it's an interesting video nonetheless that shows the laborious processes of building a lens. It seems to be a few years old though, would be nice to see what the factory is like today!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voo3pCvYODI
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Old 10-06-2013   #2
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Thanks for the link. interesting viewing. Always surprising how manual some of the process is.
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Old 10-06-2013   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonatto View Post
I wish I knew what he was saying,
But there are subtitles

Link appreciated.
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Old 10-08-2013   #4
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He doesn't say much other than what you'd expect... at least in the introduction. Basically states that near all factories for Japanese camera/lens manufacturers are in China, Malaysia, etc. Cosina does everything from melting the glass, assembly, and coating locally to make their high quality products.

He doesn't bash other companies, of course. It's formal Japanese, so plenty of superfluous words.

I do love watching companies like this. They are a nightmare to work for usually, but they are awesome at what they do. My favorite arcade game company I think finally pulled the plug on their shooting arcade games (yes, the kind like Space Invaders) in late 2012. It was well known that their star programmer is a fan of the genre, and grew up in the arcades. Had little desire to do anything else.

So, we have that to look forward to. AFAIK Cosina at least doesn't lose money, so that's good. The problem is it's likely harder to pass the torch as time goes by, though. So, fingers crossed.

I dropped my Zeiss Ikon like a moron and destroyed the finder. Sent it to Cosina in Nagano. Took them about 3 weeks but it only cost me about 9000 yen. To me that seemed very fair. But, you can tell they're a tiny company. Every time I called, I got the same old guy on phone. No automated system... no other person.
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Old 10-08-2013   #5
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awesome story! they should make a story of that helpful elder

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiss-o-matic View Post
He doesn't say much other than what you'd expect... at least in the introduction. Basically states that near all factories for Japanese camera/lens manufacturers are in China, Malaysia, etc. Cosina does everything from melting the glass, assembly, and coating locally to make their high quality products.

He doesn't bash other companies, of course. It's formal Japanese, so plenty of superfluous words.

I do love watching companies like this. They are a nightmare to work for usually, but they are awesome at what they do. My favorite arcade game company I think finally pulled the plug on their shooting arcade games (yes, the kind like Space Invaders) in late 2012. It was well known that their star programmer is a fan of the genre, and grew up in the arcades. Had little desire to do anything else.

So, we have that to look forward to. AFAIK Cosina at least doesn't lose money, so that's good. The problem is it's likely harder to pass the torch as time goes by, though. So, fingers crossed.

I dropped my Zeiss Ikon like a moron and destroyed the finder. Sent it to Cosina in Nagano. Took them about 3 weeks but it only cost me about 9000 yen. To me that seemed very fair. But, you can tell they're a tiny company. Every time I called, I got the same old guy on phone. No automated system... no other person.
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Old 10-08-2013   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuanvinh2000 View Post
awesome story! they should make a story of that helpful elder
Yeah -- it's a very Japanese thing. My friend worked for a games company here that did arcade games. One of the guys that at one point was a designer literally fixed all the PCBs. If you were an arcade or a collector and sent it in, he fixed it. Only him. Absolutely no redundancy. I'm sure if that guy goes on vacation the whole company falls apart for a week.
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Old 10-08-2013   #7
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Interesting to compare the Cosina factory to the Sigma factory in the link I posted a while ago. The Sigma factory seemed far more sophisticated and modern to me.
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Old 10-09-2013   #8
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Great video, thanks for sharing it.

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Old 10-09-2013   #9
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As I noticed my aperture blades on my 50/2 ZM were doing unnatural things, I have called on these guys again. The guy on the phone seems as in good spirits as ever. 4
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Old 10-09-2013   #10
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Great video! The guy speaking for the first minute or so and elsewhere in the video is Koichi Akagi, a well known Japanese photographer, writer for Nippon Camera and Asahi Camera magazines (to name just two), and gear reviewer. I used to be in the same photography club with him (actually I'm still a member, I just haven't been for a while ). He's a really nice, down to earth guy (btw his spoken Japanese in the video sounds pretty standard and to the point to me) and he always had surprises in his camera bag when I met him. Getting him to pry it open and show you was tough, but I remember getting a glimpse of a prototype C-Biogon 35/2.8 one time (he rates that lens very highly) and one night after a few drinks he pulled out a prototype Nokton 25mm F0.95 and passed it around for us to play with. Lotsa fun
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Old 10-10-2013   #11
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Sounds like I need better circles of friends.
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Old 10-10-2013   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
Interesting to compare the Cosina factory to the Sigma factory in the link I posted a while ago. The Sigma factory seemed far more sophisticated and modern to me.
THATS the video I was looking for when I stumbled upon this one. Indeed, the sigma factory seems to be much more organized and clean, but for some reason, the canikon stuff I held, just didn't jell well with my hands.

Of course, the foveon line is a whole other story....

I'm actually surprised that from that muddy stumbly looking mess, cosina outputs some of serious top contender compact glass.

On a side note, I stumbled across this today and was reminded about why rangefinder kits are chosen over modern DSLR kits:

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Old 10-11-2013   #13
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Is that Mr. Kobayashi in the video? If so, he is much younger than I imagined. It's amazing that the Japanese are able to hang on to the tradition of craft work. Pretty darned amazing!
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Old 10-11-2013   #14
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I'm amazed that just in this century Cosina has gone from making plasticy OEM SLRs to world-renowned optics and rebooting the Zeiss RF line, not to mention helping develop the first DRF. Stunning work!
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Old 10-11-2013   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traveler_101 View Post
Is that Mr. Kobayashi in the video? If so, he is much younger than I imagined. It's amazing that the Japanese are able to hang on to the tradition of craft work. Pretty darned amazing!
I didn't see Kobayashi-San in the video. Here he is in one of Tom A's photos - second from the left.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/rapidwinder/8078586970/
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Great Video
Old 10-11-2013   #16
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Great Video

Such a contrast with Sigma, and yet the Voigtlander lenses just seem so solid compared to the Sigma. Perhaps automation is not the best way. This video also makes me long for the days of touring Japanese factories. We here in the US have just given so much away. Cosina reinvents itself from cheap plastic cameras to Zeiss Biogons and makes a tremendous factory investment.

Kodak just buldozed the buildings and had a fire sale.

Then again I could never picture Honey Boo Boo working on the Cosina line. That's something that could not be unseen!
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Old 10-11-2013   #17
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I think there's a big difference between the Sigma factory video and this. The Cosina vid is a fairly basic portrayal of what they do and Sigma appear to have gone all out to make it into a semi art piece that is in itself visually beautiful.
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Old 10-11-2013   #18
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For anyone who hasn't seen the Sigma video ... LINK
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Old 10-13-2013   #19
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Perhaps someone can help me, it's been quite a while, but I make the following guess as to their positions. Can Jonmanjiro or Tom help me out?

Here's also a photo - the main driving force behind Cosina is second from left, Mr. Kobayashi. Knowing this, I would say the two guys are on the far right are managers - one engineering the other in the front QC. The guy in the center back is a ronin reports directly to Kobayashi-san or man on his left, the young guy to the left of the ronin is junior engineer and the first guy on the left is a mid level engineer. The guy to the left of Kobayshi is manager of financial matters or perhaps director level of the company.

I'd like to know how rusty I am!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonmanjiro View Post
I didn't see Kobayashi-San in the video. Here he is in one of Tom A's photos - second from the left.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/rapidwinder/8078586970/
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Old 10-17-2013   #20
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Can't help, but I had to send my Planar 50/2 in to have the aperture blades fixed. They were hopelessly flopping around, I'm sure after a drop that rendered my range finder useless. Sending back today. Cost: free. Love these guys.
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