Richard Sibley from Photo Gear News recently visited the Sony factories in Japan and Thailand. He was allowed into the Japan factory where the A9 sensor is made, as well as inside the Thailand factory where the A9 is assembled. Of course he wasn’t allowed to film in certain areas, nor document certain proprietary processes that went into testing the camera. But overall this was an exciting experience for anyone who is interested in photography and cameras—particularly for someone who is a Sony fan:
The Thailand factory is strategically located in a place called Chonburi, about 80 kilometers from Bangkok. The location was chosen because of its excellent connectivity—it has access to airports and seaports, which ensures that the components that go into making the A9 can be procured and made available at the factory with minimal fuss. Also, easy access to ports has the double advantage easily exporting the finished products to wherever they are in demand.
Sibley also visited the Sony sensor factory in Kumamoto, Japan, which has very strict standards in place to maintain the cleanliness of the facility.
The Thailand unit handles not just the assembling of the A9 but a whole range of other Sony products, as well. Interestingly, the factory also assembles a range of Zeiss lenses.
The main assembly line itself is an impressive sight. As you can see in the video, each worker in the assembly line has a specific role to fulfill. While one worker is assembling the top panel with all the buttons and dials, another is working to install the electronic viewfinder, and so on.
It’s no doubt a very complicated assembly process, culminating with installation of the firmware and testing of the shutter for durability. Calibration of the camera’s AF system follows, which in turn is followed by a process to calibrate the colors.
The cameras are then checked for any sensor dust accumulation before the plastic cap and the screen protectors are placed and the camera is boxed for shipment.
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