• Question: Do any of you work in the engineering of cameras or photography equipment?

    Asked by leog on 24 Apr 2020.
    • Photo: Kimberly Bartlett

      Kimberly Bartlett answered on 24 Apr 2020:

      I personally do not however we use high tech photography to measure and map light levels.

      The engineering of cameras involves capture of light on a light sensor or light sensitive film, sometimes with a mirror (SLR single lens reflex). For digital cameras it converts the light patterns in to digital signals, flips it over – as much like the eye you actually see upside down! – and creates an image with pixels.

      If you have ever used one of those nail/pin bed toys that you can press your hand or face in to and it shows on the other side, it is similar to that. Just imagine that each pin is a signal from the light outside.

    • Photo: Emma Bould

      Emma Bould answered on 24 Apr 2020: last edited 24 Apr 2020 1:48 pm

      Hi Leog,

      Our manufacturing machines use cameras and image processing to do what we call “In Process” quality checks, which means they take a picture of an inhaler device when it’s being assembled and then compares the picture to a good one. That process happens at each critical stage of device assembly and if it matches, its allowed to move to the next stage. If not, it’s rejected.

      The cameras can be challenging to set up and calibrate, especially when we are installing new machines. This is because how well they work is sensitive to lighting in the area.

      In my job with the Navy, we had a number of camera systems which we used for survelliance activities and also weapon system targeting. We also used the cameras so that the operations room could see what is going on outside the ship….. because there are only windows on the bridge where the ship is driven from

      I hope that’s helpful.

    • Photo: Graeme Ralph

      Graeme Ralph answered on 24 Apr 2020:

      Not engineering the equipment but i am looking at using lots of cameras and clever software to measure aircraft parts very quickly and very accurately in a process called photogrammetry. Today we have to use probes and lasers which are very accurate but take a long time and the equipment is very expensive.

    • Photo: Tom Stewart-Brackenridge

      Tom Stewart-Brackenridge answered on 24 Apr 2020:

      I do not myself, but I have a good friend who works for Nikon Metrology, and he designs the software which helps run and program the 3D scanner that they use. This technology is still quite new and a large part of the field is unknown and still in the research and development stage. I myself find it really interesting, but I am not in that field of engineering. I have used the 3D scanners and been really impressed with its accuracy and precision of how well it can measure and scan components.

    • Photo: Amber Villegas - Williamson

      Amber Villegas - Williamson answered on 25 Apr 2020:

      I do not work in photographic equipment….however and here’s the cool bit I do use a thermal imagining camera to look at the surface temperatures of equipment and cables to see if they are operating normally. Cameras are used loads in Data Centers due to the high levels of security required knowledge of how they work, what they can see, how much they can see are all factors.

      All of the photos that people take that are stored on “The Cloud” are in fact kept on a server in a Data Center!

    • Photo: Douglas Wragg

      Douglas Wragg answered on 25 Apr 2020:

      No, I only use a camera as part of my work.

    • Photo: Simon Porter

      Simon Porter answered on 25 Apr 2020:

      I don’t work in designing or engineering cameras or photography equipment, but I do enjoy photography as a hobby. As an engineer I’m naturally drawn to wanting to investigate the equipment I’m using from a technical point of view – I even put together a comparison spreadsheet of different cameras when I cam to buy my first “proper” camera, and then scored them on various parameters to make sure I was making the right choice.
      I also tend to look at the specifications of equipment and compare options before making a decision, it can show that the “best” product for my application is not the most expensive, often becaues I just don’t need all those features!!

    • Photo: Helen Arch

      Helen Arch answered on 26 Apr 2020:

      I do not work in the engineering of cameras or photography but i have seen many different types in my previous jobs. When i have worked as a maintenance engineer in lots of different factories most production lines have them on.

      Some examples include:
      Scanning barcodes on products,
      Measuring the fill level in a wine bottle,
      Photographing biscuits so robots know which orientation the biscuit is in to package it,
      Scanning stores bins to count parts and stock check.

      The list goes on and their are many different applications!

    • Photo: Claire Brockett

      Claire Brockett answered on 27 Apr 2020:

      No, I’m afraid not. But we do use high specification cameras to look at the damage patterns on joint replacements that have failed and been taken out of patients – it helps us see things like scratching, abrasion and where the implant might have deformed.

    • Photo: Rohin Titmarsh

      Rohin Titmarsh answered on 27 Apr 2020:

      Not in the engineering of cameras, but we do use them in our work in several ways. In experiments where we are examining welds made we use microscopes, and on our pilot assembly line we use a camera as a vision system for our welding robot. We use the camera in this way as occasionally in products you get a phenomenon called tolerance stack-up. This means that the coordinates that I give the robot will gradually become less and less accurate. So to counter this we use a camera to find certain features, and figure out where it needs to weld from that.

    • Photo: Will Smith

      Will Smith answered on 27 Apr 2020:

      Depends what you class as a camera! The detectors used in many particle accelerators are often enormous CCD’s, the same sort of detector found in a digital camera. We also use networks of cameras for diagnostics on the accelerator itself. The amount of data produced by these cameras is enourmous, they require a dedicated 100Gbyte network and terrabytes of storage!

    • Photo: Lorenzo Molinari

      Lorenzo Molinari answered on 27 Apr 2020:

      Really depends what you mean by camera! In my research, I look at the interaction between light and the human skin and I use very specific cameras for it. The cameras specifically designed by the team, so we deal with optical physics and engineering (basically, understand what parameters we would need and what equipment would allow us to get as close to those as possible within financial constraints). So in short, yes I work with cameras but not the ones you would think normally!

    • Photo: Kate Davies

      Kate Davies answered on 27 Apr 2020:

      Hi Leog,
      I’m afraid not. Though there are aspects of my work that involve the use of cameras and production of supporting equipment I have no experience in the design/manufacture of the actual camera.

      Good luck finding your answers.
      All the best, Kate.

    • Photo: Rob Husband

      Rob Husband answered on 27 Apr 2020:

      I do not personally work in the engineering of cameras but i have been involved in a project to use CCTV cameras with artificial intelligence that can be used to point out suspicious packages on railway platforms and alert the relevant authorities. This technology is already in use in airports but has yet to make its way to the rail industry as far as i know.

    • Photo: Nicola Grahamslaw

      Nicola Grahamslaw answered on 27 Apr 2020:

      I don’t design any cameras or photography equipment, but I do use them a lot! Two different examples:

      Firstly, I have a thermal imaging camera which creates pictures but instead of showing what you would see with your eyes, it shows different colours for different temperatures, it’s a really great way to see how efficient your heating is, because anywhere heat is leaking out of the system shows up as a bright spot on the thermal camera even though you can’t see it in real life!

      Secondly, I am working with a university on a research project to see whether a computer can detect differences in photos, like a “spot the difference” – and by comparing photos at different times it can tell me whether my metal has rusted recently or whether all the damage I can see has been there for a long time.

    • Photo: Sean Creed

      Sean Creed answered on 28 Apr 2020:

      Yes and no. Not how you normally think of a camera but our ‘Resolute’ encoder is actually very similar to a high speed, miniature digital camera.

      In regards to typical cameras, I definitely use them in my work. They’re extremely useful for automatic part detection and reading bar codes in production cells. The more that the computer can do for you, the less room for error when making hundreds of parts a day. It’s also much quicker to get a computer to read a 2D bar code of maybe 20 digits than to have someone copy it out and then check that it’s correct.

    • Photo: Frances Askill-Kirk

      Frances Askill-Kirk answered on 28 Apr 2020:

      Unfortunately not at work, however I am very interested in photography and cameras in general… a very expensive hobby!!

    • Photo: Jean-Luc Bulber

      Jean-Luc Bulber answered on 28 Apr 2020:

      No. But we use camera and vision systems on assembly machine and robots, so the robot can identify components and decide how to fit them. There is a wide range of products for this, from the basic vision sensor which can identify a shape, to high-resolution cameras that can measure and check details.