With such a wide variety of camera lenses available to us these days, it’s easy to overlook the details that go into creating each and every precision-engineered “glass.” From the ultra wide-angle 24mm f/1.4L for expansive landscape shots to the behemoth 800mm f/5.6L monsters used to capture high detail from a distance, each and every lens carries its own set of unique design parameters for achieving that Kodak Moment.

And while we can gain a better understanding of the complex engineering that goes into creating the lenses by looking at impressive cross-section photos, the best way would be to build one ourselves—or watch professional camera maker Mats Wernerdsson.

Starting quite literally from scratch, Wernersson walks us through the process of making nearly every component of a 90mm f/2.8 lens himself starting from a raw chunk of aluminum and culminating with an expert level precision of the assembly. The only things he does not manufacture himself are the lens mount, the diaphragm blades and the helicoid:

YouTube video

According to Wernerdsson, the lens is a Petzval-derived design that he tweaked to give off a more prominent bokeh effect around the edges. Frankly, we’re just impressed that it works at all.

“I made my first camera at the age of ten,” Wernerdsson explains on his website. “It was a little plastic box with a magnifying glass attached held together by rubber bands. Photo paper was used for film, and the pictures weren’t great but it was enough to trigger my interest for darkroom work and camera making.”

Be sure to check out the rest of his impressive builds over at The Camera Maker.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.