We Are Meticulous in Terms of Quality: The ALPA Inspection for Lenses

09.2017 - ALPA / Rodenstock lenses correspond to the best possible quality and are already optimally tuned in the factory. At the manufacturer, they are pre-adjusted for ALPA and before being sent off, they pass extensive tests on measuring instruments. Nonetheless, we subject each one to an additional input control before we distribute them to dealers, partners and customers. This also applies to warranty claims arising from the repair. The reason for this effort lies in our philosophy: ALPA products meet the highest standards and special requirements of our customers. We are meticulous when it comes to quality, in the best way, and that is why we test the lenses in practice in addition to their image effect.

Parallel to Kilfitt

A similar entrance control was performed by the former camera manufacturer Kilfitt.
From 1941 to 1971 the company produced its own lenses and cameras, first in Germany, then later in the USA. Kilfitt supplied ALPA's predecessor, Pignons SA. Founder Heinz Kilfitt left nothing to chance when it came his business. Each of the glasses was tested before leaving the factory. The Kilfitt experts did not consider the film itself suitable to obtain sufficiently accurate test results. Therefore the test pictures were shot on glass plates. The company kept them carefully. Consequently, the employees at Kilfitt had a good comparison value if one of the lenses should be returned for repair.

Standardized procedure

In the past, there has also been a uniform procedure for quality control at ALPA in order to create uniform conditions and to be able to make comparisons. We assess the tests in the same way as photographers do. On the roof of the ALPA headquarters, the test installation is equipped with a pillar plate, which is anchored firmly in the concrete of the parapet, thus minimizing the vibrations. We analyze the results of the tests on the computer. We evaluate whether they cover the reference objectives that we have covered with us. For the tests, we always use the same accessory set, in which the adapters and other parts have been measured very precisely. We conclude that differently sized components influence the result.



Realistic and precise

At Kilfitt the test system was in the cellar, at ALPA it is on the roof. The reason for this is that we want to learn from our customers and test them in a realistic environment. Since landscape photography is one of the most common applications for an ALPA camera, we have focused on it: landscape photographers demand above all a great sharpness, which is evenly spread over the whole photograph. At the same time, landscape images are often clouded by atmospheric influences, which include the heat flicker. We circumvent these influences by taking advantage of the topography around the headquarters: we are located on a hillside next to Lake Zurich. By directing the camera across the lake to the opposite hill, we use a natural sink to prevent atmospheric influences. In addition, the subject is far enough away to test the Infinity setting. At the end, three photos are taken for each lens, showing the centre of the image and the corner points. We compare these three images with the reference photos of the respective lens. This means that even after years, we are able to draw the right conclusions for customer inquiries or repairs.




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