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Old Tuesday 31st October 2017, 09:04   #51
Gijs van Ginkel
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We had this discussion before on Birdforum, so it seems that we are repeating ourselves over and over.
In short: a binocular producer has to invest in people let us say 500 employees average earning 30.000-40.000 euros per year (Meopta has 2500 employees, but a number of them (quite a few actually) do not work in binocular production but for production of optical-electronic devices). The company has to buy some machinerie to do the metal and glass works, let us estimate 10 million euros altogether for the machinerie. Add the buildings to it, maintenance of buildings and machines, heating or cooling of the buildings, costs of materials for the instruments to be produced like different kinds of metals or plastics, high quality optical glass, coating materials,research facilities, sales organisation worldwide and alltogther one obtains a respectacle amount of money. And that money has to be earned before profits can occur. As customers we are very egocentric and we often do not care about working conditions (many examples can be found), low wages etc. the only thing that matters to us is: get a top quality instrument and we want to pay as little as possible. If you take all factors into account I have described: that seems difficult to reconcile with each other.
Why do we go to China, Vietnam, The Philippines, Singapore for fabrication of optics, computers etc.? To save costs on wages of the people who are doing all the work. There are rumors, that repsctabel Japanes companies are moving production facilities to low-wage countries to avoid labor costs. Big names from all over the world are connected to this way of business, we all can know them from our news papers. So why complain about a few more euros to be paid if we can be sure of a life long pleasure of top quality instruments if we are certified of top quality, excellent service and long lasting pleasure of the instruments made?.
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Old Tuesday 31st October 2017, 09:38   #52
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Originally Posted by Gijs van Ginkel View Post
....As customers we are very egocentric and we often do not care about working conditions (many examples can be found), low wages etc. the only thing that matters to us is: get a top quality instrument and we want to pay as little as possible. If you take all factors into account I have described: that seems difficult to reconcile with each other.
Why do we go to China, Vietnam, The Philippines, Singapore for fabrication of optics, computers etc.? To save costs on wages of the people who are doing all the work. There are rumors, that repsctabel Japanes companies are moving production facilities to low-wage countries to avoid labor costs. Big names from all over the world are connected to this way of business, we all can know them from our news papers. So why complain about a few more euros to be paid if we can be sure of a life long pleasure of top quality instruments if we are certified of top quality, excellent service and long lasting pleasure of the instruments made?.
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I certainly would prefer a Japanese or European made Binocular, knowing that people and environment are treatet better. If not voluntarily by the entrepreneur/ management then it is because of much more strict environmental and social regulations. That doesn't stop me from checking out what the competition has to offer though, just out of curiousity. Also the price gap should be acceptable, which in many cases it still is, but you have to search well to find competitively priced Japananese or European made binoculars. Not everyone likes to or can spend 2k per binocular
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Old Tuesday 31st October 2017, 11:37   #53
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Synaps, post 52,
I agree.
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Old Tuesday 31st October 2017, 12:29   #54
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Originally Posted by Gijs van Ginkel View Post
We had this discussion before on Birdforum, so it seems that we are repeating ourselves over and over.
In short: a binocular producer has to invest in people let us say 500 employees average earning 30.000-40.000 euros per year (Meopta has 2500 employees, but a number of them (quite a few actually) do not work in binocular production but for production of optical-electronic devices). The company has to buy some machinerie to do the metal and glass works, let us estimate 10 million euros altogether for the machinerie. Add the buildings to it, maintenance of buildings and machines, heating or cooling of the buildings, costs of materials for the instruments to be produced like different kinds of metals or plastics, high quality optical glass, coating materials,research facilities, sales organisation worldwide and alltogther one obtains a respectacle amount of money. And that money has to be earned before profits can occur. As customers we are very egocentric and we often do not care about working conditions (many examples can be found), low wages etc. the only thing that matters to us is: get a top quality instrument and we want to pay as little as possible. If you take all factors into account I have described: that seems difficult to reconcile with each other.
Why do we go to China, Vietnam, The Philippines, Singapore for fabrication of optics, computers etc.? To save costs on wages of the people who are doing all the work. There are rumors, that repsctabel Japanes companies are moving production facilities to low-wage countries to avoid labor costs. Big names from all over the world are connected to this way of business, we all can know them from our news papers. So why complain about a few more euros to be paid if we can be sure of a life long pleasure of top quality instruments if we are certified of top quality, excellent service and long lasting pleasure of the instruments made?.
Gijs van Ginkel
Hi Gijs,

This may indeed have been the case ..... in the past.

Every industry, every company is under globally competitive pressure to increase productivity. Better, higher performing products and processes for less cost. Innovate or die.

It is always a balancing act between automation capital expenditure (machinery and processes requiring specification and design, commissioning, 'fine-tuning', and ongoing calibration, adjustment, setting, maintenance and replacement of out of spec parts, etc) and labour costs (organisation, recruiting, training, leadership, equiping and productivity, and wh&s requirements etc) as well as in-house versus outsourced elements, and virtual collaborative networks.

Advanced materials and/or additive manufacturing processes could revolutionize the transformative process.

Likewise, a leaner marketing and distribution (and some sales - sorry Jan) channel will also significantly reduce costs. I don't need to see pictures of sports car driving stubble chinned macho men and even tougher leather clad women along with a plethora of dead animals to generate interest in a product. Waste of money. Money that would be better off in the consumer's pocket.

The advertising to the HunTing fraternity is not even logical - It Is redundant - surely if you can count the eyelashes on a sparrow at dusk at 400 yds with the latest and greatest bins - you should be able to see a deer sized animal prior to blowing it to smithereens!

As for buildings - how wonderful to have such an income producing asset! Far from being a cost, they are revenue generating opportunities. A renewable energy harvesting skin, due design consideration for orientation, solar gain/exclusion and thermal storage, fenestration, and building envelope thermal performance, ground source thermal coupling and heat exchanged ventilation - should see all bar the most energy intensive businesses (such as smelting and processing metals etc) not only powering/providing building environment requirements, but all building power, process equipment power, and perhaps even transport power (electric vehicle recharging), and possibly excess energy sold back to the grid. It's all rather easy ......

Any company not going down this road is the owner of a dinosaur - not the required sustainable business of the present and future .....

I would have thought the highly efficient, yet rather dour Germans would have been on this like a seagull on a hot chip!

Perhaps they are working on their sense of humour first ..... !



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Old Tuesday 31st October 2017, 13:23   #55
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.....

As for buildings - how wonderful to have such an income producing asset! Far from being a cost, they are revenue generating opportunities. A renewable energy harvesting skin, due design consideration for orientation, solar gain/exclusion and thermal storage, fenestration, and building envelope thermal performance, ground source thermal coupling and heat exchanged ventilation - should see all bar the most energy intensive businesses (such as smelting and processing metals etc) not only powering/providing building environment requirements, but all building power, process equipment power, and perhaps even transport power (electric vehicle recharging), and possibly excess energy sold back to the grid. It's all rather easy ......

Any company not going down this road is the owner of a dinosaur - not the required sustainable business of the present and future .....

I would have thought the highly efficient, yet rather dour Germans would have been on this like a seagull on a hot chip!

Perhaps they are working on their sense of humour first ..... !
Man, I don't know what you have been smoking, but the scenario you describe is far from easy! Guess the Germans are too realistic for running off after a far away future fantasy

(or quietly working on parts of the solution...)
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Old Tuesday 31st October 2017, 16:08   #56
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In 150 years time there may not be any humans left to care, or the ones remaining will be slaves to machines (As if we already aren't slaves to machines).

There are cheap labour costs here.
Someone was just jailed for making a fellow countryman work for 20 hours a day locked up and paid nothing.
There are numerous instances of modern day slavery even in the richest countries.
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Old Tuesday 31st October 2017, 16:26   #57
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Hi Gijs,

This may indeed have been the case ..... in the past.

Every industry, every company is under globally competitive pressure to increase productivity. Better, higher performing products and processes for less cost. Innovate or die.

It is always a balancing act between automation capital expenditure (machinery and processes requiring specification and design, commissioning, 'fine-tuning', and ongoing calibration, adjustment, setting, maintenance and replacement of out of spec parts, etc) and labour costs (organisation, recruiting, training, leadership, equiping and productivity, and wh&s requirements etc) as well as in-house versus outsourced elements, and virtual collaborative networks.

Advanced materials and/or additive manufacturing processes could revolutionize the transformative process.

Likewise, a leaner marketing and distribution (and some sales - sorry Jan) channel will also significantly reduce costs. I don't need to see pictures of sports car driving stubble chinned macho men and even tougher leather clad women along with a plethora of dead animals to generate interest in a product. Waste of money. Money that would be better off in the consumer's pocket.

The advertising to the HunTing fraternity is not even logical - It Is redundant - surely if you can count the eyelashes on a sparrow at dusk at 400 yds with the latest and greatest bins - you should be able to see a deer sized animal prior to blowing it to smithereens!

As for buildings - how wonderful to have such an income producing asset! Far from being a cost, they are revenue generating opportunities. A renewable energy harvesting skin, due design consideration for orientation, solar gain/exclusion and thermal storage, fenestration, and building envelope thermal performance, ground source thermal coupling and heat exchanged ventilation - should see all bar the most energy intensive businesses (such as smelting and processing metals etc) not only powering/providing building environment requirements, but all building power, process equipment power, and perhaps even transport power (electric vehicle recharging), and possibly excess energy sold back to the grid. It's all rather easy ......

Any company not going down this road is the owner of a dinosaur - not the required sustainable business of the present and future .....

I would have thought the highly efficient, yet rather dour Germans would have been on this like a seagull on a hot chip!

Perhaps they are working on their sense of humour first ..... !



Chosun
Hi Chosun,

Your potry is as beautifull as your picture.

Keep up the good work.

Jan

PS

I do believe in time there will only be direct sales from manufacturers to the end consumers, by way of consumer trades, internet sales and brand pilotstores.
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Old Tuesday 31st October 2017, 21:00   #58
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A lot of interesting stuff here.

Recently bought a new Victory FL 7x42 from a reputable dealer. Zeiss serviced them to alpha quality and they came back 2 months later for me to cherish this. Remarkable bins in all aspects, love to handle them, and everything that I expect from a Zeiss product. I think they were introduced in 2004 and to this day make most other bins look dark and a bit dull. IF they were manufactured properly which they were probably not in sufficient quantities because otherwise less people would have needed Swarovisions. The quality specs of the Victory FLs are the highest/tightest of all Zeiss bins, so a service guy told me on the phone. Quite a slap into the face of all HT and SF owners, I thought.

IMO, Zeiss sports optics made rather big steps backwards since 2004. The SF, weird but not wonderful with a whole bunch of serious flaws due to wrong design decisions. At least, no match for the Swarovision. The HT, the great FLs suddenly turned much bigger and were manufactured with less precision.

The stuff I got from the Zeiss demo pool for testing purposes a couple of years ago was all faulty, with totally broke focuser (HT) or almost stuck focuser (SF). When I complained to the person in charge the reply was - "oh, but these are only for trade shows." How on earth can you sell bins with such an attitude.

What a mess, and somehow since decades - who remembers the "Design selection" - huge ugly bins in mint green or blueberry blue.

As a first redemption, Zeiss should offer a special edition of the Victory FLs, build them to highest, really consistently controlled specs, give them a neutral (not green biased) transmission, and sell a limited edition, only from their online shop and for a fixed price. No marketing waffle and no stupid marketing campaigns, just great bins.

They need people in charge with really sound visions and real passion.
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Old Wednesday 1st November 2017, 02:40   #59
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They need people in charge with really sound visions and real passion.
Spot on, but those attributes are very hard to exercise if your Zeiss management responsibility is for the small volume optics business perched uneasily between the much larger consumer (eyeglasses) segment and the bigger and technically much more challenging industrial operations. Nikon too is gradually retreating from this space, their spectacular WX notwithstanding, so Zeiss is not alone in feeling the pressure.
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Old Wednesday 1st November 2017, 04:21   #60
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Man, I don't know what you have been smoking, but the scenario you describe is far from easy! Guess the Germans are too realistic for running off after a far away future fantasy

(or quietly working on parts of the solution...)
To be complete, Germany doesn't have the greatest solar resource in the world (circa half of somewhere like Australia's etc) though they are having a fair crack at it. At ~50N latitude harnessing that by the building envelope calls for some pretty out of the box thinking too, though eminently doable on a greenfield site, and even a retrofit is commercially viable. There are many other ways to increase energy efficiency applicable to such an environment, and really if it's not a key part of the Group's broader sustainability and revenue generation outlook then they've missed something.

No doubt they are doing what they can where they are with what they have https://www.zeiss.com/corporate/int/...nt.html#energy



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Old Wednesday 1st November 2017, 04:27   #61
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PS

I do believe in time there will only be direct sales from manufacturers to the end consumers, by way of consumer trades, internet sales and brand pilotstores.
Jan, I think you have a pretty good read on things, and are positioned quite nicely to navigate these changing waters too - the brands would be well advised to keep in your good books ....


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Old Wednesday 1st November 2017, 12:21   #62
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It is simply not true that producing or coating lenses is hugely expensive.
Nor does it cost much to add image stabilization. The evidence is all around us in the form of cheap point and shoot cameras.
Consider that the new Sony RX10 IV offers a 24-600mm zoom, five stops or better image stabilization and 4K video, for $1700 on Amazon, about $1100 less than the Zeiss 8x42 SF.
The Sony lens is a Zeiss design and I'm confident it sports the latest Zeiss coatings. The number of units sold is probably in the same ballpark, as the RX10 IV is a pretty specialized camera.
Yet the main objection indicated by RX10 IV reviewers was the excessively high price. That suggests the alpha binoculars are in pricing bubble. Eventually, that will burst.
Remember the Sony's 8.8-220mm lens has a 35m equivalent aperture range of only F6.5-10.9
https://www.dpreview.com/learn/27991...-in-a-nutshell
The equivalence calculation needs to be done for focal length and aperture.
This means some of the internal elements are small and cheaper to produce despite being moulded aspheric.

The Japanese made Canon 10x42 IS L has 2 largish IS elements moving in each barrel (shown in blue and the ultra low dispersion glass in the objective and field flattener in green ) increasing cost significantly. It could be argued that a European produced conventional 10x42 binocular shouldn't cost significantly more. I spent 6 months in Japan, it's a high cost country.
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Old Wednesday 1st November 2017, 15:14   #63
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The Japanese made Canon 10x42 IS L has 2 largish IS elements moving in each barrel (shown in blue and the ultra low dispersion glass in the objective and field flattener in green ) increasing cost significantly. It could be argued that a European produced conventional 10x42 binocular shouldn't cost significantly more. I spent 6 months in Japan, it's a high cost country.
The Canon 10x42 is indeed a case in point.
It sells in small numbers and is clearly an expensive glass to build. The current price on Amazon is $1150, versus $2900 for the Zeiss SF, $2600 for the Swaro EL and $2700 for the Leica Noctivid. Something here is out of whack imho.
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Old Wednesday 1st November 2017, 17:01   #64
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Part of the additional cost of the Zeiss, Swaro, Leica may be to cover the superior warranty compared to what is offered by Canon.
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Old Wednesday 1st November 2017, 17:30   #65
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A larger part is buyers not willing to pay the price for a Canon, IS or not, but willing to pay for perceived top-dogs.
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Old Wednesday 1st November 2017, 17:41   #66
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A larger part is buyers not willing to pay the price for a Canon, IS or not, but willing to pay for perceived top-dogs.
Surely true, but weird, given that most professional photographers use Canon glass.
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Old Wednesday 1st November 2017, 17:49   #67
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The Canon 10x42 is indeed a case in point.
It sells in small numbers and is clearly an expensive glass to build. The current price on Amazon is $1150, versus $2900 for the Zeiss SF, $2600 for the Swaro EL and $2700 for the Leica Noctivid. Something here is out of whack imho.
See post no.166, at that price I took a punt on the short warranty and bought the Canon last week.
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=336320&page=7
Luxury premium brands go to great lengths to create orderly markets so I don't suppose I'll ever see a new Noctivid or Swarovski EL so deeply discounted...

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Old Wednesday 1st November 2017, 18:19   #68
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If the floor drops out of the market it doesn't matter where your factory is... ! https://www.dpreview.com/news/413488...of-smartphones

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Old Thursday 2nd November 2017, 16:23   #69
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The Canon 10x42 is indeed a case in point.
It sells in small numbers and is clearly an expensive glass to build. The current price on Amazon is $1150, versus $2900 for the Zeiss SF, $2600 for the Swaro EL and $2700 for the Leica Noctivid. Something here is out of whack imho.
As far as I know Canon forces their bigger photo dealers to also sell binoculars. As the demand for the 10x42s is low, they sell at ridiculous prices just to get rid of the "junk". Its a unique glass but I never feel ready to carry it around.

But maybe its time to order one... they may not be around for much longer.
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Old Thursday 2nd November 2017, 16:49   #70
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(...) So why complain about a few more euros to be paid if we can be sure of a life long pleasure of top quality instruments if we are certified of top quality, excellent service and long lasting pleasure of the instruments made?.
Gijs van Ginkel
Basically I agree, but the market seems so saturated that quite a lot of dealers sell new bins as "demos" just to be able to lower the price and get rid of a couple more. There is no point to resist. On the other hand, this brings the alpha bins too close to the upper middle class, so why take a Conquest HD or Trinovid when you can have an FL/Ultravid for a couple of hundred more.

I agree with Chosun about the need for leaner marketing and distribution. I would love to order my bins directly from the manufacturers, order two different ones for comparing, pay say a handling fee of 100.- which will be subtracted once I keep one. If it helps the manufacturers, get rid of the dealers, I have none anyway close enough to make me want to visit them. Id also rather not choose a bin due to a 10mins observation in a shop. Even more, dealers tend to collect the lemons in their shelves instead of throwing them back at the manufacturers.

Id love to see your calculation for producing say a Zeiss HT or SF with a QC and tolerances that would truly satisfy 95% of all users including Henry Link using it with a booster... where would prices go then? 3000EUR? Or to Nikon WX level???

Maybe the alpha bin will become a luxury item. Still, most people who really need or want one would be able to buy one. Cars and travels are way more expensive.

Id also love to get to know if Swarovski does indeed have a better QC than Zeiss - very probable - and what are the differences in their processes or attitudes. I assume Leica is somewhere inbetween.

Its not long ago that the hunting market accounted for about 75% of Zeiss Sport Optics, so I was told by a representative. What is going on with hunting world wide? And will there be an increase in nature observation? Looking at my country, I can only guess that hunting is decreasing, with older generations of hunters dying away and hunting definitely being perceived as outdated, cruel, useless by a majority. A lot of Victory FL 8x56 on eBay...
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Old Thursday 2nd November 2017, 16:59   #71
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If the floor drops out of the market it doesn't matter where your factory is... ! https://www.dpreview.com/news/413488...of-smartphones
Good piece of news. Thank you for sharing.

In my view, there are similarities and differences between the "binocular market" and the "consumer imaging/camera" market.

New technologies in the consumer electronic market can make an existing product obsolete so that the market for that product reduces to practically zero. Examples are desktop computers making typewriters obsolete, digital cameras making film cameras obsolete and, now, smart phones making compact digital camera obsolete.

However, "new technologies" do not make certain products obsolete. Just might change their status from a mainstream product where everyone uses them all the time to a product that only some professional or hobbyists use them. Examples are "knife", "bow and arrow", "bolt-action rifle" and binoculars".

All sort of "cutting machines" have been invented both for household use, and for other purposes but a knife is still not obsolete. All soldiers and hunters still carry a knife. The invention of a rifle did not make bow and arrow obsolete. It only changed its use. The invention of semi-automatic and automatic rifles did not make bolt-action rifles obsolete. Nearly all rifles used for hunting are bolt-action despite semi-automatics being available and legal for hunting in many countries. Similarly, I believe digital technology, will not replace binoculars not now and not anytime in the next 100 years.

That said, it is also true that the binocular market is probably not expanding either. It is a highly-durable product that works for 40-50 years at least (good for the consumer, bad for the manufacturer), there is no service fee attached to it (unlike mobile-phones) and it's not marketable to kids or teenagers.

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Old Thursday 2nd November 2017, 19:28   #72
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[quote=Tobias Mennle;3638590]


Id also love to get to know if Swarovski does indeed have a better QC than Zeiss - very probable - and what are the differences in their processes or attitudes. I assume Leica is somewhere inbetween.

/QUOTE]


I've heard this said a few times and it seems as though people don't see [many!] faulty focusers as a QC problem for some reason. I would opine that the alpha QC level is too low for almost all brands, judging by complaints and returns from forumers.
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Old Thursday 2nd November 2017, 19:49   #73
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Surely true, but weird, given that most professional photographers use Canon glass.
...but Leica or Zeiss camera lenses of similar specification are still more expensive than Canon L lenses.

Image stabilization in cameras/camera lenses also strikes me as being a bit of a different kettle of fish to IS in binoculars - camera lenses need to be steady for only that 1/50th of a second (or much less) that the shot is being taken, while IS in binoculars may need to be activated for hours.

Regarding the 10x42L - its basic design is a porro II which should make it easier to manufacture than roof designs. And (admittedly this is a subjective opinion), to my eyes this device does not offer comparable image quality to the true alphas - although I'd certainly agree that the image stabilization is a unique and impressive feature. Nikon's models that compete with alphas in image quality are also in a similar bracket in terms of price.

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I've heard this said a few times and it seems as though people don't see [many!] faulty focusers as a QC problem for some reason. I would opine that the alpha QC level is too low for almost all brands, judging by complaints and returns from forumers.
Complaints aired on the forums may not reflect a large number of users who are perfectly happy with their product and therefore see no reason to complain. The adage that a dissatisfied customer spreads the word to 10 times more people than a satisfied one is very true I think.

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Old Thursday 2nd November 2017, 21:00   #74
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Video cameras and modern still cameras that take movies for perhaps 30 minutes at a time are I think able to use stabilization.

I have been surprised at the quality of the movies taken with the Canon 5D Mk II and I am just watching one taken perhaps on a Canon 5D MkI, though not sure if that did video, so it may also be Mk II.
One movie in particular seemed to have staggeringly high quality, although it was set to high contrast, high colour mode. It cost around $5,000 including travel.

Some of these movies have cost as little as 1,500 all in, but the one I am watching cost 55,000, I presume including paid actors.

What bothers me about the modern world is that people are losing their value, their jobs and their reasons for just being.
One of the most depressing things is being without employment, if that is what one wants.
It has happened in the past, but modern day changes are too rapid.

Some families are quite happy to have had no one working for generations, but many are not.

It was mentioned that the exit pupil on binoculars is small compared to camera sensors, but a camera lens is imaging a sensor, whereas a binocular is using an eyepiece. The binocular objectives illuminate the eyepiece field stop not the exit pupils.

I use old compact cameras that cost 30 secondhand. They are actually made in China by Canon, although the earlier version was Japanese made. Canon seem to know what they are doing in China. I have taken up to 175,000 individual photos on a single camera. They are remarkably reliable. although a recently purchased one is faulty, but it is ten years old. I don't have a smart phone and don't want one.

Last edited by Binastro : Thursday 2nd November 2017 at 21:09.
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Old Saturday 4th November 2017, 04:34   #75
Chosun Juan
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Originally Posted by james holdsworth View Post
..... I would opine that the alpha QC level is too low for almost all brands, judging by complaints and returns from forumers.
James, I would agree entirely with this.

A look through and play with multiple bins at shows, fairs, and at retailers will show too much variation for my liking (and importantly for the price being charged).

Even if the dissatisfied canaries in the forums and online feedback coalmine are more vocal than those happily out enjoying their bins, to think that those unsatisfactory purchased bins are just sent back to the large online marketplaces (Amazon etc) for recycling to the next unsuspecting Joe Blow that comes along is truly concerning .....



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