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2019 Interview with Meopta Product Manager

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Old Wednesday 25th September 2019, 15:52   #1
Troubador
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2019 Interview with Meopta Product Manager

Troubador: Hello Milos and thank you for taking the time to come to this interview to bring Birdforum visitors up to date with events at Meopta. Of course we cannot begin without mentioning the passing of Paul Rausnitz and the consequences this might have for Meopta Optik.

Milos: The passing of Mr Rausnitz was an important and rather negative event for the company which he had been running since 1990. This was a shock for most employees but actually I can’t say that it was unexpected because he was 91 years old. According to my information his passing was peaceful. He went to bed on Sunday night, full of plans for the company and what it could do in the coming days, weeks, months and years, and he did not wake up. But underlying your question is definitely another question and that is ‘what will happen now with the company. The best way I can answer this is to say that Mr Rausnitz would have been a bad manager if he had not prepared the company for this situation, and Paul Rausnitz was not a bad manager.
The company was indeed prepared for this and continues to be owned by the Rausnitz family, and is now run by his nephew Gerald Rausnitz, who has taken over all of Paul Rausnitz’s responsibilities. In addition, Gerald’s son David is more and more involved in the running of Meopta, especially in the American market. Over time, step by step, David’s involvement will increase and eventually include the rest of the world as well as the USA.

Troubador: OK, thank you for that background. Moving away from that tragic but not unexpected event, what is happening at Meopta Optika?

Milos: Just now we have launched the B1.1 series of binoculars, because the B1 series had been on the market since 2005. The B1.1 series has an improved dioptre adjustment, but optically is more or less the same as B1. In addition we have also introduced the Optika HD range, which we hope will demonstrate that Meopta is not only interested in the upper middle price class but also in more modestly priced models, you could call them ‘cost-effective’ models, because they are priced in the UK at around Ł320-340, giving Meopta a presence at a new price point compared with recent years.

Troubador: One American dealer has stated that they have in stock B1 models with serial numbers beginning with 17 that have a brighter image. Is this correct or has the dealer misunderstood something?

Milos: I think this is the result of some kind of misunderstanding. I mean we are working on coating technology and looking for improvements all the time, but actually nothing substantial has changed.

Troubador: So this means that B1.1 has more or less the same coatings as B1?

Milos: Correct.

Troubador: OK, do you see the possibility of Meopta going below the price level of Optika HD, or will Optika remain the ‘bottom step’ on your ladder of binocular ranges?

Milos: That is a good question. And it is a question we are discussing in the company right now, because the USA market in particular is very price sensitive. However Gerry Rausnitz has stated quite clearly that Meopta needs to stay focused on high quality products and so we feel that there is a lower price level that Meopta should not cross. However the discussions continue so we will have to wait and see what happens.

Troubador: So for the moment it looks as though Optika HD will remain Meopta’s lowest price level although this still has to be confirmed 100%. Will Meopta USA ever market a product that is not marketed in Europe?

Milos: This is a natural question but for now the answer is that Meopta plans to have the same portfolio of products available in both USA and in Europe, because in today’s global market it is difficult anyway to isolate products into one market. For sure in segments other than nature/birding we will probably develop products that are more focused on the USA, but these will be available in other markets too.

Troubador: Are any Meopta Sports Optics products assembled in the USA?

Milos: Our USA operations moved to Florida recently but their activities there are mainly concerned with coatings. As far as our sports optics products are concerned, Meopta USA only distribute the products that we send from the Czech Republic.

Troubador: Are there any future trends you wish to discuss? For example Swarovski are showing a monocular here at the Bird Fair that can speak to a bird identification app on your mobile phone.

Milos: Swarovski is one of the market leaders and is always seeking to innovate to keep this position. And its true, in every-day life we are all using digital devices, and the electronics have become so sophisticated it is only a matter of time before they appear in devices that today are only optical. Sooner or later it will happen. But, maybe I am showing my age here, I believe that high-quality optics will always be the ultimate way to observe nature. Why? Because any digital reproduction is only like looking at a tv. Looking through high-quality optics is looking at real life, not a picture of it. However, it is also true that such devices would be very effective for learning, for giving lectures, for accompanying tours, for sharing in different ways, so I certainly believe there will be these devices in the future.

Troubador: For myself, I would not be so interested in the Swaro Digi-guide today, but when I was learning about birds I would have been very interested. However I could foresee a time when I had enough knowledge that I would not want to carry the mono as well as binoculars, camera and lenses and so on. Other birders, who may carry spotting scopes and tripods or DSLRs and long lenses and a tripod, may also feel they have enough to carry already.

Milos: This is true. We both hike in the outdoors and know that sometimes every gram is important, but electronics in the future may allow the fusion of, lets say, a binocular with a night vision capability, or a tiny camera. So you might not have to choose which of several devices to carry, if 2 or 3 devices are combined in one.

Troubador: Thank you Milos, I think with this concept you have just saved the world! Thank you again for taking part, and good luck until we meet again.

Lee
(The photo below shows two of Meopta's new B1.1 MeoStar binoculars.
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Old Wednesday 25th September 2019, 16:06   #2
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Thank you, Troubador. Nice interview as always.

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Old Wednesday 25th September 2019, 17:42   #3
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Milos: Our USA operations moved to Florida recently but their activities there are mainly concerned with coatings. As far as our sports optics products are concerned, Meopta USA only distribute the products that we send from the Czech Republic.
Great, my MeoPro 6.5x32, along with my Fujinon 6x30. may be one the last high quality binoculars assembled in the USA

Quote:
...Because any digital reproduction is only like looking at a tv. Looking through high-quality optics is looking at real life, not a picture of it...

Lee
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Hello Lee,

I certainly agree with Milos' assessment of digital devices. It would take a marked and expensive upgrade to screens for any digital binocular to provide a first rate view.

Thanks for an informative interview.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur Pinewood
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Old Thursday 26th September 2019, 06:56   #4
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Thank you Marc and Arthur.

Lee
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 12:37   #5
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I'm always interested in the comments from manufacturers that seem very timid/reserved when discussing changes over the course of production in a model (re: improved brightness/color reproduction in newer models of the Meostar). Most users noted a distinct "yellow" hue in older Meostar models, and analytical data (e.g. from Gijs) shows improvements in brightness, but Meopta claims no real changes in the optics since 2005 - unless I am misunderstanding something.

Great interview and insights as always, Lee.

Justin
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 15:51   #6
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Originally Posted by jremmons View Post
I'm always interested in the comments from manufacturers that seem very timid/reserved when discussing changes over the course of production in a model (re: improved brightness/color reproduction in newer models of the Meostar). Most users noted a distinct "yellow" hue in older Meostar models, and analytical data (e.g. from Gijs) shows improvements in brightness, but Meopta claims no real changes in the optics since 2005 - unless I am misunderstanding something.

Great interview and insights as always, Lee.

Justin
Thanks Justin. To be fair, Milos stated that nothing substantial has been changed. So the word 'substantial' leaves room for what Milos might consider minor improvements. I get the feeling that Milos is not given to hyperbole so I don't think your experience is necessarily at odds with what he said in the interview.

Lee

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Old Sunday 6th October 2019, 17:55   #7
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Nice interview. I like the openness and honest talk. Meopta is certainly a company to watch for in the future.
It's good to not only focus on billionaires but the more average user on a budget and still deliver very good quality.
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Old Monday 7th October 2019, 23:47   #8
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Thanks Lee, and Milos, for taking the time and providing the interview.

Andy W.
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Old Tuesday 8th October 2019, 16:52   #9
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Sebzwo and Andy: Thank you for your kind words.

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Old Friday 11th October 2019, 15:10   #10
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Another fine interview! Thanks Lee!
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Old Sunday 13th October 2019, 16:19   #11
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Another fine interview! Thanks Lee!
You are welcome Chuck.

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Old Yesterday, 00:07   #12
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Yes, of course, thanks again Lee for another great interview. It's nice to hear what is happening in their thoughts too!
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Old Yesterday, 07:09   #13
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Yes, of course, thanks again Lee for another great interview. It's nice to hear what is happening in their thoughts too!
Cheers Barry.

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