• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

ALL made in China?? (1 Viewer)

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Which has nothing to do with Vortex's new Chinese made binocs and scopes. Over the long run, I don't trust Chinese optics. Sub-par build quality will rear it's ugly head eventually. There's always something better than Vortex for the same or less money anyway.

I completely agree with your last sentence, though the Vortex warranty adds significant value beyond the actual product for many people, of course.

I understand you don't trust Chinese optics, and I am not saying you should, but I think it is a forgone conclusion that China will produce more and more optics, further and further up the quality scale. There is no reason you cannot make as good a bin in China as you can in Japan (or in Germany or Austria for that matter). It's just a matter of time. There are a lot of high precision and highly quality controlled products coming out of China these days.

I'm not that old but I'm old enough to remember no one trusting Japanese cars when they came to western markets. I also recall no one trusting Korean cars when they came to western markets. Chinese cars are all over the world at this point and getting better rapidly.

Assuming there is a decent warranty / company behind the product, I'm not bothered by where something is made beyond a preference for locally produced goods when available and fairly priced.

Cheers,
Josh
 

jgraider

Well-known member
I completely agree with your last sentence, though the Vortex warranty adds significant value beyond the actual product for many people, of course.

Several "guys" have the same.....Leupold wrote the book that others have copied, or tried to. Agree that China is capable, but they'll have to prove it first. So far (Zen Ray) they have been a miserable failure in optics IMO.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Agree with you again jg, but you can look at Zen Ray from the other side of the same coin: the quality that their good specimens show is spectacular for the money. The failing is in QC and at the corporate level, perhaps a decision to cut margins too thin and not specifying sufficient QC and left without resources (or will?) to provide decent customer service. Certainly Nikon and Zeiss are producing bins in China with pretty good QC. I don't hesitate to recommend the Terra or the Monarch line.

Cheers,
Josh
 

jgraider

Well-known member
Agree with you again jg, but you can look at Zen Ray from the other side of the same coin: the quality that their good specimens show is spectacular for the money. The failing is in QC and at the corporate level, perhaps a decision to cut margins too thin and not specifying sufficient QC and left without resources (or will?) to provide decent customer service. Certainly Nikon and Zeiss are producing bins in China with pretty good QC. I don't hesitate to recommend the Terra or the Monarch line.

Cheers,
Josh

Optically they had some very nice products. Build quality not so much. I also had a Terra 8x32 that fits the same description, which was my point to begin with.
 
A New Razor Made in Japan

I just took delivery from B&H of a Razor 8x42 - clearly stamped Made in Japan on the housing. Maybe B&H had stock leftover? or are some still made in Japan? I recently saw a "Made in China" Razor as well.
 
Re-reading this post, I feel compelled to say, based on my recent search for upgraded optics, after being out of the market for over ten years, that no matter where a binocular was made, or the price, I'm seeing QC issues. In the last several months, out of perhaps 20 pair of binos viewed, I've personally seen flaws in at least one copy of the following models (8x42 unless noted):

Swaro SLC - noisy, balky center hinge; focus wheel binding (Austria)

Swaro EL (8.5) - defective focus wheel (Austria)

Tract Toric (two in a row) - excessive play and noise in focus wheels and diopter; too easy movement in center hinge. (Japan)

Zeiss Conquest (8x32) - stiff, balky focus wheel (Japan)

Vanguard Endeavor II - excessive play in focus wheel (China)

Hawke Sapphire - left side would not focus at all (!) (China)

Nikon Monarch 7 - loose armor (Malaysia?)

This seems rather disheartening, unless I'm just having some bad luck. Comparing my experience purchasing numerous cameras (and a few binoculars) over the past twenty years (zero defects!), the present OC issues situation for binoculars is pretty miserable. I'd like to hear what others think - are binoculars less likely to be in perfect working order out of the box than cameras or other optics? If so, why?
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Hi New Jersey
A couple of things spring out from your list of defects.

First is that apart from the loose armour on the Nikon, the defects all involve mechanical, moving parts. Cameras have been electronic for a long time now, so perhaps thats why they escape these kinds of issues today.

I certainly had problems with focusers way back in the 1970s and during the that and the next decade I remember Canon had some problems with the shutter on their A-series cameras.

I suspect there might be a direct link between the elevation of production and sales targets set by management and the increase in 'non-conforming' product that is released onto the market.

Lee
 

ceasar

Well-known member
Re-reading this post, I feel compelled to say, based on my recent search for upgraded optics, after being out of the market for over ten years, that no matter where a binocular was made, or the price, I'm seeing QC issues. In the last several months, out of perhaps 20 pair of binos viewed, I've personally seen flaws in at least one copy of the following models (8x42 unless noted):

Swaro SLC - noisy, balky center hinge; focus wheel binding (Austria)

Swaro EL (8.5) - defective focus wheel (Austria)

Tract Toric (two in a row) - excessive play and noise in focus wheels and diopter; too easy movement in center hinge. (Japan)

Zeiss Conquest (8x32) - stiff, balky focus wheel (Japan)

Vanguard Endeavor II - excessive play in focus wheel (China)

Hawke Sapphire - left side would not focus at all (!) (China)

Nikon Monarch 7 - loose armor (Malaysia?)

This seems rather disheartening, unless I'm just having some bad luck. Comparing my experience purchasing numerous cameras (and a few binoculars) over the past twenty years (zero defects!), the present OC issues situation for binoculars is pretty miserable. I'd like to hear what others think - are binoculars less likely to be in perfect working order out of the box than cameras or other optics? If so, why?


Were the 2 Swarovski's new, out of the box, or were they store demos?

Bob
 

jremmons

Wildlife Biologist
Re-reading this post, I feel compelled to say, based on my recent search for upgraded optics, after being out of the market for over ten years, that no matter where a binocular was made, or the price, I'm seeing QC issues.

I've come to the same conclusion, I've owned the following high/mid range (most were NIB, some store demos):

Swarovski SLC (current version) 8x42 - sloppy focus action
Swarovski EL (pre-SV) 10x42 - very rough focusing action
Swarvoski EL SV (pre-FP) 8x32 - hinge issues
Zeiss FL T*P 8x32 - loose armoring
Zeiss FL T*P 7x42 - focus action
Nikon SE 8x32 - focus action/hinge tension
Nikon EDG 8x42 - OK... this one was pretty darn close to perfect
Kowa Genesis 8.5x44 - ditto with the EDG
Leica Ultravid - focus action
Vortex Razor (current model) 8x42 - Eye cups loose
Meopta MeoPro HD 8x32 - eye cup issues if I recall correctly

Overall, I think QC is fairly poor with all the manufacturers, but so long as the warranty service is good I'm not too bothered by that. I think every issue I had was resolved through the warranty departments.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
Re-reading this post, I feel compelled to say, based on my recent search for upgraded optics, after being out of the market for over ten years, that no matter where a binocular was made, or the price, I'm seeing QC issues. In the last several months, out of perhaps 20 pair of binos viewed, I've personally seen flaws in at least one copy of the following models (8x42 unless noted):

Swaro SLC - noisy, balky center hinge; focus wheel binding (Austria)

Swaro EL (8.5) - defective focus wheel (Austria)

Tract Toric (two in a row) - excessive play and noise in focus wheels and diopter; too easy movement in center hinge. (Japan)

Zeiss Conquest (8x32) - stiff, balky focus wheel (Japan)

Vanguard Endeavor II - excessive play in focus wheel (China)

Hawke Sapphire - left side would not focus at all (!) (China)

Nikon Monarch 7 - loose armor (Malaysia?)

This seems rather disheartening, unless I'm just having some bad luck. Comparing my experience purchasing numerous cameras (and a few binoculars) over the past twenty years (zero defects!), the present OC issues situation for binoculars is pretty miserable. I'd like to hear what others think - are binoculars less likely to be in perfect working order out of the box than cameras or other optics? If so, why?

I've come to the same conclusion, I've owned the following high/mid range (most were NIB, some store demos):

Swarovski SLC (current version) 8x42 - sloppy focus action
Swarovski EL (pre-SV) 10x42 - very rough focusing action
Swarvoski EL SV (pre-FP) 8x32 - hinge issues
Zeiss FL T*P 8x32 - loose armoring
Zeiss FL T*P 7x42 - focus action
Nikon SE 8x32 - focus action/hinge tension
Nikon EDG 8x42 - OK... this one was pretty darn close to perfect
Kowa Genesis 8.5x44 - ditto with the EDG
Leica Ultravid - focus action
Vortex Razor (current model) 8x42 - Eye cups loose
Meopta MeoPro HD 8x32 - eye cup issues if I recall correctly

Overall, I think QC is fairly poor with all the manufacturers, but so long as the warranty service is good I'm not too bothered by that. I think every issue I had was resolved through the warranty departments.

WOW! Y'all have seen more QC issues on binoculars than I've seen in my LIFE.

OVERALL.....I've seen QC to be very good with the VAST majority of binoculars regardless of country of origin. Granted, these have been actual PURCHASES. MOST have been internet orders where I never saw the binocular before it got to my house.

Vortex- 3 binoculars ZERO QC issues...all MIJ
Maven- 3 binoculars ZERO QC issues
Tract- 1 binocular ZERO QC issues
Zeiss Victory- 6 binoculars 2 QC issues
Zeiss Conquest- 3 binoculars ZERO QC issues
Zeiss Terra HD- 3 binoculars ZERO QC issues
Swarovski- 9 binoculars 1 QC issue(very minor)
Vanguard- 2 binoculars ZERO QC issues
Opticron- 2 binoiculars 1 QC issue
Leica- 8 binoculars ZERO QC issues
Meopta(including Cabela's)- 4 binoculars ZERO QC issues.
Nikon- 4 binoculars 1 QC issue I fixed with Bruce's help(loose hinge)

So I'll stop there....I think that is an EXTREMELY good QC record from various brands.
 

BruceH

Avatar: Harris Hawk
I've come to the same conclusion, I've owned the following high/mid range (most were NIB, some store demos):
.........
Vortex Razor (current model) 8x42 - Eye cups loose
.........

The current model was first made in Japan and now switched over to China. Is the Razor you mentioned the one made in Japan or made in China?
 

jremmons

Wildlife Biologist
The current model was first made in Japan and now switched over to China. Is the Razor you mentioned the one made in Japan or made in China?

It was a Japanese model, Bruce. The eyecups were certainly not bad, but they didn't like to stay put, similar to the MiJ Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD I now use.

@ Chuck: I'm picky, especially with the mid and high tiers. The models I listed were not all of the high end binoculars I've owned, just ones with issues I've owned; furthermore, I've seen great specimens of some of these so I can tell when one is not up to par. There is definitely a fair bit of individual variability in production it would seem. With the lower (sub-$500) models, I can let a lot of minor things go. With a binocular costing me anywhere from $1000 to $2500, I expect practical perfection of which I've seen very little. This is why I am hard pressed any longer to buy alpha class binoculars.
 
Last edited:
Enjoying everyone's comments on QC issues.

Lee, regarding cameras, my experience with them spans the last 40 years: everything from manual focus to auto, film to digital, interchangeable/fixed and prime/zoom lenses, etc. Lots of moving parts, controls, motors. Nikon, Canon, Sony - and never a problem. Maybe that's good luck.

Bob, to answer your question: the SLCs were new, right out of the sealed box. The ELs were shown to me in an optics store (maybe a demo) by a salesperson who loves Zeiss - and was trying to show me one reason why he thought a Zeiss SF was better than the Swaro EL, by pointing out what he thought was a poor design or build feature of the EL: the focus action.

It seems that poor focus action - whether the problem be binding, backlash, or play - is the most-often-noted mechanical complaint about binoculars. Why should anyone have to pay 1000 usd just to get a focus mechanism that works properly? Am I asking too much? Complaint finished.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
It was a Japanese model, Bruce. The eyecups were certainly not bad, but they didn't like to stay put, similar to the MiJ Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD I now use.

@ Chuck: I'm picky, especially with the mid and high tiers. The models I listed were not all of the high end binoculars I've owned, just ones with issues I've owned; furthermore, I've seen great specimens of some of these so I can tell when one is not up to par. There is definitely a fair bit of individual variability in production it would seem. With the lower (sub-$500) models, I can let a lot of minor things go. With a binocular costing me anywhere from $1000 to $2500, I expect practical perfection of which I've seen very little. This is why I am hard pressed any longer to buy alpha class binoculars.

I got ya! I understand where you are coming from. I've got a few that are closer to what they SHOULD be than some others.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
Enjoying everyone's comments on QC issues.

it seems that poor focus action - whether the problem be binding, backlash, or play - is the most-often-noted mechanical complaint about binoculars. Why should anyone have to pay 1000 usd just to get a focus mechanism that works properly? Am I asking too much? Complaint finished.

You don't have to spend that much at all. There are quite a few nice binoculars out there for less than $1000.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Dead right Chuck, and folks have had focus issues with bins much more expensive than $1,000.

Lee
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
Interesting looking through this thread - as far as I can see only one mention of Leica, to report no QC issues. Are they still all made in Germany?
(I have Swarovski and Opticron, so no prior bias on my part!)
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Interesting looking through this thread - as far as I can see only one mention of Leica, to report no QC issues. Are they still all made in Germany?
(I have Swarovski and Opticron, so no prior bias on my part!)

I believe they are all made at the Leica factory in Portugal and have been for many years, although I haven't had definitive information that this applies to Noctivid but I would bet money on it.

The Portuguese factory has historically done a great job for Leica and produced the Trinovid BA series which have a great reputation for performance and toughness.
Lee
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top