• 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.

CEO of Zeiss Sports Optics responds to our questions (1 Viewer)

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Winfried Scherle has had a long and distinguished career at Zeiss and recently became leader of the Consumer Optics Business Unit which includes Sports Optics. Herr Scherle has been kind enough to agree to receive a series of questions from me, borne out of many questions raised in the threads on Bird Forum, and to provide his answers.

Here they are:

Question:
Herr Scherle, you have had a long career at Zeiss and are now running the Consumer Optics Business Unit which includes Sports Optics. Please tell us about your career and how you came to be in charge of the future direction of Zeiss binoculars, spotting scopes and rifle scopes.

Answer:
I started at Zeiss in 1984 as optical designer in the corporate research division. As next step I took over responsibility for the development of airborne cameras. In 2000 I took the responsibility for camera lenses as general manager. Since April 2014 I have full responsibility for all consumer business at Zeiss including products for photography, cinematography, planetariums and sports optics.
Question:
Zeiss photographic lenses (and cinematography lenses too) and Zeiss Sports Optics have reputations for superb optical performance. Now that they are together in one family, how do you intend to make use of the different kinds of expertise in both product groups?

Answer:
There is a very broad basis of Know How in dealing with optics and application understanding in both divisions and many crossroads and synergies between those disciplines. This applies for example to optical designs, mechanics and coatings. The benefit will be put into effect on both sides, photo and sports optics. Our self-understanding is to enable superior imaging which means for lenses, creative and precise image capturing, and for sports optics observation with outstanding quality. Both product families fit wonderful for use cases in nature and especially bird watching.​

Question:
BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi all built their businesses on a foundation of three product tiers, for example the 3-, 5- and 7-series of BMW. Zeiss has recently implemented a 3 tier product portfolio too, but those automotive manufacturers have found it necessary in recent years to expand into many other market niches. How do you see the Zeiss 3 tiers developing and do you anticipate Zeiss looking at other niche opportunities too?

Answer:
Of course we are targeting different customer segments and therefore we are offering a wide variety of product lines. In binoculars we are offering 56 as well as 54 models and below that a wide range of 42 models. Lightweight 32 models are part of our portfolio as well as pocket binoculars in different price classes. Insofar we try to cover all substantial customer segments on a higher level in this market and we are on the way to close any significant gaps. We address customer segments according to their expectations and budget, by allowing them to upgrade from Terra via Conquest into the highest level of Victory.​

Question:
Does Zeiss have a product development plan taking into account the rapidly growing population segment in Europe and North America that are 60 years old or older? Taking this market segment’s needs into consideration (and those of the increasingly important ladies’ market) can we expect binoculars with 7x magnification to be re-introduced?

Answer:
Our Product management is screening the market on a constant basis and we are actually focusing on all important market trends. Please understand that our future plans are strictly confidential and we do not discuss these topics outside of our company.​

Question:
The Conquest HD line has established a great reputation in the market. Conquest binoculars are marked ‘Made in Germany’ but it is now well-known that they are the result of a co-operation between Zeiss and Kamakura. Also well-known is that the rules in the European Union about declaring the place of manufacture are not very strong, and from time to time there have been rumours that the only thing that happens to Conquests at Wetzlar is that the eyecups are screwed on. Can you tell us something about the processes that Conquests go through in Wetzlar?

Answer:
The Conquest HD indeed is a „Made in Germany“ product. As a matter of course like other manufacturers we are linked to a network of different suppliers inside and outside the country but we assure that the quality matches our specification according to our brand promise. Following international industry conventions we do not discuss our sourcing network in the public.​

Question:
The internet allows people all around the world to compare not only the prices of binoculars but also the after-sales support such as warranties. It is easy to find out that customers for Victory and Conquest products in Europe are given a 10 year warranty whereas in the USA and Canada, customers are given not only lifetime warranties but it is a ‘no-fault’ warranty too. How did these differences arise and do you intend to reduce or eliminate these differences in the future?

Answer:
Each country has its own specialty and expectation from the customer side. Up to now we recognize these local circumstances and because of our efforts being close to the customer we react accordingly.

Lee
Acknowledgements
On behalf of all of the members of Bird Forum, I would like to thank Herr Scherle for taking the time to respond to these questions.

The accompanying photograph was taken by Laura Kammermeier. To discover more about her many activities please go to: http://laurakammermeier.com/
 

Attachments

  • HerrScherle.jpg
    HerrScherle.jpg
    62.1 KB · Views: 185

fugl

Well-known member
An impressively uninteresting and uninformative interview. What on earth was the point of posting it here?
 

ceasar

Well-known member
Zeiss is good at it.

But try to get Nikon to give you this much information! :news:
 
Last edited:

Pileatus

"Experientia Docet”
United States
Winfried Scherle has had a long and distinguished career at Zeiss and recently became leader of the Consumer Optics Business Unit which includes Sports Optics. Herr Scherle has been kind enough to agree to receive a series of questions from me, borne out of many questions raised in the threads on Bird Forum, and to provide his answers.


The accompanying photograph was taken by Laura Kammermeier. To discover more about her many activities please go to: http://laurakammermeier.com/
[/INDENT]
Laura has an Ultravid...
 

EnjoyTheView

Well-known member
The responses may be super lame, but the questions were not much better. They were like what you would expect on a news cast without any follow up. Especially on the origin question, he could have been requested again to answer the question, "what is exactly done in Germany", no one asked him to detail his suppliers he was asked what is done in Germany that makes them "Made in Germany". This was just more babble like you get from a 10 second news story from a conference room floor. Nothing was learned about the optics at all. I would not doubt this guy was in charge of the release of the APS-C series lenses released for Fuji X-series (and that's not to say the optics were bad).
 

perterra

Well-known member
The responses may be super lame, but the questions were not much better. They were like what you would expect on a news cast without any follow up. Especially on the origin question, he could have been requested again to answer the question, "what is exactly done in Germany", no one asked him to detail his suppliers he was asked what is done in Germany that makes them "Made in Germany". This was just more babble like you get from a 10 second news story from a conference room floor. Nothing was learned about the optics at all. I would not doubt this guy was in charge of the release of the APS-C series lenses released for Fuji X-series (and that's not to say the optics were bad).

First he is not going to tell you who the suppliers are, second he wont go into details about what is done. Push hard, the questions end, it's that simple, your email goes in the spam folder.

You really ought to see if you can get a better answer then, maybe mud wrestle him for answers.
 

EnjoyTheView

Well-known member
First he is not going to tell you who the suppliers are, second he wont go into details about what is done. Push hard, the questions end, it's that simple, your email goes in the spam folder.

You really ought to see if you can get a better answer then, maybe mud wrestle him for answers.

What you say may be true, but a good company will be happy and proud to tell you their operations involved in their quality made product.

As for getting good answers, if they don't want to give any answers then why wast your time talking with them and why give them any exposure with publishing them. This isn't a political race, buyers hold the greenbacks.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
What you say may be true, but a good company will be happy and proud to tell you their operations involved in their quality made product.

As for getting good answers, if they don't want to give any answers then why wast your time talking with them and why give them any exposure with publishing them. This isn't a political race, buyers hold the greenbacks.
CEO's are like politicians. They never really answer a question because they don't want to make anybody angry. They are trained not to divulge any corporate secrets because it might give the competition an edge. I would have liked to ask him why they were having so many QA problems with the release of the new Zeiss SF. That probably would have just irritated him. He probably would have said he wasn't aware of any problems.
 

perterra

Well-known member
What you say may be true, but a good company will be happy and proud to tell you their operations involved in their quality made product.

As for getting good answers, if they don't want to give any answers then why wast your time talking with them and why give them any exposure with publishing them. This isn't a political race, buyers hold the greenbacks.

Ask Swaro or Leica who their suppliers are, ask Steiner or Doctor what are the operations that are done in house. Look at the way the German law is written, and I would surmise they do the absolute minimum required to call them made in Germany. But they likely fall within those rules.

Theres a reason you see very little activity from the majors on these or any forums. It's a no win position they are put into here. Too many with agendas, too many who have an axe to grind.

And for what they are selling every year, not many buyers are holding out on the green backs. I think it's safe to say Zeiss is not putting out a shabby product no matter where all the details are done, nor is Swarovski, Leica or Nikon in the upper end.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Ask Swaro or Leica who their suppliers are, ask Steiner or Doctor what are the operations that are done in house. Look at the way the German law is written, and I would surmise they do the absolute minimum required to call them made in Germany. But they likely fall within those rules.

Theres a reason you see very little activity from the majors on these or any forums. It's a no win position they are put into here. Too many with agendas, too many who have an axe to grind.

And for what they are selling every year, not many buyers are holding out on the green backs. I think it's safe to say Zeiss is not putting out a shabby product no matter where all the details are done, nor is Swarovski, Leica or Nikon in the upper end.
In truth we are lucky to have such high quality binoculars and optical equipment and in reality they aren't that expensive for the technology that goes into them and the investments the manufacturers have to make to produce a high end pair of binoculars and all the highly skilled people that put one together.
 

brocknroller

A confessed porromaniac
United States
In America, he would have answered your questions by repeating one phrase:

I plead the 5th.
I plead the 5th.
I plead the 5th.

You probably got better answers off the record which you can't share than you did on the record. I can relate. Every time I ask some pointed questions of state and national oil & gas industry groups, not only do they dodge my questions but their replies are prepackaged propaganda statements that help further their agenda but do nothing to inform our readers about the important issues being discussed. It's frustrating at times.

After three 5h Amendment dodges, I would have gone Megyn Kelly on him, but probably with no better results.

Question:
Herr Scherle...
Please, call me Winnie...
Ah, Winnie... Which, if any, Zeiss binoculars are wholly manufactured in Germany?

Answer: Ich plädiere die fünften.

Regardless of where the 8x32 Terra ED was "made," Zeiss did a very good job of designing it and maintaining quality control (at least on this sample). It does what the Swaro CL was claimed to do -- introduce the buyer to the company's family of optics.

I'm a fan of Zeiss porros, but I've never been interested in buying the original Victory or the FLs or the original Conquests whereas I was interested in trying the ELs, SLCs, and the Nikon EDG, all of which I have tried. Up until the SF, the only Zeiss roof that interested me was the 7x42 Dailyt.

But after using the 8x32 TED, and watching the extreme tested Conquest HD video, I am curious about trying the next level up, but not much on the top shelf. Take off the blue shield and "Made in German" label, and the price gets cut in half.

Brock
 

Vespobuteo

Well-known member
so it seems that the customer in Europe does not want a life-time and ‘no-fault’ warranty?
I sure would like that..., but perhaps the initial price in US is higher,
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Gentlemen

Thanks for all of your responses.

From a keen-eyed, even cynical, bunch like you lot, I didn't expect anything less, and armed with your posts I will see if I can obtain more illuminating answers when I see Herr Scherle at the Bird Fair in one week's time.

A couple of years ago I promised I would ask these sorts of questions if I ever got the chance.
Well, I got the chance, and I kept my promise.

Lee
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top