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Do you care where certain binos are made? (1 Viewer)

psunrey

New member
This is no way a political a political venture. But do you care where the binoculars are made at a certain price point? Does that psychologically play a role in your decision-making when it comes to binoculars? Or is it all about performance in your criteria book?

If Swarovski, say, started outsourcing their manufacturing to Sri Lanka, will that, for you, affect its status or perception as a brand?

If the Nikon WX was made in Europe, will that be a factor?

The fact that certain companies do not outsource, tell me it does?

I remember reading a review on a Blaser by Allbinos and one of its notes was "made in Germany is questionable". The fact that was pointed out, means it matters somehow?

Another example,the Victory Pocket 8x25 is made in Japan, or at least the sample I got when it was first released—I wonder if some people held back because of that despite it checked all the boxes for them. I wonder if Zeiss was testing public perception when they did that model especially since it's in the Victory line.

Do you guys think it's a valid criterion? Or is it a petty detail?

Thank you!
 

fazalmajid

Well-known member
This post will probably be moved to the Ruffled Feathers forum.

I have binos from Germany, Hungary, Austria, Japan and Portugal. I would not buy one made in China. While it is certainly possible to make quality products in China, it requires a very strong commitment to independent quality control to avoid the widespread culture of quality fade and “chabuduo” (“good enough”). A company like Apple shows how it should be done, but most companies moving production to China just for the prices are unlikely to invest heavily in quality control.

On the other hand, let’s not be naive. In this era of globalized supply chains, it is all too easy for a product to be largely made in one country, then sent to another more prestigious one for a trivial finishing step to be applied and thus skirt country of origin rules.
 

WJC

Well-known member
Do you guys think it's a valid criterion? Or is it a petty detail?

Thank you!


The Adlerblick Fernglasser sounds quite German. However, it’s made by Carton Optical (Siam) Co. LTD. I believe you will find that Swarovski Sri Lanka makes jewelry and not binoculars. Also, as far as I know Nikon’s WX (now discontinued) was made in Japan. Just because a company has a facility in a given country it does not mean they manufacture binoculars there.

The binocular on the left in the photo is the Celestron (an American company) Noble which was made in Japan. On the right is its brother, a Kahles (now part of Swarovski and a European company), also made in Japan. However, the second binocular cost $319 more—25 years ago. It came in a box plainly labeled “made in Austria.” And it was ... the BOX I mean.

Buy the product. Not the name on the side or country of supposed origin. :cat:

Bill
 

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psunrey

New member
On the other hand, let’s not be naive. In this era of globalized supply chains, it is all too easy for a product to be largely made in one country, then sent to another more prestigious one for a trivial finishing step to be applied and thus skirt country of origin rules.

I think I read somewhere in this forum that that's why the Zeiss SF, for one, was so delayed--whoever wrote it seemed to be alluding that the upcoming SF really isn't "100% made in Germany" that it had some components from China.

So from your point of view, it's an issue of quality. Not so much if it's outsourced away from the company's country of origin.
 

psunrey

New member
I believe you will find that Swarovski Sri Lanka makes jewelry and not binoculars. Also, as far as I know Nikon’s WX (now discontinued) was made in Japan. Just because a company has a facility in a given country it does not mean they manufacture binoculars there.

The binocular on the left in the photo is the Celestron (an American company) Noble which was made in Japan. On the right is its brother, a Kahles (now part of Swarovski and a European company), also made in Japan. However, the second binocular cost $319 more—25 years ago. It came in a box plainly labeled “made in Austria.” And it was ... the BOX I mean.

Buy the product. Not the name on the side or country of supposed origin.

Yes I know, I was just making a hypothetical example.

So are you saying they both performed similarly but the other one was priced more just because of the made in Austria label
 

WJC

Well-known member
Yes I know, I was just making a hypothetical example.

So are you saying they both performed similarly but the other one was priced more just because of the made in Austria label

No, I believe they were EXACTLY the same binocular differing in VERY MINOR cosmetics and price and POSSIBLY AR coatings. I sold both until I realized. Please look carefully at the photos. This is the same, that is the same, and everything else is the same. That's just the way the consumer optics world works. I already had 8 models of Swarovski in my inventory and thought that was enough. I am still a Swarovski fan, but ...

Good advertising need not be accurate or even meaningful; it has only to be believed. $$$$ :cat:

Bill
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
For sure I have a lower maximum amount I'll spend for a MIC binocular....that's just the way it is. That's about $400 which is still probably too much.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
No, as long as they are not MIC. In my experience I have had too many quality problems with MIC binoculars in the past.
 
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yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
I don't care if they're made in China or elsewhere. If they're made properly (and it seems there's properly made things coming from China, like Apple or Pinarello bikes to name a few in extremely different fields). In the case of high cost/price binoculars, I actually value more the after-sale service than what it says on the "Made in" sticker. If I buy some binoculars from Z, L, S, N or whatever, I really don't care where they make them, as long as they're as good and as long as they can provide with their excellent customer support. So if Swarovski decides to go MIC, it will be really sad to see it (as European), but as a product, if they retain their quality and their service, they can actually produce whatever they want wherever they want (or can). I think about it the same way I think about "top end" binoculars made of "plastic" (sic), which seems also to be a no-no for many. The Zeiss FL range has proven to be rugged and durable as any other range. So I really don't care if they don't use magnesium. For example, if they can make the Swarovski EL 8x32 SV get closer to or below the 500 g weight mark by using plastic compounds (and keep its properties)... go ahead. If they want to build that plastic compound sub 500 g EL SV 8x32 in China or the Philippines, I really don't care... as long as it is of same quality. As has been discussed so many times over here, "Made in Germany" (or elsewhere for that matter) seems to be getting less and less significant (and actually accurate) in this globalised world.
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
I don't care if they're made in China or elsewhere. If they're made properly (and it seems there's properly made things coming from China, like Apple or Pinarello bikes to name a few in extremely different fields). In the case of high cost/price binoculars, I actually value more the after-sale service than what it says on the "Made in" sticker. If I buy some binoculars from Z, L, S, N or whatever, I really don't care where they make them, as long as they're as good and as long as they can provide with their excellent customer support. So if Swarovski decides to go MIC, it will be really sad to see it (as European), but as a product, if they retain their quality and their service, they can actually produce whatever they want wherever they want (or can). I think about it the same way I think about "top end" binoculars made of "plastic" (sic), which seems also to be a no-no for many. The Zeiss FL range has proven to be rugged and durable as any other range. So I really don't care if they don't use magnesium. For example, if they can make the Swarovski EL 8x32 SV get closer to or below the 500 g weight mark by using plastic compounds (and keep its properties)... go ahead. If they want to build that plastic compound sub 500 g EL SV 8x32 in China or the Philippines, I really don't care... as long as it is of same quality. As has been discussed so many times over here, "Made in Germany" (or elsewhere for that matter) seems to be getting less and less significant (and actually accurate) in this globalised world.

As Yarrellii points out, the prevalence of global supply chains eliminates the credibility of any 'Made in...' labels. To restore that credibility would require more effort that the global community can muster at the moment.

So now after sales service has become an effective discriminator for the consumer deprived of the earlier quality signals. Obviously the manufacturers could chose to provide performance guarantees instead, but thus far none has chosen that route.
 

dries1

Member
If the subject matter is binoculars, MIC is out for me, I have seen/owned too much substandard glass from there. Things may change?, I do not believe so, if they do, I will be long gone - so what do I care. I own older glass made in Japan or Germany or Austria, and I will keep those.

Andy W.
 

Pinewood

New York correspondent
United States
Hello,

As "Made in..." is no longer reliable, other considerations are needed. Brand name is no longer what it used to be, as well regarded companies have gone down market with less expensive lines.

However, it seems that "Made in China" is warning. Chinese OEM seem to be able to put out fine middle range binoculars but their importers are challenged to stay in business. Top brands with staying power are finding the Chinese way of doing business is more about obtaining intellectual property and obtaining investments than about a sustainable business. One can find comments on the forum about Zeiss Terra models from China being inferior to those made in Japan.

I do own one Chinese binocular, a Zen-Ray, whose purchase taught me two lessons. The first was do not put much credence in BF reviews. The second lesson was newcomers in the binocular business are often short lived.

As an afterthought, I had a nice time this morning with my 8x30 Bausch & Lomb binocular, made in the USA before I was born.

Stay safe,
Arthur
 

cottonbase

Well-known member
No. It doesn't matter to me.

Age is also a factor when it comes to an understanding of "MIC".

Most of the views expressed here are based on perceptions of Chinese manufacturing capability of ten or twenty years ago. A lot has changed in that time. I very much doubt that younger purchasers would have the same biases. Marketing and PR departments have a lot to answer for when it comes to misinforming prospective customers - their objective is not to sell the best, just to make it seem so, whether that's German or Chinese.

As others have said, buy the product. Not the spin.
 

giosblue

Well-known member
No. It doesn't matter to me.

Age is also a factor when it comes to an understanding of "MIC".

Most of the views expressed here are based on perceptions of Chinese manufacturing capability of ten or twenty years ago. A lot has changed in that time. I very much doubt that younger purchasers would have the same biases. Marketing and PR departments have a lot to answer for when it comes to misinforming prospective customers - their objective is not to sell the best, just to make it seem so, whether that's German or Chinese.

As others have said, buy the product. Not the spin.

Like I said before, I work in retail, the motors trade. Years ago Chinese made product were mostly crap. I know because I sold them and stopped selling them because the returns However, this is not the case anymore. I am selling wheel Bearings, shock absorbers, bulbs and many other products made in China that are first class. The returns rate is almost nil, and those that do come back are usually the fault of the customer not being able to fit them properly. You can knock Chinese bins all day long, but the more I see of China and Chinese products more I am impressed. I have Vortex Razor bins and they are superb in every respect. I know quality when I see it and Vortex are as good if not better than anything else I have tried.
 
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dries1

Member
That explains it. To each their own, my experience with HVAC parts are opposite.
I will never promote Vortex, sorry, never will own one, I will pay more for a glass that does not have to be serviced frequently.

Andy W.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Most of the views expressed here are based on perceptions of Chinese manufacturing capability of ten or twenty years ago. A lot has changed in that time. I very much doubt that younger purchasers would have the same biases.

Very interesting insight. Now that would be a nice poll:
MIC? Yes/No, according to age brackets.

I know, I know, just for the obvious a natural rhythm of life, teenagers are less likely to buy a top Swarovski/Leica, hence they're less likely to give a thing about where their optics come from, but just out of curiosity, that would be an interesting poll. As a side piece of information, the poll could also mark the area of origin, to see how that affects the outcome.
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
I do care about where binoculars are made. It seems most all in the price range of under $500. are made
in China, and I would not purchase anything made in China over that number, so that is why Vortex is out for me.

I have learned to appreciate older optics often made in Japan, Portugal, Austria or Germany.

They offer much more satisfaction for those that understand build quality and more.

Jerry
 

Patudo

Well-known member
do you care where the binoculars are made at a certain price point? Does that psychologically play a role in your decision-making when it comes to binoculars? Or is it all about performance in your criteria book?

Yes, yes, and yes - and a lot depends on that price point. If it's priced at say $150 or less my expectations are lower, and I'm sure plenty of factories in many countries can build a decent binocular at that price point. At $1000 expectations of quality and consistency are different.

If Swarovski, say, started outsourcing their manufacturing to Sri Lanka, will that, for you, affect its status or perception as a brand?

As far as Swarovski Optik is concerned, yes - it would be nice if Sri Lanka had established a reputation as a location for the manufacture of the top quality optics associated with the Swarovski name, but it hasn't done so, at least not yet...

If the Nikon WX was made in Europe, will that be a factor?

Japan has, over the decades, painstakingly built up a reputation for the manufacture of quality optics rivalling Germany and, indeed, now eclipsing the United States and Great Britain. If Nikon for whatever reason had the WX built in Europe my perception is that there would be unlikely to be any improvement in quality, though there might well be in the (already substantial) cost...

Another example, the Victory Pocket 8x25 is made in Japan, or at least the sample I got when it was first released—I wonder if some people held back because of that despite it checked all the boxes for them. I wonder if Zeiss was testing public perception when they did that model especially since it's in the Victory line.

Do you guys think it's a valid criterion? Or is it a petty detail?


That I don't know, but I wouldn't object to the Conquest HD on the grounds that it were made in Japan. I wouldn't object to the Terra either if price/performance were the sole criterion, but would pass on buying it as I'm not terribly well disposed to the People's Republic of China right now...
 

jremmons

Wildlife Biologist
Nope, doesn't matter to me a bit where a binocular is made; the only important parts to me are the optical and mechanical quality and the warranty/reputation of the company.
The little Nikon ED50 is MiC and has been an outstanding tool for me and has suffered quite a bit of abuse.
Most electronic equipment is MiC, and seems to require much the same level of careful construction as you might expect in binoculars.

Justin
 

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