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Interview with Zeiss Sports Optics UK and their Official Repairer (1 Viewer)

Foss

Well-known member
Great read! If there was a hall of fame for BF contributors, you'd be one of the first Troubador.
 

eronald

Well-known member
Troubador

If you go to the trouble of interviewing service centres for high end products, maybe some mildly technical questions might be on order, eg, how resistant which of their products are to daily abuse -will they stand being dropped or cleaned with a sweater (it always happens, they get dirty and rained on exactly while they are being used) , are the coatings resistant to pollution or do they tarnish, does the gas filling last or leak over the years (how many?) , do they need cleaning for internal haze periodically, what tools and process do they use to recollimate, and also how they deal with items that get sent back immediately by the customers for correction. The last is of interest, seeing how many people complain here of dust inside barrels, internal reflections, hazing up etc.

My own short experiences with binoculars have been educational, as I learnt that if one is watching seagulls the glasses will sit in the sun or and be carried with no case on a windy and sandy beach, if one uses glasses in an urban setting they will get banged around, if they are handed to a child they will be picked up with a finger on the objective lenses etc. And even a bino in a retail dealer window display will be exposed to a large number of thermal cycles and direct sunlight for 3 or 4 years easily. The service center knows this even if the dealer does not, and the interview is a good moment for them to provide advice on model choice for the buyer, and possibly even say which type of gaffer tape one should use on the barrels to make them more grippy and less rubbery.


I know that much value is placed here and elsewhere on the difference between 89% and 92% and 480 and 750 nm transmission, and I can see how my smaller glass struggle when watching the birds in my backyard under tree cover at dusk, but my feeling is that most real-life buyers with just one or two glasses are more interested in knowing whether the lenses are going to be pointing in the same general direction after a couple of years real world use, and whether the thing can be expected to stay in usable shape for a while so you can see what you're looking at. Hint: The Leicas I bought were pretty bad as sold to me just from the crud they had accumulated while standing in a display case.


The same holds for photo equipment, and as a I found out when I was writing about cameras, the difference between a consumer model and a pro model camera is not the image quality, it is that the pro model is designed to resist damage, and also to be capable of being realigned and repaired after encountering anything short of a steamroller. The service guys and PR are allowed to, even very proud to tell you that their "pro"cameras will survive a drop, they're just waiting for you to ask ...and to make it understood that rough treatment of a consumer model is often fatal and considered abuse.

Edmund
 
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Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Troubador

If you go to the trouble of interviewing service centres for high end products, maybe some mildly technical questions might be on order, eg, how resistant which of their products are to daily abuse -will they stand being dropped or cleaned with a sweater (it always happens) , are the coatings resistant to pollution or do they tarnish, does the gas filling last or leak over the years (how many?) , do they need cleaning for internal haze periodically, what tools and process do they use to recollimate, and also how they deal with items that get sent back immediately by the customers for correction. The last is of interest, seeing how many people complain here of dust inside barrels, internal reflections, hazing up etc.

Edmund


I understand why you ask these questions Edmund and I might be able to obtain answers for some of them. However I suspect that some will not be answered in the way that you wish. For example service departments are not allowed to make statements about binocular performance. This is the remit of marketing departments in all companies.

For example: will the binos survive a fall? This depends on whether the fall is a few centimetres onto a cushion or from the top of the Tour Eiffel onto the pavement or, more realistically from half a metre onto soft mud or 2 metres onto rock. Even if you define the circumstances of the fall the outcome will depend on the position of the bino as it hits the surface and whether the fall was only propelled by gravity or if the bino had more speed behind the fall by for example swinging from the neck strap. It is impossible to answer this question.

Is is OK to clean with a sweater? I guess you mean the ocular and objective lenses and the only possible answer is no. You need to ensure there is no dust or dirt or other particles on the lens and on the cloth being used to clean the lens and with a sweater this cannot be guaranteed.

What tools and processes are use for collimation? This is regarded as confidential by most brands.

What to do if a member receives a new binocular and there is something wrong such as particles inside. The member should return these to the dealer and ask for binocular without this problem.

As for 'are the coatings resistant to pollution or do they tarnish, does the gas filling last or leak over the years (how many?) , do they need cleaning for internal haze periodically'. I will see if I can get answers to these questions and comments on the others.

Lee
 
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eronald

Well-known member
Lee,

I was a professional journalist writing about tech for 20 years, and actually quite well paid by the hour for some of that time. In spite of my slipshod writing and uninspired style, I conducted a great number of interviews about computers and a few dozen about cameras.

In my experience, arranged interviews in the tech industry are a bit like football matches should be, a meeting is arranged, you shake hands, and you are allowed to kick the ball towards the goal, they are allowed to kick it back, after the match everyone goes home after shaking hands and a drink.

If you ask a question that seems to you to be a bit out of bounds, three things can occur. They can say excuse us we can't answer. Or they can say we can't answer that officially, but we would like it to be understood that. And it's up to you to convey this off the record information in some way if you so choose. Or sometimes they will surprise you and say "We are so glad you asked us that". But if you are doing your thing courteously and are known to abide by the rules, then just asking questions will never cause any issues.

My suggestion would be you simply ask questions rather than self-censor.

I could look at your reluctance to ask point by point. However let's just take the question "will your product survive a fall". What the interviewer knows about falls is immaterial, it's what the manufacturer answers that matters. A tech person could reply "everything can be damaged by a fall, but we rarely if ever see physical damage that can't be fixed on model XXX", and the PR or commercial person attending the interview can laugh and say "that's our tough-specced glass, did you see that test we participated in where they even used a shotgun on model XXX and it still worked". And they're then very happy if you repeat that, and it's a clear *hint* to the buyer that they'll stand behind model XXX not being coddled. They haven't replied directly to the question but they have provided useful buyer information in that they state they do have a really tough model.

Also, the service techs will often contribute provide unexpectedly useful insights into the product design. Like Canon service quietly explaining to me that some very expensive pro telephoto lenses have optically flat protection glass placed as frontal elements, and thus breaking a front element on a $5000 lens may seem a major breakage, but it can paradoxically be a non-event. This is not confidential information in any way, but it's not something put forward in the specs or by sales, and it's a very useful entirely positive piece of information to carry out of an interview. I suspect some manufacturers may have binocular models that have easy-swap or toughened ocular elements to solve the same problem of recurrent abuse in the field, just as some models have easy-swap eyecups, and given a chance the manufacturer might want it to be known that on those models a scratched ocular is a rarity or an easily done repair.

The results of this uncensored process may surprise you. I believe that some members of this forum may have seen birds they didn't expect to see, and felt happier for that.


I understand why you ask these questions Edmund and I might be able to obtain answers for some of them. However I suspect that some will not be answered in the way that you wish. For example service departments are not allowed to make statements about binocular performance. This is the remit of marketing departments in all companies.

For example: will the binos survive a fall? This depends on whether the fall is a few centimetres onto a cushion or from the top of the Tour Eiffel onto the pavement or, more realistically from half a metre onto soft mud or 2 metres onto rock. Even if you define the circumstances of the fall the outcome will depend on the position of the bino as it hits the surface and whether the fall was only propelled by gravity or if the bino had more speed behind the fall by for example swinging from the neck strap. It is impossible to answer this question.

Is is OK to clean with a sweater? I guess you mean the ocular and objective lenses and the only possible answer is no. You need to ensure there is no dust or dirt or other particles on the lens and on the cloth being used to clean the lens and with a sweater this cannot be guaranteed.

What tools and processes are use for collimation? This is regarded as confidential by most brands.

What to do if a member receives a new binocular and there is something wrong such as particles inside. The member should return these to the dealer and ask for binocular without this problem.

As for 'are the coatings resistant to pollution or do they tarnish, does the gas filling last or leak over the years (how many?) , do they need cleaning for internal haze periodically'. I will see if I can get answers to these questions and comments on the others.

Lee
 
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Pinewood

New York correspondent
United States
Hello Lee,

Thanks for the interview. I suspect that Zeiss USA would have a somewhat different fashion.

I was intrigued by the major activities of Zeiss UK: cinema and I suppose professional video lenses and electron microscopes which I suppose are bespoke. I have known Zeiss for microscopes, for photography and for sports optics. Currently, they seem to have fallen behind in consumer photography.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur :hi:
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Edmund

Thank you for your response which has given me much to think about. I will bear your comments in mind when planning my next interviews at Bird Fair.
I have sent your questions to a person I think is in a good position to comment and we will see what happens.
Regard the dropping of binoculars, I am pretty sure there are published procedures to control standardised 'drop tests' for consistency and it could be that bino brands perform these. I have asked about this.

Lee
 
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Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Hello Lee,

Thanks for the interview. I suspect that Zeiss USA would have a somewhat different fashion.

I was intrigued by the major activities of Zeiss UK: cinema and I suppose professional video lenses and electron microscopes which I suppose are bespoke. I have known Zeiss for microscopes, for photography and for sports optics. Currently, they seem to have fallen behind in consumer photography.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur :hi:


Hello Arthur

Zeiss market a wide range of consumer lenses and have a strong cooperation with Sony.
The consumer photography market is in turmoil at the moment as millions of people now rely on their cell phones for photography instead of cameras.

Lee
 

eronald

Well-known member
Edmund

Thank you for your response which has given me much to think about. I will bear your comments in mind when planning my next interviews at Bird Fair.
I have sent your questions to a person I think is in a good position to comment and we will see what happens.
Regard the dropping of binoculars, I am pretty sure there are published procedures to control standardised 'drop tests' for consistency and it could be that bino brands perform these. I have asked about this.

Lee

Lee,

I look forward to reading your next interviews.

The interesting thing about the *repair* techs is they offer an unfiltered view of the real world. One of the questions I always ask them is "what product did you get for yourself". That one is usually some old model they can "liberate" for a token payment, but also one which can always be fixed, however badly it gets treated :)


Edmund
 

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