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What brands (other than the big ones) offer quality repairs/servicing? (1 Viewer)

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
In an era of swift advancement of electronics, where more often that not something made last year isn't worth repairing, we have got used to simply replacing products with lesser defects by brand new ones (even if the broken part could have been easily mended).

On the other hand, pure mechanical-optical devices like binoculars don’t advance at a similar pace, and a pair of 20 year old binoculars (like the Nikon SE or Leica BN) can offer very nice performance and years/decades of service (and be repaired along the way), where a mobile phone or a hard disc drive from the year 2000 is an outdated rarity most likely bound to a scrapyard, not a repair workshop.

One thing that strikes me about top brands is the simple and astonishing fact (in this time and era) that they do repair binoculars. I know this probably shouldn’t surprise me, but it does. Such a simple fact (I guess that's one of the reasons many here like binoculars, for their simple and mechanical nature). There’s a lovely and reassuring feeling when you get back your repaired binoculars, it’s hard to describe. I’ve sent binoculars to Swarovski, Zeiss, Leica or Meopta and in many occasions they’ve gone beyond what was asked/expected, and replaced/improved other bits of the device. Sustainability issues aside, this gives me great pleasure and confidence (I have no brand loyalty for any particular firm).

However, I’ve also read stories of binoculars with very minor defects (like a crooked eyecup) that have simply been replaced by a new one. Given that a good deal of the binoculars in the market today come from far away manufacturers, I guess it is cheaper for the brands selling them to simply replace them with new ones. I think I’ve read some comments about this issue here and there in some forum threads, but usually within a post regarding a particular brand that would simply replace a broken device under warranty without even trying to fix what’s broken. But I don't think I've seen it as a main subject.

So, my question is, other than Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski, Nikon, Meopta… what other brands offer quality repairs and servicing of their products?
More and more, when buying binoculars I think about the life of the product and the reassuring (but less and less common) idea that someone will take care of my binoculars should something happen to them. And I think it is just fair that brands that offer this service (and way of understanding business) be acknowledged. What do you think about this? (Mind you, this is not a thread about who offers the best repair service, or who doesn't).
 

dipped

Well-known member
In an era of swift advancement of electronics, where more often that not something made last year isn't worth repairing, we have got used to simply replacing products with lesser defects by brand new ones (even if the broken part could have been easily mended).

On the other hand, pure mechanical-optical devices like binoculars don’t advance at a similar pace, and a pair of 20 year old binoculars (like the Nikon SE or Leica BN) can offer very nice performance and years/decades of service (and be repaired along the way), where a mobile phone or a hard disc drive from the year 2000 is an outdated rarity most likely bound to a scrapyard, not a repair workshop.

One thing that strikes me about top brands is the simple and astonishing fact (in this time and era) that they do repair binoculars. I know this probably shouldn’t surprise me, but it does. Such a simple fact (I guess that's one of the reasons many here like binoculars, for their simple and mechanical nature). There’s a lovely and reassuring feeling when you get back your repaired binoculars, it’s hard to describe. I’ve sent binoculars to Swarovski, Zeiss, Leica or Meopta and in many occasions they’ve gone beyond what was asked/expected, and replaced/improved other bits of the device. Sustainability issues aside, this gives me great pleasure and confidence (I have no brand loyalty for any particular firm).

However, I’ve also read stories of binoculars with very minor defects (like a crooked eyecup) that have simply been replaced by a new one. Given that a good deal of the binoculars in the market today come from far away manufacturers, I guess it is cheaper for the brands selling them to simply replace them with new ones. I think I’ve read some comments about this issue here and there in some forum threads, but usually within a post regarding a particular brand that would simply replace a broken device under warranty without even trying to fix what’s broken. But I don't think I've seen it as a main subject.

So, my question is, other than Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski, Nikon, Meopta… what other brands offer quality repairs and servicing of their products?
More and more, when buying binoculars I think about the life of the product and the reassuring (but less and less common) idea that someone will take care of my binoculars should something happen to them. And I think it is just fair that brands that offer this service (and way of understanding business) be acknowledged. What do you think about this? (Mind you, this is not a thread about who offers the best repair service, or who doesn't).
Viking and Opticron are two that immediately spring to mind.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Dipped, yes, you're right, very interesting. I completely forgot about those. As a matter of fact, I once sent in my Discovery WP. However, it was a minor repair (hinge tension and rubber eyecup installation). I wonder if they could be able to so a serious repair in something like a Discovery should something serious arrive (on the other hand, probably the repair could be more expensive than the binocular itself, which can be a reason for only top -as in expensive- brands offering repairs). I'm curious about repairs on a top-level Opticron, what would happen with a DBA VHD, if say it needed replacement of the rubber armour or some optical components... does Opticron have a dedicated workshop able to carry out such repairs, or would the binoculars need to be send to Japan? Maybe Peter Gamby knows.
 

Mono

Hi!
Staff member
Supporter
Europe
Opticron have their own UK service centre. I have received great service from them both under warranty and due to accidental damage. Including major work such as replacing a scope prism.
 

mbb

Well-known member
Warranty, repairability and service are things I also value a lot, the more so for such long term investments, for economical ànd for environmental reasons.
Kite is well known (at least here in Belgium) as a brand with great after-sales support and warranty. For most of their binoculars and scopes you get 30years warranty (if I recall correctly).
see for more detailed information https://www.kiteoptics.com/en/nature/warranty/
I think they can do at least some (most?) of the repairs in Belgium.
That is an important reason why I like the brand: they have some very good binoculars with great warranty, which is confirmed also by their reputation in ornithology groups across the country and their products being sold also by the most important nature associations here. They might not reach up to the level of the most recent ‘best of the best‘ alpha binoculars like the Swarovski EL/NL, Zeiss Victory or Leica Ultravid HD(+) or Noctivid, but Kite’s best binoculars are very competitive quality and service wise, and cheaper...
They target a wider market segment with a more diversified portfolio, with also some much cheaper binoculars, but keeping the good warranty.
I have to let them check the focussing knob of my Kite Lynx HD 8x30, which started to make a bit of a peeping sound. They told me they would have to dismantle and re-oil part of it and would do it for free under warranty. I just waited a bit, because it was at the beginning of some holidays and didn’t want to go on holiday without them. Next time I’m around I’ll drop them off for repair, as I can live without them for bit now, since I also got a good Ultravid HD 8x32 ;-)
 

raymie

Well-known member
United States
Vortex has a lifetime warranty on all their products, and will fix it no matter how broken it is. Last year I broke my pair of Vortex binoculars (in the height of spring migration, no less) and I sent them in to be repaired. They came back in a couple weeks (faster than I expected) as good as new. I highly recommend Vortex to anyone now.
 

Foss

Well-known member
Kowa US recently serviced my spotting scope. Baker Marine in San Diego California services Fujinon. Steiner in the US services binoculars (though I haven't sent anything in for a couple years).
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Canon U.K. repair Canon binoculars.

But out of warranty, I would probably replace rather than have an old IS binocular repaired.

There are no parts for the original Canon 12x36 IS from about 1999..

An old Canon non IS binocular probably means no parts, so an independent repairer is probably better, but it may cost more than the binocular is worth.

B.
 

peterginsburg

Well-known member
In an era of swift advancement of electronics, where more often that not something made last year isn't worth repairing, we have got used to simply replacing products with lesser defects by brand new ones (even if the broken part could have been easily mended).

On the other hand, pure mechanical-optical devices like binoculars don’t advance at a similar pace, and a pair of 20 year old binoculars (like the Nikon SE or Leica BN) can offer very nice performance and years/decades of service (and be repaired along the way), where a mobile phone or a hard disc drive from the year 2000 is an outdated rarity most likely bound to a scrapyard, not a repair workshop.

One thing that strikes me about top brands is the simple and astonishing fact (in this time and era) that they do repair binoculars. I know this probably shouldn’t surprise me, but it does. Such a simple fact (I guess that's one of the reasons many here like binoculars, for their simple and mechanical nature). There’s a lovely and reassuring feeling when you get back your repaired binoculars, it’s hard to describe. I’ve sent binoculars to Swarovski, Zeiss, Leica or Meopta and in many occasions they’ve gone beyond what was asked/expected, and replaced/improved other bits of the device. Sustainability issues aside, this gives me great pleasure and confidence (I have no brand loyalty for any particular firm).

However, I’ve also read stories of binoculars with very minor defects (like a crooked eyecup) that have simply been replaced by a new one. Given that a good deal of the binoculars in the market today come from far away manufacturers, I guess it is cheaper for the brands selling them to simply replace them with new ones. I think I’ve read some comments about this issue here and there in some forum threads, but usually within a post regarding a particular brand that would simply replace a broken device under warranty without even trying to fix what’s broken. But I don't think I've seen it as a main subject.

So, my question is, other than Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski, Nikon, Meopta… what other brands offer quality repairs and servicing of their products?
More and more, when buying binoculars I think about the life of the product and the reassuring (but less and less common) idea that someone will take care of my binoculars should something happen to them. And I think it is just fair that brands that offer this service (and way of understanding business) be acknowledged. What do you think about this? (Mind you, this is not a thread about who offers the best repair service, or who doesn't).
I would also add Kowa as noted by Foss. Their service in my experiences has been exceptional. See: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/kowa-service.357460/

Peter
 

Jessie-66

Germany
Hello,

imho asked the TO yarrellii for greater/bigger mechanical and/or optical repairs of binoculars - not for simple exchange of external parts like eyecups and not for simple exchange of the whole binoculars.

There are still classic Porros and military roof prism binoculars, which were ordered and manufactured in such a way that repairs and maintenance according to service regulations could easily be carried out by trained personnel in the field. Some non-military companies still use the maintenance-friendly design / ordered construction of the binoculars today.
In addition, there were civilian binoculars that could be easily repaired and maintained by many civilian repair shops due to socialist materials management and economical shortage management. Until today.
Examples:
Russian / USSR binoculars (BPC/KOMC, Baigish, Sotem and many rebranders such as Levenhuk)
Carl Zeiss Jena binoculars
(Some people clean and repair these binoculars themselves, buying a second used unit with ebay for spare parts if necessary.)
Military:
Russian BPOs 7x30 ... 10x40
East German DF 7x40, EDF 7x40
Many east block states build DFs in license to today, ZRAK, IOR etc:
Zeiss / Hensoldt (West Germany) DF 16 ... 19 (8x30, 7x50, 10x50)
You will find many of this bins with or in ebay. And with google you will find some little but good quality repair companies for military and civilian east block bins. ;-)
Then or timely parallel throw-away society was deliberately established; few companies want to maintain, repair or make a simple exchange exclusively. The principle is recognizable at least for people with many years of experience with many old vs new products like smartphones, television devices, refrigerators, washing machines, cheap and expensive bins for civilian, non-military users.

I think, Nikon EII, SE and many other classical porros are also maintainabe, repairable by some little repair companies in our home countries. ;-)

Best regards to all. Jessie.
 
Last edited:

Sancho

Registered User
Supporter
Another shout-out for Opticron. Absolutely superb experiences with their repairs. Much as though I love Nikon SE/EII/ EDG, I'd worry they can't be serviced by Nikon UK anymore. Unfortunately here (Ireland) the last independent binocular repair-man folded up shop many years ago. I'm sure there are still some operating in the UK.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Another shout-out for Opticron. Absolutely superb experiences with their repairs. Much as though I love Nikon SE/EII/ EDG, I'd worry they can't be serviced by Nikon UK anymore. Unfortunately here (Ireland) the last independent binocular repair-man folded up shop many years ago. I'm sure there are still some operating in the UK.
Go here https://www.birdforum.net/forums/interviews-with-optics-repairers.751/ for interviews with 4 repairers, 2 of which are in the UK, and don't forget Gary Hawkins of East Coast Bino Repairs who was interviewed in the latter part of https://www.birdforum.net/threads/i...optics-uk-and-their-official-repairer.383964/

Lee
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I don't think Vortex does a lot of repairing, but they will replace your binocular with their unconditional warranty. Outside of Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski, Nikon and Meopta they have the best service and warranty I have experienced. Once I bought a Vortex Razor 10x42 that was MIC and I had trouble with the diopter on it, so I returned it to the dealer and received a refund. About a week later I wrote Vortex an email and said their quality was suffering because they have moved their manufacturing to China and unexpectedly they sent me a new pair of MIJ Vortex Razor 10x42 binoculars with no charge. So I basically got a free pair of binoculars. The MIJ Vortex Razor's were perfect.
 

pete_gamby

Birds? What Birds?!
Does Opticron have a dedicated workshop able to carry out such repairs, or would the binoculars need to be send to Japan? Maybe Peter Gamby knows

If necessary we can strip down and rebuild any of our products from its component parts here in the UK.

Our US office is able to facilitate any repairs that do not require nitrogen refilling and/or rubber armour removal and replacement. Those have to come back to the UK.

The only parts that require either a return to Japan or complete replacement are some electronic components for which we do not have surface mount part repair/replacement facilities here in Luton.

HTH

Cheers, Pete
 

bkdc

Well-known member
There are handful known for customer service, but I shy away from any newer makers because I do not know if they will be around in ten years to fulfill their lifetime warranty commitment. I know that all the established makers (Leica, Zeiss, Swarovski, Meopta, and likely Nikon and Canon despite financial difficulties) and even Vortex will likely be around to honor the commitment.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
I don't think Vortex does a lot of repairing, but they will replace your binocular with their unconditional warranty. Outside of Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski, Nikon and Meopta they have the best service and warranty I have experienced. Once I bought a Vortex Razor 10x42 that was MIC and I had trouble with the diopter on it, so I returned it to the dealer and received a refund. About a week later I wrote Vortex an email and said their quality was suffering because they have moved their manufacturing to China and unexpectedly they sent me a new pair of MIJ Vortex Razor 10x42 binoculars with no charge. So I basically got a free pair of binoculars. The MIJ Vortex Razor's were perfect.
Dennis, that was exactly my impression, that Vortex is more likely to replace rather than repair, but this is something I only know from what I've read here on BF, I have no experience whatsoever with them, but I don't remember reading that someone got an important part of their binoculars repaired (say an eyepiece, the rubber armour or an objective).
If necessary we can strip down and rebuild any of our products from its component parts here in the UK.

Our US office is able to facilitate any repairs that do not require nitrogen refilling and/or rubber armour removal and replacement. Those have to come back to the UK.

The only parts that require either a return to Japan or complete replacement are some electronic components for which we do not have surface mount part repair/replacement facilities here in Luton.

HTH

Cheers, Pete
Peter, thanks for the clarification, it sure does help :)
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Dennis, that was exactly my impression, that Vortex is more likely to replace rather than repair, but this is something I only know from what I've read here on BF, I have no experience whatsoever with them, but I don't remember reading that someone got an important part of their binoculars repaired (say an eyepiece, the rubber armour or an objective).

Peter, thanks for the clarification, it sure does help :)
"Dennis, that was exactly my impression, that Vortex is more likely to replace rather than repair, but this is something I only know from what I've read here on BF, I have no experience whatsoever with them, but I don't remember reading that someone got an important part of their binoculars repaired (say an eyepiece, the rubber armour or an objective)."

They were probably repaired by Kamakura Repair in San Diego. Vortex is made by Kamakura like a lot of other binoculars.
 

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