Made in Japan? Made in Germany?? Made in China???
I bought these two glasses for testing purposes: The Minox 8x42 BV "made in Germany" for 345.- and the Olympus 8x42 EXWPI "made in Japan" for 270.-. Both are very good value and I wish I could have bought such binoculars 20 years ago for such a decent price. The Minox seemed to be a tiny bit better, just a bit easier to look through, whereas the Olympus looked a bit sharper in the center. More a gut feeling than a scientific test. The big fault I find with both of them is their narrow field of view (about 114m only). Good wideangle performance obviously costs more money.
On closer inspection, these glasses look - apart from the outer plastic shell - pretty much the same. Same coating. Same dimensions. Same everything inside. Without doubt most of the parts used come from the same manufacturer in China.
So why should the Minox be "made in Germany" and the Olympus "made in Japan" when supposedely all the parts are produced and probably assembled in China?
Anyway, what does "made in Germany" mean? Does it mean "more than half the value of this item was created in Germany"? Or: "The decisive shape of this item was created in Germany"? I don´t know of a clear definition, nor do I know of an institution to check manufacturers´ claims. Sure, one hour work in Germany or Japan costs a multitude of one hour in China and I guess manufacturers would argue along this line and use both of my definitions.
And here, what Steiner writes:
"Steiner Germany" which is a correct but in my opinion totally misleading phrase. A company with headquarters in Germany, but a binocular made in China.