A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Made in China?

Nathan Williams , Apr 01, 2006; 05:31 p.m.


Just purchased a 50mm F2.8N EL Nikkor enlarger lens from ebay. When I opened discovered the label 'Made in China'. Is this now correct, I was expecting 'Made in Japan'! If production is made on behalf of Nikon at a Chinese base I presume quality is not compromised. However, is this an 'elaborate' copy and should I be attempting to get my money back(if any hope)? Thanks


    1   |   2     Next    Last

Douglas Greenberg , Apr 01, 2006; 06:07 p.m.

I don't know the story regarding that particular lens. But Nikon has been manufacturing lenses in China and Thailand for some time now. I know, for example, that the current 50mm. f1.8 AF lens is made in China. I'm guessing that others are, as well.

I also know of no particular evidence that items made in Nikon factories in non-Japanese countries are inferior in any way to those actually made in Japan. I'm sure someone will contradict me here.

In the meantime, I am inferring that a large part of your concern is that you have received a bootleg/knockoff copy of a Nikon lens. This seems very unlikely, but hey, anything's possible. Is there anything in the way it's assembled or finished that would lead you to believe this?

Nathan Williams , Apr 01, 2006; 06:25 p.m.

Thanks for your response.

Nothing to indicate it is not a Nikon product as such. Documentation such as dealers record was provided(though not much info on this) but it is not as heavily made as my other Nikon gear. However, as I am just starting to build up my darkroom equipment this is the first time I have purchased an enlarger lens so perhaps these are more 'lightly' built.

Nathan Williams , Apr 01, 2006; 06:31 p.m.

Just thought, you mentioned that the 1.8 50mm AF is made in china. I have the 1.8D AF and that is made in Japan. I suspect that is how things are going with manufacturing going to China though. Just noticed a well made pair of trousers I have are made in China - no breaks in the stitching yet despite my ever expanding waistline!

Tommy Lee , Apr 01, 2006; 06:31 p.m.

EL Nikkor is make in no-where-land now. Try it out, if it is no-good, it shouldn't matter where it is made. BTW: If it is fake, it properly read "swiss made/by Rollex" regardless of where it is actually made:-)

Ilkka Nissila , Apr 01, 2006; 09:08 p.m.

You have a 50/1.8D made in Japan? Wow, that's the first I've heard about. Mine is made in China, and so is my 1.4D.

Not that it matters at all.

S. Linke , Apr 01, 2006; 09:37 p.m.

Let's put this in a bit of perspective. Years ago, decades actually, 'Made in Japan' was scoffed at, said to be cheap, junk even. Fast forward to 2006: Japanese high-tech products are now at the top of the heap, along with other countries as well. And then there was S. Korea too. Lately the other Asian Tigers. So give China a break. It's evolution--not intelligent design--at work here. (Product lifecylce theory in economics sums this phenomenon up quite well.)

Kelly Flanigan , Apr 01, 2006; 11:07 p.m.

The 5cm F2.8 El Nikkor came out about 1/2 century ago, when "made in Japan" still had a Jacker Jack toy ring to it. These were fine enlarging lenses. Maybe after 1/2 century Nikon has moved the production to a lower labor rate country. After 1/2 century Nikon probably understands the design, and how to build them anywhere.

Alot of fine optics are now being built in China, the new giant manufacturing base. Here in the USA folks are still farting around with huge monoliths like GM that have Unions and massive legacy costs to mess with. In China there is a radically lower cost of labor, nil environmental redtape, and little anti manufacturing bias.

Labor costs in Japan have high in manufacturing for a long time too. It is wrong to have a bias towards "made in China", it is the new best place to get things built for alot of tools. I thought is was common knownledge that many lenses were made in China for many brands, years ago..

Kevin Foster , Apr 02, 2006; 09:33 a.m.

Its all about quality control.

Many products that have come from China that were poor in quality were because they were produced by chinese companies that had not learned the lessons of quality control. They were producing an cheap product for a cheap price. Quality costs money.

But now you have companies from other countries that have learned to produce quality products moving into China and other East Asian countries. These companies (like Nikon) build the quality into the product and train the workforce to produce quality.

Any good product can be made anywhere with the right quality control, just as any POS can be made anywhere without it. The US produces many quality products, and many POS's as well.

I think Nikon has moved to other markets because its probably really hard to expand in Japan. Its not like they have lots of land or anything. Plus labor is no longer cheap in Japan. They have moved to Thialand to produce some of the newest products. Im sure part of that move is lower labor cost which will help keep prices down.

Gordon Ip , Apr 02, 2006; 01:23 p.m.

You have to go there to China to see that it is no longer an emerging economy. It is a huge econony. All my golf equipment is made there under mfr agreements or plants that mfr's have there.

We should be glad that mfrs and going to China and keeping our costs down.

Even Carl Zeiss has badged products that are made in China.

    1   |   2     Next    Last

Back to top

Notify me of Responses