Remember though that Japan had that same stigma attached to it in the earlier times, certainly when I was a kid the general consensus was that anything from Japan was basically junk (and if fact it pretty much was). But look how they grew out of that and now everyone has the perception that they are so wonderful. China's manufacturing is evolving along the same path. Optics from there has been in the past not so robust or good. That perception took hold IMO especially because of all the small independent makers that just threw junk together to sell and that overwhelmed the good from there. But that is certainly not true today, especially when sourced from the mainstream manufacturers there that now have a deserved reputation. I mean, I am seeing absolutely nothing less than excellent being produced by China when you look at things line the Explore Scientific offerings with their 68, 82, 100 degree lines, or the Baader Morpheus, or the Meade 5000 UWAs. So when one chooses the larger more established optical makers there using contracts to them that enforce quality standards, they can produce stuff just as good as anyone really. My opinion is that it is better to judge based on the individual brand, line, and sometimes down to the focal length instead of broad stroked generalizations at the national level. People are people and businesses are businesses, best to judge them on individual merits rather than basing a judgement on the location of the planet where they are standing.
Some might point out that look at Tele Vue and how while the ES equivalents are close, they certainly are not up to that standard and say this is strong evidence that China's optical manufacturing is not as precise. I would say that that is not evidence at all. Tele Vue was first with some of these offering types, so when someone wants to compete with them which makes more sense, produce a same quality and performing product and offer at the same price and work hard to convert all their customers? Or produce a product for a good deal less money that is not as good but fairly close? Obviously the latter strategy will get you more sales and more profit. So not an issue of that they cannot do it, just does not make business sense for them to be asked to do it. Their manufacturing can produce whatever you want really, its just that some companies that are sourcing from there are not asking for their high quality capabilities but just want something to sell to make a quick buck. So why it is important to really judge not the source of the manufacture but the company doing the branding because they are the ones that specified the level of quality to be produced. So if you feel that Brand-X's wide field eyepieces that are made in China are junk, it is not the fault of the China based manufacturer, but of the Brand-X company because the quality they sold was the quality they specified!
I would argue that “now” is not “then”. China can make good stuff if they want too. They can also make junk. I bought Orion EONs, an 80mm and the 120mm (the black ones from just before China held the Olympics in 2008), and they are phenomenal telescopes. Excellent optically and mechanically. But I am also an RC aircraft modeler, and just finished putting together an Almost Ready to Fly balsa and “Chinakote” Pitts Special Bi-plane. A total piece of junk. Many modelers actually strip the “Chinakote” off before assembly because it has a tendency to come off in flight! On my model, parts were missing, things didn’t line up, etc., etc.. My point being, I can’t remember getting anything made in Japan that was even close too that bad. In fact, my Tak telescopes,made in Japan eyepieces, and made in USA mounts (Losmandy) have been super right out of the box. It also irritates me the way they treat their workers. You see none of that in Japan, Taiwan, or the US.
China will never be Japan because of the way Chinese workers are treated. In Japan it would be “dishonorable” to not do your best. I don’ think the Chinese will ever have that “ethos”.
Edited by SandyHouTex, 10 March 2021 - 07:18 PM.