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Zeiss Jenoptem 10x50, DDR or Japanese!?

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So, I. Have been looking at replacing my Bessier 10x50s since my beloved daughter dropped them, and decided I would go for some zeiss classics to complement some of my other kit. In doing a little bit of research I came across this website which had some important info I have quoted below.




"the demand for Zeiss Jena binoculars was even higher, because they were reasonably good and their price tags were, after conversion to Western currencies, quite low. On one day suddenly faked Jenoptems came up. Their origin could apparently be traced down to a Japanese factory. After a closer inspection, Zeiss representatives found these fakes to be close enough to the originals to suggest a deal: Since the demand for Jenoptems were higher than the production capacities in Jena, they issued a license to the Japanese manufacturer. From now on these binoculars were no longer fakes, but Zeiss Jena glasses which were out-sourced to a Japanese factory. Consequently, they did not carry the 'DDR' imprint. Unfortunately, these binoculars were altogether of inferior mechanical quality than the originals. They are nowadays frequently found on e-bay, mostly offered by British sellers. A detailed description can be found in the following two manuscripts by Claudio Manetti (Microsoft Word format): A detailed description of the differences Table: CZJFake&Original4, a table listing the principal differences."



So I was shocked. One at the amount of "fake" zeiss bins about, there are 2 of these Japanese ones on ebay as I type. And even more so that Zeiss legitimised them. So not technically fakes anymore!!! That said I have also read that this was a myth spread by unscrupulous dealers and that the Japanese ones are just pure fakes with no licence agreement



If you visit the site you can download a fact sheet with more information about the differences but the below is the  table listing the differences, just about sums it up.




7 Digit Zeiss DDR serial number.



Japanese 6 digit serial number and fov sticker, also not found on Zeiss Jena.



Zeiss Jena, note position of screws and stamped DDR.







Also the focusor wheel on the Zeiss DDR will be metal rather than plastic on the Japanese counterpart.


This also applies to the 7x50 and 10x30 Jenoptems.


It sounds like the Japanese version may well have very good glass but doesn't have the build quality to a standard anywhere near the true Zeiss Jena DDR.


I'm afraid I can't find an exact time frame for this, but would seem to be early 80s and I would think certainly not past the 1990 when Docter optics took over the Jenoptic plant and went bust 5 years later.


So I hope this might be useful to some. It certainly was to me.



Edited by tuckstar

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 great detective work as graham said, i am no bino expert had a pair of binos as a kid 12x50 until they broke , i bought my lad a few years ago a pair of https://www.amazon.co.uk/Olympus-FBA_8-40-DPSI-Binocular/dp/B0001M3612  and for their money they are a great pair really clear,and when funds allow i will get a pair of 10x50 or 12x50 in the olympus flavour if you get the chance give them a try read the second review on amazon compares them to an old pair of zeiss he had years ago at a fraction of the price . 

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Hammer has already gone down. And it will on my head if the Mrs finds out?

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An excellent post there Andy. Why, if you have the capability to fake something like Zeiss, don't you start producing your own brand and improve it to the best you can make it. These fakes by all accounts weren't bad in their own right. They just were not as good as the original Zeiss.

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