Made in Japan

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by william_buhles, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. Does anyone know which Nikon DSLR's are still made in Japan?
  2. The FX cameras.
  3. Not that it matters in the least!
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Well, it matters in the sense that labor cost is considerably higher in Japan compared to in Thailand, China, and Indonesia, where Nikon also has important factories. As far as I know, cheaper labor is the primary reason Nikon and many others companies set up factories outside of Japan, Europe, and North America.
    Take the 12-24mm/f4 DX AF-S as an example. That lens is made in Japan. Later on Nikon came out with an improved 10-24mm/f3.5-4.5 DX AF-S, which IMO is a better lens with a wider zoom range and is also cheaper; the fact that the 10-24 is made in China probably has a lot to do with the lower cost. However, for whatever reason, Nikon has not discontinued the older 12-24 DX lens yet:
    It is a common practice that a lot of companies keep their flag-ship product within their home country. Therefore, the FX-format DSLR production is all in Japan and so are the really high-end lenses. Those products are expensive so that the labor cost does not matter as much.
    Unfortunately, the old prejudice remains today. Some people still prefer Nikon products made in Japan. However, for some strange reason Zeiss products made in Japan are considered second class; some people want Zeiss products made in Germany. I own several Nikon camera and lenses made in Thailand; I also own some Nikon lenses made in China. I tested the Nikon J1 system that is made in China. As far as I can tell, those are all of good quality. Therefore, I actually prefer Nikon products made outside of Japan so that I can save some money.
  5. From Back to the Future II
    "But Doc, all the good stuff is made in Japan"
    Once, people were asking what cameras were still made in Germany,
    and so it goes
  6. In the future you will have cameras made in the USA with the manufacturers ownership from China because it's cheaper to make them in the USA.
  7. In the future you will have cameras made in the USA with the manufacturers ownership from China because it's cheaper to make them in the USA.​
    And in Back to the Future III that replica will change to:
    "But Doc, all the good stuff is made in China"
  8. I have no problem having a Seagull that is made in China but I want my Nikon made in Japan and my Leica made in Germany.
  9. It seems mildly exploitive really. Cameras and lenses made in Thailand/China are cheaper because Nikon pays their workers less. I'd almost rather buy a camera made in Japan, now that I think about it. I'm curious, I've heard that d7000s are manufactured in Japan, but I've also heard they're not. Can someone help me?
  10. Daniel, in our worldwide economy, and with this sort of product, it almost doesn't matter where it's made. Shun has a good point: product is product. Sometimes it matters where it is made, but more often than not it doesn't matter. What does matter is whether or not a product is built with better parts and by better craftsmen. Guitars make a good example, as they are mostly wood (often somwhat locally sourced, and always locally shaped) and labour. The non-wood, non-labour parts amount to something like 20% of the cost of a guitar.
    Gibson, which only makes guitars in the USA, made a guitar called the Melody Maker until a few years ago. It was $350. It was also a total piece of crap. There are several companies that make guitars in Indonesia that have something much better for the same price. The reason is that American labour costs so much more - partially because the craftsmen and more highly trained, and partially because of union laws. Gibson's guitar, in order to hit the $350 mark, had almost the cheapest possible electronics and hardware configuration, had a junk finish, and the set-up was awful. This is from someone who has built several guitars, and currently owns and loves two Gibsons and will extoll that company's virtues whenever possible. But that stuff takes time to build, and American labour ain't cheap.
    What does that translate to for cameras? I would expect a Japanese or German lens to be nicer than a Chinese or Thai lens. I would also expect it to cost more. If one company made a lens in Japan at a given price and a competitor made a similar lens for the same price in Thailand, I would expect the Thai lens to be better.
    Remember too that no company exists in a vacuum, and changing countries means the entire economy is different - not just the production costs. I've talked to people from third-world countries that are upset that people from their home country get paid less for the exact same work. I've also talked to people from the same countries that tell me that these outsourced production jobs may pay peanuts by our standards, but they pay much more than people from their home countries would be paid for local production jobs.
    I think what it really comes down to is that when you can afford to buy from the US, Germany, Japan, or any other unionized country, you should. But if you can't, you don't necessarily have to feel that you're exploiting anyone, because not every company is a sweatshop. Some of them are essentially good, and do good for whatever community they're in while making a good product.
  11. I'd be more interested in knowing who handles quality control.
  12. And, before quality control, design and prototype testing, integrated with finished product testing.
  13. Can someone tell me where the nikon 14-24mm and the nikon 24-70mm lenses are made
  14. My Pentax P-30t I obtained in the mid 90's was made in China. And the Japanese don't know why their economy stagnated when it looked like they would steamroll over the rest of the world in the mid 80's.
    With that said, my Nikon FM3a was made in Japan. :)
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Can someone tell me where the nikon 14-24mm and the nikon 24-70mm lenses are made​
    Both Japan.
  16. As long as Nikon (Or for that matter any other company) stands behind the product to ensure the quality, in my opinion, it does not matter where the product is designed, manufactured or tested. I am sure Nikon hires people based on their knowledge and skills (And of course wages-the bottom line).
    About the exploitation issue: I believe things have improved a lot in third world countries and these factories are no longer sweatshops. Workers are paid decently. Comparing their wages against North America or Europe won't be fair due to low cost of living in third world countries.
  17. Seeing as Nikon owns their off shore factories, I'd say they handle the QC along with "design and prototype testing, integrated with finished product testing".
  18. About the exploitation issue: I believe things have improved a lot in third world countries and these factories are no longer sweatshops. Workers are paid decently.​
    There is so much work in China now that if a worker feels hard done by, he can walk out of a factory and find a job in another one - much like it was here in England in the 1960s and 1970s and probably in the US at the same time.
    Workers are paid a fair wage to keep stop them from learning a skill then leaving.
  19. Thank you everyone for your responses and discussion. It sounds like the FX cameras are made in Japan, as is the D300.
  20. "... as is the D300."
    D300 was (and D300s is) made in Thailand.
    Not that it matters. ;-)
  21. Some of the submerged Thailand Plant Production was temporarily shifted to Japan.
    So you may actually find a D7000 with "made in Japan" on it.

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