Lense origins?

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by shortshooter, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. shortshooter

    shortshooter Well-Known Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    I'm new to this long range shooting, so I have a question.

    As I read the posts on optics I notice a lot of loyality to Nighforce and some loyality on Leupold. Fair enough, as these companies build what I term end use products for us shooters.

    Now where I get confused (and I'm not knocking the product) is that a whole lot on this forum rave about the optical quality of the Nightforce product, and knock other products. Now with all the approval of NF here the end product must be super. I dont know as I am quite new. What I want to point out is that NF probably builds great stuff, but all the acolades that I read about their optical quality has gotten me to think about something.

    NF is an assembler of a product, and from what you fellas write, a darn good one at that. As an assembler of an end use product they are supplied with lenses from an optical plant-manufacturer listed as being Japanese. I have read in a book that lenses in high end sporting optics are manufactured by two companies. These companies are Zeiss-Schott and Nikon-Hikari. From what I gather these guys are actually the makers of the lense materials. From further reasearch I was lead to believe that their glass or poly-material lenses are shipped to companies like Leupold, Leica, Swaro, etc and once there they may be polishes ground and definately coat with propriety coatings.

    I just have gotten off Nikon's corperate site and looked at products. Listed is optical materials and components section with pics of lenses. Also I have just e-mailed Schott about this topic, and if their lenses are supplied.

    So I guess it comes to this. I know Schott makes lense material as does Nikon. I know nikon is made in Japan, and now has a huge facility in Taiwan. Are all our better optical lenses really from two sources? That is what tends to turn up in what I've read in an optics book, and internet reasearch.

    As far as NF goes, I don't mind that they assemble products and are part of my state's economy. But what I really wonder is this. When all the raving about NF's optical superiority is tallied, are we really looking thru Nikon lenses that are assembled in a tough accurate optical housing. Remember this is about lenses and not the scope platform, and I dont knock NF. Just wondering about where all the GLASS or poly lenses come from.

  2. Chrismadrid

    Chrismadrid Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2005
    [ QUOTE ]
    Remember this is about lenses and not the scope platform, and I dont knock NF. Just wondering about where all the GLASS or poly lenses come from. thanks

    [/ QUOTE ]There are OTHER glass factories. Lesser known (maybe). One is called ASIA OPTICAL in Japan - who if memory serves is connected with NF.

    There are also at least 4 factories in China. Of which at least two make VERY good glass (if you demand and pay for it). Also aware of at least 4 in Russia/Belorussia. They fail a bit in that their coatings are poor.

    The simple fact is that almost NO SCOPE maker tells you the GLASS SPEC. They just say "ultra bright" or something as banal. But then would anybody REALLY understand if they quoted BAK7 or N-BJ7, N-SF8 etc?

    The unsung hero here is "Coatings" - This makes a HUGE difference. Good glass and shite coatings. The BEST coatings are PATENTED - Zeiss holds a whole stack.

  3. tulku

    tulku Well-Known Member

    Dec 9, 2005
    Re: Lens origins?

    Shortshooter , last I knew there were quite a few Custom Lens suppliers ( small volume ) in the USA . One was in Pa . and supplied a small amount of Lenses to Leupold . Even if there was only ONE manufacturer in the World who actually made the finished Lenses , you could still see a vast difference in Quality . The Manufacturer will build to whatever Quality/ Pricepoint you want . You send them the Specs. and they will build it . You have to determine who the Customers are ...that you want to reach . I used to Order very high-end Optics ( not for sporting use ) . Sometimes these were made of exotic "glasses" . The raw materials went to a very small outfit in NY , and that guy , by himself , turned out some truly wonderful Lenses and even Coated them . The price , however , was astronomical . For normal prices , there are 3 or 4 big Lens Manufacturers for Riflescopes . If you want something better in riflescopes , look into US Optics .... I believe they will build you anything your pocket can afford . /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
  4. preddhunter

    preddhunter Well-Known Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    ttt is there only 3 glass makers and does it matter who makes the glass or is it to do with what the company that makes the scope does to the glass. I have 2 vortex scopes and would like to no who makes the glass.
  5. Loner

    Loner Well-Known Member

    Apr 14, 2010
    Vortex glass is porportedly Japanese. They are very open about their products in general
    so it is probably correct.
    One of the complaints about NF is their glass. It is one of the things they are upgrading
    in their new high end scope. Hoping to hear something about it from Shot this year.
    It's been dubbed, The Beast. It will be priced with the other high end scopes as well but
    is supposed to have about 7 new patents and 4 or 5 years of developement behind it.
    A dual speed turrent is one of the patents that has been posted in the past.
  6. dig

    dig Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    While I find the features and quality of build on Night force to be outstanding, I certainly would not say the optical quality is superior or even bragable. I would put it on par with high end Leupold's and not close to Schmidt Bender/Zeiss or Swarovski (those are the brands I have used). The rest of the product and warranty is outstanding.
  7. tulku

    tulku Well-Known Member

    Dec 9, 2005
    Wow , a five year old Topic resurfaces . To answer your question , it matters both who makes the Glass and who grinds the Glass . The Glass can contain many imperfections so you have to know how to blend the Glass components and how to minimize the many imperfections that can occur in the raw Glass . Grinding / Polishing is an art in itself although I think it is mostly machine done today . Coatings are applied by Vacuum Metallization or Plasma Sputtering and require knowledge on which materials you are coating onto the Lens and in which order , and how thick ( controls are almost to the atomic level ) . I've lost track on who does what lately , but I think almost all the "Assemblers " get the finished Lenses as inputs . Can't remember exactly , but Light Optical (and maybe Asahi was tied-in too ) in Japan were top Oriental optics suppliers . I would be interested if anyone has current info !
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012