How binoculars are made

Following yet more queries stemming from this morning’s article, here’s a video on how binocular lenses are made and assembled.  I hasten to add that the craftsmen at Carl Zeiss, who work by hand, are one of the reasons why high-end binoculars cost at least ten times more than automated-assembly equivalents!

Zeiss, Swarovski and other top-end binoculars are made that way.  Lower-cost units are assembled by machine, but at much lower prices.  I doubt I’ll ever be able to afford a top-tier unit, but I’ve handled them, and I have to say they make my mouth water . . .



  1. There is another possibility, even if somewhat remote:the used market. Some years ago I happened upon a pair of Carl Zeiss 6×24 binoculars in a Denver pawn shop, and decided to pay the asking price of $25.

  2. I have a 7×50 pair which I bought in the ship's store (U.S. Navy) in '74 for $35. The civilian market equivalent price at that time would have been over $100. Don't want to think about how much they'd be, now, but I love 'em.

  3. I have trashed more cheep field glasses than I can remember while out hunting. I started collecting them about ten years ago so I could have replacements, and have found that the best "cheep" glasses I have are all German. One word of caution; only the higher end glasses are truly shock and water proof. If you are out living rough in the bush, or plan for needing them post-SHTF, pony up for the best military grade or high end "civi" field glasses you can find. The cheep ones last no time at all in a rucksack.—Ray

  4. I borrowed a pair of Zeiss binoculars when I went to BC mountain goat hunting. My wife asked what they cost and when I told her she was flabbergasted.

    I waited till it was almost dark and had her look at the barn about 250 yards away. The light gathering was so great she could read the small sign on the door. I never could find a pair that I could afford.

    Most of the sheep hunters I met wanted a pair of Leica Light Weights, Zeiss or Swarovski's


  5. I have a pair of Swarovski's that my wife bought for me when we were living in Alaska and making good money. I have had trouble with them all along. First, the lens caps that were tethered to the glasses broke loose. Then the seals failed and let moisture inside which caused the roof prisms to fog.

    I sent them back and they repaired them but they continued to fail. They are no longer clear so I rarely use them. They hang on a peg and I use a pair of Bushnells that I got 30 years ago for about $100.

    I'd say the Swarovski's were overrated.

  6. A number of years ago I was able to handle an old pair of Zeiss Binocs that had been captured during the 2nd World War. I was able to see why guts fought over them. Modern optics often come from Japan and tend to be cloudy. I've seen the decline of optical quality in Surveying instruments during my career and an Engineer/Surveyor over the last 28 years as Japanese optics dominate. Even Leica Instruments are not as good as their Wild/Kern predecessors.

    Zeiss Rifle scopes used to be the best in the world. I understood that Zeiss had quit grinding their own lenses and am glad the report was false.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *