Based on information by Claudio
It has been claimed quite frequently that the late versions
of the Zeiss Jena Jenoptem, those made in the 1980s, were of
inferior mechanical construction compared to the earlier versions.
Although there were frequent mechanical modifications implemented
over the years, to reduce the number of parts and improve efficiency
of the production process, these claims were most likely triggered
by a bunch of 'faked' or 'oriental' Jenoptems which were not
made in Jena, but in Japan.
The number of binoculars produced in Jena during the 1980s was
tremendous. These are the
official production numbers:
Despite of these impressive numbers, 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.
- 1985: 220969
- 1986: 158041
- 1987: 190131
- 1988: 260300
- 1989: 156000
A detailed description can be found in the following two
manuscripts by Claudio Manetti (Microsoft Word format):
A detailed description of the differences
a table listing the principal differences
The following pictures are by Claudio Manetti as well:
The information given in this report reflects the personal
impressions and opinions of the authors only. I cannot guarantee for the
accuracy of any given specification.
Last updated: May 2005