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Re: [Telescopes] Why Japan's optic is considered as a good one?

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  • Norman Higgs
    Yes, that other factor is known as workmanship. Its a simple fact that higher paid workers tend to produce better results, regardless of specifications .
    Message 1 of 25 , Jan 1, 2003
      Yes, that 'other factor' is known as workmanship. Its a simple fact that
      higher paid workers tend to produce better results, regardless of
      'specifications'.
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <use4h@...>
      To: <telescopes@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, December 30, 2002 6:46 AM
      Subject: [Telescopes] Why Japan's optic is considered as a good one?


      > But, why the "made in Japan" is still considered as a better one? If
      > the factory in China and Taiwan use the same specification (optic,
      > coating, etc) as Japan's factory, shouldn't it be the same result? Is
      > there any other factor that make Japan's product so different?
      >
    • Peter K. Rallis
      Norman, Just curious, can you reference a source for this? peter... ... From: Norman Higgs To: Sent:
      Message 2 of 25 , Jan 1, 2003
        Norman,

        Just curious, can you reference a source for this?

        peter...
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Norman Higgs" <nfhiggs@...>
        To: <telescopes@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 2:52 AM
        Subject: Re: [Telescopes] Why Japan's optic is considered as a good one?


        > Yes, that 'other factor' is known as workmanship. Its a simple fact that
        > higher paid workers tend to produce better results, regardless of
        > 'specifications'.
      • Edward J. Moran <edmoran@concentric.net>
        ... instuments ... a ... product. ... cost ... Labor costs and worker skills aside, there might be another reason. I don t know if this still holds true, but a
        Message 3 of 25 , Jan 1, 2003
          --- In telescopes@yahoogroups.com, "use2h <use4h@h...>" <use4h@h...>
          wrote:
          > After reading many reviews and comments about some optical
          instuments
          > like telescope, eyepiece, camera, etc, I come to a conclusion that
          a
          > Japan's product is better than, at least, China's & Taiwan's
          product.
          >
          > Now I have opportunity to live in Japan so I know that the labor
          cost
          > is very high in Japan. This is one reason why many optical makers
          > have to make their factory in China or Taiwan to reduce the
          > production cost.
          >
          > But, why the "made in Japan" is still considered as a better one?

          Labor costs and worker skills aside, there might be another reason. I
          don't know if this still holds true, but a gent I once knew (German,
          WWII generation) said that the reason Zeiss optics were superior was
          that Germany had easy (meaning "inexpensive")access to the finest
          natural polishing compounds, resulting in the smoothest optical
          surfaces possible. Japan may also have access to an inexpensive
          source of these materials. Others can buy the same compounds, but at
          a higher price, leading them to substitute inferior materials. This
          may have been true 50 years ago, but now, who knows?
        • Norman Higgs
          No specific reference, its just a fact of human nature, that as a rule, the higher you are willing to pay your workers, the better the quality of product they
          Message 4 of 25 , Jan 1, 2003
            No specific reference, its just a fact of human nature, that as a rule, the
            higher you are willing to pay your workers, the better the quality of
            product they tend to produce. Of course there are going to be individual
            exceptions that can be found, as there are with most 'rules'. This is
            probably the principle reason that products from industrial nations tend to
            be superior to similar products produced in developing nations.

            Norm
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Peter K. Rallis" <pkrallis@...>
            To: <telescopes@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 10:20 AM
            Subject: Re: [Telescopes] Why Japan's optic is considered as a good one?


            > Norman,
            >
            > Just curious, can you reference a source for this?
            >
            > peter...
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: "Norman Higgs" <nfhiggs@...>
            > To: <telescopes@yahoogroups.com>
            > Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 2:52 AM
            > Subject: Re: [Telescopes] Why Japan's optic is considered as a good one?
            >
            >
            > > Yes, that 'other factor' is known as workmanship. Its a simple fact that
            > > higher paid workers tend to produce better results, regardless of
            > > 'specifications'.
            >
            >
            > You are subscribed to the "Talking Telescopes" e-mail discussion group.
            To unsubscribe from this group, send an e-mail to:
            > telescopes-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
            >
            >
          • Jack Kramer
            From: Norman Higgs ... Norm, I have to disagree with you. Having spent a good part of my working years in quality control at a
            Message 5 of 25 , Jan 2, 2003
              From: "Norman Higgs" <nfhiggs@...>
              > No specific reference, its just a fact of human nature, that as a rule, the
              > higher you are willing to pay your workers, the better the quality of
              > product they tend to produce. Of course there are going to be individual
              > exceptions that can be found, as there are with most 'rules'. This is
              > probably the principle reason that products from industrial nations tend to
              > be superior to similar products produced in developing nations.

              Norm, I have to disagree with you. Having spent a good part of my working years in quality control at a manufacturing company, there is little proof of a direct relationship between pay and quality. It's the quality of raw materials, product design, and management commitment that make the critical difference, especially when so much work is done by machine. One easy example is the American auto industry back before the Japanese showed us how to build quality automobiles. When Japanese cars started flooding the market, U.S. auto workers were some of the best paid production workers, while the Japanese were paid considerably less (at that time). When it comes to optical equipment from places like mainland China, I believe it's the quality of the raw materials and management/engineering knowhow that makes the difference. But perhaps the single biggest factor is the price point at which the U.S. supplier wants to place the product. If an outfit like Meade, for example, wants to undercut the market, their Chinese supplier will give them the products to do so, but the quality will be commensurate. I agree with those on this list who have commented that if the Chinese put their mind to producing top quality SCTs and APOs, they could do it, and might end up dominating the market.

              Jack Kramer
            • Geoff Gaherty
              ... This reminds me of the thought that has crossed my mind a number of times while using Synta products. Somebody at Synta really knows astronomy and devotes
              Message 6 of 25 , Jan 2, 2003
                Jack Kramer wrote:
                >
                > When it comes to optical equipment from places like mainland China, I believe it's the quality of the raw materials and management/engineering knowhow that makes the difference.

                This reminds me of the thought that has crossed my mind a number of times while
                using Synta products. Somebody at Synta really knows astronomy and devotes
                careful thought to product design. This shows in the little touches. My
                favorite example is the lowly 2"-1.25" eyepiece adapter. Synta (and as far as I
                know they were the first) has made two significant design improvements. The
                first is to undercut the 2" barrel with a deep triangular profile, so you can
                loosen the screws a tiny bit and rotate your diagonal without any danger of it
                falling out. The second is machining a T-thread onto the other end, so that it
                becomes easy to attach a camera. The two screw, spring loaded finder bracket is
                another example. On a higher level is the StarMax/Apex Mak-Cass. This is one
                of the best designed and made scopes I have ever used...real craftsmanship in a
                mass produced product. Another impressive feature is that Synta Newtonians
                arrive factory collimated. Of all the Synta Newtonians I've tested right out of
                the box, I think I've only had to touch up the collimation on one. When you
                consider that they're shipped in containers halfway around the world, that's
                amazing. It speaks of good design and close tolerances in the mirror cells,
                which again implies that there's somebody who really cares about such things.
                There are probably dozens of optical manufacturers in China, but Synta has risen
                to the top of the heap in the last five years because someone there has brains
                and is using them!

                There are parallels with the camera industry in Japan following the second world
                war. Most manufacurers were content to make carbon copies of German designs. A
                few companies, Asahi, Canon and Nikon, came up with mechanical and optical
                designs which went beyond anything the Germans had thought of: f/0.95 lenses and
                instant return mirrors in SLRs. I doubt that many people remember that until
                Asahi brought out the first Pentax, the accepted way for an SLR to work was for
                the mirror to flip up, and stay up, so the finder blacked out until you advanced
                the film. That's the way Exakta did it, so that's the way everyone else did it.
                Asahi's innovation took the SLR from being a niche camera to being the standard
                design. That's why Asahi, Canon, and Nikon are three of the world's largest
                corporations today, and nobody has ever heard of Exakta.

                I suspect fifty years hence, we'll all be using our Synta apos and SCTs, and
                nobody will remember Meade and Celestron. Hmm...given Synta's growth in the
                past five years, make that ten years hence!

                --
                Geoff Gaherty
                Toronto Centre RASC
                http://members.rogers.com/ggaherty/
              • Jorge Canelhas
                Hi, i completely agree with you, mass production brings improvments time and time again, quality improves as the manufacturing methods evolve, maybe QC isnt
                Message 7 of 25 , Jan 2, 2003
                  Hi,

                  i completely agree with you, mass production brings improvments time and
                  time again, quality improves as the manufacturing methods evolve, maybe QC
                  isnt the best in china, cheap workers usually mean less quality, but the
                  other face of the coin is automization, automization brings cheaper
                  products, look at skywathcers maks, they are not top notch but are really
                  cheap as manufacturing improves i believe they willreach today top notch
                  quality (ofcourse in that time top notch will be even better)


                  Jorge Canelhas
                  -------------------------
                  Are u a retro computing fan ?
                  check : http://www.retroreview.com
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Geoff Gaherty" <geoff@...>
                  To: <telescopes@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Thursday, January 02, 2003 2:31 PM
                  Subject: Re: [Telescopes] Why Japan's optic is considered as a good one?


                  > Jack Kramer wrote:
                  > >
                  > > When it comes to optical equipment from places like mainland China, I
                  believe it's the quality of the raw materials and management/engineering
                  knowhow that makes the difference.
                  >
                  > This reminds me of the thought that has crossed my mind a number of times
                  while
                  > using Synta products. Somebody at Synta really knows astronomy and
                  devotes
                  > careful thought to product design. This shows in the little touches. My
                  > favorite example is the lowly 2"-1.25" eyepiece adapter. Synta (and as
                  far as I
                  > know they were the first) has made two significant design improvements.
                  The
                  > first is to undercut the 2" barrel with a deep triangular profile, so you
                  can
                  > loosen the screws a tiny bit and rotate your diagonal without any danger
                  of it
                  > falling out. The second is machining a T-thread onto the other end, so
                  that it
                  > becomes easy to attach a camera. The two screw, spring loaded finder
                  bracket is
                  > another example. On a higher level is the StarMax/Apex Mak-Cass. This is
                  one
                  > of the best designed and made scopes I have ever used...real craftsmanship
                  in a
                  > mass produced product. Another impressive feature is that Synta
                  Newtonians
                  > arrive factory collimated. Of all the Synta Newtonians I've tested right
                  out of
                  > the box, I think I've only had to touch up the collimation on one. When
                  you
                  > consider that they're shipped in containers halfway around the world,
                  that's
                  > amazing. It speaks of good design and close tolerances in the mirror
                  cells,
                  > which again implies that there's somebody who really cares about such
                  things.
                  > There are probably dozens of optical manufacturers in China, but Synta has
                  risen
                  > to the top of the heap in the last five years because someone there has
                  brains
                  > and is using them!
                  >
                  > There are parallels with the camera industry in Japan following the second
                  world
                  > war. Most manufacurers were content to make carbon copies of German
                  designs. A
                  > few companies, Asahi, Canon and Nikon, came up with mechanical and optical
                  > designs which went beyond anything the Germans had thought of: f/0.95
                  lenses and
                  > instant return mirrors in SLRs. I doubt that many people remember that
                  until
                  > Asahi brought out the first Pentax, the accepted way for an SLR to work
                  was for
                  > the mirror to flip up, and stay up, so the finder blacked out until you
                  advanced
                  > the film. That's the way Exakta did it, so that's the way everyone else
                  did it.
                  > Asahi's innovation took the SLR from being a niche camera to being the
                  standard
                  > design. That's why Asahi, Canon, and Nikon are three of the world's
                  largest
                  > corporations today, and nobody has ever heard of Exakta.
                  >
                  > I suspect fifty years hence, we'll all be using our Synta apos and SCTs,
                  and
                  > nobody will remember Meade and Celestron. Hmm...given Synta's growth in
                  the
                  > past five years, make that ten years hence!
                  >
                  > --
                  > Geoff Gaherty
                  > Toronto Centre RASC
                  > http://members.rogers.com/ggaherty/
                  >
                  > You are subscribed to the "Talking Telescopes" e-mail discussion group.
                  To unsubscribe from this group, send an e-mail to:
                  > telescopes-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  >
                  >
                • Peter K. Rallis
                  Norm, The Germans and the Japanese were beating us quite regularly at high quality optics and later automobiles, when their wages were considerably lower than
                  Message 8 of 25 , Jan 2, 2003
                    Norm,

                    The Germans and the Japanese were beating us quite regularly at high quality optics and later automobiles, when their wages were considerably lower than ours. It isn't higher wages that generate better quality products. It is dedication to craftsmanship (i.e. education and training) and work ethic (i.e. productivity) that produce higher wages. That's why India and others are quietly sneaking into the quality products circle despite low wages.

                    The Japanese simply have more better trained and motivated workers than mainland China. Taiwan is catching up fast if not already in the door. That's why Japanese optics are generally better. Their workers know how to, and actually meet higher specs.

                    Cheers,

                    peter...


                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Norman Higgs" <nfhiggs@...>
                    To: <telescopes@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 11:10 PM
                    Subject: Re: [Telescopes] Why Japan's optic is considered as a good one?


                    > No specific reference, its just a fact of human nature, that as a rule, the
                    > higher you are willing to pay your workers, the better the quality of
                    > product they tend to produce. Of course there are going to be individual
                    > exceptions that can be found, as there are with most 'rules'. This is
                    > probably the principle reason that products from industrial nations tend to
                    > be superior to similar products produced in developing nations.
                    >
                  • Jorge Canelhas
                    Automization = automatization, what ever... Jorge Canelhas ... Are u a retro computing fan ? check : http://www.retroreview.com ... From: Forrest Egan
                    Message 9 of 25 , Jan 2, 2003
                      Automization = automatization, what ever...

                      Jorge Canelhas
                      -------------------------
                      Are u a retro computing fan ?
                      check : http://www.retroreview.com
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "Forrest Egan" <fegan@...>
                      To: <telescopes@yahoogroups.com>
                      Cc: <fegan@...>
                      Sent: Thursday, January 02, 2003 3:46 PM
                      Subject: [Telescopes] Re: Why Japan's optic is considered as a good one?


                      > Jorge,
                      >
                      > "automization" Is that a real word?
                      >
                      > Forrest
                      >
                      > > From: "Jorge Canelhas" <jcanelhas@...>
                      > > Date: 2003/01/02 Thu AM 10:07:32 EST
                      > > To: <telescopes@yahoogroups.com>
                      > > Subject: Re: [Telescopes] Why Japan's optic is considered as a good one?
                      > >
                      > > Hi,
                      > >
                      > > i completely agree with you, mass production brings improvments time and
                      > > time again, quality improves as the manufacturing methods evolve, maybe
                      QC
                      > > isnt the best in china, cheap workers usually mean less quality, but the
                      > > other face of the coin is automization, automization brings cheaper
                      > > products, look at skywathcers maks, they are not top notch but are
                      really
                      > > cheap as manufacturing improves i believe they willreach today top notch
                      > > quality (ofcourse in that time top notch will be even better)
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Jorge Canelhas
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > You are subscribed to the "Talking Telescopes" e-mail discussion group.
                      To unsubscribe from this group, send an e-mail to:
                      > telescopes-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                      >
                      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                      >
                      >
                    • David Brodeur
                      ... I do recall having read something along the lines of what you are saying, but I can t cite the source, either. However, I think the principle is mainly
                      Message 10 of 25 , Jan 2, 2003
                        Norman Higgs wrote:
                        >
                        > No specific reference, its just a fact of human nature, that as a rule, the
                        > higher you are willing to pay your workers, the better the quality of
                        > product they tend to produce. Of course there are going to be individual
                        > exceptions that can be found, as there are with most 'rules'. This is
                        > probably the principle reason that products from industrial nations tend to
                        > be superior to similar products produced in developing nations.

                        I do recall having read something along the lines of what you are saying,
                        but I can't cite the source, either. However, I think the principle is
                        mainly applicable within a given labor market, not necessarily internationally.

                        If you pay your workers more than the going rate, you will attract many more
                        applicants, so you can be more selective. Also, a worker who knows he is
                        getting the best deal in town is more apt to do his best, in order to keep
                        that job. Henry Ford understood this, and opened his first production line
                        offering twice the going rate for factory workers. Ernst Abbe practiced a
                        similar philosophy at Zeiss.

                        On the other hand, as others have pointed out, the Japanese camera industry
                        was able to make inroads into the US and Europe in the 1950's based on
                        workmanship, innovation and the quality of their glass. The workers who made
                        these products were certainly not paid anywhere near what they would have
                        gotten at Leitz or Zeiss. Over the next few decades, though, the Japanese
                        workers became among the best-paid in the world.

                        The unseen factor in this equation is manufacturing efficiency. The most
                        important thing (economically speaking) that the developed countries have
                        developed is their highly efficient manufacturing and distribution systems.
                        Less developed countries have to compensate for deficiencies in automation,
                        transportation, etc. by spending more time and expending more labor to produce
                        a product. So even if they get top dollar for their telescopes, those dollars
                        have to go a lot further than they do at Takahashi.

                        To get back to the specifics of Chinese telescopes, I think that the biggest
                        obstacle to a low-cost Chinese apo is the glass. Raw material prices are a
                        significant chunk of the cost of an apo, and suitable grades of fluorite or
                        ED glass are available from only a few manufacturers. Anyone with a good
                        machine shop can duplicate the mechanicals of a Takahashi or a TMB, but
                        producing the glass is another matter. Does anyone know how good the Chinese
                        optical glass industry is? Who makes the glasses that go into the Synta lenses?

                        David Brodeur
                      • Forrest Egan
                        Jorge, Perhaps you mean automation ? Forrest
                        Message 11 of 25 , Jan 2, 2003
                          Jorge,

                          Perhaps you mean "automation"?

                          Forrest

                          > From: "Jorge Canelhas" <jcanelhas@...>
                          > Date: 2003/01/02 Thu AM 11:51:16 EST
                          > To: <telescopes@yahoogroups.com>
                          > Subject: Re: [Telescopes] Re: Why Japan's optic is considered as a good one?
                          >
                          > Automization = automatization, what ever...
                          >
                          > Jorge Canelhas
                          >
                          > > ----- Original Message -----
                          > > From: "Forrest Egan" <fegan@...>
                          > > To: <telescopes@yahoogroups.com>
                          > > Cc: <fegan@...>
                          > > Sent: Thursday, January 02, 2003 3:46 PM
                          > > Subject: [Telescopes] Re: Why Japan's optic is considered as a good one?
                          > >
                          > > Jorge,
                          > >
                          > > "automization" Is that a real word?
                          > >
                          > > Forrest
                          > >
                          > > > From: "Jorge Canelhas" <jcanelhas@...>
                          > > > Date: 2003/01/02 Thu AM 10:07:32 EST
                          > > > To: <telescopes@yahoogroups.com>
                          > > > Subject: Re: [Telescopes] Why Japan's optic is considered as a good one?
                          > > >
                          > > > Hi,
                          > > >
                          > > > i completely agree with you, mass production brings improvments time and
                          > > > time again, quality improves as the manufacturing methods evolve, maybe QC
                          > > > isnt the best in china, cheap workers usually mean less quality, but the
                          > > > other face of the coin is automization, automization brings cheaper
                          > > > products, look at skywathcers maks, they are not top notch but are really
                          > > > cheap as manufacturing improves i believe they willreach today top notch
                          > > > quality (ofcourse in that time top notch will be even better)
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > > Jorge Canelhas
                        • Jorge Canelhas
                          yup thats it Jorge Canelhas ... Are u a retro computing fan ? check : http://www.retroreview.com ... From: Forrest Egan To:
                          Message 12 of 25 , Jan 2, 2003
                            yup thats it

                            Jorge Canelhas
                            -------------------------
                            Are u a retro computing fan ?
                            check : http://www.retroreview.com
                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: "Forrest Egan" <fegan@...>
                            To: <telescopes@yahoogroups.com>
                            Cc: <fegan@...>
                            Sent: Thursday, January 02, 2003 6:32 PM
                            Subject: [Telescopes] Re: Why Japan's optic is considered as a good one?


                            > Jorge,
                            >
                            > Perhaps you mean "automation"?
                            >
                            > Forrest
                            >
                            > > From: "Jorge Canelhas" <jcanelhas@...>
                            > > Date: 2003/01/02 Thu AM 11:51:16 EST
                            > > To: <telescopes@yahoogroups.com>
                            > > Subject: Re: [Telescopes] Re: Why Japan's optic is considered as a good
                            one?
                            > >
                            > > Automization = automatization, what ever...
                            > >
                            > > Jorge Canelhas
                            > >
                            > > > ----- Original Message -----
                            > > > From: "Forrest Egan" <fegan@...>
                            > > > To: <telescopes@yahoogroups.com>
                            > > > Cc: <fegan@...>
                            > > > Sent: Thursday, January 02, 2003 3:46 PM
                            > > > Subject: [Telescopes] Re: Why Japan's optic is considered as a good
                            one?
                            > > >
                            > > > Jorge,
                            > > >
                            > > > "automization" Is that a real word?
                            > > >
                            > > > Forrest
                            > > >
                            > > > > From: "Jorge Canelhas" <jcanelhas@...>
                            > > > > Date: 2003/01/02 Thu AM 10:07:32 EST
                            > > > > To: <telescopes@yahoogroups.com>
                            > > > > Subject: Re: [Telescopes] Why Japan's optic is considered as a good
                            one?
                            > > > >
                            > > > > Hi,
                            > > > >
                            > > > > i completely agree with you, mass production brings improvments time
                            and
                            > > > > time again, quality improves as the manufacturing methods evolve,
                            maybe QC
                            > > > > isnt the best in china, cheap workers usually mean less quality, but
                            the
                            > > > > other face of the coin is automization, automization brings cheaper
                            > > > > products, look at skywathcers maks, they are not top notch but are
                            really
                            > > > > cheap as manufacturing improves i believe they willreach today top
                            notch
                            > > > > quality (ofcourse in that time top notch will be even better)
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > > Jorge Canelhas
                            >
                            >
                            > You are subscribed to the "Talking Telescopes" e-mail discussion group.
                            To unsubscribe from this group, send an e-mail to:
                            > telescopes-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                            >
                            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                            >
                            >
                          • Norman Higgs
                            You guys make some good, valid points here. Perhaps I should have qualified my rash over-generalization a bit better. Much like comparing different
                            Message 13 of 25 , Jan 2, 2003
                              You guys make some good, valid points here. Perhaps I should have
                              'qualified' my rash over-generalization a bit better. Much like comparing
                              different telescopes, you have to assume 'all other things being equal'
                              (which as we all know, seldom are). Cultural differences are a factor as
                              well, I should have mentioned, as the work ethic in Japan is somewhat
                              different than the work ethic in the US. Compensation level is also a
                              relative thing as well, so it's probably not valid to compare across
                              borders. It is one factor among many.

                              BTW, I work in quality control too, I should know better! |LOL

                              Norm - removing foot from mouth.

                              > From: "Norman Higgs" <nfhiggs@...>
                              > > No specific reference, its just a fact of human nature, that as a rule,
                              the
                              > > higher you are willing to pay your workers, the better the quality of
                              > > product they tend to produce. Of course there are going to be individual
                              > > exceptions that can be found, as there are with most 'rules'. This is
                              > > probably the principle reason that products from industrial nations tend
                              to
                              > > be superior to similar products produced in developing nations.
                              >
                              > Norm, I have to disagree with you. Having spent a good part of my working
                              years in quality control at a manufacturing company, there is little proof
                              of a direct relationship between pay and quality. It's the quality of raw
                              materials, product design, and management commitment that make the critical
                              difference, especially when so much work is done by machine. One easy
                              example is the American auto industry back before the Japanese showed us how
                              to build quality automobiles. When Japanese cars started flooding the
                              market, U.S. auto workers were some of the best paid production workers,
                              while the Japanese were paid considerably less (at that time). When it comes
                              to optical equipment from places like mainland China, I believe it's the
                              quality of the raw materials and management/engineering knowhow that makes
                              the difference. But perhaps the single biggest factor is the price point at
                              which the U.S. supplier wants to place the product. If an outfit like Meade,
                              for example, wants to !
                              > undercut the market, their Chinese supplier will give them the products to
                              do so, but the quality will be commensurate. I agree with those on this list
                              who have commented that if the Chinese put their mind to producing top
                              quality SCTs and APOs, they could do it, and might end up dominating the
                              market.
                              >
                              > Jack Kramer
                              > Message: 13
                              > Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2003 09:26:40 -0700
                              > From: "Peter K. Rallis" <pkrallis@...>
                              > Subject: Re: Why Japan's optic is considered as a good one?
                              >
                              > Norm,
                              >
                              > The Germans and the Japanese were beating us quite regularly at high
                              quality optics and later automobiles, when their wages were considerably
                              lower than ours. It isn't higher wages that generate better quality
                              products. It is dedication to craftsmanship (i.e. education and training)
                              and work ethic (i.e. productivity) that produce higher wages. That's why
                              India and others are quietly sneaking into the quality products circle
                              despite low wages.
                              >
                              > The Japanese simply have more better trained and motivated workers than
                              mainland China. Taiwan is catching up fast if not already in the door.
                              That's why Japanese optics are generally better. Their workers know how to,
                              and actually meet higher specs.
                              >
                              > Cheers,
                              >
                              > peter...
                              >
                              >

                              >
                              > Message: 20
                              > Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2003 10:12:02 -0800
                              > From: "David Brodeur" <dbrodeur@...>
                              > Subject: RE: Why Japan's optic is considered as a good one?
                              >
                              >
                              > I do recall having read something along the lines of what you are saying,
                              > but I can't cite the source, either. However, I think the principle is
                              > mainly applicable within a given labor market, not necessarily
                              internationally.
                              >
                              > If you pay your workers more than the going rate, you will attract many
                              more
                              > applicants, so you can be more selective. Also, a worker who knows he is
                              > getting the best deal in town is more apt to do his best, in order to keep
                              > that job. Henry Ford understood this, and opened his first production
                              line
                              > offering twice the going rate for factory workers. Ernst Abbe practiced a
                              > similar philosophy at Zeiss.
                              >
                              > On the other hand, as others have pointed out, the Japanese camera
                              industry
                              > was able to make inroads into the US and Europe in the 1950's based on
                              > workmanship, innovation and the quality of their glass. The workers who
                              made
                              > these products were certainly not paid anywhere near what they would have
                              > gotten at Leitz or Zeiss. Over the next few decades, though, the Japanese
                              > workers became among the best-paid in the world.
                              >
                              > The unseen factor in this equation is manufacturing efficiency. The most
                              > important thing (economically speaking) that the developed countries have
                              > developed is their highly efficient manufacturing and distribution
                              systems.
                              > Less developed countries have to compensate for deficiencies in
                              automation,
                              > transportation, etc. by spending more time and expending more labor to
                              produce
                              > a product. So even if they get top dollar for their telescopes, those
                              dollars
                              > have to go a lot further than they do at Takahashi.
                              >
                              > To get back to the specifics of Chinese telescopes, I think that the
                              biggest
                              > obstacle to a low-cost Chinese apo is the glass. Raw material prices are
                              a
                              > significant chunk of the cost of an apo, and suitable grades of fluorite
                              or
                              > ED glass are available from only a few manufacturers. Anyone with a good
                              > machine shop can duplicate the mechanicals of a Takahashi or a TMB, but
                              > producing the glass is another matter. Does anyone know how good the
                              Chinese
                              > optical glass industry is? Who makes the glasses that go into the Synta
                              lenses?
                              >
                              > David Brodeur
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