Swarovski Optik, is part of the Austrian Swarovski Group. Swarovski Optik has been in business since 1949 and specializes in the manufacture of precision optics and is a world leader in the higher end of the optics market. Swarovski binoculars and telescopes are the preferred choice of many professional users and nature watchers.
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Founded in Germany by Carl Zeiss in 1846, the company has a long history of making fine optical instruments ranging from medical equipment to their famous binoculars. The partition of Germany after WW2 led to two competing Zeiss companies, one in the east, the other in the west. They reunited in 1990 and are a powerhouse in the optical world.
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Leica binoculars are highly ranked and prized by nature lovers and professionals with a need for good optical quality. Another optical giant of German origin, the group is famous for its cameras and other technologies and celebrated 100 yeasrs of binocular manufacture in 2007.
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Establishd since 1917 after a merger of three optical manufacturers, Nikon has produced optical equipment like binoculars since 1921. Famous for their cameras and microscopes, the company has also produced fine medical and industrial optical equipment.
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What is it with the Germans and superior quality optics? Established by Karl Steiner in 1947, this quality brand has enjoyed success in over 45 countries since. Steiner is responsible for several developments like integrated compass models and pocket binoculars. Steiner binoculars are a joy to use, some say once you try them you don’t want anything else after!
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Pentax or at least its predecessor, was founded in 1919 in Tokyo and at first produced lenses for spectacles before expanding into other optical lines prior to WW2. In the lead up to the war it become more focused on military optical equipment such as binoculars. The name ‘Pentax’ was actually adapted only in 1957 after purchasing the trademark from Zeiss.
These days Pentax is a brand of the Japanese Hoya corporation and production has moved to other asian countries particularly Vietman and the Philippines. The Pentax brand however remains highly regarded in the production of binoculars.
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Leupold & Stevens was founded in 1907 by Markus Friedrich (Fred) Leupold and his brother-in-law Adam Voelpel and originally serviced survey equipment and water level measuring devices. Legend has it that after the war Marcus Leupold missed a shot while deerhunting and vowed to produce a quality riflescope. That was the start of the Leupold optical story which continues to this day.
The company now has several product lines and is particularly famous for its rifle scopes, spotting scopes and Golden Ring Binoculars.
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Other well known brands (more to come):