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Made in China !

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Dave Reynell, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. Dave Reynell

    Dave Reynell Guest

    I'm going to stir up a bit of a hornet's nest ! So please forgive me.

    My first digital camera (vintage 2004) the excellent, albeit sloth-like, Nikon Coolpix 8400 (24 ~ 85mm equiv.) was built in Japan. My second, the Panasonic DMC-G1 (vintage 2009) was also built in Japan. I have yet to purchase a third but am considering a G6. I am however, a little concerned about the move by Panasonic and Olympus and many others to "Made in China".

    I shall not enlarge, but would be interested to read member's opinions on this matter. I am aware that lower manufacturing costs have driven this re-location but am not entirely convinced that Chinese standards (despite overseeing quality control) match those of the mature and experienced camera industry of Japan.

    Your thoughts ?

  2. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I used to be somewhat concerned about products made in China, but after years of owning said products without any issues, I've had a change of heart and believe that things are quite different today. Yes, there are heaps of cheap and not so high quality products coming out of China, but they are the things that you get on eBay as substitutes for genuine products, though some can be very good, such as camera plates etc that aren't overly complex and which don't require close tolerances etc. Many made in China products are often assembled in China, with numerous complex components, for example, coming from Japan. I don't worry about these things nowadays.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Some Panasonics are still made in Japan, like the GX7. But the G series are all made in China now. I shoot with them and I have encountered some issues but they might just be normal wear and tear as I am hard on my cameras. Most of the good lenses are still made in Japan though.
  4. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 23, 2010
    I have no worries about a made in China product as far as I know the last 3 Mac's I have bought are made there and no real problems, multiple cameras made all over the world no place has been less reliable. The main issue is standards and there is no way any maker would drop standards and risk a bad rep from it.
  5. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM

    I think in general the manufacturing standards have increased and Chinese made kit (at least from the major consumer brands) is not the same crap that your average kids' toys and noname CD players :)  - QA is quite stringent wherever you go. Of course you will find the odd sample with a misaligned part, but usually everything within six sigmas from mean is good - or is that the Japanese way ;)  The E-M5 had a whole batch with the LCD bezel cracked though.

    Your iPhone and MacBook and IBM Lenovo ThinkPad are also made in China. My iPhone is going strong after five years and a dunk in the toilet. Sadly it's all a lottery I think.
  6. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    My iPhone and Macbook Pro are made in China. It seems the more money that you give them the better the product. Plus it depends on the Quality Control of the respective Company with their name on the product. I was talking to a salesman at Harvey Norman after Christmas and he said the return fail rate on the then new Sony Playstation was unbelievable. I asked him why and he said that it was because they tried to push so many out before Christmas the quality had dropped. It just goes to show even with a big name like Sony if they push, quality is sure going to be sacrificed somewhere.
  7. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    We put an office in Shanghai for the sole purpose of insuring that our products are quality inspected to our standards before they get sealed in the container for shipping to the US. Ten years later that model still works for us, and we recently decided to not source a particular product in China because none of the suppliers we approached would agree to use a thread gauge to check the parts. That includes the suppliers for two of our competitors who are bringing these into our market. We just won't play that game because our reputation is worth more than the extra little bit of profit would be.

    So, it's not really China or not, but who is bring it from there and what standards they demand.
  8. lightmonkey

    lightmonkey Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 22, 2013
    I would rather they not, but only for mental and superficial reasons. 12-40pro is Chinese??? And maybe the em1 body too but I love em
  9. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Most of the "Made In China" hysteria comes from some of the generic contract-factories that produce all sorts of knickknacks and stuff for other companies. Sometimes the same product ends up with three or four different brand names. Companies submit their designs and specifications and pay a rate to obtain specific build tolerances. The Indonesian and Korean contract-build-factories operate the same way.

    Often it's just the fault of the designer requesting the build work because they refuse to pay for tighter tolerances. That ends up giving you that cheap stereotypical "Made in China" product. Some stuff doesn't need to be made well to last.

    As far as I know, Olympus (and Panasonic, for that matter) have their own factories in China. So do most major electronics producers. Otherwise, a lot of stuff gets contracted out to Foxconn which is essentially a premium made-to-order builder using Chinese labour.

    While it's unfortunate that we get some great gear on the backs of cheap Chinese labour, cameras like the E-M1 and E-M10 would be significantly more expensive if they were made in Japan. Olympus likely paid the highest rate for the tightest tolerances on their cameras.
    • Like Like x 2
  10. RRRoger

    RRRoger Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2014
    Monterey Bay
    I can remember when "made in Japan" = potmetal junk.
    Then China went through the same thing = "make it cheaper" being their priority.
    But after the down wind Nikon factory suffered from fallout, I think their Chinese made products were better for a while.
    It mostly comes down to who is in charge of Quality Control and what those standards are.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    Before reading this thread, I hadn't even thought about where my EM1 was made. Checked the bottom and it says "Made In China". Doesn't change the fact that I love the camera nor would it have influenced my decision to buy it which is why I never even bothered checking before purchase or up until now.

    My other two cameras? Canon 5D Mk.II is made in Japan and my Ricoh GR Digital III is made in China. As for build quality, they're all extremely well made and have a solid feel.

    China is responsible for making so many higher end electronics for so many companies, it's a non-issue as far as I'm concerned.
  12. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    It's not whether it's made in China that's the issue...the issue is how well the parent company implements their QC. My buddy goes to China every month to oversee the manufacturing of goods for his company. They have very high QC and their products sell for a premium price.
  13. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    I prefer not to buy Chinese made products, but it is getting increasinlgy hard not to. Some things I just won't buy from China. I won't buy food for myself or for my pets that came from China if I know it came from there. I'd rather my camera wasn't made there, but I have a G5 and didn't check where it was made before I bought it. It doesn't have the highest quality feel to it, but I don't think that has anything to do with it being made in China. That is because that is how Panasonic designed it. It has worked just fine though. It's not so much for quality reasons that I prefer not to buy Chinese as it is personal ones. It pains me that my iPhone and MacBook Pro were made there. I understand Apple is in the process of making more of their products in the states. Sadly, we have lost our manufacturing expertise and Apple says they can't find factories in the U.S. capable of making their products. I find it appalling that the Chinese can make iPhones and Americans can not.
  14. Dave Reynell

    Dave Reynell Guest

    This is exactly how I feel. It really boils down to costs of manufacture.

    Both Japan and the United States have a history of producing quality products (and I say this as a South African) and I, personally, would be quite happy to pay a bit more for a product manufactured in either of these countries. Not so many others.

    No insult meant.
  15. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM

    I try to refrain from buying Chinese (processed) food products as well, but for no other reasons than the bad track record with low quality and contamination.

    It's not that they cannot, but they won't for the sort of margins that Apple wants without driving the market price to values not many would want to buy stuff for. This is the reality of today's markets. If it as you say pains you, remember that Apple themselves are largely to blame. Well, not sure if you can even blame them because everybody else does it, that's just how this works, sad or not.

    As many have said here, it's all about enforcing the QC, you can have the same factory making similar goods at completely different finish / quality levels.

    My comments in this thread end here and I hope it won't get to Godwin's law.
  16. HaViet

    HaViet Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 20, 2014
    Hartford, CT
    Personally, I rather pay a little extra for 'Made in USA' or 'Made in Japan' branded products.

    There are so many things that are wrong with Made in China. But the most outrageous of them all, IMO, is outright theft of someone else's R&D work and copyright patterns. From designer hand bags, luxury watches, to high end audio/video equipments. Everything is being pirated, copied, duplicated, and sold at less than 1/5th of the cost of a genuine products. All because the Chinese have the manufacturing blue prints.

    Heck, they even set up fake iPhone stores in China to sell fake iPhones. At some point, which I believe is sooner rather than later, Western companies will realize that there is no longer a labour advantage considering that Chinese labour cost is on the rise and continues to do so, to offset the cost of piracy due to manufacturing in China.

    Production and manufacturing will come back to the West, or Eastern Europe soon.
  17. mvpusa

    mvpusa Mu-43 Rookie

    May 30, 2012
    New York
    Made in China doesn't mean it's "not as good" as something made in Japan or made in the USA. Don’t forget, 50 years ago, Made In Japan was synonymous with cheap junk.
    Today, when foreign people see "Made in USA", they will imagine some great looking Yankees make the whole thing with their elegant bare hands. But, in reality, those "Made in USA" manufacturers are used cheap, non-American labors and paying them minimum wages. Same in Japan, a mass of blue collar labors are from Philippines, Thailand and China.
  18. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    Actually, I saw a televised interview of Tim Cook in December 2012 and he said Apple wanted to manufacture products in the U.S. but there were no workers with the skills needed to make them. Cost was not the reason given. He said that they were working with manufacturing companies to hire and train workers who would be able to produce the products, and they planned to begin producing MacBooks in the U.S. in 2013. I don't know if they met that goal or not.
  19. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    That is due to everyone believing that they need to be upper white-collar, and go to college (even if it is a basic community college), and now we are filled with people who "have a degree" and so won't get their hands dirty with "menial" labor jobs (also read retail).That is why VO-Tech and Trade schools are able to start promising such great hire rates (nobody is around to fill the demand). Then they end up living with their parents, whining about what they are "entitled to".

    And before anyone jumps on me, I am now 29, and had 6 jobs in the first 4 years after graduating from Georgia Tech (a highly recognized institution), just to keep up with our mortgage and provide for my family. One job I was hired for the requirement was "Could learn to drive a forklift safely". Not knew, but could learn. Worked alongside others in my position, and then at social events, ran into people who "were still looking". "Yeah, I had to go into credit card debt, and live with my parents, but I know that job is out there, if I just could get an interview. It's all X fault". I would happily take someone who works hard at what they do, and had to try to get there, than someone who feels entitled to what they are receiving. [/RANT]
    • Like Like x 1
  20. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    I think initial quality is not a factor in Chinese brand name goods, that seems to have been sorted out. What has not is the environmental and social implications from buying Chinese products. I'm also suspect of component substitution, for example lower grade capacitors that fail sooner.

    And regarding food... completely concur. There have been widespread issues with contamination of BABY FORMULA. If they will poison their own children to make a few extra bucks, nothing is sacred. At least they executed a a few people for that. Another great one was fake eggs. A company was actually making fake eggs, not egg substitute, real eggs with shells.
    • Like Like x 1
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