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12-09-2010, 09:35 AM   #1
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What's the deal with MIJ?

I see a lot of people in the Pentax Marketplace who specify that their lens is made in Japan. Are there multiple countries of manufacture for the same lens? If so, what are the differences, how do I determine where my lens was made, etc?

12-09-2010, 09:47 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Todd Adamson Quote
I see a lot of people in the Pentax Marketplace who specify that their lens is made in Japan. Are there multiple countries of manufacture for the same lens? If so, what are the differences, how do I determine where my lens was made, etc?
AFIK, there are two places where Pentax Lenses are produced. There is the Made in Japan lens, and the Assembled in Vietnam lens. There are ppl that swear by MIJ lenses above AIV lenses. I personally don't find a huge difference. As to where you can find the info on your lens, it depends on what lens you are holding. On my DA* 50-135 for example, the words Assembled in Vietnam appear near the lens mount on the back of the lens. Other lenses will have the words on the barrel of the lens. Hope this helps!
12-09-2010, 09:51 AM   #3
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Thanks, that helps some.

Is this one of those things that people have epic arguments over, or something most people just don't ever worry about? I assume the lenses are manufactured to same specs with same materials....is there any real evidence out there that MIJ is better than AIV, for any lens?
12-09-2010, 10:00 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Todd Adamson Quote
Thanks, that helps some.

Is this one of those things that people have epic arguments over, or something most people just don't ever worry about? I assume the lenses are manufactured to same specs with same materials....is there any real evidence out there that MIJ is better than AIV, for any lens?
I'm also guessing the actual optics are made in the same plant as it says assembled in vietnam, not made. likely the result of a good gov't incentive to open the plant, low labour costs and i'm betting a large part of the process is robotics running a program developed for assembly in japan (panasonic was the company that taught me about this when i sold consumer electronics. they are huge in the robotics biz, and all that leica glass on pana cameras and leica made by pana) is actually assembled to meet leica specs by Panasonic robots in japan. - not a bit of actual leica in it beyond design specs for the lenses and the red dot on the leica versions of course)
Some people do swear the MIJ are better. Some people also swear monster cable makes a huge difference to the sound (not really)

12-09-2010, 10:02 AM   #5
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in a word "perception" which equals resale value to some
12-09-2010, 10:04 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by alfdog Quote
in a word "perception" which equals resale value to some
+1 but of course it only counts if you're going to sell off your gear. lenses stay with me forever pretty much unless i dump a system (or sell of a body with an extra kit lens i don't need) good glass i never sell. and if it means i get a better deal on an AIV FA77 when i finally bite the bullet great
12-09-2010, 11:55 AM   #7
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When production of the FA Limiteds (mainly the 77) was first moved from Japan to Vietnam there were some hiccups in quality. This is to be expected and happens in almost every kind of manufacturing. That has been quelled for some time now and the general consensus among most people here on the forum is that the issue is buried. Of course, you would probably want to avoid buying one of those first few AIV lenses used and that would require some research and/or a helpful, knowledgeable person to tell you what serial numbers to look out for (I have no idea what they would be). I should say that I have had both versions of the FA77 and my AIV version is without question optically superior. It also just feels better made. I think I just had one of the few "not-so-hot" samples to come out of Japan. Also, if FA43 production has been moved to Vietnam yet, then it only recently happened as my copy was bought new only a few months ago and it is MIJ.
12-09-2010, 12:02 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Todd Adamson Quote
Thanks, that helps some.

Is this one of those things that people have epic arguments over, or something most people just don't ever worry about? I assume the lenses are manufactured to same specs with same materials....is there any real evidence out there that MIJ is better than AIV, for any lens?
Some time back people who where buying New FA31mm Ltd lenses swore that some AIV copies were defective. De-centering issues, dust inside the lens, basic quality control issues, etc. I can't say I ever had any real problems with an AIV lens. I'm reasonably certain that anything New purchased after say 2008 on my list, is AIV. That would include the DA* primes, the DA12-24, the DFA100WR, and probably a couple others. All are stellar performers. My 31 was purchased used some time ago and says Japan and I'm not going to spend the $1000+ to find out if there's really a difference.

I would also state that when I Sell a lens, I make sure people know whether it says Japan, or Assembled in Vietnam (some will just say Vietnam). To some it matters, in my opinion it doesn't make a bit of difference.



12-09-2010, 12:47 PM   #9
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it's marketing ammo used by sellers to appear to be selling something superior. 6 in one, half dozen in the other.

Jason
12-09-2010, 01:16 PM   #10
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The president of Pentax USA, Ned Bunnell, did a post on this on his blog, saying he tried samples of the 31 from each location and couldn't detect any difference, optically or mechanically (aside, of course, from the lack of the "Made in Japan" on the AIV model).

I don't think he mentions which one he uses though

NED BUNNELL: Country of Origin Debate over Lenses Not New

But these things come up all the time. There's even a guy who compared various MIJ versions of the FA 43, so there's a "brown bag" vs. "black bag" debate as well.

???? PENTAX FA 43/1.9 Limited ??-???
12-09-2010, 01:18 PM   #11
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Sometime there is advantage of moving to vietnam. At least copies of Pentax AF 1.7x from Vietnam shipped with metal barrel compare to my older Japan version with plastic exterior. Beside a better quality part, nothing different at all.
12-09-2010, 01:31 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by farfisa Quote
The president of Pentax USA, Ned Bunnell, did a post on this on his blog, saying he tried samples of the 31 from each location and couldn't detect any difference, optically or mechanically (aside, of course, from the lack of the "Made in Japan" on the AIV model).

I don't think he mentions which one he uses though

NED BUNNELL: Country of Origin Debate over Lenses Not New

But these things come up all the time. There's even a guy who compared various MIJ versions of the FA 43, so there's a "brown bag" vs. "black bag" debate as well.

???? PENTAX FA 43/1.9 Limited ??-???
This obsessive compulsive disorder is not limited to photography (though god knows there are enough brick wall test chart shooter around)
I remember selling people a green marker to improve the harsh sound quality of their cd's back in the early 90s. did nothing (possibly with the exception of causing more rapid decay on the coating)
And of course we all no Gold Cd's outperform the standard silver ones (and for burning apparently the black ones are even better)
and those $100 a set of four polished metal cones really do make my turntable sound better (but they work better if the point is up towards the turntable.... oh wait is it the other way round
12-09-2010, 01:36 PM   #13
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ha ha ned pointed out the Canadian vs German leica debate forgot about that
I think my favourite quip from that thread is right at the top

"The Canadian ones sometimes come with a free bottle of maple syrup. Also, keep your eyes out for the very rare "Molson Canadian" special edition MP, made from recycled aluminum beer cans and covered with beaver skin. A real gem, originally for just $24,000, though obviously, this has appreciated considerably. "

I want the beaver skin beer can mp if anyone has it i'm willing to trade birch bark covered FSU cameras
12-09-2010, 01:48 PM   #14
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Some ( many ? ) sharp ( greedy ? ) businessmen/women simply exploit the nature of gullibility in the buying public.

' Snake Oil ' is responisble for some very large fortunes made on the back of that gullibility.

Its inherent in almost every form of business. The biggest one that springs to mind is the Hi-Fi world
12-09-2010, 02:04 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Squier Quote
Some ( many ? ) sharp ( greedy ? ) businessmen/women simply exploit the nature of gullibility in the buying public.

' Snake Oil ' is responsible for some very large fortunes made on the back of that gullibility.

Its inherent in almost every form of business. The biggest one that springs to mind is the Hi-Fi world
there is a lot of snake oil in the land of audiophiles. I don't deny better equipment makes a difference, it does though the law of diminishing returns kicks in. That's why i stopped buying audio after my system hit a certain level. And the design of some high end product is beautiful (hand made machining etc)
but the number of huckster products is huge.
some products have valid reasons (ie better cables do make a difference to some degree, but then greed takes over and you get ridiculous 6 ft matched pair audio cables going for $1300 - I actually own a set of these from monster cable but i won them. wouldn't have bought them before that i just had good low gauge wire properly terminated. the difference was not audible to me (but i wasn't moving up from zip cord which i definitely heard a difference from) Noel at Monster is a marketing genius and is very wealthy because of it.
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