Nikon, Zeiss, Lieca and Olympus are regarded by many as the Big Four microscope manufactures in the world. Their microscopes are commonly perceived as high quality microscopes. In contrast, the Chinese microscopes are perceived as low quality products. However, many microscopes from the Big Four are manufactured in China. The purpose of this short note is to present some facts about the Big Four’s microscopes OEM manufacturing in China.
Nikon’s microscope OEM production in China started in 1995. The main models are E100, E200, TS100 series biological microscopes and SMZ645 and SMZT745 stereo microscopes. These microscopes are manufactured by Novel Optics’s Jiangnan manufacturing plant in NanJing (http://www.novel-optics.com/).
The Zeiss Primo Star microscopes are manufactured by Motic Group (http://www.motic.com/) in Xiamen Manufacturer plant.
Leica ES2 stereo microscopes are manufactured by Novel Optics’s Ningbo Yongxin manufacturing plant (http://www.novel-optics.com/) so are the head and some parts of Leica EZ4 and EZ5. The DM series, including DM750, DM1000, DM3000, DM4000B and DM6000B, are manufactured in Leica Instruments LTD, Shanghai (http://www.leica.sh.cn/en/index.htm). BME authorized by Leica Shanghai to be manufactured by Phenix Optical Instrument Group (http://www.phenixoptics.com.cn/english/) in Jiangxi.
The production of Olympus CX31 and SZ51 was moved to Philippine. They are not currently manufactured in China, although some parts are still exported from China.
In my opinion, if you are shopping around for a Chinese-made microscope, try to stay with these manufacturers. This does not imply that other Chinese microscope makers are not quality manufacturers. These manufacturers are proven to have the ability to manufacture quality microscopes and have higher consistency with their product quality. Most microscopes parts are modularized. The lens, frames, mechanical stage, illumination and electrical parts can come from difference sources. Other manufacturers might share the same sources with these manufacturers or use the parts from these manufacturers. With adoption of the technology for the Big Four and lower labor cost in China, the Chinese microscopes from a reliable manufacturer can be an affordable alternative.
The blog has a new home. I am moving the blog to practical-microscopy.blogspot.com.