Germany is one of the biggest manufacturers of binoculars. From making the lens glass to curating the most sophisticated designs, German Optics Brands have mastered it all. The list which I have compiled with a motive to increase your optics knowledge includes best German made binoculars (and German based).
As we all know, manufacturers increase their market share by expanding their arena, Germany has done this too. Many German binocular brands have their manufacturing units in the U.S., China, and Austria. Germany and Austria are two of the top optics manufacturers from Europe, and their product range is wide enough to meet the demands of customers from across the globe.
Germany is home to one of the oldest binoculars companies, which has a large share in the global optics market. And as expected, Germany’s latest binocular series’ are also giving competition to their seniors.
Besides the German Binoculars Brands, I have also added a few Austrian made binoculars brands to this roundup, since Austrian Binoculars Brands are of the same quality as offered by the German Binoculars Brands.
So let’s dig deeper to know more about German binoculars brands!
Disclaimer: Just like my previous article on based American made binocular brands, the brands mentioned here are in no particular order and this list is in no way a ranking of these brands. All of the binocular brands listed here are great and are our favourite ones.
Table of Contents
Top German Made Binoculars Brands (and German Based)
Without any doubt, Zeiss is the most prominent German binoculars brand. In the fiscal year 2017-2018, Zeiss generated a revenue of almost 6 trillion dollars, which shows how massive Zeiss’s impact is.
Being a pioneer of manufacturing space cameras and lenses, Zeiss has always been a step ahead of its competitors.
Zeiss’s age is close to 2 centuries now, as it is serving Germany and the remainder world since 1846. The story started when Carl Zeiss, the founder of Zeiss optics, opened an optics workshop in Jena, Germany. He soon realized the need for optics and started training his students with a dream of establishing his own optics company.
Although the two world wars have affected Germany and Zeiss optics alike, it came out stronger.
Today Zeiss’s central manufacturing units are in Germany, and the U.S. Most of the production is done in Germany, and the supportive units are mainly to manage the demand and supply of Zeiss optics.
From confidential optoelectronics to binoculars for birdwatching, Zeiss makes all, and this is the very reason it is the biggest brand to get German made binoculars. I couldn’t resist myself recommending the Zeiss Terra ED series if you prefer quality over budget. Here are links to a few outstanding binoculars from Zeiss 8×42, 10×42, 8×25, 10×25.
1947 marks the beginning of Steiner optics, when a German hardware enthusiast, Karl Steiner started his workshop for repairing optics and scopes. He was passionate about making his name a brand, and to make binoculars which are reliable and dynamic.
Like most German companies, Steiner’s history is also associated with world wars. As WWII proved that optics with high precision could be an excellent tool for warriors, Karl Steiner aimed to equip his country with latest optic technology.
In 1967 Steiner made first binoculars which were indestructible, and lightweight. And they have not stopped since then. Nitrogen purged, phase-corrected, fully coated lenses, these are a few features which define the quality parameters of Steiner optics.
As their products became popular, Steiner acquired a U.S. based small optics company and turned into a sub-unit. U.S. Army, NATO forces and Navy seals, all have entrusted Steiner products since the beginning.
Making parts, designing binoculars, assembling the pieces and quality-testing, every step is done in Steiner headquarters based in Bayreuth, Germany. Quality and affordability are the features you’ll always find in Steiner optics.
Since there isn’t any better time than summer for both hunting and ocean expedition (like Alaska cruising), I would recommend grabbing the Steiner Optics Predator and Steiner Marine Commander for hunting and marine ventures respectively!
3. Leica Optics
Leica is one of the big names in the optics market. They are in the business since 1914 and have proved to be one of the most trusted binocular brands.
Ernst Leitzer was the man behind this mission of producing precise and durable optics which don’t cost a fortune. Leica’s headquarters are in Wetzlar, Germany, where most of the designing phase takes place.
Like many multinational brands, Leica products are also manufactured in different subunits. Portugal is their major manufacturing partner, as most of their scopes and binos are Portugal made.
The binoculars which made Leica a well-respected brand are ULTRAVID, Trinovid, and GEOVID. Their ultimate focus is usability and robustness of their products, which are suitable for all indoor/outdoor environments. Leica Trinovid BCA and Leica Trinovid 10×42 are the most notable ones in their Trinovid series.
4. Swarovski Optik
Swarovski is one of the mightiest Austrian based business empires. The history of this group started in 1895 when the founder Daniel Swarovski developed a family business of crystal cutting. He was passionate about glass cutters, and this passion resulted in the invention of the first electric grinding machine for jewellery.
Son of the founder, Wilhelm Swarovski, had immense interest in stargazing and astronomy. As he had access to the high-end glass cutters of the company, he kept trying until he made the first pair of binoculars in 1935. The first made binoculars were 6×30, one of their kind at that time.
Following his passion, Wilhelm developed a new sub-unit of Swarovski industries in the year 1949 which was dedicated to binoculars and scopes based in Tylor, Austria.
Since then, Swarovski Optik has become a synonym for quality optics. Their first high-end binoculars, Habicht, still holds the position of a legend in the optics market.
All production and assembling of parts take place in the Tylor headquarters, and then the products are exported worldwide. They specialize in binoculars, rifle scopes, and other optics accessories, and Swarovski’s customers have a firm belief that they never compromise on quality and precision of optics.
If you want to make a lifetime investment in a nearly perfect binos pair, Swarovski Optik EL Swarovision (10x42mm, 8.5x42mm) is an all-time recommended binoculars pair. Swarovision 12×50 is another hard to beat binoculars from Swarovski.
Spy cameras are so in trend these days, but have you ever thought who conceived the idea of a camera so small that it can disappear in a fist?
Well, the inventor of these pocket-sized cameras is none other than Walter Zapp.
Zapp was born in Latvia, and he always had a dream to make small cameras with excellent image quality. He tried many techniques until he built his first Minox spy camera in 1936.
That camera caught the attention of numerous people, and its demand increased rapidly. But, the unstable conditions in Latvia compelled Walter to leave his homeland and move to Germany in the year 1941.
This relocation proved to be a turning point in his life, and he laid the foundation of his own company, which he named as MINOX.
Since then, MINOX has become a leading name in the optics market. Their headquarters are in Wetzlar, Germany, where the whole manufacturing process is completed under the strict surveillance of optics experts.
6. German Precision Optics (GPO)
Being a relatively new player in the optics market, German Precision Optics (GPO) has achieved many milestones already. The founders of GPO started this optics company in Munich, Germany, with a vision to provide the end customer with affordable products.
This brand has two central units; one is in Munich called GPO, while the other unit is in Virginia, called GPO USA.
GPO has an aim to cut the cost and sell the most affordable products, which is why most of the work is outsourced to Asian countries, where raw material and manufacturing costs are lower.
All manufacturing is done in Asian manufacturing units, which are mainly located in China and Japan. Then the products are brought back to Munich. Here, the team of optics experts tests their quality and re-inspects them.
After getting a clean chit from Munich headquarters, the binoculars and scopes are transported directly to sellers and the USA unit.
Catering the needs of a global customer base, and providing them with the real value has always been GPO’s prime concern. Hunters, nature viewers, and stargazers greatly appreciate Their PASSION binoculars’ series.
Blaser optics was founded in 1957, when an enthusiastic hunter Horst Blaser started his own binocular company in Isny Im Allgau, Germany.
Blaser is a name known for specialized firearms and shotguns, and optics have become their 2nd most acquired service after they started making binoculars in 2017.
Blaser is one of the youngest names in my list of best German-made binoculars (and German based). Their only binocular series is called Primus, which is a go-to pick for hunters.
Initially, all production was being carefully completed in the German headquarter. However, to meet the increasing demand of their Primus binoculars and shotguns, Blaser established a sub-unit in Texas in 2008, which is termed as Blaser USA.
Having more than 300 employees now, Blaser optics is growing steadily, and their customers effortlessly entrust them with their money as the quality is Blaser’s utmost priority.
If Kahles weren’t there, no rifle scopes would have been made. Kahles has always been inventive, and many game-changing inventions are on its credit.
In 1898, Karl Robert Kahles started his own optics company in Vienna, Austria. Within a short stint, Kahles came up with a fantastic invention, the rifle scope. These rifle scopes paved the way for Kahles in international optics market, and their journey of success began.
However, during WWI Kahles stopped manufacturing optics for civilians. They were obliged to produce high-end military gadgetry. And, Kahles’ military experience has further added to its value.
A major setback which Kahles faced is that their central manufacturing unit in Vienna was destroyed during WWII. But, the 2nd generation of owners re-established their group and made a revolutionary invention of Water-proof scopes.
All steps of binocular’s making are completed in their main plant i.e., Vienna Austria, and then they are exported worldwide. However, since the downfall affected Kahles badly, it is now under the hold of a German-based business conglomerate Swarovski optiks.
Here’s a quick sum up of my list:
Zeiss is undeniably the most significant brand when we talk about the best German-made binoculars (and based). Its global share is massive, and the list of products we can get at Zeiss is endless.
Steiner optics is very strict about the quality of their products, and all phases of production are completed under strict surveillance in its Bayreuth headquarter.
Leica optics has manufacturing units in Portugal, which makes it different from the rest.
The only German brand whose manufacturing units are in Asia is GPO. To be precise, their products are made in China and Japan with set quality standards.
Swarovski and Minox binoculars are made in Germany and then exported worldwide.
Blaser, being a baby in the binoculars’ field is expanding significantly, and its new Texas subunit is a substantial milestone.
Kahles optics based in Vienna, Austria, is under the hold of Swarovski optics (a German giant in optics), and that’s the reason Kahles is in the list of sophisticated German optics brands.
One thing on which German optic brands do not compromise is quality. Hence, if you are in search of a handy pair to satisfy your hunting passion, you’ll get a vast range of German made binoculars, trust me!