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“For years the Nikon camera company has been synonymous with wildlife photography,” recalls. “Stunning images of animals are used to promote its products, features on top wildlife photographers appear on its website and the firm even sponsors several global conservation projects. So it may come as quite a shock to animal lovers to discover that the Japanese manufacturer also produces a rifle scope specifically designed to be used for big game hunting in Africa.” Shock? Actually, the headline says fury. (Which is better than furry but there you go.) Evidence? One Italian wildlife photographer’s moaning: “Stefano Unterthiner, winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the year in 2008, himself a user of Nikon cameras has now condemned the firm for producing such a product.” Now that’s what I call a damp squib. For now.

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    • Riflescopes only bend light for one reason. Killing. You all should be ashamed of yourselves. The game I’ve harvested with open sights was much more humane.

      Seriously though, I’d rather buy a scope made in the good ol USA.

    • Nikon is one of the best companies for optics. If you don’t think the glass makes a difference, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      This scope may not have great optics, but the company does have a very good reputation.

  1. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t Nikon made scopes for a very long time? Nikon makes all kinds of optics, always has as far as I know. This is one of the more ridiculous “condemnations” of a company that I have ever heard.

    • I would infer that Nikon scopes aren’t sold in the UK. Little suprise given the difficulty one probably has in obtaining a high-powered rifle there. There’s probably not much of a market there for rifle scopes.

      • Nikon has made rifle scopes for a long time, I had a chance to use some 10-15 years ago. They were nice, bright image, solid, repeatable. As I recall they did not really try to advertise them heavily, and the perception I had was that they were trying to avoid offending the sensitive types.

        I think the photographer is against nikon because of the perception that they sell to african trophy hunters and equates that to dwindling numbers of Lions. Counterpoint is that the Lion population is more seriously impacted by reduction of habitat, and destruction because they are a nuisance animal, destroying livestock, etc.

        An interesting paradox is that the revenue from trophy hunting could be a driver to sustain lion populations through good game management, whereas making revenue generating lion hunting illegal could accelerate the decline!

        It is distasteful reading (link below) as it is prejudicial of hunting and ignorantly misrepresents hunters as being anti conservation but I think he still comes to a valid point about preserving allowing wealthy hunters fund game management in Africa, where they would likely let lions go extinct for lack of money. Skip to the last paragraph to get to the more useful part. I am a bit impressed that someone so bias filled would be able to look past that to at least consider a contrary view.

    • I have taken pictures of wildlife through my Nikon riflescope. Worked great and really adds to the utility of my smartphone.

  2. The idiocy of wingnuts knows no bounds. This particular pencil-neck pantywaist is all bent out of shape because the Japanese company makes rifle scopes, but probably never heard of World War 2.

    I suggest that he buy himself a nice Kodak and STFU. And please, don’t tell him that Swarovski makes scopes, too. He’ll have to give away his little crystal bears.

  3. Nikon makes Optical products. They do make cameras which are imaging products, yet they also manufacture scanners, microscopes, rangefinders, binoculars and telescopes. Rifle scopes are nothing more than small telescopes, so what’s the big deal? Ah yes, someone always has to find something to cry about so a photog that uses their products for sighting wildlife, needs to go apesh!t because they make a product that can be used to assist in shooting wildlife……….Poor Baby……….get over it.

  4. Did anyone, including Mr. Farago, actually read the article? Like the bit where the controversy is not about Nikon making rifle optics per se, but a marketing campaign that invokes African trophy hunting, which is arguably pretty bad? No?

    • +1

      A good hunter should be, first and formost, a conservationist (after all, with no nature, we have no place to hunt), and trophy hunting goes against pretty much everything I learned about responsible hunting.

      I’m not concerned with Nikon making rifle scopes, but I am against them advertising and glorifying trophy hunting.

    • A company that sells hunting scopes but opposes African trophy hunting is kind of like a tennis-shoe company that opposes Wimbleton.

    • No, it’s not bad. Trophy hunting is the game management technique of choice for countries that would like to be able to hold onto wildlife habitat and couldn’t afford to do so without hunters. And the meat is never wasted. It feeds the impoverished.

      In England, where nobody is allowed to have guns, the government employs game wardens to slaughter animals for management purposes. Is that any better?

    • No.

      African trophy hunting is heavily regulated nowadays and I don’t see the problem. Many of those countries welcome the fat cash hunters bring in every year and therefore have a vested interest in keeping the populations healthy. A portion of that cash goes straight back to conservation. Google around and see what the total prices are for trophy hunting in Africa.

      A ten day trip for cape buffalo in the Zambezi Valley will run you close to $20,000 if you bag one.

      • Same as here. Hunters’ dollars have supported more wildlife and habitat preservation efforts than any or source, a fact few anti-hunters seem to recognize.

        • Exactly. The tree huggers can’t stand the fact that a huge chunk of conservation money comes from sportsmen.

          Our goal is healthy populations and healthy game. They’d rather see herds get overpopulated and die from starvation and disease before any of them get hunted.

    • Trophy hunters take far fewer lions than the poachers their funds help to stop. In some areas the ONLY source of income for conservation is the ludicrous amount of money American hunters are willing to spend to take ONE animal. That money is then used by the people in the area to stop poachers who have no concern as hunters do for maintaining a population.

      I strongly suggest you look at the ups and downs between making wolf hunting illegal and cervid population density in the US. The left has basically been kicking itself (and nature) in the booty in a nice little loop for many years, causing more breakage to the natural order that they claim to want to preserve. Let’s make hunting wolves illegal! Then the cervids get demolished by the un-managed population of wolves and suddenly a “sensible policy of management” is then needed, which is their nice way of saying someone has to shoot the damn things. As long as it’s someone with a badge, it’s fine, pretty much like gun control. Then the wolves had to be taken off the list and the season opened again because that law was creating huge imbalances, and the first guy to call in a tag had about a dozen death threats on his answering machine before he even got home from the game warden’s office. True story. Hunters (not all, exception to every rule and all that) are the ONLY people who have any sense in modern conservation circles.

  5. Hypocrisy knows no bounds when it comes to brand name loyalty. Not a single person could get by in today’s world without having at least a handful of products that are made by companies that do something against their own morals. Your camera manufacturer makes rifle scopes. Your favorite soda company supports gay rights. Your favorite clothing brand utilizes child labor. Your favorite make-up manufacturer uses animal product that goes against your vegan lifestyle.

    Get over it. Stand up for what you believe and if you really want to boycott something then go ahead. But don’t be surprised you’re not living the innocent life and every brand your loyal to doesn’t side with your politics and beliefs 100%.

    By the way, why is this shocking to the same people that say hunters are OK guys anyway? Don’t they know hunters use scopes to help them kill their cute animals?

  6. OMG! General Electric makes washer/dryer combos and…MINI-GUNS!!! Who gives a F%ck? When there is demand there will be supply. A company would stupid to pass on chance to profit in a legit trade if they have the means.

    • I’m more of a Canon camera guy myself. Not only do they not make scopes, they don’t even make canons! What a disappointment.

  7. Nikon was born as Nippon Kogaku Kogyo KK (Japan Optical Manufacturing Co.) in 1917, through the merger of several optical companies.

    Their first job was making a periscope for the Imperial Japanese Navy’s one submarine. Soon, however, they branched out into warship rangefinders (including for the giant Yamato battleship), gunsights, aircraft interception plotters, aerial cameras, night-vision and infrared scopes, underwater motion detectors, and other military optics.

    I think they also had a line of binoculars for both civilians and military customers during the 1920s and 30s, although production went entirely to the military by the mid-1930s. And they made lenses for view cameras in this period too.

    Brief background: WW2 began early in East Asia. Japan, which had colonized Korea since 1905, annexed China’s northeast provinces (Manchuria) in 1931, calling it Manchukuo, and sent its army into the rest of China in 1937. By the time of the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941, Japan’s military was quite well experienced, including committing atrocities, and had seen much action (though not against topnotch adversaries, such as we eventually became).

    Bottom line: Nikon was from the very beginning a military contractor, and no small-time operation, either. By the end of the war, they had 25,000 workers in 26 manufacturing plants.

    It was only after Japan lost the war that they switched (under threat of being dismantled) to cameras, binoculars, astronomical telescopes, microscopes, and other civilian optical gear.

    Good source for Nikon history is Brian Long’s Nikon: a Celebration (2006). The book includes many photos from the 1920s onward of company staff, products, and facilities. One shot from 1947 shows Emperor Hirohito greeting a line of people that includes the author’s grandmother! As many know, Hirohito’s hobby was marine biology; as many don’t know, he owned a Nikon microscope.

    If you carry any kind of Nikon gear (the brand name dates from 1947), give a little thanks to Douglas MacArthur.

  8. Yes, Nikon makes rifle scopes. I can only think of one optical product they do not make (and I suspect that even if they didn’t make it they had several hands in making the Hubble telescope and its military brothers.) I have never had a bad Nikon product. All of them have delivered better performance than advertised. My only complaint is that I can’t afford more of them.

    • I know, right?! I am desperate to get a 600mm and a 2x converter so I can finally get some quality moon shots, but that would be a solid three month’s pay for me.

  9. Good, inexpensive optics allow more humane hunting. Despite what hardcore critter-huggers think, here in Upstate NY we either shoot deer or hit them with cars. Bullets are cheap & hunting keeps our 2A ‘disorganized militia’ trained. Sometimes they’re very disorganized- I hear lots of one-sided gunfights from 1d10ts. On a gun-control note, requiring muzzle-loaders for the first few deer might get new shooters to learn patience & accuracy.

    Oh, and overpopulation destroys lots of other wildlife habitats & leads to deer starvation with an even slightly harsh growing season. And, yanno lots of dead drivers.

  10. Personally I’m a big fan of Nikon optics. I’m a man of modest means and have found that Nikon offers outstanding quality for the money. A Nikon Monarch 1-4×20 German #4 is on my wish list for my AR. I loves me a German #4 reticle.


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