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In an era that has witnessed rampant outsourcing of products and services, and innumerable items manufactured in foreign lands, you should find it heartening to know that the B&H website offers more than 8,000 products boasting “Made in U.S.A.” status.
Featured below are 10 such companies, and their associated products that caught our attention.
1. When it comes to digital storage and media mounting solutions, Delkin Devices brings a dedicated, San Diego-based design, manufacturing, and support team to its varied line of options—from memory cards, card readers, CDs, and DVDs, to its Fat Gecko camera and tablet mounts, and the SensorScope DSLR sensor inspection device.
Martin Wood, a photographer himself, founded the business in 1986, with an entrepreneurial drive to be an American memory card manufacturer in a market that relied heavily on imported products. Unlike memory cards that are mass-built overseas with components that constantly change due to availability and cost, Delkin uses specific, controlled components to ensure reliability over time. Extensive bench testing allows for better engineered products, designed for performance and advanced shooting modes when recording high-resolution photography and video.
In addition to its core memory-card lines for DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, action cameras, drones, video cameras, and more, Delkin holds several patents for accessories aimed at “Making Photography Better.”
2. Arizona-based Tether Tools was hatched as a practical solution for a studio-type experience on location, after company founder Josh Simons took part in a 2008 commercial shoot that involved hauling an iMac and 600 pounds of tethering gear into the middle of the desert via dune buggy. His original Tether Table offered a versatile platform to secure a computer when shooting tethered.
The company’s firm belief in quality craftsmanship means that it designs and manufactures the majority of its workstations, mounting options for lighting and accessories, and power solutions for photographers and filmmakers in the U.S.A., using the finest materials. The company’s current Tether Table Aero System embodies the union of function and form, with a sleek design and lightweight construction of T6 Aerospace aluminum. Fully customizable component parts enable photographers and videographers to create a workstation exceptionally tailored to an individual workflow.
For more on tethering, plus a breakdown of select Tether Tool products, click here for Tom Kirkman’s Explora article Tether Tools Solutions for Photographers.
3. Designed by filmmakers for filmmakers, Chicago-based Zacuto creates production-grade camera accessories that free filmmakers to focus on innovation, inspiration, and creativity. Zacuto gear is made entirely in the USA, and has a singular philosophy on camera rig design—balance.
Zacuto’s signature product, the Z-Finder, now shares the stage with products such as the Gratical HD Micro-OLED EVF and the Next Generation Recoil® rig, which is compatible with every camera, from a tiny mirrorless to the largest cinema camera.
According to Zacuto co-owner and product designer Steve Weiss, “In our industry it's all about speed to market; if you are late, you lose. With our machine shops in the Chicago suburbs, we can see prototypes and finished parts the same day. Changes can be made, and then additional parts the next day,” he explains. “In many cases, it's actually less expensive to make products in America,” he adds, “and it's not possible to make an extremely high-end brand abroad.”
To learn more about the full range of Zacuto product offerings, follow this link to our archive of Explora articles featuring this brand—from online videos to hands on reviews.
4. Boulder, Colorado-based Chimera Lighting has been designing and manufacturing innovative light banks, reflectors, and other lighting tools in the U.S.A. since its founding, in 1980. Initially inspired by high-altitude tents, advertising photographer Gary Regester partnered with noted climber, photographer, and engineer/designer Tom Frost to make Chimera’s first collapsible lighting modifier for still photographers. From humble beginnings in a residential garage, Chimera has expanded and adapted its product line to equally serve the lighting needs of film and video industries. As noted on Chimera’s website, the company sources and produces materials for all but two accessories in the United States. To ensure all components of light banks, speedrings and other products meet company standards, materials are inspected prior to going into production. Fabric is examined on arrival and spot-checked on the cutting table; speedrings are checked for both fit and finishing issues to ensure against peeling or scratching on anodized surfaces. Keeping production local allows the company to meet customer needs quickly and efficiently. Employees take pride in the company and in their work; a winning combination for any business.
5. For lighting control on a more intimate scale, photographer and multimedia producer Quest Couch developed a line of simple flash modifiers nearly 30 years ago, to serve the lighting requirements of the high-end corporate market. The still photography required for this type of work necessitates fast setups on location, under a variety of circumstances. LumiQuest’s mission to raise the level of flash photography by combining photographers’ needs with the basic laws of physics has resulted in more than 25 devices designed to solve real lighting problems in the field. Each light modifier serves a specific purpose, and all are made in America, carrying an unconditional lifetime guarantee.
6. An avid scuba diver, Dave Parker founded Pelican Products out of his Torrance, California garage, in 1976. He recognized the need for rugged flashlights and protective cases that wouldn’t leak or break, and set out to build a better product than anything else on the market.
Now in its 40th year, nearly all of Pelican’s molded products and branded cases are manufactured domestically, in Torrance, CA, and South Deerfield, MA.
Gary Maupas, Pelican’s Consumer Product Sales Manager, describes several advantages to U.S. manufacturing, from brand equity in the use of an American job force to “quality standards that are better accommodated and monitored through a domestic manufacturing process.” Maupas adds, “For most of its history, Pelican has been primarily a military and government product resource, which requires very strict quality standards to be maintained.”
Now the world’s largest manufacturer of equipment protection cases, Pelican continues its steady growth and the development of new products. Most recently, the company unveiled a software program allowing customers to create an interior foam set for their case as a single unit, uniquely mapped to the contents—regarded as a new generation of pick-and-pluck foam.
For more on Pelican cases and flashlights, follow this link to our archive of Explora articles that feature these products.
7. While professional audio and video technology has changed at a relentlessly fast pace, Porta Brace has hand-built its camera cases and covers in Southern Vermont for more than 40 years, with an unswerving commitment to quality. From the highest-quality materials, to the hand-built wooden equipment models, to the reinforced sewing techniques designed to strengthen weight-bearing contact points, the company’s production processes are designed to make the toughest and most reliable products available. Control of production permits frequent product upgrades, improvements, and modifications, to keep pace with rapid innovations and integration in the professional recording industry. Additionally, the company’s pride in craftsmanship is coupled with an eco-friendly concern for the local community, to reduce waste and help preserve nature’s bounty.
8. Family-owned and operated since 1982, OP/TECH USA makes neoprene straps, pouches, and accessories for cameras, lenses, tripods, and electronics, to provide the ultimate in function and comfort. More than 90 percent of the company’s product line is manufactured in their Belgrade, Montana, facility. OP/TECH’s first product, the trademarked Fast Cap lens cover, was designed on a cocktail napkin by founder Bill Henkerman. Shortly thereafter, Henkerman introduced the neoprene Fashion Strap. This product line has grown to encompass a wide variety of camera straps, combining the soft, durable features of neoprene with a patented "control-stretch" backing to help reduce pressure, while contouring to the shoulder and neck to effectively distribute weight, combatting fatigue and bounce.
9. Another family-owned company, Leupold & Stevens, has been in business for more than a century, manufacturing binoculars, spotting scopes, telescopic sights, riflescopes, and other sports optics. Founder Frederick Leupold’s motto that the customer is entitled to a square deal is upheld through pioneering technological efforts such as waterproof scopes, side-focus parallax adjustment, compact riflescopes, and the Duplex® reticle. All Leupold Golden Ring® Riflescopes are designed, machined, and assembled in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Beaverton, Oregon, and each must pass a punishing durability test. While some parts, primarily lenses, require foreign-sourced components, incoming materials are carefully inspected before being accepted into the assembly process.
10. Warm, dependable socks and gloves are among the most valuable investments an outdoor enthusiast can make. To serve this need, Fox River Mills has been committed to producing quality knitted socks and hand wear since the company’s founding, in 1900, in Appleton, Wisconsin’s Fox River Valley. Now based in Osage, Iowa, Fox River is one of the world’s leading outdoor, athletic, and lifestyle sock manufacturers today. While factors such as high tech fibers, state-of-the-art equipment, progressive designs and global business have changed the current face of the company, it remains committed to manufacturing in the U.S.A, in large part within the company’s 250,000 sq. ft. (5 acre) Iowa mill. And, as a further testament to its standing within America’s cultural fabric, Fox River is proud to manufacture the original Rockford Red Heel monkey sock.
We invite you to discover the many other Made in America products we offer through a simple keyword search on our website. If this leads you to a favorite item, please let us know in the Comments section, below.