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Old Monday 6th November 2017, 09:54   #1
Ludw1g
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Leitz Binuxit

So - first post, so please be gentle.

I have acquired a pair of Leitz Binuxit.
I think (if memory serves) they are post war - but will check (I thought I had a pic of the serial number handy, but it turns out I don't).
If memory serves they are quite high up in the range of serial number used for Binuxit - but can't remember the exact number.

Anyway - they seem to be ok - for their age, and they seem to be a very clean example - clearly used - but not neglected, and well cared for - but I have a few issues with them.

1) Stiff-ish focussing wheel. I only just got them, and they have apparently been unused for years - maybe decades. So at first use by me yesterday, the wheel was VERY stiff - pretty much unusable really - but I've rotated the wheel a few times since I received them, and it has freed up slightly. Still very smooth not crunchy - just very stiff.
So stiff they aren't ideal for actual use - pretty much requires a two-handed technique to move the wheel.
The question therefore is, without sending these to Leica (or a local repair shop), what can be done by me to improve this?

2) On one of the objective lenses, it looks like a little bit of fungus has developed - are these easy enough to clean myself, and if so how? I haven't had chance to really closely inspect them, but the fungus is noticeable, without seemingly a huge impact on image quality. (It may have - I'm just not very familiar with these binoculars).

3) Eye relief - I did read up a little on these bins before I bought them, but didn't realise quite how much eye relief can have a bearing on things. (I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to binoculars).
I did read that they may be problematic for people who wear glasses like I do, but assumed I'd be ok to use them without my specs on.
I didn't however account for the astigmatism in my own eyes - obviously the binoculars won't correct any of my astigmatism, even if I manage to get them focussed properly. So, though my astigmatism isn't huge, it's proven to be a real annoyance in the limited amount of use I've had with them so far.

I did remember though that I had a similar issue with a set of Minolta's I also have, until I found that I could fold back the rubber eye cups - and this seemed to solve the problem - so I opted to remove the eye cups on the Binuxit, for a similar effect. It works to a certain extent - but I dont like the lack of protection round the ocular lenses. No good.
So - are there any alternatives I might try with these binoculars? a 3rd party eye cup or some alternative which will work better?

4) Caps - did Binuxit come with lens caps? My example doesn't have any - and I'm wondering if it should, and if so, where can I get replacements?

5) Is there anything I should know about these binoculars that may improve them? I wasn't sure what I was expecting when I bought them - I guess they are quite old - but the Leitz/Leica name is good in optics - and like I said them seem to be quite a clean example considering their age - and bar the stiffness in focussing wheel (and the diopter adjustment is stiff too).
I have read rave reviews on them from various places - but I have also used my dad's Swarovski Habicht which blew me away (though his Habicht I assume are much newer than my Binuxit).

In theory, should his Habicht astound me, when in use when compared directly to the Binuxit? I haven't A/B tested them yet with his Habicht - but hopefully will get a chance tomorrow when I see him...

Any help on the above issues would be hugely appreciated...

Last edited by Ludw1g : Monday 6th November 2017 at 09:59.
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Old Monday 6th November 2017, 11:38   #2
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Congratulations. I have looked through a Binuxit in very good condition and liked it very much indeed. Good brightness for a 1960s binocular with single coatings, I liked the colour rendition, and the overall feel and controls had that "old world" feel I enjoy. I hope your astigmatism does not detract too much from your enjoyment of what I think is still a fine glass. I'm not sure how much this may help - but it could be worth experimenting with opening and closing the IPD (the distance between the barrels) a little to see whether placing the binoculars in just the right spot over your eyes may help.

I'd say a binocular like that deserves to be looked at by someone competent - I have sent binoculars to East Coast Binocular Repairs in Norfolk whom I can recommend, but I'd be surprised if there isn't at least one good repair shop closer to you. Regreasing and relubricating the mechanicals and cleaning the lenses/prisms is routine for one of these gents, but not a procedure I'd like to take on myself; and although old Binuxit models are said to be pretty clean inside, the fact that yours has fungus indicates the surfaces of the lenses/prisms may have some haze. It wouldn't surprise me if they had not been serviced in their lifetime, and 50 years or more is a long time for any optical device to do without.

Lens caps should be obtainable from most binoculars shops - best thing is to take yours in so a perfect fit can be matched. Eyecups - short of having replacements made to spec by a machinist, or filing down the existing ones (not a job I would care to try myself), I can't see any other options.

Don't forget the Swarovski Habicht was (is) made over a much longer time frame than the comparable Leitz or Zeiss 8x30 porro prism models, and will have benefited from very much improved multi-coatings. If your father's Habicht is a new one you should notice a distinct difference in brightness, but your binocular I still feel is very functional.
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Old Monday 6th November 2017, 12:06   #3
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Thanks for the reply Patudo - it's appreciated.

Re: cleaning of prisms etc - I came across this page - http://www.greatestbinoculars.com/al...t/binuxit.html

And he has done some DIY cleaning, so I'm thinking about giving it a go.
My biggest fear is de-collimation (assuming that the collimation is ok just now - though I am not quite sure as I haven't properly tested).

I reckon I could quite easily get to the prisms etc to give them a clean etc (I've taken apart a few camera lenses before for cleaning) - but binoculars are a different animal!

I might just drop the guy at the above page a message, to see what else he did - he mentions collimation too - I wonder what he did, or did he admit defeat and put them in for a service?
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Old Monday 6th November 2017, 12:20   #4
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Ah - if you've successfully cleaned camera lenses, I would imagine you would be better placed than most of us to take apart a binocular. The greatestbinoculars guy, I believe, is birdforum member Tobias Mennle and you should be able to message him at http://www.birdforum.net/member.php?u=117315 (NB. I'm not as convinced of the Binuxit's superiority over the Zeiss West as he is, but certainly agree it is a very nice product - I'd like to look through the comparable Nikon 8x30 A series sometime.)

On the subject of collimation - there is an e-book by birdforum member WJC available to purchase on (I believe) Amazon and elsewhere; from what I gather it should have comprehensive instructions on making a US Navy style collimator and extensive info on how to collimate binoculars. I leave the servicing of my binoculars to professionals, but a person with greater technical capability, like yourself, it might be a worthwhile purchase.
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Old Monday 6th November 2017, 13:24   #5
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I wouldn't say I'm expert, but I'm not phased by getting out some jewellers screwdrivers and having a poke around LOL.
I mean, not to devalue what professional techs do, but some things are easily doable - but others require a bit more knowhow - like collimation.
The question is, can I do the odd repair/refurb here and there, and thus not incurring a fee probably as high, or higher than the binoculars themselves!

I can't stand perfectly servicable equipment not being used because it's not economical to do the repairs - and this for me is where DIY comes in.

The price I paid was such that I figured I could sell them on and easily recoup in the event I couldn't do any DIY - but I'm kind of loathed to spend top dollar on a refurb that will cost more than the resale value of the binoculars at today's prices - I'd be better off putting the money to something that satisfies my needs more - unless of course, the performance of these is feasibly worth more than the actual typical selling prices these days...

It's a bit of a quandry LOL
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Old Monday 6th November 2017, 19:49   #6
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Originally Posted by Ludw1g View Post
3) Eye relief - so I opted to remove the eye cups on the Binuxit, for a similar effect. It works to a certain extent - but I dont like the lack of protection round the ocular lenses.
Hi Ludwig, welcome!

If you could find a pair of Leitz replacement rubber eyecups made for the first Trinovid models (the original series, with the Uppendahl prisms), you'll find that the threads are identical and they will fit in place of the original eyecups on your Binuxit. No guarantee, but I found it to be true with three different Binuxits I checked. If the new eyecups won't roll down far enough for your glasses, you can cut off the roll-down part and smooth the cut edges and you'll have a set of custom-made eyeglass-friendly eyecups for your Binuxit.

Cheers,

John
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Old Monday 6th November 2017, 20:11   #7
Ludw1g
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Thanks for the suggestion John. You might be on to something re those eye cups or at least something similar may work. I'll have a look at what else they have on ebay as well.
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 11:23   #8
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Originally Posted by Ludw1g View Post
The question is, can I do the odd repair/refurb here and there, and thus not incurring a fee probably as high, or higher than the binoculars themselves!
Hi Ludw1g - it would seem you're better able to tackle the first part of your question than most of us, and regarding the second... if you obtained your Binuxit for the cost of a typical service (that I have been charged anyway) you have done extremely well. If the resale value of a Binuxit was less than the cost of a service I'd get one right now. Anyway, let us know how you get on with the repair, and afterwards as well. Whenever I look through one of those classic porros I am always impressed with what could be done back in the 1950s.

@John Frink - Interesting info about the Trinovid eyecup retrofit. I also seem to recall someone here noting that Leitz made twist style replacement eyecups for the old Trinovids - can someone tell me if my memory is faulty?

Best,
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 12:16   #9
Ludw1g
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Hi Ludw1g - it would seem you're better able to tackle the first part of your question than most of us, and regarding the second... if you obtained your Binuxit for the cost of a typical service (that I have been charged anyway) you have done extremely well. If the resale value of a Binuxit was less than the cost of a service I'd get one right now. Anyway, let us know how you get on with the repair, and afterwards as well. Whenever I look through one of those classic porros I am always impressed with what could be done back in the 1950s.

@John Frink - Interesting info about the Trinovid eyecup retrofit. I also seem to recall someone here noting that Leitz made twist style replacement eyecups for the old Trinovids - can someone tell me if my memory is faulty?

Best,
patudo
Well - after a day or so of turning the focus wheel it's started to loosen up.
It's not quite as buttery smooth as say my old Takumar lenses, but it's more usable. How smooth should this wheel be by the way?
I feel that mine has a ways to go before it's ideal - it's better though - and I guess it also means that focus won't shift that easily either if it still has a bit of friction.

I actually went for some of those eBay eye cups.

Just under 5 for a couple of eye cups - but they are for 29-30mm.
I got out my calipers and mine seem to measure 28mm ish - so I'm hoping they'll work...

Still these binoculars seem pretty good - maybe a little soft at the edges - and it'll be interesting how a clean of prisms etc impacts the view.
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 15:46   #10
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Hi I also seem to recall someone here noting that Leitz made twist style replacement eyecups for the old Trinovids - can someone tell me if my memory is faulty?

Best,
patudo
Hello Patudo,

I certainly wrote of rubber fold down eyecups with only a few mm of folding down. I bought a pair, years ago, at an exorbitant price, but they made a difference. However, they were discontinued.

For full daylight use, when they is eye's pupil is very narrow, my own astigmatism is hardly a problem, using the Binuxit without my glasses. However, I still cannot see well enough, without my specs, to find targets.

I have a Binuxit with a definite yellow cast, caused by aging Canadian Balsam, but that example was made in 1951.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 23:16   #11
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Hi Ludw1g - it would seem you're better able to tackle the first part of your question than most of us, and regarding the second... if you obtained your Binuxit for the cost of a typical service (that I have been charged anyway) you have done extremely well. If the resale value of a Binuxit was less than the cost of a service I'd get one right now. Anyway, let us know how you get on with the repair, and afterwards as well. Whenever I look through one of those classic porros I am always impressed with what could be done back in the 1950s.

@John Frink - Interesting info about the Trinovid eyecup retrofit. I also seem to recall someone here noting that Leitz made twist style replacement eyecups for the old Trinovids - can someone tell me if my memory is faulty?

Best,
patudo
I don't believe Leica ever made a retrofit for the Leitz eyecups like you
mentioned. No twistup available, you either like them full out, or some
cut them down for glasses.

I have experience with the Leitz eyecups.

I think your memory is faulty........don't feel bad you were just hoping.

Things are not that easy.

Jerry
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Old Wednesday 8th November 2017, 08:53   #12
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I'll let you all know how I get on with my new eye cups - for less than 5 I figured they were worth a try...
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Old Friday 17th November 2017, 08:37   #13
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So - my eye cups arrived - and they're just a little too big (and won't fold down either). So, back to the drawing board...

I also contacted Leica about this, and they said they only stock eye cups for bins produced from 1963 - and as mine are at least 1962, but probably earlier (serial number is 51xxxxx something or other).

So Leica can't help.

Any ideas what other binoculars out there had a 26mm eye cup thread?
I'm really struggling to find anything that might work.
Might have to list these on eBay or something...
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Old Friday 17th November 2017, 14:02   #14
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I bought a few old Leitz Porros about 15 years ago (Bidoxit, Binuxit and Marseptit). All had the same eyecup threads. Leica supplied me with fold down rubber eyecups with the same thread that were originally for Leitz Trinovids. They're pretty short (about the same length as the hard plastic originals on the Porros), so I think they were probably designed for the 10x40B or 8x32B models. The diameter of the opening in the eyecups is a little smaller than the Binuxit eyelens, but it doesn't appear to vignette the FOV and could be trimmed out if needed.
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Old Friday 17th November 2017, 15:29   #15
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Maybe Action Optics Southampton or East Coast binocular repairs can help.
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