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Old Monday 14th November 2011, 15:38   #1
james holdsworth
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Early Elite's

I am interested in information pertaining to the early B and L Elite roof prism binoculars.

These would be the non phase corrected, non rubber covered versions, probably pre 1998. I believe there came in a 7 x 35 and an 8 x 42.

I tried a ton of Google searches and have not even managed a single picture of these bins, let alone aything close to a review. Nor have I ever seen any for sale anywhere!

I would really appreciate any help forum members could provide. A scan of some of the old advertizing literature would be great. 1st hand accounts would also be nice! Thanks.
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Old Monday 14th November 2011, 15:58   #2
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Are these the model? Based on your comments I am guessing not but it is the earliest info I could think of on this model.

http://www.betterviewdesired.com/Bau...Elite-8x42.php
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Old Monday 14th November 2011, 16:05   #3
james holdsworth
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No, actually two generations before that. I have owned those pictured, as well as the rubber armoured but not waterproof version, circa 1990 ish?

The version I am interested in is very elegant, slender and covered in a leather-like material.
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Old Monday 14th November 2011, 18:47   #4
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What you are looking for will be hard to find.
The American Birding Association has published "Birding" bi-monthly for a bout 35 years. Over the years they have done reviews of the "alpha" brand models as they come out. Up until the mid-1990's, Bausch & Lomb was considered an "Alpha" brand. I know from my own memory that they reviewed the Elites when they added phase coating in 89-90 or so. If you contact them, perhaps they could help with your research.
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Old Monday 14th November 2011, 19:34   #5
james holdsworth
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Jay,

I have the issue of Birding that reviewed the 2nd generation [phase-corrected] of these bins, by Pete Dunne I believe. It was this glowing review that convinced me to get this version, and then acquire the re-design [3rd gen / stubby version] after my very much loved Elite's were stolen.

It is the original version of these elite's, before rubber-armouring and phase coating, I am looking for.
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Old Monday 14th November 2011, 21:12   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james holdsworth View Post
Jay,

I have the issue of Birding that reviewed the 2nd generation [phase-corrected] of these bins, by Pete Dunne I believe. It was this glowing review that convinced me to get this version, and then acquire the re-design [3rd gen / stubby version] after my very much loved Elite's were stolen.

It is the original version of these elite's, before rubber-armouring and phase coating, I am looking for.
Ah the memories Perhaps there is a review in a previous back issue?
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Old Tuesday 15th November 2011, 10:22   #7
Renze de Vries
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James,

I suppose you mean these (see pics attached, archived off eBay).

According to chartwell99, who is the best source on these early B&L Elites, there was a 10x42 as well. However I have never seen those on offer anywhere. Like you've observed yourself the 8x42 and 7x35 are rarely offered as well.
I have owned the 7x35. Passed it on to my daughter who likes them very much because they're so easy on the eyes. The 7x35 looks exactly like the 8x42 pictured with one exception: instead of Elite it's called Classic. I compared them to the binoculars they closely resemble, the Leitz 7x35 Trinovid and found that the (later manufactured) B&L is optically slightly better: a bit sharper and better edge sharpness. The Fov is identical, 8.3 degrees. Build quality and finish is of the same superb level while the B&L has some nice period touches (those coloured dots on the diopter setting).
You have to know that the B&L 7x35 Classic is optically and mechanically identical to a Browning 7x35 which is probably even more rare. I have pictures here of the Browning supplied to me by former BF subscriber John Garnham who sadly passed away a few months ago. According to John one can use Leitz Trinovid replacement eyecups on them.
Because of a computer crash I've lost my archived pictures of the Browning and B&L 7x35 but there's a possibility elkcub still has some of it. I'll ask Ed to join in here.
Anyway, for someone interested in high quality early roofs these should be on top of the wish list. They're a joy to look at, and still very well usable.

Renze
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Old Tuesday 15th November 2011, 10:26   #8
Renze de Vries
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James,

I found a not too good Browning pic in my files which gives an impression.

Renze
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Old Tuesday 15th November 2011, 15:18   #9
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These do look very much in body structure like the old Leitz Trinovids except for the locations of the focuser and the diopter. I wonder if they used the Uppendahl roof prisms like the Leitz did? Because of the location of the Diopter ring shown on the B&L's I don't think that the Leitz eyecups would fit on them. The Browning pictured doesn't appear to have that ring.

Bob

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Old Tuesday 15th November 2011, 16:29   #10
james holdsworth
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Renze,

Wonderful, thanks so much! This is the 1st time I have laid eyes on these since about 1987 or so, in a B & L brochure.

I still think these are among the most elegant bins ever made, and the eye cups look suspiciously like those on my own Elite's!

Thanks again Renze, and if you see any up for sale, let me know. I still find it hard to believe just how hard it was to find out any information about these bins. They should be as popular and talked about as Zeiss B's and Leitz Trinovids, IMO.
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Old Tuesday 15th November 2011, 17:15   #11
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Yes, elegant. I bet they had nice balance in the hand.
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Old Wednesday 16th November 2011, 01:10   #12
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Several yrs ago I had a B&L brochure with all the models at the time (late 80's I think). As well as the Elites (7x36, 8x42 & 10x42), it showed a B Body pebble grain 7x35 Discoverer, and a similar 10x50. I seem to remember the big emphasis with the roofs was the armoring (apparently the 1st yr of it). However, they weren't sealed & purged. They were the first I'd heard of with popups instead of rolldowns, a big deal then. All really fine glass for their time (and still very servicable if you have a good example).

As an aside, near as I can tell, the current Swift 7x36 Eaglet is a virtual knockoff of the small elite, albeit w/pc and fmc.
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Old Wednesday 16th November 2011, 08:12   #13
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Spyglass,

I guess your mention of Elite 7x36 is a typo?

Renze
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Old Wednesday 16th November 2011, 17:02   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyglass View Post
As an aside, near as I can tell, the current Swift 7x36 Eaglet is a virtual knockoff of the small elite, albeit w/pc and fmc.
What leads you to this impression? They don't seem at all the same to me. For example, the swift has a narrow FOV (374ft versus if I remember correctly, 420ft in the B&L).

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Old Wednesday 16th November 2011, 17:04   #15
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Spyglass,

I guess your mention of Elite 7x36 is a typo?

Renze
The second generation Elites were rubber armored (but not waterproof, or phase coated). The 7x was a 7x36 in that line. I'm less familiar with the very early Elites and didn't realize that there was a 7x35.

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Old Sunday 20th November 2011, 10:51   #16
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I picked up the B&L 7x35 Classic at my daughter's, took some photographs, compared with the Leitz 7x35 Trinovid and performed measurements.

In the B&L + Leitz picture it's quite obvious where the B&L comes from. Dimensions are almost identical but of course the location of focus wheel and diopter setting make the difference. BTW, contrary to the Leitz the focus wheel of the B&L operates anticlockwise. Weight is close between the two: 550 gram for the B&L, 530 for the Leitz. FoV is on par, 8.5 deg. (as it happens, the Browning, which is in all other aspects identical to the B&L mentions 8.30 deg. on the focus wheel). Eye relief, measured from the eye lens, is 16 mm for both. The B&L is somewhat better in close focussing distance, 5.5 mtr. against 6.5 for the Leitz. With respect to brightness, contrast and colour bias, I can't see any difference.
I compared center sharpness and although I seemed to remember that the B&L was somewhat better here, I'd say that's not really he case. What is different though is sharpness across the field of view. The Leitz has quite strong field curvature, resulting in a fuzzy edge, whereas the B&L has less curvature and so gives a better impression with regard to sweet spot, crispness of field stop and ease of view. It's obvious where my daughter's enthousiasm is originating from.

Renze
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Old Sunday 20th November 2011, 13:16   #17
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Renze,

Can you tell how focusing is accomplished in the B&L? It seems unlikely that it uses moving eyepiece elements like the Leitz since the focusing knob is at the front. If there is a moving focusing lens behind the objective can you determine whether it moves backward or forward when focusing toward infinity?

Henry
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Old Sunday 20th November 2011, 13:56   #18
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Quote:
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Renze,

Can you tell how focusing is accomplished in the B&L? It seems unlikely that it uses moving eyepiece elements like the Leitz since the focusing knob is at the front. If there is a moving focusing lens behind the objective can you determine whether it moves backward or forward when focusing toward infinity?

Henry

Henry,

I managed to unscrew the outer ring - holding the eye lens - of the ocular assembly, and there's no doubt about it: focussing is accomplished by moving the eyepiece elements. In the way that for focussing towards infinity the eyepiece is moving forward.
Your conclusion?

Renze
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Old Sunday 20th November 2011, 14:09   #19
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Yet another detail. Contrary to the late John Garnham's assertion I found the Trinovid eyecups not exactly matching the B&L's. There's a 1.8 mm difference in outer diameter but also - as expected I'd say - that the threading is different. Meaning that one can screw the Trinovid eyecup on the B&L but only for the first windings, so there will be a small gap between the eyecup and the binocular body.

Renze

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Old Sunday 20th November 2011, 16:24   #20
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Thanks very much Renze.

Do I take your meaning to be that B & L copied the Leitz design or that they share components, chassis etc?
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Old Sunday 20th November 2011, 19:30   #21
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Copy, and then only in the sense of taken as a model. Because Leitz was the first company to design a compact, internal focussing roof prism binocular (series) with great quality, all subsequent roof prism binoculars are more or less modelled on the Trinovids.

Renze
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Old Sunday 20th November 2011, 23:28   #22
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Renze,

Do you know what changes [apart from rubbering] were made for the 2nd gen. of these bins [elites that is]? I assume phase coating but were there others?

Physically, at least the 8 x, these very closely resemble the 2nd gen Elite's .

A bit OT, I always found the performance [resolution, contrast] better in the 2nd gen. Elite's, compared to the 3rd gen. My 1990 Elite's always wowed me, the 3rd gens not so much. Anyone have experience with both?
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Old Monday 21st November 2011, 05:20   #23
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Originally Posted by Renze de Vries View Post
Copy, and then only in the sense of taken as a model. Because Leitz was the first company to design a compact, internal focussing roof prism binocular (series) with great quality, all subsequent roof prism binoculars are more or less modelled on the Trinovids.

Renze
Did these use the Uppendahl Roof Prisms that the Leitz Binoculars used?

Bob
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Old Monday 21st November 2011, 08:59   #24
Renze de Vries
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These do look very much in body structure like the old Leitz Trinovids except for the locations of the focuser and the diopter. I wonder if they used the Uppendahl roof prisms like the Leitz did? Because of the location of the Diopter ring shown on the B&L's I don't think that the Leitz eyecups would fit on them. The Browning pictured doesn't appear to have that ring.Bob
Hi Bob,

Excuse me, I overlooked your earlier post with the same question. No, I don't think there's an Uppendahl in the B&L. Inspection with a flashlight shows it to be quite different to the Leitz' so it's probably the more common Schmidt-Pechan.
I see you had your doubts about using the Trinovid's eyecups on the B&L already and yes, you're right, they're not 100% interchangeable. However, this has nothing to do with the location of the diopter ring, which BTW is exactly alike on the B&L and the Browning.

Renze

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Old Monday 21st November 2011, 13:53   #25
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Copy, and then only in the sense of taken as a model. Because Leitz was the first company to design a compact, internal focussing roof prism binocular (series) with great quality, all subsequent roof prism binoculars are more or less modelled on the Trinovids.

Renze
Hi Renze,

I agree with your appraisal. With the next generation (after a break of producing binoculars for several years) of Trinovids, Leica was very influential again. The logical consequence of internal focussing was to seal the binoculars in order to get them really waterproof. The Trinovids BA/BN were that much of a success that most other competing companies copied even their configuration scheme: 8x32, 10x32, 7x42, 8x42, 10x42 and so on.

Steve
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