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Old Monday 3rd January 2011, 17:25   #1
dmdarch
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Jena 8x30M Binoculars

Not sure about these glasses. I can't seem to find much information on these. Usually Zeiss/Jena comes up not Jena by itself. They say Jena on the left side and 8x30 on the left with M over. Are they rare ? THANKS.
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Old Monday 3rd January 2011, 18:18   #2
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Not sure about these glasses. I can't seem to find much information on these. Usually Zeiss/Jena comes up not Jena by itself. They say Jena on the left side and 8x30 on the left with M over. Are they rare ? THANKS.

Those look almost exactly like my old 8x30's which I'm pretty sure are from about 1961. Mine had a slightly different logo. Maybe you have the older one's from WW1. Get the serial number, there are charts and a few people here who really know their stuff about this older glass but the are going to want the serial number or at least the first part of it.

That font sort of looks Russian, I wonder if those are from the factory in East Germany and were made post WW2.
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Old Monday 3rd January 2011, 19:19   #3
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Hi, Just from a quick look at the binocular, mainly the focus wheel, leatherette covering and eyecups I would hazzard a guess that this is in fact a Russian binocular engraved to make it look German.

The 'M' is normally found on German WWII glasses but the rest of the markings make no sense. I have, however, recently seen quite a few 'fake' WWII military German glasses based on 1970's to 1990's Russian binoculars.

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Old Monday 3rd January 2011, 19:28   #4
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I wonder if those are from the factory in East Germany and were made post WW2.
Hello Nessus,

Yes, indeed. These were made in East Germany, and not too long, ago. I do not recall the exact chronology but the Jena plant had to drop the Zeiss name and after 1990, the plant was taken over by Docter. The Q1 logo was commonly used in the 1980's, if I recall correctly. It stood for "first quality."

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Old Monday 3rd January 2011, 21:21   #5
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The only East German Zeiss which did not carry the Zeiss name for legal reasons were engraved 'Aus Jena'.........from Jena. These were for export to West Germany as, due to legal wranglings between the two factories, they were not allowed to be sold with the Zeiss name in West Germany. I have never seen anything from the East German factory with just 'Jena'.

I have just compared the third of the attached images with a number of Russian glasses in my collection and found the proportions to be a better match than to any of my Zeiss Jena glasses.
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Old Monday 3rd January 2011, 22:56   #6
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If these were CZJ, the serial number indicates 1955 manufacture.
Markings are strange but they look East German Zeiss to me especially the end cap and apparent good quality.
I will hazard a wild guess that these were made for export to some Western market possibly for military or paramilitary use (CF notwithstanding) and the East Germans being desperate for Western currency and having to follow international copyright laws to complete the sale agreed to have them marked in this fashion.

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Old Tuesday 4th January 2011, 01:57   #7
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Not sure about these glasses. I can't seem to find much information on these. Usually Zeiss/Jena comes up not Jena by itself. They say Jena on the left side and 8x30 on the left with M over. Are they rare ? THANKS.
I think what you have are Carl Zeiss Jena Deltrintem binoculars manufactured in 1968 at the Zeiss Jena plant in Eisfeld, East Germany. The binocular is marked "Jena" as an early consequence of the then pending trademark dispute with Carl Zeiss in West Germany for binoculars exported to Western Europe. The 1Q mark supposedly indicates a "First Quality Export Product". The export trade name was later changed for West Bloc markets to "Aus Jena". "M" usually indicated military application which would be the case if the bins had a rangefinding recticle, but the cash strapped DDR was notoriously lax in quality control matters.
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Old Tuesday 4th January 2011, 12:02   #8
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I think what you have are Carl Zeiss Jena Deltrintem binoculars manufactured in 1968 at the Zeiss Jena plant in Eisfeld, East Germany. The binocular is marked "Jena" as an early consequence of the then pending trademark dispute with Carl Zeiss in West Germany for binoculars exported to Western Europe. The 1Q mark supposedly indicates a "First Quality Export Product". The export trade name was later changed for West Bloc markets to "Aus Jena". "M" usually indicated military application which would be the case if the bins had a rangefinding recticle, but the cash strapped DDR was notoriously lax in quality control matters.
I agree. That's a Carl Zeiss Jena 8x30 that was exported to one of the countries where Zeiss Jena couldn't use the Carl Zeiss label after losing that trademark dispute. I seem to remember reading somewhere that they called those meant for export to (West) Germany "aus Jena" and those meant for export to other countries just "Jena", presumably because they didn't expect people there to know what "aus" means.

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Old Tuesday 4th January 2011, 14:43   #9
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There is one glitch in the idea that this glass was so marked because of trade mark issues.
The serial number, as LPT noted earlier, is for a 1955 manufacture. At that time, the trademark issues had not yet come to the fore and the East German Zeiss gear was labeled as such.
The M is suggestive of a Navy/Coastguard application( noting that there were similar glasses labeled MdI, for Ministry of the Interior, ie Border Patrol etc), the Q1 logo was introduced well after 1955 afaik, the Jena label is really a post reunification development.
All in all, this seems a pastiche of the various labels used over the years, which raises doubt about its authenticity.
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Old Tuesday 4th January 2011, 15:24   #10
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There is one glitch in the idea that this glass was so marked because of trade mark issues.
The serial number, as LPT noted earlier, is for a 1955 manufacture. At that time, the trademark issues had not yet come to the fore and the East German Zeiss gear was labeled as such.
The M is suggestive of a Navy/Coastguard application( noting that there were similar glasses labeled MdI, for Ministry of the Interior, ie Border Patrol etc), the Q1 logo was introduced well after 1955 afaik, the Jena label is really a post reunification development.
Court proceedings about the trade mark issue actually started pretty early. On the 27th February 1954 a court in Göttingen (Landgericht Göttingen) decreed that the VEB in Jena wasn't allowed to use the trademark Carl Zeiss anymore. In the following months there were similar decisions by courts in Utrecht, Cologne and Cairo. The ensuing legal battle with its many twists and turns lasted for years. There was for instance an attempt to market some Jena products under the name of Ernst Abbe. Details can be found in Armin Hermann's "Nur der Name war geblieben. Die abenteuerliche Geschichte der Firma Carl Zeiss", Stuttgart 1989.

I'm also not sure about the "M". I've seen quite a few 8x30's marked with this letter, and they were sold on the civilian market. I'm quite sure it didn't mean "Marine" because the 8x30 with centre focussing are anything but waterproof. It might be an idea to ask Albrecht Köhler about this designation, he still works for Docter Optik in Eisenach. The binoculars used by the East German army were usually 7x40's with thick rubber armouring, although there also was a version of the 8x30 with IF ("Deltrentis"). I've only seen a few 8x30's with centre focussing marked "MDI", which means they were probably used by the secret police.

Finally, the "Jena" label was not a post reunification development. There were a couple of shops, eg in Bremen and Hamburg, that sold the East German binoculars in the 1970's and 1980's. These binoculars (8x30, 7x50, 10x50) were invariably marked "aus Jena" because the East Germans weren't allowed to sell them under the Carl Zeiss brand.

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Old Tuesday 4th January 2011, 17:05   #11
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Hi Hermann,
Thanks for the extra insight, I'd no idea the legal wrangle went back that far!
Also your comment about the M and MdI marked glasses being primarily IF models sure makes sense, CF versions of MdI labeled 8x30s are new to me.
The main issue for me is the 1955 serial number, which is a long time before the "Q1" and "aus Jena" inscriptions were used afaik. Also the Q1 is on the left barrel and it says "Jena", not "aus Jena". That is novel to me also.
So I'm not convinced of the bona fides of this glass.
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Old Tuesday 4th January 2011, 20:59   #12
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Another possibillity is they they got new prism enclosure top covers at some point. Older bin with newer covers. We've seen that happen with Swift bins so they didn't quite match up to what was expected.

Nice looking bins though. In good shape.
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Old Thursday 2nd February 2012, 22:02   #13
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Hello All,

I just found in local fleamarket in Reykjavik a binocular marked exactly the same way as the one described above, the only difference is mine is M7X50 on the right, and same 1Q JENA on the left. The marking (position, font, size) looks identical to the one on the picture. Serial number is 2519529. I found it in leather bag which, as I checked at ebay Germany, looks identical to those of Carl Zeiss however does not carry any stamp/logo.

Could someone please help me find out the origin of the binocular with JENA and no Carl Zeiss mark? The above conversation took place more than a year ago, and possibly meanwhile you found any additional information to the one posted above?

Thank you very much,
Kind regards,
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Old Thursday 2nd February 2012, 23:17   #14
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Coincidentally during the last few days I've been in correspondence with a European collector who has a 10X50 center focus with these same markings. Its serial number indicates 1964 manufacture.

Last edited by LPT : Thursday 2nd February 2012 at 23:19.
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Old Thursday 2nd February 2012, 23:41   #15
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Hello!

Thank you for your input. Would it please be possible for you to ask this European collector for more input: mainly, is it Carl Zeiss and if so why is the logo not stated on the binocular. And is such item marked Jena Q1 7X50 M not valuable for a collection as Carl Zeiss logo is not on it?

Thank you again!
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Old Friday 3rd February 2012, 00:26   #16
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Hello!

Thank you for your input. Would it please be possible for you to ask this European collector for more input: mainly, is it Carl Zeiss and if so why is the logo not stated on the binocular. And is such item marked Jena Q1 7X50 M not valuable for a collection as Carl Zeiss logo is not on it?

Thank you again!
He knew nothing about them, asked my opinion and I forwarded this thread to him. This thread is as much information as I have been able to find. The question is if they are genuine Carl Zeiss Jena or fakes. Until now I had thought they were genuine although I have no explanation of what the M marking signifies. The serial number on yours indicates 1952 manufacture. I had thought these did not have the usual Carl Zeiss Jena marking because of the copyright war going on between that company and Carl Zeiss Oberkochen. But your 1952 dating seems very early for this to happen so now I've got my doubts again...
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Old Friday 3rd February 2012, 07:44   #17
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He knew nothing about them, asked my opinion and I forwarded this thread to him. This thread is as much information as I have been able to find. The question is if they are genuine Carl Zeiss Jena or fakes. Until now I had thought they were genuine although I have no explanation of what the M marking signifies. The serial number on yours indicates 1952 manufacture. I had thought these did not have the usual Carl Zeiss Jena marking because of the copyright war going on between that company and Carl Zeiss Oberkochen. But your 1952 dating seems very early for this to happen so now I've got my doubts again...
Thank you.
I am just thinking: do fakes come with leather stripes and leather bags, would one bother to fake not just the binocular but also the bag?
Could it be that the factory was producing some side line of the products, and supplying them elsewhere, under a military contract or (don't know if this could be possible) for a parallel side business? Here in Iceland we often get things coming from US or Germany or Denmark or Norway.

I am not a knowledgeable collector, just feel very excited about optics devices and accidentally buy some nice and occasionally valuable pieces in the fleamarket, and am wondering now whether I should keep this binocular or return it (could do that), I paid around $40 for the set binocular with the leather bag, all in good condition. If it is not clear what it is, would it make sense to keep it?
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Old Friday 3rd February 2012, 13:24   #18
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You're turning me into a devil's advocate here because I still suspect these are genuine Carl Zeiss Jena binoculars but here's the argument for them being fakes anyway. The case and straps should have nothing to do with determining the binocular's authenticity. Genuine Zeiss cases (worth at least the $40 you paid for the binocular) are widely available (check eBay) and somebody at some point who was not even the faker could have come into possession of the binocular and put it into a spare case. During the 1980's (?) there were a great many "fake" Zeiss Jena binocular produced. They looked a lot like the actual binocular and had not bad optics but they were more cheaply made and not as durable. Here is a link about them: http://holgermerlitz.de/jenoptem.html . I think I've read they may not actually have been fakes because Zeiss Jena may have contracted a Japanese manufacturer to make them and supplied the optics while the Japanese company made the rest, all this being done because Zeiss Jena could not meet production demands. However, even if your binocular is a fake, it doesn't look like one of those. Earlier in this thread somebody mentioned they could be eastern European or Russian fakes. I hadn't heard of them making this type of fake before but it is possible. They apparently have made a fair number of fake WWII binoculars. Perhaps the only way to determine their authenticity lacking any documentary evidence proving the existence of this variation is to compare their build and optical quality to an actual Zeiss Jena 7X50 Binoctar/ Binoctem made during the mid-1950's. If they're real they should be identical in all ways except for the markings. $40 is a good price especially if they came with a nice Zeiss leather case. How are they to look through? I would not take them back or sell them. Follow this thread for a while and see what other collectors have to say about them. If they are authentic which is very possible then they are worth much more than $40 if in decent condition. And even if they are a fake, they're an interesting one and believe it or not there are a lot of collectors who would like to have an example for about what you paid or slightly more.
P.S. Another possibility is that it is an actual Zeiss Jena that has had the markings changed on the prism plates to make it look like a rare binocular and increase its value. This is how WWII fakes are made - a commonly found WWII binocular is altered to make it look like a much rarer one.

Last edited by LPT : Friday 3rd February 2012 at 13:51. Reason: PS added
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Old Friday 3rd February 2012, 18:18   #19
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photos

Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge and thoughts.
The binoculars feel good to look through, though I am not experienced it was easy for me to tune
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Old Friday 3rd February 2012, 18:32   #20
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more photos

I tried to show it from all sides, and if any additional angle/view would be of help, please let me know and I will post more photos.
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Old Friday 3rd February 2012, 20:06   #21
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Looks like a 1980's type Zeiss Jena case (but 1950's I don't know) and the binocular at first glance looks like a Zeiss too. I've thought about this a little more and yet another possibility occurs! It's very strange that the serial numbers of the three binoculars with these markings indicate 1952, 1955 and 1964 manufacture. You'd think that if Zeiss Jena binoculars with such markings were made over such a long time-span there would be quite a few examples around and more people would know something about it. This suggests to me that as discussed earlier: 1) It is a fake or 2) it is a real Zeiss Jena with altered markings by a forger to increase its value or a new thought 3) it is a real Zeiss Jena which has been reconditioned and relabeled by that company for sale to an unknown market/buyer, and the "M" marking may be a clue as to what that market was.

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Old Friday 3rd February 2012, 21:24   #22
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You are right: if this kind of marking is not widely known by collectors, such binoculars could not be a mass production. Having 3 pieces with a period spanning over 12 years means there should be plenty of these.
If this were merely a fake product, would the forger not try to make his fake binocular look exactly like the original? I would imagine they would put Carl Zeiss logo and make sure it looks as identical to the original as possible, wouldn't they?
I looked through magnifying glass at the surface where the logos are, and did not see any trace of erased engraving: it would need to be erased quite deep I guess. However, I am not 100% sure, because the area on which the logos are is more matt than that closer to the edges of the metal plates. It could theoretically be that someone removed the original engravings, added paint, polished it and then engraved new logos. Not sure if this is possible - because the engraving looks perfect quality and must have been made by a machine, not by hand. And again, why to alter by removing Carl Zeiss logo the presence of which makes the binoculars more not less valuable. And I do not have other binoculars to compare - maybe the middles of plates with logos are always matt and the edges are shiny because they get overtime polished by the hands holding the piece.
Overall, it looks a good quality piece, not a cheap product. Can it be that the factory was for some reasons producing certain number of items a year for a country or an organisation that could not use the Carl Zeiss product. This is as I understand your recent suggestion, and I tend to think the same way.
Thank you very much for looking into this. Let us see and maybe more people would post pieces like this or provide inputs on possible origin.
Whatever it is, fake or genuine, the time spent on trying to identify it is so exciting!
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Old Friday 3rd February 2012, 21:49   #23
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Can it be that the factory was for some reasons producing certain number of items a year for a country or an organisation that could not use the Carl Zeiss product. This is as I understand your recent suggestion, and I tend to think the same way.
This is quite possible. If so, I think the intended market would have been civilian instead of military because all the examples are center focus and the military would want an individual focus binocular for its better durability and weatherproofing.
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