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Levenhuk Heritage Base or Komz BPC 5 8x30

Porro Prism Binoculars made in Russia by Kazan Optical
Kazan Optical Mechanical Factory / Kazanskii Optiko-Mekhanicheskii Zavod

Item details

A non-technical if long-review.

These were sent in error by an eBay dealer in the Russian Federation.
He made his mistake good and invited me to keep these as he didn't want to pay to get them back. (What was ordered was a pair of Russian 10x40 which are actually very good if rough. (Nephew has them for looking out to sea from his new house!)

Origin: I don't believe there's any reason to believe that these are anything but Russian.
I've asked a few Russian friends none of whom are experts but all believe these to be an original Russian item. Could some parts be made in China - absolutely, but some parts of other much more famous and expensive binoculars are as well.

To Business!


Thick layer of textured paint applied on the beach topped with a dose of glossy yacht varnish thrown in. Strangely this coating seems rather evenly applied as if the painting person has been painting tractors all his life and and can now do it in his sleep. Oil or thin grease everywhere.

Diopter markings are fuzzy being painted on top of this "textured" finish unattractive and unprofessional looking but as far as I can tell the scale is fairly accurate.

Levenhuk markings are on the prism covers these are cleanly marked but the edges a little soft.

The serial number, IPD scale, and focus wheel markings are nice, clean and sharp.

The focusing wheel, focusing shaft, and shaft buttons(?) are clean nicely finished and clean edged, as are the strap lugs and screw-heads.

The rubber eyecups are pants. The knurling around the eyepiece isn't knurling its moulded as part of the upper eyecup - horrible.

The Leatherette case looks nice but sucks, the carrying strap is OK and I've lost the rain-guard.

The cardboard box is genuine cardboard, and there's leaflets I'll read later....

The pivots are good but maybe a hint more resistance would be good.
The diopter setting is really much too loose and moves when you put the binocular to your eyes.
Focusing has no resistance and is gritty. Partly as there is rubbing between the ocular unit sliding over the guides partly as the worm gear and thread is poorly machined. My 79 soviet unit slides smoothly over bronze rings. This unit seems to slide badly over rough paint.

Optically: Under ideal lighting conditions (the sun behind you) a really good, bright, sharp, image is seen, with a
good level of contrast. The ability to resolve detail is really good in the middle 50% of the image. Sharpness falls off, but its OK up to approximately 80% after which its unsharp and then furry. Theres a slight colour-cast a little green/yellow but hugely improved over the old soviet glass. For further improvement take the eyecups off .

Internally the binoculars were very clean and noticeably shiney.

BUT !!!!! if the sun of almost any intensity could be loosely described as in your field of view the veiling glare, ordinary glare, halo and ghosting is extraordinary. To repeat my self: For a huge improvement take the eyecups off (no I can't work it out either). Although some of the glare and ghosting remains.

For me the KOMZ porro shape and style has always been comfortable and natural. The optical improvements in colour and clarity are very welcome.
But its all for nought. The poor internal finishing, the lack of reflection control, the shiny metal prism clamps the reflective metal ocular guide tubes all combine to ruin the performance in all but the most perfect lighting. The gritty focusing and low resistance dioptre setting are constant irritants.

Built down to a low price, rather than to a minimum standard.

Eye relief quoted as 12mm, really this is a mechanical measurement from the edge of the rubber eyecup to the centre of the ocular lens, I believe an optical eye-relief measurement would be closer to 10mm.

Even as budget knockaround bins they can't really be recommended.
A pity as IMO with more attention to the internal finishing to the housing and the mechanical operation these could easily rival Nikons E2.

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