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Early Leitz Trinovid versions, variations, & arcana

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Old Wednesday 2nd May 2018, 21:49   #1
TonyQ
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Early Leitz Trinovid versions, variations, & arcana

On a gloomy rainy day, it's nice to sit inside and write my maiden message on BF. Here goes.

I have owned a Leitz Trinovid 8x32B (130m)(Wetzlar) since I bought them new in 1975. At various times since I have had or still have a 8x32B (130m)(Portugal), 8x32 (150m)(Wetzlar), a 10x40B (Portugal), etc., not to mention several Swarovskis, a Hensoldt Dialyt, and a couple Zeiss. So I'm an binocular excessive, perhaps!

I still love my original 8x32B Leitz binocs, and would like to understand a couple of details. It has been often said on this forum that going from the non-B to the B models, Leitz made "minor optical changes" that resulted in more eye relief, but reduced FOV. It is said without qualification that the Leitz (not Leica) Trinovids used the Uppendahl prism system. I wonder if this is true.

If you look into the objective end of these binocs, in the non-B models you see a very fine diagonal line, but not in the B models. Does this not suggest a fundamentally different prism system? (In my photo, the B-model (130m) is atop the non-B (150m) Trinovid.)

I have carried my original 8x32B binocs in my pack thousands of miles, even while owning supposedly "superior" instruments. The reason, of course, is the extreme small size and light weight. I love my Swarovski 8x32 EL, and 8.5x42 EL binocs, but when weight is at a premium, the Leitz are in my pack.

To me, phase coatings etc. are far less important factors in usability that size, weight, sharpness, contrast, minimum focusing range. Only considering binocs of the sort named here, size and weight are supremely important. Only in the most difficult seeing conditions (watching birds in very low contrast situations at twilight, for example) do I think my Swarovski 8.5x42ELs really shine. The Swaro 8x32 are totally lovely, but where I really notice their superiority is their minimum focus range (2m measured, vs 6m of my Leitz Wetzlar 8x32B)

If I understand it, the Trinovids originally came with hard rubber eyecups, then (as my 8x32 non-B) with short flexible rubber eyecups, and finally the B-models came with longer rubber eyecups. For me, this is all fairly academic, because now that I wear bifocal eyeglasses, no binoc is satisfactory while wearing the glasses. With single focal length eyeglasses, the Swaro retractable system is the best I've tried. Incidentally, I have seen mention here of 10, 14, and 17mm eyecups. How is this measured? Measuring the inside depth from the end of the cup to the horizontal rubber surface beside the lens, and on the outside from the end of the cup to where the rubber meets the metal ring, on my non-B , 5.4 and 9.43 mm; on my B model, 9.0 and 14 mm.

Finally, a really trivial question. It seems that the logo on the front of the old Trinovids is rectangular or round & black when from Wetzlar, but round & red when from Portugal. Does the red dot on the ring with serial number mean anything, since it is on binocs from both countries?

It's still raining.
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Old Wednesday 2nd May 2018, 23:11   #2
henry link
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Welcome to Birdforum!

I think we can be quite certain that Uppendahl prisms were used in both early and late Leitz Trinovids. Here's a link to an ad for an old Leitz brochure with an internal view of the early non-B 8x32 with a clearly recognizable Uppendahl prism.

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/VINTAGE-LEIT...0AAOSwgc1ayDlo

I've got a brochure from the late 1980's with a cutaway of the 7x42 showing the same Uppendaul prism. If it's accurate the cutaway of the 8x32 does show an air spaced objective lens which was certainly not used in all of the later models, if any. When you look at the front of your 8x32s can you tell if the reflections returning from the objective lenses are identical in both? An air spaced doublet should return four reflections from the four glass to air surfaces, a cemented doublet should return two from the glass to air surfaces along with one very small dim reflection from the cemented surfaces.


Henry

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Old Thursday 3rd May 2018, 02:21   #3
tenex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyQ View Post
If you look into the objective end of these binocs, in the non-B models you see a very fine diagonal line, but not in the B models. Does this not suggest a fundamentally different prism system?
...
To me, phase coatings etc. are far less important factors in usability that size, weight, sharpness, contrast, minimum focusing range.
Hi, and welcome. That diagonal line you see in your earlier bino indicates not a difference in prisms but a lack of phase coatings, though I don't recall the exact reason. There was a great thread here on this subject that also explained a second test for determining that, with polarized sunglasses and an LCD display.

And roof prisms without phase coatings do lose some sharpness and contrast, though apparently not enough to bother many people.

It's raining here too... and we really need it.
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Old Thursday 3rd May 2018, 03:09   #4
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I also love the LEITZ Trinovids....I have 5 of them...8x20c...6x24...8x32...7x35B...10x40....yea phase coating...waterproof would be nice....and would love it if Leitz/Leica came out with one like they promised but I'm not holding my breath....its not the same company of the 60s/70s...

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Old Thursday 3rd May 2018, 03:38   #5
dries1
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Gunut,

You need the 7X42B for the completion of your collection.

Andy W.
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Old Thursday 3rd May 2018, 07:18   #6
Troubador
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Welcome Tony. The shift from Leitz to Leica was only a matter of which brand name they put on the binos, it was the same company. My wife has a pair of Tinovid 8x40B with the round black Leitz logo but has retired them after decades of service in favour of the closer-focusing Ultravid HD 8x32.

The old Trinnies are the most elegant of binos and it was a disappointment to find that the recently promised updated versions have not been given modern close focus distances. This is OK if you specialise in birds but if you have a more general interest in nature observation it is not useful.

Lee
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Old Thursday 3rd May 2018, 09:05   #7
Gijs van Ginkel
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Leitz/Leica has used three different logos for the Trinovid series 1, 2 and 3:
-1- a black rectangle with inscriptions Leitz Wetzlar (1965-1971)
-2- a black disk with the same inscriptions (1971-1977) and
-3- after transferring production to Portugal a red disc with inscription Leitz (1977-1988)

Trinovid 1: 7x42 (FOV 170m/1000 m) and 8x40 (FOV 160m/1000m). Very few made, rather complicated construction so they could not yield any profit. Production stopped quickly, very few around

Trinovid 2: 1963, models 6x24, 8x32 and 10x40. In 1965 followed by the 7x35B and 7x42B. From 1965 foldable rubber eyecups were introduced.

Trinovid 3: the "bricks" with diffferent models .
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Old Thursday 3rd May 2018, 10:05   #8
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Here is the logo on a 1976 Trinovid 8x40B. The logo is the black-spot version although there is not much black remaining.

Lee
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Old Thursday 3rd May 2018, 12:58   #9
dries1
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Leitz

Here are two 7X42Bs, listed as having 140M FOV, both made in Germany.The rectangle shaped logo has the lower serial #.

Andy W.
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Old Thursday 3rd May 2018, 13:31   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dries1 View Post
Here are two 7X42Bs, listed as having 140M FOV, both made in Germany.The rectangle shaped logo has the lower serial #.

Andy W.
Beautiful.

Lee
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Old Thursday 3rd May 2018, 15:11   #11
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What is remarkable is that Leica can still repair these, also Company 7, and Suddarth Optical. The rubber cups can be obtained from Leica also. The build quality is excellent, and while focus travel is long compared to what is offered today, it is very precise and smooth. The engineering/build is top notch.

Andy W,
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Old Thursday 3rd May 2018, 15:13   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dries1 View Post
Here are two 7X42Bs, listed as having 140M FOV, both made in Germany.The rectangle shaped logo has the lower serial #.

Andy W.
They also came in a Green Armored Version: Leitz 7x42 Trinovid BA, (the A means armored) which was manufactured from 1981-1990. I have heard that the 1989 and 1990 Leitz Trinovids had Phase Coatings but I would like to see some verification for that.

https://www.allbinos.com/1653-Leitz_...fications.html

Bob

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Old Thursday 3rd May 2018, 16:29   #13
Gijs van Ginkel
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According to Leica sources, production of the Trinovid-2 series stopped in 1988, the leather armored 7x42B and 8x40B were discontinued in 1986, but they were availble in the rubber armored version until 1988. That makes it unlikely that any of these Trinovid-2's had phase coatings.
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Old Friday 4th May 2018, 00:04   #14
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Hi,

first of all, welcome to BF!

Regarding your two pairs of trinovid 8x32, I would say that in the lower example in your image an imperfect roof edge is visible.

This happens sometimes in lower quality roof prism pairs as a fine line, but I have never seen it so strongly and certainly not in a leitz pair. I would guess that the lower pair has been damaged in some way, maybe by an incompetent repair attempt.

The theory that the line is an effect of phase coating or the lack of can be dismissed in two ways - historically as Gijs did because both models went out of production before the advent of phase coatings in the late 80s and physically as the effect of a lack of phase coatings is not easily visible with plain eyes, except as certain lack of contrast in comparison to a porro or phase coated roof pair.

When one is looking through the objective end of some bins at a white LCD screen and holds a linear polarizer in front of the objective and slowly turns it, in a certain direction of the polarizer one can see a distinct dark and bright half circle in pairs with no phase coating.
This is due to a phase shift between the two light beams caused by total reflection on the roof edge. Phase coatings avoid the phase shift, as does changing the angle of incidence at the roof edge so total reflection is avoided and a mirroring must be used there. In both cases the distinctly different half circles will be less pronounced or not visible at all.

Joachim
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Old Friday 4th May 2018, 00:48   #15
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The Leitz 7x35B is of my all time favorite binos. That was my go-to bino from 1979 till the late 90s when they finally succumbed to rough handling over 14 ocean crossings in small boats and lots of hiking trips in the mountains. I replaced them with a Pentax 8x42 DCF in 96, finally going to a 8x32 Nikon SE and 8x42 Ultravid around 2010.

To this day I miss those elegant, compact 7x35B's. So easy to carry, so easy on the eyes. I will definitely buy the new one's when they come out. I can live without complete water immersion proofing and close focus, I'll keep my Ultravids for that, but for hiking and field work they will be perfect. I might sell my Nikon 8x32 and 10x42 SE's to help fund the purchase.
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Old Friday 4th May 2018, 04:37   #16
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both my 8x32 and 10x40 show the line when viewing through the objective lens...the ones that demonstrate this have done so as long I can remember......the others do not show the line...when normal viewing through them everything seems correct...objective line or not.....but if this is indeed a defect/alignment issue I should be able to send these binoculars to company 7 or such and they should be able to correct it...right..??

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Old Friday 4th May 2018, 06:22   #17
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Thanks to all for the various comments.

@tenex -- Since none of the Leitz Trinovids had phase coatings, why would only the early 150m non-B one show the diagonal line, but not the B-type 130m version? That doesn't seem right.

@henry link -- Your diagram and others I have seen do seem to show Uppendahl throughout the Leitz Trinovid line, but then the question remains, why the diagonal line? I have not been able to see the difference in reflections in the objective lenses of the non-B vs B models, but I need to try different lighting sources, I think. I have not found the thread tenex cited regarding the use of polarized glasses to see the difference.

Again, thanks. Anyone know the significance of the red dot on the ring with the serial number? Are garymh and jan van daalen still active on this forum?

UPDATE: I had not reloaded my screen for sometime so the above did not reflect several messages, especially by jring. Does anyone here have a non-B 150 m 8x32 that does NOT show that line? Is it not unlikely that both sides of the binoc would have the same exact fault? I note that gunut reports diagonal lines with his 8x32 and 10x40 binocs, and Ken Rockwell's photo at https://kenrockwell.com/leica/trinovid/10x40.htm shows the same identical lines on both sides. I don't believe this is a fault in all these instruments. If not, however, what makes the lines?

Thank you, jring, for describing the LED and polarizer test. I'll try to perform that in the next couple of days.

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Old Friday 4th May 2018, 07:38   #18
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Hi,

thinking about the matter again, I have to slightly correct myself - it was obviously a little late yesterday...

While I have seen an imperfect roof edge in cheap bins and not in the Leitz pairs I have seen so far, this was while looking through the eyepieces and not in from the objective end...

There remains the question, why the effect is not seen in the 8x32B pair though, which should also have Uppendahl prisms. The trinovids only got Schmidt-Pechan prisms with the Trinovid3 aka BA/BNs.
See the following link to a former auction of a cutaway demo pair - it shows the Uppendahl prisms along with the late red logo. Unfortunately the eyecups are rolled down so the type is not readable...

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item...cut-away-serno

Joachim

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Old Friday 4th May 2018, 12:21   #19
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Quote:
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@henry link -- Your diagram and others I have seen do seem to show Uppendahl throughout the Leitz Trinovid line, but then the question remains, why the diagonal line? I have not been able to see the difference in reflections in the objective lenses of the non-B vs B models, but I need to try different lighting sources, I think. I have not found the thread tenex cited regarding the use of polarized glasses to see the difference.
Only two explanations occur to me for the visible diagonal line in the early 8x32. One is that the early prisms were made to a lower specification than later ones. The other is that the objective lens design was changed so that viewing through the front either brings the roof edge into better focus and/or higher magnification than in the later ones. A change from Uppendahl to Schmidt-Pechan would have required a radical re-working of the binocular body, which was shaped from the start to accommodate an Uppendahl. Besides, from all the cutaway images of early and late Trinovids we know to a high degree of confidence that just didn't happen.

The best light source to use for analyzing the reflections from the objective lenses is a single bare light bulb behind you. Change the tilt of the binoculars until you see all the reflections of the bulb returning from the lens surfaces, but be careful not to include prism reflections.

I agree with Joachim, the visibility of the line has nothing to do with phase correction.

Henry

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Old Friday 4th May 2018, 13:23   #20
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Quote:
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Anyone know the significance of the red dot on the ring with the serial number?
My understanding is that the red dot indicates which ocular is affected by the diopter control on the bottom end of the hinge.

John
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Old Friday 4th May 2018, 14:05   #21
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Just a side note, both of the 7X42s I posted earlier have the lines also looking through the objectives, on the earlier model the lines are not as pronounced as the later model.

Andy W.
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Old Friday 4th May 2018, 15:16   #22
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Hi,

I agree with Henry that a change of the objective design would indeed explain why the roof edge is in focus when looking in from the objective end in case of the older 8x32 and not with the 8x32B.

It would also make sense to do so since for the B (for Brille aka compatible with glasses) version they had to redesign the EPs and maybe used the opportunity to use a common EP for all sizes which obviously needs a changed objective.

Anybody knows about xray images or detailed drawings of old Trinis?

Joachim
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Old Friday 4th May 2018, 16:11   #23
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From Gijs post 7.
The 10x40 Trinovid here in poor condition has a red circle, so 1977 to 1988.
122m/1000m.

I can see a very faint line centrally looking at a lamp from the objective side.
I'll try further, but can't see a line from the eyepiece end. At least not yet.
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Old Friday 4th May 2018, 17:34   #24
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@henry link #19

Attached see a photo with a small light source reflected in the objectives of a B-type 130m version on the bottom, and a non-B 150m version above. In each case there is a reflection near the bottom, probably coming from the prism, and two reflections, close together, near the top. I believe these are what you were talking about, and I see no significant difference between the two instruments. Do you?

(Sorry for the mediocre quality of the photos I have uploaded, but it is really tricky to catch the reflections or the diagonal line without a lot of special supports, lighting, and time.)
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Old Friday 4th May 2018, 17:56   #25
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@jring #14

I just did the test, looking through the objective end through polarizing sunglasses, with the ocular pointed at a blank white LCD computer screen.

In both the non-B and the B-type, at a certain position of the polarizer the bottom half of the glass goes dark, with a very sharp line between dark and light. The orientation of the diagonal line dividing light an dark is in the same relative position in both types of binoc, and that dividing line in the non-B is exactly where it appears without the polarizer. The only difference apparent between non-B and B-type is that in the former the line is always visible, but in the latter only when viewing with a polarizer.

Deduce from this as you can!

PS-just to muddy the waters I did the same test with a Swarovski 8x32EL. Here the entire "window" turns dark when the polarizer is in a certain position, but not quite black, rather a dark blue-purple. Of course the Swaro has coatings unknown to the Leitz engineers of the 50s and 60s.
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