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Asahi Pentax Marine Binoculars (1 Viewer)

WJC

Well-known member
Down here the brand Swift is very, very well known and the demands for used Audubon 8.5x44s are still great.

Jan

Oh, Jan, we still see them here. But, for my money they've just become another "me, too" optical brand. Before the sale, they seemed to have their own identity.

The 8.5x44 Audubon was my birding glass before I got my SE. I still have the Audubon ... and will until the end of time. :cat:
 

WJC

Well-known member
Elmer:

All 3 of these are 8.5x44 Audubons ... with the SAME model number. I'm sure Jan means the one in the middle.

Bill
 

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maico

Well-known member
I used to have a mint Pentax 7x50 BIF since sold on Ebay.

Pros: Well made and sharp

Cons: slightly narrower FOV than other similar designs, blue single coated elements, distinct green cast (was this deliberate to cut through marine haze or night use ?)

The more expensive and still in production (around £450 GBP in Japan) Nikon 7x50 IF SP, shown in section bellow, is a way better performer with field flattener doublet making the edges as sharp as the centre and modern coatings. Still no ED (extra low desperation glass) so there is some CA off axis)
 

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WJC

Well-known member
I used to have a mint Pentax 7x50 BIF since sold on Ebay.

Pros: Well made and sharp

Cons: slightly narrower FOV than other similar designs, blue single coated elements, distinct green cast (was this deliberate to cut through marine haze or night use ?)

The more expensive and still in production (around £450 GBP in Japan) Nikon 7x50 IF SP, shown in section bellow, is a way better performer with field flattener doublet making the edges as sharp as the centre and modern coatings. Still no ED (extra low desperation glass) so there is some CA off axis)


A Prostar without the stripe on the objective beauty ring or cost?

Bill
 

Kowaist

Active member
I used to have a mint Pentax 7x50 BIF since sold on Ebay.

Pros: Well made and sharp

Cons: slightly narrower FOV than other similar designs, blue single coated elements, distinct green cast (was this deliberate to cut through marine haze or night use ?)

The more expensive and still in production (around £450 GBP in Japan) Nikon 7x50 IF SP, shown in section bellow, is a way better performer with field flattener doublet making the edges as sharp as the centre and modern coatings. Still no ED (extra low desperation glass) so there is some CA off axis)

certainly, the 500 Euro+ modern Nikon is a better performer, but the old Pentax ist only 140 Euro... as a additional glass to a "perfect" modern 8x33 roof ED good enough.

Mine (slightly older, nr 76......) has definitely no green cast, it is perfectly neutral in the colors, as well as the Kowa Prominar...

How much did you get for the Pentax?
 
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maico

Well-known member
A Prostar without the stripe on the objective beauty ring or cost?

Bill

With the red ring. The one without is the cheaper Tropical model with single coating and no field flatteners. Albinos site have tests of both models. The SP is significantly better.

https://www.allbinos.com/291-binoculars_review-Nikon_7x50IF_SP_WP.html

https://www.allbinos.com/256-binoculars_review-Nikon_7x50IF_HP_WP_Tropical.html

Nikon don't call it the Prostar anymore. That seems to be something Nikon (US) made up as well as a fancy price.

Actually I paid less than that buying on Amazon Prime UK. If something doesn't sell in over a year the automated algorithm they use starts reducing the price by around 4% every few days. The same applies to amazon Warehouse returns with overstock situations.
They had 2 in stock and I held my nerve until it reached £303 GBP (actually £252 as I'm a registered business and get the VAT back.)
Once a purchase is made the price shots straight back up to the original and the process starts again. 7x50 binoculars are very slow sellers, you can never get a mad deal like this on faster moving items like Zeiss or Leica !
 

maico

Well-known member
certainly, the 500 Euro+ modern Nikon is a better performer, but the old Pentax ist only 140 Euro... as a additional glass to a "perfect" modern 8x33 roof ED good enough.

Mine (slightly older, nr 76......) has definitely no green cast, it is perfectly neutral in the colors, as well as the Kowa Prominar...

How much did you get for the Pentax?

Sold for £140 GBP, about what I paid for it, and probably to cheap as it was in perfect condition ! From my photos can you estimate it's age and maker code?

I got it to compare with a brand new Nikon 7x50 SP. The Nikon has a slightly yellow cast compared to my 2015 Leica. Both are short of modern Swarovski, Leica and top tier Nikons with their super multi-coatings etc. in terms of colour neutrality.

If you are interested in such things the cameraman and member here Tobias has some interesting articles and reviews about image aesthetics

http://www.greatestbinoculars.com/
 

Kowaist

Active member
Sold for £140 GBP, about what I paid for it, and probably to cheap as it was in perfect condition ! From my photos can you estimate it's age and maker code?

I got it to compare with a brand new Nikon 7x50 SP. The Nikon has a slightly yellow cast compared to my 2015 Leica. Both are short of modern Swarovski, Leica and top tier Nikons with their super multi-coatings etc. in terms of colour neutrality.

If you are interested in such things the cameraman and member here Tobias has some interesting articles and reviews about image aesthetics

http://www.greatestbinoculars.com/

the maker is for sure jb2 katsuma, can only be seen inside besides the prism fixing...
Sure yours was really mint++, but i am happy with my slightly used one but color neutral...

Age? Younger than mine, maybe end of the 1970s?
 

WJC

Well-known member
With the red ring. The one without is the cheaper Tropical model with single coating and no field flatteners. Albinos site have tests of both models. The SP is significantly better.

https://www.allbinos.com/291-binoculars_review-Nikon_7x50IF_SP_WP.html

https://www.allbinos.com/256-binoculars_review-Nikon_7x50IF_HP_WP_Tropical.html

Nikon don't call it the Prostar anymore. That seems to be something Nikon (US) made up as well as a fancy price.

Actually I paid less than that buying on Amazon Prime UK. If something doesn't sell in over a year the automated algorithm they use starts reducing the price by around 4% every few days. The same applies to amazon Warehouse returns with overstock situations.
They had 2 in stock and I held my nerve until it reached £303 GBP (actually £252 as I'm a registered business and get the VAT back.)
Once a purchase is made the price shots straight back up to the original and the process starts again. 7x50 binoculars are very slow sellers, you can never get a mad deal like this on faster moving items like Zeiss or Leica !

I guess they figured out they should concentrate on the marine market instead of amateur astronomy. Of all the companies I have every worked with—and that’s many—Nikon has consistently been the worst about coming up with a name and sticking to it.

Bill
 

maico

Well-known member
the maker is for sure jb2 katsuma, can only be seen inside besides the prism fixing...
Sure yours was really mint++, but i am happy with my slightly used one but color neutral...

Age? Younger than mine, maybe end of the 1970s?

Interesting there is a difference. Maybe heat had got to it as the original owner was a recreational sailor from Hong Kong. You couldn't really miss it on mine, a brown sparrow looked like a greenfinch :eek!:
 

clschmalz

Well-known member
Follow up to my 2008 posting. A few years after getting the 7x35 Marine glasses i was again in San Francisco and revisited the shop where I'd purchased them. They still had the NOS 6x30 binoculars so I bought them. On examination they proved to be something other than the marine series. They were not labeled "Marine" like the 7x35’s but they did have the 5 screw moisture resistant objective covers originally developed at Universal Camera during WWII. They also have the rangefinder reticle found in military glasses. What they appear to be is a Pentax badged version of M13 binoculars. Anybody have anything on the origins of these.
 

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maico

Well-known member
Actually, come to think of it, the Pentax 7x50 shown in my photos did have an unobtrusive rangefinder reticle although there is no indication of that on the model inscription. I'm beginning to think that the green/yellow cast and reticle meant it was a specialized military binocular for low light and night use.

Some more pics
 

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maico

Well-known member
I've recently had some questions regarding Asahi Pentax BIF Marine Binoculars. As a partial answer I'm posting the attached advertising sheet that accompanied the NOS pair I bought last year.

As I understand it the BIF models are descended from Asahi's Japanese military models. Mechanically they appear to be built like the proverbial tank. Optically they are as good as or better than Swaroviski or Nikon glasses I own.

Trust this information will be of interest to at least some on the forum.

Charlie

That spec. sheet appears to be dated march 1973.
 

Kowaist

Active member
Hi Charlie,

what Serial Number hat you NOS BIF that came with the bino?
I have seen one photo of a new one with 80.... serial, was that yours?
 

MandoBear

Well-known member
Such a small world...

I used to have a mint Pentax 7x50 BIF since sold on Ebay.

Pros: Well made and sharp

Cons: slightly narrower FOV than other similar designs, blue single coated elements, distinct green cast (was this deliberate to cut through marine haze or night use ?)

The more expensive and still in production (around £450 GBP in Japan) Nikon 7x50 IF SP, shown in section bellow, is a way better performer with field flattener doublet making the edges as sharp as the centre and modern coatings. Still no ED (extra low desperation glass) so there is some CA off axis)

Well, this is just too funny for words - I bought the exact same pair off ebay just about 3 or 4 weeks ago - as in the same serial number! Still in beautiful condition - almost mint. I really like them - I do notice a slight green tint, but I don't find it as severe as you suggest. These are super-sharp on axis, but with a bit of fall-off at the edges. In terms of balance and handling, I prefer them to my Fujinon FMT-SX 7x50, though the Fujis have a mure usable image - specially for a glasses wearer like me.

I was super happy to get these (I paid £109 for them) as almost exactly a year previously (Feb/March 2017) a similar pair were up on ebay and I missed out on them due to a glitch on my computer - I did curse! Thinking about it now, I'm wondering if these were the exact same pair - maico, when did you sell yours? And if they are the same pair, by waiting a year, I saved myself a little bit of money! ;)

All I can say is, this pair won't be reappearing on ebay anytime soon - I really like them (did I say that already) and they already have a proud place in my BIF binocular arsenal.

Just goes to show what a small world the world of binoculars can be...
 

WJC

Well-known member
Actually, come to think of it, the Pentax 7x50 shown in my photos did have an unobtrusive rangefinder reticle although there is no indication of that on the model inscription. I'm beginning to think that the green/yellow cast and reticle meant it was a specialized military binocular for low light and night use.

Some more pics

I think one will find that bino as the Swift Storm King (defunct), the Celectron Waterproof (defunct), Nikon Sports Marine, the Tamaya BIFR, and as you point out, the Asahi Pentax and others. I THINK the OEM in Katsuma Kogaku (JB2). Just a thought.

I sold the product mainly as the Storm King. However, when the price got close to that of the Fujinon MTR-SX, Swift lost that market share. At that point, their Seahawk became their main marine instrument, especially when they introduced the larger oculars (attached). :cat:

Bill
 

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