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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Chance find.. Dialyt 7x42B (1 Viewer)

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Funny coincidence this morning. Since thinning out about 40% of my glass two years ago I have not missed any of it much, yet...

I had started thinking just the other day how it might have been good still to have the 2 Zeiss A-K glasses to hand that were in among the cull: the 8x42 HT and the 7x42 BG/AT*P*. Not that I let it niggle too much as I still have the 7x42 T*FL, another A-K glass that is fantastic and in a way bridging the generations of the other two.

Back to this morning. For the first time in ages I looked through some secondhand listings on the net and within moments up came a 7x42 Dialyt — same spec as my old one that I mentioned above: i.e. phase corrected coatings, late model. Looked in good condition, well described by a reputable seller already known to me. Serial number visible... and looking somehow familiar. You can guess the rest. A quick call to Gary at East Coast Binocular Repairs, as he had serviced mine pre-pandemic, and yes, it was the very same item.

A quick call next to the dealer confirmed all as being in good working order, still clean glass, etc. So now just to hope I still like it second time round when it arrives tomorrow or next day. I think I will; it's a classic glass. If not it can be returned, but looking back I actually enjoyed that one a lot; it got more use out and about than some of the newer stuff. And I thought its colour rendition was up there with the best. Also, come to think of it its balance in the hand was every bit as good as those long SFs I once briefly tried out with their special Ergobalance Concept. One thing that will be interesting to check is if the reds, pinks and oranges suffer wash-out at all in the way they sometimes do with the FL (which is otherwise a top favourite). And I know that people see colour differently so if you disagree with the comments just above about washed out warmer colours I'm not pressing the point.

If anyone is interested in my findings on second acquaintance I'll keep you updated. My advance guess is that I'll still love the open easy steady view but might find resolution a touch behind 21st century designs.

Tom
 
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My advance guess is that I'll still love the open easy steady view but might find resolution a touch behind 21st century designs.

That‘s probably a fair guess - I like mine quite a bit, which I got some years ago in almost mint condition. Same wide field of view as the famous 7x42 FL, wider than the same size UV HD. The latter two win in terms of contrast and sharpness, though.
 

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I remember our correspondence about 7x42s, Canip... interestingly I don't miss the EDG now at all but I might just, had it been the 8x version. Annoyingly my eyes on some days don't cooperate with the Leica 7x UVHD Plus but on days when they do I appreciate the beautiful easy view and colours. They (my eyes) seem to fall in line most quickly with Zeiss AK models — and modern Swaro ELs and SLCs in 8 and 8.5 magnifications.
 
Funny coincidence this morning. Since thinning out about 40% of my glass two years ago I have not missed any of it much, yet...

I had started thinking just the other day how it might have been good still to have the 2 Zeiss A-K glasses to hand that were in among the cull: the 8x42 HT and the 7x42 BG/AT*P*. Not that I let it niggle too much as I still have the 7x42 T*FL, another A-K glass that is fantastic and in a way bridging the generations of the other two.

Back to this morning. For the first time in ages I looked through some secondhand listings on the net and within moments up came a 7x42 Dialyt — same spec as my old one that I mentioned above: i.e. phase corrected coatings, late model. Looked in good condition, well described by a reputable seller already known to me. Serial number visible... and looking somehow familiar. You can guess the rest. A quick call to Gary at East Coast Binocular Repairs, as he had serviced mine pre-pandemic, and yes, it was the very same item.

A quick call next to the dealer confirmed all as being in good working order, still clean glass, etc. So now just to hope I still like it second time round when it arrives tomorrow or next day. I think I will; it's a classic glass. If not it can be returned, but looking back I actually enjoyed that one a lot; it got more use out and about than some of the newer stuff. And I thought its colour rendition was up there with the best. Also, come to think of it its balance in the hand was every bit as good as those long SFs I once briefly tried out with their special Ergobalance Concept. One thing that will be interesting to check is if the reds, pinks and oranges suffer wash-out at all in the way they sometimes do with the FL (which is otherwise a top favourite). And I know that people see colour differently so if you disagree with the comments just above about washed out warmer colours I'm not pressing the point.

If anyone is interested in my findings on second acquaintance I'll keep you updated. My advance guess is that I'll still love the open easy steady view but might find resolution a touch behind 21st century designs.

Tom
Tom,

You may be from England but you must have the luck of the Irish to find your old Zeiss 7x42 Dialyt! What a reunion that is going to be! I'm looking forward to reading your update and comparison of the old classic with the newer FL and HT.

The 7x42 Dialyt BG/AT*P* is a bin I've always been curious about since I read Stephen Ingraham's review on Better View Desired. When Zeiss followed it with the Zeiss Victory 8/10x40 in 2000, Ingraham, who was not working for Zeiss then, gave an honest assessment of Zeiss's first Victory, which he thought it did not live up to the Dialyt, implying that Zeiss needed to go back to the drawing board, which it did with the FL line.

I think that his negative review of the 8x40 Victory was probably why Zeiss hired him to do field trips ("keep your friends close, your enemies closer"). :)

Brock
 
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The 7x42B Dialyt arrived first thing this morning, stoutly packaged. it looked newer than I remembered it from two years ago when I sold it, already a long used item, originally bought by me in 2018 on eBay from the United States. Of course even this unit, a lateish model without 'West' any longer included in the 'Made in Germany' stamp on the viewing end of the focus axle, is now dated at materially over twenty years old and the first time round that I bought it there were honourable signs of use but not abuse, nor too much wear and tear. The glass today was still unmarked but carefully cleaned up compared with when I last had it and the cosmetics looking much better and more pristine than anyone could really hope for in a veteran glass.

So I was quite excited to try it out there and then. I did (and will report soon, when some other duties are seen to — what a tease). Did the quality of the view live up to the promise of the cosmetics? How does it compare with the successor generation, already itself nudged aside by thicker barrels and many a Konzept?

Tom
 
I had one too....sold it.... now have the retro Leica which I enjoy. But the Dialyt is nice ...made in West Germany? ... jim
Yes, West Germany or by then I'd say western Germany, Jim, as by then the DDR was incorporated into the BRD , so they stopped writing West. At least I have always assumed production didn't move east. Haven't tried the retro Leica but it is a format I would like. I have the 7x42 U+ so am not really tempted.

Tom
 
Hello Tom,

I now use an 8x32 most of the time, but I have not parted with 7x42 Dialyt Classic, purchased about twenty years ago. It is just a sweet glass.

Stay safe,
Arthur
8x32 is a very handy format, Arthur. Glad you still have your ClassiC. I like the hold and the balance as well as the view.

All the best,

Tom
 
Yes, West Germany or by then I'd say western Germany, Jim, as by then the DDR was incorporated into the BRD , so they stopped writing West. At least I have always assumed production didn't move east. Haven't tried the retro Leica but it is a format I would like. I have the 7x42 U+ so am not really tempted.

Tom
My version had a Made in West German cap… not sure of the year of incorporation of the logo Change
 
It's now just over twenty-four hours since the 7x42 Dialyt BG/AT*P* was handed to me by my local posties — they go round in their red van in a cheerful, very helpful man and woman team; very sweet, so that got me off to a good start even before I opened the box.

Anyway, here are my thoughts after two or three hours of neighbourhood testing: yesterday in bright and hazy-bright sunlight with the sun behind and to my left, then a bit later with the sun low and in front to the left and not visible by me through a window nor through the binoculars. Also later on after dark I couldn't resist a bit of casual indoor testing aiming at a table-light fitted with a four slanting but straight-sided lampshade. This shade is semi-translucent in a warm tan colour and glows orangey from the bulb inside. On the sides of the shade are maps of London, printed in black and taken from hand-drawn work of centuries gone by. These are a great test for me of resolution, contrast and glare. The viewing is not easy, as one of the features of the Dialyt is a relatively long close focus distance of around 11 feet. Even with only a slight dioptre correction I can't focus it at much less than 20 feet — someone please tell me if there is an obvious mistake I am making!

Additionally — and I mention all this for relevant reasons — the top of the shade is open in a square shape, which gives rise to glare possibilities, and so as well as viewing mainly through the Dialyt I did find time to try a few other glasses to compare it against. Mainly though it can be a challenge to read small handwriting against the light at the end of the day, after already putting in a good few hours of glassing.

If it isn't obvious already, this wasn't and won't be a scientific test and also my observations are skewed no doubt not only by ageing eyesight but also by subjective conscious or unconscious biases.

Here goes... On first taking the 7x42 out of the box, I was struck by features I had always liked but had not always remembered clearly in the intervening time since I last held the bins: remember that this turned out to be the very same unit I had sold in 2020 or thereabouts. Foremost I noticed again how long and thin the barrels were compared with modern roofs. Second, and for me a massive plus point, the balance in hand was the best of any 42s I have held and arguably even better or at least as good as the EL 8x32 Field Pro, another open bridge design which I picked up later in the day to compare on this. Leading on from that, once I started to view through the glass the hold was never tiring, always steady. That lack of getting tired is important to me as shakes can set in quite early and are something that make most 10x instruments a no-no for me, and similarly 50/56's as I can't hold them still. The EL / Dialyt comparison made me think that possibly (I have heard this somewhere — Lee, I think) Swarovski used the Dialyt design as inspiration for their open bridge EL models. Unlike Roger Vine I have always liked the appearance of the Dialyt, probably as its form aids its function so well. I like the 8.5x42 EL open bridge binoculars as well but their forward-tipping balance is a point against it.

Along with the balance and hold I suppose eyecups and focuser and IPD should feature as part of the handling experience. I don't wear specs for binocular use though I do for almost everything else: driving, reading, and usually when out walking, or just being indoors. So the long extended hard rubber eyecups are perfect for me; no need to fold them down and they make for relaxed viewing. IPD tolerance again fits well for me and so the instrument really just stands back like a discreet servant and lets me enjoy the viewing in comfort. This became more apparent when I started looking through my two other 7x42s, both legends in their time and often mentioned on this forum: the Victory FL and the Ultravid HD Plus. Both comfortable and nicely balanced but for me in second and third, or equal second place for their ease of hold. They don't have the same feeling of weightlessness. I appreciate that this weightlessness is often taken as a negative attribute; hence many birders avoid compacts and even 32mm binoculars. Compared with a modern roof such as the FL or even more a Nikon the Dialyt's focuser needs a touch more push or pull but in the case of this unit the focuser has been greased, if not during its 'absence', then at least within the last four years as Gary Hawkins serviced the unit two or three years after I first bought it. The main thing is that it turns evenly, resistance does not vary in one direction i.e. no 'stiction', and also resistance does not alter with a change of focus direction. In use yesterday I did not notice any focus irritations as the focuser felt nicely greased. Apparently they generally do dry out eventually and need regreasing as I could tell at the first time of purchasing — hence the service mentioned above.

Optics. Some optics work for me right from lifting the bins to my eyes; others need a bit of settling in time; and either way that can change from day to day depending on how much close viewing work I've done in reading, using the computer, and so on. The Dialyt worked for me immediately. It just seemed such an easy view. Only when making a direct comparison with the FL could I tell it probably lagged a tiny bit behind, but to my eyes (still good but not as good as they were) the difference was very hard to pin down, perhaps just as in those discussions about perceived or not perceived differences between UVHD (white print logo) Leicas and the later Plus (red print logo) Leicas. Considering that the Dialyt presumably does not have FL/HD glass even in the latest T*P(*) version this is very impressive. ADDENDUM: just after completing this write-up I tried the BGAT again alongside the FL and the UVHD Plus 7x42s and while I stick by my very positive impressions of the earlier glass I can see that the newer instruments are ahead, though this is only apparent to me in direct comparison.

Chromatic aberration. I'm going to duck this one but since Roger Vine says in his review that external focusing binoculars are less affected by CA I'm happy to say I didn't notice any, recently or in the past with this binocular. In general I tend only to notice it in any instrument when panning, which doesn't happen often in my usage, or when looking at a print of a photograph. Similarly I am not a connoisseur of rolling ball (Globuseffekt).

Easy view. I'd have to say that so far I have found the view even easier (though I wouldn't say better) than with the Leica UVHD Plus, which is famous for its easy view, at least in the 7x42 model. This could be for various reasons: one, same as the FL it has a wider view than the UVHD series; two, I'm probably a bit carried away by the joy of suddenly finding myself back with the one glass I really wished I hadn't ever parted with; and three, though I never found the Leica a glare monster (after all, most binoculars will get glare in some circumstances), yesterday's testing later in the afternoon as the sun came round from behind the shoulder to front-side set off a little bit of obstructive and resolution-dampening glare in the Leica that didn't show in the Dialyt. This is one area though where I used to think the EDG 7x42 was a clear winner. I say 'used to' as it had minor flaws in other respects and I was happy to part with it before it needed any service attention.

Indoor findings, using the lampshade mentioned above. Standing back a good 18-20 feet in order to keep on the right side of the Dialyt's minimum focusing distance, it was fairly easy to focus the glass on the black impression of rivers on the lampshade's straight-but-slanting-sided map. Some of the words and place names would have been hard to read even at that distance as they are reproduced with varying degrees of contrast and legibility on the map but as I already know what they say, even allowing for flexible old English local spelling, I could discern them at least satisfactorily and by taking the chance also to focus on other objects in the room such as curtains, book bindings, cushions, and various textiles I could clearly make out textures and colours in sharp definition. Of course these binoculars are all designed with hunting, birding and general outdoor use in mind, so these findings are in some ways irrelevant. Just to say that the modern 7x42s FL and UVHD Plus definitely showed they had the edge in this situation, though glare was still a small problem and the Dialyt's behaviour was perfectly acceptable. Contrast seemed to be stronger in the FL in particular; I couldn't decide when it came to the Leica though in indoor use as well as outdoors I particularly like the Leica's rounded and vivid colour representation.

At this point everything is starting to whirl round in my head so I'll bring this to a close. In a nutshell this 7x42 Dialyt BG/AT*P* is a fine instrument, in very good cosmetic and optical condition for its age (mid to late 1990s) and I'd say a definite keeper for its balance and ease of handling, its sturdy construction and focuser, rugged good condition rubber armouring, easy bright 7x42 optics with Abbe-König prisms, and simple dioptre setting by means of a rotating sleeve just below the right-side eyepiece. There is nothing flimsy: no squishy imprecise eyecups HT-style, the dioptre sleeve is solid and smooth turning, the armouring is robust and strongly fitted.

The rainguard is a masterpiece: a one-piece hard rubber inverted tray that just lands easily on top of the eyecups when allowed to drop down along the slotted through straps on left and right. No clicking or squeezing on or off.

In summary I'd say that for me the combination of good points outweighs the few areas where the Dialyt design has to concede to modernity. Dust can get in as it's not a sealed unit; in fact some (though not much at all) has got in, and — in theory but I hear not so often in practice — water and damp can make ingress and therefore there is a risk of mould if attention isn't given to careful storage and atmospheric conditions when it's not in use. But in actual use right into dusk I can't believe anybody really needs much more for enjoyable birding and successful ID'ing. Am I going to start selling the more modern bins? On the whole, no. I might let go one or two, such as a 10x42 that I can't hold too steady, but otherwise this has been a very enjoyable reunion and re-addition alongside some more modern glass that is already of proven ability and usefulness. And I enjoy the ones I have.

By contrast I wonder if any of you have had this model and just not got on with it. It would be interesting to hear your story and why you moved on and looked for something to replace it with.

Tom

Corrections made 24/2/23 at 20:30 GMT for minimum focus distance typos. If this were my only bino I'd find the lack of close focus a drawback but not a dealbreaker.
 
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Tom, a really enjoyable reflection on a rekindled relationship. The Zeiss 7x42 BGAT was a binocular that I had always wanted - the image quality and aesthetic render it a true design classic in my opinion. Years ago when I was very young (maybe 11 or 12) a kindly birder let me look at some foraging Long-tailed tits through her pair, the difference in the view against my Nikon Espacio 8x32's was night and day.
I acquired a T* (no phase coating) a few years ago, but there were two things I was unhappy about - the obvious CA (presumably as a result of a lack of P*) and that the eyecups would not stay down, and rolled up to different lengths - both of which were annoying enough for me to move the bin along fairly quickly.
I would be interested in a T*P* pair (if funds were to allow), though I'm unsure of the practicalities of using such a bin regularly - on paper it is somewhat old fashioned and not waterproof, though a lot of birders have used theirs for years in a range of environments without any detriment (such as water ingress or fungal growth). I am happy with my FL's for now, but your post hasn't helped with my desire to try the venerable 7x42's again!
One brief note - you have mentioned a close focus of 4 feet; the pair I had was closer to 4 meters. Have they been modified to have better close focusing?
 
One brief note - you have mentioned a close focus of 4 feet; the pair I had was closer to 4 meters. Have they been modified to have better close focusing?
Daniel, of course you are right. I have no idea why I wrote 4' as it is so obviously wrong. I am pretty sure they were never modified in mainstream production either. Yes, it is more like about 4 yards or metres; the odd thing is I can't focus mine closer than about 5m or over 16' and as there is only a small dioptre correction for my eyesight I can't understand why that should be. Any thoughts welcome!

Thank you for your positive response. I am hoping to get out over the weekend to do some proper outdoor viewing. Lampshades are not the way to go apart from an initial check(!), but my garden viewing has convinced me all is as good or better than I remember. Incidentally I still really like the FL that you mention: I hope you are enjoying yours in good health!

An extra thought... I would say the colour rendering of the old 7x42 Dialyt is fairly typical traditional Zeiss: like the FL my impression is of a slight green bias. I am waiting to see how it deals with the warmer colours such as pink, red, orange which (to me) can come over a bit weak, for instance when looking at a robin today with the FL, though it was against the light which wouldn't have helped. Perhaps the almost larger than life colours of a Leica have knocked out my inbuilt calibration!

Regarding the lack of phase coating in your own old example of the Dialyt, I am sure you would be much happier altogether with a P or P* version. I read somewhere on this forum pre-pandemic that examples marked T*P are actually the same optically as those marked T*P* so you would be fine with either.

Tom
 
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Excellent write—up. As I was reading i can relate 100%… it could have me writing up that review.

But can’t believe you got back your own sold pair of bins!

Close focus….. exactly the elephant in the room. A problem…. One reason I sold my pair. My new 7x35 retro has a 12’ close focus and the new 40’s are near 20’ too. That is what it is.

Fun read…. Read it twice:)
 
Excellent write—up. As I was reading i can relate 100%… it could have me writing up that review.

But can’t believe you got back your own sold pair of bins!

Close focus….. exactly the elephant in the room. A problem…. One reason I sold my pair. My new 7x35 retro has a 12’ close focus and the new 40’s are near 20’ too. That is what it is.

Fun read…. Read it twice:)
Hi lmans66, you probably had to read it twice — my sentences are so long! Thanks for the nice comments. Like you I would prefer a closer focus as I am always finding all sorts of things to view in macro or at least quite close up. Though sometimes when digging I see greedy birds approach so close in the flower beds that I can see them in exceptional detail unaided.

I suspect that if I had a properly modern Zeiss (SF) or Swaro (NL Pure) with a whopping FoV I'd have been less inclined to try the BGAT again, but I don't; this was cheaper; and though technically not as crisp as the FL it is a piece of history and a good robust example at that.

Let's hope I can hang on to it this time...
 
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I recently parted with my beloved Zeiss 8 x 32 FLs, tinged with some sadness after many years of impeccable service, but happy that they now belong to my niece........who was more than thrilled as she knew that I had once lent them to Sir David Attenborough ( her idol) to use when he officially opened a new piece of land acquired by the N.W.T.

However, my Dialyt 7 x 42 T* P * remain with me, alongside a pair of black 8/42 SF. There is something I just cannot put into words when I pick up the older pair and bring them up to my ageing eyes. Joy? Yes. As "good" as the SFs? Not in terms of brightness or the many charts and figures churned out by the boffins. A lovely, cosy glow when I turn the focus wheel back and forth as I test them [play] for the umpteenth time and the subject gently leans, not snaps, into focus. And finally a little grin when I put them away into their leather case, occassionally muttering out silently to them, a few gentle thanks and gratitude.

Well, it works with plants!

The SFs just don't have any character, purely functional but soulless.
 
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I recently parted with my beloved Zeiss 8 x 32 FLs, tinged with some sadness after many years of impeccable service, but happy that they now belong to my niece........who was more than thrilled as she knew that I had once lent them to Sir David Attenborough ( her idle ) to use when he officially opened a new piece of land acquired by the N.W.T.

However, my Dialyt 7 x 42 T* P * remain with me, alongside a pair of black 8/42 SF. There is something I just cannot put into words when I pick up the older pair and bring them up to my ageing eyes. Joy? Yes. As "good" as the SFs? Not in terms of brightness or the many charts and figures churned out by the boffins. A lovely, cosy glow when I turn the focus wheel back and forth as I test them [play] for the umpteenth time and the subject gently leans, not snaps, into focus. And finally a little grin when I put them away into their leather case, occassionally muttering out silently to them, a few gentle thanks and gratitude.

Well, it works with plants!

The SFs just don't have any character, purely functional but soulless.
You have summed up how I have felt about the 7x42 very nicely (the little FL too: it is a star) and incidentally reminded me how I think I came away when finishing with a free loan of an 8x42 SF when the black version first came out. Ultimately it was the something with the colour rendering and the size ad the cost that put me off despite the increased brightness, good balance and so on. Don't let your niece try the 7x42 or you'd have to say Sir David Attenborough just couldn't get on with them or some such...

Tom
 

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