• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Do you or a relation still use Older or Vintage optics. (1 Viewer)

tonytoned

Active member
Hello Everyone

Purely out of curiosity and interest. How many of you or your relations (for example Parents or Grandparents, Aunt's, Uncles and so on) have or still use older or vintage optics, either casually or seriously.
My main binoculars during the 1980s was a pair of Carl Zeiss 8x30 Jenoptems and a Swift Telemaster 15-60x60 spotting scope, unfortunately I don’t have those original optics now, but I do have another pair 8x30 Jenoptems and a Bushnell spacemaster II 20-60X60 spotting scope purchased a few years ago which I still thoroughly enjoy using now, especially when I visit my old haunts. Obviously I use modern optics as and when I need to.
I look forward and would love to hear what you used, are using or any of your stories.
I thank you for your time, all the best and stay safe.

Tony

P1080502.jpg

P1080494.jpg

P1080509.jpg
 
Last edited:

Binastro

Well-known member
The average age of the binoculars I use is about 20 years or a bit more.

Modern binoculars have too much eye relief for me and are user unfriendly.

Regards,
B.
 

tonytoned

Active member
The average age of the binoculars I use is about 20 years or a bit more.

Modern binoculars have too much eye relief for me and are user unfriendly.

Regards,
B.
Thank you Binastro. That's interesting about the eye relief. I have a few other binoculars. Swift and Charles Frank Nipole. I'd be interested in what make you have.

Regards

Tony
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Hi Tony,

I use different binoculars for different objects.

My first and only binocular in the 1960s was a Nipole 7x23.

For comets one uses the smallest binocular that clearly shows the comet.

So I use anything from 2x opera glasses to 20x80.

My general use binocular is a Swift 8.5x44 HR/5.
Also 8x32 BA
Canon 18x50 IS c.2000.
Bausch and Lomb 10x42.

I used a Minolta 10x50 Standard MK for ten years in 1980s.
Russian 12x45 for over 10 years
Soviet 20x60 for 15 years specially made for selected astronomers.

I don't get rid of binoculars but prefer to have them ready if the need arises.

Regards,
B.
 

Binastro

Well-known member
The opera glasses I use date from c.1930 to coated 3x c.2000.
These cost a few pounds in Charity shops.
They are easy to clean.

I have field glasses from the 1800s but these are not efficient at about 5x.

For low power I use the Dowling and Rowe 4x22 and
Foton 5x25 (actually 30mm).

The scopes I use date from 1960 to modern.
Although some are from the 1930s.

Regards,
B.
 

tonytoned

Active member
The opera glasses I use date from c.1930 to coated 3x c.2000.
These cost a few pounds in Charity shops.
They are easy to clean.

I have field glasses from the 1800s but these are not efficient at about 5x.

For low power I use the Dowling and Rowe 4x22 and
Foton 5x25 (actually 30mm).

The scopes I use date from 1960 to modern.
Although some are from the 1930s.

Regards,
B.
That it is interesting B. I have a few WW2 Ross binoculars 6x30 1937 and 1945 respectively and Wrays of London WW2 6x30. I also have a pair if Charles Frank DDR 8x30 Binoculars which I don't know much about at the moment. I love the Swift binoculars though especially the 8.5x44 Audubons, very popular.

Thanks

Tony
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Is the Charles Frank DDR binocular actually a Zeiss Jena 8x30?

Arthur Frank imported binoculars from various sources.
He also sold British binoculars.

I have Wray and TTH ex gov. binoculars.

Regards,
B.
 

tonytoned

Active member
Is the Charles Frank DDR binocular actually a Zeiss Jena 8x30?

Arthur Frank imported binoculars from various sources.
He also sold British binoculars.

I have Wray and TTH ex gov. binoculars.

Regards,
B.
Here are some images of the Charles Frank DDR. the case is what they actually came in from charity shop which is the same as some of the Jena's cases. One of the objective lens guards is missing. Some of the coatings of worn off, but the veiw is very clear. The ocular lenses are quite small. Any thoughts B. They look like a later model of whatever they are. The only thing that made me think they weren't Jena's is there's no retaining screws on the housing covers.

Regards

Tony

20210214_192019.jpg

20210214_191919.jpg
20210214_191812.jpg

20210214_191718.jpg
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Hi Tony,
The binocular looks like a standard 8x30 with a 7.5 degree field rather than wide angle eyepieces.
Good condition.

Maybe another DDR binocular maker.
Or the DDR marking is a red herring.

Regards,
B.
 

tonytoned

Active member
Hi Tony,
The binocular looks like a standard 8x30 with a 7.5 degree field rather than wide angle eyepieces.
Good condition.

Maybe another DDR binocular maker.
Or the DDR marking is a red herring.

Regards,
B.
Thank you for your help B.
Regards
Tony
 

Binastro

Well-known member
The case could be British, the binocular imported.

Early on only low priced optics were allowed into the U.K.
Perhaps £5 FOB prices.

There was also 45% purchase tax.

I suppose the binocular might be 1960s with simple coatings, not on every surface.

However, by then I think import restrictions were easing.

There were quite a few Hong Kong and Macau binoculars, but also Japanese.

This binocular might be German?

Regards,
B.
 

Foss

Well-known member
FWIW I have a pair of Frank-Nipole 10x50 (Japan with JB number so probably 60s-70s). Have no idea if it relates to Charles Frank though.
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
A few years ago I got interested in super wide-angle porros with an AFoVs of at least 80*. The creme de la creme of these binos are very rare and also very expensive (the price can be as high as 3000$ or even higher). Most of these binos were made in the 50's, 60's and 70s, and most of them are either 7x35 or 8x30. Among others I had several 7x35s with a FoV from 11.5* to 13.5* (some of these binos are not so rare and can be found at reasonable prices), a few French 8x30s with a FoV of 11.5*, an Italian 8.5x30 with a FoV=10*, a Russian 4x16 with a FoV=15*, and a Russian 8x30 with a FoV of 13* (the widest angle binos that I am aware of, with an AFoV=104*). When compared with my modern optics all these vintage binos left something to be desired and none of them was a keeper for me, but having them for a while was an interesting experience that I cherished.
 

elkcub

Silicon Valley, California
United States
Peter,

You might have been very impressed with the high-quality 8x40 Linet Imperial Fieldmaster that was made by Hiyoshi Kogaku (B-56). The frame and mechanics are identical to their Type 2a Swift 804 Audubon of the mid-1970s. My specimen has a FOV of 12º, or an AFOV of 96º. It's so wide, in fact, that they exceed the visual overlap area, making part of the view monocular on either side. Like you, I found them interesting to study, but short eye relief made them impractical to use.

Ed
 
Last edited:

PeterPS

MEMBER
Peter,

You might have been very impressed with the high-quality 8x40 Linet Imperial Fieldmaster that was made by Hiyoshi Kogaku (B-56). The frame and mechanics are identical to their Type 2a Swift 804 Audubon of the mid-1970s. My specimen has a FOV of 12º, or an AFOV of 96º. It's so wide, in fact, that they exceed the visual overlap area, making part of the view monocular on either side. Like you, I found them interesting to study, but short eye relief made them impractical to use.

Ed
Hi Ed,
Thanks for mentioning the Linet Imperial. I have never seen the 8x40, but I had a 7x35 with a claimed FoV of 13.5*---which was an overestimate by about 1*, and I was not very impressed with its optics. There also exists a 10x50 with a FoV=10*. You may be right that such extra wide FoVs exceed what's reasonable for our visual system, which is likely why no current offerings have an AFoV much larger than 70*.
Peter
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
I'm a huge fan of Porro prism binoculars, and I use them on a daily basis. I have several on the most common configurations (8x30, 10x42, 7x50) and have had other flavours in the past. I love the grip, the wide body and the view. However, coming back to the OP question, I realise my binos are not classic or vintage, but some of the latest contemporary Porro prism binocular (Nikon EII, SE, Vixen Foresta and Ultima, Kowa YF, etc.). Over the years I've bought several nice examples of classic binoculars from CZJ, Swift and other brands (mainly Japanese from the golden era), and I've loved their construction, the way it feels as if they could withstand a couple of centuries in perfect operation, and then be serviced and go on for another couple of centuries without much problem. Nevertheless, I've always felt that optically I wasn't getting what I expected. This might sound weird. I'm aware that coatings have come a long way (although in terms of build quality many modern devices lag ages behind), but many times the overall view is not enough to compensate for the lovely feeling and sense of owning a part of history. I don't know if I'm alone in this feeling or if this is something others have experienced.

As a background, I don't have a "past or a history" with binoculars, I've started appreciating and eventually loving them in the second decade of the 21st century, so my "education in optics" is basically fully multi-coated contemporary devices. When using vintage ones I usually miss some sparkle on the view, it's hard to express (maybe it's like demanding a classic car from the 60's the performance of a current Ford Fiesta ST). There's a voice inside that tells me to love them, but then when I compare them to other binos I have, I feel the need so simply pass them on (I'm not a collector, so if I feel I'm not using a device long enough to justify owning it, I simply sell it).

Anyway, there is one Zeiss that keeps catching my eye, the so called "glass of the century", a wide angle 10x50 that looks wide and comfy. It usually appears on the 2nd hand market (usually at pretty hefty prices), and I've been very tempted, but I fear I might find the view underwhelming. What are your thoughts on that one? Some time I go I read Holger Merlitz's review and got really curious about it.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top