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Funky bins (1 Viewer)

BinoBoy

Well-known member
Here's some binoculars you don't see very often:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ROLLEI-7X42-HFT...ryZ31711QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

I didn't even know that Rollei ever made binoculars. There are apparently a civilian version of British military binoculars from the early 80s. They are fixed focus, have no diopter adjustment, and a narrow field of view (7 degrees which works out to an AFOV of 46.3 degrees).

They look like two miniature spotting scopes tied together. There must be some reason for choosing such an unusual design, but I'm having a hard time guessing what it might be. I suspect they allow an unusual range of IPD adjustment, but that's about it. It's hard enough to imagine why the military adopted them and even harder to guess why Rollei thought that the public would buy them. Maybe they have spectacular optical quality! I think one of you guys should buy them and do a review so we can find out. ;)
 
Yes, they are funky binoculars. They're most often known as the Avimo 7x42 or Type L12A1 in the British Army.

Are they the first "open bridge" bins? ;)

I included photos to make it easier to see but I think under the skin they're porros with the pair of prisms forming "V" with the point of the V pointing towards the hinge axis. I suspect for a regular user they'll feel a bit odd too with the eye's above the objectives. I get the same effect (and problems in pointing) using the Canon IS bins with the EP above the objectives. Apparently in service in the Falklands they weren't popular as you had to get your head a couple of inches higher than other bins.

I guess with fixed focus and no diopter adjustment they're designed for young soliders with perfect vision or fully corrected (and plenty of accommodation) for looking at a distance not the (older) general public looking close. Plenty of ER though (glasses and gas mask use).

There's a pic of these bins in use here (you may have to scroll down a page) in "The British Army in the 1980s" on Google Books.

http://books.google.com/books?id=PW...=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5#PPA13,M1

Holger reviewed these here

http://www.holgermerlitz.de/six7x40.html

And a thread here

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=43408

Two other points: though they talked up as "Special Force" binoculars they were general issue. I suspect a few on eBay were "liberated". And apparently there are Russian copies too.

Thanks for showing us these bins.
 

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Hi, I did own a pair of Rollei 7x42 bins many years ago. When purchasing them, new, I clearly remember looking through 4 pairs before finding one that did not come equipped with 'debris' in the optical path. They really had no particular redeeming qualities with a field of only 124/1000, etc. On the sheet from Rollei they are described as "Top class, general purpose prismatic binoculars for sports, hobby and recreational use". But with fixed focus, even with the inherent depth of field typical of 7x bins, they were not very "general purpose". I also had some Trinovid 7x42's which were infinitely better for the above purposes. They still do have certain collector appeal, however. If anyone wants more technical specs, I will be happy to provide any I have.
As far as the British soldiers' concern about having to have their head higher than the objectives, why did they not just turn them over?!! There is no focussing knob, or anything else, to prevent this from working!
Cheers, John
 
As far as the British soldiers' concern about having to have their head higher than the objectives, why did they not just turn them over?!! There is no focussing knob, or anything else, to prevent this from working!

Ingenious solution. I wonder if that was in the designers' mind too but it never quite made it to the squaddies training. It would account for the odd shape too.
 
After seeing the pictures of the design why does it bring to mind a discussion on the possible benefits of the porro prism design utilizing the eyepieces above or below the objectives (or vice versa if you like)? Was it in Stephen Ingraham's comments or somewhere else? Obviously they would be more compact in one sense but I thought there was something else that wasn't so obvious.
 
A B&L bin (maybe the Elite or perhaps it was the Discoverer ... ) did this in a version a while back when trying to to compete with the "new" roof prisms bins.

They used an over under system rather like these Avimo bins to get a narrower (but thicker) form factor with the EP axis in line with the objective axis in a plan view. So it looked more like a roof. It was a bit thicker though. So that would improve the grip but they're a bit chunky I imagine. Like the modern over/under porro: the recent Canon IS bins.

Ah, here's a hint

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=46648

SteveF said:
Mooreorless, you are correct. I neglected to mention that. The 7x36's were roof prisms (and the ones I would have liked to have tried). The 8x50 and 12x50 porros were of the odd, vertically aligned style, somewhat like the recent Pentax porro prism models. I see also that toward the end of the series' run, some compacts were made, mostly reverse porros, I think.

Hmmm, funky Pentax porro prism models too?

That's the one I was thinking of: the Bausch & Lomb 8X50 Elite 8x50 and 12x50 porros. Does anyone have a pair?

I think the EPs are under the objectives.

Not the best picture but you get the idea ... difficult to tell from a roof when you are not handling it.
 

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Burris used to market an offset porro like that up until a couple of years ago, I think iw was their Landmark series porro.
 
Flipping them upside side down to avoid exposing one's head too much occurred to me too. I wondered if their helmets would interfere though.

The vertical arrangement of the prisms would allow the user's hands to be lower and their elbows to be closer to the body, but it would eliminate the enhanced 3D effect that porros are famous for.

Kevin's comment about them being the first open bridge bins might actually have something to it. Maybe they are easier to use with one hand than previous designs.

They're so weird, I actually think they're kind of cool. If they cost $100, I might buy them. They'd be a great conversation starter on bird club field trips. :t:
 
At $950 binoboy you might have to pass (though checking prices for ex-Service Avimo they seem to go for £100 to £200). You'd have to be seabird or hawk watching too ... something that stays at infinity ;)

The funky Bushnell 8x50 porros are reviewed here

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=18773&highlight=8x50+porro

I wondered about the helmet issue too. In the Falklands that would have been less of a problem I think but the current "Beehive" Mark 6 helmet really does come down over the forehead. I would put it down to "not SOP" to invert the bins on the battlefield. Bless 'm, they are squaddies.

The L12A1 also came as a monocular or was repurposed into a monocular (easy to do!).
 
Burris used to market an offset porro like that up until a couple of years ago, I think iw was their Landmark series porro.

Nice one, Steve

http://www.optics4birding.com/landmark-pf-10x42-522.html

Not expensive either! No idea of the quality.

Wait that reminds me of the Burris 20x50 compact spotter scope which is an over under straight spotter that looks like half a bin.

And we're back to the OPs comments of "two spotter scopes glued together"!

Any more funky porros?
 
I used to have a Rollei brochure for the civilian version of this binocular. It had a diagram of the optics, which were not at all sophisticated. Just a cemented doublet objective and a Kellner eyepiece. There was also an unarmored civilian version which had a matte silver metal finish.
 
I used to have a Rollei brochure for the civilian version of this binocular. It had a diagram of the optics, which were not at all sophisticated. Just a cemented doublet objective and a Kellner eyepiece. There was also an unarmored civilian version which had a matte silver metal finish.

A simple (classic) optical design typical of military bins. Made even more simple by leaving out any focusing hardware ;)

Do you know if it was multicoated or single coated?

That matte silver version would be something to see ... like a product form the not too distant future.
 
Kevin,

Sorry I don't remember anything about the coatings. Since the optics were so plain vanilla I wouldn't be surprised if they were single coated. As I recall they were quite expensive, close to $1000, very big money for a binocular in those days. It's not hard to see why such a thing was not a big success in the civilian market.

Henry
 
Knowing the MoD I wouldn't be surprised if they were single coated. After all some squaddie is just going to break them (and they weren't repairable).
 
Hi Kevin, there is nothing on the info sheet I have indicating multi-coating, the sheet was printed/published by Rollei fototechnic.
The first 'top feature' listed is "Adjustment of the binocular halves to 1 metre viewing distance for a remote object means good depth of perception without visual fatigue"! Could you translate that into ordinary English?
The optical path shows 4 ocular elements and 2 objective elements. The one I used to have was the silver (painted) civilian version with the impressively large and sturdy Allen head bolts holding the case together.
Cheers, John
 
jjg213 said:
4 ocular elements and 2 objective elements

Henry Link said:
Just a cemented doublet objective and a Kellner eyepiece

There's one element difference there ;)

But if it was 4 then I can imagine it would have better FOV at least. One step up from WW2 era design!

Silver painted ... what were they thinging! I guess the casting was too ugly to polish up.
 
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