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Help with buying vintage binoculars (1 Viewer)

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
Since the topic of this item seems to be vintage binoculars I have looked into older binoculars on the market for collectors/users. I am in the process of a test of a number of different older binoculars. For that investigation I received a used but as new Russian 8x30 porro (Tento or other brand name I still have to find out, but you see them here quite often). They are not expensive here at all (50-100 euros) and opticaly and mechanically very good as compared with present newer ones in the price range 100-300 euros.
Gijs van Ginkel


Well-known member
Hi Gijs,
The Soviet/Russian 8x30 is probably not Tento, although an 8x40 probably is.
The 8x30 has short eye relief and a 5 element Erfle or Bertele eyepiece, copy of a Zeiss binocular with better coatings.
They were made in large numbers, but vary in quality. The Soviet civilian ones may not be good. Export ones to the U.K. through TOE were better.
Modern ones may be poor, with quality driven down by 'one use' Chinese junk. Some may even be made in China as fakes or just copies.

The problem is, for a newcomer, to know if an old binocular is good or not.
I think for glasses wearers they may not have enough eye relief.
For non glasses wearers the field is 8.5 degrees.

The 8x30 works well at minus 30C and is marked minus 40C to plus 45C?.
The leather strap and case work well at minus 30C, whereas plastic straps and cases become so brittle they just fall to pieces.

Although not waterproof, the Soviet goo used to seal them is surprisingly effective and there are reports of dropping them in rivers and lakes and coming out unharmed.

By the way glasses wearers may not need glasses using binoculars, if the glasses are just to provide simple dioptre correction.

For the original poster a modern waterproof binocular is probably better because of the humidity in India and Asia.
In WW2 'vintage' binoculars were useless in the jungle in 6 weeks or less from brand new, due to extensive fungus.
Special methods and frequent stripping down in the field were necessary.
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Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
hello Binastro, post 22,
I still have to find out which company made the 8x30. It requires to look at the engravings.
The one I have obtained to investigate has a slightly yellow bias as more often with these binoculars and eyerelief is small as you already wrote. The optical and mechanical quality seems certainly not bad in comparison with cheap new ones, so we will see. The story will be continued.
Gijs van Ginkel


Well-known member
Hi Gijs,

The 8x30, 12x45, 10x40 probably made by KOMZ or Kazan optical factory.
Sometimes marked Baigish.
BIN 4or BPC 4 plus earlier marks and maybe later.
Some multicoated, some single coated, but usually some uncoated surfaces.
(Also marked Helios sometimes, at least the blue cardboard boxes).

There are also 15x50s.

7x30 and 10x40 rubber armoured.
7 or 8 element eyepieces. distortion free, rolling ball.

And 16x50

20x60s, 26x70s.

But made in various unrelated factories.

In many cases objectives each side different colour coatings, but barely noticed change in view.

Tento 8x40, 10x50, 7x50.
Some prisms were measured 1/20th wave.

Some prisms almost exactly same as Zeiss.

However, some factories may have shadow factories also for military versions.

6x24 EWA.

12x40 WA, 2 different eyepiece versions. Short eye relief.

15x110 and 20x110, 90 degree eyepieces.
Rare larger one ~100 degree eyepices.

Miniature binoculars various
Also 5x25 and other monoculars..

Foton 5x25, 7x35 and 10x40 roof prism binoculars.

Also several others.
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Well-known member
Further Russian binoculars are.
Kronos 6x30, 7x35, 8x40 and 10x50 EWA Porroprism.
The ones I have are poorly made, although one of the few EWAs available.

Stabilised 16x50, 20x50 and possibly 25x56.

7x35 Belomo, Zenith, Tento, I cannot remember.

More modern Futurus 7x50, 8x40 12x50, 16x50, 20x50 and others. I don't know where these are made, but glass seems whiter than usual Russian glass.
They are quite good but very poor coatings, so low transmission.
Also compacts.
There is also a 8-24x50 Futurus Porroprism, which suggests that they are not made in Russia, possibly in an ex Soviet country or even China?

30x50 and 20x50 folded refractor binoculars.

2.3x40 WA opera glasses.

4x high quality fully adjustable Galilean, Dutch type binocular.

Avimo 7x42 copy under licence?

7x50, 12x40 and 20x60 Porroprism monoculars.

10x46 plastic monocular. This makes a good finder for a telescope.

Tiny 2.5x binocular and monocular.

There are also military 6x30 Porroprism binoculars.

Soviet/Russian binoculars used to have leather or leatherette covering, but nowadays rubber, camouflage, crazy colours and unfortunately some mad red coatings if wanted.
When the Soviet empire collapsed the quality took a nosedive, and the factories struggled to compete. Also they are very rigid with five year plans and very inflexible on one hand. On the other hand they have some very original designs.
Some military binoculars did have rubber armour.

As with Russian cameras there are some weird and wonderful creations.

The binoculars may be centre focus, independent focus and with or without reticles.
I suppose that some have laser filters, but I haven't seen any.

The 8x30 Baigish is available as a monoocular with a focusing eyepiece.
The eyepiece focal length is about 15.5mm and fits 0.965 inch or 24.5mm telescope eyepiece holders if machined down.
This provides the widest apparent field for these type of telescopes.
I used it extensively with my 150mm f/10 Maksutov.
This gave wonderful terrestrial views day or night.
I also saw Enceladus, Saturn's faint moon with it from a town centre balcony, which really surprised me, as I didn't expect it to be visible.
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Well-known member

regarding the discussion on soviet binos, the ZOMZ 7x50 deserves an honourable mention - as usual eye relief is lacking (I don't wear glasses and thus don't care) and the fov is so-so at 120/1000m (common with 7x50) but the view is very sharp and the large depth of focus makes for a very relaxed viewing experiende. Can be had below 50€ on german ebay. But neither light nor small, of course...

For the o.p. and his backpacking trip to asia, I would strongly recommend an inexpensive waterproof pair of 8x30 - KowasYF/Leupold Yosemite/Opticron Savanah or Sightron Blue Sky 2.


Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
Binastro, post 24,
The Russian binoculars I mentioned in my post (8x30) were made by Komz and I am investigating now the 8x30 Komz and a wide angle 6x24 Komz, both porros.
Gijs van Ginkel


Well-known member
For me getting a Vintage binocular would be like getting a vintage car
would not want to do unless I knew a lot about the subject.
Concept sounds nice but reality may be more complicated .



Well-known member
Hi Gijs, post 28,
I would be interested in your opinion on ghosting, flare and glare in the 6x24 wide angle.
Also what field size do you measure?

The 8x30s vary so much with later production, so I hope that you have a good sample.


Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
Binastro, post 30,
I measured 210 m/1000 m for the Komz 6x24, the other data are still ünder construction" that means I am working on it in between other jobs. One of the tubes needs inside cleaning.
Gijs van Ginkel


Well-known member
Thanks Gijs,
Just over 12.0 degrees.
I cannot remember my exact measure.

The Amplivid 6x24 is marked 212m at 1000m.
I will try the Russian 6x24 and Amplivid again to see which has the larger field.

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
The Leica Trinovid 6x24 also has a field of view of 212 m/1000m, it was made for a very short time only, but it is a nice instrument.
Gijs van Ginkel


Well-known member
A note on weight, old vs. new:

The thick vinyl armor on most of today's binoculars often makes them
as heavy or heavier than the old ones.

Nikon Prostaff 7S, 8x30: 15 oz. (~2018)
Nikon Monarch 7, 8x30: 15 oz. (~2018)
Ranger DeLuxe 8x30: 15oz (~1958)

Nikon Aculon 10x50: 31.7oz (~2018)
Nikon AE 10x50: 36oz (~2018)
Stellar 10x50: 24oz (~1955)
(note: "lighweight" versions often had thiiner, partially milled-out chassis)
Valor 10x50: 32 oz (~1952)
(Note: "Valor" chassis produced by Nippon Kogaku, alias: Nikon)

"The future ain't what it used to be" ---Yogi Berra
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Staff member
Hey Optic Nut

Not wanting to get too pernickety but most binos today have rubber armour rather than vinyl and I suspect you meant to show the Ranger DeLuxe 8x30 as weighing something less than 15ozs.


'I'm putting the future behind me so I can see where things are going' = Boo boo

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