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

Leitz cleaning/repair, is it worth it? (1 Viewer)

Ofthewoods

Well-known member
United States
New here, brought this snippet over from "say hello" on the recommendation from another member.

I've dabbled in the used market but so far I haven't fared well:

1st try.

Bought a pair of Leitz 7x42 B trinovids on FB marketplace that were supposed to be "mint" but have a huge glob on something inside, and the seller ghosted me. I wasn't able to handle them before purchase. I tried to ask very detailed questions of the seller, but apparently "mint" is a subjective term.



2nd try.

Bought a pair of Leitz 10x40 trinovids off eBay but the objective is cracked right where it meets the body. Sad but will have to return them.



Maybe someone knows how to repair these. I'm not sure if it's even worth it or if I should watch some YT videos and have a go at cleaning the the 7x42s.

Thanks in advance for any advice on how to proceed.

Cheers.

1st & 2nd photo: side by side, 10x40 is shorter.
3rd photo: lubricant goober on prism in 7x42
4th - 6th detail photos on 10x40.
 

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Yikes, these took some bad abuse! Returning these for refund would be my 1st choice. It sounds like that's not an option with the 7x42's. I might contact Leica and ask for an estimate on repair. It looks like they're going to need some lenses replaced including one of the objectives.

You can buy a brand-new, state of the art version of these in 7x35 or 8x40, I would probably lean towards one of those rather than invest many hundreds of dollars into fixing the vintange ones. The prices for the new ones are quite low on the used market, I've seen a couple pairs of nearly new, mint condtion 7x35's go for around $1000 recently.
 
Yikes, these took some bad abuse! Returning these for refund would be my 1st choice. It sounds like that's not an option with the 7x42's. I might contact Leica and ask for an estimate on repair. It looks like they're going to need some lenses replaced including one of the objectives.

You can buy a brand-new, state of the art version of these in 7x35 or 8x40, I would probably lean towards one of those rather than invest many hundreds of dollars into fixing the vintange ones. The prices for the new ones are quite low on the used market, I've seen a couple pairs of nearly new, mint condtion 7x35's go for around $1000 recently.
Oofie, I had such high hopes. Thanks for the input Scott. When searching for used ones, what model/power would you look for (assuming condition is the same)?
 
I was cheated by a seller on ebay with a camera lens that when it arrived had obvious fungus on the insides of the lens elements. Cost me $350 to have it cleaned and then sold it myself. No support from ebay or from paypal for this transaction. I only buy inexpensive items that cost me less than $50 on ebay and then only if there are no alternative sources.
 
If the 7x42 view doesn't show the blob at all, then do nothing.
If it does, ask either Leica or Suddarth Optical to repair.

The cracked objective binocular, return if possible.

Don't buy secondhand if you want to avoid wasting money.

Just don't believe secondhand claims unless buying from an expert with a known reputation.

Leicas in particular are overpriced secondhand in many instances.

I bought a Leica wide angle 10x40 from a previous trusted source. It is very bad despite being told it was very good.
I never bought from this shop again.

If you want to buy secondhand learn how to test binoculars including star testing.

I visited a New York very well advertised outlet.
The secondhand stock was mainly complete junk that would never be sold in a U.K. secondhand outlet.

But some places like Adorama and B and H. are good.

I never buy anything on the internet.

Regards,
B.
 
I was cheated by a seller on ebay with a camera lens that when it arrived had obvious fungus on the insides of the lens elements. Cost me $350 to have it cleaned and then sold it myself. No support from ebay or from paypal for this transaction. I only buy inexpensive items that cost me less than $50 on ebay and then only if there are no alternative sources.
I know how you feel. Luckily this seller accepts returns, although I have to pay shipping.
 
If the 7x42 view doesn't show the blob at all, then do nothing.
If it does, ask either Leica or Suddarth Optical to repair.

The cracked objective binocular, return if possible.

Don't buy secondhand if you want to avoid wasting money.

Just don't believe secondhand claims unless buying from an expert with a known reputation.

Leicas in particular are overpriced secondhand in many instances.

I bought a Leica wide angle 10x40 from a previous trusted source. It is very bad despite being told it was very good.
I never bought from this shop again.

If you want to buy secondhand learn how to test binoculars including star testing.

I visited a New York very well advertised outlet.
The secondhand stock was mainly complete junk that would never be sold in a U.K. secondhand outlet.

But some places like Adorama and B and H. are good.

I never buy anything on the internet.

Regards,
B.
Thanks B. I appreciate the advice. The blob isn't really noticable which is nice. The focus knob is a bit stiff though. I'll have to look into how to lube it up.

And as far as buying second hand, I will also look into star testing. Or I can keep learning (or not learning 😅) the hard way.

Cheers.
 
I've dabbled in the used market but so far I haven't fared well:

If you "dabble" as you say, without some level of knowledge and experience (that is often only gained by buying duds), you can expect to end up regretting at least some of your purchases. If purchasing instruments that may be over 50 years old you need to remember that is a very long time in which all manner of issues may develop - fungus, haze, wear and tear in normal use and abuse (being dropped etc).

The safest option is to only buy binoculars you can examine yourself, but of course that greatly restricts your options - and to some extent you also need to know what to look for. Buying from a trusted seller is also a fairly safe bet, but you need to know who the good guys are - and if they are knowledgeable (which if they know enough to be trusted, they will be) their asking prices will reflect this. I've purchased a couple of my favourite binoculars from Ebay and it's certainly worth looking at, but the risk factor is inevitably higher: caveat emptor. If buying from Ebay you need to work on the basis that a certain percentage (in my case something like 50%) of purchases will need to be worked on: you will therefore need to find, or at least get a recommendation for, a technician with the ability to work on them at a price that is within your budget, or learn how to work on them yourself. That is all part of buying used binoculars. They may cost less than buying new, but the prices reflect the risk factor involved.

PS. while I really like many aspects of the old Leitzes myself, I would hesitate before purchasing one - they tend to be quite expensive for what they are (and if they aren't, you need to be asking why), and modern binoculars are distinctly superior in terms of image quality. It's worth having a careful think about what you'll actually require your binoculars to do first; then figuring out what models will best do the job.
 
I know how you feel. Luckily this seller accepts returns, although I have to pay shipping.
Pay the shipping! Well worth it to avoid the headache, binocular servicing is expensive and you won't recoup the money when you sell them, I just learned this lesson with some vintage Zeiss binoculars.

Which sizes to look for? Everyone's got a different preference for that. I've got a local bird-watching store nearby that carries everything from Swarovski, Zeiss, and Nikon USA. They let you try all the different binoculars outside at your leisure. This was a great help in narrowing-down the binoculars I liked and seeing what you get for the different price ranges.
 
If you "dabble" as you say, without some level of knowledge and experience (that is often only gained by buying duds), you can expect to end up regretting at least some of your purchases. If purchasing instruments that may be over 50 years old you need to remember that is a very long time in which all manner of issues may develop - fungus, haze, wear and tear in normal use and abuse (being dropped etc).

The safest option is to only buy binoculars you can examine yourself, but of course that greatly restricts your options - and to some extent you also need to know what to look for. Buying from a trusted seller is also a fairly safe bet, but you need to know who the good guys are - and if they are knowledgeable (which if they know enough to be trusted, they will be) their asking prices will reflect this. I've purchased a couple of my favourite binoculars from Ebay and it's certainly worth looking at, but the risk factor is inevitably higher: caveat emptor. If buying from Ebay you need to work on the basis that a certain percentage (in my case something like 50%) of purchases will need to be worked on: you will therefore need to find, or at least get a recommendation for, a technician with the ability to work on them at a price that is within your budget, or learn how to work on them yourself. That is all part of buying used binoculars. They may cost less than buying new, but the prices reflect the risk factor involved.

PS. while I really like many aspects of the old Leitzes myself, I would hesitate before purchasing one - they tend to be quite expensive for what they are (and if they aren't, you need to be asking why), and modern binoculars are distinctly superior in terms of image quality. It's worth having a careful think about what you'll actually require your binoculars to do first; then figuring out what models will best do the job.
I think my dabbling days will be short lived. While I love working on projects/fixing things, binoculars seems to have a steep entry fee for gaining knowledge of working on them, and/or for purchasing ones you won't have to work on.
My ideal binoculars would have an excellent image, be light and durable and be either 8x or 10x. I know the weight and durability tend to be antagonistic in other realms (i.e. camping gear) which means higher end product. I keep coming back to just saving up for an older pair of SLCs.
Seems like an unsurprising consensus is looming for my bino journey.
Thanks again for the words of advice.
 
Pay the shipping! Well worth it to avoid the headache, binocular servicing is expensive and you won't recoup the money when you sell them, I just learned this lesson with some vintage Zeiss binoculars.

Which sizes to look for? Everyone's got a different preference for that. I've got a local bird-watching store nearby that carries everything from Swarovski, Zeiss, and Nikon USA. They let you try all the different binoculars outside at your leisure. This was a great help in narrowing-down the binoculars I liked and seeing what you get for the different price ranges.
Yeah I think I will return them unless a benevolent member here has an extra objective lens and the seller just "gives" me the busted ones.
Yeah that's definitely my next move. I need to get a bunch in hand to see what really works for me. Reading review after review probably pales in comparison to actual viewing.

Thanks for giving me the hard truth.
 
Actually Leica binoculars, I think, do not have grease in their focusers.

Not sure if that is the case with your two.

It means, I think, better cold weather performance.

Leica cameras were available winterised, but I don't know how this was done.
Maybe to work at minus 40 and colder.

Unmodified Nikon FM2N cameras apparently worked at minus 50C and were used by Canadian police.
The trouble is film can fail at minus 35C as I know personally. Kodak film broke hopelessly, although Konica film was fine.

My Austin 1800 car was specially winterised.

If you get a free objective, and a free binocular. It still needs a professional to assemble and collimate the binocular.
Hardly worth the trouble in my opinion.

If you have the option to return the binocular, then the shipping cost is a minor inconvenience.

Astronomical telescopes are generally easier to work on than binoculars.

Regards,
B.
 
binocular servicing is expensive and you won't recoup the money when you sell them
If you count the cost of binoculars and restoring them in terms of what you can "recoup", you'll likely always be unhappy. It's really a labour (or if you can't do the work yourself, an expenditure) of love.

I suppose I could tote up the total amount I've paid Gary H to work on my binoculars over the years. I cannot put a number on the enjoyment I have had using them. But I know the latter outweighs the former.
 
If you "dabble" as you say, without some level of knowledge and experience (that is often only gained by buying duds), you can expect to end up regretting at least some of your purchases.
Great advice regardless the category: art, vintage cars, race horses, real estate...the list is endless.
 
If you count the cost of binoculars and restoring them in terms of what you can "recoup", you'll likely always be unhappy. It's really a labour (or if you can't do the work yourself, an expenditure) of love.

I suppose I could tote up the total amount I've paid Gary H to work on my binoculars over the years. I cannot put a number on the enjoyment I have had using them. But I know the latter outweighs the former.
I'm just explaining the math - vintage binos on ebay that are out of collimation and damaged are worth $900....the same model that's been sent to Zeiss for $500 servicing is also worth....$900 :):)

I do have 2 pairs of vintage Nikons for which I paid $200 each in servicing, I won't get it back if I sell them, but I knew I loved them for long-term and also they didn't need repair, just re-grease and collimation. The Zeiss were so badly out of whack I needed service & repair just to decide if I liked them - that's where it's probably a bad investment.
 
New here, brought this snippet over from "say hello" on the recommendation from another member.

I've dabbled in the used market but so far I haven't fared well:

1st try.

Bought a pair of Leitz 7x42 B trinovids on FB marketplace that were supposed to be "mint" but have a huge glob on something inside, and the seller ghosted me. I wasn't able to handle them before purchase. I tried to ask very detailed questions of the seller, but apparently "mint" is a subjective term.



2nd try.

Bought a pair of Leitz 10x40 trinovids off eBay but the objective is cracked right where it meets the body. Sad but will have to return them.



Maybe someone knows how to repair these. I'm not sure if it's even worth it or if I should watch some YT videos and have a go at cleaning the the 7x42s.

Thanks in advance for any advice on how to proceed.

Cheers.

1st & 2nd photo: side by side, 10x40 is shorter.
3rd photo: lubricant goober on prism in 7x42
4th - 6th detail photos on 10x40.
I may have missed someone mentioning that Leica does not accept or repair binoculars with internal fungus. I fully understand your love of the old Leitz Trinovids. Those 7 x 42s are the best looking binoculars ever produced, IMHO. In their day they were incredible. A clean pair is still a formidable optic, given its age. Lightweight with a generous field of view.
 
I may have missed someone mentioning that Leica does not accept or repair binoculars with internal fungus. I fully understand your love of the old Leitz Trinovids. Those 7 x 42s are the best looking binoculars ever produced, IMHO. In their day they were incredible. A clean pair is still a formidable optic, given its age. Lightweight with a generous field of view.
Yeah I really like the overall feel of them. Even in the condition they're in the optics seem pretty darn good. Just wish I had an extra 40mm objective and a friend who can repair/collimate binos 😂
 
and a friend who can repair/collimate binos 😂

Do a search for collimation - you should find plenty of references to a book that, its author says, addresses the subject of binocular collimation, and how to collimate binoculars, in unparalleled detail.
 

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