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Nikon H-line 9x30 DCF Roof Prism Manufacture Date ? (1 Viewer)

gcole

Well-known member
Hi Everyone, I hope all is well and everyone is wearing their mask in public. I have a question ... We have a used what appears to be in mint condition a Nikon 9x30 DCF Binocular being shipped to us from a recent buy from a gentleman on Astromart . From our research these started production in 1976. The Serial Number is 978993 ... does anyone have an idea of when these might have been produced ? I have read conflicting info on how long they were being manufactured, some only just in 1976 . Others mention into the mid eighties.
 
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John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
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gcole

Well-known member
Hi GC,

It seems that they were offered to at least 1986 - see Henry’s catalogue image
And likely to 1988 - see fstop’s PDF
Both are at: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/hello-and-information-needed-on-nikon-9x30-6-7.311675/

And I imagine that you’ve already seen this recent thread: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/nikon-dcf.396004
The one shown by 3mnich (mnich here on BirdForum) is #902,740 - so a 900k start?


John
Hey John, yes I did see these but no mention how to breakdown their serial numbers to get a manufacturer year ?
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
The details of Nikon’s binocular serial numbering seem to be largely unknown
Though in contrast, there is extensive information about their film cameras available both in books and online

I linked to mnich’s unit to give an idea of the possible number range i.e. from 900,000 to 978,993+
(a quick check shows that the related 7x26 DCF’s had their own 700k number sequence)

I’m inclined to the view that yours must be a late model, based on my own research of both the E series (single and then multi-coated versions)
and EII series Porro prisms, see at: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/e...ing-on-from-100th-anniversary-edition.381049/

At 78,000+ units, the 9x30 HCF’s production easily exceeded that of the single-coated E series 8x30 Porro's for much the same period!
i.e. from 1978 to 1987, there was around 57,000 E series 8x30's, see post #10 in the link

On the face of it, that seems somewhat hard to believe. Though perhaps for many at the time:
the attraction of a relatively affordable modern roof prism, compared to the Leitz and Zeiss offerings *
was more important than the optical performance, compared to the Nikon E series Porro's

* Leitz offered the Trinovid 8x32, 7x35, 7x42, 8x40 and 10x40, and Zeiss the Dialyt 8x30 and 10x40
Swarovski didn't introduce the SLC 8x30 until 1985, and the 7x30 until 1986


John
 
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gcole

Well-known member
The details of Nikon’s binocular serial numbering seem to be largely unknown
Though in contrast, there is extensive information about their film cameras available both in books and online

I linked to mnich’s unit to give an idea of the possible number range i.e. from 900,000 to 978,993+
(a quick check shows that the related 7x26 DCF’s had their own 700k number sequence)

I’m inclined to the view that yours must be a late model, based on my own research of both the E series (single and then multi-coated versions)
and EII series Porro prisms, see at: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/e...ing-on-from-100th-anniversary-edition.381049/

At 78,000+ units, the 9x30 HCF’s production easily exceeded that of the single-coated E series 8x30 Porro's for much the same period!
i.e. from 1978 to 1987, there was around 57,000 E series 8x30's, see post #10 in the link

On the face of it, that seems somewhat hard to believe. Though perhaps for many at the time:
the attraction of a relatively affordable modern roof prism, compared to the Leitz and Zeiss offerings *
was more important than the optical performance, compared to the Nikon E series Porro's

* Leitz offered the Trinovid 8x32, 7x35, 7x42, 8x40 and 10x40, and Zeiss the Dialyt 8x30 and 10x40
Swarovski didn't introduce the SLC 8x30 until 1985, and the 7x30 until 1986


John
Thanks John for all your help. We decided to pay what I thought to be a premium price of $185. because the pictures of the binoculars look to show they are in mint collectors condition. The seller says they show no signs of use either on the body or lens. The case looks to be in abominable condition though. We could not find that in pristine condition Zeiss 8x30 B/GA T* Dialyt that we wanted, so out of curiosity we decided on these. It’s been sometime since I have handled the Zeiss, hopefully my memory will give me some idea of the difference between the two optically. We have no illusions though, I know the Nikons would never cut the mustard when compared to the current offerings of today even in that $185 price range. They should show up today or tomorrow. I will post a few pictures. After our curiously is satisfied we will offer/sell them to someone who will appreciate them for their nostalgia/collector’s needs. We never planned on keeping them.
 

gcole

Well-known member
They arrived yesterday morning. They arrived as described, even better. It’s amazing how these were kept in pristine condition all these years. I have handled many binoculars dating to this time period but none as clean and great shape as these. They look brand new, other than the carry case which look pretty deteriorated. The lens cap show some wear but the binoculars themselves look like they have been kept stored away never used. Even the rubber on the ocular lens shows no sign of drying out or deterioration. Interior barrels clean with amazing mat darkening. The small oval inspection sticker just clinging on pretty much unreadable except for the words “ Passed 105 “ I removed . When held you really get the sense of a really well made instrument, even to today standards. One wonders why Nikon just could not re-make these with up to date lens coatings and updated eye cups. The original binocular straps were missing but I would assume they were just a plain web type. Played with them for about an hour outside off the front stoop. Optically with bright light mid morning gave pretty decent view even to my deteriorating eye sight. Towards the latter waining evening hours of sun light they showed what you would expect for a Binocular that would be considered to be an antique. These would definitely be an exceptional specimen for that would be collector or for someone who just likes to occasionally carry/use binoculars dating back to the 70’s. These are for sale if anyone is interested.
 

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NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
Thanks for telling us about your purchase. I agree with you, Nikon made some quality optics during that period.
I am thinking their porros had a higher level of optical performance, compared to their roof prisms that were just gaining ground back then.

You now have a great addition to your collection. Enjoy in good health. :)

Jerry
 

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