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

Zeiss 3x12 Monocular (1 Viewer)

Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
I have owned this instrument for several years but an observation today prompted me to post.
The variously designated 3x12B or 3x12T* (mine) has been in production for at least 30 years and AFAIK the only significant change has been phase coating and current manufacture in Hungary.
Of the six Zeiss monoculars ranging from 5x10 to 10x25 it is the only one of all metal construction and is the most expensive. It is now almost as costly as an 8x20 Leica Monovid so could not be sensibly recommended for general use. I suspect that it was originally intended for the sight-impaired and could be obtained on prescription, as could the Specwell and Schweizer monoculars.
The intended use for mine was as a booster for binoculars and scope. My attempts at resolution measurements with my binoculars were less than successful but with one of the Zeiss adapters I occasionally used it on the 30x eyepiece of my Swarovski ATM 65HD for 90x magnification. Despite a couple of reversing prisms and all that glass it gave me one of the best views of Jupiter I have had - probably very good seeing that night.

Today a really large buff-tailed bumblebee queen (Bombus terrestris) landed on my balcony. Despite a mild 14° C she was rather torpid, so I put down a drop of honey and was able to watch her feeding, which she continued to do for nearly two hours. Through the 3x12 Zeiss I was able to observe at around 20 cm and could see the tongue extend 2 mm from the proboscis about thirty times a minute. At a similar distance my 6x18 Zeiss monocular was less steady and more than filled the field of view.
Later in the afternoon the bumblebee had disappeared, so I might have contributed to her survival and had had a very interesting obsevation.

John
 
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I have a 3x12 monocular which I've used with 8x42 FL binoculars (with adapter) and in the last year with my SF 8x32 (no adapter needed) and it's proved excellent at helping ID distant birds, although the field of view reduces and you ideally need something fixed to lean against to reduce vibrations. Realy helpful bit of kit. I've ended up with two (long story), so might be selling the 'Mint in box' one at some point soon.
 
Is there a significant difference between the ones marked B and those marked T*? I have the former, and it was made in Germany, but I'm not sure how old it is. I've had it at least 4 years.
 
Is there a significant difference between the ones marked B and those marked T*? I have the former, and it was made in Germany, but I'm not sure how old it is. I've had it at least 4 years.
B is for "Brille" (spectacles) but I don't think they have been marked that way for some time. I've had mine for more than 4 years and it was made in Hungary and is marked 3x12 T*.

@ gusrobin: The AFoV is indeed narrow, about 37°. The magnification at short distances with the objective extended will probably be greater than 4x.
When using the Mono with your 8x32 SF the 12 mm objective lens should not be too close to the eye lens of the binocular as it could vignette.
Something like half the nominal eye relief though should be enough to cover the complete light cone..

John
 
I wrote a little review of the old one here:

 
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I've got two of those. One lives permanently in my pocket whenever I leave the house, the other one lives in my birding bag together with a scope and so on. I've also got all the adapters Zeiss made for using them in combination with different binoculars, and one usually works when you put the Zeiss on a scope or binocular eyepiece.

Very, very useful piece of kit, not just to get a quick view at high magnification in combination with a low-power WA eyepiece on the scope. For instance, I often use the 24x WA on the Nikon EDIIIA, and the Zeiss gives me 72x. A bit too much magnification for a 60mm scope, sure, but the image is good enough to show a lot more detail than the scope at 24x. Got me quite a few IDs without having to change eyepieces.

Also very useful if you want to star test a scope. Or if you want to see how bad your binoculars really are ... :cool:

I don't quite understand why not more people use it. Read Henry's old post, it's worth it (reading Henry's post and getting a 3x12 ...)

Hermann
 
I tried Zeiss 3x12 monocular once, around 30 years ago! I think it's the very same instrument today. Very cute glass, and I have thought about getting it. But it's extremely pricy for the size and for the capacity.
But it's useful as a monocular alone, and it would be nice to make a eyeglasses binocular by two pieces!
 
General use at e.g. exhibitions, for close looks at plants and insects etc. is a reason why this item has interested me. And also to try using it with my Zeiss FL 7x42, hoping for it to better match it (be more handy) than the Vortex doubler I now own which is unhandy to use as it doesn’t attach well. Thus thank you for the info in this thread!
I have just found one of these for much less than their original price (I wouldn’t have paid even half their new price) and am waiting for them to arrive.

In the meantime, I was wondering:
I have read several of your very informative posts, also on these and on tests of binoculars and scopes. I was wondering: until what point is checking with such a doubler of direct use if you intend to use your binoculars without it anyway? (Asked out of sincere interest also to know what to check for.) I was just thinking that, if you can only see the issues with a doubler, the issues might not be that important in regular use. Or possibly it is that you can only identify what the (origin of) the issue is with a doubler, but that you can « experience » the issues that optics have without the doubler, thus still impacting the viewing quality?

This quote made me wonder :)
Also very useful if you want to star test a scope. Or if you want to see how bad your binoculars really are ...
 
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I just saw that the price of 3x12 has raised with ~1000SEK since only some year ago.
A retailer price in Sweden now is 4590 SEK!
This is almost 500 USD or 450 Euro. Insane!
 
I just saw that the price of 3x12 has raised with ~1000SEK since only some year ago.
A retailer price in Sweden now is 4590 SEK!
This is almost 500 USD or 450 Euro. Insane!
Those new prices are insane indeed. I cannot imagine many people buying it for that price.
I am now wondering if the version that I have bought second hand (not yet arrived) is any different from the newest ones in any mechanical or optical way (incl.coatings), as I don’t know its age. There is writting « Germany » on it and not « West Germany », so I think it is at least not one of the oldest versions, but it might still be some decades old based solely on that… There is also written « 3x12B » on it, without any mention of coatings (e.g. T* or P*). I hope it has good coatings, including phase coating.
 
I had it once, and lost it in a trip, it is extremly useful when you look at small object in museum. I was Chinese antique fan, when I visited museum in EU and USA, I always bring it. It is very light, you can hang it on your neck, like necklace.
 
Just got one of these a couple weeks back and hadn't even considered trying to couple it up with the binoculars. Very nice little item, but a bit weak on its own, maybe this will give it a bit more utilitarian function.
 
During the years I have wondered about if I shall buy one or not, but I thought it was a bit expensive. 10-15 years ago I found price of ~2000 SEK. I hoped for finding better price later which obviously was a mistake...
 
My copy has just arrived today. Hopefully I’ll be able to try it somehow this weekend.
I am really surprised by how small it is. Much smaller than the Vortex doubler.
It came with a very small, fitting leather pouch and the adapter ring for connecting it to a Zeiss FL, but once fitted with the adapter ring, it doesn’t fit in the leather pouch anymore :rolleyes: No better way to loose an accessory… I didn’t expect to have to look for some for some pouch to carry the two together.

I think they've got to be Schmidt-Pechan. A test with a polarizing filter confirms that the roof prism on my example is phase coated.

John
How can you test that?
I don’t have a polarizing filter myself, but I think my brother might have one, and my sunglasses might be polarized (if that could serve the purpose).
 
Polarizing sunglasses will do.
If you rotate the polarizing filter you will be able to block off most of the light from a TFT screen. Rotated through 90° the polarizing filter will then transmit most of the light from the screen.
Place the monocular (or barrel of a binocular) between the TFT screen and the polarizing filter with the eyepiece directed at the screen so that you are viewing through the objective. Rotating the filter you may see some colour changes (blue/yellow) across the roof edge but will not be able to block out one roof surface.
With a non phase coated instrument (like your Vortex doubler) you can get a white and black semicircle.

John
 
During the years I have wondered about if I shall buy one or not, but I thought it was a bit expensive. 10-15 years ago I found price of ~2000 SEK. I hoped for finding better price later which obviously was a mistake...
I kept looking at them for close to $400 and just simply couldn't justify it, but then got one in an auction for about $150 altogether and at least for that price, am glad I got them.
Don't give up just yet.
 
After first reading about it here I tried using my sharply focused Zeiss 3x12 in series with my likewise focused 8x32 UVHD+ and got nothing but a lot of blurry magnification. I'm apparently missing something, yet even if I'd received a crisp, sharp image, I'm unlikely to often try it again. Very awkward and too much magnification for being held in such a manner.
 
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