Carl Zeiss Jena 10x50W Jenoptem binoculars.

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David Frydman
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Carl Zeiss Jena 10x50W Jenoptem binoculars.

Post by David Frydman »

These have escaped my attention for a long time.
Just found a used example in excellent condition for a fair price.
Tested last night on double cluster and Orion. Transpareny not good. Severe light pollution.
These are probably an early example as the coatings are basic. Later ones are I think multicoated.
The attraction is the field of view. One source states 7.3 degrees, but I measured them as 7.75 degrees.
There are almost no extra wide field usable binoculars made now at a reasonable price. 6.5 degrees is now extra wide and 7 degrees uncommon.
The weight is stated in the same source as 1020 gm. This one weighs 1055 gm.
The optical quality is good and although the edge performance is not great, the overall performance is very good.
The Minolta Standard 10x50 has a field of 7.8 degrees and may weigh a bit less. The Zeiss is more durable than the Minolta. The only other 10x50 really wide field binocular available is probably the Russian ones of variable quality.
There is a big gap in the market for lowish cost really wide field binoculars for astronomers. These were commonly available from the 1960s to 1980s.
I think bird watchers specs for binoculars mean they don't require them, which is why they are not made.
In this instance old is definitely better than new.
So if you have or find Zeiss, Minolta or Russian really wide field binoculars in excellent condition, free of fungus, mistiness and well collimated, hang on to them as they cannot be easily replaced.

Regards, David
brian livesey
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Post by brian livesey »

I had a friend who owned a pair of 10X50 Jenoptem's and they were hopeless. They weren't even blackened on the inside, and image quality didn't extend further than about 35-40% of the field. They weighed a tonne. Nein danke!
brian
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

Was there a non wide angle Jenoptem?
The reports I am reaing generally say they are O.K.
They all speak of 7.28 or 7.3 degree field. These are definitely wider.
The inside is well blackened but I would have expected more baffles. I only noted one. Last night was first clear night for ages.
Mine are pre 1978 being non MC.
I will of course try them further, but they seemed fine.
Maybe your friend's ones were made on a friday.
There are also FAKE Jenoptems.
I know the Pentacon Six lenses I have disassembled have been very variable. In some the machining is awful, some good.
Some Zeiss Jena lenses now go for high money yet again they vary enormously.

In addition Swift made extra wide angle binoculars, some god some not so.
The problem with mine was that if you pointed them up they immediately defocussed, although optically good I could not use them.
There were also cheap Korean ones.
The Russian ones are I think called Chronos.

The Russian 12x45s vary a bit, they are all based on Zeiss prewar designs and made with machinery confiscated from Germany.
There are ome market ones and export and even these vary.
However my 12x45s easily outresolve very medern chinese HIGH RESOLUTION binoculars 12x50. I have founfd that the description High Resolution means nothing.

My selected 20x60 Soviet binoculars are absolutely superb compared with anything. Yet the Russian clones are hopeles even though they look identical.
A very early1000mm Russian MTO of initial design is the best lens I ever tested. It is better than the Questar and amazingly is ex WD here.
The later ones don't compare.
So communist countries have produced optics that equals thre best made anywhere, yet is often hopeless.

That is why I test everything.

Regards, David
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

Brian,
Maybe what I should say is that if you find a very wide angle binocular test it carefully and if the tests are good buy it.

And there is a definite gap in the market for astronomers.

The very peculiar Bresser extra wide angle of two years ago of strange design test hopelessly for resolution and image quality.

These are not a replacement for the good old extra wide angle binoculars.

And thank you Brian for pointing out that the Jenoptems can be bad.

David
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

Apparently there are several clones of the Jenoptems, in fact fakes.
The Japanese ones were apparently made under licence but are different to the originals. They have six figure serial numbers, mine has seven.
Some bits are plastic in the Japanese version and the report says to avoid them.

So I will test mine further.

David.
ahxnccj

Post by ahxnccj »

One of the best 10X50 ever manufactured and very pleasant to use. I love my pair but can say that the eyecups are not very confortables for the 10mm of eye-relief. Nevertheless, if you like razor-sharp vision with a very well controled distortion you have to buy a pair of Jenoptem 10X50W
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

Dear Brian,
Unfortunately completely cloudy again, but briefly tried binoculars on a large buiding 100 metres away.
Yes the performance does begin to fall off at 50% and gradually worsen, but is different in different directions. i.e. up, down left, right as many binoculars are.
I have little eye accomodation, but younger observers may be able automaticall refocus away from the centre.
However, yesterday the binocular seemed fine on Orion so I must wait for clear skies.
What is apparent is that despite simple coatings and not the best baffles this is a very well designed binocular. There is almost no ghost image from my side on street light. This only happens with some of the best binoculars I have tested. usually there are ghosts everywhere.

As to poor edge performance this seems to be a Zeiss trait.

Ihave tested Zeiss 20x60 image stabilising binoculars, probably the best binocular available. The central performance is up to astronomical standards and the care taken in making this binocular is immense.
However it suffers from bad field curvature towards the edges. I was amazed at this and wrote to Zeiss asking for an explanation. They don't seem to like criticism. They do seem to do things their own way.

There is little doubt that the 20x60s are supreme in central resolution hand held although you must be strong to use them.

The only binocular I have tested that seems faultless is the 15x50 Canon image stabilised. The edge stars are the same points as the centre with a 69 degree field. The star images are tiny compared with the expanded blobs of most binoculars. There is a slight problem that when using the stabiliser the stars can smear at the limit of the stabiliser, but you can release the button and press again.

Incidentally if you refocus edge stars in the 20x60 Zeiss they become stars again, but this is not useful normally.

Regards, David
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

With the 20x60 Zeiss I specifically asked Zeiss why they had not included a field flattening element in it as Canon have done with their IS binoculars.
I never got a satisfactory answer.
However, hand held it easily separates Gamma Delphini at 9 arc seconds, and would clearly separate 7 arcsecond equal stars of optimum magnitude.

As to the fall off in performance of binoculars away from the centre, in very many binoculars it varies considerably depending on which direction or which position angle you look. As the two barrels have prisms at different orientations this is somewhat evened out using two eyes. However saying the fall off occurs at 60% or 70% is just approximate as it depends at which angle you are looking and how much image quality deterioration you find acceptable.

Still totally cloudy and windy.

Regards, David
brian livesey
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Post by brian livesey »

I'm no expert David, but I gather that before the unification of Germany, ZEISS West binoculars ( based in Bonn ), were better than the Jena ones, but more expensive. Jena produced Jenoptems and Binoptems; the latter were more expensive
I have a pair of Japanese PARAGON 8X40 bins with a 9 degree field-of-view. These are very good for locating bright comets.
brian
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

Zeiss Oberkochen maybe near Bonn? are indeed much better binoculars than Zeiss Jena. Zeiss Jena optics were later sometimes called Doctor optics.

The 20x60 Zeiss are indeed west German, and all the west german Zeiss binoculars have a high reputation, but even these can go out of collimation, and the ones including Fluorite elements are at risk of moisture absorption even if fully sealed new.

Prewar I think Zeiss was mainly where the later east german factories. But Zeiss incorporated many other firms over the years including Hensoldt. My 1955 16x56 lightweight Hensoldt found immaculatein a charity shop outresolves any modern equivalent I have tested and is extraordinarily good.

With all communist country optical production the stuff is so variable from rubbish to fantastic that the only way is to test it.

I was given a prewar 75cm f/6.3 Zeiss survey lens, huge with internal venetian blind shutter covering 30x30cm film with vacuum back for enormous survey camera that destroyed a ME 109s performance.
This lens was in a skip and had multiple deep gouges from heavy metal girders on top of it. It had been almost completely destroyed.
I took the unusual step of testing it optically with an eyepiece visually.
I was amazed the optical resolution was still superb with almost half the front surface gouged out and not blackened. the contrast was desperatley poor, but the optical quality of the original surface still shone through. I habve tested similar intact lenses.
It is clw\ar in WW2 the Germans were using extraordinarily high quality mapping cameras of huge weight whereas the RAF were using lightweight very reliable cameras with poor lenses made in haste in wartime.
But these lenses did the job, and the RAF clearlywon the aerial photography war with fast unarmed Spitfires and Mosquitoes.

So yes Zeiss and other German firmsmake optics of the highest quality, although Taylor Hobson lenses were often better.
It is a great shame that no British firm seems to be making binoculars now whereas at least five German factories still have German manufactured binoculars.

David
brian livesey
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Post by brian livesey »

In the 1970s, I bought a pair of immaculate, secondhand, 7X50 bins for £18. They had individual eyepiece focusing and gave superb definition, right to the edge of the field.
There was no maker's name on the bins, only a serial number. Franks of Glasgow confirmed that I had a pair of German naval glasses. They didn't say if the bins were of WW2 origin.
I use a pair of Russian 20X60 TENTO's with my binocular mirror-mount. These are very good at the centre of the field, in contrast to a pair of 10X50 TENTO's I once looked through that gave very poor definition.
TENTOs were, I think, soviet-era bins that are not made now. Mechanically, the 20X60s are no-frills utilitarian in design, but redeemed by the optics.
brian
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

Dear Brian,
If the 7x50s have a code with letters it is easy to identify them. If they are Leitz they may be worth quite a lot especially if the O.Gs balsam hasn't separated. Were they apparently nitrogen filled/ Do nyou still have them?
They could be Zeiss or another maker. If they have code letters they are WW2 or a bit earlier.

THe 20x60s TENTO are I think the good ones. However there were people who managed to get very high quality selected ones Possibly via Jim Hysom. I think George Alcock used these and mine is one of them.
After using mine for years they became uncollimated, but no longer being mobile I have not taken them for professional attention.
The Russians continued making them under a different name, but with much inferior optics. The selected ones were made cost no object, and even the regular ones were good. The Russian ones are from O.K. to poor.

The 8x40 Paragon ? japanese are what I meant by hanging on to wide field binoculars. Some others had 9.5 degree fields and 7x35s 11 degree fields. Nowadays they are not generally made and the Bressers mentioned above give very poor images.

Even if they have poor edge performance, they allow detection of comets, meteors etc, which modern narrower angle 'wide field' binoculars miss.

Regards, David
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

Brian,
The 20x60s may have a serial number with the first two numbers being the year of manufacture. This is fairly ommon with Soviet and Russian optics and also other makers.
The codes on Nikon, Minolta and other lenses, Hassleblad, Kodak etc. also mean something.

David.
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Post by mike a feist »

I have just acquired an 8.5X 40 binocular from my mother. I used this some years ago to look at a particular comet and found it to be pretty good, and it has stood in a cabinet ever since.
Basic porro prism model with the trade-mark "Scope" - partly in a long-ellipse- and called Executive model 3846 fully coated optics with the word Japan on hinge-end and there are half concealed numbers were the hinge joins the actual optical tubes....and it has leather straps plus a leather cast. I have always been interested in it because of the unusual magnification.....still pretty good except that when I turned down the rubber eyecups they became detachable rubber rings has had perished!
I believe that they were previouasly owned by my paternal grandmother.
Have you come across this make before?
I also acquired a tiny (I guess) 2x15 opera-glass marked "made in France" but no makers name-immaculate condition with fine almost wonderfully coloured almost metallic interference- patterning. Of course like most galilean opera-glasses do not have adjusterment for separte eyes. either focus or distance apart ...but rather "fun" to use! maf
David Frydman
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Post by David Frydman »

Dear Mike,
I cannot at the moment recall the name Scope, although it has a familiar ring.
If it says fully coated optics I would guess 1950s, 1960s. What colour are the coatings. Light blue, dark blue. Have the coatings on the eyepieces come off? Are some surfaces uncoated internally,i.e. white?

Is the O.G. fully 40mm clear aperture? Is it 8.5x, compare it with a well known 8x30 or 8x40. Or measure it.

The opera glass is of a fairly common spec. I have a similar 2x15, which I use as a booster for binoculars or scope. Just one side behind eyepiece.
Mine is a poor condition black onre. Yours is much nicer. But opera glasses of all types are very common and frequently inhabit charity shops.

Do the binoculars have a Japanese optical institute yellow sticker with numbers and figures? Is there an oval sticky patch where this might have been. Is the hidden figure a partial Jplus japanese mark?

Very best regards,
David

Does it say Made in Occupied Japan.
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