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my short review of SARD 6x42

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#1 Binomania.it

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 12:44 AM

Hi to all, i've published on my website a short review of an exemplar of SARD 6x42. If you want, you can find here, with google translate..
http://translate.goo...php&sl=it&tl=en
Best Regards from Italy
Piergiovanni

#2 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 01:19 AM

"Calcium Fuoride"? Surely they meant magnesium flouride. Probably a mistranslation.

I have experienced several Sard 6 x 42 specimens, and have made Delrin focus grips to replace cracked plastic originals. WW II plastics were inferior.

Yes, it is a shame that there are no modern equivalents of wide field, large exit pupil WW II types such as the Sard 6 x 42, the 10 deg B&L wide angle 7 x 50, the several types of Zeiss 8 x 60, or the Nikko 10 x 70 x 7 deg.


The Sard 6 x 42 and the B&L 7x50 10 deg. were made for aircraft reconaissance to find U-boats charging their batteries on the surface at night.

#3 Binomania.it

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 01:31 AM

Hi Gordon, many thanks for your answer,. Regarding Calcium fluoride i've find that during the 1936 Alexander Smakula, of Carl Zeiss, create a sublimation deposit of Calcium Fluoride and Magnesium Fluorite , so..i don't know if it's true that the Sard had a treatment with Calcium fluoride, but this fact could not impossible.
have you a reference to insert in my article about the use of binoculars to find the submarine?
Best
Pier

#4 Simon S

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 08:02 AM

Fantastic instrument I really want, no need a pair. Just so hard to find over here.

#5 Jay_Bird

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 01:38 PM

Thanks for posting this, Pier! The google translator worked well and I enjoyed reading your review, and seeing your friend's beautiful restorations which must result from considerable skill and patience.

My non-technical impressions are that in daytime the SARD 6x42 are bright and offer a comfortable wide view with a sense of very high center sharpness, and easy panning. One can even "pan with your eyes" inside the wide view a little before moving or re-aiming the binocular. At night the rolling ball effect shows up when panning the skies, and a little loss in sharpness at edges is noticed, but the wide 12° view is enjoyable under dark skies any time of year. The impression of a very sharp and contrasty view holds for looking at the moon, too.

As a teen-ager I first saw M27 in my dad's SARD 6x42 from a dark site in eastern USA, and a few weeks ago I picked it out on a good night at a local semi-dark site 1/2 hour from the edge of Las Vegas. The US Navy B&L Mark 28 7x50 of similar age is more uniformly sharp to edges, but offers about 7° field of view compared to the SARD's 12°. The texture of the Milky Way, or large star associations (like all of Lyra, or Perseus, the Beehive, or Coma Berenices, or Orion's belt with M42, Rigel and Saiph in the same view) are also good views with the wide SARD. Despite the SARD's slight astronomical shortcomings (rolling ball, bloated stars at edge of field) I haven't found a more recent extra-wide 7x35 bino that shows as much as well as the SARD, or is as comfortable.

Finally I'll mention the Square D Corporation, at the edge of New York City, who built these wartime binoculars marked "SARD".

Very enjoyable review, Pier. Jay

#6 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 05:19 PM

In 1966 or 1967, I was fortunate to visit Irvine Gardner ( See the biographies in the ATM books from Scientific American and from Willmann-Bell). We discussed his postwar visit to the Carl Zeiss factory, before Russians came into Jena, about the 25 and 40 x 200, the 25 x 100, etc. I had done archival research (later used by Kuhne, without credit, in the Seeger book(s)) and he mentioned that Smakula was teaching at MIT. I later visited Dr. Smakula at his home, which I recall to have been in Newton, Mass. He was Ukranian by birth. There were various antireflection materials and combinations tried before and during the war. The most common German WW II coating is cryolite, which is soluble in warm water. Caution! It is slightly more efficient, but much less durable, than magnesium flouride . I recall that MgF2 was pioneered by A. F. Turner at Bausch and Lomb. I spoke briefly on the telephone with him in 1966, when I had a summer job at Xerox in Rochester. It was widely used in the US during WW II.

A good reference for WW II wide angle US binocular development is NDRC Division 16 Summary report, which is something of a collector's item. It is a large bound book, which covers several optical topics, with chapters by the leading US experts of that period. Google it. I believe that there is some reference to it in the Abrahams forum. I have not seen my copy for years. It came from the CalTech library, through Dave Jones . They had decided to use shelf space for other purposes.. I believe that may be where I read about the Navy requirement for wide angle binoculars for nighttime aircraft searches for surfaced U-Boats . You will note that the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics (? Now Naval Air Systems Command??) contract number appears on the coverplates of the Sard 6 x 42 and on the 10 degree B&L 7 x 50. Perhaps one might research that contract in an archive. There is a cutaway drawing of a 6 x 42 in a 1948(?) American Rifleman ( the journal of the powerful gun lobbyists who are blocking civiized gun control in the US) article by the Reicherts: Robert and Elsa. There are some mistakes and misconceptions in the text. A local collector showed me his unusual collection of several variations of the Sard 6 x 42. The optics were the same, I believe, but he had a variety of body styles, which I had never before seen. He passed away about three years ago. RIP.( But he was an insatiable competitor). The variety was probably to fit various mounts in different aircraft.
I had a fixed focus 6 x 42 made for the P-61 Black Widow night fighting aircraft. I sold it at RTMC. A mistake. Fan Tao reported on this model in his website, which someone in this forum noted has/had vanished. That binocular is in the Abrahams forum. Googling will likely pull it out.

Somewhere, I have or had a 10 or 20 page report on the B&L 10 degree wide angle 7 x 50, including the complete optical specifications: diameters, glasses, thicknesses, radii, and spacings, personnel involved, motivation,contract numbers etc. It may have been there that I read about the air search for nighttime surfaced u-boats charging their batteries, or perhaps some other person involved in that period may have said that. Available were the body molds, free of cost, had I called a few weeks earlier, after hearing that B&L were permanently stopping binocular production at Rochester, in 1972 or 1973. They had been scrapped, I was told . I have three of that binocular, and a similar number of the Sard 6 x 42. I have made Delrin eyecups for both types , and sold a few pairs of those eyecups . Gene Lucas has a 6 x 42 so equipped . He acquired the binocular from me about 1982.

There is a 10 x 70 wide angle binocular in the Coleman NavOrd postwar report. Google and/or Abrahams forum. Its rear looks very much like the B&L 7 x 50 10 deg wide angle. I suppose that it was based on that binocular. That 10 x 70 is very rare. No collector of whom I know has seen one. One collector told me that a former employee of Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia(a defunct facility, which was the Army optics center) had two examples .

Have you approached Ducati about any drawings and optical specifications which may survive, for the 10 x 80 x 7 deg, with 20 deg. deviation, a Zeiss design for the Kriegsmarine? Ducati made some of those during and after the war. There was information about this in the Abrahams forum. I have seen one or two specimens of the Ducati product in a very large and varied collection. I showed one of the Zeiss production, in a mount I made, in photos posted in this forum about two years ago. Those binoculars are a fine design, well executed. A pleasure to use. The prisms are modified Porro II. There is conflicting testimony about the eyepiece elements. I have not disassembled those eyepieces.

#7 Pinewood

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 05:37 PM

Hello Piergiovanni,

Congratulations on obtaining the the Sard 6x42. You will observe that the prism housing is engraved, "Bu. Aero U.S. Navy," or Bureau of Aeronautics, United States Navy. That means it was designed for use by naval aircraft for observation and reconnaissance.

Happy collecting,
Arthur

#8 ronharper

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 12:16 AM

Peirs,
Thank you for calling your very enjoyable review to our attention.

Gordon,
Thank you for sharing the info from your optical life.

I would love to try out some more binoculars of this vintage and military history. I had a head turning experience in Utah a few years back, where, hiking several miles in deserted canyon country to some ancient cave paintings, I found the paintings fenced off at some distance. But, in a 50cal ammo box, was some kind of B&L WW2 7x50 to view the paintings with. The paintings were incredible, and so was the binocular! Where in the bloody Dickens do you find these wonderful WWII things? (Hmm, I guess you are competitive collectors, so I don't actually expect an answer.)
Ron

#9 Binomania.it

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 12:55 AM

Hi Gordon, and hi to all.
I want to thank you for all the important information you have given to me, including that of ducati. In the next weeks I will publish other brief reports, 'cause Mazzoleni, who is the ex- owner of Generalhit, (the company closed in December 2009), has begun to restore the binoculars of various ialian collectors. I have seen some real gems in his laboratory and I will send you more information soon. Many thanks to all.Piergiovanni

#10 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 01:45 AM

There must yet be some of the more desirable WW II types in the hands of the disappearing number of veterans of the war or their families . I note that several dealers continue to find and sell sought-after specimens Some of the buyers are in Europe and Asia. EBay is one place to look, but that is well known, so prices are much higher than formerly. For more than ten years, it has been relatively easy to buy and sell at higher prices than in past decades,or to find information from books on the subject, complete with rarity ratings by big collectors. As you may have noted , the prices for some specimens, before the recession , reached levels which only the well-off can afford to spend on a handheld binocular. Many probably only collect, rather than use regularly. Some have said that their main interest is historical ( investment?).

Before the coming of the internet, the previous major change was when gun collectors began to notice binoculars. Perhaps gun prices had inflated too much. The gun shows may still be good places to look. I found some interesting things that way at the now defunct big gun show in Los Angeles in the late 1970's or early 1980's. That was before some deep pockets appeared. In general, I found gun shows and their attendees depressing.

Should you find a highly desirable specimen, please buy it and then sell it to me a low price, preferably much less than what you paid.






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