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#1 apollo13

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 12:09 PM

I recently purchased a couple of bins off eBay.

The first (arrived) is a set of Canadian Military Binoculars. These are (made to Canada's spec) 7X50 Pentax Marine BIF's. They are stamped SO OPS in yellow down the side of each barrel. I am now sure these are mil-spec late model Pentax Marine Bins although with the lack of reference material on the net, I had questions on the exact version at first.

It is in excellent used shape with the usual minor paint chips that come from use. There are faint cleaning marks on the left eyepiece that are unseen in use. They are in great shape considering they are issue glass, having no fog and perfect objectives! I discovered the left eyepiece focus scale is off and noticed that a small mark has been etched into it's barrel to indicate the infinity setting. This field expedient fix works fine. They have a JB21 stamp on the hinge indicating final assembly by Kokisha Co. Ltd., Tokyo.

There were 3 sets of these and I bought the nicer pair issued to SO OPS (a Canadian military police support unit in Germany). This particular pair was issued and used in the 70's and 80's so I guess historically it's a Cold War era bin. I had a chance to get out with it today and was very impressed. Compared to my Steiner 7X50 M-22 Issue bins, no appreciable difference in performance was found, except the weight. The Canadian bins felt like they weighed twice as much as the Steiners.

Purchased as a knock around pair for my farm truck (the Steiner M-22's are getting very pricy to replace if lost/stolen), I am very happy with the purchase and can't wait to look at the night sky with them.

The second pair on the way is a very nice pair of used Nikon 7X50 IF HP WP Tropicals. They will be the match to my 10X70's of the same line. I'll post on them in this thread soon after they arrive sometime late next week!

Attached is a pic of the Canadian/Pentax bins.

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#2 Mark9473

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 12:41 PM

They certainly look very nice with that fat prism housing.

#3 apollo13

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 02:41 PM

Thank you! I Love binoculars with that big fat look to them.

Was just outside following the slow circles of some buzzards! Really great views, very sharp, but I sure would like to take that ranging reticule out of these bins. Wonder how difficult that would be and what would I screw up in doing so? :confused:

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#4 Simon S

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 06:21 AM

I think that if you did remove the reticule you would notice a very slight shift in focal length. The reticule will most likely be mounted between the eyepiece and the lower prisms hypotenuse. However this binocular may have a field flattener lens, that incorporates the reticule. In this case you will not be able to proceed with removal as the shift in focus will not allow you to focus on infinity,

#5 apollo13

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 06:50 AM

Thank you so much Simon! In that case, I can live with it. The view through these is really good now, I don't want to screw it up. I looked at some beautiful thunder clouds yesterday and then watched the moonrise last night. I'm very happy with these and can't wait to compare them to the Tropicals coming this week.

Here's a pic of them from the seller's ad:

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#6 Binojunky

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 08:11 AM

At Starfest in Ontario Canada this year at the swap tables we had a guy with a pile of ex Canadian forces binos, most were tired to say the least, one thing about Canadian forces surplus, when they get rid of it they have had their moneys worth out of it,the pair you show seem to be in far better shape then the samples I looked at,DA.

#7 apollo13

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 08:37 AM

I think mine was in better shape because it went to an MP unit in Germany and wasn't carried in the field much. I got lucky! Mine are painted black as opposed to the dull green and black of most I've seen.

#8 planetmalc

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 08:45 AM

.........can't wait to compare them to the Tropicals coming this week.


Unless you've got a VERY flat face, you'll probably be ditching those eyecups.

#9 apollo13

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 09:18 AM

LOL! Yes I know. I already swapped out the 10X70's and have a spare set of Prostar eyecups I just put on the 7X50's as they just arrived!

Wow!!! The views through the Tropicals blow the Pentax away! Cleaner, crisper beautiful color rendition.

Now the downside....
The top plates and the screws have a heavy sealant like grease around the lip and a dab over the screws. The screws on the hinge also have this applied as if the previous owner didn't know these were waterproof and wiped a sealant into the places likely to leak. The screws look undisturbed so I think this is an external application.

The glass is perfect, no presence of oils, the collimation is fine, mechanics correct...it's just this grease that is concerning me. I don't want to send them back as they seem operationally fine and are hard to find used.

The sealant is hard to wipe off and appears old.

Anyone ever seen this before?


#10 apollo13

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 10:16 AM

It sealant is coming right out with a toothpick lightly incised around the edges. I looked at the seller's site and this was the only bins he had so I see no malice and believe this was a well meaning attempt to seal the bins for use on a boat by the orig owner. I light checked the barrels and eyepieces and they are clear and dry. I believe there was no intrusion.

Theses are in really great shape! Only a couple of paint rubs on high spots. Came with a mint case as well. The caps and instructions are all that's missing.

LOL! Just found a price tag on the bottom of the case dated March 2012 for 49.95...I paid a lot more than that!

I apologize for the bad pics! Even though I own Leica and Nikon 35mm cameras, I have a really cheap digital camera.

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#11 Simon S

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:55 PM

The 7x50 Tropical is great, my favourite 7x50.

#12 apollo13

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 01:04 PM

I know the Pentax's are mil issue and in a little different condition but the view through the Tropicals "knocked my socks off"! Evokes the same feeling I have when I look through the 10X70's! Rich, crisp, three dimensional and just WOW!

#13 Simon S

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 01:20 PM

I have a few on the Pentax marines, 8x30 and 7x35 fantastic binoculars and keepers without a doubt. I wanted a pair of 7x50 marines but never found a pair.

#14 apollo13

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 01:33 PM

I have no doubt that with similar condition Marines and Tropicals the performance would be very close. I think that reticule degrades the Pentax performance some as I can see a brighter ring around it out in the extreme edge of the field on that eyepiece.
The Tropicals just went into my old Zero Halliburton case with the other Nikons but the Marines are right here ready to use. I'll try to get out tonight with them both.

I checked my Nikon tripod adapter on the Pentax but it does not work. The hinge pin is slightly larger on the Marines.

#15 apollo13

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 06:35 PM

Another view: (I need a better camera)

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#16 apollo13

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:02 PM

Walked out before Moonrise and looked around some with the Nikons. I was out about 30 min and my eyes didn't dark adapt much because some distant yard lights were on. We are under fairly dark rural skies but like a lot of rural houses, there is outside lighting that must be turned off in advance of an observing session. I utilized the deep shadows afforded me to block extraneous light and the bins performed well in this quick test.

Nice crisp star fields very similar to the 10X70's, Edge performance is similar as well. I am very happy with these as they are much lighter than my 10X70's yet gave a satisfying experience. Nice views of M-31 and the densely packed Milky Way. The degradation on the edges was hardly noticeable in use and I found myself trying to consciously look for it while scanning. I can handhold these much better and with my declining health lately, the bigger bins were often left in the case. Having to mount them on the tripod, it soon became an issue of diminishing returns. Getting everything ready usually resulted in no observing. The Tropicals have freed me up in that respect. The Steiners, along with their poor ergonomics (IMO), just never gave me impressive views. They were ok but the "WOW" factor just wasn't there like with the big 70mm Nikons. Under a dark sky, the 10x70's leave a ghost ring on your retinas when you lower them from your eyes....they really pull in the light. I now have that Nikon "WOW" factor in a smaller package. I can only imagine how Prostars must be like!!!! These are my all around favorites now. If I could have only one, it would have to be these Tropicals! :)

Hope to get out under the night sky soon with Pentax Marines.

#17 apollo13

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:43 AM

Been out some at night with the Pentax Marines and I think they are ok for stargazing, they are definitely not as crisp as the Nikons. These are 80's vintage military issues and are probably due for a CLA. They are still fine for terrestrial viewing so I'll just use the Tropicals at night till I get around to sending them somewhere...if ever. They are mainly a general use/in the truck bino so I'll probably wait.

#18 steve@37n83.9w

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:21 AM

I can only imagine how Prostars must be like!!!! These are my all around favorites now. If I could have only one, it would have to be these Tropicals! :)



Enjoy your Tropicals, I have looked through the Tropicals and the view is superb. The only difference in the view between the Tropicals and Prostars is the better edges in the Prostars due to the addition of a field flattener lens. I know 7x50s are "old school" but a good 7x50 at a truly dark site is a wonderful combination.

I chuckled to myself when I read your comment about your Nikon and Leica 35mm equipment. I've got several thousand dollars worth of Nikkor lenses that will work the Nikon full frame digital cameras.....yet I use a rather cheap digital camera while those superb Nikkor lenses languish in a Domke camera bag.

Steve

#19 apollo13

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 10:19 AM

A kindred spirit! Mine are resting quietly in a nice Domke as well.... :)






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