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Vintage 1.25" University Optics (Japan) 8.4mm--21mm Ortho Zoom Eyepiece Sold!

Price - $45.00

Ad Number: 258498

Posted: 11 Jun 2021

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For sale is a vintage 1.25" University Optics 8.4mm to 21mm orthoscopic zoom eyepiece, made in Japan, that I've had since the mid-1970s. I am the original owner.

The zoom function operates smoothly but not without viscosity, changing magnification continuously as you rotate the stylishly retro-looking fluted ring of alternating black-anodized grooves & raised bare-aluminum ribs. The volcano top section extends outward --- and the apparent angular size of the field-of-view (FOV) actually increases --- as one mores towards higher power (shorter focal lengths); be advised that at low powers (e.g., longer focal lengths in the 14mm to 21mm range), the apparent angular FOV is quite narrow, and the edge of the internal field stop is not sharply defined like it is at the higher powers (8.4mm to 14mm).

For these reasons, when I used it often back in the mid/late 1970s, it was primarily as a high magnification eyepiece -- only zooming out to low power to acquire the object of interest, then zooming back in to its higher power range. Without eyeglasses, it is comfortable to use throughout its zoom range, in fact surprisingly so at the highest power (10.5mm to 8.4mm) end of the range as it manages to maintain eye relief similar to what it offers at low power -- where it is quite comfortable without glasses, but probably not adequate for anyone who must observe while wearing eyeglasses.

See the photos to get a sense of its external / cosmetic condition. The glass lenses appear to be clean in general, although a small fleck of internal debris near the outer edge of the FOV (and 2 or 3 even smaller dust particles, all presumably sitting on some internal optical surface) come into focus at about the 13mm focal length mark, but aren't really noticeable elsewhere throughout the zoom range.

Due to the low power range having such a narrow apparent FOV, this vintage ortho zoom eyepiece is not likely to take the place of whatever low-power, wide-field-of-view eyepieces you enjoy using currently. But if you would prefer to zoom out to low power to acquire objects (instead of having to change eyepieces) that you wish to observe in the magnification range attainable with 11mm to 8.4mm focal length eyepieces, then it's possible you might appreciate this vintage University Optics zoom.

At $45 obo plus shipping, I've priced it mainly for its 'convenience' value --- as well as it being a something of a novelty item, even back in its day ... given that 45+ years ago, optical zooms were much less common than they are today. And as far as its aesthetics are concerned, it certainly does "looks the part" of having stepped right out of the American space program's formative Mercury/Gemini/Apollo years!

PayPal is preferred, and I will cover the PP fee.


  • Condition Used
  • Location Los Angeles, California USA

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