Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Classic ZEISS vs. NIKON

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
7 replies to this topic

#1 Glassthrower

Glassthrower

    Vendor - Galactic Stone & Ironworks

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 18459
  • Joined: 07 Apr 2005

Posted 24 June 2007 - 12:12 PM

Above all else, two names in vintage telescopes are associated with unparalleled optical and mechanical quality : Zeiss and Nikon (Nippon Kogaku).

So, let's theoretically compare two vintage telescopes from the best of European optics and the best of Japanese optics.

Let's say we have two small (2.4" to 4") refractors, one Nikon and one Zeiss. Which one has the better objective glass? To make this impossible comparison a little less impossible, let's put aside all consideration for accessories like eyepieces, spectroscopes, mounts, etc. Let's just compare GLASS and MECHANICS (focuser, tube, objective adjustment, etc).

Who has the better objective glass?

Who has the better mechanics?

And most importantly, which one is generally considered to be the most highly-corrected of the two? (color and other aberrations)

I am ignoring eyepieces (which we all know that CZJ is legendary, as is Nikon) because there is always a chance for a collector like myself to eventually own one of these scopes one day, but to own one with all the goodies is beyond the means of some folks, barring a lottery win. If I were to run across a vintage Zeiss or Nikon OTA and buy it, and use my own eyepieces with it (Lanthanum, Nagler) - which would perform better based on the objective glass and mechanics?

Regards and clear classic skies,

MikeG

#2 clintwhitman

clintwhitman

    Caveman

  • *****
  • Posts: 5842
  • Joined: 01 Jan 2007

Posted 24 June 2007 - 01:15 PM

Well when I get a zeiss I will let you know I am sure there really nice!

#3 Preston Smith

Preston Smith

    The Travel Scope Guy

  • *****
  • Posts: 6059
  • Joined: 24 Apr 2005

Posted 24 June 2007 - 02:16 PM

Hi Mike!

Why not consider Unitron and Pentax in this? I'm not hinting that they should, I'm just a newbie to this Classic Scope stuff and I have an inquiring mind that wants to know! :imawake:

#4 Glassthrower

Glassthrower

    Vendor - Galactic Stone & Ironworks

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 18459
  • Joined: 07 Apr 2005

Posted 24 June 2007 - 02:31 PM

Well, my selection for comparison was mostly impulsive and arbitrary.

Excellent "high end" well-corrected classic achromats are not limited to Nikon and Zeiss. Unitron/Polarex, Asahi-Pentax, Goto Kogaku and some others that I forget at the moment are all worth consideration I am sure, but when you look at the names that fetch the biggest prices and are "worshipped", the field narrows to 3 : Unitron, Nikon, and Zeiss. Unitrons appear to be more common (in some cases), thus the scarcer Nikons and Zeiss refractors seem to command more "swag" value. No offense to Unitron, noone would question the quality of Unitron glass. So, let's include them in the comparison.

As above, but now : which has the better glass, Nikon, Unitron, or Zeiss?

#5 PJ Anway

PJ Anway

    Double-Star Observer

  • *****
  • Posts: 3179
  • Joined: 04 Jun 2003

Posted 24 June 2007 - 02:43 PM

I've owned six Zeiss refractors over the years and currently own a Zeiss 63mm f/13 built in 1959. All had superb optics. All were built very well. The 63/840 is best known as the "Telementor". It came in two different mechanical styles - the earlier ones with a rear helical focuser and the later ones with an internal tube attached to the lens, that was moved to achieve focus. I have owned both and both preformed well, but I prefer the helical focuser, though the one with the internal focuser is much more common.

#6 PJ Anway

PJ Anway

    Double-Star Observer

  • *****
  • Posts: 3179
  • Joined: 04 Jun 2003

Posted 24 June 2007 - 02:58 PM

As above, but now : which has the better glass, Nikon, Unitron, or Zeiss?


I have never owned a Nikon refractor and therefore can't comment on them. Though I do own four Nikon widefield eyepieces that I am very fond of.
I have owned both Zeiss and Unitron refractors and from my experience, would have to place Zeiss ahead of Unitron when it comes to both glass or mechanics. Zeiss refractors are built like tanks and weigh considerably more than a Unitron. Zeiss also is well known to have rejected any lens with a Strehl of less than .95, so you are very unlikely to get one that you would not be very pleased with.

PS. Mike, I enjoyed your profile in ATT

#7 trainsktg

trainsktg

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4983
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2005

Posted 24 June 2007 - 03:00 PM

I've heard of 'bad' Unitron glass (bad in the relative sense, although John Siple's 5" has to be masked down with a 1/4" mask to because of a bad edge), but I've never heard of bad Zeiss glass, ever. When the Japanese were upgrading their optical industry pre-WWII, they imported Zeiss opticians to do so. I'm sure the Germans left a few tricks safely hidden up their sleeves.

Keith

#8 PJ Anway

PJ Anway

    Double-Star Observer

  • *****
  • Posts: 3179
  • Joined: 04 Jun 2003

Posted 24 June 2007 - 05:13 PM

Just to note:
APM Telescope has three Zeiss Telementors (63mm/840mm) for sale right now with mounts. Two with manual equatorial mounts for $1200 each and one with a motorized equatorial mount for $2000.

http://www.astromart...ified_id=502072


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics