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Carl Zeiss Jena 10X50mm

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#1 hapo

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 12:33 PM

Hi everyone,

I've just found an used Carl Zeiss Jena multicoated 10X50mm binocular for 70$. Does it worth buying it? I have no image of it, but the owner says that it is in very good condition.

Another option I found is a Zenith 16X50mm, with porro prisms. The owner says it's only coated. This one is for 110$.

Which one is better? I would say that the Carl Zeiss one, but I need your opinion.

#2 holger_merlitz

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 08:15 PM

The 10x50 Zeiss Jena is excellent, as long as you don't need to use it with glasses (eye-relief is short). In good condition, they easily cost 200 $, so you should get it. Just make sure that you don't get one of the Japanese 'fakes'. More Info on that is on my Web-page

www.holgermerlitz.de

Regards,
Holger

#3 ngc6475

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 10:34 PM

I'd like to try a pair of Zeiss Jena binos sometime. They appear to be handsome and well made binos, but the eye relief issue has me concerned because I wear glasses. I wonder if eye relief is equally short with the 10x50 Dekarem and Jenoptem binoculars?

#4 holger_merlitz

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 01:11 AM

The Jenoptem and Dekarem are actually of identical specification and most likely identical in all details of construction except for the name tags. The question is whether you urgently need your glasses during binocular observation. If so, you still have the chance to use CZJ binoculars of the later generations, like the Octarem 8x50 or Dodecarem 12x50 (later called Nobilem), the military 7x40 DF or EDF, or the roof-prism Notarem B series, any of them having reasonable eye-relief. You may compare their specifications in the catalogue of 1985 which is in scanned form on my web-page.

Regards,
Holger

#5 hapo

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 01:49 AM

Thanks Holger for the information from your site.

I don't use glasses. I found this binoculars on a local club web page, a local "astromart". What should I be aware of before buying these binoculars beside the fake/original problem? I think I'll just call the seller and ask him about your indications to see if it is original or not.

#6 holger_merlitz

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 03:21 AM

As always, if you have to order something that you can't check in advance, be aware that there may be defects: Out of collimation, dirt or fogging inside etc. I suggest you to talk to the seller and make clear that he has to take it back in case you find any defects he has forgotten to tell. If he is sober, then he will accept (you may offer to share the shipping costs in that case), but if he refuses, better be careful. A collimation and/or cleaning of the binocular by a professional repair shop may cost around 100 $.

Regards,
Holger

#7 hapo

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 03:44 AM

Thanks again for the advice. I'll just call and see what it is about.

But what do you think about the Zenith binoculars. They are as new, with certificates and the seller says they are collimated.

#8 Bratman2

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 10:10 AM

I don't know anything about the Zeniths but CZJ are very nice binos, multicoated and if optically good they would be a steal. I think you would have to spend a great deal of money to beat an Octarem out, I have a mint pair that couldn't be pryed from my hands.

#9 ngc6475

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 11:13 PM

The Jenoptem and Dekarem are actually of identical specification and most likely identical in all details of construction except for the name tags. The question is whether you urgently need your glasses during binocular observation. If so, you still have the chance to use CZJ binoculars of the later generations, like the Octarem 8x50 or Dodecarem 12x50 (later called Nobilem), the military 7x40 DF or EDF, or the roof-prism Notarem B series, any of them having reasonable eye-relief. You may compare their specifications in the catalogue of 1985 which is in scanned form on my web-page.

Regards,
Holger


This is great stuff! Now, if the 10x50 Dekarem and Jenoptem are, in essence, the same binocular, are the 8x30 Jenoptem and Deltrintem also the same?

#10 holger_merlitz

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 12:38 AM

Yes, as were the 7x50 Binoctem and Jenoptem. Identical they were only if produced during the same production run, of cause. Over the years various modifications in mechanical construction were implemented to improve efficiency during production.

Initially, these three classical models were developed as early as the 1930s, that time often with individual focusing for military use (and called 'Deltrentis', 'Dekaris' etc). After WWII the Zeiss Jena plant was disassembled by the Soviets and started essentially from scratch by the late 1940s. Around that time the oculars of the 8x30, 10x50 and 7x50 were improved. Since that time until about 1995, when Docter stopped their production, their optical construction remained unchanged. The coating was gradually improved over the decades and in 1978 the well known, amber colored, multi-layer coating was introduced, that time among the best coatings seen on the market. It seems that some Western importers found their names too complicated and asked to replace Deltrintem, Binoctem and Dekarem with Jenoptem (since they were made in Jena). During the 1980s 100000 or more binoculars were produced each year, a highly successful mass product (that also sheds some light on the attitude of the consumers that time: They were willing to spend some money on optics and in turn received proper quality, whereas nowadays the market for the masses is flooded with cheap and de-collimated products for 20 Euro, to be found in Walmart or Lidl). After re-unification, Docter took over the binoculars production plant and they kept on producing these three devices in their 'Classical' series. But with the new brand name 'Docter' instead Zeiss, and since they looked old fashioned whereas consumers asked for the more elegant roof prisms, they did not sell any more and the production of perhaps the most successful line of binoculars in history ended around 1995.

Best regards,
Holger

#11 ngc6475

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 10:40 AM

This would explain why Russian binos are often offered as having "Zeiss quality" optics or as being "identical" to certain models of Zeiss binoculars. The claims are, of course, hyperbole, but there is a grain of truth buried in the stories. Thank you for the information!

Walter

Yes, as were the 7x50 Binoctem and Jenoptem. Identical they were only if produced during the same production run, of cause. Over the years various modifications in mechanical construction were implemented to improve efficiency during production.

Initially, these three classical models were developed as early as the 1930s, that time often with individual focusing for military use (and called 'Deltrentis', 'Dekaris' etc). After WWII the Zeiss Jena plant was disassembled by the Soviets and started essentially from scratch by the late 1940s. Around that time the oculars of the 8x30, 10x50 and 7x50 were improved. Since that time until about 1995, when Docter stopped their production, their optical construction remained unchanged. The coating was gradually improved over the decades and in 1978 the well known, amber colored, multi-layer coating was introduced, that time among the best coatings seen on the market. It seems that some Western importers found their names too complicated and asked to replace Deltrintem, Binoctem and Dekarem with Jenoptem (since they were made in Jena). During the 1980s 100000 or more binoculars were produced each year, a highly successful mass product (that also sheds some light on the attitude of the consumers that time: They were willing to spend some money on optics and in turn received proper quality, whereas nowadays the market for the masses is flooded with cheap and de-collimated products for 20 Euro, to be found in Walmart or Lidl). After re-unification, Docter took over the binoculars production plant and they kept on producing these three devices in their 'Classical' series. But with the new brand name 'Docter' instead Zeiss, and since they looked old fashioned whereas consumers asked for the more elegant roof prisms, they did not sell any more and the production of perhaps the most successful line of binoculars in history ended around 1995.

Best regards,
Holger



#12 EdZ

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 10:52 AM

Not a binocular mini-review, I know, but worthy of a place in our library. This thread will be linked.

edz

#13 holger_merlitz

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 08:28 PM


----------------------------------------------------------
This would explain why Russian binos are often offered as having "Zeiss quality" optics or as being "identical" to certain models of Zeiss binoculars...
-----------------------------------------------------------


This is true, Walter. The Russian BPC 8x30 (as well as the individually focused 8x30 'Tank Commander' devices) are said to be exact copies of the Deltrintem, and I assume the same holds for the BPC 7x50 as a Binoctem copy. Unfortunately, the glass they use is yellowish (whether intentionally or not: nobody seems to know), and the mechanics is less precise than that of the originals. But the Soviets also developed genuine models, like the 7x30 and 10x42 BPO (with these huge oculars) and the wide-angle Kronos BPWC series.

Regards,
Holger

#14 ngc6475

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 08:44 PM

Thanks, Holger! You have been a big help. I have been curious about the quality of Soviet/Russian binos for some years now, and the attraction of Carl Zeiss Jena binos...with their promise of excellent optics and construction...has been hard to resist. Your patient explanations have gone far in defining the background and characteristics of these fine binoculars. You're a real asset to CN!

#15 BillC

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 11:32 PM

Unfortunately, the glass they use is yellowish (whether intentionally or not: nobody seems to know



Members of the urban legend battalion who want to squeeze every ounce of mystique out of their fine European binoculars will insist that the yellow hue is there to increase contrast in foggy or lowlight conditions.

However, while that IS a by-product of the hue, I think you will find that the origin of the tint is somewhat less glamorous—like there is too much lead or arsenic in the concoction. Sorry, I forget the culprit. I have also forgotten the formula of the glass types in question. If, however, you were to dissect one of those binoculars, you would probably find a rather robust doublet or triplet in the eyelens that was quite yellow.

When a binocular needs to have contrast enhanced, most lens designers chose to meet that need with removable filters and not a poor choice in glass types.

Cheers,

Bill

P.S. All that glitters isn’t gold; all that’s European is made in Eur . . .

#16 holger_merlitz

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 01:21 AM

> If, however, you were to dissect one of those binoculars, you would probably find a rather robust doublet or triplet in the eyelens that was quite yellow......

--------------------------------------


Fan Tao has done that and found such a yellow lens element in his BPO. Another urban legend claims that the yellow cast is the result of radiation resistant glass types. I never believed that, initially, but was informed later by Albrecht Koehler (who is optical designer at Docter) that this was the case at least with the East German EDF 7x40: Its optical formula required two lens elements of glass type SF3, and these flints are quite sensitive to radioactivity. They turn black when exposed to radiation. But Schott had produced a radiation resistant version of that, called SF3R, which had a yellow cast but otherwise the same optical properties. Whether the same story holds for Russian glasses is questionable. After all, the EDF itself was radioactive - it used a tritium cell to illuminate the reticle, and therefore it is understandable that its designers had to make sure to protect its optics. In case of the Russians, there was no such tritium and hence no need for that SF3R. I also tend to believe they just had no access to fully neutral glass types and by the way saved the extra production of yellow filters ...

Regards,
Holger

#17 Steve Napier

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 09:45 AM

Edge of field sharpness of the 10x50 Dekarems is APALLING.
The stars look like seagulls at the edge,7.3 degrees is too large for a 10x binocular.Funny,I never noticed that yellow tint until I bought the 7x42 FL series,now it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Steve.

#18 hapo

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:35 AM

Hi everyone,

I have here some images with the Jenoptem I am trying to buy. You can see the colour of the coatings and the general look of the binoculars. There seems to be some dust on the lenses, but not a big problem. And the mechanics seem allright, only a few scratches on the body paint. What do you think about them?

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#19 hapo

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:36 AM

Another picture

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#20 hapo

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:38 AM

another one

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#21 hapo

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:39 AM

and the last one

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#22 ngc6475

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:58 AM

Very nice, Hapo! They're in great shape, considering they are a few years old. Do you use them often?

#23 holger_merlitz

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 08:19 PM

They are looking used but that's ok for the price. Still you will have to test them. What you can't see on the picture is whether they are collimated, whether there is fog inside on the prisms, whether the focusing is smoothly and without play and all that...

I can't read the serial number. Once you know that one, you can determine the year of construction using the table:

http://www.europa.co...pe/zeissbin.txt

With regards,
Holger

#24 Claudio

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 05:21 AM

Edge of field sharpness of the 10x50 Dekarems is APPALLING. The stars look like seagulls at the edge,7.3 degrees is too large for a 10x binocular.


Steve, I think that the word appalling is too ungenerous, members who don’t know the Dekarem could image that its blurred edges are disturbing the view. Blurred edges in a wide angle binocular are objectionable when disturb the view of objects in the central areas ( let’s say 40 degrees of AFOV). In my opinion, the USABLE field of view in the Dekarem is wide enough to avoid disturbs from its blurred edges, and anyway wider than in some current celebrated WA binoculars. I find that in the Dekarem this optical limitation is still tolerable (though I generally prefer narrow but well corrected fields of view), at least for daytime use. I haven’t any Dekarem at hand, maybe Holger could tell how much FOV is usable in this binocular.

Colour cast in some Dekarem series is VERY slightly amber, neither yellowish or yellowish green as in most Russian binoculars (where perhaps the first reason of this CHOICE is to lower the chromatic aberration, and the second one is to cut UV light), and I believe it doesn’t depend on the glass but on the coatings of some Dekarem versions.
Swarovsky has produced for decades binoculars with much more amber cast, and also the Nikon Venturer has a bit of amber cast, though in this glass it has been observed not very often by users.

Hapo, your binocular is original, I mean not an “Oriental Zeiss Jena” (read the article in the Holger Merlitz’s website). There are some dents on the prism cover plates that suggest to inspect carefully the prisms by looking through the objective lenses. Look also for fungus.
Doublets could show one or two small imperfections in the cement, similar to little (1-3 mm.) reflecting snow flocks. Not nice to see, but as far as I know they neither increase in size nor disturb the view.

At that price, if prisms are not chipped and axes are collimated , no doubt I would buy it.

Regards
Claudio

#25 holger_merlitz

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Posted 07 May 2005 - 08:41 PM

>>I haven’t any Dekarem at hand, maybe Holger could tell how much FOV is usable in this binocular...

.............................................


Sure, Claudio:

Close to the edge the image quality is in fact very low. But what I like is its absolute sharp central region. Within the innermost 40% (radial) of the field the stars (except the very bright ones) are absolute pinpoint, comparable to the Nikon E II. From 60% onwards the star images begin to appear increasingly blurred, but this is not so apparent because out there the resolution of the human eye is going down as well. Only if you forcefully focus attention towards the edge of the huge field, the 'seagulls' look offending. During daytime observations, about 70% of the image is usable without any obvious blurr.

For a handheld binocular this is all right, as I think. You will always shift the object of interest into the central region of the field. If mounted on a tripod, however, one tends to use the eyes to scan the field, and here the image should be of decent quality in the outer regions as well. In this case, it would have been better to stop down the Dekarem to 6 degs. or so. But I like it as it is: If well collimated, the Dekarem provides very impressive views of the night sky. I generally prefer the later versions with multi-coating (after 1978) since they have got a better contrast and color rendition, and among those I haven't yet seen anyone with yellow cast.

Last not least: There are still repair shops where such a device can be cleaned and collimated so that it can be of use and of fun for many years to come.

Regards,
Holger


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