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Vintage Zeiss 10x56 Night Owls experiences?

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#1 dougspeterson

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:38 PM

I have the opportunity to get a pair used. Apparently the superachromat design cuts the chromatic abberation in half, whereas the new FL series is apochromatic. People are saying the FLs are the first version since the 90s Night Owls that actually equal or improved upon them. The Victories in between were less appreciated. I had a late 12x56 Victory and it seemed fine to me, in fact extraordinary contrast and complete absence of scattered light on the moon, but I have not been in position to A-B the various premiums.

BTW, I also have a 7x42 Classic and once owned the 8x56 Classic rubber ribbed. I love the former, the later was cool but the ocular lenses seemed a tad small making the eye interface not so cool.

#2 Mark9473

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:16 PM

With the experiences you've already had, you just have to get these binoculars, to let us know how they stack up.

#3 chris charen

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 11:39 PM

My local optics dealer had one several months about 2 years ago. I used it several times during the day for extended periods. Lovely optics with minimal distortions and CA. Contrast was superb. Ergonomically perfect to hold. They have fixed winged eyecups so that may be the only negative. I regret not buying them at the time however I brought a 10x58 Minox ED instead which was equally impressive for a slightly lesser price.
The Night Owls are very collectable. He sold them for about $US800 at the time.
I would strongly suggest you buy them.
'Review' below on them.

Chris.


http://www.oregonpho...ml#anchor100108

#4 FrankL

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 08:56 AM

I've had one in like-new condition for about three months and I really like it. It gives an extremely bright and color neutral view and stray light control is exceptional. Image goes a little soft at the edges but it still has big sweet spot with great sharpness. I can see how eye-glass wearers would not like the winged rubber eyecups, but for me, a non-eyeglass wearer, they are as good as it gets. There's a little CA at the very edge if you look for it but center CA control is quite good only being evident in extreme contrast views such as looking at a dark object against a snowscape. Its CA control is noticeably better than that of my Nikon 10X35 EII. BUT BE WARNED - The binocular is really heavy (1,445 gr) and not pleasant to carry for distances; the focus wheel is miserably designed and not all that easy to access; it's not nearly as comfortable to hold as either the 7X42 BGAT or 8X56 BGAT both of which are superb in that regard.

#5 dougspeterson

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 01:57 PM

Does anyone have a link to the original Zeiss literature?

#6 FrankL

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 02:01 PM

Does anyone have a link to the original Zeiss literature?

This is the best I have been able to find - a link to an older Swiss site: http://www.waffenzim...optik/zeiss.htm

#7 Paul G

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 03:40 PM

If memory serves, the neck strap lugs are in an uncomfortable position for hand holding, poked into my hands. Can't remember which Night Owl I used but I noticed it as uncomfortable after 30 seconds of use.

#8 FrankL

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 04:13 PM

If memory serves, the neck strap lugs are in an uncomfortable position for hand holding, poked into my hands. Can't remember which Night Owl I used but I noticed it as uncomfortable after 30 seconds of use.

On the 10X56, at any rate, there are no protruding lugs. The neck strap attaches to pins located in a square opening inset into the body right behind the oculars. This would cause a problem only if you tried to hold the binocular directly behind the oculars which seems pretty awkward to me.

#9 dougspeterson

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 04:19 PM

I see one went for nearly $1500 on ePlay in rather ratty smelly condition although the optics are claimed to be clean. here

Mine have a pretty clean body but a couple cosmetic optical issues: a .8mm dig one objective max extent, a couple mm gradient apparent coating deterioration near the center one ocular. The latter might be an issue on the moon, but is not my good eye. I did check with Zeiss and received an estimate in 5 minutes by email, 250-350$ and six weeks special order to replace the rear elements.

After a little friendly negotiation I paid $600 with like new Zeiss leather case, new Zeiss strap, homebrewed platform with straps, and a Gitzo ball head I'll sell. I think I did pretty good.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 5134079-zeiss 010 sml.jpg


#10 Mark9473

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 04:30 AM

I think you got a good deal. They look nice too. I doubt you'll see much effect from the defects you've mentioned.

#11 FrankL

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 08:06 AM

Great price. I'd be very interested to hear your impressions after using this binocular.

#12 Mr Onions

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 11:35 AM

What can't Zeiss offer a proper tripod adapter and one that doesn't cost the price of the actual binocuars.
Surely they could have put a thread in the bottom of the hinge for an L shaped adapter.

#13 Pinewood

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 06:25 PM

Hello Doug,

If you like the binocular, the price was very nice.

Clear skies,
Arthur

#14 dougspeterson

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 11:41 PM

I like the binos.

Initial indications are good. Comparison at 40x (4x Zeiss monocular plugged into rubber eyeguard) shows good round behaviour of glints thru focus, and near diffraction limited points on distant ball of aluminum foil source. Contrast on wood fence shadows in broad daylight is superior to Brunton 10x56 (nonphasecoated with a couple uncoated prism surfaces otherwise FMC). Jury still out on whether the slight problem with one ocular coating contributes any loss of contrast--in other words I don't think so. Waiting for the mooon.

Chromatic abberation does seem less than ordinary achromat.

I like the price.

I like the idea that these binos will be used, with performance as if they are new, not treasured closet queens.


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