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Problems aligning your binoculars

binoculars beginner collimation equipment eyepieces observing optics DIY
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#1 big eye

big eye

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 12:20 PM

Most of my binoculars I have purchased are second hand and most are vintage 50 years and older. Used binoculars are almost always in need of servicing cleaning and alignment I find great satisfaction in what looks like rubbish and turning it into gold. Putting the cleaning aside for another topic I would like to discuss alignment issues first assuming you have identified the method of adjusting your binoculars ie. prism placement objective placement or a combination of both. Let me start by talking about our eyes when we look into the distance our eyes are parallel to each other when looking at closer objects our eyes merge inwards this is important to know when aligning our binoculars. Not having professional calibration and collimation equipment at our disposal means relying on only our ability and sensors to achieve this goal. It starts like this placing your binoculars on a very sturdy mount and using the centerline of the binoculars the pivot shaft point it at a distant object about one mile or further away lock the mount tight at this point. Now aline one side I aline the left side first after centering the object in the view now comes the tricky part bringing the image together. Having the left side and centerline of the binoculars now parallel you can start to manipulate the right side using the provided adjustment on you binoculars rotating the concentric rings supporting the objective lens rotate them till the image is as close to alignment as you can get it this of course requires loosening the objective color ring lust a little first. Now you have the alignment close the most accurate way to perfect the alignment is to view throw the binoculars from a distance of about 12 inches or so you should see the target on the left side and the target on the right side will be most likely out of view move your eyes closer to the eyepieces and acquire the target you can now fine adjust the right side to bring the image to alignment. Remember our eyes parallel or inward finding true parallel is very difficult as anything perfect is. so adjust the alignment so the two images are slightly turned inwards this will allow your eyes to relax and not become strained by misalignment trying to achieve parallel alignment can lead to the image being slightly apart in the outer direction leading to very bad eye strain. If you do not feel up to this task or are not confident then get a professional to service your equipment as this process that I have described is at times very frustrating and can lead to disappointment. Thanks for reading my thread and tell us about your methods and experiences regarding binoculars alignment. Ian.


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#2 TOMDEY

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 12:40 PM

I use Bill Cook's Methods and Insights. There's this never-ending contention regarding alignment, which boils down to the proper/complete 3-axis alignment (left, right, and mechanical hinge) vs "conditional alignment", which is only  good for your own personal IPD (Interpupillary Distance). Bill explains all of that in his books, and also provides plenty of discussion regarding how binos are built and how to adjust them. A great read! So far, in my travels... the only two people I've ever encountered who completely understand alignments are Bill Cook and Ralph Dakin. Ralph and I worked together at Bausch & Lomb, back in the days when B&L was a full-service, world-class Optical Shop.   Tom

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  • 30 Bill Cook Binocular Book.jpg
  • 31 binocular alignment tolerances bill cook.jpg

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#3 big eye

big eye

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 12:52 PM

I use Bill Cook's Methods and Insights. There's this never-ending contention regarding alignment, which boils down to the proper/complete 3-axis alignment (left, right, and mechanical hinge) vs "conditional alignment", which is only  good for your own personal IPD (Interpupillary Distance). Bill explains all of that in his books, and also provides plenty of discussion regarding how binos are built and how to adjust them. A great read! So far, in my travels... the only two people I've ever encountered who completely understand alignments are Bill Cook and Ralph Dakin. Ralph and I worked together at Bausch & Lomb, back in the days when B&L was a full-service, world-class Optical Shop.   Tom

I wish I had all that equipment at my disposal it would have saved so much frustration on occasion.


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