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AusJena 15x60 review [between zeiss & docter]

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#26 j.gardavsky

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 06:40 AM

I just ran JG's linked article through Google Translate:

 

BINOCULARS FOR HOBBYASTRONOMERS
ZEISS WEST
CARL ZEISS 15x60

 

with original quiver and binocular strap!

 

After WW II, many leading employees left the plant in Jena and large parts of it were dismantled. In 1946 a new production site was set up in Oberkochen.

 

In 1947 the name Zeiss-Opton was renamed to Carl Zeiss. Since then, a distinction has been made between "Zeiss-Jena binoculars" and "Zeiss-West binoculars".

 

Carl Zeiss binoculars are among the top products on the optical market worldwide.

 

From 1958 the model 15x60 with Porro I prism system was produced. It represents a top optical performance and is highly praised in astronomical circles.

 

At the beginning of the 80s it was modified with a rubber armouring and the improved T * coating.

 

The parameter is 15x60. 15x magnification with 60 mm objectives.

 

The serial number is 1397774.

 

According to Zeiss, the binoculars were manufactured in 1976.

 

The focusing wheel at the lower end of the articulated bridge.

 

Looking through the binoculars.

 

Width = 21 cm, height = 18 cm, weight = 1280 g.

 

- - - - - - - -

 

As far as eye-relief, I'd be curious to learn what it is on these ones that Terra is getting. I'm mildly far-sighted with a mild astigmatism, so I do wear eyeglasses. ER on my Docters -- purchased new by me in 2001 -- is 15mm, and I have no problem seeing the entire FOV.

My DOCTER Nobilem 15x60 B (G/A) are from the E series.

 

They have been redesigned by Albrecht Köhler with:

- New glass materials

- New multicoatings (I have counted 6 in total different reflected hues)

- New Porro-Abbe prisms assembly

 

The front lenses are the classical cemented doublets, the eyepieces might be the type of Erfle 2, even if I have not been able to ray trace all lenses in the EP.

 

These binoculars deliver a very high contrast with the typical Zeiss West colder color rendition, and a hard snap into the focus, unlike the softer snap of most of the other binoculars.

 

Taking the low surface brightness IC 342 galaxy (Maffei Group) in Camelopardalis as a differentiator for the binoculars performance, these DOCTERS have shown its full extension of about 20', and not just its small bright core.

 

Back to the Zeiss Oberkochen 15x60

Shortly after they have been discontinued, the prices have exploded into the range 3,700 DM up to 4,000 DM, actually what used to be the cost of a 2nd hand Volkswagen at that time.

 

The DOCTER Porros by Albrecht Köhler belong on the German markets of today, when in pristine condition, to the unavailables. I am still looking for some to complete my set.

 

Best,

JG


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#27 Terra Nova

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 01:18 PM

Well my lovely and very long sought after Zeiss West (Oberkochen) 15x60 prism binoculars arrived yesterday afternoon. They are in beautiful condition and look just as I remember my astronomy friend’s grandfather’s binoculars fifty-five years ago!

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#28 Terra Nova

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 01:21 PM

The objectives are beautiful and the coatings in perfect condition, producing views last night that were astonishingly crisp and sharp with very good contrast and excellent color correction. The focuser is buttery smooth as well. 

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#29 Terra Nova

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 01:26 PM

Optical specs and Serial Number (#1141690). Does anyone know what year they would have been made based on the SN? Needless to say, I am very pleased. These are lifetime Bucketlist binoculars for me. I am so happy to finally have a pair of my own.

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Edited by Terra Nova, 27 June 2021 - 01:29 PM.

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#30 j.gardavsky

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 01:35 PM

Hello Terra,

 

it's looking very nice.

More pics and more observing reports, please,

JG


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#31 Terra Nova

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 01:49 PM

Absolutely JG, and thank you. I was astounded that they could split Alberio and show the blue green and orangish-gold colors of the two stars in the binary system. Vega was brilliant white with no blue twinkle or violet fringing. Transparency and darkness were marginal last night with only third magnitude stars visible to the naked eye, so I was amazed how much detail I could see in the Milky Way. I saw just a hint of the Ring Nebula in Lyra, and M13 in Hercules was easily seen. I had hoped to try and detect the Dumbbell Nebula (M27) but by the time it cleared the trees the glare from the rising still-almost-full moon was washing out the sky. I did manage to see six satellites in less than two hours. One of my astronomy hobbies is satellite observing and these binoculars will be perfect for the job. They are light enough to be handheld with elbows resting on the arms of my chaise lounge. I do have a binocular tripod adapter that ai have had since 1964 so tonight I will place them on my Benro fluid head tripod for further observations.


Edited by Terra Nova, 27 June 2021 - 04:20 PM.

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#32 j.gardavsky

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 02:07 PM

Re: Year of manufacture

 

With Zeiss West it is a bit difficult. The best way is to contact their Archive,

https://www.zeiss.de...hte/archiv.html

Click at upper right on "Kontakt", and I expect that they will understand English.

 

Another possibility is to contact Jülich GmbH, as their forum has a group of collectors specialized in the 15x60 Zeiss West binoculars,

https://www.optische...ich.de/kontakt/

I would again expect that they understand English.

 

Otherwise,

thank you for the first light through your 15x60, I have enjoyed it.

The vistas will be super, as soon as the Solstice Season will pass.

 

Clear skies,

JG


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#33 KennyJ

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 04:19 PM

What a remarkably fine specimen! smile.gif


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#34 MT4

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 12:57 AM

Kyoei-Osaka.jp has the Doctor Nobilem 15x60B / GA available for about 1600 USD inclusive of tax and shipping.

 

As I don't have any made-in-Germany binoculars at all in my now-sizable collection, I've been wondering about this instrument for a while.  From what I've read, the "B" in B/GA means that it should be suitable for eyeglass wearers (such as me, for my astigmatism), but reading the specs on allbinos.com I see that the eye relief is only 15mm.   Pinac has measured the useable eye relief to be a mere 10.5mm, which would be too short for me:

https://binocular.ch...-nobilem-15x60/

 

To those who have this instrument, could you comment on whether its eye relief is long enough for eyeglass wearers?   

 

As for the optics, how does the instrument compare to a modern 16x such as the APM 16x70 MS ED?

 

Thank you.


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#35 j.gardavsky

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 03:43 AM

DOCTER Nobilem 15x60

 

The eye relief would be very tough for the glass wearers, those 10mm might be about right.

 

If I would be allowed to keep only 3 binoculars,

then these would be the Albrecht Köhler's design DOCTER Nobilems 7x50, 8x56, and 15x60.

 

The Leica Ultravid, Swarovski EL Svarovision, Nikon Astroluxe, and the others would go.

 

Best,

JG

 

gallery_316833_12015_120823.jpg


Edited by j.gardavsky, 28 June 2021 - 03:45 AM.

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#36 MT4

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 04:43 AM

Thanks JG for the info.  10mm would not be workable for me with glasses on.   Too bad as I really like the looks of the Doctor Nobilem 15x60.  Really classy and refined.


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#37 ECP M42

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 06:08 AM

Hi JG, I see you have kept all TS. They work well?

I notice that the Docter 15x60 also has the focus mechanics placed centrally, above the pin, between the two bridges. How much could angular rotation measure, between the minimum distance and infinity? Does it work smoothly or how?


Edited by ECP M42, 28 June 2021 - 06:09 AM.

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#38 j.gardavsky

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 06:12 AM

Zeiss West

 

Hi JG, I see you have kept all TS. They work well?

I notice that the Docter 15x60 also has the focus mechanics placed centrally, above the pin, between the two bridges. How much could angular rotation measure, between the minimum distance and infinity? Does it work smoothly or how?

Hello Henryk,

 

the TS 10.5x70 and 15x85 (rebranded BA8) have a long eye releief, allowing to mount the nebular filters into the eyeguards. That's my main reason for keeping them.

 

Thank you for asking,

JG



#39 j.gardavsky

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 06:16 AM

Zeiss West 15x60 T*

 

Anyone interested,

here is a new offer from a registered dealer, delivering also to overseas, including the U.S.,

 

https://www.ebay.de/...sQAAOSw1Qhg2Yeu

 

The price is negotiable,

JG


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#40 Corcaroli78

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 09:13 AM

Zeiss West 15x60 T*

 

Anyone interested,

here is a new offer from a registered dealer, delivering also to overseas, including the U.S.,

 

https://www.ebay.de/...sQAAOSw1Qhg2Yeu

 

The price is negotiable,

JG

A 15x60 is still missing in my lineup, I can go for a Pentekarem, but i am afraid that by no means they are closer to the quality of a 15x60 Docter / Zeiss west...  I need to wait more.

 

Zeiss_binos.jpg

 

Carlos


Edited by Corcaroli78, 28 June 2021 - 09:13 AM.

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#41 B 26354

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 10:47 AM

Kyoei-Osaka.jp has the Doctor Nobilem 15x60B / GA available for about 1600 USD inclusive of tax and shipping.

 

As I don't have any made-in-Germany binoculars at all in my now-sizable collection, I've been wondering about this instrument for a while.  From what I've read, the "B" in B/GA means that it should be suitable for eyeglass wearers (such as me, for my astigmatism), but reading the specs on allbinos.com I see that the eye relief is only 15mm.   Pinac has measured the useable eye relief to be a mere 10.5mm, which would be too short for me:

https://binocular.ch...-nobilem-15x60/

 

To those who have this instrument, could you comment on whether its eye relief is long enough for eyeglass wearers?   

On my Doctor Nobilem 15x60B, I keep the eyecups permanently turned down... and as expressed in post #24, I have no problem seeing the entire FOV while wearing my eyeglasses.

 

 

I notice that the Docter 15x60 also has the focus mechanics placed centrally, above the pin, between the two bridges. How much could angular rotation measure, between the minimum distance and infinity? Does it work smoothly or how?

Great question! I just now measured it, and for my eyes (with eyeglasses), the rotation-angle between closest focus and infinity is ~300 degrees.

 

I would guess that on average, I use these Nobilems three or four days a week, and often several times each day, for both hawk- and wildlife-watching, as well as stargazing. Focus is neither tight nor loose, is utterly smooth and uniform throughout the entire focusing range, and has been so for the entire twenty years that I've owned them.

 

biggrin.png


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#42 j.gardavsky

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 12:02 PM

A 15x60 is still missing in my lineup, I can go for a Pentekarem, but i am afraid that by no means they are closer to the quality of a 15x60 Docter / Zeiss west...  I need to wait more.

 

attachicon.gifZeiss_binos.jpg

 

Carlos

Hello Carlos,

 

the Pentekarem used to have some problems with the collimation, and maybe also some other problems.

On your place, I would wait on the best offer for 15x60 DOCTER or Zeiss West.

 

Best,

JG



#43 ECP M42

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 05:28 PM

Great question! I just now measured it, and for my eyes (with eyeglasses), the rotation-angle between closest focus and infinity is ~300 degrees. 

Hi B, thank you for answering the question. waytogo.gif

 

Now, I have another reference to indicate in discussions of "mechanical quality" for this type. I guess the wheel is metal, covered with rubber?


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#44 MT4

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 06:20 PM

On my Doctor Nobilem 15x60B, I keep the eyecups permanently turned down... and as expressed in post #24, I have no problem seeing the entire FOV while wearing my eyeglasses.

 

 

Thank you very much for the info.  Sounds like I shouldn't give up on the Doctor Nobilem 15x60B just yet.  I'll search CN to see if there are other reports of people being able to use it well with their glasses.


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#45 SMark

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Posted 29 June 2021 - 12:29 AM

Well my lovely and very long sought after Zeiss West (Oberkochen) 15x60 prism binoculars arrived yesterday afternoon. They are in beautiful condition and look just as I remember my astronomy friend’s grandfather’s binoculars fifty-five years ago!

It looks like my new Zeiss (West) acquisition is a sibling of yours. I have read that these used air spaced objectives to reduce the focal length/ratio. Is this the case with both the 7x50 and 15x60? Anyone know what the resulting focal ratios were?

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#46 ECP M42

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Posted 29 June 2021 - 04:12 AM

Is this the case with both the 7x50 and 15x60? Anyone know what the resulting focal ratios were?

Hi Mark,

Judging by the shapes of both, it looks like your new 7x50 also has short lenses.

I don't know how much, compared to 15x60, but I assume from equal to less than 174mm, so maybe 166mm or even 154mm, for a focal ratio of 3.48 - 3.32 - 3.08.

Definitely lower than f/4. Here is one similar to yours.

The body of the prisms looks identical, but on the 15x60 the objectives change and lengthen maybe to 200mm (?). 

2747_z15x60BGA.jpghqdefault.jpg

 

My Sears 7x50, uses 174mm lenses, very similar to the Zeiss, and they are already short. 

 

12250077054_891c31475b_b.jpg


Edited by ECP M42, 29 June 2021 - 11:59 PM.

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#47 Pinewood

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Posted 29 June 2021 - 10:08 AM

Hello,

 

I have the 15x60BGAT*, which may or may not have a narrower FOV.  It certainly has rubber eye  cups rather than the plastic eye cups of the earlier version.  I find that I have to use it on a tripod and carry the setup hundreds of meters.  In favorable conditions, when Saturn is in opposition, and is visible in less light polluted skies, I can often make out Titan and perhaps Rhea.  This usually requires two consecutive nights, allowing for the satellite to change position with the planet and confirm the sighting.

 

I thought that the 15x60's were made for hunters, especially those who shoot from platforms in twilight.

 

Stay safe,

Arthur


Edited by Pinewood, 29 June 2021 - 10:10 AM.

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#48 MT4

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Posted 29 June 2021 - 08:05 PM

There's a Zeiss 15x60 B/GAT* being offered on a Japanese auction site for about 1100 USD.  The problem is that the pictures look like those of the classic Zeiss 15x60, with "Zeiss West Germany" on one side of the bridge and "15x60" on the other side.  There's no "B" letter.

 

Does this sound like the classic Zeiss 15x60?   If so, the eye relief would most likely not work for my glasses.  Thank you.

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#49 John A Roberts

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Posted 29 June 2021 - 11:11 PM

Hi MT4,

 

Besides the marking, the short non-folding eyecups also indicate that it's not the B version. Contrast it to the image of a 15x60 BGAT* by rprice from: https://www.cloudyni...gat-binoculars/

 

And if you download the Italian version of the 1965 Zeiss catalogue at Miniature Binoculars, you can see in detail the differences in the eyecups of the various B and non-B binoculars. 

Go to: https://www.miniatur...t4/Page1464.htm.  The catalogue is incorrectly listed as ‘1960 Zeiss Catalogo Binocoli’.

However, if you go to the last page of the catalogue it’s marked at the bottom ‘X/65’ - contrast that with the marking on the last page of the English language version of the 1960 catalogue that’s above it i.e. 'X/60'.

 

 

John

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#50 MT4

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Posted 29 June 2021 - 11:36 PM

Thanks John for the info.  Without the rubber eyecups, I was indeed wondering how it would work for eyeglass wearers.

 

There's something about the classic porro prism look that really appeals to me.  It doesn't hurt that the shape is more comfortable to hold for stargazing.  Too bad, they don't make them like this anymore...


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