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Zeiss West Germany 10×40B T*P for stargazing - Still good today?

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#1 MT4

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 07:30 AM

I love the looks of classic Zeiss binoculars.  I've come to this hobby late and it's now exceedingly hard to find good specimens of classic Zeiss models.  Since I need to wear glasses due to moderate levels of astigmatism in both eyes, my options are even more limited.

 

Here are some of the Zeiss models of old that I've got in mind:

  1) Zeiss 10x40 B T*P  (West Germany).     <-- Is this one a Dialyt ?

  2) Zeiss Dialyt 7x42 B GA T

  3) Zeiss Victory FL 10x56 T*P

  4) Zeiss 15x60 B GA T

 

Of the 4 models listed above, I can't find #4 at all.   (Well, I've found it on a Japanese site only for it to be the non-B type, which wouldn't work with my glasses.)

 

I saw #3 once a few months ago and it was responsible for starting my whole interest in Zeiss binoculars.  I was a bit too slow in putting in a bid and then it was gone.

 

#2 can be found readily, for somewhere between 1500 and 2200 USD.

 

#1 can be found quite easily too, though not in great conditions.  Researching it, I have seen lots of favorable reviews / comments on birdforum, not much on CN.   Is it mainly for birders and not stargazers?  Is it "special" enough to be worth searching for today, or would one be better off sticking with a modern mid-range 10x?  (Note: I already have four 10x pairs, three Nikons and a Fujinon.  I am just hopelessly attracted to the deep-purple coatings of Zeiss binoculars.)

 

Last but not least, are there any other classic Zeiss models that you would recommend for someone who needs to wear glasses?

 

Thank you.

 

 

Edit:  The 10x Nikon not listed in my signature is the Nikon MHG 10x42.   It is very nice for daytime use, but on the night sky I've found that it is too narrow and too lightweight for me hold steady.  I have no problems handholding my Nikon SE 10x42 or Nikon Ell 10x35.   Looking at pictures of the Zeiss 10x40 B T*P, I think it should be easier to handhold than the Nikon MHG 10x42.


Edited by MT4, 29 July 2021 - 08:30 AM.

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#2 davidmcgo

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 07:58 AM

I still have and love my 10x40 BGAT*P from the mid 1990s.  They work fabulously well for stargazing and are incredibly sharp and easy to hold with a field of 6.3 degrees.  

 

Plus compact enough to leave room for a camera and other things in a day pack, fit in a hotel safe with room left over on international trips, and the rubber armor still looks and feels like new.

 

Dave
 


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#3 Corcaroli78

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 08:18 AM

I love the looks of classic Zeiss binoculars.  I've come to this hobby late and it's now exceedingly hard to find good specimens of classic Zeiss models.  Since I need to wear glasses due to moderate levels of astigmatism in both eyes, my options are even more limited.

 

Here are some of the Zeiss models of old that I've got in mind:

  1) Zeiss 10x40 B T*P  (West Germany).     <-- Is this one a Dialyt ?

  2) Zeiss Dialyt 7x42 B GA T

  3) Zeiss Victory FL 10x56 T*P

  4) Zeiss 15x60 B GA T

 

Of the 4 models listed above, I can't find #4 at all.   (Well, I've found it on a Japanese site only for it to be the non-B type, which wouldn't work with my glasses.)

 

I saw #3 once a few months ago and it was responsible for starting my whole interest in Zeiss binoculars.  I was a bit too slow in putting in a bid and then it was gone.

 

#2 can be found readily, for somewhere between 1500 and 2200 USD.

 

#1 can be found quite easily too, though not in great conditions.  Researching it, I have seen lots of favorable reviews / comments on birdforum, not much on CN.   Is it mainly for birders and not stargazers?  Is it "special" enough to be worth searching for today, or would one be better off sticking with a modern mid-range 10x?  (Note: I already have four 10x pairs, three Nikons and a Fujinon.  I am just hopelessly attracted to the deep-purple coatings of Zeiss binoculars.)

 

Last but not least, are there any other classic Zeiss models that you would recommend for someone who needs to wear glasses?

 

Thank you.

Hi MT4,

 

I have a small collection of classic Zeiss Jena binoculars and i own the 10x40B MC Notarem. Obviously it is not at the level of the Zeiss West Dialyt (Phase coatings), but i found both suitable for eyeglasses wearers (i myself use glasses). Folding the rubber eyecups, you will use the whole field (in my case, a comfortable 6 degrees),  the 10x40 Dialyt and Notarem have a very usable eye relief, so don´t worry about it..  The performance difference between the roof 10x40 and a Porro 10x50 is very evident in favor of the 10x50 due to the objective size. The most remarkable aspect of the 10x40´s is the better correction at the edge, (and the weight of course).

 

Notarem_3.jpg
Notarem_4.jpg
DSC_0134.JPG
 

If you are going for a Zeiss astrobino, i would go for your option # 3

 

a Zeiss Dialyt 10x40 T* P is a timeless binocular, very good for daytime, still competitive with modern binos, but soon you will miss the extra aperture for the night.  Every time i grab the 10x40 Notarem for night views, after some minutes, I always return and grab the CZJ Dekarem 10x50 or a modern 15x70.  I have planned to get a modern 10x50 for astronomy because the superior eye relief. 

 

Comfort = better observations

 

Have you tried to find a Zeiss West 10x50 Porro?

 

This is my personal opinion, I hope this helps you.

 

Regards

Carlos


Edited by Corcaroli78, 29 July 2021 - 08:21 AM.

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#4 MT4

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 09:10 AM

Thank you to both David and Carlos for your feedback.  Much appreciated.

 

@Carlos - I'd jump on the Zeiss Victory FL 10x56 T*P in a heartbeat the next time I see it.  It seems quite hard to find nowadays.  Perhaps that's because discerning owners don't want to let it go.


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#5 ihf

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 09:41 AM

Maybe one thing to consider: Zeiss did not specifically target viewing stars with binos. The best "astronomy" binos Zeiss has created are those for hunters under low light conditions. They are meant to be used without a tripod, but could be braced against a stand or tree. They are sometimes physically short (like the FL) and optically not flat. Of course you have picked a few of their nicer models. The question I keep wondering about what would they bring new to your collection and your viewing pleasures except the (expensive) name? I say this with two thoughts in mind: first I would hope(!) that Swarowski might come out with a 10x56NL at some point to satisfy the hunters. That may give you more "pleasing" optical views than maybe even the FL. Or if you wanted to handle your local light pollution you could look into night vision eyepieces. I understand both options would be more expensive than an older Zeiss, but either one may increase your technical parameters/capabilities.


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#6 MT4

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 10:19 AM

I keep wondering about what would they bring new to your collection and your viewing pleasures except the (expensive) name? I say this with two thoughts in mind: first I would hope(!) that Swarowski might come out with a 10x56NL at some point to satisfy the hunters. That may give you more "pleasing" optical views than maybe even the FL. Or if you wanted to handle your local light pollution you could look into night vision eyepieces. I understand both options would be more expensive than an older Zeiss, but either one may increase your technical parameters/capabilities.

 

That's a very valid question.

 

In my heavily light polluted skies, all my 7x-8x-10x binoculars, with the exception of my Fujinon 10x50, are used at night as "lowly" finders.  This may come across strange to many/most observers, but it's the reality of my local skies.

 

Against that backdrop, another 10x that is great for daytime use, one with the looks that I have come to appreciate, will be more or less another nice "finder" option that I can use with my higher-mag/bigger-aperture binoculars.  What I am really saying is that without me being aware of it, I've already got a foot in the dangerous / expensive territory of being a binocular collector.  I keep telling myself that I'll get one or two classic Zeiss samples to add to my collection and then step back smile.gif

 

As for modern 10x / 12x / 15x alpha binoculars of the Zeiss / Swaro varieties, I am not really interested.  They all sell for somewhere between 2.5k and 4k USD a pop in Japan.  At that price range, it's really hard to justify getting one, especially considering what I already have in my collection.  I might as well save up for an Oberwerk 100XL-SD or 127XL-SD, which might be in my future a year or two down the line when I am comfortable enough with navigating the night sky in smaller FOVs.


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#7 Northern

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 03:30 PM

How about the Fujinon 40x150ED-SX.

Might find better used prices in Japan.



#8 KennyJ

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 03:38 PM

The Zeiss 7x42 BGAT *P* Dialyt must have been one of the best investments ever as binoculars go.

 

I bought mine brand new in 2002 for £599, and sold it in 2012 for £500.

 

Today they are selling for between 1500 USD ( over £1000 ) and 2200 USD ( over £1500 ) !


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#9 Northern

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 03:44 PM

I was lucky to get my nearly used 7x42 Dialyt for $230.. :)


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#10 MT4

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 05:45 PM

How about the Fujinon 40x150ED-SX.

Might find better used prices in Japan.

 

That one sells for a whopping 20k USD in Japan.   There's just no way I can justify shelling out that much money for some old technologies.

 

In any event, the combination of being straight-through and having relatively short eye relief of 15mm makes it a complete non-starter for me.  If I wanted any straight-thru binoculars bigger than my Nikon 18x70, it'd be the DOCTER ASPECTEM 80 / 500ED UWA but I can't justify such an expensive straight-thru considering that I already have an excellent sample of the Kowa Highlander Prominar.



#11 MT4

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 05:47 PM

I was lucky to get my nearly used 7x42 Dialyt for $230.. smile.gif

 

Oh wow!   That must've been the deal of the decade smile.gif



#12 Pinewood

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 06:59 PM

Hello MT4,

 

Please note not all 10x40B nor all 7x42 Dialyts have phase coating.  Earlier models lacked that feature, which makes a difference in both contrast and in resolution.  Those with phase coatings are usually designated BT*P, or perhaps BT*P* add GA for rubber armored versions.

 

I agree with Kenny about the the 7x42BT*P.  We both managed to see a crescent Venus, in daylight, with that binocular.  It is quite suitable for finding planets in twilight but you may have higher ambitions for astronomy.

 

I did not find the 10x40BT*P easy to hold steady when I tried one about fifteen years, ago but that is quite personal.  

 

The 15x60 BT*  needs mounting but is more suited for astronomy.  I spotted two of Saturn's moons looking through one on a night with favorable conditions.  I do not have the experience to compare it to your  Maven 15x56.v 

 

Stay safe,

Arthur Pinewood


Edited by Pinewood, 30 July 2021 - 05:27 AM.

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#13 MT4

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 07:13 PM

Thank you Arthur for the important note on phase coatings.   I'll be sure to look for the B T*P designations.   (I understand that the "P" designation is only for roof-prism binoculars.)

 

I've given up the 15x60 B T*, not having seen a sample in the past 6 months.  Even the more recent Victory FL 10x56, I've only seen it once.  It was fully responsible for starting my whole interest in classic Zeiss binoculars smile.gif



#14 Pinewood

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 08:40 PM

Hello MT4,

 

All the Fl binoculars are phase coated.  The earliest models lacked the Lotutec™ coating.  The later models have this coating and on latest the there was an arc over the T*P* to indicate the Lotuec™ coating.

 

I was aware of the high regard in which  Leica was held by some in Japan.  I did not know that Zeiss had many enthusiasts.

 

Stay safe,

Arthur


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#15 MT4

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 09:17 PM

 

I was aware of the high regard in which  Leica was held by some in Japan.  I did not know that Zeiss had many enthusiasts.

 

Stay safe,

Arthur

 

Hi Arthur,

 

Going by the current sky-high prices of the Zeiss 7x42 B GA T*P in Japan, between 1500 and 2200 USD, I would think that Zeiss models have more enthusiasts.  Surprisingly, Swaros are not selling that well in JP, as least as far as I could glean from available info.  I have absolutely no idea why.

 

Personally, I like the looks of classic Zeiss binoculars.  Not so much their modern replacements, and I wouldn't shell out over 3k USD for one.



#16 NDfarmer

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 09:38 PM

The Zeiss 7x42 BGAT *P* Dialyt must have been one of the best investments ever as binoculars go.

 

I bought mine brand new in 2002 for £599, and sold it in 2012 for £500.

 

Today they are selling for between 1500 USD ( over £1000 ) and 2200 USD ( over £1500 ) !

Kenny:

They are very nice but the 7x42 BGATP does not sell anywhere near that price you mention.  The real prices I find are up

to $900. US for an excellent example.  I have some recent experience.

 

Jerry



#17 MT4

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 09:44 PM

They routinely sell for well over 1000 USD in Japan.  Even some discolored 7x42 BGAT's sell for over 1000 USD here.  It seems that there are quite a few Zeiss enthusiasts here for some reason.

 

I am reluctant to place orders on the bay and then play lottery with international shipping ...



#18 davidmcgo

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 09:56 PM

A bit more on the Zeiss West Germany 10x40s I bought in the early 1990s.  At the time I was getting into hawk watching in the wide open West and my 7x50 Fujinons were too low magnification and also pretty bulky for backpacking trips of a few days.  I bought the later run with phase coatings that were still marked West Germany.

 

Years back shortly after I bought them,  I tripod mounted my 10x40 BGAT*P on a tripod and used them afocally with a friend’s Baush and Lomb Elite 8x42 behind them for 80x and was amazed how sharp Jupiter looked,  Couldl clearly see the North and South Equatorial belts and the limb was sharp with no flaring or spikiness and my eyes still merged the images.

 

They are uncannily sharp and I see deeper with them than 7x50s.  And for watching hawks in flight they are awesomely good.  So don’t hold back if you want a set.  They were and still are alpha class binoculars. The simple, and slim housing also makes for a really comfortable hold in the web of the hands with the pulse in the thumb in the empty space between the barrels and a really steady view.

 

They also don’t exhibit the rolling ball effect and straight horizon lines stay fairly straight when moved to the edge of the field with a very slight 4th order behavior.  Really good for whale watching with ocean horizons and I can comfortably use them for hours.  My only quibbles are the diopter adjustment is so fine my eyes tend to accommodate faster than I can zero in on the ideal setting, and there isn’t much overshoot for infinity focus so if my correction was another diopter or so near sighted I would need to keep my glasses on.

 

In dark skies the Veil and North American Nebula are easy targets, the Star clouds in Sagittarius look awesome, and Star images are dazzling tiny spots and the falloff in sharpness to edge of field is not at all bad, and if you keep your gaze straight on, not really noticeable.  So I love them for stargazing as much as daytime.

 

Dave


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#19 MT4

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 10:11 PM

Thanks a lot Dave for your "a bit more" story.  Wow, watching Jupiter at 80x through a combination of 10x and 8x and still being able to merge the sharp images.   I've gotta try that when I get my Zeiss West Germany 10x40 B T*P.

 

Fortunately for me, these 10x40's sell for some 500-600 USD, not 1500 USD and up like a good-condition 7x42 in Japan.

 

I don't understand why there would be such a big gap in price between these two classic Zeiss instruments.  Perhaps the 7x42 is optically superior, or perhaps it's about the wide TFOV at 7x.  Still, 3 times the price is a bit much for me to swallow.

 

I think I can clearly see a Zeiss West Germany 10x40 B T*P in my near-term future.  Then, one more classic Zeiss and that might be it for me smile.gif


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#20 ECP M42

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 01:22 AM

I don't understand why there would be such a big gap in price between these two classic Zeiss instruments.  Perhaps the 7x42 is optically superior, or perhaps it's about the wide TFOV at 7x.  

It is not the TFOV that affects the price, but rather the AFOV of the eyepiece.
The Zeiss 7x42 has AK prisms and was a top level series with wide AFOV and wide pupil, ideal for hunters. Equivalent to today's Victory RF or HT. 

But even today those 7x42 (also 6x42 and 8x56) are sought after and therefore the price rises. 

 

https://blogs.zeiss....e-koenig-prism/

 

6575572289_8457957db8_b.jpg

https://www.binomani...opic.php?t=1821

 

https://www.cloudyni...rs-prism-types/


Edited by ECP M42, 30 July 2021 - 01:28 AM.

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#21 Kevin Barker

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 02:25 AM

I have enjoyed reading this thread. I also own an 8X42 Leica Ultravid HD and a few other nice binos!!

I am also a Zeiss nut and own 4 Classic binoculars.

10X40 T*P, 7X42 T*P*, 15X60 GAT*, 8X30 T*P*

 

My firm favorite and most used binocular is the Classic 10X40 T*P. Great all round binocular. They are great for astronomy and I usually have them around my neck or on an observing table nearby. Flat and sharp, lovely to use. They are also bright and deliver a lovely clean white image. I love them. I compared them to other alpha binoculars including a 10X40 FL and I could not really see a lot of difference in brightness and clarity etc. I actually preferred the older binoculars. They fit my hands perfectly and have a beautiful form. I bought them in 2001.

 

You can use them with glasses by folding the eyecups down but I prefer to use them without glasses. You should only need glasses if you have bad astigmatism as the exit pupil is a mere 4 mm.

 

I also use the 7X42 dialyt's  quite a lot especially birding in forests. A bit more of a handful but lovely binoculars as well. I have also used these for stars but prefer the 10X40's.


Edited by Kevin Barker, 30 July 2021 - 02:29 AM.

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#22 MT4

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 03:00 AM

I have enjoyed reading this thread. I also own an 8X42 Leica Ultravid HD and a few other nice binos!!

I am also a Zeiss nut and own 4 Classic binoculars.

10X40 T*P, 7X42 T*P*, 15X60 GAT*, 8X30 T*P*

 

My firm favorite and most used binocular is the Classic 10X40 T*P. Great all round binocular. They are great for astronomy and I usually have them around my neck or on an observing table nearby. Flat and sharp, lovely to use. They are also bright and deliver a lovely clean white image. I love them. I compared them to other alpha binoculars including a 10X40 FL and I could not really see a lot of difference in brightness and clarity etc. I actually preferred the older binoculars. They fit my hands perfectly and have a beautiful form. I bought them in 2001.

 

You can use them with glasses by folding the eyecups down but I prefer to use them without glasses. You should only need glasses if you have bad astigmatism as the exit pupil is a mere 4 mm.

 

I also use the 7X42 dialyt's  quite a lot especially birding in forests. A bit more of a handful but lovely binoculars as well. I have also used these for stars but prefer the 10X40's.

 

Thanks Kevin for the info.  Nice to know that there's another Zeiss "nut" who swears by the Zeiss 10x40 T*P  smile.gif

 

My astigmatism is pretty bad in my left eye:  -1.5.  Without my glasses, my left eye sees every star as two stones.  That would do no binoculars any justice smile.gif


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#23 Grimnir

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 03:39 AM

Hi Arthur,

 

Going by the current sky-high prices of the Zeiss 7x42 B GA T*P in Japan, between 1500 and 2200 USD, I would think that Zeiss models have more enthusiasts.  Surprisingly, Swaros are not selling that well in JP, as least as far as I could glean from available info.  I have absolutely no idea why.

 

Personally, I like the looks of classic Zeiss binoculars.  Not so much their modern replacements, and I wouldn't shell out over 3k USD for one.

 

Hi MT4,

 

It's true that the Zeiss Dialyt 7x42 T*P and T*P* (there is no difference in their prism coatings - only in their labelling) are advertised at very high prices in Japan - but they are much less expensive elsewhere. They regularly appear on ebay in the UK for about $900 - could you not import one?

 

My Dialyt is probably my most-used instrument.

 

Graham


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#24 MT4

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 03:51 AM

Hi MT4,

 

It's true that the Zeiss Dialyt 7x42 T*P and T*P* (there is no difference in their prism coatings - only in their labelling) are advertised at very high prices in Japan - but they are much less expensive elsewhere. They regularly appear on ebay in the UK for about $900 - could you not import one?

 

My Dialyt is probably my most-used instrument.

 

Graham

 

Interesting!   900 dollars would be far easier for me to accept.  I'll have to see how to do that from the bay.   There's a bay-related service in Japan that imports stuff from the US / UK / Germany into Japan and they do perform basic checks on the goods before shipping it locally, for a fee of some 10-15%.  That would still be far cheaper than buying directly in Japan.

 

Thanks Graham for the suggestion.   Nice to know that your Dialyt 7x42 is probably your most-used instrument.   I appreciate my Nikon EDG 7x42 too, and I'd imagine that the bigger TFOV of the Dialyt (8.5/8.6 vs 8 in the Nikon) at the nice-n-easy mag of 7x would be lovely any time of the day.



#25 Grimnir

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 04:00 AM

Can you not buy directly from ebay UK - do you need to go through an intermediary?

 

I use my Nikon 8x30 EII almost as much as I use the Dialyt, though my Fuji 10x50 is easily my finest astro glass. I've not seen an EDG so can't comment.

 

Graham




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