Leitz Wetzlar Binoculars
LEITZ WETZLAR BINOCULARS. BINOCULAR VIEWERS.
Leitz Wetzlar Binoculars
- (binocular) relating to both eyes; “binocular vision”
- Binoculars, field glasses or binocular telescopes are a pair of identical or mirror-symmetrical telescopes mounted side-by-side and aligned to point accurately in the same direction, allowing the viewer to use both eyes (binocular vision) when viewing distant objects.
- An optical instrument with a lens for each eye, used for viewing distant objects
- an optical instrument designed for simultaneous use by both eyes
- Wetzlar is a city in Hesse, Germany. Located at 8° 30? E, 50° 34? N, Wetzlar straddles the river Lahn and is on the German Framework Road. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Lahn-Dill-Kreis on the north edge of the Taunus.
leitz wetzlar binoculars – Bruno Paul,
Leitz beh Kriegsmarine (type ii) 7X50 (View 1/6)
Field of View: 7.3 deg = 128 m/1,000 m; APFOV 51 deg
Weight: 1,141 gr
Exit Pupil: 7.14 mm
Serial #/Year of Manufacture: 431741 = 1943
Notes: World War II Leitz Porro II 7X50 binoculars (called "tuna cans" by the Germans) are serial numbered at least 238203 – 474439 (however, this is not sequential because other model Leitz binoculars have been seen also manufactured and serial numbered within this range) and, as suggested by Rohan, can generally be divided into three types. i) “E. Leitz Wetzlar” Marked-Serial # Range at least 238203 – 310223. This type also has a Kriegsmarine eagle marking and usually does not have coated optics. ii) “beh” Marked without Rubber Armour, Serial # Range at least 328770 -436830 . Earlier examples of this type are marked “T” indicating coated optics with a Kriegsmarine eagle. Later examples beginning with at least serial # 431583 do not have these two markings but still have coated optics and additionally have housings for silica gel desiccant cartridges on the prism plates with each prism plate secured to the chassis by a large ring instead of screws. Seeger shows such a binocular (serial # 431687) on page 291 which is identical to this collection’s example pictured above. iii) “beh” Marked with Rubber Armour, Serial # Range at least 440763 – 474439. This type has coated optics, desiccant cartridge housings and is rubber armoured (often missing in part or whole and/or in dilapidated condition) with different style ocular housings than previous models. Although often called “U-boat binoculars”, these were also much used on surface vessels. The type iii) is the most common variant but in good condition with rubber armour intact may have same or greater value than the other types. The market value of WW II German hand-held military binoculars is very high compared to those of other countries and excepting the very finest ones (most made by Zeiss and of 7X or greater magnification) does not always reflect optical quality or rarity. This is certainly due to the interest of the many German WW II militaria collectors and as well as to Germany’s well deserved historical pre-eminence in the manufacture of high quality and innovative optical instruments.
Optically this is now the best 7X WW II military binocular in collection: superior in every way to the Ross Binoprisms and Barr & Stroud CF 41 especially in sharpness toward edge of field; noticeably brighter and sharper than the excellent Barr & Stroud CF 25; and somewhat brighter than even the coated B&L Mk 28 and REL’s. I am surprised that it can deliver this performance in spite of having some chipped prisms (its anti-reflective coatings, though, are still in very good condition). I am also surprised that the consensus of opinion among knowledgeable and experienced collectors is that optical performance of this binocular although good is not exceptionally good. Perhaps I am fortunate to have a particularly good example or more likely I need to look through a Zeiss 7X50 HT or 8X60 to fully understand.
Interior of objective lenses, prism faces and outside of field lens are reportedly cryolite (sodium aluminum fluoride) anti-reflective coated which transmits light better than the usual magnesium fluoride but is more fragile. The exterior of objective lenses shows no traces of coating (if it ever was coated) and the ocular assembly was not disassembled so it is not known if the interior ocular lenses are coated but I am guessing they are. (Note that extreme care must be taken when cleaning these old anti-reflective coatings. Not only do they easily scratch and rub off but cryolite is soluble in warm water. I cleaned gently with isopropanol followed by methanol with no problems. Often these coatings will be discoloured by oils and moisture leaving small bright spots or patches. Do not try to rub these off. Although unsightly they do not impair optical performance that I can tell, and vigorously rubbing them will only remove the coating which will adversely affect viewing.)
Views 2/6 and 3/6 respectively show assembled and disassembled prism units. Although their materials and workmanship seem excellent, Leitz Porro II prisms while not prone to separation are prone to chipping, this binocular being no exception. Dr. Seeger discusses this and attributes the cause to design faults whereby the prism housings failed to adequately protect the prisms against impact and possibly also against changes in temperature causing metals and glass to expand at different rates splintering the prism edges.
Views 4/6 through 6/6 show pictures of case and accessories. The accessories consist of a pair amber and a pair grey snap on filters which fit into two compartments in the lid of the case and a pair of rubber eyeshields which fit onto metal clips on the inside lid of the case. The eyeshields are very well constructed, and close examination will reveal that the
Hensoldt Wetzlar Sport-Dialyt 8X30 (View 1)
Field of View: 7 deg 16 minutes = 125 m/1,000 m; APFOV 50 deg
Weight: 390 gr
Exit Pupil: 3.75 mm
Serial #/Year of Manufacture: 4140 = Probably 1936-38
Notes: The Hensoldt Sport-Dialyt 8X30 was introduced in 1928, with this lightweight version being produced from 1936 – 1943. This evidences the unusual fact that well into the war German manufacturers such as Hensoldt, Zeiss and Leitz continued to make civilian model binoculars to an apparent greater extent than other countries did probably because during the 1930’s Germany had one of the highest standards of living in Europe and during the war the Nazis sought to maintain this standard to retain public support of its regime.
Although the binocular’s optics are in extremely good condition, its performance is a little disappointing. Optically it’s a weak sister next to the other Hensoldt Dialyts in collection, a 7X50, 7X56 and 8X56. Like them it has good brightness but it suffers from a rather narrow FOV for an 8X which seems even narrower because sharpness to edge of field is not very good, maybe 65%, particularly for a non-wide angle binocular. Even center of field sharpness though satisfactory is not as good as that of a good Porro I 8X30. It’s hard to see how in the 1920’s and 30’s this binocular could have competed against the likes of the Zeiss Deltrintem 8X30 and its clones, but, nonetheless, the longevity of the model suggests it did probably for some of the reasons roof prisms have proven so successful in today’s market i.e. a pleasing compactness, lightness and sleek appearance. And I must admit that in spite of its shortcomings I enjoy using it. It’s a cute little thing and one of the most lightweight, compact binoculars in the collection.
leitz wetzlar binoculars