Leitz Binuxit 8x30 (ca.1955) review
13-5-2014, revised 24-11-2014
This is the very best vintage bino I have used. Definitely one of the greatest binoculars ever! Leica could build this with modern glass and coatings and have a real stunner in their portfolio probably even beating my beloved Habicht 8x30...
When comparing the Binuxit to a clean Zeiss West 8x30 (No.5xx xxx, non B) I was shocked how sharp, bright and neutral the Binuxit looked in comparison. The Zeiss design is many decades newer - but much inferior in usability and optical quality (I had 3 Zeiss for comparison...)! The ocular lenses of the Binuxit have about 4 times the surface of the Zeiss West. The result is remarkable.
Now, my sample is slightly decollimated. Nevertheless the sharpness is spectacular. Combine this with a 150m field of view and ease of view and you will just fall into the image like with few other binos. I plan to have my sample serviced, it´s worth it because on a sunny day it is a pure pleasure and wow, this is just a decollimated sample...
My Binuxit seems to be a rather late one, probably from the second half of the 1950s, Holger Merlitz states the Binuxit was built from 1927 till 1962 (http://www.holgermerlitz.de/seven8x30.html) and there is a very nice flickr page with comments of passionate users https://www.flickr.com/photos/binocwpg/6329313798/. Some of these guys also clearly prefer the Binuxit to the Zeiss West.
I gave my sample a thorough cleaning, both from top and bottom, both prisms each side, and the rear lens of the objectives. It seems the plastic seal on the prism plates has turned into a waxy substance and fogged up parts of the prism. I´m not a technician, but following Simon Spiers´ fine video (thank you so much!) about cleaning porros http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpHtruwBjCo and fetching the tools, paper towel, acetone, window cleaner and rubber gloves I had some fun. The build quality is fantastic and both prisms sit absolutely tight in their housing without any play, but are easy to take out after the strong metal clamps have been removed. The construction looks beautifully simple but it´s a lot of precision in the details and I got a feeling why these instruments were so expensive in their days. The objectives were a bit hard to unscrew but it worked out fine. It´s always amazing to see what a bit of cleaning can do (that´s true for the objective front lens, too!). Most professional service technicians will tell you though that it´s not possible to remove the prisms without recollimating the glass after, but in this bino the prisms sit so tight it might work. Anyway mine were decollimated before and after.
More to come... the Binuxit is a favourite!
You gotta love these porros...
The leather case has a truly psychedelic beauty, maybe I have a special edition made for the Pope, after all it´s a Leitz, so this is not entirely impossible.