Realigning Binoculars... worth it?

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  • I have a pair of Minolta 10x50 that I've had for at least 25 years. Love these glasses.

    But, after using them Saturday and setting them in the back seat, I go to use them yesterday and one of the prisms is out of alignment. It's not bad, but it's bad enough... but I have no clue how it happened.

    A) does anyone even do this work for the public any more, and

    B) is it even worth it to try?
     

    Michigander08

    ridiculous and psychotic
    MDS Supporter
    May 29, 2017
    5,587
    I sent my watch out to Seiko for repair but have never done with optical stuff. I think it is very hard to get it done now. There are local stores in other states that will service it but I can't find anything in Maryland.
     

    Michigander08

    ridiculous and psychotic
    MDS Supporter
    May 29, 2017
    5,587
    I have a pair of Minolta 10x50 that I've had for at least 25 years. Love these glasses.

    But, after using them Saturday and setting them in the back seat, I go to use them yesterday and one of the prisms is out of alignment. It's not bad, but it's bad enough... but I have no clue how it happened.

    A) does anyone even do this work for the public any more, and

    B) is it even worth it to try?
    Do you want to take your chance with this store?

    You can take the metro but go during daytime. lol

    Come Visit us at 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006

    Located in Western Market with a street and indoors entrance!

    Hours:

    11 am- 6 pm Monday-Friday

    11 am - 3 pm Saturdays

     
    Last edited:

    beetles

    Member
    MDS Supporter
    Dec 19, 2021
    315
    Considering how much the binocular market has changed in the last 20 years, unless you have a product under warranty, it probably isn't worth the cost to repair them. The mid-market in binoculars today offer what was available only in "alpha" glass a decade ago. That said, some of the best binoculars ever made as far as optical quality goes are porros that aren't waterproof/fogproof or all that shockproof. The Nikon E II 8x30 is an example and the Swarovski Habicht 8x30 are still benchmarks in quality for any binocular.
     

    Overboost44

    Sonic
    MDS Supporter
    Jun 10, 2013
    6,132
    Kent Island
    I agree with Beetles. I would replace them. I can't imagine it would be worth fixing them. I got a pair of 10x Steiner's from another MDS'r for a good price and I am really happy.. Auto-focus, smaller and clear. They bring in a lot of light for their size too. Wait for a sale and cut the old pair loose IMO.
     

    mvee

    Active Member
    Dec 13, 2007
    2,386
    Crofton
    I have had one of the objective barrels come loose on a pair of binoculars and twisting the loose side tightened everything up and fixed it.

    There are little flathead screws under the covering that you can turn to adjust the prisms to bring the images into alignment. Look up “How to Collimate Binoculars” there are instructions on the web.

    I was working on a set of binoculars and it wouldn’t adjust by the little screws. I opened it up and there were two sets of prisms on each side. One is adjustable and one was epoxied to the inside of the binocular body. The one prism had some unattached where it was epoxied to the body and was flopping around.
     

    beetles

    Member
    MDS Supporter
    Dec 19, 2021
    315
    Do you want to take your chance with this store?

    You can take the metro but go during daytime. lol

    Come Visit us at 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006

    Located in Western Market with a street and indoors entrance!

    Hours:

    11 am- 6 pm Monday-Friday

    11 am - 3 pm Saturdays

    That is in Foggy Bottom/GWU area of Northwest, near K street. Safe.
     

    beetles

    Member
    MDS Supporter
    Dec 19, 2021
    315
    So I wonder , do binoculars made for the us navy during WWII count? I have a pair and they still work just as well now as they did back then.. I do believe the statue of limitations would apply since it is stamped saying US Gov..
    Count for what? They were mil-spec in the day. Porro, likely B&L, but possibly made by others. Like any optical instrument 80-years old, the glass will be of that era and not a modern formulation. The coatings, if there were any, will not be modern. They won't be fogproof or waterproof or shockproof as are modern binoculars, nor will the eyepiece lens design offer up-to date field flattening features. Naval binoculars were heavy, commonly 7x50 for low-light use and meant to be used at sea aboard ship, so they didn't have to be carried very far. They would have been unsuited to extended shore use with infantry, for example. A good example may still have nice optics, though, but it won't be anything close to a modern porro. One side-by-side comparison will show you the difference. Fujinon FMTRC-SX is a modern version of the WWII 7x50. Mil-spec. Awesome glass.
     

    Flametamer

    Member
    MDS Supporter
    Mar 6, 2014
    753
    Frederick County
    I had an old Minolta that went similar a few years ago. Took it apart to see whether I could fix it. The glue holding the prisms in place was dried out and shot.. Good glue is widely available, but I didn't want the trouble of rebuilding with the anti fog gas. I decided to take it all apart so I could use the lenses and prisms with a laser to demonstrate physics of light to my kids and scouts. Lots of fun.

    Picked up Osprey binos at a gun show shortly thereafter. Very happy with them so far.
     

    Harrys

    Short Round
    Jul 12, 2014
    2,165
    SOMD
    I have a pair of Minolta 10x50 that I've had for at least 25 years. Love these glasses.

    But, after using them Saturday and setting them in the back seat, I go to use them yesterday and one of the prisms is out of alignment. It's not bad, but it's bad enough... but I have no clue how it happened.

    A) does anyone even do this work for the public any more, and

    B) is it even worth it to try?
    I would contact Minolta and ask if they referbish them and ask how much? Then determine if it is worth it. I have a GI issue 10x25 Tasco from 1990 when I was in Desert Storm they are still in great shape and use them for hunting. For me I would just by a new pair.
     

    USAF05

    Just one more gun...
    MDS Supporter
    Sep 26, 2022
    138
    Andrews AF
    About my thoughts. Replacing is probably the surest option.

    While I can't talk myself into Swarovski, etc., I have been happy with the Vortex sets we've gotten.

    Thanks!
    Vortex has amazing customer service as well. First hunt with my new vortex last year and lost a scope mounting nut. They overnighted me incorrect parts until I received the correct one. even included swag each time! they definitely have earned a customer in me.
     

    motorcoachdoug

    Active Member
    MDS Supporter
    My WWII Binos info..
    US Navy Bu SHIPS
    Mark 32 MOD 7 7X50
    N24064-1943
    Anchor Optical Corporation New York, NY.
    This Instrument has "COATED OP..CS"

    Each side can be adjusted individually from +4 to -4 . They used to belong to my Uncle who was in WWII as an army vet and he never did tell me how he ended up with a pair of US Navy Binos..
     

    OMCHamlin

    Member
    May 17, 2017
    712
    The Cumberland Plateau
    Okay, you have received a LOT of advice here, I am going to actually try and give you some meaningful advice. My qualifications in doing this are that from 1983 to 2000, I was a US Navy Opticalman, meaning that while I later focused on submarine periscope systems, I cut my teeth on overhauling binoculars, big eyes, NODS, ship's telescopes, sextants, stadimeters and alidades (even compasses!). You can repair some binocular problems yourself, but contrary to what others have said, re-colliminating them to be aligned properly is difficult with out the proper collimators, and we are talking about seconds of step, spread, dispersion and lean, all of these need to be accounted for including when the IPD is changed (you can align a pair pretty easily with out flexing the center hinge, but when you extend or collapse them, they are out of collimation). If they are not, the human eye is a remarkable tool and for a while, will try to compensate for the misalignment by telling your brain to "cover me on this, bro", and it will, for a while, until you get a pretty good headache from that effort.
    The binos we worked on were MADE to be worked on, I brought more then one pair back from being left in the sail's freeflood area (bridge lookouts forgetting?), and they have arrived in 35A weighing a LOT more then a normal pair, because they were completely flooded with seawater which once in, would not just quietly leave when the boat surfaced (it's a pressure thing). When the Nav shifted away from Opticalman and started farming that out to contractors (2000), they also began to open-purchase commercial binos and use other .mil sources. The Navy LIKES binos, but they HATE to pay for decent ones. I have NO idea what is issue nowadays, but I have seen Tascos and Fujinons in the past.
    That said, SOME binos are repairable, others have elements cemented (glued) in and really ought to be tossed as not cost effective to repair. Then there is the ability to find parts for a 20 year old Minolta (nice glass, BTW). If these have sentimental value, I will list a link or two to folks that make a living fixing these, and I have seen some work that they do. I haven't used Suddarth, but he's an ex Opticalman, so I bet he knows his stuff. I HAVE used Mountain (again, because I know I don't have the right gear to properly collimate them, and I KNOW how annoying a poorly overhauled pair looks in use!)
    Good luck, hope it works out well!

    Mountain Optics
    Suddarth Optical
     
    Last edited:

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