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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased one of the B grade East German binoculars from Apex this week. These were on sale for $90. I like when they ship through the post office as I get items much quicker.

Not knowing exactly what to expect, I just hoped for something usable.

I received a good pair. Ugly, but good where it counts.

I started taking it apart to clean it and see that its been repainted at least two times. This one saw heavy use. I figured I could try a couple tricks on the paint that I've picked up over the years on it to try to restore it back to before the repaint.

There was a saying I used to tell people that were going to repaint something. "It's only original once." With some methods, I found this to not always quite be the case. It only works a fraction of the time, but if you know what to look for, and have some luck, sometimes it works out well.

Different paint requires different solvents and Ill tell you now that your mileage will vary, so don't yell at me if you screw up one of these, or any other item out there. I've done this to everything from vintage lunch boxes, to scooters, to guns, and now binoculars. Sometimes graffiti remover works, sometimes denatured alcohol, acetone, or very mild paint stripper. I'm sure there is other stuff out there. I've used some of the above along with steel wool to bring back vehicle panels.

For these I used denatured alcohol. Its possible that acetone might work but it might strip it all off so be careful. There was a TON of handwork required to strip off the repaint(s) but the alcohol did not touch the original paint at all. I used q-tips, paper towels, and a toothbrush to strip the paint. The alcohol worked so well that even the NVA lettering on the front now shows the original white highlighting. The serial number is unfinished etch.

The rubber was taken off and soaked in soapy water and scrubbed. Not much else there. I'm sure the rubber was replaced at some point.

The pins that hold the rubber covering slide right out with pliers.
The front rubber covers pull off.
The eye cups unscrew. Turn the focus ring all the way to the left, and then turn a little harder.
The night light bracket is two pieces and two screws hold that on. The bottom part might be stuck with paint. You should see the original color under there.
I could not get the other dial off. I figured I really didn't need to anyway.

Is it worth it? Only if you're bored and too cheap like me to spend $300 all the way up to $1,200(overpriced factory reissue). Looking forward to calling in some air strikes with them.


Thank you Apex for offering these.

Before:


















After:







 

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Cool write up. Thank You.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Cool ! How's the glass on these?
Pretty good actually. Light scratches from cleaning, but no noticeable loss of clarity.

Looks Great! Will you do a set for me? :eek:
I don't think I'd even do another set for myself. My hand is still sore lol.


I think these sold out before mine arrived. I have no idea how long they had them and didn't know about them until they went on sale.

It's quite possible some better graded ones may soon come along.
 

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Thanks to your article, I was all ready to do this when mine arrived, which they did today. I had decided to try using Citristrip, as I had such good results using it on -74 mags, where it stripped the black paint but left most of the original stamps unmolested.

Imagine my pleasure when I unwrapped them to find no paint, and lenses without a single scratch. They need to have the grime removed, but wow these are nice. Apex definitely gave us a deal on these.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Oh, and some fool has a pair on ebay right now for $1395

Pretty good page here Carl Zeiss DF and EDF Binoculars that includes year of production by serial number, although I can't find on mine where the serial might be hiding.

Thanks for this link. I've got a 64 according to the list.

Looks like you scored on your set. Mine wasn't quite like originally pictured, but it is now!

im not quite sure how the whole serial number thing works. I have the same number stamped on the front and back, on the same side.

There is also a "II 75" which I think I read that was a refurb date.
 

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Great write up! I used to have 2 pair of these, but traded the other one off for a jacket. The older Zeiss DDR binoculars are some of the best out there.
I don't know if you know this or not, but the filter on the left side is designed to detect infra red. I'd have to look in the manual again to be sure, but you flip the filter on (you can't see through that side), and let it sit in the sun for some time. This charges the filter for night use. When something like an infra red spotlight is on, the filter will sparkle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Great write up! I used to have 2 pair of these, but traded the other one off for a jacket. The older Zeiss DDR binoculars are some of the best out there.
I don't know if you know this or not, but the filter on the left side is designed to detect infra red. I'd have to look in the manual again to be sure, but you flip the filter on (you can't see through that side), and let it sit in the sun for some time. This charges the filter for night use. When something like an infra red spotlight is on, the filter will sparkle.

Ok I was wondering if I had to have it flipped out to charge. Guess I will do that and leave it in the window tomorrow. I wonder if the light from a remote control will show up? I tried looking for a manual but all I found were German ones.
 

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The only manuals I know of are in German. These are the original Zeiss model 7x40, the newer ones used Tritium to keep the reticle illuminated in low light.
Although I'm not sure about the older ones like yours, I know for a fact that when Germany merged after the Wall came down, the Bundeswehr used, and stored the newer model from Zeiss for re-issue. These are still somewhat common, and carry a BW number.

I'll check my pair later and see if I have a serial number like yours does. I paid EU190 in 2004 for mine, but had to locate the strap, and leather button keeper from another source.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
The only manuals I know of are in German. These are the original Zeiss model 7x40, the newer ones used Tritium to keep the reticle illuminated in low light.
Although I'm not sure about the older ones like yours, I know for a fact that when Germany merged after the Wall came down, the Bundeswehr used, and stored the newer model from Zeiss for re-issue. These are still somewhat common, and carry a BW number.

I'll check my pair later and see if I have a serial number like yours does. I paid EU190 in 2004 for mine, but had to locate the strap, and leather button keeper from another source.

I guess the worst case scenario is that I can use the word lens app with a German manual. I love technology.

Some of you guys might like this for your Russian manuals (although Russian is still not yet available). Can't figure out how to embed youtube. This is worth its own post lol.

 

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I guess the worst case scenario is that I can use the word lens app with a German manual. I love technology.

Some of you guys might like this for your Russian manuals (although Russian is still not yet available). Can't figure out how to embed youtube. This is worth its own post lol.

Well I'll be damned...that is one of the most useful and coolest aps I've seen yet.
 

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The sad thing is I used to have access to entire sets of the rebuild kits for these Binos (lenses and all) I wish I had picked up a few of those sets a few years back but I was not thinking straight in those days, I forgot I had a set at that time that now could probably use a rebuild- ah well C'est la vie. although I did get a few RPG optic rebuild sets at that time.
 

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I found a link to a German site that sells spare parts including the illuminator sets for the reticle. No information on the site about if they ship to the US, trying to find out.

Look in the eyepiece cover, there is a compartment in them to hold the yellow haze filters. Mine only had one of the filters, but it was fun finding it.
 

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You will not be able to use the illuminator set because of the power source. This thread has reminded me to get off my ass, and have a friend of mine machine an attachment with a small battery source for this purpose. Its a cool and correct accessory to have though.
 

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Man, I wish I picked up a pair during their sale. I think I got through the checkout twice, only to chicken out and walk away. I've had moderate success with Apex, but I just knew I'd get a pair that would be too far gone. Hindsight...
 
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