Fake or Non-Genuine Carl Zeiss Jenoptem Binoculars.

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This guide is in response to the number of fake or non-genuine Carl Zeiss binoculars being sold on E-bay.

It applies mainly to the Zeiss Jenoptem 8x30 or 10x50 binoculars and on rare occasions to the 7x50. These were sold mainly from mail order catalogues in Britain in the late 70s to early 80s. Wether they were contracted out by Zeiss to Japanese makers or just fakes is difficult to ascertain today. Main point is they are very inferior to the German made article and do not survive constant use.

If the bino  is a Jenoptem in the above sizes and has a six figure serial number it is not German made. Equally if it has any letters in the serial number it is a fake. Genuine binos always have a seven figure serial number. The focusing wheel will be black plastic and has a ring impressed into the front. Genuine article is metal, smaller and usually has minor paint loss. Smooth paint and a rubbery feel are on the fakes. German article has dappled paint and a slightly slippery feel. Fakes are always marked as multicoated. On the real thing the screw on the top plate is right beside the 'D' of Multicoated, on the fake it is about three-quarters of an inch away. All will have 'DDR' or 'Made in DDR' somewhere on the genuine binos. That means they were made in the old East Germany. If there is the legend 8.2 Degrees or similar on the plates of the objective end (lower) and an initial, often 'K' they are fakes.

Focusing on my Genuine Zeiss binos bought from the late Vic Odden in 1978 for £58 is a dream. On fakes which I owned by accident until I got to know better focusing was sticky, tightish and certainly never smooth. What is worse, I have seen two examples where the spiral on which the focusing wheel turns actually snapped  and the bino was useless

There are other differences but there is enough information here for you to identify the fakes. Have they any good points? Optically they are not bad and they will take a few knocks without going out of alignment. They are just another Jap bino and they are certainly not worth the money some people are paying for them. Most have impressed lettering  but on a very few it is stencilled.

If you are buying Jenoptems in the above sizes make sure you know the serial number and if it has 'DDR' somewhere on it. Be wary of vague or blatently dishonest sellers. Most know exactly what they have. Persevere and get the the genuine article. They are the best value binos on E-bay today.


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