Collecting Military Binoculars
8 x 30 DF Hensoldt
The Hensoldt Diagon was introduced in 1948, it was the center focusing civilian version of the 8x30 binocular which would later become the standard binocular of the German army (Bundeswehr). The military version, the 8x30 DF with individual eyepiece focuser and a partial rubber armor, was introduced in 1955, i.e. just after Zeiss had started to deliver its Dienstglas. Why there was this confusion is unclear to me - however, Zeiss had acquired a majority stock holding in Hensoldt in 1954, so to some extent the DF could be regarded as 'in-house', and it is possible that the demand for binoculars during the early years of the Bundeswehr was too high to be satisfied by Zeiss alone. Also, Hensoldt could offer further models like the 7x50 and 10x50, which were then still out of reach for Zeiss (in 1957, Zeiss introduced 8x50 and 10x50 units).
For some years both the Zeiss and the Hensoldt were delivered to the armed forces. The fully rubber armored version appeared in 1959 and remained in production until 1963.The 8x30 DF remained in service until the 1970s when they were gradually supplemented (though not completely replaced) with the cheaper but also inferior Steiner models. Since 1986, Hensoldt is again supplying binoculars to the armed forces.
( Text by Holger Merlitz) ( For the Hensoldt Wetzlar history, click here )