Kowa Genesis 8.5x44 (left) and Docter Aus Jena 10x50 Nobilem
Kowa Genesis alloy (not plastic) focus knob and diopter adjustment (top right)
In addition to the Prominar XD objective lens elements, the Genesis feature a new high refractive index Schmidt-Pechan roof prism sytem with Kowa's proprietary C3 coating on one surface, phase correction coating, and is fully multi-coated throughout. The Genesis are nitrogen purged (why not argon or krypton?) and waterproof.
Gazing into the objective lens elements reveals a deep purple-pink tint, and if you look inside you can see "PROMINAR" in white letters on one of the inner rings (not sure what effect this has on internal reflection/flare but I could go without it).View of the objective lens of the Kowa Genesis 8.5x44. (The coatings are the same for each lens but somehow I was able to get both the tinted and clear views in the same shot).
The overall impression of the Genesis is of a well built and solid bino, with a reassuring heft and excellent fit and finish. The Genesis binos feature Kowa's "Crystal Clear" lifetime warranty.
Docter Aus Jena 10x50 Nobilem: The Nobilem are very large porro prism binos. Weighing in at 46 ounces, these binos feature 14.5mm of eye relief to go with their 5mm exit pupil. The Nobilems feature a close focus distance of 18.7 feet, and a field of view of 387 feet at 1000 meters, which I estimate to be 353 feet at 1000 yards.
The 10x50 Nobilems have a center focus ring and a right ocular diopter adjustment. Both of these adjustment mechanisms are knurled rubber. Thr rubber eyecups are circular and can fold down for eyeglass wearers. These binos have integrated objective caps that fit into the objectives, in the old European style.Docter Aus Jena 10x50 Nobilem focus knob, diopter ring, and eyecups.
The Docter brochure I was able to locate had this to say about the 10x50's: The NOBILEM 10x50 B/GA is a high-performance pair of binoculars being suitable when the smallest details have to be recognized sharp and contrasty from far distances. This model offers a proven combination of large field of view and best resolution. You will identify the smallest details - even if you have to keep distance: when watching birds or having a look at architectural details, at horse races when you would like to follow your favourite, when you want to recognize the name of a ship passing by on the horizon or when you want to make out different colours on the plumage of the bird sitting on the tree opposite. The NOBILEM 10x50 B/GA will provide you with an excellent view.
While I am not 100% sure of the history of the Docter name and how it relates to Carl Zeiss Jena, suffice to say that these are 100% German-made optics. I believe they are made at the Carl Zeiss Jena plant located in the old communist East Germany. They are heavily rubber armored and carry a 30 year warranty. Here's some views of the box so you know what to look for:
Looking through the Nobilems, the view was quite striking. The view is clear, very sharp and color rendition is neutral. The focus knob is accesible via the tips of my middle fingers while holding the binos and had a nice, smooth, but stiff feel. The diopter ring, while not of the locking variety, was stiff enough to afford staying put at its correct setting with little worry of being moved.
The eyecups are an acquired taste. They aren't the most comfortable, and may be a bother to some. I got used to them, as I learned to nestle them in my eye sockets. Nevertheless, they bear mentioning.
One thing that is apparent when looking at these (and Docter roof prism models), is that the philosophy seems to be to make the optical sweet spot as big and sweet as you can get; and damn the edges of the field of view. The curvature of field at the top and bottom edges was pretty bad, and the side edges showed some pincushion and barrel distortion. By my estimate about 80% of the view from the center of the image outward was perfect, and things went downhill from there. It's not a bother unless you actually spend time and view the edges. There is a fine line here. The Vortex Razors I tested had the distortion take up a larger portion of the field of view, to the point it bothered me. Not so the Nobilems. YMMV.
Putting up the Nobilems on the resolution chart, I quickly found out that the type copy from the Docter brochure wasn't just marketing hype. The resolution on these things had to be seen to be believed! The sharpness of the optics was simply "mind boggling" good. I was able to see pretty much to the limits of my vision. Here's the res chart for comparison:Resolution chart for Docter Aus Jena 10x50 Nobilems, showing the horizontal and vertical bars I was clearly able to distinguish.
The rectangular black tag with white lettering and stamped serial number is the exact same as that found in the Vortex Viper series. Coincidence? Perhaps. But here's my take: These are made by Fujinon. If so, I'll say this company makes some darn good binos. While Nikon and Bausch & Lomb might be the household names, Fujinon takes a back seat to neither of them.