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$1000 plus binocular preference and power

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Poll Question: Which of the big four do you perfer and power 7x, 8x, 10x?
Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
2 [6.67%]
3 [10.00%]
0 [0.00%]
8 [26.67%]
10 [33.33%]
7 [23.33%]
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/08/2007 at 13:18
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In reading the poll I would like to hear from everyone on the message baord about which of the four brands of binoculars you perfer or the one you would buy if you were looking for a new binocular and your power of perference (7x, 8x, or 10x)  All feedback will be appreciated.  Would love to hear from everyone before I take the big plunge.  Thanks
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/08/2007 at 14:05
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I am not a hunter, but, if I were I would choose the Zeiss Victory 7x42 T* FL binocular.

The brightness of the 7x for dawn and dusk, and into darkness, coupled with the 6mm exit pupil, to take full advantage of the 7x and the Zeiss Flourite glass. None of the other binoculars listed offers a 6mm E.P.

Also, the longer, phase-corrected Abbe-Konig prisms are among the brighest and sharpest on the market, today.

The 7x Zeiss Victory T* FL also offers a Field of View of 450'; none of the other binoculars listed offers such an exceptionally wide FOV.





Edited by Bird Watcher
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/08/2007 at 15:09
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I went with the Swarovski SLC.  I compared them side by side to the nikon Premier LX, Zeiss FL, Swarovski EL, and a Leupold Golden Ring. I was planning on buying a 10x Zeiss FL.  I thought the Zeiss was a bit (and only a tiny bit brighter then the SLC) but I liked the way the SLC fit my hands. The Zeiss was much lighter in weight infact too light for a 10x binocular in my opinion. Previously, I had some experience with the Leica Trinovid another very nice binocular but it felt "blocky" in my hands.

 

All of them were very close, odd man out was the Leupold it was nice but not in the same class as the others.  The Nikon was a great binocular that would have been my second choice.

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/08/2007 at 15:56
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Is the Ultrivoid a new model for 2007?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/08/2007 at 16:20
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Nikon LXL 8x42.  A fair bit cheaper than other binos in this test and just as good or close to it for any regular use.  If it was available in 7x42 configuration it would be even better.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/08/2007 at 16:41
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The one that you would have to pry from my cold dead hands is the Swarovski EL 8x32, but i also like some others (i.e., Leupold Yosemite 6x30 - you guys don't know what you are missing with this one, Swarovski SLC 7x42, Leica Ultravid 10x42, Nikon EII 8x30, Fujinon FMTRSX 8X30). None of the Zeiss made it to my list because of the poor view at the edges.    
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/09/2007 at 12:29
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Tough call. If price wasn't an issue and we had to choose based on optics and handling then I do not know which one I would go with. I have owned owned the SLCs and thought they provided superb image quality and very good handling. However, they are longer and heavier than either of the other two 7x42s that I also owned.

 

The 7x42 FL had an exceptionally bright, wide field of view but the excessive astigmatism really put me off of them after a time.

 

The 7x42 Trinovid provided the same view as the SLC and with a lighter and shorter design but it did feel a bit blocky without thumb indents.

 

I guess you can tell I was really into 7x for a time. I still think it is very underrated based on what configurations many popular bins are offered in. I have been dabbling with a few 10x models recently and again can feel the addictive nature of that larger image. However, I would be more hard pressed to recommend it as the best "all around" magnification choice.

 

Which leaves us with 8x.

 

Without price as an issue I would opt for the 8x42 Ultravid. I believe it offers one of the absolute best levels of image quality in the most ergonomic package. The FLs and ELs are great but both are too long physically compared to their competitors. The LXLs offer excellent image quality for the price but the field of view is a bit narrow compared to the others. The Trinovids are entirely comparable to the Ultravids with just a slightly dimmer image but the ergonomics need work.  Again, this is just my thought process and not necessarily what someone else might consider important.

 

With price thrown in I would probably vote for the LXL because it optical performance practically matches the others at a lesser price.

 

And, as always, I have to throw a little plug in for Meopta. It has been my experience that they are in the same optical class as the SLCs and Trinovids but at a more attractive price. I think they should at least be considered when you are looking at high performance binoculars.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/09/2007 at 12:40
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Frank,

For those of us who are still in a "learning mode" please explain what you mean by astigmatism, in a binocular.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/09/2007 at 18:10
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anweis mention the Leupold Yosemites.  I got my son a pair of Leupold Mesa 8X42's for Christmas.  I've been comparing them to the Minox 8.5X52 and the Swaro EL 8.5X43.  $150 will buy you a lot of porro binocular.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 08:05
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Quote Frank,

For those of us who are still in a "learning mode" please explain what you mean by astigmatism, in a binocular.

 

In the case of the FLs I am referring to the amount of image out of focus surrounding the "sweet spot" in focus in the center of the image. The Swaro ELs, SLCs and Nikon LX/LXLs have the widest sweet spot. The FLs, to me, have the sharpest centerfield image but the quality of the image degrades much more quickly as you get away from the center of the field of view. The difference between astigmatism and other types of edge distortion is that the other types typically can be brought to focus by adjusting the focusing knob. The atigmatism in the FLs does not disappear regardless of how you attempt to adjust the focus.

 

There was a very interesting post on an issue related to this over on another forum. I will see if I can find it and post the link below.

 

 

Quote anweis mention the Leupold Yosemites.  I got my son a pair of Leupold Mesa 8X42's for Christmas.  I've been comparing them to the Minox 8.5X52 and the Swaro EL 8.5X43.  $150 will buy you a lot of porro binocular.

 

The 6x30 Yosemites are probably one of the best kept secrets in the binoworld right now. I eagerly await getting my hands on a pair of the 8x30s when they debut shortly. If they can maintain the optical quality of the 6x30s with only a slight loss in brightness then they should compare very favorably with much more expensive roof prism models.



Edited by FrankD
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 14:14
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Frank,

I thought your observation was an interesting one because one of the claims of the Zeiss FL's is "outstanding edge definition".

It would be interesting to see if you can "duplicate" your experience by looking thru another Zeiss FL binocular.

Edited by Bird Watcher
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 14:47
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Zeiss FL 8x42, based on hands-on side-by-side comparisons.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/11/2007 at 07:30
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Frank, how do you campare the Leica Trivoids to the Swarovski EL, SLC and Nikon XL, XLX in your earlier post?  I am leaning more towards the Swarovski SLC or the Leica Trivoids due to the price.  SWFA has the SLC and Trivoids on their sample list and they would be a little over half the price of the ELs, or Duivoids?  Thanks

 

PS  I am really learning alot from you. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/11/2007 at 09:26
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Quote Frank,

I thought your observation was an interesting one because one of the claims of the Zeiss FL's is "outstanding edge definition".

It would be interesting to see if you can "duplicate" your experience by looking thru another Zeiss FL binocular.

 

BW,

 

I am guessing what they mean by edge definition is in reference to the edge of any given object. The use of FL "glass" or ED glass in a binocular is meant to reduce color fringing on high contrast objects. The edges of those objects in a non-ED/FL binocular have a "halo" of secondary color usually yellow or purple caused by not having all the colors of the light spectrum focused together. I believe this is what they mean by edge definition and not that they have a wide sweet spot or edge to edge in focus sharpness.

 

FWIW, I did buy a second 7x42 FL late in our archery season and took it out to the treestand with me. I tried to use it that morning but actually started to get a bit of headache from the atigmatism. I was accustomed to using the Leica Trinovids and Meopta Meostars most recently before that and both exhibit a much wider sweet spot. I think the immediate switch is was gave me such a problem with it on that occasion.

 

Quote Frank, how do you campare the Leica Trivoids to the Swarovski EL, SLC and Nikon XL, XLX in your earlier post?

 

In terms of build quality or optical performance?

 

Each has their own flavor for lack of a better word. All of them offer the widest sweet spots currently available in a premium roof prism binocular. The Nikon is probably the best in that regard followed by the SLC, the EL and then the Trinovid. But do not take that as the Trinovids are significantly less in some regard in comparison to the Nikons. I am really splitting hairs here. If I had to throw numbers out, which I do not like to do, to put things in perspective then I would suggest something like...

 

1. Nikon 95%

2. SLC 94%

3. EL 93%

4. Trinovid 90%

 

...in terms of the actual portion of the image in focus. The numbers are not really representative of a true percentage but rather just to help identify the small differences I am relating.

 

Image quality with all of those models is so close that you really cannot go wrong with any of them.

 

That leaves two issues with me....overall size and price. The ELs and SLCs are fairly large binoculars in length and somewhat in weight though the former is well within the regularly accepted weight range for a premium roof prism bino of that configuration.

 

The Trinovids are shorter and weigh right in between the two previously mentioned Swaro models. I would find them more ergonomic though if they added some thumb indents underneath the barrels. The 8x32 BN is a joy to hold and its overall size doesn't warrant the thumb indents but the full sized 42 mm models surely could benefit from them.

 

The Nikon is also a bit long overall though doesn't feel as long as the ELs or SLCs to me. I believe that can be attributed to their superb balance. The focusing speed and feel is probably the best I have ever felt and durability shouldn't ever be an issue.

 

That leaves one big issue to discuss, price. I would not pay the extra price for the ELs over the SLCs especially since Swaro redesigned them (SLCs). Any optical difference between the two is exceptionally minor and not noticeable to 95% of the people out there. You are paying for the overall newer design and lighter physical weight of the ELs in my opinion.

 

I have seen it mentioned that the Trinovids have the exact same optics as the Ultravids without the new lens/prism coatings. The only optical difference I noticed between the two was in reference to brightness. The Ultravid is noticeably brighter but several folks have made reference to that brightness sometimes being too bright and occasionally artificial in perception. The current prices on the 7x42 Trinovids on clearance or as a demo are surely hard to beat in my opinion.

 

From a new price perspective the Nikons are the best of the bunch. They offer the same optical performance in my opinion as the Aust-Ger models but at a price usually a few hundred less (EL, FL, Ultravid in particular).

 

With these thoughts in mind my choices would be....

 

1. Trinovid (clearance/demo)

2. Nikon (new or refurbished)

3. Swaro (demo/refurbished)

 

...but any of them would more than satisfy my tastes.

 

Hope this proves helpful.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/11/2007 at 14:18
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Frank, I noticed that SWFA doesn't carry the Nikons LXLs.  Can you direct me to someone that sells them at a very favorable price?  SWFA does have two Lieca Trivoids 7x42s on the sample list for a fair price and they have a bunch of 7x42s Swarvoski SLC's.  I am getting closer to a decision but I want to look at the Nikon's first before I buy.

 

I feel the same way about the Zeiss FL's and Leica Duvoids that is several hundered dollars for not that much optical difference.  Not really worth it to me.  I bought a pair of Kahles for $450 and loved them.  Wished I would of never sold them to my friend.  Big Mistake!  Thanks Frank

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/11/2007 at 15:44
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Frank,

Thanks for the clarification on edge definition!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/12/2007 at 06:27
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I am glad I could help guys but, as I tried to relate, everyone finds something different about a particular binocular that just works for them. It may not have the very best optics or be the lightest in its class but several key characteristics just come together and work for that individual.

 

My comments above were just my experiences and in no way definitive...even for me. Heck, if I saw an 8.5x42 EL marked down around $1000 somewhere I would not hesitate to grab it.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2007 at 11:29
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I'll give my $0.02 a little bit regarding power. I think 10x is a little bit too much...will be hard to hold steady, eye fatigue becomes a concern after extended periods of use, and you'll lose brightness unless you get a 10x50 or 10x56 and then I would guess your getting a bit too heavy.  I think the 8x is just about perfect for the widest variety of situations. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/29/2007 at 18:03
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That was a great summary, FrankD!

 

I have the 8X50 Trinovid and it's a very fine bin, but you're right about it not having the most ergonomic chassis, though that is a bit subjective.  It is certainly built like a tank, though it's very heavy, especially the 8X50 I have.  I don't use this bin for any hunting that involves a lot of walking because of the weight, but it's great for stand hunting, especially in low light.  I bought mine from the Samplelist a couple years ago, and it came with a nice hard leather case, so I just couldn't pass it up for the price I paid.  Otherwise, I would have selected the 8X42 version.

 

I haven't used the EL, FL, LXL, or Ultravid for any considerable length of time to compare their optical qualities, but I'm sure I'd be perfectly happy with any of them based on what little time I have and their reputation.  When you get into this class of bino, all are wonderful, just some a little more wonderful than others.  I've also found that some sub-$1000 binos offer optical performance so close to these flagship models that most people probably couldn't tell much difference, if any at all. 



Edited by RifleDude
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/30/2007 at 12:19
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I can't give you any feedback on the 1000+ binoculars but I can tell you my experience with some 800.00 binoculars. For deer hunting from a stand, I prefer 10x magnification. I compared vortex razor 10x42 and minox HG 10x43 and minox HG 8.5x52. The optical quality was so close with all of them it was not a deciding factor. Additionally, I found that even by moonlight, I could not tell a brightness difference between the 10x42 and the 8.5x52. Moreover, I found that stability was only an issue with the minox 10x43s because they were so light. I still noticed the instability of my hands as I held the 8.5x. Some people feel that with 10x plus magnification the detail is blurred because of instability but my personal findings were that it came down to seeing the detail a bit blurred or not seeing the detail. I prefer the former. Anyway, these are just my opinions. Thought I'd let anyone take them for what they are worth.
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