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8x42 Roof - Please Vote

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/09/2006 at 23:33
8Runner View Drop Down
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Please help me choose a sub-$400 8x42 roof binocular that will last until my 6 year old son is old enough to take over ownership.  Also, this bin will be drafted for an upcoming Axis Deer hunt.  I've been to many forums and this is the only place where the experts roam and offer valuable advice.

 

Using your experience, which of the following sub-$400 8x42 bins offer the best optical perfomance: 1) low light 2)edge clarity 3)minimal chromatic aberration

 

A) Minox BL 8x42 Roof - $389.95

B) Bushnell Discoverer 8x42 Roof - $353.95

C) Pentax DCF WP II 8x42 Roof - $339.95

D) Leupold Wind River Pinnacle 8x42 Roof - $389.95

 

Thank you.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2006 at 06:11
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8runner,

 

In terms of the image quality characteristics you mentioned I would pick the WR Pinnacle though there were ergonomic issues I did not like about that bin. It and the Discoverer have silver coated prisms which make for a brighter, crisper image.

 

I like the Discoverer, in general, as well but there was considerable edge distortion in them...or at least a rebadged copy of them, the Meade Montanas.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2006 at 15:31
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I don't think you can go wrong with any of the choices you have selected.  All will be fairly comparable as far as optical quality. In my (admittedly biased) scoring system, the Bushnell, Pentax, and Leupold binoculars score the same. I have no experience with any Minox binocular so, I can't comment on the one you've listed.

 

Eliminating the Minox from the equation (since I have yet to evaluate one;) I personally, would vote for the Discoverer, mostly because of it's exceptionally wide 420' Field of View. In my mind, this makes up for a fair amount of edge distorition. However, you need to be aware that this binocular cannot be tripod-mounted.  If this is something you want to be able to do, you need to pick one of the others on your list. My second choice would be the Wind River Pinnacles with the Pentax coming in third. I owned the original Pentax DCF WP and was very pleased with it so, placing the Pentax 3rd is not to be taken as a slight against this binocular.

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2006 at 12:54
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All are good binoculars.  I would not make much of the silver coated vs aluminum coated issue, personally.  The only thing I can add is that I've seen Pentax DCF SP around for around $450 or so.  I think it is sufficiently better to warrant a few extra bucks.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/12/2006 at 23:17
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Thank you so far to frank, lucznik, and koshkin.  Hopefully I can get enough feedback by wed. to make a decision.  Based on the feedback so far, the Bushnell and Leupold are in the lead.  In the meantime, I'll be researching the Pentax DCF SP.  Please keep in mind that my decision will be based 100% on your feedback as I have no physical access to any of these binoculars here in Hawaii.  Thank you.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/13/2006 at 14:10
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Having owned the Discoverer's I can tell you that they are a heck of a good bino for the money. If you are going to the next price level, The Pentax SP is the best in that price category and compare very well with bino's that cost close to a grand.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/14/2006 at 15:15
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Hi 8Runner,

 

I just got back from SWFA. I tried some of the binos you are interested in.

I looked thru the Minox BLs previously and thought they had too much field curvature for my taste.  I've heard good things about their higher end binos, but they were not in stock.  I looked thru all the Pentax roofs (HR II, WP II and SP) plus the Nikon Monarch and Leupold Cascade, Olympic and Pinnacles.  I would rank them as follows:

1. Pentax SP

2. Pinnacle

3. Cascade

4. WP II

5. Olympic

6. Monarch

7. HR II

 

The top 3 I thought were extremely close in performance, the SPs I thought were clearly the best of the bunch but not by much.  Maybe just a bit sharper.  However the SPs were 2x the price of the Cascades.  I also did not think the Pinnacls were worth the extra $140 optically, however the eycups were a little nicer.  I was looking to spend $400 and would have sprung the extra for the Pentax If they had been a full bump up in optical quality.  The Cascades were so close to the SPs and at $249, I thought they were easily the best value, so I bought a pair.  I thought they were just as bright (they are phase coated now) and only very slightly less sharp.  Color correction was very good, much better than the Nikons.  The lense caps, case and strap are nothing to write home about though.  When the Minox become available, I will check them out as well.

 

Also I should point out that I compared all those to my 7x50 Fujinon Polaris FMTR-SX.  These are perhaps the best available under $1000, but at 3.3 lbs, they are just too heavy in my opinion.  I will be selling them soon.

 

Just my $.02...

 

J. Tucker

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/14/2006 at 22:03
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J. Tucker,

Just out of curiosity, are the Cascades you purchased still "made in Japan"?

Did SWFA have any of the new Cascades w/Internal Focus Porro Prisms?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2006 at 07:39
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BW,

 

The Cascades are marked "Made in Japan" on the bottom, also the box.  That partially influenced my decision.  They did not show me the Cascade porros, so I guess they did not have them, as I was asking about porros.  I initially went to check out the new Minox porros, but they did not have those either.  I sent an email to Leupold tech support to verify that the Cascade 8x42 are indeed phase coated.  There is no mention in the literature, but a prominent "Phase Coated" sticker is on the binoculars themselves.  Do you know if this is true?  Also if I keep them, do you know if you can buy after market objective covers?  These come with the cheapest possible plastic caps and don't fit to well.

 

Thanks,

 

J. Tucker

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2006 at 10:39
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Just do a Google search on "binocular objective lens caps" & you will get plenty of options.

I talked with Leupold Technical Services this morning & I was told that the Cascades are indeed "Phase Coated".

They are going to e-mail me more current information on the Cascades, so I will see if there is anything significant to pass along.

Hopefully the 2007 catalogs will contain all the up-dated data, but, catalogs won't be out until next year.

I really appreciate the time you took to do the comparisons & for posting it on this thread. Thank You
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2006 at 11:28
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If the original list were to include the Pentax SPs then I would definitely give them the nod in place of the Pinnacles as my top pick especially when considering the optical quality. The SPs utilize ED glass which cuts down on CA and gives a crisper image. I have seen the 8x32s around $350 a couple places and the 8x43s priced around $450. I think SWFA is even having a sale on the SPs as I type this.

 

Here is the BVD review of the SPs and HRIIs.

 

http://www.betterviewdesired.com/Pentax04/index.html

 

I was fairly impressed with the new phasecoated versions of the Cascades when I had the chance to check them out a month or two back. My only reservation with them is that they had a substantially narrower field of view when compared with some of the other 8x42s at that price point.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2006 at 19:48
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Agreed (on both points.)
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/15/2006 at 22:50
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Thanks to everyone for your info.  I also appreciate the effort that Jtucker put into his post using "fresh" hands-on info.  With everyone posting, it makes this site #1 in my book for optics......and even rifles! 

 

Well it's payday so I've got the cash and all I need is the bino:  In order of price, low to high:

 

- Cascades

- Discoverer

- Pinnacles

- DCF SP

 

One more question before I decide on a bino; a buddy of mine recommended I spend the $400 on a Rifle scope rather than a binocular.  Do you believe this?  I figure one will be spending 99.9% of the time glassing so spending the $ on a bino is critical.  My buddy's belief is that the Rifle scope will get your deer bagged, which is the bottom line. 

 

I think buddies exist to just confuse the heck out of buddies!

 

Thanks,

Sean

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/16/2006 at 06:58
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Quote One more question before I decide on a bino; a buddy of mine recommended I spend the $400 on a Rifle scope rather than a binocular.  Do you believe this?  I figure one will be spending 99.9% of the time glassing so spending the $ on a bino is critical.  My buddy's belief is that the Rifle scope will get your deer bagged, which is the bottom line

 

I tend to agree with your reasoning however I would, ofcourse, not skimp on a rifle scope either. Admittedly though I am not primarily a rifle hunter. My interest in optics stems from both archery and birdwatching. To the shame of some I utilize a Tasco Pronghorn 3-9x32 on an older model Marlin 336 for the whopping 3 days that I rifle hunt here in PA each year. Cost of the scope when I bought it 8 years ago...$39.99. Problems I have had with it for the limited use it gets. Zero.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/16/2006 at 10:09
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Hi all,

 

I hate to stir the pot, but I am thinking about returning the Cascades and going with the Pentax SPs.  I am selling the Fujinons and will have a little extra cash.  I haven't made up my mind for sure on this but "the pleasure  of the fine optic will be enjoyed long after the pain of higher cost is forgotten".  If any of you want to help push me one way or the other feel free to opine.

 

J. Tucker

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/16/2006 at 12:11
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Buy the more expensive bin.

 

I think the SPs are definitely worth the extra money over the Cascades. Their overall "package" presents, to me, arguably some of the best optics short of the most expensive models on the market.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/16/2006 at 12:42
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You have already let the cat out-of-the-bag, so tell us what you discovered about the Cascade roof prisms that you do not like.
You will never go wrong by up-grading to a better binocular, it will be money well spent.

It's too bad that you want to sell your Fujinon's, a binocular like that should be KEPT, & used for other things. You may end up kicking yourself, later, for having parted company with them.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/16/2006 at 15:08
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There is really no "cat" here.  In my original post I thought that the SPs were best by a small amount.  I am really not finding anything wrong with the Cascades but since I am selling the Fujinons, I have some extra cash and can afford to splurge a little.  I can really only justify one pair of moderately expensive binos at this time.  I got the Fujinons to double as astro binoculars and for that purpose, the 16x70s would be a better fit for that, maybe sometime in the future.  I have top of the line 18" refector telescope so I will not be hurting there.  They are just to heavy for casual observing. I have been very favorably impressed with Pentax eyepeices I have owned as well, so I am going to check the SPs one more time this evening and then make a decision with money not factoring in.

 

I'll post what happens.

 

Later,

 

J. Tucker

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/16/2006 at 17:25
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OK...I ran by SWFA witht the intention of upgrading to the Pentax DCF 8x43 SPs.  The fit and finish is very good, they have a nice solid feel.  Real objective lens covers and case vs. bottom of the line for the Cascades.  I still think that the optics of the Pentax are very sharp even out to the edge of the field BUT...One of my major care abouts for terrestial viewing is flatness of field.  The SPs show very minor (as compared to the MINOX BLs that I looked at, or even some Leicas) curvature in the field of view.  It is very uniform from the center of view all the way to the edge.  The Cascades on the other hand are very flat thru about 85 % of the field then the field starts to curve rapidly.   At the very edge of the field, the image softens up quite a bit also, but only in maybe the last 5 - 7%.  Both were about the same in brightness, color maybe just a touch better in the Pentax, but I would rate both as excellent.  Also I thought the focus was a little too stiff on the Pentax, and I agree with some comments that the eye releif might be just a bit too long for non eyeglass wearers.  If you value the uniform, and crisp to the edge field, and want upscale construction and accesories, the Pentax would be the right call.  I found the view thru the Cascades more to my personal preference, so I kept them.  YMMV, but thats my opinion.

 

J. Tucker

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/16/2006 at 17:48
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Thanks for the prompt up-date. The comment/observation you mentioned about the Pentax eye relief being a bit too long struck very close to home for me.

I just returned from UPS, having sent back to Pentax my 20x60 PCF WP II binocular, for the second time. Eye relief has been a major problem, causing blackout for myself & my wife, if we are not very careful about eye placement.

I am asking them to replace the binocular, this time, as the newer versions do not demonstrate this condition. I looked through one at Sportsman's Warehouse & there was no obvious blackout. Mine was probably manufactured at least a couple of years ago.

Also, I agree with you about the Fujinon 16x70 being a better choice for astronomy. I am considering one for myself, at some time in the future, for the very same application.    

By the way, one of the reasons that I purchased the Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II binocular was because of the field flattner lenses as well as asperical optical elements + nitrogen-FILLED body as opposed to nitrogen purged.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/17/2006 at 11:18
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A perfect example of trying before buying. Everyone and their brother can recommend a bin because of favorable experiences with them and yet if it doesn't fit you then it doesn't fit you. I am glad to see that you found something you liked.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/19/2006 at 12:51
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Thanks to everyone.  I just ordered a Bushnell Discoverer 8x42.  The FOV and the Rainguard were deciding factors.  I'll let you guys know how it is when it arrives.  Thanks!  Now on to scopes.
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