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Advice needed on buying compact binocular

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/06/2010 at 23:21
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Optics GrassHopper
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I am considering buying compact (or pocket) binoculars. Usage: general purpose: trips, sightseeing (nature, urban), even theater. That implies the required compact/pocket size. Price range: not more that $250. I read that I should first go to a store and hold binoculars in hands - that is hardly possible: general stores have poor variety, usually not good; special optic stores have a lot, but "in central storage", hundreds of miles away. So my education is abstract. 
I have a feeling that if an item costs less than $100, it hardly has better quality than a product of another brand for $200, even if that brand is considered overpriced. So I started with price of $200 and tried reading reviews.
After reading many sites I decided I should consider Minox BD 10x25 BR. I liked its look; Minox is considered a good brand; BD compact is a new series. Not many reviews, but reviews on an older BV compact series are good. Also: I wear glasses, and it has large eye relief. Then I read that 10x may be too large magnification for compact size and added BD 8x24 BR to consideration. Later I encountered good reviews for Pentax DCF LV Compact 9x28. Not "German optics" of course, and not so compact (weight is 1.5 times larger than Minox), but more people review it. Could anybody help me select between those 3 items (most important feature - quality) or propose some otherbinoculars from same price and size range?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2010 at 09:19
Bird Watcher View Drop Down
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I would not be concerned with Minox being equated with "German optics".
The less expensive Minox are manufactured in China.
The High Grade/HG Minox "were" assembled in Japan using SCHOTT glass from Germany.
Only recently are the HG series binoculars being MADE IN Germany, and the HG series are way out of your price range,  
and do not fit into the compact/pocket criteria. 

A 10x compact binocular will be VERY shaky hand held, stick with 8x or less magnification.
A 10x would also have a narrow FOV.
Using a 24mm or 25mm indoors, for theater, may be too dark for your eyes.
 
$200 sounds rather low cost for good quality compact binoculars, perhaps others will have suggestions in that price range.
The Pentax 9x28 would also be out of your price range.
 
Inexpensive "compact" (pocket) binoculars RARELY have good eye relief, but, Minox does make a couple.
 
 
 


Edited by Bird Watcher - December/07/2010 at 11:19
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2010 at 13:28
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First, I think it is a BIG mistake to go for 10x and small size in the same package.  The more magnification you try to coax out of a design, the more image quality decreases.  I agree with Birdwatcher in that a 10x25 is simply too hard to hold steady.
 
So from the three you mention, and the links provided by BW, I have had some experience with two.  The 9x28 Pentax is a nice glass, but for my personal taste it needs more fov and less magnification.  If it came in 7x28, I probably would own one.  I have a profound dislike for dual hinge binoculars.  Two reasons, first is they can be a pain to get set up quickly for a snap shot viewing opportunity.  Second, two hinges will wear faster than one and there are a lot of loose hinged twin hinge compacts out there.  So with that in mind, I have looked at the Minox 8x25 BV, the one with the single hinge.  It is a nice glass for what it is and for what you need.  However, I will strongly recommend the Bushnell Custom Compact Elite 7x26.  I know it is somewhat above your price point, and I readily acknowledge that it is larger than the pothers, but it clearly has better optics.  I like mine a lot and do not fret over the fact it is "ONLY" 7x.  Good optics and a sharp image will trump any percieved "loss" due to less magnification.


Edited by Klamath - December/07/2010 at 13:30
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2010 at 17:48
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Optics GrassHopper
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Thanks for your advices. I started with 10x25 because I held my friends' piece once and did not find any inconvenience (probably because of my unpreparedness and short time of test). But that was a much more expensive Leica.
Concerning the binos you advised. 
- Bushnell is definitely in a better quality range: lower magnification, porro and higher price. 
- Minox BV is much less expensive that similar Minox BD. Why? Lower quality?
- I never found Minox BD 8x25 BR W other than on their website. Is there an error? Only 8x24 and 10x25 are available in all possible stores for that series.
- Pentax 9x28 is within my price range. It may be found for less than $200. Is 28 mm objective significantly better than that of Minox 8x24? Eye relief is more or less the same; Pentax is 1.5 times heavier...
I see that Minox BV has one hinge; Minox BD has 2 hinges. From pictures of Pentax 9x28 LV I guess there is one hinge. Though I did not hold it in hands.
So remaining on my list: Minox 8x25 BV, Minox 8x24 BD (better quality??), Pentax 9x28 LV. I would be glad if that list narrows. 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2010 at 18:57
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what's up with the links to those Competitor.com?  I thought SWFA carries all of those brands.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2010 at 19:24
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Originally posted by spf2 spf2 wrote:

what's up with the links to those Competitor.com?  I thought SWFA carries all of those brands.
You are automatically prevented from connecting to links for the competitors.
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2010 at 19:31
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Optics GrassHopper
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I think I entered plain text. I do not know how those links originally appeared.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2010 at 19:42
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Plain text name of competitor is recognized.  Again read the rules.  Just the way it is.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2010 at 19:49
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Sorry. I did not mention (and do not know) any competitors at all. Why the words "glasses" and "optics" were recognized as "competitors"? 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2010 at 20:51
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Well, stuff happens.  The "competitor" deal got me once too.  Just go forward Big Smile.  Sometimes you never may know what happened.   If you did what BW did, linking a page from a product website from a brand carried here, then all is well.  Just be careful not to post a link a to glass (even carried here) from another dealer.
 
EDIT:  Should have clicked the linked words in your post.  I have seen that competitor .com thing before, but it seems that is different from the competitor warn offs from here.  That usually just replaces the reference in the post with the word "competitor" instead of "xyz company".  Might get a warning from a moderator too.  I don't know for sure what is up there.  If you tried to shorten a URL into the word "binocular" (for instance), there may have been some error.


Edited by Klamath - December/07/2010 at 21:08
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/07/2010 at 23:14
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Optics GrassHopper
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Since the discussion went away from the subject, I repeat my question from last meaningful post. 
Thanks to Klamath and Bird Watcher for their replies. 
Maybe somebody else owes (or owed) the binoculars I am considering: Minox 8x25 BV, Minox 8x24 BD (better quality??), Pentax 9x28 LV. I would be glad if that list narrows. < ="utf-8">

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/09/2010 at 14:17
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Optics GrassHopper
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Olympus PCI 8x25:

16mm eye relief, BAK4 prisms, generally *very* well liked by owners. I'm constantly on the verge of buying a pair just because they're so nice, even though I don't have any use for them.

There are 10x as well, but they'd obviously be dimmer and shakier and probably have less eye relief.

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