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Binocular comparisons

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2011 at 18:19
Klamath View Drop Down
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Well this past weekend I have been at the local Winter Wings festival.  It is the largest birding show in Oregon.  I spent some time in the Zen Ray booth, which was why I went in the first place.  Also present were Canon, Kowa, Swarovski, and Vortex.  I originally thought (and so did the dealer) that most of the new Vortex HD lineup would be out in time to be at this festival.  As it turned out, only the Viper HD and regular Viper were there.  I was able to spend quite a bit of time with each of the binoculars and spotting scopes on display and I figured at least some of the observations may make for interesting discussion.  So in the order of the strongest impression (either positive or negative), here goes.

 

Swarovski

I had been hearing a lot about the new EL Swarovision and the SLC HD.  I had seen the SLC HD and was pretty interested in seeing both side by side.  The dealer had 8x and 10x versions of both.

 

The first binocular of the show I looked at was the Swarovision EL.  I tried real hard to have no preconceptions.  I had read about some people being bothered by rolling ball in this binocular.  However, that complaint did not register at all with me, as that is one of the things that bother some people that I have NEVER been bothered by.  So I have to say that this binocular will foster either a love or hate relationship.  It is in truth, for me at least, a true Jekyll and Hyde binocular.  I got the glass set up for my eyes and was quite frankly really impressed with the image.  Sure enough, sharp to the edge, sharp clear crisp image.  It has a brighter image than the standard EL as well.  Then I started following a Raven flying around the campus and…and for the first time in my life ROOOOOLLLLIIIINNNNGGGG BBAAAALLLL….  It had never before in my life bothered me and it finally took a state of the art $2.400.00 binocular to let me see it.  Actually it didn’t let me see it; I got hit right between the eyes with it.  Now, since I saw it, and others have commented about seeing it, that does not follow that it will be a problem for everybody.  I would advise a little caution because there seems to be a better than even chance it will affect you.  I could not have used this binocular at all.  I tried to force myself to just ignore it and use it.  It didn’t work.  After about ten minutes I was just about seasick.  I did not feel real good the rest of the day.  So anyway, I have to say this was probably the biggest optical disappointment I’ve personally seen.  Now, I have to admit that the affect lessened as I looked more at it, but never did go away.  My advice is always to just go on to something else if some serious flaw shows up uninvited to the party. I will take my own advice here.  You could give me one of these, but I would sell it unopened and unused and get the real binocular in the Swarovski lineup and have a few hundred $$$ left over.  That is the SLC HD.  That is one impressive binocular.  One thing I fail completely to grasp is the comments from SV EL owners that the SLC HD image is “not in the same league…”  This is just pure BALONEY.  You can tell the two apart from the very slight amount of pincushion at the edge of the SLC HD, but the images are equally bright, equally sharp, equally clear, and indistinguishable from each other (with the exception of the edge).  The SLC HD was just about designed with my hands and face in mind.  Like Goldilocks and the three bears “…this one’s just right!”  So if the rolling ball in the SV EL bothers you, don’t despair, and just exchange it for the SLC HD.

 

Canon

This is the first time I have ever had the chance to look at any image stabilized binoculars.  The impressive one here is the new 10x42 L IS.  This one is waterproof and has two ED elements in each objective.  Even without the IS button, it is pretty clear this is a high quality glass.  Press the button and…well I see what everyone has been saying about the value of IS.  This binocular is $1,500 and much more expensive than the IS II series.  It is also a lot brighter, with better contrast, better color, and a sharper overall view than either the 10x30 or 12x36 IS II binoculars.  So now ED glass and a waterproof body come to image stabilized binoculars.  This is a very impressive binocular.  I’m not so sure that this is not where I’d go if I was to wind up and spend the $1,500 for a binocular.  It has all the kind of charm of a rounded, rubber armored brick with funny oculars, but the image will speak for itself.  With this one, you press the IS

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/20/2011 at 21:08
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Thanks Steve for the update.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2011 at 00:09
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Steve,
 
I appreciated your comments regarding the Canon IS 10x42L binoculars as well as the Kowa Genesis 8.5x44.
 
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2011 at 08:53
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Steve, once again thanks for the comments.  I echo your conclusions on the Swarovision from my own experience, that at the SCI convention in Reno.  I literally got nauseous after spending 5 minutes with the 10x42 SV.  I was very, very disappointed in them, especially at @ $2400.  I just got a chance to buy a new 10x42 SLC HD for $1490.  After looking through it at the same SCI show, it had become my favorite all time glass I've ever seen.  The overall package was perfect for me, especially at that price even though I'll still say I don't need a $1500 binocular for big game hunting, as several others will suffice nicely.  I guess I just wanted it!  Thanks again.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2011 at 09:20
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Thanks for the informative write-up, Steve!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/21/2011 at 09:23
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Steve,

Excellent, insightful comments as always.

Ad me to the list of SV disappointees.  The rolling ball is immediately noticeable and quite distracting.  I still haven't seen the SLC HD, but if it has the resolution and CA control of the SV, with some pincushion thrown in, it should be the bin to beat.

For the record, I am still checking them out, but I really, really enjoy my SLCneu's so far.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/24/2011 at 07:18
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First time I've heard about "rolling ball", what is it?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/24/2011 at 07:23
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Originally posted by Stud Duck Stud Duck wrote:

First time I've heard about "rolling ball", what is it?


http://www.opticstalk.com/rolling-ball-affect_topic27819.html
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