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Binocular Suggestions...........

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 08:23
Wally View Drop Down
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I've been doing some research for a new pair of binoculars.  I've been searching the birdwatcher sites, watching and searching several forums, corresponding with friends, and handling as many different types as possible.  The problem is the more research I do, the more confused I become.  I've noticed there seems to be some of the best advice given on this forum.

 

I am currently am using a Pentax DCF SP 8x32.  I use it primarily for hunting.  In some of the places I hunt, I spend a lot of time sitting and glassing.  Still, I don't want too heavy of glass, because I do like to still hunt when conditions permit.  I've found a binocular invaluable in this type of hunting.  It's been a good bino, and I've learned a lot using it.  I would like to step up to a better quality binocular, with a 40 or 42 mm objective, but stay in the 7 to 8.5x range.  I would consider a 30 to 32 mm objective, if it provided a nice improvement over what I have now.  I also need good eye relief because I wear glasses.  I am considering trading or selling the Pentax.

 

I've looked at Leica Ultravids and the Swaro EL's.  They are great, but they are out of my price range. ( I'm wondering if I should just stay with what I got, and save my money until I can afford one of these.  I haven't seen a Zeiss Victory FL yet.)  I'm wondering what anyone here might recommend as a good step up in quality from the Pentax I have, but yet not as expensive as the big 3's high end model's.  Some units I've considered are the Kahles, Minox, Conquest ABK, a larger Pentax, or maybe a Nikon Premier.   I've also seen some good deals on higher end units on the Samplelist, such as Leica Trinovids, and Swaro SLC's.  On the plus side,  I live within driving distance of SWFA.

 

I hope this makes sense.  All suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

 

Steve

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 10:48
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Within @1000 you should be able to find

Nikon LX 8x32, Svarovski SLC 8x30 and 7x42, Leica Trinovid 7x42. The later two i saw on the famous bidding site.  From that Pentax SP 8x32, you need to step into the premium binoculars if you want to get anything better.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 12:02
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I agree 100% with what anweis posted. To see a significant improvement over the SPs you really do need to take a significant step up in price. My opinion of some of the ones you listed....

 

Kahles....a step up from the Pentaxs but I am not sure of the eye relief level of the 8x32s.

 

Minox HG 8x33....reportedly at the same performance level as the Leica Trinovids for around $550. Also have a rangefinding dial built into the focus knob. New, with few reports at this time.

 

"A larger Pentax"...I do not know how much you would gain in terms of brightness levels by going to the 8x43 and you would be losing field of view (393 vs 330). Pentax is reportedly coming out with a new ED series of bins (to replace the SPs?). You might want to consider them.

 

Nikon Premier.... The 8x32 produces, arguably, one of the best 8x32 images available. I have seen refurbs in the $600 price range and new models around $900. I do not know if the samplelist has any available but they would definitely be a step up from the SPs. The focus speed is fairly fast though and not everyone is fond of it.

 

If you can find a demo/pre-owned-certified Trinovid 8x32 for under $900 then I would suggest it as well. With just slightly more edge distortion they compare favorably with just about any of the 8x42 binoculars I have owned. Perceived sharpness is exceptional and the brightness level is just about on par with its bigger counterparts.

 

Hope this helps.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 12:08
lucznik View Drop Down
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Originally posted by anweis anweis wrote:

 From that Pentax SP 8x32, you need to step into the premium binoculars if you want to get anything better.

 

This statement is true with one small caveat.  Stepping up to a high-quality 40+mm objective lens will get you better "light-gathering" performance and higher resolution even if all you do is trade for another SP.  But, FrankD already pointed this out.

 

Other excellent choices (besides the ones already mentioned) in the at/under $1000 range would be the Leupold Gold Rings and Bushnell Elites.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 13:14
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I just purchased vortex razors and minox HG (you can read about it on another post) and I am quite happy with the optics and durability of the vortex razor. Plus vortex's headquarters is in the US and they offer fully transferable, unconditional, lifetime warranty.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 14:31
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Because I really like porros I would recommend looking at the

Mixon BD 8x44 BP

94.5% Light Transmission

Eye Relief 18.5mm

Exit Pupil 5.5mm

Weight 24.3 ozs.

Under $500

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 14:37
Wally View Drop Down
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Thanks so much for the replies.  I've gotten some great information and advice so far.

 

anweis- I was afraid I might have to step up into the premiums to get a noticeable improvement.  The good thing is there are some pretty decent deals around on closeouts and used premiums.

 

FrankD-your comments helped a lot.  The Minox HD's seem to be highly recommended.  I will seriously consider all of your advice.  I'm taking a serious look at the certified pre-owned and demo market.

 

lucznik-thanks for chiming in.  The reason I am thinking about stepping up to the 40 to 42 obj. class is for the extra light gathering and resolution.  After all, those are probably two of the most important attributes for my uses.  I haven't looked at the binocs you mentioned, but I'll be sure to check on them.

 

ahuebel-I appreciate your recommendations.  I also found good information in the post you mentioned.  I will look into the Vortex.

 

Thanks again for all of your help.

 

Steve

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 16:36
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Wally,

Truthfully, all of the premium options these guys suggested are excellent and you'd be happy with any of them.  I believe when you get to around the $700 price point level and up (roof prism), the optical differences become somewhat subtle and subjective and it really begins to boil down to which bino feels best to you and has the size, weight, and features you prefer.  For instance, if you're a birdwatcher, you might be interested in really short close focus distance or speed of focus.  If a mountain hunter, the lightest weight possible may be a huge factor, etc.

 

Good luck with your decision!



Edited by RifleDude
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 20:53
Wally View Drop Down
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Birdwatcher-I never really looked at the porros.  I was always concerned about them not being waterproof.  I understand that you get a better view for the money.  I'll check on them.

 

RifleDude-Thanks for the advice.  It is most appreciated.  I intend to handle as many as possible before I make a decision.  Only problem is some of the models which have come highly recommended, have been difficult to locate.

 

Steve

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/10/2007 at 22:15
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Wally,

The Minox BD 8x44 BP has internal focusing, same as a roof prism.

They are Argon gas filled to prevent internal fogging and corrosion. (Argon gas has a slower rate of diffusion than conventional nitrogen).

They are dust-free and waterproof.

One of the reasons that I like porro prism binoculars is the 3D image representation.   

The only drawback with these seems to be the smaller FOV. 337' or 6.4 degrees.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/11/2007 at 07:14
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Wally, go ahead and take the big plunge.  I have had the same problem that your going through.  I had the Kahles 8x42 that I liked alot and were the best binoculars that I have had up until this point.  I have also had a pair of Nikon Monarchs 8x42 that I liked alot for the deal I got them for.  These have been my experiences thus far with binoculars.

 

If you move up to the Swarovski EL's, Leica Duviods, or Zeiss FLs you till pay a big price for them with very little optical difference for the $$ over the around $1000 binoculars.  I am currently looking at the Swarovski SLC's in 8x30, 7x42, or the Leica Trivoids 7x42 or 10x32 on the sample list.  You can buy these for about half the price of the EL's, Duivoids of FL's.  Not sure yet what I will buy but I just thought I would throw that out to you since were in the same boat.  I personally like the 8x42 and if Swarovski SLC's made one or if the sample list had a Leica 8x42 Trivoid I would buy it in a minute.  It 8x is what I perfer but since talking to Frank and some others on the page I may go with a 7x.  I would love to hear from you about what you are thinking about buying and who from.  Bye the way...  The Nikon Priemer is a great binocular and if you could find a deal on those they are in the otical quality as the EL's, Duivoids or FLs for alot less $$.  Keep in touch and let us all know what you purchase.  Thanks bird_hunter66

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/11/2007 at 20:15
Wally View Drop Down
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Birdwatcher: I appreciate the information on the Minox Porro's.  I really want to get my hands on some of the different Minox.  I've been hearing good things about them.  I also remember using a pair of cheap Nikon 7x35 porros.  These were some of the easiest glasses to use I have ever experienced.  Maybe that was before I knew better, but I always seemed to get along well with them.  I might have to get more serious about the higher end porro's, especially if they are waterproof.

 

birdhunter:  I'm glad to see I'm not the only one wrestling with this delimma.  I'd love to take the plunge, but...........  I looked through some Swaro EL's and Leica Ultravids, and for some reason they seemed to really work for me.  Maybe it's because they were far and away the best thing I ever looked through.  I'm going to take a serious look at some of the SLC's and the Leica Trinovids.  The Nikon Premiers also sound real good.  I can see I've got a lot more shopping to do, but I guess that's part of the fun.........sometimes!

 

Thanks for everyone for the help and advice.  I'll let you know what I decide.

 

Steve

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/11/2007 at 22:12
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Wally,

I don't want people to think that I am "hung up" on the Cornell Lab reviews that I have mentioned, BUT, in light of what you just said, I find it interesting that out of the fifteen (15) binoculars that they tested, under $200, the one that they chose for "First Place" was the Nikon Action Extreme 7x35 porro prism binocular.

Happy Binocular Hunting!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/12/2007 at 06:29
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Quote Wally,

I don't want people to think that I am "hung up" on the Cornell Lab reviews that I have mentioned.....,

 

 

Oh, just admit...you are.

 

Do you want to spend even more time on the computer looking at reviews?

 

Here you go.....

 

http://www.consumersearch.com/www/sports_and_leisure/binocul ars/reviews.html

 

 



Edited by FrankD
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/12/2007 at 06:44
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Frank,

Did you ever see the movie Short Circuit?

The favorite line was, "INPUT, MORE INPUT"!!!!!   
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/12/2007 at 07:07
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Yep, saw the second one two but the first was better...as always.

 

Now go spend a few hours looking at all those reviews. Some are useful and others are just the usual advertising remarketed as a review.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/12/2007 at 07:20
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Frank,

If you REALLY want to be of help, I would like you to do a review on the following:

Minox BD 15x58 BR ED

Minox BD 10-15x40 BR Vario

Swarovski SLCnew 15x56

Zeiss Conquest High Power 15x45

No rush, just take your time.   

I'm most interested in the Minox 15x ED   

Edited by Bird Watcher
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/12/2007 at 09:36
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Funny guy.

 

I am sure those are all high quality bins but I do not think I have ever bought a bin that I did not think I could use or would use. A 15X bin is way out of my comfort range.

 

I may be a bit of help though. I think there was a review of a variable power Minox model (possibly the one you mentioned) done several months ago over on birdforum by "Atomic Chicken". Tero can probably find it better than I can but I will give it a try.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/12/2007 at 10:10
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What I was asking/suggesting is, if in your travels you come in personal contact with any of those, I would greatly appreciate your honest evaluation of same.

I have handled and looked through the Swarovaki SLCnew 15x56 at both BassProShops and Sportsman's Warehouse. Personally, I think it would serve my purposes very nicely.

Honestly, I can't see myself turning loose that much cash, unless a rich uncle dies and leaves me a small fortune.

So far, I have not seen any Minox 15x, or Vario's, in any of the stores in my neighborhood. As far as the Vario is concerned, it is more of a curiosity than anything, as I don't think the 40mm would be bright enough for me, at 15x.

Perhaps you remember, from our previous conversations, that I am more interested in edge-to-edge sharpness, than in things like FOV, or weight, etc.

Thanks in advance for any assistance or comments.

Edited by Bird Watcher
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/12/2007 at 10:14
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Quote Perhaps you remember, from our previous conversations, that I am more interested in edge-to-edge sharpness, than in things like FOV, or weight, etc

 

Ahh, yes, I had forgotten.

 

I would be more than happy to do as you asked especially this afternoon.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/13/2007 at 07:16
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Gentlemen,

I was able to look at some of the Zeiss and Swaro units at a show yesterday.  Because I am generally moving and hiking when I use binoculars, I think the smaller 8x30/32 units might be a better choice for me, most of the time.  After all, what good is a binocular you leave at the house, because it's heavy and annoying to carry.

 

My question is, will an SLC 8x30 or a Zeiss Victory T 8x32 do as well, 99% of the time, as lower cost 8x42 ($500 to $1000 range)?  If this is so, it might make me justify taking the plunge for a high end unit.  If this question makes sense, let me know what you think.

 

On the other hand, am I making too big of an issue of binocular weight?  Are there advantages to having a little more weight?  I always seem to get the sharpest picture from the 40/42 objective binoculars.

 

Thanks,

Steve



Edited by Wally
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/13/2007 at 15:47
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Wally,

http://www.betterviewdesired.com/RefSet.html

Hopefully this information will assist you.

Check out the "Overall Best" in the Mid-sized Binoculars and the Full-sized.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/13/2007 at 16:26
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Thanks Birdwatcher.  Should make for some good reading on a cold rainy day!

 

Steve

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/13/2007 at 17:07
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Wally,

 

The most basic answer to your question is; Yes, the 30+mm class of binocular will do as well most of the time though, probably not 99% of the time.  I would guess more like 85-90% of the time. 

 

I generally don't care for the 30+mm class of binoculars because they are not really all that much smaller or lighter than their full-size siblings and yet, the smaller objective lenses will gather less light and provide slightly poorer resolution (assuming of course, that comparable quality products are being tested.) This mid-size class of optics also often exhibits much shorter eye relief than the bigger glass which can be a real problem for eyeglass wearers.

 

When size/weight issues come into play, I prefer to opt for the pocket-sized 20-28mm class of binoculars which also perform "as well" as the bigger glass maybe 80-85% of the time. These are actually small enough to really make a difference, often fitting into a front pants pocket comfortably.  Their one real drawback is that their small exit pupils do make it uncomfortable to engage in any marathon-like glassing sessions.

 

If these are just too small for your applications and you really are set on buying a binocular that is in the typical 30+mm size class, may I suggest that you at least take a look at the Bushnell Elites.  These are no bigger/heavier than the Swarovski Xx32mm EL but, offer full-size 43mm objective lenses - giving you the best of both worlds.

 

 

BTW; The one caution I would give about the use of Better View Desired for information is that much of their information is rather dated.  They do have someone (Wayne Mones?) continuing with the original work accomplished by Mr. Ingraham (with varying degrees of success and acceptance) but, they aren't "up-to-date" by any means.  Thus you will see that their "BVD" list for 8x binoculars still lists the B&L Elite - which hasn't been available in that form for about 2 years now and their 50-60mm spotting scope list makes no mention at all of the 50mm Nikon Fieldscope at all - which by all accounts is one of the finest compact spotters ever made, easily besting the performance of much larger, more-expensive scopes. So, while BVD info can be good, you do need to be aware that it doesn't necessarily reflect the realities of today's optics offerings.

 



Edited by lucznik
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: January/13/2007 at 19:33
Wally View Drop Down
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lucznik,

Thanks for the comments and advice.  I've already read much of the BVD site.  I did notice a few of the tests were a litte dated.  On the other hand, there is a more recent test of the Nikon 8x42 and the Leupold Gold Ring 8x42.  I have to admit the GR test was a little bit of a surprise to me.  I did look through a set of 10x42 GR's, and wasn't that impressed, when comparing them side by side to EL's, Ultravids, and LX-L's.  On the other hand, that is some pretty stiff competition!

 

I've noticed on nearly all of the birding sites I've visited, as well as many hunting sites, the Nikon Premiers in 8x32 and 8x42 receive high marks. (I also agree with you about favoring the 40-42 objectives over the 30-32 objectives.  For some reason they nearly always seem to work a little better for me.)  The exception, if you want to call it that, was the Cornell Test, where the 8x42 ranked 13th.  But, that was also behind some pretty stiff competition.  I also noticed a Nikon model, which must comparable to the Premier 8x32, topped the list in the $500 to $1000 category.  Just because such a high quality unit is available for under a grand, makes it a very attractive choice indeed.  But, if you look at the raw scores, the Nikon 8x42 Monarch, for about $300, ranks very close to some binoculars which cost $1000 more!  I've looked through some of these, and even recommended them to my Dad, when he was looking for a good decent binocular.  They are one helluva buy for the money!   

 

Anyhow, right now I'm leaning very hard to the Nikon Premiers, and I want to look through both of the 8x's.  I'll also check out the Elites as soon as I get a chance.  I appreciate the suggestion.  I also keep reading great things about the Minox HG's, and they are very light for their size.

 

I still say I'm having fun!  Decisions...............

 

Steve

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