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Binoculars -- Most Important Attribute

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2012 at 10:41
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These binocular threads are often very interesting.   I'm always curious why people recommend certain things, so here goes.....

What is the most important criteria to you when considering binoculars for big game hunting ?
1.  color fidelity
2.  overall quality of glass
3.  durable construction
4.  ergos/eye relief/etc
5.  brand/warranty
6.  value for the $$ /combination of the above
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2012 at 10:49
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JG,

What is "overall quality of glass"
 
My list goes like this:
 
1. Resolution
2. Contrast
3. Brightness
4. Build quality
5. CA control
6. Warranty
 
The rest (long eye relief, eyecup design, focus feel and speed, etc.) are all nice to have but the above list is what I am looking for in a hunting binocular.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2012 at 12:01
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I'm an "all of the above" kinda guy when it comes to optics.  Nevertheless, I do have priorities that must be met before I'll consider other features and traits.  My list is somewhat similar to Matt's, though I lump CA control in with resolution, since resolution is directly linked with the degree to which CA is suppressed.

1.  Resolution / CA control / "sharpness"
2.  Contrast
3.  "Brightness" / low light performance
5.  Size of "sweet spot" / field edge quality
6.  Field of view
7.  Build Quality / durability
8.  Degree and type of linear distortion (prefer slight pincushion, hate barrel distortion and "rolling ball" effect)
9.  Absence of "tunnel vision"
10.  Flare control
11.  Ergos / comfort
12.  Weight, size, form factor
13.  Appearance / design
14.  Value for $ spent
15.  Warranty / customer service

Although warranty is certainly important to me, I placed it last only because I believe if #7 is sufficiently taken care of, I'm much less likely to ever use it.  A great warranty doesn't mean a whole lot to me if I'm more likely to need it, which impacts my day-to-day confidence in the product.  In addition, if I'm dissatisfied with a binocular's image quality, the best warranty in the world means nothing to me. 


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2012 at 12:20
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1. Resolution / sharpness
2. Contrast / color fidelity
3. Brightness / low light performance
4. Size of "sweet spot" / field edge quality
5. Field of view
6. Build quality, ergos / comfort, weight, size, form factor, appearance / design
7. CA control
8. Warranty / customer service


I borrowed from those above to make my list of attributes for bino's to be used for hunting.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2012 at 12:36
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All this warranty talk reminds me of Tommy Boy
Quote Tommy: Let's think about this for a sec, Ted. Why would somebody put a guarantee on a box? Hmmm, very interesting.
Ted Nelson, Customer: Go on, I'm listening.
Tommy: Here's the way I see it, Ted. Guy puts a fancy guarantee on a box 'cause he wants you to feel all warm and toasty inside.
Ted Nelson, Customer: Yeah, makes a man feel good.
Tommy: 'Course it does. Why shouldn't it? Ya figure you put that little box under your pillow at night, the Guarantee Fairy might come by and leave a quarter, am I right, Ted?
[chuckles until he sees that Ted is not laughing]
Ted Nelson, Customer: [impatiently] What's your point?
Tommy: The point is, how do you know the fairy isn't a crazy glue sniffer? "Building model airplanes" says the little fairy; well, we're not buying it. He sneaks into your house once, that's all it takes. The next thing you know, there's money missing off the dresser, and your daughter's knocked up. I seen it a hundred times.
Ted Nelson, Customer: But why do they put a guarantee on the box?
Tommy: Because they know all they sold ya was a guaranteed piece of sh*t. That's all it is, isn't it? Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time. But for now, for your customer's sake, for your daughter's sake, ya might wanna think about buying a quality product from me.
Ted Nelson, Customer: [pause] Okay, I'll buy from you.
Tommy: Well, that's...
Tommy, Richard Hayden: ...What?


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2012 at 13:11
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Apparent sharpness in the center of the field.
 
Everything else is icing on the cake.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2012 at 13:19
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Originally posted by FrankD FrankD wrote:

Apparent sharpness in the center of the field. 

Ditto Thunbs Up

Stan
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2012 at 14:29
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I look for all of the qualities in optical performance (resolution/color/brightness and even FOV), but if the bino doesn't have durability or a good track record of durability, then all those previously mentioned qualities are worthless. The bino has to "fit" me too (ergo's).
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2012 at 15:53
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I'm more of a hybrid of RD Finn and Frank D......

1.  Quality of glass, which to me includes resolution, brightness, sharpness, contrast, etc
2.  Durability 
3.  Ergos
4.  Value
5.  Warranty
6.  Color fidelity.  The neutral, warm, cool biases are meaningless to me for hunting.  

Comment on quality of glass.  All the top end stuff, and lots of the mid priced stuff nowadays exhibit excellent CA, and plenty good enough sweet spot, FOV, and color fidelity for my tastes, especially for big game hunting.   Thanks for playing along guys.   I'm always curious why people recommend what they do.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2012 at 19:21
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Because of my nearsightedness and astigmatism, eye relief and eye box size are important.
Resolution/Clarity/Color Fidelity
Ergonomics/Durability/Build Quality
Warranty/Customer Service

The Warranty/Customer Service is important because stuff happens if you use a piece of equipment hard, that is why I am willing to pay more for a product that the importer/manufacturer stands behind.
We all have our own priorities and needs but we all want a pair of bino's that enhances the viewing experience.
Art

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/02/2012 at 21:07
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I'd go for the OP criteria and add my 2 cents to the center field sharpness...but the sweet spot has so be big enough the curvature doesn't distract.  Edges do not have to be sharp for me.  The one thing I get sort of anal about that hasn't been mentioned is that the diopter and the focus wheel MUST focus both eyes just the same.  That is NOT always the case. Big Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/03/2012 at 10:53
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Perfect collimation! What I've noticed is that really good bins like the Swaro ELs meet all the criteria mentioned and are just easy to look through. You can glass all day and not feel fatigued. You can work your way down to whatever you can afford or actually need. In my case, I don't glass much so I've been content to just have decent bins.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/03/2012 at 14:25
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Overall quality of glass: Low light performance a must
ergos
durabilty
 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/03/2012 at 15:22
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It is very interesting that noone has mentioned (unless I missed it) the quality of the focusing mechanism: feel, repeatability, hysteresis, effort level consistency, etc.

ILya
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Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

It is very interesting that noone has mentioned (unless I missed it) the quality of the focusing mechanism: feel, repeatability, hysteresis, effort level consistency, etc.

ILya

Which hunting binos have focusing mechanisms that are sub par?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/03/2012 at 16:33
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Hi Ilya:
I consider focusing part of the ergonomics equation.
Have had a focusing wheel fall off and one break into pieces.
Some Leica's can have a notchy feel, my 8x20 Ultravid's and 7x42 Ultravid HD's don't though.
Could be I just don't feel it, some obsess over it, for what Leica, Nikon, Swarovski and Zeiss charge a person has a right to!
The focusing wheel on my Kowa 8x33's is really cheap feeling and is just a stamped part, a let down on a good pair of glasses.
Art
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/03/2012 at 18:19
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Originally posted by JGRaider JGRaider wrote:

Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

It is very interesting that noone has mentioned (unless I missed it) the quality of the focusing mechanism: feel, repeatability, hysteresis, effort level consistency, etc.

ILya

Which hunting binos have focusing mechanisms that are sub par?

Sub-par is relative.

However, that is one of the things that to me is notably different between mid-range and high end binoculars.

For example, I have not yet seen a Chinese-made binocular that has a truly satisfactory focusing knob.  Their image quality improved faster than the focusing mechanism.

On balance, I probably like Leica focusers the most, but all of the better brands are quite good.

ILya
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Focusing knob "feel" is just about on the bottom of my list.  A also second Klamath's sharp edges.  The edges on my unaided vision aren't very sharp either.
 
ILya,
 
Have you seen the Zen Prime?  The one I evaluated has great focus knob feel.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/03/2012 at 18:56
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

Focusing knob "feel" is just about on the bottom of my list.  A also second Klamath's sharp edges.  The edges on my unaided vision aren't very sharp either.
 
ILya,
 
Have you seen the Zen Prime?  The one I evaluated has great focus knob feel.

I have not seen the Zen Prime yet.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/03/2012 at 19:37
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Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

It is very interesting that noone has mentioned (unless I missed it) the quality of the focusing mechanism: feel, repeatability, hysteresis, effort level consistency, etc.

ILya
 
 
That is interesting that you brought this up ILya. I have seen, what I think some refer to as "backlash" in some very expensive bino's (Leica for instance) where it feels like the wheel is sticking or even a very slight slop/play when turning the focus wheel. Once you notice it's there, it is annoying.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/03/2012 at 20:07
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Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

Focusing knob "feel" is just about on the bottom of my list.  A also second Klamath's sharp edges.  The edges on my unaided vision aren't very sharp either.
 
ILya,
 
Have you seen the Zen Prime?  The one I evaluated has great focus knob feel.

I have not seen the Zen Prime yet.




How about a $600 Leupold Gold Ring HD? 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/04/2012 at 08:05
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Focuser feel and function is important to me as well, but I already had a long list, and I sorta lump that into build quality and ergos.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/04/2012 at 11:48
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Originally posted by JGRaider JGRaider wrote:

Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

Focusing knob "feel" is just about on the bottom of my list.  A also second Klamath's sharp edges.  The edges on my unaided vision aren't very sharp either.
 
ILya,
 
Have you seen the Zen Prime?  The one I evaluated has great focus knob feel.

I have not seen the Zen Prime yet.




How about a $600 Leupold Gold Ring HD? 

That one was pretty good, but varied a lot between samples.  I saw one that was excellent, while another unit right next to it was a bit sloppy.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/04/2012 at 12:11
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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

Focuser feel and function is important to me as well, but I already had a long list, and I sorta lump that into build quality and ergos.  



I think most of us did with a lot of this otherwise the list would be huge.  Big Smile

Binos are a tough call because everything about them is so personal and can vary from person to person; the feel and comfort, operation, the way the world's viewed through them, etc. While hunting most will use binos more than any other optic device and spend countless hours looking through them vs only minutes or seconds with their rifle scope.


Edited by mike650 - October/04/2012 at 13:32
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