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Consider me an 8X convert

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/05/2013 at 13:49
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Had a chance to spend some time today comparing my Diamondback 12X50s to a set of 8.5X42 Els and came away surprised. 

Observations (pun):

8.5X image is not that much smaller than the 12X, I thought targets were going to look signifigantly smaller.

8.5X image is signifigantly steadier(should be no surprise to anyone here)

Ability to resolve detail..at every distance that I could barely read text/numbers with the 12X, they could be read easier with the 8.5X...this may also be due to the price disparity between the models. 

8.5X needs less diopter adjustment.

8.5X DOF makes using the binocs a lot easier and more enjoyable. 

I'd like to try a 12X El for giggles..although I really do like the DOF and steadiness of the 8.5s.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/05/2013 at 16:25
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Yep, this is a hard concept for people to accept in today's "more is always better" world.

I find that 8X provides the best balance between sufficient magnification to resolve fine detail, good FOV, good DOF, good exit pupil dia without having to deal with a gargantuan objective, yet not so much magnification that I can't handhold the bino for a steady image. I like 10X binos too, but they aren't quite as handy as 8X binos for all-around use, as 10X requires a heavier, larger form factor to make up for the penalties incurred by increasing magnification.

I'll take an 8X with outstanding image quality (and the EL DEFINITELY meets that criteria in spades) over a mediocre optic of higher magnification. Magnification never trumps pure image quality... from my point of view.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/05/2013 at 16:47
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I'm pretty much with Ted here.  I think an all too common mistake is made by thinking more magnification is better, but the higher you get in the magnification scale, the more specialized the glass gets.

I think usually the scenario goes something like ..."well I'm going to go Mule Deer hunting out west where the distances are long and I'll be able to see more with 10x vs 8x".  So if they are careful and do a little research (even ask on a place like this one), and go get a decent 10x glass...guess what... it works just fine.  The result of that is they wind up creating a self fulfilling prophecy...more worked, therefore more is better.  But compared to what? 

The same blasted thing happens if the decision is made to go 8x.  Get a decent 8x, and guess what...it works just fine.

So if the scenario shifts a little and the by now dyed in the wool 10 x guy goes 8x, well a lot say they "just don't like it as well".  But in my mind here's the thing...when you KNOW the magnification of the glass in hand, you are GOING to have a set of preconceptions in your head.

Just recently I obtained a couple of Leupold McKinley binoculars, one 8x and the other 10x.  So me being me, I decide to do a little experiment with some hunter acquaintances.  These guys were 10x users to the core.  Good hunters to be sure, but they were pretty steadfast in their belief in 10x as king.  I covered (pretty securely) the end of the focus wheel, which is the only spot where the magnification is shown on the binocular.  We were out in the field in an area where one of us hunts, so the scenery was pretty realistic.  They all wanted to know which was which magnification, but I would not tell them.  I just said there was a survey and I just needed their opinion on which one of these two would they use.  Just look at the image and tell me which is better and why. They ALL picked the 8x.  It was pretty confounding to them.  It was brighter, sharper, clearer...all the sorts of descriptions you would think you would see.  It took them maybe 5 minutes after they knew what was up before they were ALL rationalizing their preference for the 10x and telling me why 10x really was better.  So they are all still using their 10x, and will be using them with effect and will remain secure in their belief that 10x is better.

Now, me being me...If I could sneak into their gear storage and pull off an 8x substitution for their 10 (same model for same model with the 8x labelled as 10x)...I would Smile.  That has to be the key, them not knowing what was done and thinking they still had their trusty 10x.  I wonder if they would really notice.

BTW, one guy has a Monarch, one a Leupold Mojave, one a Pentax SP, and one a Swarovski SLC NEU.


Edited by Klamath - August/05/2013 at 16:59
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/05/2013 at 17:25
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I hunted Africa last year, took a pair of 10X and a pair of 6X, spent most of my hunts with the 6X.

Field of view is a good thing.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/05/2013 at 17:33
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I agree with both replies.

I have switched from 10x42 to 8x42 binoculars in the last few years for the reasons cited. I do not miss the 10x at all.  I feel if you need more magnification than a 8x binocular it is for verifying the size of an animal not for finding one. For this reason it makes more sense to carry a small spotting scope along with the binocular.

IMO a quality 8x42 binocular paired with a good 50-65mm spotting scope is the best combination for all hunting conditions.

I will say that a good 10x50 does have a lot going for it if you are willing to carry it along with the spotter. Heavy so easier to hold steady than a 10x42, brighter with easier eye placement and better DOF than a 10x42 but they lack in FOV compared to the 8x42 so are not as good in the heavy timber/trees .


Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/05/2013 at 20:50
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Well, I'm a lifelong, open country, died in the wool 10x42 guy.  However, at 52, I can't deny the fact that as I age some things begin to change, i.e. eyesight, arthritis, etc, etc, etc.  I still hunt predominantly the same type of country, but I'm really considering giving a 8x42 a workout this year.  I have a spotter for long range work and let the optics do the walking as often as possible.  Like Rancid, I went to Africa this past may with a 10x42 SLC HD and an 8x32 Gold Ring HD.  I became so fond of the GR I didn't even get the SLC's out of the bag. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/05/2013 at 22:30
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Originally posted by JGRaider JGRaider wrote:

Well, I'm a lifelong, open country, died in the wool 10x42 guy.  However, at 52, I can't deny the fact that as I age some things begin to change, i.e. eyesight, arthritis, etc, etc, etc.  I still hunt predominantly the same type of country, but I'm really considering giving a 8x42 a workout this year.  I have a spotter for long range work and let the optics do the walking as often as possible.  Like Rancid, I went to Africa this past may with a 10x42 SLC HD and an 8x32 Gold Ring HD.  I became so fond of the GR I didn't even get the SLC's out of the bag. 

I'd like to do the old switcharoo with you too. Big Smile  Seriously, an experienced user with an 8x SLC-HD thinking it was his old reliable SLC-HD 10x out on a serious hunt would start to tell the tale on just how wet I might be...or not.  Or even if I got shot after the fact...or not Big Smile.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/06/2013 at 09:20
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Ha!  One thing's for sure Klamath, I take seriously the things you say (and Rifle for that matter) because you both have loads of experience, you speak to that experience, and you're hunters.  I always enjoy your very informative posts.  If I break down and get an 8x42 you'll know it., but I highly doubt I spend $2k on "alpha" stuff when there's so many great options at half that price nowadays.    If I could only find one of those GR HD's in 8x42.............
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/06/2013 at 11:00
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Originally posted by JGRaider JGRaider wrote:

Ha!  One thing's for sure Klamath, I take seriously the things you say (and Rifle for that matter) because you both have loads of experience, you speak to that experience, and you're hunters.  I always enjoy your very informative posts.  If I break down and get an 8x42 you'll know it., but I highly doubt I spend $2k on "alpha" stuff when there's so many great options at half that price nowadays.    If I could only find one of those GR HD's in 8x42.............

One of those GR HD 8x42's sold on the internet the other day for $515 and change.  Looked damn near new too.  I should have thought to give you a heads up, but you were in Africa then I think.  And besides you were making eyes at (maybe through)  your new GR 8x32's.  But as it may, I have Leupold Gold Ring binoculars on a saved  search/wishlist at that site, looking for one of your 8x32's actually.  When/if another 8x42 shows up I'll ring your bell.  I surely do like my 8x42 GR.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/06/2013 at 13:13
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I have used them both, but still prefer 10s in full size glass.

I don't have trouble handholding 10s, and really appreciate the extra bump in magnification off the tripod.

If I am going to 8s, I like the 32mm bins to save on weight, and still gain the FOV, at a small cost in brightness.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/06/2013 at 14:48
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

I have used them both, but still prefer 10s in full size glass.

I don't have trouble handholding 10s, and really appreciate the extra bump in magnification off the tripod.

If I am going to 8s, I like the 32mm bins to save on weight, and still gain the FOV, at a small cost in brightness.

Matt,

No doubt, but I think you miss my point somewhat.  When you have used both, you knew what you had in your hand, and as such you were working under a subconscious set of preconceptions.  As with JGR, you are candidate for the old blind switcharoo.  Now I realize that at a certain point in optics knowledge, use and experience, some will get to the point where even with an unmarked glass, they could tell. 

I can tell, I figure you can tell too, who knows who else can or can't.  However there exists too darned much evidence that when people are unaware of magnifications that they OVERWHELMINGLY choose less than 10x, in fact 7x is most often chosen.

I saw the 7x thing for myself some years ago at a Brunton seminar when they introduced their then all new Eterna line, in 7x and 10x.  They introduced 7x because the blind testing overwhelmingly showed a preference for 7x.  That was why Swarovski introduced a 7x30 SLC and why they had a 7x 42 SLC.  Because everybody over thought things, nobody bought the 7x, so they are a species seemingly headed for extinction.   I also freely admit some will naturally gravitate to the 10x, but they are a minority I think.  Some did in the Brunton testing, but it was less than 25%, if I recall correctly.

Anyway, I have probably blown that horn enough for one thread. Big Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/06/2013 at 15:43
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I still have my 7x42 SLC's... Wink
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/06/2013 at 17:30
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I did this blind testing once on a bunch of people who did not know much about binos.  I taped up all markings and had them try a bunch of different models.

I thought that tabulating results would have been a pain in the neck, but it was absolutely straightforward.  Almost everyone chose 7x42.

ILya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/06/2013 at 18:00
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Steve,

I got the point of your blind test, and it is a good point that I fully agree with, and not just in binoculars, but also riflescopes.

My post was in reply to the OP about magnification choices for me and my uses.

The point of my post was that I consciously will choose the 10x over the 8x (of similar quality), not because the 10s are better for general use, but rather that I can make them work for general use so I can take advantage of their superiority when tripod mounted.

This of course brings the question of the blind test with bins of various magnifications while tripod mounted. My hypothesis would be that most viewers would prefer the more magnified view while tripod mounted, to a point where they found the narrowing FOV too constrictive.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/06/2013 at 19:25
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Originally posted by Bitterroot Bulls Bitterroot Bulls wrote:

Steve,

This of course brings the question of the blind test with bins of various magnifications while tripod mounted. My hypothesis would be that most viewers would prefer the more magnified view while tripod mounted, to a point where they found the narrowing FOV too constrictive.


The same deal in the blind tests tends to hold tripod mounted, from what I saw with the Brunton seminar and what other stuff I have read.  There just is not enough magnification difference for most people to take advantage of in a 7-10x spread.  That can be disagreed with, and that is OK.  However a great deal more detail can be gotten from any tripod mounted binocular, even pretty low magnifications.

While most can see there is a difference in object size (this is in a side by side and tripod mounted works best), there is usually not enough difference to pull a great deal more detail.  What seals the deal for me is not that the 10x isn't bigger, it is, but the extra brightness, contrast and particularly the depth perception of a smaller magnification is what will attract most people.  For myself, if I can't see it at 8x, in terms of finer detail, I need at least twice that, which calls for a Big Eye binocular or a spotter.  My thought is that you need to double a magnification level to really sort details, but others won't necessarily agree with that.

Your are also right about the constrictive fov at higher magnifications.  That is why, in my opinion, you are way better off with an 8x and a spotter.  Spot with the binocular and resolve detail with the scope.  The smaller fov won't be of a great deal of consequence when you are not scanning with it.

But I'm also willing to concede you may well be one of the rarer folk who would have gone 10x blind too.  A large blind test would be fun, but I have no idea how to bring it off.

Now having said all that, I do own and use 10x.  There are times they have their place, particularly when the air is still and clear, and there is no mirage.


Edited by Klamath - August/06/2013 at 19:30
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/07/2013 at 18:33
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I've gone back and forth on the 10X vs. 8X and full size vs. mid size comparisons over the years.

I finally decided my favorite hunting bino configuration is an 8X32, as long as it's a high quality 8X32 with great optics. I just really like the more compact, lighter form factor of an 8X32, and my neck really appreciates the difference after a long day (I don't care for the bino harnesses that strap around your torso, but that's just me). Consequently, I find I carry the little 8X32 around with me more as a result. Any bino you have with you always trumps the one you left at home or back at camp.Smile I find that I don't sacrifice enough low light performance (legal hunting hours) vs. an 8X42 to offset the size advantage of the 32, and I think 10X is asking a bit too much of a 32mm objective.

It's all about deciding which sets of tradeoffs you're willing to accept, and for me, a high end 8X32 roof prism (Zeiss, Leica, Swaro, Meopta, etc.) hits the sweet spot for me. I happen to have the Leica 8X32 UV HD, as I liked its ergos and size best, but all of the upper tier 8X32 roofs are good.

I could live my life very happily using a good 10X42 as well (and I have one), but I'd miss the handiness of my little 8X32.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/09/2013 at 10:43
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Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

I did this blind testing once on a bunch of people who did not know much about binos.  I taped up all markings and had them try a bunch of different models.

I thought that tabulating results would have been a pain in the neck, but it was absolutely straightforward.  Almost everyone chose 7x42.

ILya

I did exactly that to myself. I went to a conference where i knew there would be a large exhibit of premium binoculars on a large table. I talked the people into taping the markings with masking tape. I tried 12 pairs from a balcony, completely ignoring the exterior looks of binoculars (i could recognize some of them), and paying attention to the view and the ergonomics. 

I chose Zeiss Victory FL 7x42 and Swarovski EL 8x32.   Interestingly, i thought i had chosen the FL 8x42 until we removed the masking tape. I purchased both the 7x42 and the 8x32, eventually.  

Just to check my own choice, i switched back and forth between the 7x42 and a similar 10x42 for an entire year. I could see more with the 7x42, regardless of what i was using them for. The 10x42 is long gone and never missed. 
If i could keep only one it would be the 7x42. 








Edited by anweis - August/09/2013 at 10:52
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/09/2013 at 14:49
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Sure wish there was a 8x42 Meopta/Cabels Euro HD.  For me there are some blackout issues/eye relief issues with the Conquest HD's.  GR HD's are consistently non existent.   
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/09/2013 at 15:23
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If you are not particularly bothered by CA, you could take a look at the standard Meostar 8X42. It is an excellent binocular in its own right. There is also a 7x42 version.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/09/2013 at 18:02
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I like 6X for woods and small distances ( 200 yards ) , 7 or 8 after that.  If I can't see, I need to get closer.  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/11/2013 at 19:29
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i like my 10x42 meostars...good FOV for 10x and not too shakey.....buying binoculars can be pretty addicting..i recently bought a pair of the 6.5x32 meopros.....will probably get an 8x something another at some point as well
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