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LOW LIGHT BINOC

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/12/2007 at 10:12
bamabuck View Drop Down
Optics GrassHopper
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I am looking for the best low light binoc that I can get. I really have no issues with weight/size/shape just low light performance. Any thoughts?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/12/2007 at 10:35
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Bama -

 

I don't know your budget, but I'd recommend a 7x50 or 8x56 configuration for the best low light performance (perhaps giving the 8x56 a slight edge). Nikon would be okay on the low end ($400), Meopta would be a good choice in the mid-range ($900 or so), and obviously you've got the big-3 Europeans (Swarovski, Leica, Zeiss) above $1,000.

 

ND2000

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/12/2007 at 16:28
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Take a look at Nikon Action Extreme ATB 7x50 and Nikon Sports and Marine 7x50 w/o compass.

The Nikon AE ATB is a center focus. under $200.
The Nikon S & M is an individual focus. around $250.

Optical coatings are better on the Sports & Marine.


Fujinon FMTR-SX makes probably the best 7x50mm on the planet. It is also individual focus and costs under $600.

Edited by Bird Watcher
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/12/2007 at 19:02
ND2000 View Drop Down
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Bama -

You mention that you have no issues with weight/size/shape, but you should think about whether you care if the bino is individual vs. center focus.  I for one don't like individual focus binoculars.  There is probably a good reason they account for <10% of the market, at best.

Also understand that your own eye probably can't benefit from an exit pupil above 7mm (gets less with age), so anything about 7x50 or 8x56 just is unnecessary from a low light optimization perspective.  Having said that, all else equal, an 8x56 will be brighter than a 7x50 due to the larger objective size.

Also remember this, if cost is an issue for you, you will get much better optical quality in a porro prism (such as the Nikon Action Extreme) than a roof prism (say a Nikon Monarch) at the same price point.  In any event, I would not spend less than $300 on a roof prism...you will likely be very disappointed in what you can see, particularly in low light conditions.

Good luck.  Purchasing a new pair of binos is fun...enjoy the process.

ND2000
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/12/2007 at 22:41
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I shared this once before....

Some companies choose to use Twilight Factor to rate the light transmission of their binocular models, and some companies use the Relative Brightness Index to rate their models.

Nikon chooses to use the RBI method for all their binocular models.

The RBI for all Nikon 7x50's is 50.4
The RBI for all Nikon 8x56's is 43.6

Based upon this scale of light transmission, the increase from 7x to 8x shows a 6.8 decrease in light transmission for the 8x56mm.

This is a very small difference, and if you were to use Twilight Factor as a rating the 8x56mm would be a couple of points ahead of the 7x50. So, in reality, they are very close to one another in light transmission.

Edited by Bird Watcher
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/13/2007 at 18:04
ND2000 View Drop Down
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Birdwatcher -

That is exactly what I would expect.  They should be close.  I generally believe that few things are more irrelevant when discussing binocular features than terms like Twilight Factors and Relative Brightness.

ND2000
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/13/2007 at 18:14
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I understand where you are coming from, but, since these things do exist throughout the industry I like to have at least a working knowledge of them, if only for comparison sake.

Light transmission is important to me, so I appreciate the little things that tweak my knowledge base.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/17/2007 at 15:54
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Personally, I think Twilight Factor and Relative Brightness are beyond useless: they actually muddy the waters and confuse things.  The fact that they are used in the industry does not mean that they should be used at all.  Half of the terms you see used in the industry are there to sell product, not to describe it better.

ILya
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