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Low light - bins versus scope

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/30/2012 at 16:44
tpcollins View Drop Down
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I was out this morning for the last day of regular firearms season. While sitting in the middle of a picked field well before daylight, I looked at a spot along the woods about 100 yards away with my Zeiss Victory 8x42 bins. I could see pretty much everything along the woodline. Then I picked up my ML with a Swarovski AV 3-9x36mm scope that was set on 5x. The view thru the scope was not nearly as bright.

The bin's exit pupil would have been 5.25mm versus the scope's at a tad over 7mm. What contributed most to the Zeiss being better in low light - the coatings or the shorter distance between the ocular and objective? Thanks. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/30/2012 at 16:49
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You are using both eyes with binos.  That alone makes a huge difference.

I get similar results with my victory binos vs my swaro z6. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/30/2012 at 17:27
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Duz that mean you get 2 X the 5.25 exit pupil? Wink
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/30/2012 at 18:36
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Originally posted by supertool73 supertool73 wrote:

You are using both eyes with binos.  That alone makes a huge difference.

I get similar results with my victory binos vs my swaro z6. 


So if I tried it again and closed one eye when using the Zeiss bins, the result would be closer? 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/01/2012 at 08:43
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Not necessarily. With binos your eyes are very close to the glass. With a scope u are 3 to 4 inches away, so a lot of stray light is let in that degrades image quality.

You are always going to see more detail with a bino all else being equal.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/03/2012 at 08:54
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You are not alone..
I have a set of $300 Nikon Monarch 8.5x56 that ave not been beat by any scope irregardless of price in low light.
I would kill to have the giant field of view and low light capability in a scope.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/04/2012 at 06:10
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Theory is you will see faint objects 1.4 times better with two eyes over one. So the binoculars, because you are using two eyes, will give about a 40% higher light transmission.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/04/2012 at 07:55
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I hear ya but I have tested using just one eye as well!

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/04/2012 at 14:02
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A good pair of 8X42's is pretty much always going to look brighter than a scope.  As mentioned, using both eyes, the large actual and apparent FOV allowed by the short eye relief can't be overcome by a scope.  And especially at closer ranges where the scope is usually turned down to a lower power, the higher magnification of the binoculars provides much better detail as well as brightness. 

Sometimes when hunting the thick stuff I find myself turning the scope up the last couple of minutes of shooting light to a higher power than I normally like in the thick stuff just so what is easily seen by the binoculars can be seen through the scope (and even then, it can't be seen as well).  You can see why 8X56 scopes are popular in Europe for low light hunting, even for use at close range.  With less objective you need to stay on lower powers and are at a bigger disadvantage compared with the binocs.

Where the big objective higher powered scopes really earn their pay is seeing fine detail out in the open at longer ranges.  Here the brightness of the 8X42 binocs is somewhat wasted and you'd see better detail if they were 12X or so--details don't need to be bright to be seen.  A scope that can be cranked to 12X, 15X, 18X or so before "going dark" will allow fine details to be seen much better than a "bright" 8X picture.  In these conditions higher power 56mm binocs are nice if you don't mind carrying them.
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