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Optical rating scale for binoculars

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/06/2005 at 00:05
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Optics Journeyman
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I havent found any rating scale for binoculars so please ommon and make one?

I start.

I think the models should be included cause everything Zeiss makes is not the best...........etc.

I have placed the 7X50 B hightest up as in my opinion can never a centerfocus binocular compete at the same level as a IF focus.

 

1. Zeiss 7x50B Marine

2. Zeiss victory 10X56

3.Swarovski 7X42 Habicht, Kahles 8x42.

4.Zeiss 8X30 Safari

5.Swarovski 10X40 Habicht

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

 

Regards Håkan Spuhr

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/06/2005 at 02:00
koshkin View Drop Down
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I have not tried most of the binoculars you have tried so it is difficult for me to compare with the binoculars you mention.  Also, what do you consider most important for a binocular? brightness, resolution, center-field resolution, color fidelity, CA, etc.? unless you assign weight to these parameters, it is pretty difficult to determine what is best.

Optically the best binocular I've ever seen was a Nikon Superior E,

then there is a whole bunch of binoculars that are just slightly worse to my eyes:  Nikon Venturer LX, Leica Ultravid, Swarovski EL (I suspect that Zeiss FL is somewhere here also, but I have not seen it yet), Fujinon FMTR-SX, Swift Audubon ED porros.

A step below, would be IOR porros (some of the models from this line probably belong above, botable 10x50) and various roofs such as Kahles and Pentax DCF SP.

Then there are just too many binos to list.

Ilya
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/06/2005 at 02:23
ranburr View Drop Down
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This is just a rough stab and I am evaluating them as hunting, not birding binos.  I am listing binos in the 10X42 range and roof prism only.  This is my top 15 ranked in order of best to still darn good. 

 

 1.  Leica Ultravids

 2.  Zeiss FLs

 3.  Swarovshi ELs

 4.  Leica Trinovid

 5.  Swarovski SLC

 6.  Nikon Premier LX

 7.  Bushnell Elite

 8.  Kahles

 9.  Zeiss Victory

10.  Meopta

11.  Minox

12.  Docter

13.  Pentax SP

14.  Leupold Gold Ring

15  Steiner Peregrine 

 

There you have it.

 

ranburr

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/06/2005 at 09:25
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 1.  Zeiss FL

 2.  Leica Ultravid

 3.  Swarovski EL

 4.  Nikon Venturer/LX

 5.  Leica Trinovid

 6.  Zeiss Victory II

 7.  Zeiss ClassiC

 8.  Swarovski SLC

 9.  Kahles

10. Minox

11. Pentax DCF SP (Absolute best bang for the buck!)

 

My top four are pretty much interchangeable, with the decision going to how each fits and feels to the individual user. I'd say their glass is pretty much equal, with the difference being ergonomics and aesthetics. Similar to what Ranburr stated, these are my picks for top hunting binoclars in the 8x42 - 10x42 segment.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/06/2005 at 09:34
Rusty View Drop Down
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technika.nu

 

Here is my list for wide open hunting:

 

1. Ultravid 10X42

2.Victory FL 10X42

3. Swarovski SLC 10X42

4. Swarovski EL 10 or 8.5X42 (I think the 8.5 power is a great idea, and very useful)

5. Victory II 10X40 (very good in low light conditions)

6. Bushnell Elite 10X42 or Trinovid 10X42

7. Minox 10X42

8. Kahles 10X42

9. Docter 10X42

10. Leupold GR 10X42

11. Nikon LXL 10X42

 

If you use 8X, then the Fujinon 8X30 FMTR-SX and Swift Audubon ED are both considerations, and would rank in the top 8 of this list. 

 

For pure optical quality, here is my list:

 

1. Nikon Superior E

2. Victory Fl

3. Swarovski EL

4. Nikon LXL

5. Swarovski SLC

6. Swift Audubon ED or Fujinon FMTR-SX

7. Trinovid

8. Steiner Peregrine

9. Kahles or minox

10. Docter

11. Gold Ring

12 Victory II

 

General Notes: The Nikon and Swarozvski are good optically, but (except the SLC) are not that durable.  Probably the most durable is the Fujinon FMTR-SX, Leupold Gold Ring, and Leica line.  I have not done side by side comparisons on all of these.  Usually I do informal side by sides on two or three models.  I have not yet checked out the Steiner or Gold Rings, I am just going by other peoples comments.  I think the best value for the money are: Kahles, Minox, and Docter.  The Zeiss Safari is also very good, and I would love to try one some time.  I guess it would be a top performer in my 8X30 list.

 

I have: Pentax DCF WP, Victory II, Bushnell Legends, and Fujinon FMTR-SX (8X30).  When I win the lottery, I will buy an Ultravid and Nikon Superior E (for pure optical quality). 

 

My two cents. 

 

Have a Great Hunting Day!

 

Rusty 



Edited by Rusty
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/06/2005 at 13:46
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I rate the 7X50 Zeiss higher than anything else becuase of the combination of ruggedness, brightness, field of view and the IF focus.

Personally I would never use a centerfocus because it forces me to adjust the wheel all the time, the IF focus is always ready........

 

There is two big advantages with centerfocus, and that is the possiblity of focusing on very close objects and the possiblititys for elderly people ( mostly often above 60 years of age) to focus at normal distances.

As I see it the centerfocus binocular is the birders binocular ,cause they really have to focus on very close object like down to 2 yards. While a hunter very very rarely are using the binocular closer than 20 -40 yards.

So the questions is really if centerfocus binoculars should be considered good at all for hunting.

In my opinion it's only about fashion, everyone belives that centerfocus is better and more modern , just like the monte carlo stocks was in the 70th.

 

Everyone that I have borrowed a pair of Zeiss or Hensoldt 7X50 or 10X50 individual focus binoculars to have changed their opinon about focusing.

 

When not using the 7X50 I am using 8X60, and its the most superior glass i know, espesially when it comes to field of view. I am not carrying binoculars very much but I am looking through them for many hours when sitting and hunting wild boars. When I carry binoculars I either carry the 7x50 or the Swarovski 7X42B Habicht.

 

 

Regards Håkan



Edited by www.technika.nu
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/06/2005 at 15:30
Rusty View Drop Down
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technika.nu,

 

Superior field of view is not the only desireable optical quality.  How about low better light performance that comes with higher magnification powers?  Also, my neck wouldn't like the weight from those 50 or 60 mm lenses.  Optics are also about individual desired qualities and compromises.

 

Rusty

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/06/2005 at 15:39
ranburr View Drop Down
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I don't want anything that is not center focusing.  I find it easier, quicker, and more precise.

 

ranburr

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lucznik View Drop Down
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I would have to disagree about the individual focus being good for hunting.  One of the best uses of a binocular (aside from looking at things that are far away) is in picking out detail from tangled brush and foliage.  By using the binoculars center focus I can instantly change at what depth in that foliage I am focusing and thereby effectively disect an area to see horns, patches of fur, outlines of body parts, etc.  This simply cannot be done effectively with an I.F. binocular.

 

In addition to this, every center focus binocular I have ever seen has the ability (through the diopter adjustment on the right barrel) to individualize the image for each eye ensuring perfect focus across the board.  Thus no I.F. binocular has any advantage here.

 

My uncle has a Leupold binocular with I.F. focus. I have used it a few times and although the optics are impressive, I wouldn't want it.  In fact, if he were to flat out give it to me, I would immediately try to sell it on ebay or something.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/06/2005 at 17:51
Rusty View Drop Down
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Individual Focus:

 

Usually on Porro prism binos that tend to have a greater depth of field, and therefore usually do not need to be focused quite as much.  Center focus: more convient, quicker, and uses one less hand. 

 

Be an individual, use the one that suits ... you the best.

 

Rusty

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/06/2005 at 23:37
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I do actually belive that non of you have tried som of the better IF binoculars.

Some of the really good ones are Zeiss 7X50, Hensoldt 7X50 and 10X50, Swarovski 7X42B, the newer Hensoldt 8X30.

I cannot be more convinient and quicker than Individual focus as you never have to change the settings when it adjusted to you. Mostly cetnerfocus binoculars are selfadjusting and if you walk 500 yards it has adjusted it self, that is not the case with a good IF binocular.

I do often use only one hand with both 7X50 and 8X60 and that is very easaly done as I never have to change the settings.

 

Regards Håkan

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/07/2005 at 09:51
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I am sure that if you are simply looking at things that are distant through wide open expanses, there might be a value to a I.F. binocular.  For my kind of usages, they are ineffective at best.  Leupold makes a good binocular and the optical quality was never in question.  It's the inability of a I.F. system to permit the amount of adjustment I want to have instantly available.

 

The best part is that optics makers do indeed make both kinds.  Thus you can buy all the I.F. binoculars you like. You can also rest assured that I will never be the cause of one of your favorite models ever being sold out as I won't buy them.  I on the other hand can buy all of the C.F. binoculars I like with the same sort of assurance that you will not cause me to lose an opportunity at a bargain on one of my favorites.

 

Man, isn't life just grand?

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/12/2005 at 01:38
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There are several reasons why I decided against doing a binocular rating scale similar to the rating scale that I did for the riflescopes.  Before I get started, if I was backed into a corner I would probably lean toward ranburrs list.

 

When I created the tbone rating scale for riflescopes I wanted to establish a realistic scale that could be used to determine how much brighter each scope was than one another and whether or not an increase in performance would actually help someone make a shot.  If used correctly I think the scale would work pretty well.  Its not just a "ranking" system but actually a "rating" system if that makes any sense.  If you go back to the orginal posts and read the criteria set for the scale it will be clear.

 

Most of the scopes that I placed on the scale I actually tested in low light and the determining factor of where the scope was placed on the scale was BRIGHTNESS.  I did find noticable differences in clarity as well, but as far as resolution and contrast goes, I found little difference.  I didn't really spend alot of time testing for contrast though.  I used brightness because scopes are intended to shoot with and not really to glass with.

 

With binoculars, the main problem I had in testing was that there were many more factors to consider.  Brightness, Sharpness, Contrast, Color rendition, Clarity, Field of View, edge to edge resolution.  All of which were noticably different from binocular to binocular and all are very important.  For example one bino may have better contrast, another may be brighter, and yet another may have better resolution.  Its impossible to say which bino is better because thats too subjective.  It would depend on what you are looking for.  A "ranking" system like the one here is ok to give an opinion of which you think is better all around but it is not what I intended to be a rating system.  For a "rating" system you would need to set criteria for the scale and have a separate scale for each category and let the viewer decided which categories are more important to them.  As you can imagine, it would be too complex to work. 

 

The second problem I had was that I have done quite a bit of bino testing especially with the higher end binos and have quite posting my opinions due to inconsistencies with the brands.  In other words I would test for example a Zeiss FL against a Swarovski EL and Ultravid  and find one to be brighter and another to be sharper and the other to have better contrast and then conduct a similar test with three different pair of the same brands and models and find the oppostite to be true.  These types of inconsistencies have led me to refrain from forming my opinion until I have testing several different pair of the same model bino.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/12/2005 at 02:17
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Just a basic idea of what I'm talking about although I'll only do my top three pair.  You guys may disagree.  I also have not defined the what the differences in the numbers mean.

 

 

BRIGHTNESS     (More often than not, however I have seen ELs that looked brighter.)

 

10-  Zeiss FL, Leica Ultravid

  9-  Swarovski EL

  8-

  7-

 

SHARPNESS  (Many will disagree with this but it isn't set in stone either, FLs and ELs have looked sharper just not as often as Leica to my eyes.

 

10-  Leica Ultravid

 9-  Zeiss FL, Swarovski EL

 8-

 7-

 

CONTRAST   (the ability to separate and pull out colors (some say enhanced color)

 

10-  Leica Ultravid

  9-  Swarovski  EL

  8-  Zeiss FLs

 

TRUE COLOR REPRESENTATION   (sort of the oposite of contrast)

 

10-  Zeiss FLs

  9-  Swarovski EL

  8-  Leica Ultravids

 

EDGE TO EDGE SHARPNESS

 

10-  Swarovski EL

  9-  Leica Ultravids

  8-  Zeiss FLs

 

APPARENT FIELD OF VIEW  (not specs but appears to have larger site picture)

 

10-  Zeiss FLs

  9-  Leica Ultravids, Swarovski ELs

  8-

 

RUGGEDNESS OR DURABILITY  (purely a guess, who knows for sure?)

 

10-  Leica Ultravid

  9-  Zeiss FL

  8-  Swarovski EL

 

CHROMATIC ABBERATION  (I really haven't spent enough time to give an opinion)

 

 

As I said this is generally what I have found but I have alot of inconsistencies with them.  For example I tested a pair of ELs and FLs and found the ELs to be noticably sharper than the FLs.  Then I got out two different pair of ELs and FLs from the counter and couldn't detect any difference in sharpness but the FLs were noticably brighter.

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