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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2005 at 09:56
timak View Drop Down
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I know this question gets asked more than any other, but I know there are a lot of variables involved and I wanted to hear some input on what binoculars might fit ME best.


I need advise on what binoculars would be best for me.

 

My maximum price is about $800.  maybe a tad more if need be, but not over $900Ö

 

I wear eye glasses, so eye relief to accommodate that is a must. 

 

I donít care much about size.  In fact, the compact binos that I have tried out actually bother me because they are too small.  I will be lugging them around while hunting so weight is probably a slight consideration, but size is not really a worry for me.

 

I donít care about brand. In fact, I donít want to advertise that I have almost $1000 hanging around my neck.  But again, it doesnít really matter either way. I donít want brand to limit my options.

 

I was thinking either 8x or 10x not sure which.  Iíve never used a 10x, but I sometimes feel myself wishing my current 8x had a little more magnification which is why Iím considering a 10x.

 

I am not an optics snob.. to tell you the truth I could probably look through a $200 pair then look through a $2000 pair and not be able to notice  a difference in optics quality.  BUT I do care about light.  I would like a nice clear bright image with a wide field of view.

 

If I get a pair of binoculars that are easy to look through and give me a good image, I will be using them for long periods of time occasionally glassing for game. 

 

The binos I have been using are cheap ($25) markdown Bushnells that I picked up from the local sporting goods store.  They are hard to see through, not bright at all, and I hate using them. 

 

I have been reading here for a while and I trust you guys to give excellent recommendations.  If there is anything else I left out that may affect recommendations let me know. 






Edited by timak
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2005 at 10:52
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Your description of what you are looking for seems to parallel my thoughts from earlier this year.  After doing a lot of reading on this forum, I purchased the Pentax 10x43 DCF SP binocular.

 

http://www.riflescopes.com/products/62616/pentax_10x43_dcf_s p_binocular.htm

 

I am not a binocular expert, nor do I use my binocular frequently, but I have been pleased with my decision and appreciate the advice others had given on this forum.

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2005 at 11:13
timak View Drop Down
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That is one I have also been considering after reading here. Thanks for the input.  

But it states that those have 17mm eye relief.  Does that work well with glasses?  I know that some others have 22mm. I live in a rural area, and the local store here doesn't have these so I can't try them out.


Edited by timak
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2005 at 14:07
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I also wear eyeglasses, but I have not had a problem with the eye relief on the Pentax 10x43 DCF SP binocular.  You may want to try some various brands, though, and see if eye relief issues are a problem for you and your eyeglasses.

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2005 at 20:26
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For roof prism binoculars the Pentax DCF SP offer about the best out there without going to German glass.  Every now and then the Zeiss Classics 10x40 pop up for around $699 which I think is a pretty good buy.  They feel pretty light weight and have a thin profile, optics are very good (Zeiss quality) one draw back is I hear they are water resistant not h20 proof 

 

You might want to check out Kahles they offer some nice glass at a reasonable price for European glass.



Edited by Acenturian
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2005 at 21:52
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The Nikon Venturer/LX series are as good as it gets! You get every bit as good of glass as the European stuff, but at less than half the cost. Just so you know I'm not talking outta my @$$....I've owned Leica 8x32's, 8x42's, 10x42's; Swarovski 8x30 SLC's and two pair of 10x42 EL's; Zeiss 10x40 ClassiC's and 10x40 Victory II's; both 8x43 and 10x43 Pentax DCF SP's, and several others, but they've all been sent down the road. The glass that still remains is the Nikon 10x42 Venturer/LX's.

If anyone in the market for new top-end binoculars doesn't put the Nikon Venturer/LX's on their short list, they're doing themselves a huge disservice....
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/17/2005 at 22:15
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Personally, I am not a fan of Nikon. They strike me as being more for birders than hunters.  In your price range, I would look at Kahles and Minox.  Both are very close optically, but the Kahles strikes me as being a little more rugged.

 

ranburr

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/18/2005 at 15:56
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Originally posted by ranburr ranburr wrote:

<>Personally, I am not a fan of Nikon. They strike me as being more for birders than hunters.


Ranburr, please explain.....?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/18/2005 at 22:17
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The Nikons seem to go more for true color resolution rather than low light performance.  They are also pretty heavy, though the latest models are lighter.  Finally, they are not as rugged as their peers. 

 

ranburr 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2005 at 00:58
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That's a complete crock of crap! Have you ever actually held a pair of Nikon Venturer's in your hands? Doesn't sound like it! The Nikon Venturer/LX's offer as much true color and as bright of view as the more expensive binos. I've owned two pair of Swarovski 10x42 EL's and the Nikon's put them to shame in brightness and image quality! The Leica BA/BN's were just as clear and bright, but I don't like their ergonomics. The Zeiss Victory II's were brighter, but their image drops off around the edges, where the Nikon's view remains the crystal clear from edge to edge.

I know you frequent the birdwatchers forums and I know the Venturer/LX's are popular with birders, but that by no means makes them any less suited for hunting. You ever heard of a fella by the name of John Barnsness? Just so happens he wrote a book titled Optics for the Hunter. What binos do you think he recommends most? Nope, not Leica or Swarovski, but the Nikon Venturer/LX's, with the Pentax DCF SP's coming in second...go figure!

As far as ruggedness goes, what evidence do you have to back your claim? If anything, the Nikon's are overbuilt, which is part of the reason they're so heavy. Even at that, they're only 3 oz. heavier than the Leica 10x42 BA/BN and Swarovski SLC. In short, I'd put the Nikon Venturer/LX's up against anything else on the market!

You wanna talk warranties? Nikon offers one of the best warranties in the business. They offer a lifetime no questions asked warranty that's fully transferable. Does Leica or Swarovski offer that? How bout' Kahles or Minox? Yes Leica offers a Passport warranty, but it's for the original owner only. Buy a used Leica and have problems and your S.O.L. Zeiss is the only European maker that offers a transferable warranty, but any damage other than factory defects and you're left holding the bag...

Sorry for the rant, but your claims are ridiculous and unfounded.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2005 at 01:31
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Well, I guess I find your rant a ridiculous and unfounded complete crock of crap!  I have used Nikons and I don't think they are as good as their competitors.  John Barnsness writes a few books and in a number of magazines that depend on advertising dollars.  All that tells me is that Nikon is one of his sponsors.  Personally, I have never bought anything based on what I have read by someone who obviously has at least the potential to have a conflict of interest.  As far as ruggedness goes, I have seen a number with fogging and other problems.  Maybe Chris can step in here in give us an idea of how many they seem returned.  Not by birders, but by hunters who are typically rougher on their optics.  Also, I have never bought a product based on a warranty.  I buy based on quality.  But since you brought it up; Kahles has a lifetime warranty and if I am not mistaken so does Minox.  As far as Leicas warranty goes; I have a very old Leitz bino that is much older than me.  There were brown spots inside on the glass and the leather on the tube housings had rotted off.  I sent them to NJ and they were repaired free of charge.  I don't know if that is standard policy, but they took care of them.  I did pay for shipping to them. 

 

ranburr

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2005 at 07:15
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"The Nikons seem to go more for true color resolution rather than low light performance.  They are also pretty heavy, though the latest models are lighter.  Finally, they are not as rugged as their peers.  "

 

I would also have to tend to disagree with this last comment. Though birders also appreciate their optical quality and construction it isn't Kahles or Minox that I tend to see around the necks of most hunters in those hunting videos. Granted, Nikon is a sponsor for many of those hunting shows but I have a hard time believing that all of those hunters would continue to utilize inferior binoculars (optically or mechanically) just because someone was giving them for free.

 

I have a pair of the original Nikon Venturer LXs and they are built like a tank. I would have no hesitation about dropping them onto the floor from a standing position. Even if something did happen Nikon has the 'No Fault" warranty which guarantees repair or replacement of the product no questions asked. Even if the consumer loses the warranty card or receipt of purchase then Nikon only charges $10 for repairs. Heck, a birding buddy of mine sent a pair of his reverse porro Nikons back for repair after quite a few years of usage and Nikon just sent him a new Prostaff model for free as the previous bins were not able to be repaired. Now that is service is my opinion.

 

As for their brightness levels, I will concede that similar spec'ed Ultravid and FLs are a tad brighter than the Venturers but the applicability of that small increase in brightness in a hunting situation would be up for debate. By the time you would actually be able to notice a difference between the bins' performance it would probably be too late to shoot at an animal anyway. Beyond the Ultravids and FLs I do not think there is a bin on the market that can match the Venturers for brightness.

 

Lastly, as you mentioned, the LXLs (newer version of the Venturers) are in the same weight range as the Ultravids, FLs and ELs. The only difference between the older models and the newer ones is the switch from an aluminum to a magnesium housing and lighter weight "Eco-glass" which doesn't use lead or arsenic. None of the optical or mechanical quality was lost when making these changes.

 

As for my recommendation, based on the original comments I think a 10x50 would be the best option. The 10x magnfication is commonly accepted to be able to render more detail in low light conditions, when all else is equal ofcourse. The 50 mm objective would allow more light to be gathered when compared to a 40 or 42 mm of the same optical quality.

 

If price is no option then I would look for one of the 10x50 high cost models. If weight or cost, to some extent, is an issue with some of those models then I would opt for either the Pentax DCF-SP 10x50 or the Leupold Windriver Olympic in 10x50. Both offer very good low light performance but with a somewhat restricted field of view compared to their 40-42 mm counterparts.

 

Hope this helps.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2005 at 09:59
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Ranburr,

You mention that you've used "Nikons", but I'm still betting you don't have any hands on experience with the Venturer/LX's......? I didn't base my decision solely on the recommendations of Barnsness, but I'm smart enough to gather as much info as possible before spending my hard earned dollars. If Barnsness was making recommendations based on advertisers dollars, wouldn't it stand to reason that he'd endorse Swarovski, whom everyone knows is the kind of advertising?

I'll agree that hunters might be tougher on their equipment physically, but birders demand more optically and the Venturer/LX's shine in both arenas. Show me one site on the internet that's given the Venturer/LX's an unfavorable review and I'll eat my hat.

If warranty doesn't concern you, you're a fool. I already mentioned that Kahles and Minox have a lifetime warranty, but what they don't have is a NO FAULT or transferable warranty. To each his own I guess. I'd love for Chris or anyone else for that matter to pipe in about how many Venturer/LX's they have returned for fogging, etc. Of the complaints I've heard about the Venturer/LX's, fogging has never been one of them...


Edited by Buster1
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2005 at 14:35
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I have not used high end glass quite as extensively as many people on this forum, but I thought I'd add my 2 cents.

 

Venturer LXL is a wonderful binocular, but its light transmission is not quite as good as top of the line Zeiss or Leica.  I have not heard of it being fragile in any way.

 

The color rendition is great though.  Not sure if that is especially paramount for hunting applications.  Brightness and resolution I the most important things here I would think.

 

And finally, for those looking for optimal optical performance top end porros deserve a look.  They are a little bigger and heavier, but the offer unsurpassed view and depth perception.

 

As for warranty work, the few people that I know who had to deal with Nikon's warranty swore to never buy Nikon again and switched to other manufacturers for their future purchases.  Before this thread I have never seen a favourable review of Nikon's service department.  Personally, the only time I dealt with Nikon service was when I called in with a few questions a little while ago.  I'll never make that mistake again.  The people I talked to were rude and incompetent.

 

Ilya

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2005 at 15:58
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I have owned the Nikon LX's. Superb bino's. Better than Leica's? I don't know. Too close to call for me. I do like the ergonomics of the Leica's and the Swaro EL's better. 

I liked everything about them other than the weight!! Gosh they were heavy suckers.

I understand that Nikon has lightened them up some, so that's cool.

 

My experience with Nikon's CS Dept. was great. And so was the few people that I know that used it.

I just called them to ask a few question pertaining to the LX line, as a matter of fact, as was treated very nicely. Buddies that sent a couple of scopes back had no complaints either. One guy broke a BM or Monarch in half, and Nikon replaced it for him. I don't remember the model.

 

  

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2005 at 18:21
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In response to Frank D.; those guys you see on those hunting shows will use whatever piece of equipment is provided to them.  Who do you think pays for those trips, filming, salaries etc.?  If BSA sponsored your favorite television hunter, all of his optics would be BSA.  In response to Buster1; dollar for dollar, Nikon is not the best.  Compare comparable models to the competition and they lose out.  As far as Barnsness goes, Nikon is probably his top sponsor or at least for that particular publication.  I am not saying that the top of line Nikons are bad, I am saying that you can do better.  From what I have seen you can do better across the board at every price point on the roof product line.  Nikon is a marketing machine and I applaud them for their efforts.  finally, I have used most every Nikon with the exception of the newer light weight models.  

 

ranburr 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2005 at 18:40
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I've just spent a few minutes looking at other binoculars in the same price range and I am not sure how Venturer LXL stacks up against it.  The models mentioned earlier in this thread: Ultravid, FL, EL are better than Venturer perhaps, but also more expensive.

 

I am not sure how Venturer stacks up against binoculars that are closer in price.  The ones that seem to be in the same price range are

 

Bushnell Elite and Leupold Gold Ring (I've tried neither one of these so far).

 

Minox BD 58 which are not directly comparable because of the 58mm objective lens (these are quite superb, by the way).

 

Steiner Peregrine perhaps (not well familar with these either).

 

Zeiss Conquest 8x40 and 10x40

 

Against this competition, Venturer LXL might stack up pretty well, although I am not entirely certain.

 

Ilya

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2005 at 18:47
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Wow, such vitriol!

 

Sounds like more than one person is suffering from too much brand loyalty.

 

Timak,

 

Nikons Venturer LXLs are very, very good. I have written here numerous times that as soon as I can, I will buy one (probably the 10X.) Are they as good as Leica or Zeiss?  Probably not.  But the unbelievably small (and probably to the vast majority of people - unnoticable) difference in quality cannot (in my mind) justify the extra expense of those "top" brands. Warranty experiences vary, but not enough to make a big issue. If they did the company in question would not be able to maintain their business.  Optics are just too competetive for major service flaws like that to be tolerated by consumers.

 

Having said that, the original post specified a price of about $800 (and definately not more than $900).  The Nikons are therefore, not a valid suggestion as they cost at least $1100.  Within the price range set, top choices would include (assuming you do some searching for the best prices available from reputable dealers) the Zeiss ClassiC, Pentax DCF SP, Leupold Golden Rings, as well as offerings from Kahles and Minox.  You might even be able to find a Bushnell Elite (which just won Field and Streams Product of the Year award) in this price range if you do enough looking.  As to which would be best for YOU. Only you can decide this issue. Check out the specs for each of them including field of view, weight, height, price, etc. Look through and handle as many as you possibly can. I dare say any of these listed would provide a perfectly satisfying view and many, many years of excellent service.

 

Then again, if you really can't see a differences between a $200 and a $2000 binocular, you might be best off saving a whole bunch more money and getting something from the more economical options. For example, great optics can be had for under $500.  Leupold WindWiver Pinnacle, Bushnell Discoverer, Brunton Eterna, Bushnell Legend, and Nikon Monarchs represent a small sampling of such options. 

 

Were I in your position, I probably would buy either the Leupold Golden Rings or the Zeiss ClassiC. But, that's just me and my likes and preferences may not be compatible with yours. Whatever you do, don't let the unreasonable rantings of anyone proclaiming one particular brand or model as being the ultimate in superiority to sway your opinion or your choice.  Such claims are never based on a solid footing of logic and reason. It's like trying to explain the virtues of a Chevy truck to a "Ford Guy."  Not gonna happen.



Edited by lucznik
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/19/2005 at 18:52
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VITRIOL:

I must admit that I had to look that one up!!

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/20/2005 at 06:57
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"In response to Frank D.; those guys you see on those hunting shows will use whatever piece of equipment is provided to them.  Who do you think pays for those trips, filming, salaries etc.?  If BSA sponsored your favorite television hunter, all of his optics would be BSA.  In response to Buster1; dollar for dollar, Nikon is not the best.  Compare comparable models to the competition and they lose out.  As far as Barnsness goes, Nikon is probably his top sponsor or at least for that particular publication.  I am not saying that the top of line Nikons are bad, I am saying that you can do better.  From what I have seen you can do better across the board at every price point on the roof product line.  Nikon is a marketing machine and I applaud them for their efforts.  finally, I have used most every Nikon with the exception of the newer light weight models.  "

 

I must admit that you are mistaken if you honestly believe that many (not all) of those hunters would use inferior equipment just because they received it for free. I have some experience with this type of issue and I can assure you that those hunters would not be using BSA if it was given to them.

 

I also have to disagree with your comment about the Nikons not being the best value "dollar for dollar". Though I know you are not fond of the Monarchs from other posts I must say that they have always left me with a favorable impression (moreso the 8x than the 10x). Other than the Carsons which I cannot comment on I really have not seen a bin in that price range that offers the combination of optical quality and physical design. Even the Sporters at the $200 price point offer very good optical quality for the price.

 

Their mid and high price point bins offer exceptional optical quality. The 8x32 version of the LX is highly touted as offering the same optical quality as many of the $1000 plus roofs but at the $600-$700 price point. Much the same could be said for some of their porro models as well. Though not waterproof the SE and E2 series of bins is optically superb and often quoted as having better optical quality than many, if not all, of the $1000+ roofs.

 

And as for the Venturer LXs...I am really at a loss for words as this point. They are directly comparable in terms of all features to the Swarovski EL, SLCs and Leica Trinovids. They may be slightly dimmer than the FLs and Ultravids but other than that I really cannot see how someone could make a further distinction. Resolution, color representation and overall flatness of field are entirely comparable with anything else on the market.

 

Now, before I get cornered into the brand loyalty crowd, I do primarily use a pair of Zeiss for hunting.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/20/2005 at 08:04
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Here's the bottom line; until the buying public demands actual unbiased testing of scopes and binoculars, we are left to the marketers mercy.  The camera crowd got this a long time ago; why can't we?  Because the manufacturers sell plenty without it.  We should be able to find out exactly how a Pentax SP compares to a Swarovski EL, but we can't.

 

I agree with ranburr 100% about what you read in magazines and see on hunting shows.  It means nothing.  When's the last time you read or heard "this is not worth buying"?  It means nothing that some binocular got field &stream product of the year.  One of the shooting  mags had an article not too long ago about the new Simmons that made it sound like the best thing since sliced bread.  You don't have to watch too many hunting shows, with some guy up in a tree blowing on his advertisers grunt call that has absolutly no effect on the deer, to know it's all a crock.  By the way, most of those shows are a complete joke.  The are hunting semi-tame animals in enclosures. 

 

What's it going to take for us to get real info about these products?

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/20/2005 at 10:34
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I didn't realize this question would create so much "vitriol"

My major problem is that I can't look though or handle any of these before I buy them. (Unless I make a 3.5 hour trip into civilization)  I will be buying off the internet, and I figured I would ask you guys many of which I figured have used the optics I am interested in to see what kind of feedback I would get.  I have narrowed down my choices so far.

I would like to narrow them down a little more.

I guess the easiest question to ask here is;


What would you buy? 

 

Three important factors that need to be considered. 

1. They will be used for hunting. 

2. They will be used with eye glasses.  

3. And the price needs to be around $800 (I have no problem paying less if possible)

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/20/2005 at 10:47
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Sorry if I seem to come off a bit strong. My personal experiences with certain bins just seem to be a complete 180 degrees from what some folks regularly post on this forum. No offense was or is intended for any party involved in this thread.

 

If you are going to use them strictly for hunting then I would opt for a waterproof roof prism model. That narrows the field down somewhat.

 

If you are going to use them with glasses then I would suggest a model with no less than 17 mm of eye relief. The more the better in this regard and I personally prefer around 20 mm to be fully comfortable with any set of bins.

 

At the $800 price point or under and in a full sized glass (40-50 mm) I would agree that the Kahles, Zeiss Classic and Pentax SPs would probably be your best options. All of them should be right at your stated price limit depending on where you intend to buy from.

 

Next in terms of price would be something like the Leupold Wind River Pinnacles and Olympics. Nikon Monarchs, Bushnell Legends, Pentax XPs, HS and HRIIs.

 

I have looked through most if not all of them and other than the Pentax HRIIs I would consider them all to present good to great optical quality for their respective price ranges.

 

 

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/20/2005 at 11:09
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The Pentax DCF SP's are tough to beat for the money.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/20/2005 at 11:58
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Optics GrassHopper
Optics GrassHopper


Joined: December/08/2005
Status: Offline
Points: 9
I was looking at the Pentax Sp.  I have to say that they have a good looking price, and quite a few people have mentioned them.

One question about them.  I noticed they make them in a 10x43 and 10x50.  the 50mm has a 22mm eye relief and the 43mm has a 17 mm.  But, the field of view is quite a bit smaller on the 50 (261 ft compaired to 315 ft).  Is the eye relief worth giving up the extra on field of view?


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