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Promaster Infinity Elite ELX ED Update

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/07/2008 at 21:55
Klamath View Drop Down
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After some deliberation, I finally decided to buy a Promaster ELX ED for myself.  I have to say that the new unit is a different breed of cat from the one I reviewed. It is much better. I did a little research this morning and found out that the review units were not from the production run, I don't know what if any changes were implemented. They evidently tweaked some things. I did hesitate a little on ordering this binocular because of the biggest complaints I had about the review binocular, that being the shallow depth of focus, and a slow focus wheel rate.

Depth of Focus and Focus Wheel Rate

First thing that is different is that the shallow depth of focus is just about gone. Focus the new unit at maybe 200 yards and you are pretty much focused from 50 yards on out. With other binoculars I have, close focus is from 40 or so yards on out. With The ELX, when you bring the focus distance closer to you than mentioned, the depth of focus is still shallower than either the Swift Eaglet or the Vortex Viper.

There is at least ½ turn on the focus wheel (at least for my mostly non-myopic eyes) left after focus at infinity is reached. The binocular also uses at least another ½ turn coming in from 50 yards. So that leaves about 1½ turns of the focus wheel for normal viewing ranges, which is really not much different from many binoculars. If you want to watch Butterflies, the close focus sharpness, and the degree to which close focus can be dialed in with this glass is astounding. 

Image

This weekend saw some pretty nasty weather. The cloudy, rainy weather was such that almost all day was like you were in the twilight zone, but the effect was almost surreal in the twilight hours. In these conditions, the binocular showed me something I had never seen from it or the review glass in the conditions I had them in. Here, the binocular has a definite warm and ever so slight yellow cast. For whatever reason, that tended to show deer in the brush with exceptional clarity. It was a little like the effect of a yellow tint sunglass or driving glass has in cutting through dreary conditions. In normal sunlight this binocular has just about the nearest to neutral color rendition I have ever experienced. In effect this acts like it has reactive coating, just like changing eyeglass lens tint to match different conditions. I have never noticed this before. In the dim light the ELX ED image was flawless and fault free. It’s a see it to believe it sort of deal. I assume this is a function of the design of the Transbright coating process.


The image in the new unit is no crisper than the review unit, but the edge distortion is considerably less. There is some edge distortion in only the outer 5% of the field. The distortion was more easily seen in dim light. What distortion there is, I have to really look to see.


The Repellemax Coating

This proved to be a really useful feature. It rained a lot and everything got wet and tended to stay wet (damp wet, not soaking wet). Water droplets on the lenses immediately are transformed into smaller drops which seem to then have a tendency to move toward the edges of the lens. This helps a lot in a quick grab and look scenario, but a lens cloth is still very useful.

I tend to be sort of a “sweat head” when out and about. I seem to transfer a lot of body heat out through my face around my eyes. The biggest obstacle I have in using binoculars in cold, wet weather is having external fog form on the oculars when I put the glass to my eye. The Repellemax immediately begins to dissipate this, starting in the center and rapidly proceeding outward. It leaves a little condensation ring (just about the equal of the edge distortion) at the very outer edge of the lens. I found this really nice. The two other glasses I tended to use to combat these conditions were the  Yosemite 6x30 and Vortex Fury 6.5x32. Both of these binoculars have a lot of eye relief at max eyecup distance, and this tends to help me a lot by keeping some distance between me and the lens. I can offer no comparison to Rainguard and similar related products.

Field of View

The FOV in this glass is wider than the 393’ listed. While not a measurement I would take to court, this one figures 412’. This is certainly no big deal, and very probably within reasonable tolerances. I only measured because it became clear that this glass was wider than my 8x30 Yosemite, also listed at 393' FOV. The sweet spot, in clear weather, is the equal of the stated FOV.

The edge distortion is best viewed on some astronomical object such as Jupiter. The glass easily focuses the planet into a clean edged blue ball, showing the moons as crisp pinpoints, the moons are visible to the outer 25% of the FOV, and the planet does not show distortion until the outer 5% of the field. This is the closest to a truly flat field I have ever used.

Comparison to Swarovski EL 8.5x42

One of the other people who hunts where I do is a state trooper. He often works in wildlife enforcement cases. He had decided to buy a top end glass and had borrowed an EL 8.5 as a beginning point in his search. We had about two hours where we sat and glassed a deer laden hillside. The last part of the session included six pairs of eyeballs. The short story is that my state trooper friend is buying a Promaster. The EL did have a slightly better depth of focus, which corrected the single remaining complaint I have with the ELX ED. But as far as resolution, clarity, edge distortion, or anything else, there was not a visible difference with either the ELX or the EL. I have to say this did surprise me. While I don’t like to spend a lot of money for anything, I always have some old axioms buzzing around in my consciousness when buying any kind of equipment. You get what you pay for. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. There is no such thing as a free lunch. With these in mind, I really expected to find some differences observable in side by side comparison. Nothing was there other than the better depth of field for the EL. That difference was there only out to 100 yards. We also used both hand held and from a tripod. So, what do you get that is different optically with the EL for the extra $$? I can’t say. There are likely real differences determinable by a good technician at the optical bench. Do the show up in the field? Not for me. I think one could reasonably expect to get some durability and product longevity with the EL. But looking through them, the differences we saw were cursed slim.

This season has caused me to re-evaluate my binocular selection. I had everything I owned with me. What would I keep, or what would I get if starting out? There are three. First the Promaster is a no brained choice. Second would be the Swift Eaglet 7x36. This is the other binocular I have that will stand reasonably close to the Promaster in image quality in nasty weather. Third is the Yosemite 6x30. It is pretty clear in dim light, better than the 8x30. The eye relief is long enough that even without special coatings, does not often fog externally in cold weather. This is also better in the 6x than the 8x Yosemite. I have also generally come to prefer the 6x30 or the 7x36 over the B&L 7x26 for a smaller binocular. The 8x42 Nikon Monarch is just a bit behind everything else. The 10x Viper is still a good choice in the class, but the 10x Viper could not show me any more detail way out there then the 8x Promaster. The resolution on the Viper was a tick behind. The Vortex 6.5x32 Fury would also stay, if I still had it. I sold it to my brother. It also has enough eye relief to keep the lens away from my face to avoid external fogging. The image is still pretty good in nasty gray weather, and it has a nearly unmatched FOV.

I think that we are looking at the next step in roof binocu
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/08/2008 at 00:43
Urimaginaryfrnd View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/26/2008 at 20:49
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I am a new poster.
 
I am very happy to see the positive comments on the Promaster EDX/ELX bincoulars (apparently the nomenclature changed from pre- to post-introduction).
 
I am, to provide full disclosure, a Promaster dealer, a former Astronomy major (many years ago) at the University of Iowa, and have been doing photo and science-related stuff for about 50 years (yep, I'm OLD!).
 
I got a pair of the new PRO 8x42's at a meeting, and when I had a chance to try them at home under real world conditions, I was frankly astounded.
 
About all I have done for the past 50 years is look through optics, cameras, telescopes, bincoulars, etc., so even with my trifocals, I feel I know good optics.  The comments about the value of the PRO binoculars are, I feel, true.  When I hand them to a customer, the first word I hear is "Wow!". 
 
Yes, the focus is a little fussy, but the 3-D effect of the optics is one thing customers continually comment on, and the low-light performance (at home I overlook a gully which gets murky in the late evening about an hour after sunset during the summer) is astounding.  The colors 'pop', and it is as if someone turned on a spotlight.
 
So, all in all, even with my built-in bias on these bincoulars, they seem to be a great value.
 
I have no real axe to grind here, but I do appreciate the kind comments, as I am sure will all my fellow PRO dealers,  the review and comments following were fair, well done, and thank you.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: October/27/2008 at 07:02
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Originally posted by Klamath Klamath wrote:

 It was a little like the effect of a yellow tint sunglass or driving glass has in cutting through dreary conditions. In normal sunlight this binocular has just about the nearest to neutral color rendition I have ever experienced. In effect this acts like it has reactive coating, just like changing eyeglass lens tint to match different conditions.
 
I've noticed something like that in only one binocular, the Zeiss 8x32 FL.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/09/2008 at 12:54
Tero View Drop Down
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I presume all there are 8x, as we have not heard about the 10x Promaster yet.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/09/2008 at 23:38
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Steve,

Please tell us about the warranty.

Did you notice any stray light, as Frank D. mentioned about the Hawke Frontier, which he tested.

Edited by Bird Watcher - November/09/2008 at 23:59
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/09/2008 at 23:40
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Tero,

If you scroll down, on the home page, you will see the original posting in which it lists 10x as well.

Promaster Infinity Elite ELX ED 10x42mm

Edited by Bird Watcher - November/09/2008 at 23:43
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2008 at 13:31
Klamath View Drop Down
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Bird Watcher,
 
As far as the warranty is concerned, it is a lifetime no fault policy.  What "they say" is that you send in the binocular, or as many of the pieces it broke into as you can to them.  Then for a fee ($20 IIRC) they will replace or repair the glass.  I have no idea how responsive they are, since I have no experience with the warranty.
 
I have used mine pretty hard and they have become my go to glass.  They seem to have no obvious build quality flaws.  They certainly are seemingly the build quality equivalent of Pentax  and Vortex glass in the price range.
 
I did not notice the stray light in the Promaster as described by FrankD for the Hawke ED.  Nor for that matter do I find much if any problem with flare, distortion or CA with the binocular.  It is certainly better in those respects than my Vortex Viper, which does a pretty good job there.
 
I hope they will introduce a 32-36mm variant of this binocular.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/10/2008 at 17:02
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Steve,

Thanks for the info.
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