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BINOCULARS
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watchmaker
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 8:34 am    Post subject: BINOCULARS Reply with quote

BINOCULARS

Hi guys,
The big brown truck and the nice man that brings goodies to the house stopped yesterday with a package from Cabela’s.
I was deprived from sleep for the five days that it took between order and delivery, but finally the Nikon Monarch ATB 8x40 binoculars are here, and I will sleep soundly tonight.



Although I have quite a few binoculars in my safe, I don’t have nearly as many of them as I do flashlights (most of you know me as the crazy guy that owns all those flashlights); but fear not, I am getting there.
So it occurred to me that I should make a post about binoculars for those that are bored of hearing about my lights.
I had owned quite a good amount of binoculars since I bought my first as a 15 year-old with an itch about optics. I even owned an expensive Zeiss when I was single and didn’t had a family to take care of.
And I am here to tell you that the quality, brightness, sharpness, and durability of the new binoculars now on the market; it is better than ever.
Not long ago, if we wanted all these features in a good binocular the choice was between spending a thousand in a Zeiss, Swarosvki, Leica or Minox or looking for good Porro prisms in the Nikon or Pentax lines.
But since a couple of years ago, the Japanese starting coating the roof prisms of their binoculars with Phase Coating, and the sharpness and definition of their roof prism binos had increased to the point to rival the European imports from the big four, and all at very modest cost.

Take, for example, the Nikon Monarch ATB (All terrain binocular) 8x42 I just received, or my Pentax DCF WP 8x42 that I bought last year.




All lenses are fully multicoated (that means all surfaces, not only the glass to air surfaces) prisms are phased-corrected and have mirror-coated lower prisms (not cheap aluminum). They have blackened tubes to avoid reflections and are waterproof and fog proof; they have a nice outer coating of rubber (silent) and very good ergonomics. I particularly like the twist eye cups for eye-glass wearers and the ample eye relief: no problem using it with my glasses and instant acquisition of the picture even with glasses on.



All that can be said for the Nikon Monarch can be said also of my Pentax DCF WP 8x42, except for the weight: the Nikon is lighter at 22 ounces but I don’t know how much my Pentax weighs until I get a new battery for my fish scale.

I like the approach of securing the objective caps to the body of the binocular that the Nikon uses as well. I had to get creative with the Pentax and cook up something home-made to hold the caps to the binocular body.
I did the usual checking for good prisms by holding the binos a few inches away and looking at the light spot in the ocular lens, nice and round without any hint of flattening, just like I was expecting. I checked collimation by holding it a few inches away and pointing them at the yellow line in the road, straight and sharp with not sign of being distorted.
To test the sharpness and resolution most people look from the inside to the outside thru an open window, and most binoculars will perform well under those conditions. I look for a dark corner in the room and try to read some labels or a newspaper print set for the occasion; that is what separates the mediocre from the good or great binoculars.

As the Nikon and the Pentax are so the same in quality I tried to spot any optical differences between them by perching one on top of the other and alternatively looking thru them. After several minutes of this I have to admit that they are both the same optical quality as far as my eyes can tell, without resorting to an optical laboratory.



I have looked thru many Swarovski and Zeiss lenses, (I hunt the stores) superb optical quality in those glasses. I can tell you for sure than the new Nikon and Pentax are almost the equal of those expensive brands; that I only paid just over $300 with shipping for such a superb glass as the Nikon still amazes me.

Kind regards,
Watchmaker
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Morax
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:41 pm    Post subject: Re: BINOCULARS Reply with quote

not to be a downer, but i paid a whopping 40 bucks for my bushnells (16x60) and they work fine from everything from hanging out of the treestand to glassing the field for errant groundhogs.. and if i drop them from the treestand at least it wasnt a lot of cash gone.. not knocking your choice of going 300 bucks for 'nocks but if i was to drop them i would be a little upset... Shocked
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Arizona Hunter
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 1:09 pm    Post subject: Re: BINOCULARS Reply with quote

Nice binos (both pair). Good glass is a must! Hunting squirrels, p-dogs, coyotes or big game it sure is nice being able to look through a bino for hours and your eyes still feel normal afterwards.

I have the Bushnell Legend 8 x 42. They are phase coated, waterproof and have Rainguard. These are wonderful, some of the best money I ever spent on gear.
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Morax
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 2:39 pm    Post subject: Re: BINOCULARS Reply with quote

friend of mine got a set of 'nocks free with his purchase of a S&W .500 dont remember who makes em, but yeah i can see a clarity differance, they are better than the bushnells but if on a hazy day looking for horns or in a field looking for a bobblehead as long as you can sees em, thats what counts
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Deleted_User_2665
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 5:15 pm    Post subject: Re: BINOCULARS Reply with quote

Corners are tuff to cut on good glass, cheap just ain't worth it in my book.....

'Course I spend a LOTTA time with binos glued to my face, and that might could make a difference.

Zeiss 10X Conquest makes a lot of sense to my game, as I do appreciate seeing what I'm looking at.

Got these from CameralandNY, SHOT show demos, full manufacturer warranty, not scratch on 'em, about a paycheck's worth, or, half a tax refund, give or take..............

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Handloader
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 8:52 pm    Post subject: Re: BINOCULARS Reply with quote

Technology has allowed mid range binos performance reserved for far more expensive optics a mere decade ago. High end optics have benefited as well and offer resolution and clarity that is noticeably better than the mid range stuff. At some point, one has to wonder how much is enough?

Much of our hunting needs can be satisfied with brand name optics in the $300 to $500 range. Still, there are those circumstances where more performance is needed. If one is tearing a hillside apart, section by section, the difference in optics quickly becomes apparent given optics of the same objective and power range, mid range compared to high end. Light transmission may be similar, but, detail, chromatic and resolution differences, while subtle, are usually noted. That can make the difference between glassing up a partially hidden buck or passing it over.

The high end binos are often tougher, too. They can sustain more abuse, eventhough, they often weigh less. Warranties offered by all manufacturers sound good, but, when you return high end optics, the warrant is often flawlessly performed and seldom at cost to the owner.

What we hunt and where will often dictate how good the glass needs to be. IMO and personal experience, the quality of the binoculars are far more a key to hunting success than the caliber of rifle, the power of scope or many other factors. Being able to score a bull elk from a mile away can save hours of stalking. Being able to see in dense shade the glint of an antler, the twitch of a nose, increases our choices in an increasingly competitive hunting situation. But, all this is contingent on whether the hunter has the skill and patience to glass properly, a subject in and of itself.
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watchmaker
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:24 pm    Post subject: Re: BINOCULARS Reply with quote

Here are two more I have,

BINOCULARS 8 X 56

Hi guys,
This post will be of little help to those looking to buy a binocular in the 8 x 56 size, because what I have here is a little outdated, my Tasco 8x56 is about twenty seven years old and my Pentax DCF 8x56 about six.
Still let me talk a little about them so you can see what job the monster can do.

Great improvement has been made lately, especially in the phase correction of prisms that has sharpened the image considerably.
These big and heavy binoculars together with the 7x50 are called night glasses and they have a very specialized job of taking advantage of the last available light at dusk and before dawn to see game in their habitat, they are mostly used by European hunters with their liberal shooting hours and used mostly from machans or hotchsit where the bulk and weight are of no consequence.

In the eighties I was involved in doing some research in the habits of black bear, I have seated many times at bait stations armed only with these heavy binoculars, learning the feeding peculiarities and the pecking order of the American black bear.

Although I had lusted over getting a Zeiss 8x56 I had to conform myself with the Tasco 8x56 for many years until I found a brighter binocular in the Pentax DCF.
Brightness is a function of many things (including the objective diameter) the more prominent of them is quality of glass, the better factories use heavy and expensive Bak4 glass in the prisms and extra low dispersion glass for color correction and aspherical lenses that have multicoats of anti reflection coating as much as seven times; it looks like the Pentax binocular uses several of the new techniques to be brighter and sharper than the Tasco 8x56.


Although my Pentax DCF is not corrected for phase distortion at the prisms, it is extremely sharp and bright; the new binoculars in the line of Nikon, Pentax, and others are, being made even better by the addition of phase correction in the prisms.
In my Pentax the correction for eye relief for eye glass wearers is made on the old style fold down rubber eyecups, so you get only fully retracted or fully extended eye cups. I am very impressed with the new system in the Nikon line of helical retracted eye cups and in the Pentax line with the pull up or down eyecups that have come out in the last few years.

My six years old Pentax DCF 8x56 has the objective and ocular caps not attached in any way to the body of the binocular, I had to get creative and cook something home made with a ribbon and some Velcro to have those caps at all times together with the binoculars, new binoculars in the Pentax line will be better in this regard (at least they have a solid ocular lens cover) and I am impressed with the system of retaining the covers that Nikon is using now.




I pulled both binoculars from the safe a few days ago and compared the brightness and sharpness by putting them in the tripod perched in top of each other and taking alternate peeks throughout them at a ADT sign that is in my neighbor house, located at 50 yards from the tripod (by laser rangefinder) it reads in very small letter “protected by” ADT in big letters and again in small letters “security systems”.




Both binocular let me read the sign and the small letters, but the Pentax was sharper than the Tasco and the quality of glass on the Pentax resolved much better when the light was falling down.




At dusk when other binocular have quit, the big 8x56 continues to show you a clear picture. As I see its utility is for those that are willing to carry them in a back pack to use only after the daylight binoculars carried in the neck have quit showing detail.

I don’t think many of these big 8x56 are sold, many people from hunters to bird watchers prefer top carry the compacts 8x42 that are lighter and less bulky and can show birds or game quite well until just before dusk, still I am writing this so everybody is aware that they exist and that they perform a very special function.

Kind regards
Watchmaker
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DallanC
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 10:42 pm    Post subject: Re: BINOCULARS Reply with quote

I have 10x42 Nikon Monarchs, the camo ones. They are incredibly clear and an awsome buy in the $300 range. They dont compare in the field to a similar sized Swarovski but then again I wouldnt expect them to compete with binos costing $1000 more.

Interesting thread with good info.


-DallanC
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tracker
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 8:00 am    Post subject: Re: BINOCULARS Reply with quote

I just stand on my tiptoes and squint real hard, just kidding. This is actually really good information because I'm going looking for new ones, I had a good pair of Bushnell (10 x something) that I got from my brother years ago and they seem to have grown legs. I expect they may be lurking somewhere amongst my oldest son's hunting gear.

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Deleted_User_2665
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 6:08 pm    Post subject: Re: BINOCULARS Reply with quote

Watchmaker....

No offense but....

Why do you fiddle with so much optical gear?

Why not take what you've spent on all that mediocre glass (again, no offense intended) and invest in just one do-all offering?

You toute cost as an inhibitor but if you add up what you've posted here you'd be packin at least a decent set of Zeiss.....BT/DT myself.

I have simple criterea for gear, its gotta work, it's gotta hold up....and I wanna only hafta worry about carrying just one. If I want extra glass in my pack it's gonna be a large caliber spotting scope..........

Binos hafta be light weight, smallish in size, clear and rugged. They gotta be able to get totally soaked in an all day rain or froze to your coat in a blizzard, and still function flawlessly. BT/DT, all the time......

They must work right down to the last hint of daylight. Why have 'em at all if you can't see what you want when you want to see it..?

Takin' a fall is just part of the daily norm around here and one shouldn't have worries about bustin' optics when goin' azz over tea cup into a creek bed or down a swale......Tasco, Bushnell, Pentax, Nikon, ect., just ain't got it when the chips are down.

I've a pair of big 10X Redfields here that I thought were good, got lenses rattlin' around in 'em now. I've broke enough Bushnells to fill a bushell basket. Borrowed a set of Nikons one time, on a trip, that spent more time fogged up than not.

Good glass is tough to whoop on, but it's gotta be truely good to start.......
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Vince
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 8:29 pm    Post subject: Re: BINOCULARS Reply with quote

DallanC wrote:
Interesting thread with good info. -DallanC

Agree with Dallan here, a very interesting thread....full of good useful info for those of us that are looking for a decent set of binos.

A mate recently purchased a set of Leopold binos for around the AUD$300 mark. I have only ever had el cheapo binos, but I am now converted. The Leopolds are magnificent. I have a 20x spotting scope, lower end of the price scale, and the Leopold binos leave it for dead for clarity.

Saving now for a decent scope and set of binos. Very Happy Very Happy

Cheers, Vince

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sniper
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 9:02 am    Post subject: Re: BINOCULARS Reply with quote

Handloader wrote:
Technology has allowed mid range binos performance reserved for far more expensive optics a mere decade ago.

At some point, one has to wonder how much is enough?

Much of our hunting needs can be satisfied with brand name optics in the $300 to $500 range. Still, there are those circumstances where more performance is needed.

The high end binos are often tougher, too. They can sustain more abuse, eventhough, they often weigh less.

But, all this is contingent on whether the hunter has the skill and patience to glass properly, a subject in and of itself.

Handloader speaks wisdom! Roses

Good choice, Watchmaker, and an amazing collection of glass! Somehow I just KNEW you would have more than one! Very Happy
If I ever get the $$ together, those (them?) is the optics I will buy, unless, of course, I find the now discontinued Bausch & Lomb 8X36 power Porro Prism binos.

When I was looking at glasses, I decided it would be good to look at the high end ones. I'd LOVE to own any of the Leica , Zeiss, or Nikon offerings. But, unless I rob a bank or something...

For my eyes, there was maybe a 20% difference between the $3-500 optics and the big guns. Of course, the quality control is better, but you can get a real dog in the high end stuff, too.

I bought the Wee Hen a pair of Nikon 8X 25 Travelite compact binocs for our last trip. She loves them! And I must say, they are very clear, and have almost enough eye relief. They fit in a pocket(or purse) really nicely, too. ~$125. I would have spent 3X that much for her, but those were the ones she WOULD have. She is happy, and they are large enough so she won't lose them, like she did with the small light I bought her for her purse. Now, she doesn't have to borrow mine every 4.73 minutes!

My kids bought me a Cabela's spotting scope one Christmas, and it was good, but not very sharp at the high magnifications. I tried another one, and found the same thing. When I retired, I received a ca$h award. I got permission from everybody, and traded the old one in on a Leupold compact. Happy Camper!

So, now I have a pair of 8X42 Bushnell Legends, which are waterproof, bright, and heavy, a pair of 7X35 Swift Neptunes, which my wife gave me for Christmas 30+ years ago, when we really couldn't afford such extavagance. No modern coatings, but they are my go to glass for birding and traveling since I had them refurbished at the factory about 10 years ago, and my compact Leupold spotter.

Not truly expen$ive, but sufficient to my needs. I don't really need another binocular... but those Monarchs..... Very Happy

You REALLY want to get confused at all the optical stuff, go the Better View Desired website, and read some of the reviews done for birding binocs and spotters. Steve Ingraham waxes poetic about "inner feather detail" (whatever that is), but there is a lot of good information. Maybe too much. Shocked

What it all boils down to is choose quality, buy what looks the best to your eyes, and will fit in the budget. There is lots of good quality stuff out there, and at a reasonable price.

Cool


Last edited by sniper on Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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DallanC
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 2:17 pm    Post subject: Re: BINOCULARS Reply with quote

Vince wrote:
Agree with Dallan here, a very interesting thread....full of good useful info for those of us that are looking for a decent set of binos.

A mate recently purchased a set of Leopold binos for around the AUD$300 mark. I have only ever had el cheapo binos, but I am now converted. The Leopolds are magnificent. I have a 20x spotting scope, lower end of the price scale, and the Leopold binos leave it for dead for clarity.

Saving now for a decent scope and set of binos. Very Happy Very Happy

Cheers, Vince

If you ever get the chance, look through some swarovski glass sometime. Its unbelievably amazing to see just how good glass can get.


-DallanC
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Vince
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 5:39 pm    Post subject: Re: BINOCULARS Reply with quote

If you ever get the chance, look through some swarovski glass sometime. Its unbelievably amazing to see just how good glass can get. -DallanC[/quote]

I have been a bit of a Swarovski fan for some years. My first contact with Swarovski crystal was buying a couple of crystal pieces for my wife.

I have looked at Swarovski binos, but only so I could say that I had actually looked through a set. As magnificent as they are, they are way far too rich for my budget. I would have to say the best glass in the the world.

Cheers, Vince

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Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

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Handloader
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 8:01 pm    Post subject: Re: BINOCULARS Reply with quote

Often used binoculars can be had in superb condition for considerably less price than when new. With some model supercessions, those needing the latest ones will often tradein discontinued optics. Prices can be as little as 50% of new and, with Swarovski, are still backed by warranty.

Hunting Coues deer often entails hours of tearing a mountain apart with good binos. Poor or mediocre glass soon reveals itself when they must looked through for hours on end and can result in eyestrain. When I looked through some Swarovski 10X42 two years ago, I was dazzled by how much of a difference I could see when compared to some current generation Pentax and Nikons. I began a search for used ones and bought a pair through SWFA, satisfaction guaranteed. When they arrived, I found they were 99% condition with some honest cosmetic wear, nothing more. They still cost a bundle, but, they have proven their worth on several hunts. They ended up costing about the same as a new rifle with a good scope.

With these binos, I can "scout" areas that would take hours to reach by foot. In the desert mountains of the SW where the Coues roam, they have become indispensible. They aren't required in some hunt areas where vegetation is thick, the land is flat, etc, but, on those hunts where visibility is close to unlimited, it has made a significant difference and given us a decided edge.
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