Jump to content


Photo

Helios Naturesport 8x40 WA, first impression.

  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 rodelaet

rodelaet

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3185
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2006
  • Loc: 50°56' N - 4°58' E (Belgium)

Posted 09 July 2009 - 04:35 PM

Hello,

I discovered these charming little bino's at the local astronomy shop yesterday. I thought that they would be a fine addition to my small collection of a 8x56 Bresser, a 10x50 Bresser and a 15x70 TS Marine. And the price of 110 Euro did not hurt neither.

They feel quit heavy and look well build. Eye relief is ok with my glasses on (with the eyecaps turned in). Apparent fov is about 65°. More is useless with my glasses on.
IPD is a little sharp with a max of 71mm. Min IPD is 59mm. The centre focus wheel and the right dioptre adjustment move gently and precise but not too sloppy.
Coatings on the lenses seem fine also.
A tripod adapter threading is featured as well. Not that I'm into birding, but I plan to take them along on vacation for some milkyway observations/sketches.

I don't know if these are available in the USA also?


I'm clouded in, so I was only able to conduct an indoor resolution test. The results will follow later.

Included is a picture that shows some of the 'qualities' of the bino's.

Attached Files



#2 daniel_h

daniel_h

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2218
  • Joined: 08 Mar 2008
  • Loc: VIC, Australia

Posted 09 July 2009 - 07:05 PM

Rony, are they WP?

#3 F.Meiresonne

F.Meiresonne

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4209
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2003
  • Loc: Eeklo,Belgium

Posted 10 July 2009 - 05:31 AM

These are known as the Orion ultraview, however i suspect the latter with even better (more) coatings.

The Helios Natursport 8x40 is a bino i just love and very well suited for daylight events and wildlife observing.They are a delight to use for an airshow...high contrast views of fast moving planes....

I have a quite tacksharp specimen , contrast is excellent, the are light and very well manageble. Big FOV, at the edge noticable field curvature.

I have it's bigger brother too(10x50). Sadly that specimen is not as sharp as his little brother,perhaps i have a lemmon, but it has the same contrast and i use it for searching objects in the nightsky.
Both bino's are very well collimated, i've got them with 30% discount,an absolute bargain

Everyone likes the 8x40, even my wife who knows nothing about observing asked for 'that fine littleone' out of my arsenal of bino's to look at hot airballoons.
Lately a collegue at work noticed it too and found it a very nice little binocular....

#4 rodelaet

rodelaet

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3185
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2006
  • Loc: 50°56' N - 4°58' E (Belgium)

Posted 10 July 2009 - 05:02 PM

Rony, are they WP?



Hi Daniel,

It's not specified, so I guess they are not WP.

#5 rodelaet

rodelaet

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3185
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2006
  • Loc: 50°56' N - 4°58' E (Belgium)

Posted 10 July 2009 - 05:10 PM

Freddy,

Thanks for the feedback.
It appears that mine has the same qualities as yours, including the sharp image, but with 'severe' field curvature at the edge of the fov.


I have the 8x40 compared with my 10x50 and 8x56, with the aid of a resolution test chart.
I'll post a few resolution tests later on.

#6 jonstarrysky

jonstarrysky

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 682
  • Joined: 03 Jan 2009
  • Loc: England, U.K.

Posted 11 July 2009 - 04:04 AM

I have the Orion Ultraview 8x42 WA. It seems a very similar spec, japanese-made binocular to the Helios of this post. The Orion is a handsome little thing, light and enjoyable to hold, focussing action is buttery smooth. Coatings look good. Very sharp in the field centre. Optically, the only thing I dont like so much is the flaring - you need to get eye placement just right to avoid seeing a cloudy white ring of flaring near the edge of the field. Perhaps this issue is often seen in wide angle binocs ?

I later bought the more expensive Hawke 8x43ED (almost identical to Zen Rays marketed in USA). Although the Hawkes are roof prisms, they outperform the Orion Porros optically. The contrast is very impressive, flaring less apparent. Overall you get a big wow factor when you look thru these wideangle Hawkes. Regarding how it looks and feels, I actually prefer the smaller Japanese Orions. The Hawkes have a chinese-made feel and appearance in some respects. Focussing knob is stiff, it has a cheap looking plastic badge on the focusser, and it is actually somewhat heavy (despite the magnesium body). But you do get the ergonomic benefit of it being a roof design IMO.
End of the day it is optically quailty that wins the day though. The Chinese makers of the Hawke 8x43ED did get that right. It assumes top dog position in my collection of binos. The field is very wide and the sharpness/ contrast is impressive. I gather it has a very flat field.

#7 rodelaet

rodelaet

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3185
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2006
  • Loc: 50°56' N - 4°58' E (Belgium)

Posted 11 July 2009 - 05:06 PM

Jon,

Thanks for the interesting feedback. :)

#8 rodelaet

rodelaet

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3185
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2006
  • Loc: 50°56' N - 4°58' E (Belgium)

Posted 11 July 2009 - 05:08 PM

I thought it would be an interesting idea to compare the 8x40 WA binoculars with both my Bresser 10x50 and Bresser Spezial Jagd 8x56 bino’s.

Here are a few specs of the subjected binoculars:

1) Bresser Special Jagd 8x56:

Type: Porro Prism, BAK4,
Coatings : fully multicoated, blue green
Field of view : 105m at 1000m,
TFOV : 5.9°, AFOV: 48°
Weight: 1105g
Retail price : 105€

This one was my first binocular. I had been observing with telescopes for several years. The aim was to find an instrument with more field width than a common telescope. I bought it because it offered generous eye relief for ‘bespectacled’ observers. I’ve used it for many deep sky observations, with great pleasure. The only shortcoming is the sensitive focus mechanism. While pressing the eyepieces against my glasses, the focus sometimes changes immediately.

2) Bresser 10x50:

Type: Porro Prism, BAK4,
Coatings : fully multicoated, blue-green
Field of view : 114m at 1000m,
TFOV : 6.5°, AFOV: 65°
Weight: 850g
Retail price : 20€


A bargain. I bought it, just to have a spare one that the kids could use also. I actually never used it under the skies! The eye relief was not sufficient for bespectacled users. I removed the rubber eyecups to obtain sufficient eye relief. These binoculars don’t have the same quality standard as my 8x56. Focusing is sloppy. The coatings are minimal. And the ‘feeling’ is plastic.
I included them in the test, just to have a comparison.

3) Helios Naturesport 8x40 WA:

Type: Porro Prism, BAK4,
Coatings : fully multicoated, green
TFOV : 8.2°, AFOV: 65°
Weight: 764g
Retail price : 110€

I got interested by their size and generous TFOV of 8.2°. They are so small that they fit in the glove compartment of my car. They also appeared to be very well build. From the 3 binoculars, they have the darkest coatings. Eye relief is ok. Focusing is great. Images are sharp. Contrast seems very good too. But severe field curvature is present.

My main concern was that the Wide Angle eyepieces suffer under the field curvature. The announced 8.2° might not be useable at all. I decided to conduct a resolution test with a test card (line pairs).

All 3 pairs were mounted on a tripod at 12m away from the test card. Resolution was measured at different angles from the centre of view towards the field stop, in 4 directions. Line pair test cards do not represent a lifelike night-time situation, but they do show how bad the image is suffering from field curvature towards the edges of the field.

Please keep in mind that the 8x56 has a smaller AFOV, and that the 10x50 should offer the better resolution because of the higher magnification.

Meet the family: from left to right, 8x40 / 10x50 / 8x56

Attached Files



#9 rodelaet

rodelaet

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3185
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2006
  • Loc: 50°56' N - 4°58' E (Belgium)

Posted 11 July 2009 - 05:12 PM

When all the values are plotted in a graphical representation, the results look like this.
Be aware that the x-axis represents the true FOV. Why? Because I wanted to see what the gain in true FOV would be with the 8x40 WA, compared to the ‘narrow’ field binoculars.

Attached Files



#10 rodelaet

rodelaet

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3185
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2006
  • Loc: 50°56' N - 4°58' E (Belgium)

Posted 11 July 2009 - 05:14 PM

My conclusions are :

• The 10x50 has the highest central resolution, but that was expected.
• The 8x40 beats the 8x56 on central resolution.
• When measured beyond 2.8° away from the centre of view, the 8x40 wins clearly from the 10x50. That is no surprise, because we come closer to the field stop of the 10x50.
• The 10x50 provides wider fov and a better resolution than the 8x56 across the whole fov. I guess that the higher magnification of the 10x50 is compensated by its larger afov.
• The acceptable (or useable) true fov is : 4.2° (71% of the total fov) for the 8x56 (this corresponds with my experiences in the field), 4.5° (69% of the total fov) for the 10x50 and 5.7° (70% of the total fov) for the 8x40. Amazing, isn't it : all have about 70% of usable fov. The dimension of the field stops of these 3 different models must obey some kind of universal (chinese?) design rule.

So there is no free lunch. The Helios 8x40 do not provide a useable 8.2° field. They do offer a 1.5° gain over my 8x56. Now I don’t think that these little binoculars are a waste of money. I was very satisfied with the resolution of my 8x56, which proves to be the worst of the bunch. The charming 8x40 binoculars still offer a very fine and resonable wide image. They are well build and very portable. And they provide the widest field of view of all my binoculars. And all these features came for a very reasonable price. I plan to take them with me on vacation during the next weeks for some real observing time under the skies. :)

#11 jonstarrysky

jonstarrysky

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 682
  • Joined: 03 Jan 2009
  • Loc: England, U.K.

Posted 12 July 2009 - 05:58 AM

Rony, thats a very through and useful analysis especially regarding the conclusion the WA bino have a significantly wider "useable" TFOV. I find 8x40-42 WA type bino very appealing to use like you. Be interested how you get on testing for astronomical use. ALso if you see feinter objects with the 8x56. I gather making a wideangle 8x56 would require gigantic prisms (unlike 8x40). But the extra aperture you get with 8x56 may not be usable in practise due to exit pupil size.

#12 F.Meiresonne

F.Meiresonne

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4209
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2003
  • Loc: Eeklo,Belgium

Posted 12 July 2009 - 12:21 PM

So there is no free lunch



There never is with optics. This Helios is not flawless, the advertised 8.2° is not usuable but as you said it still has a very wide field.
I have 4 bino's i use rather often. I wish i could 'merge' them wich would result in a truly fine bino.
The 20x80 for it's lightgrasp and mechanics
The 10x60 for it's sharp FOV to 80% from the center
The 10x50 for it's contrast
The 8x40 for it's wide field, weight and contrast...

Now that would be one heck of a bino... :grin:

#13 rodelaet

rodelaet

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3185
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2006
  • Loc: 50°56' N - 4°58' E (Belgium)

Posted 13 July 2009 - 03:30 PM

Last night, I had the opportunity to compare the 3 binoculars under the stars. The twilight sky was very clear, but still blue. Nevertheless, I mounted the binoculars on the Manfrotto tripod. During this session, I kept my glasses on. The Helios 8x40 displayed very sharp pinpoint stars. The image of the Bresser 8x56 appeared a tad brighter but kind of soft, while the Bresser 10x50 produced a rather dim image. Of the 3, the 8x40 had the best focus mechanism. The 10x50 was difficult to position the eye to. The slightest shift of the head resulted in kidney beaming. Very annoying!
When the milky way started to glow against the dark blue sky, I tried the binoculars on the Cygnus region. The view with the 8x40 was kind of ….immersive! Wow! What a pleasant surprise. I had never expected that these little glasses could collect so much starlight. The field of view was full of stars! The edge of the field was blurred, as expected, but the centre 6° of the field were simply magnificent, as if I was scanning over a large star chart. And it wasn’t even completely dark! The wide angle view allowed me to recognise the constellations without looking up from behind the eyepieces. This was a whole new experience! I then tried out the two other binoculars on the same region. The 10x50 could not enchant me like the 8x40. The view was dim and the true field of view rather small. The gain in resolution could not make up for the loss of field width. Same story with the 8x56. With the larger aperture, the views were somewhat brighter. But the large field stops spoiled all the fun. The 8x40 offered more contrast, sharper views and the spacewalk experience.
I managed to recognise a few old friends with the 8x40: M27, M11, M16, M17, M24, M10, M12, M13, M31, M4 and a few others. I had so much fun with this deep-sky trip that I forgot both my 8x56 and 10x50. Well, that’s not completely true. I had doubts about seeing Albireo’s secondary. So I quickly switched to the 10x50, which had no trouble showing the double clearly. Back to the 8x40, and yes, there was the secondary, almost hiding behind the glare of its primary.
The cherry on the cake was the gossamer glow of a layer of NLC’s, near the northern horizon. The large field of the Helios 8x40 is a very enjoyable feature when scanning through larger areas of the sky.

I must confess that these little 8x40’s blew my socks off under this summer twilight sky. While they are not perfect, they do display high contrast images with pinpoint sharp stars. Of the 8.2° of sky covered by these binoculars, a very acceptable field width of 6° of it is very enjoyable to look at. No other scope, no matter what aperture, can stand up against the immersive (and addictive) ‘skywalk’ experience when scanning around the sky with such small binoculars. How less can be more!

And the winner is :

Attached Files



#14 F.Meiresonne

F.Meiresonne

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4209
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2003
  • Loc: Eeklo,Belgium

Posted 13 July 2009 - 04:05 PM

Yes, it's truly a fine little thing...
I had a bit thesame experience. It's a great bino for wide field scanning especially the Cygnus region. Last year i could make out more or less and for the first time the NA nebualae (always had a problem with it) with that bino due the great FOV and again very nice contrast.An you can do it laying on your back and it's easy to hand hold it...
It's such a pity that my 10x50 specimens lacks the sharpness of the 8x40 but it does has thesame contrast.
Heck, i bought the 8x40 for 69 € and the 10x50 for 75 €.
Best deal in years!

#15 rodelaet

rodelaet

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3185
  • Joined: 28 Apr 2006
  • Loc: 50°56' N - 4°58' E (Belgium)

Posted 13 July 2009 - 04:33 PM

Freddy,

I'll be observing from Spain at 38° within a few days. I'm curious to check the Sagittarius Milkyway with the Helios 8x40.
I'm really looking forward to it. :jump:

#16 F.Meiresonne

F.Meiresonne

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4209
  • Joined: 22 Dec 2003
  • Loc: Eeklo,Belgium

Posted 13 July 2009 - 05:32 PM

Enjoy it! That's very south, the Sagittarius region will be thrilling over there.

Normally in August i go to the Provence, for the first time with the 18" Obsession, if everything goes well this surely will blow some socks off!






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics