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Nitrogen filled verses non-nitrogen binos

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#1 rocket_pc

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:58 AM

Hi, I am newly subbed to Cloudy Nights. I already have a subject to ask about.

I am interested in purchasing a new pair of binoculars. I am trying to decide between a pair of binoculars that are nitrogen filled (fog resistent) (for example, the Nikon Action Extreme 10x50) and non-nitrogen filled binoculars (For example the Orion 15x70). The main concern I have about the nitrogen filled feature is that I wonder if the nitrogen can be discharged by impact (while in luggage that has been handled roughly for example) or gradually leak over time. I think of vacuum aluminum thermos bottles that never keep their pressure. I could get non-nitrogen binos with much higher magnification for almost half the price of nitrogen filled binos.

Thank you for your time on this subject.

D.

#2 BillC

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:05 AM

Magnification has nothing to do with quality and nitrogen only prevents fogging on the inside. However, if the bino is sealed well enough to hold the nitrogen IN, it is sealed well enough to keep the moisture OUT.

Just a thought.

Welcome.

BillC

#3 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 06:51 AM

I could get non-nitrogen binos with much higher magnification for almost half the price of nitrogen filled binos.



First let me say Hello and Welcome to Cloudy Nights.. :waytogo:

A few thoughts:

- Good binoculars cost money. There are plenty of high quality binoculars that are not nitrogen or argon sealed. Generally binoculars are rated by objective size and then magnification.

- The 10x50 action extremes are rugged, well made binoculars that one can expect to last a life time. The 15x70 Skywatchers are "budget/cheap" binoculars that some find acceptable but typically they have alignment/collimation problems.

Jon

#4 bierbelly

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:31 AM

Magnification has nothing to do with quality and nitrogen only prevents fogging on the inside. However, if the bino is sealed well enough to hold the nitrogen IN, it is sealed well enough to keep the moisture OUT.

Just a thought.

Welcome.

BillC


OK, former gas chemist here; in the lab for about 13 years. Nitrogen filling of anything is a gimic. Over time, and not that long a time, gases of ANY type permeate through a membrane (including glues, rubber o-rings, etc) in a manner to equalize the partial pressure of the gasses on either side of the membrane. So even if you start out with 0 psia of oxygen on one side of the membrane, over time you will inevitably end up with 2.94 psia oxygen (about 21 vol%) on that side, just like air. The same goes for moisture, except that moisture content in air is quite variable, so the partial pressure of H2O outside of the binocs waxes and wanes, changing the amount of pressure exerted on the membrane. So the best way to keep moisture OUT of the binocs is to store them in a dry environment...if moisture is a problem where you live, use one of those little silica gel packets inside your binoc case...and replace it regularly, since sooner or later it will become saturated with water and no longer absorb.

Now, the highlighted portion of Bill's quote above is true, if they are well-sealed, during any given observing session the ingress of enough moisture to fog the inside surfaces is unlikely.

#5 Binojunky

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:41 AM

For the longivity of any binocular keeping it free of moisture is preferable to keeping it wet, irrespective of the claims and specs.
However in a situation were the wet is unavoidable say search and rescue, coast guard and naval use then its worth noteing that they buy the very best available for that particular enviroment,DA.

#6 BillC

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:09 PM

Okay, you bloody “chemist here; in a lab for about 13 years,” you can consider that STOLEN for that book I’ve been whining about!!!

More on “nitrogen”:

The nitrogen is not there to pressurize the bino, as many suppose; it is there in case there should be any moisture left inside at the factory. Fungus can’t grow in an inert gas environment. [Sorry Tom, I can’t think of the real word I’m looking for and “inert” is what most people use anyway; help me out here.]

The marine Fujis, Swift Seahawk and Storm King, Tamaya BIFR and the like are REALLY sealed well. They are used in a cold, wet environment and need to be.
For the first few years at Captain’s I purged all such binos as part of the repair. Later, as costs rose, some wanted that process curtailed. NONE, of the many binos that were not purged after that EVER came back due to condensation! NONE! They’re either sealed or they’re not. To me that paints a pretty good picture.

As for the cheap products that profess to be “nitrogen filled,” that gimmick ranks right up there with showing a plastic, center-focus, ZOOM binocular and labeling it with the word “Military,” because they know that word gives the slow of thought shivers!

Oh, yeah it’s military, all right; the Lichtenstein submarine force just bought 3 last week! Basically, they're chum for a plastic eating shark! :shocked:

BillC

#7 Walt9129

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:10 PM

bierbelly is right. Where I live I have lots of problems related to fungus. Of course, I use generous quantities of silica gel packets, keep my binoculars and telescopes open (no covers), open windows + solar light (not directly of course). That's one of the main aspects (fungus) to choose waterproof/Ni filled binoculars. Nothing lasts forever. So, silica gel and the procedures related above, IMO will be always mandatory.

#8 Binojunky

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:30 PM

Bill C you warm the cockles of my heart, if I stole anything from your book its a coincidence and a apology is offered,however it seems to me that if you want premium wet weather performance then plonk the loot down and go for a Fuji,DA. :)

#9 BillC

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:52 PM

But, if you look hard enough, you can find a waterproof, 140-power, 3-ounce, center-focus, ZOOM binocular for $7.15! . . . 'That's perfectly collimated!

BillC

#10 bierbelly

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:31 PM

Okay, you bloody “chemist here; in a lab for about 13 years,” you can consider that STOLEN for that book I’ve been whining about!!!

More on “nitrogen”:

The nitrogen is not there to pressurize the bino, as many suppose; it is there in case there should be any moisture left inside at the factory. Fungus can’t grow in an inert gas environment. [Sorry Tom, I can’t think of the real word I’m looking for and “inert” is what most people use anyway; help me out here.]

BillC


I think the term "inert" when applied to nitrogen is appropriate. Nitrogen gas (N2) is only reactive under very high temperatures and pressures, so while it's not classified as an "inert" element according to the periodic table, in its normal gaseous state, it is all but inert.

#11 BillC

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 03:53 PM

I was looking for what it is REALLY classified as, but didn't have time to look it up.

BillC

#12 Brent

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 05:51 PM

I was looking for what it is REALLY classified as, but didn't have time to look it up.

BillC


"Nobel gas"?

#13 BillC

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 05:52 PM

Bingo! Thanks!

BillC

#14 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:09 PM

I was looking for what it is REALLY classified as, but didn't have time to look it up.

BillC


"Nobel gas"?


Nobel gasses are the monatomic gasses, the gasses in the helium group.

Nitrogen is non-flammable, not an oxidizer but obviously, it does form chemical compounds under certain circumstances...


If your binoculars are fogging up internally, just fill them up with good quality distilled water. :)

jon

#15 faackanders2

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:31 PM

For the longivity of any binocular keeping it free of moisture is preferable to keeping it wet, irrespective of the claims and specs.
However in a situation were the wet is unavoidable say search and rescue, coast guard and naval use then its worth noteing that they buy the very best available for that particular enviroment,DA.


Some of us live where we get alot of dew or ice. I often stop observing when all my eyepieces are dewed or iced up.

#16 rocket_pc

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:56 PM

Pardon me for my tardiness in returning to this forum. I was up all night/mid-morning and got started late this evening from rest. At least my evening schedule is compatible with astronomy - when observing the sky, that is.

I am wondering about the point that the nitrogen is to prevent mold. It seems if the interior is clean from manufacture and sealed, mold spores couldn't get in. I guess that would be another reason to keep the scope sealed with a pure form of gas. I don't know chemistry but I think that nitrogen would be safer than oxygen or hydrogen. I remember somebody saying that the air is 70% nitrogen.

What I was asking about, is if the binoculars pressurized with nitrogen are safe from impact. I don't expect anything to survive a long distant drop to a concrete pavement. I wondering if these binos can take impact if in backpacks and luggage that is dropped on the floor a few feet or thrown into a car trunk by somebody unaware of the contents. I would never locate binoculars on the bottom of a bag, so there would be some insulation from impact. Then there is extreme temperatures, and other things I mentioned.

Somebody said that these binos are rugged and another mentioned that military uses them, though he says he regurly disposes of them. If these binos can survive military use, they can withstand heavy use.

So, deciding between the Nikon Extremes with 10x50 power and the Orion 15x70. In either case, I should take care of them: the Nikon because of its nitrogen seal and the Orions because probably more fragile in construction. I like Nikons - my first good camera was a Nikormat. But I think I would like the telescopic equivelence of the 15x70. (I think some description said the 15x70 is equivelent to a six inch diameter telescope. Is that correct?)


D.

#17 rocket_pc

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:00 PM

Oh yeah, an important factor in the comparison is if Orion 15x70 would have problems with fogging up.

D.

#18 BillC

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 12:37 AM

“Pardon me for my tardiness in returning to this forum.”

Sorry, the vice-principal needs a note from a parent!

I think you are over-thinking this; buy quality and don’t worry. My Nikon SE is not rated at all as waterproof. But I doubt I ever have a problem.

“I am wondering about the point that the nitrogen is to prevent mold. It seems if the interior is clean from manufacture and sealed, mold spores couldn't get in.”

There’s clean and then there’s CLEAN. A man who uses a bino for his livelihood 800 miles out in the Gulf of Alaska needs — and paid for -- the latter.

“I guess that would be another reason to keep the scope sealed with a pure form of gas. I don't know chemistry but I think that nitrogen would be safer than oxygen or hydrogen. I remember somebody saying that the air is 70% nitrogen.”

78% but who’s counting?

“What I was asking about, is if the binoculars pressurized with nitrogen are safe from impact.”

There's VERY little pressure; it’s not there for that purpose. And no; you can rubber coat an egg, but it’s still an egg.

“I don't expect anything to survive a long distant drop to a concrete pavement. I wondering if these binos can take impact if in backpacks and luggage that is dropped on the floor a few feet or thrown into a car trunk by somebody unaware of the contents. I would never locate binoculars on the bottom of a bag, so there would be some insulation from impact. Then there is extreme temperatures, and other things I mentioned.”

Some of the cheap binos talked about on CN will decompose in your hands. Get a good, marine glass and you’re pretty darn safe.

“Somebody said that these binos are rugged and another mentioned that military uses them, though he says he regurly disposes of them. If these binos can survive military use, they can withstand heavy use.”

I think I’m gonna let you answer your own question on THAT one.

“So, deciding between the Nikon Extremes with 10x50 power and the Orion 15x70. In either case, I should take care of them: the Nikon because of its nitrogen seal and the Orions because probably more fragile in construction. I like Nikons - my first good camera was a Nikormat. But I think I would like the telescopic equivelence of the 15x70. (I think some description said the 15x70 is equivelent to a six inch diameter telescope. Is that correct?)”
10x50 power? How about 10 power by 50mm objective? NEITHER of these instruments is in the waterproof league as the serious military / marine glasses. As far as the equivalent to a 6-inch. NO!

One misconception concerning binoculars that never seems to go away is that its light grasp consists of the SUM from both objectives. This is possibly intuitive; but definitely wrong. The light grasp does consist of both sides, mathematically; but the human body does not work on mathematics. The brain accepts very little more than the light grasp from ONE objective! You may prove this to yourself.

Inside or out, find a well-lighted environment and place one hand over an eye. Do it a number of times, paying attention to what you notice.

If what many believe about combined light grasp (binocular summation) were true, everything in sight would suddenly become half as bright when your hand was over your eye. Did that happen? Humm!

There is, however, an advantage to using both eyes. While the brain accepts little more than the light grasp from one objective, using both eyes can allow us up to 40% more contrast. This is especially noticeable to amateur astronomers who routinely observe fields of brilliant stars against a black background.

In addition, there is an averaging factor which allows us more resolution by using both eyes. The ocean of atmosphere we live under consists of an almost infinite number of “heat cells.” According to science, these invisible cells are 4-6 inches in diameter and always in motion. We get the averaging effect in our seeing due to not being able to look through the same set of cells in our field of view at the same time—one set always being more stable than the other.

“D.”
BC :jump:

#19 rocket_pc

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:18 AM

Interesting comments, especially about the cells of warm air.
Somebody commented that he would he would quit for the evening after his equipment fogged. If there were a cloud of fog over the area, I would. If a fog because of humidity and cold air, I wouldn't want to quit, considering the trouble of getting to a site, and getting a clear night (those can be rare in the midwest). The sky could be clear and still have moisture problem on the ground. Thus, I think that would be a good case for fog-resistent binos...

#20 Lane

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:04 AM

Hi, I am newly subbed to Cloudy Nights. I already have a subject to ask about.

I am interested in purchasing a new pair of binoculars. I am trying to decide between a pair of binoculars that are nitrogen filled (fog resistent) (for example, the Nikon Action Extreme 10x50) and non-nitrogen filled binoculars (For example the Orion 15x70). The main concern I have about the nitrogen filled feature is that I wonder if the nitrogen can be discharged by impact (while in luggage that has been handled roughly for example) or gradually leak over time. I think of vacuum aluminum thermos bottles that never keep their pressure. I could get non-nitrogen binos with much higher magnification for almost half the price of nitrogen filled binos.

Thank you for your time on this subject.

D.


I have never had a pair of binoculars fog up on the inside or get water on the inside and my primary observing site is usually soaked in dew by midnight. I have a pair of 30 year old 10x50s have been used up there for years with no problems. My favorite binoculars are 9x63 Orion MiniGiants and I have had no problems with them either.

Waterproof/Fogproof usually means a half pound of extra weight too.

#21 Binojunky

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 12:48 PM

Not really related but Nitrogen is used in the aircraft industry, when I was in the RAF we used it in the hydraulic accumulators as their was no chance of detonation, also used in aircraft tires,in this case it kept its pressure fairly stable even going from the extremes of a hot aircraft pan in the blazing sun to freezing altitudes of over 55,000 ft, in the event of a tire or brake fire the released gas would not support combustion.
If memory is correct the mainwheel tires on the English Electric Lightning were inflated to around 325-350 psi, sorry for going off topic,DA.

#22 Scott in NC

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:55 PM

Very interesting info, Dave--thanks for sharing that (and no, it wasn't really too far OT)!

#23 faackanders2

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:56 PM

Not really related but Nitrogen is used in the aircraft industry, when I was in the RAF we used it in the hydraulic accumulators as their was no chance of detonation, also used in aircraft tires,in this case it kept its pressure fairly stable even going from the extremes of a hot aircraft pan in the blazing sun to freezing altitudes of over 55,000 ft, in the event of a tire or brake fire the released gas would not support combustion.
If memory is correct the mainwheel tires on the English Electric Lightning were inflated to around 325-350 psi, sorry for going off topic,DA.


I assume nitrogen filled auto tires are to reduce internal oxidation or dry rot inside the tires, and make them last longer and not crack inside.

#24 faackanders2

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:09 PM

Somebody said that these binos are rugged and another mentioned that military uses them, though he says he regurly disposes of them. If these binos can survive military use, they can withstand heavy use.
D.


Military definitely gets their stuff wet! Not just Navy Coastguard. Think Army soldiers outside in the rain, or crossing a swap, or creek.

I remember one general looking at a computer and asking the supplier will it work if dropped in the mud. Military computers hhave a rubber over on top of they keyboard w/o gaps for water to get in.

Getting back to amateur astronomy, we do observe with dew, and ice, sometimes we quit with fog but it does take a while to pack up. Sometimes we leave out equipment set up at star parties after we go to sleep. Sometimes the ice stays on our stuff in the car throught the night (at star parties when we camp). Yes, our stuff does get wet at times!

#25 faackanders2

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:19 PM

When they say binos have twice the light grasp they mean each eye gets the full aperture of that one objective; whereas binoviewers split the objectives light in half for both eyes. You get more clarity with both eyes cancelling out noise and averaging, but the objects still have to be pulled out of the background (and does not sum up both eyes). If you can't see it in either eye, you won't see it combined w3ith both eyes (even if just barely below visibility).






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