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Review: Binoculars below 200.- devastating results

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#1 Tobias Mennle

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 03:54 AM

I checked 7 models below 200.- (Euro) and 4 models around 300.- and found the results to be quite devastating:

cheap binos review


#2 yashi

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 04:11 AM

link doesnt work for me

edit: now it does

#3 Mark9473

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 05:17 AM

I think you were in a pretty bad mood when you wrote that, Tobias. ;)

#4 edwincjones

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 05:59 AM

I think you were in a pretty bad mood when you wrote that, Tobias. ;)


maybe, but the review reinforces the saying that you
"get what you pay for"
and is it good enough :question:

edj

#5 Tony Flanders

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 07:22 AM

maybe, but the review reinforces the saying that you
"get what you pay for"


Perhaps. I haven't used any of the models mentioned, so I can't comment on the specifics. But the take-home message for me is how lucky I am that I can get night after night of enjoyment from binoculars that Tobias would consider to be toys.

I'm also lucky that I don't find a 50-degree apparent field of view to be very narrow. That definitely expands my options!

#6 kenrenard

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 07:47 AM

Tony I agree
I get great pleasure out of my Nikon Action 10 X 50's which were under $100.00. I use them both day and night. My Canon 10 X 30 IS are like a dream but I still enjoy my cheap pair. I was bird watching yesterday afternoon and thought Wow what great binoculars!


Ken

#7 Jarrod

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 07:58 AM

Fortunately, I like toys. Also, I discovered that my tripod and head both turn several cm up/down/left/right, allowing me to avoid the devastation of viewing through the outer edge of my binoculars. :grin:

#8 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 08:30 AM

Perhaps. I haven't used any of the models mentioned, so I can't comment on the specifics. But the take-home message for me is how lucky I am that I can get night after night of enjoyment from binoculars that Tobias would consider to be toys.



:waytogo:

Indeed..

I am glad I have a TeleVue NP-101 that provides some amazingly perfect views and I also glad that I am equally able to enjoy my Orion 100mm F/6 achromat.. Perfection is not necessary to enjoy or to observe..

Jon

#9 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:10 AM

Devastating.....hahaha. Very dramatic.

#10 Binojunky

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:51 AM

Well lets see,in the last few months I picked up a Oberwerk Mariner 1st generation 7x50, a Orion 8x42 Ultraview,a Meade Montana7x42 and a Bushnell Legacy 10x50, not one cost more than about $150,before shipping and taxes,some were a good bit less, non would I regard as a toy,however I do accept that I,m a sick man who needs to enter rehab: :)DA.

#11 John Kuraoka

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 09:51 AM

I didn't see any of my binocular models in the group, but I can't deceive myself into thinking they're significantly better at the same price points. Fortunately, I'm blessed with mediocre eyes so I quite frankly enjoy my mediocre binoculars.

At the same time, I don't doubt for a moment that there are better views available to be enjoyed by those who can appreciate them.

#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:38 AM

At the same time, I don't doubt for a moment that there are better views available to be enjoyed by those who can appreciate them.



Better Views are always available. The important thing is to enjoy what you have when you can. It's pretty amazing what a skilled observer can see using stuff that some might consider underpowered and/or "mediocre".

I go for decent equipment, the 10x50 AE's are decent, and work on becoming a skilled observer...

Jon

#13 hallelujah

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 12:01 PM

I checked 7 models below 200.- (Euro) and 4 models around 300.- and found the results to be quite devastating:


What's the old saying?

If it wasn't for bad luck you wouldn't have any luck at all. !@#$%

With those kind of odds, I would have given up a long time ago.

Stan

#14 John Kuraoka

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 12:06 PM

Totally agree. Connoisseurship is real, but it takes time and dedication as well as, perhaps, an innate inclination, to develop the skill necessary to achieve a discriminating taste. And, once achieved, that ability must be constantly tested to be maintained.

I once was on my way to developing a decent palate for wine. It's all gone now.

With my eyesight, I'll probably never become an optical connoisseur. But I can sure use the heck out of what I've got!

About one thing there is no doubt: right now my tools far exceed my knowledge and ability! :)

#15 Jarrod

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 01:36 PM

I once was on my way to developing a decent palate for wine. It's all gone now


After the first bottle of the night, they all taste the same anyway :grin:

#16 Binojunky

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 01:47 PM

I found with wine that I have an allergy, half a bottle and I lose all muscle control, and I,m that hammered I don,t care what it tastes like anyway, :)DA.

#17 KennyJ

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 02:12 PM

The binoculars marketplace is similar in some ways to that of guitars.

The vast majority of first time buyers tend to be people who have very little experience of using the instruments, just want a little taster of ownership and understandably neither expect to nor wish to spend any more than around the equivalent of one day's personal net income wage to satisfy their curiosity.

The musical instrument shops and on-line suppliers are cram packed with instruments aimed at that massive market. So it is with binoculars.

There follows a wide range of increasingly expensive items,very roughly rising in asking price in direct proportion to the quality of the instruments,until we get to the very top of the range stuff that costs around £2000 or US$3000.

It is undeniable that a lot of the entry price stuff is quite playable/usable,a lot more so than the equivalently priced gear was around 20 and 30 years ago.

BUT,if a guitarist has played on £1000 plus priced/quality guitars for a number of years,it is highly unlikely that guitarist will ever revert to performing with a £100 model.

He or she would also be more likely to list a whole number of reasons why,but probably only very few of those reasons would make a whole of sense to anyone who has only ever played a £100 guitar.

Yet,I repeat,many of the £100 guitars are actually OK to a point.

I think a very similar situation surrounds binoculars.

Kenny

#18 Garfield

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 02:32 PM

I recognize a number of "cheap" binos reviewed and am not too surprised at the findings, though I have to say my Celestron Nature 8x42's are remarkably good for the $100 I spent on them -- they easily compete with more costly binos and come with a no-questions asked lifetime warranty to boot. Remarkably good for what they are. But so far I've never found anything between the Celestrons and my $400 Minox BL 8x33's that I've been satisfied with for casual use. There's certainly a lot of junk binos out there, and many with brand names.

#19 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 02:41 PM

BUT,if a guitarist has played on £1000 plus priced/quality guitars for a number of years,it is highly unlikely that guitarist will ever revert to performing with a £100 model....

I think a very similar situation surrounds binoculars.

Kenny



I think it's a matter of attitude... One can appreciate fine equipment but recognize that simple equipment can make music, can provide detailed, enjoyable views.

In terms of guitars, it's probably worth noting that while a serious musician may well prefer playing an expensive guitar, it's not just any expensive guitar but rather a few particular expensive guitars and that most guitars, expensive or not, are just not right...

One always has a choice. The fact that one has the ability to discern the differences between high quality equipment and a simpler one, with the right attitude, one can still enjoy both of them in their own way.

I like to think in terms of "decent quality." I have bicycles that cost several thousand dollars, I have bicycles that cost $300. I can definitely tell the difference but all are decents ride, are effective transportation and enjoyable to ride.

I think the same is true of binoculars.

Jon

#20 KennyJ

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 03:03 PM

< I think it's a matter of attitude.>

I tried to keep the analogy as simple as possible,Jon,and for a reason.

Kenny

#21 The Ardent

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 05:01 PM

Look at Touring the Universe through Binoculars by Phil Harrington. Whats on the cover?
Fujinon binoculars. Why put those on the cover?

What's the message? Its pretty obvious to me.

#22 Joad

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 06:20 PM

From my read it appears that most of the binoculars weren't collimated properly, which certainly wouldn't lead to positive reviews from us either.

#23 ronharper

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:56 PM

Tobias,
I have a binocular that cost me $135 that is in some ways like the old Habicht you describe. It is a Hensoldt 8x30 DF military binocular from the 1960s, made available by the (formerly West) German army. Although old and somewhat beat up, the mechanical function and collimation are excellent. Its wide field and sharp images are impressive. Stars look incredibly sharp, although some of that is due to the small exit pupil. Its downfall is its old coatings, which make daytime scenes look kind of gloomy. But, I know what you're talking about.
Ron

#24 Tobias Mennle

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 02:22 AM

Don´t know about guitars. Wine? About 90% of all bottles of wine sold in Germany are below 3.75USD, and that´s a matter of taste and yes, I would only buy from these 90% for cooking use. Because I drink only one bottle per week and spend much more money on other less funny things. Attitude, ok. But the headache/eyestrain using bad bins is very real. - I really wanted to like one of the cheap binoculars to bring a couple of them to conservancy projects in Asia. I ended up going for old Habichts because they are very good and almost indestructable. And definitely not throwaway items like most other cheap binos - which I find, well, devastating.

#25 Tobias Mennle

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 02:25 AM

Plus - and this is my mantra which I made clear in the review - it is much more about samples than about models in this price segment... maybe my samples were worse than average because I was generally buying from the cheapest dealer? They all looked brand new though.






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