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Chopin
Canis Insanus


Reged: 02/03/05
Posts: 3969
Loc: In the doghouse.
Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new
      #1515620 - 03/30/07 05:18 PM

Here is my review of the Garrett Optical 15x85 Signature HD WP binocular:




I have now had 5 weeks to evaluate the basics of this fine instrument. I have had it out under the stars with the intent to evaluate the optics a total of 5 times, and at least a dozen daytime terrestrial grab-n-go sessions. For those that don’t care to read through the technicalities of amateur reviews, I’ll offer my quick subjective report card:

Ergonomics & Aesthetics B+
Mechanics A-
Optics A-


Now, the unabridged version:

Ergonomics and Aesthetics:

The overall look and feel of the 15x85 Signature is very high quality. From the tight rubber armor, and precision exposed metal hardware, to the beautifully coated “crystal like” front and rear objectives.

Starting at the business end, where the large 85mm objectives wait to suck up photons, are deep magenta and turquoise coatings. When mounted outside in bright sunlight, with my back to the sun, I noticed absolutely no facial features in my reflection. Magenta and turquoise reflections were seen when held up to bright light. No white reflections were noted.

When looking down the inside of the barrel, a fine corrugated surface is seen.


This appears to be intended for increased contrast, as it is not quite true baffling. Still, by design alone, I would imagine this to improve contrast over having flat surfaces. All of the visible internal components are covered in an evenly applied flat black.

The eyepiece end was just as impressive in regards to reflective qualities. The exit pupils were perfect circles, and by my best measurements (no calipers handy) appeared to be 5.5-5.75mm in diameter. This matches the 5.67 calculated exit pupil nicely. Looking through the eyepieces is a pleasurable experience. With such a huge and forgiving pupil, eye placement was very easy. The eye relief is stated by Garrett Optical as being 16mm. This is a true measurement, which takes into account the recession of the lens. I have not measured this, but I have no reason to doubt it. The eye guard is a moderately supple rubberized material. When extended, I actually have difficulty taking in the whole 53º AFOV out to the field stop, unless I press firmly into the cups. That is without eyeglasses. Folding the cups in makes the extremely sharp field stop easy to see. If you rest against the eyepieces with the cups folded in you will start to vignette the outer field. I could not get the eyepieces to kidney bean on center, however, no matter how hard I tried either in daylight or dark skies. With the cups folded in while wearing eyeglasses the eye relief was absolutely perfect.

Weight is right on at 10 lbs. So don’t even think of hand holding to view. I have had this on both a Bogen 701-RC2, and a 501. The 701-RC2 does an adequate job, until I tilt backward past the 60º mark. Of course, the 701 is only rated for 9 lbs, and will truly only accommodate 7 lbs or less without strain. OTOH, the 501 is just right.

Personally, I am not a fan of the dark green rubber armor. IMO, dark gray or classic black would have been much nicer. That’s just a nit.

Another thing, which made me laugh so hard I nearly wet myself…




If you really want to put a neck strap on this bino, then go for it!

There are some finishing touches that I noticed which dropped the overall score here. The images below show the relatively small issues.








I don’t expect perfection, but at $500 I feel I can be picky. In the end I may be the only person who ever notices these various flaws. But it should be noted anyway.




Mechanics:

Diopter adjustments are smooth, but very stiff. There is one on each side, thus individual focusing. They vary from –5 to +5. I find that when I set both sides with the same eye, the setting is off by 0.25, so pretty close, but not perfect.

IPD adjustment is also smooth, and although stiff, it will obey your adjustment commands without too much force. Labeled range is 58mm to 72mm, but I found actual range to be 56mm to 74mm.





Grabbing tight and twisting with all of the might in your brachioradialis (Scott Beith excluded), causes no flex at all.

I would have initially given a solid rating of A, except for a couple of small complaints. First, the movement of the center brace along the post while sliding is not smooth. Instead, it catches on the bar and jitters as it slides. This is the cause for the marks in the image above (showing the brace close up). Second, when the post is tightened the bino will rock back and forth on the brace axis up to 3-4mm. It’s not loose mind you, but there is movement if you push it.




Optics:

I won’t go into specifics regarding each individual test subject. But for quick reference, during the day I used various buildings, trees, telephone poles, birds and a military helicopter for multiple tests. At night my favorite targets were Saturn, Luna, M42, M41, M81/82, h/chi Persei and Mizar A/B.

I like to refer to field sharpness in three simple zones. The center, where sharpness is expected. The medium zone, where things are notably softer, but still viewable. And the edge, where aberrations become intolerable, or at least unpleasant.

Daytime viewing is more forgiving to edge of field performance. I liken this to my own decreased pupil size, and thus decreasing astigmatism. From center to 50% of the way out all objects are razor sharp. The medium zone shows a usable softness all of the way out to the field stop, with one exception. Using both eyes individually, in each side separately, I was able to verify that the last 10% of the left edge of field, in only the right eyepiece, was a poor level of softness.

Nighttime viewing offered similar results, but increased the amount of unusable edge distortion. Again, likely from my own larger dilated pupil, which introduced more astigmatism. The center 50% of field is still razor sharp (except Sirius and Venus). The medium field extends out to the 80% mark, where drop off into unusable territory occurs quickly, through to the edge. Again, the left edge of field on the right eyepiece shows distortion back a little further, maybe to 70-75% from center. I found lunar craters and Mizar A/B to be two excellent tests for most of the nighttime FOV sharpness. I made sure to run these tests repeatedly on various nights, and came up with the same measurements each time.

Chromatic Aberration is remarkably well controlled. Daytime viewing only shows moderate amounts when my eye is severely off axis of the eyepiece. Otherwise, even on the highest contrast objects (like a helicopter against the bright noontime sky) CA was virtually non existent. Nighttime tests revealed the expected results on Saturn and Sirius, which is a small but unavoidable rainbow around the original image. The Moon was actually quite surprising, however. As in daytime viewing, I really need to move my eyes off axis to see any CA on the lunar limb. Thumbs up!

Contrast is excellent. I was able to repeatedly pull out the center “collision” lane in M82, and M42 was frankly just superb in its depth. Colors are superb. Better than any other instrument I’ve ever used at length. The green in M42 is so apparent it “smacks” you in the face upon initial inspection. Scanning the winter Milky Way shows levels of ice blue, baby blue, ochre, school bus yellow, lemon yellow, pink, orange, rose red, brick red, blood red…you get the idea. Sky is black, period. These tests were all done on nights varying from 1/5 to 3/5 seeing.

As far as rectilinear distortion, there isn’t much to say. There really isn’t any of either to mention. I used to think my Pentax 8x40 PCF WP II had an “orthoscopic” field. Then I looked through the 15x85 Signature. Not a hint of pincushion or barrel distortion to speak of. Telephone poles at varying distances seem perfectly straight through the field stop, to my best visual estimation. Stunning.

There is no field curvature that I could note or measure.




So how does this bino make me feel when I look through it? Like singing! The images are bright and easy to hold. The center is usably as sharp as any FOV should be. The sharpness across the field is quite good as well. Best of all is the insane color and contrast. When I plant my eyes into the eyepieces, I get the sensation of flying in space, and who wouldn’t love that.






Clear skies.

--------------------
Jason®

VeritableImagery

Reflectors: 110/900mm, 250/1140mm (in progress)
Refractors: 80/400mm, 72/430mm ED
Binoculars: 8x40mm, 15x85mm
Eyepieces: Televue Naglers, Faworski Abbe orthos
Canon 1D, 20D, 10-24mm, 50mm, 70-200mm, 150-500mm




Edited by Chopin (03/31/07 01:56 PM)


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camvan
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 05/02/05
Posts: 2142
Loc: British Columbia
Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: Chopin]
      #1515650 - 03/30/07 05:46 PM

beautiful review Chopin! thank you very much

how was the view of Orion's Nebula? were you able to split the Trapezium at all? easily?

I may have missed it, but did you describe TFOV vs. AFOV and your measurements against the stated specifications?

--------------------
Cameron

"Aperture can only be replaced by even more aperture. Dark transparent skies cannot be replaced by anything else." - Stathis Kafalis

Intes MN66
Meade SN8
handfull of cheap ep's


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KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
Loc: Lancashire UK
Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP [Re: camvan]
      #1515702 - 03/30/07 06:07 PM

Very nice review , Chopin !

I'm particularly pleased that you described the third " minor quibble " as illustrated .

Until you did , I was beginning to think the minor fault was that Cory had suffered a terrible accident , severed an hand , and had not bothered to remove the missing two fingers from the right barrel !

Another useful addition to the mini - reviews section !

Regards , Kenny

--------------------


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






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ngc6475
Fearless Spectator


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Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: KennyJ]
      #1515982 - 03/30/07 09:15 PM

Bravo Chopin! An outstanding review on a very good binocular...well done!

--------------------
Walter

"There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."
-George Carlin



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Ortho2000
sage


Reged: 01/09/07
Posts: 280
Loc: Northern Virginia
Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: Chopin]
      #1516301 - 03/31/07 12:02 AM



Wow..

What a nice review. I really really liked the excellent photography with the macro images. Sounds like a really nice binocular despite the small little quibbles you noted.

I may be getting a new binocular here soon myself, and thougt about writing a review. The quality of your review and the super pictures set a high mark.

Again...good job.

--------------------
Ancient Orange Astro C-90 Celestron
Ancient Meade 2080 8 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain
Vixen ED115S APO 4 1/2 in Refractor & GPD2 Mount.
Meade ETX125 Mak
Unitron 60 mm F/15 Equatorial Refractor
Unitron 100 mm F/15 Equatorial Refractor
Stellarvue 80mm NHNG on Vixen Portamount
Meade 80mm DS-80AT F/11 GoTo Refractor (yardsale)
Vixen 16x80, Zeiss 10x40, Tasco #124 7x50 WA, Leitz 8x20 Roof Prism, Olympus 10x25 Roof Prism
Canon 12x36II, & lots of other wacko binoculars


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Chopin
Canis Insanus


Reged: 02/03/05
Posts: 3969
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Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: camvan]
      #1517096 - 03/31/07 02:58 PM

Quote:

beautiful review Chopin! thank you very much

how was the view of Orion's Nebula? were you able to split the Trapezium at all? easily?

I may have missed it, but did you describe TFOV vs. AFOV and your measurements against the stated specifications?




Cam,

Thanks for the compliment.

M42 is sensational. I'm comparing this to my 300mm dob with a binoviewer, and the 15x85 Signature is a step above, both in contrast, and it's ability to frame the object perfectly in the FOV.

As for the Trap, this is a tricky subject for me. I have never done star splitting side by side with other observers before. Frankly, I've always been a DSO guy, so understanding the term "split" is not easy for me to define.
If you recall my initial impressions with the 15x85 a few weeks ago, I made a comment regarding the ability to split the Trap into four components. I believe I ended my statement with the word "period". As if it was a no brainer.At the time I had no idea that the Trap was such a "Holy Grail" in terms of splitting the B component at low mags (under 20x). EdZ actually brought this to my attention, and I am very thankful. I respect Ed's knowledge and experience highly, so when he challenged my statement I was more than willing to doubt myself. I spent some time reading about resolution and visual acuity (Rayleigh Criterion, etc...). I then spent another four outings with bino studying the Trap. Each time I placed M42 in the center of my FOV I swore I could separate the B star, with a very thin dark area between the A and B stars. As I write this, I still can't say for certainty, without verifying my beliefs along side a more experienced observer. My research says I likely won't do this with 15x. Nor can I verify that I have exceptional visual acuity.
So I apologize for the lengthy rant, but I'll tentatively say that I could in fact split the four members of the Trapezium.

I have not done any FOV measurements. I suppose a drift test should be on the agenda.

--------------------
Jason®

VeritableImagery

Reflectors: 110/900mm, 250/1140mm (in progress)
Refractors: 80/400mm, 72/430mm ED
Binoculars: 8x40mm, 15x85mm
Eyepieces: Televue Naglers, Faworski Abbe orthos
Canon 1D, 20D, 10-24mm, 50mm, 70-200mm, 150-500mm




Edited by Chopin (03/31/07 02:59 PM)


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Chopin
Canis Insanus


Reged: 02/03/05
Posts: 3969
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Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: KennyJ]
      #1517107 - 03/31/07 03:06 PM

Quote:

Very nice review , Chopin !

I'm particularly pleased that you described the third " minor quibble " as illustrated .

Until you did , I was beginning to think the minor fault was that Cory had suffered a terrible accident , severed an hand , and had not bothered to remove the missing two fingers from the right barrel !

Another useful addition to the mini - reviews section !

Regards , Kenny






I laughed pretty hard at this. Thanks Kenny!

BTW, my wife asked me what was so funny. She read your post, and had a question mark hovering over her head. By the time explained who Cory was, she was already shaking her head and leaving the room.

--------------------
Jason®

VeritableImagery

Reflectors: 110/900mm, 250/1140mm (in progress)
Refractors: 80/400mm, 72/430mm ED
Binoculars: 8x40mm, 15x85mm
Eyepieces: Televue Naglers, Faworski Abbe orthos
Canon 1D, 20D, 10-24mm, 50mm, 70-200mm, 150-500mm




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Chopin
Canis Insanus


Reged: 02/03/05
Posts: 3969
Loc: In the doghouse.
Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: Ortho2000]
      #1517111 - 03/31/07 03:07 PM

Walter and Ortho, thanks for the comments.

--------------------
Jason®

VeritableImagery

Reflectors: 110/900mm, 250/1140mm (in progress)
Refractors: 80/400mm, 72/430mm ED
Binoculars: 8x40mm, 15x85mm
Eyepieces: Televue Naglers, Faworski Abbe orthos
Canon 1D, 20D, 10-24mm, 50mm, 70-200mm, 150-500mm




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EdZ
Professor EdZ


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Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: Chopin]
      #1517117 - 03/31/07 03:11 PM

Quote:

I have not done any FOV measurements. I suppose a drift test should be on the agenda.




Drift timing is accurate but takes a long time. This method is very quick
How To Measure TFOV Of Binoculars

edz

--------------------
Teach a kid something today. The feeling you'll get is one of life's greatest rewards.
member#21


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Chopin
Canis Insanus


Reged: 02/03/05
Posts: 3969
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Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: EdZ]
      #1517135 - 03/31/07 03:24 PM

Ed, thank you for that. Sometimes it's easy to overlook simplicity. That chart will be very helpful.

--------------------
Jason®

VeritableImagery

Reflectors: 110/900mm, 250/1140mm (in progress)
Refractors: 80/400mm, 72/430mm ED
Binoculars: 8x40mm, 15x85mm
Eyepieces: Televue Naglers, Faworski Abbe orthos
Canon 1D, 20D, 10-24mm, 50mm, 70-200mm, 150-500mm




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EdZ
Professor EdZ


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Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: Chopin]
      #1517192 - 03/31/07 04:15 PM

Mark pointed out one time that there is an error in one of those. IIRC it's in UMi??

edz

--------------------
Teach a kid something today. The feeling you'll get is one of life's greatest rewards.
member#21


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Mark9473
Postmaster


Reged: 07/21/05
Posts: 6459
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Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: EdZ]
      #1517198 - 03/31/07 04:18 PM

pwffff... when would that have been? Let me see if I can find it. I'll get back if I do.

--------------------
Mark
Leica 8x20; Nikon 7x35; Vixen 8x42; Orion 15x63; Docter 15x60
WO Megrez II 80 FD / APM 107mm f/6.5 / Mewlon 210 on DM-6 + Berlebach Planet


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EdZ
Professor EdZ


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Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: Mark9473]
      #1517201 - 03/31/07 04:20 PM

probably a few months ago

--------------------
Teach a kid something today. The feeling you'll get is one of life's greatest rewards.
member#21


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Mark9473
Postmaster


Reged: 07/21/05
Posts: 6459
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Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: EdZ]
      #1517209 - 03/31/07 04:28 PM

I tried a few keywords in CN Search but couldn't find anything relevant, sorry.

--------------------
Mark
Leica 8x20; Nikon 7x35; Vixen 8x42; Orion 15x63; Docter 15x60
WO Megrez II 80 FD / APM 107mm f/6.5 / Mewlon 210 on DM-6 + Berlebach Planet


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Mark9473
Postmaster


Reged: 07/21/05
Posts: 6459
Loc: 51°N 4°E
Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: Mark9473]
      #1517227 - 03/31/07 04:41 PM

It was quicker to just run the points through Cartes du Ciel again. The mistake was on UMi 5: point A should be beta, not zeta, and the distance to point B (theta = 15 UMi) is not 3.90 degrees but 4°02'51".

--------------------
Mark
Leica 8x20; Nikon 7x35; Vixen 8x42; Orion 15x63; Docter 15x60
WO Megrez II 80 FD / APM 107mm f/6.5 / Mewlon 210 on DM-6 + Berlebach Planet


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KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
Loc: Lancashire UK
Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: Mark9473]
      #1517261 - 03/31/07 05:02 PM

< The mistake was on UMi 5: point A should be beta, not zeta, and the distance to point B (theta = 15 UMi) is not 3.90 degrees but 4°02'51". >

Mark ( and anyone else " in the know " )

Given that all these stars ( and planet earth ) are moving as we speak , so to speak , how long will be it be until figures so precise as one arc second separation are going to be inaccurate ?

Regards , Kenny

--------------------


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






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Mark9473
Postmaster


Reged: 07/21/05
Posts: 6459
Loc: 51°N 4°E
Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: KennyJ]
      #1517269 - 03/31/07 05:06 PM

Kenny, right now I'm just happy I didn't post the 0.1" decimal CdC also gave me. Why don't you take that very interesting question of yours to the space science forum, and report back with the answer?

--------------------
Mark
Leica 8x20; Nikon 7x35; Vixen 8x42; Orion 15x63; Docter 15x60
WO Megrez II 80 FD / APM 107mm f/6.5 / Mewlon 210 on DM-6 + Berlebach Planet


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KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
Loc: Lancashire UK
Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: Mark9473]
      #1519234 - 04/01/07 05:51 PM

< Why don't you take that very interesting question of yours to the space science forum, and report back with the answer? >

Mark ,

Thanks for the suggestion .

I've just done exactly that !

Unfortunately , I won't be around to report back as I've decided I will be leaving Cloudy Nights tomorrow .

Indeed I was going to announce my voluntary retirement from the site today , but since it happens to be April 1st. presumed everyone would just think it was an " April Fool " stunt .

Regards , and thanks all for everything ,

Kenny

--------------------


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






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neocacher
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/11/07
Posts: 936
Loc: Sioux Falls, SD
Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: KennyJ]
      #1519264 - 04/01/07 06:17 PM

What a wonderful and comprehensive review!

Neo

--------------------
Zhumell 10" Dobsonian
26mm 2" Zhumell, 9mm Zhumell plossl, Telrad;
TV 6mm,18mm Radian
Baader Hyperions- 5mm, 8mm, 13mm, 21mm
Oberwerk 25X100 IF w/ Rigel, Astroowood P-Mount
Brunton Epoch 10.5X43 (Brand New - for sale)
Jason Mercury 10X50
Nikon 10X25 Travelite V
Leupold Wind River 8X42
Barska X-Trail 7X35



Sioux Falls, SD (click on picture)



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luoxinalbert
journeyman


Reged: 02/28/07
Posts: 58
Loc: Shanghai,China
Re: Review: Garrett 15x85 HD WP new [Re: neocacher]
      #1521755 - 04/03/07 12:04 AM

Good binoculars, Jason!
This one's optics in better than the 22X85,but the 22X85 is more suitable for the deepsky objects!

--------------------
A BIG BINOCULARS LOVER AND SKY WATCHER FROM CHINA.


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