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starramus
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/01/04
Posts: 1124
411 on Nikon 18X70 Astroluxe
      #1159125 - 09/21/06 04:50 PM

There is a review of an 18X70 Nikon in the review section. It is written by the German dealer Markus Ludes. I attempted e-mailing him about the article and if it applies to the current 18X70 Nikon Astroluxe offered by American dealers. However his e-mail address is probably long not valid. Is there still a Nikon of Germany? And is there a Nikon of Japan? I know some of the low end Nikons are manufactured in China. What is the country of origin of the current 18X70 Astroluxe? At the end of his article he recommends that for astronomy you are better off going with the Fujinon FMT-SX. What is the quality of the current offering and is it worth twice the price of the Fujinons?

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BillC
on a new path


Reged: 06/04/04
Posts: 4391
Loc: Lake Stevens, WA, USA
Re: 411 on Nikon 18X70 Astroluxe new [Re: starramus]
      #1159158 - 09/21/06 05:02 PM

FMT = longer eye-relief.
All else ~= Gemini
Cheers,

Bill

--------------------
William J. Cook, Chief Opticalman, USNR-Ret.
Ophthalmic Tech, Naval Station, Everett, WA
Optical Mechanic, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
Founder, Amateur Telescope Making Journal
21-year Mgr., Optics Dept., Captain's Nautical Supplies
Optics Mechanic, Ft. Lewis, WA.
Contributing Editor for Numerous Magazines

It's better to be a "has been" than a "never was." But only barely; the pay is about the same!


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Rick
Post Laureate


Reged: 04/12/05
Posts: 3285
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
Re: 411 on Nikon 18X70 Astroluxe new [Re: starramus]
      #1159232 - 09/21/06 05:51 PM

Gee, since mine are FOR SALE I guess I should answer

Of couse Nikon's premium binocular is made in Japan. They have slightly better eyerelief than the Fuji FMT BUT because the oculars are also smaller, they are much more face & nose friendly and making the eyerelief "feel" more than it is.

The current Fujinon is slightly lighter weight than the Nikon (the older black/yellow Fuji is noticeably heavier) but the Nikon feels/looks smaller because the barrels are made thinner, making it easier for me a least to handhold.

The Nikon also requires a proprietary tripod bracket whereas you can use just about any standard heavy duty L adapter with the Fuji. But you will discover the Nikon is the best adapter made so it is a wash.

I think Nikon has the edge on coatings too. Just like many observers have seen with the Nikon SE series, the 18x70 Astroluxe puts up BRIGHTER images than the Fuji FMT 16x70 despite their smaller exit pupil. This seems to make the Nikon's light gathering ability perhaps more like 80mm than 70mm.

If the Nikon has a downside compared to the FMT, it is the field curvature due to its WIDE 72 AFOV. Large starfields will not focus to pinpoints across the entire field as with the Fuji FMT. But after awhile, you will not even notice because you have to make an effort to see the wider AFOV anyway. Looking straight ahead puts the "fuzzy" edge outside the normal range of vision. At least for me.

Nikon also has a better "no questions asked" flat rate service policy than Fuji. Here in Japan it only about $80. I think it is even cheaper in the USA.

Whether all this is worth 1.5x more than the Fuji FMT is a personal choice. Like with most of the European roofs, it boils down to ergonomics NOT optics. As many soon learn, the Fuji's ergonomics make for an unpleasant user experience no matter how great the optics. However, no one ever complains about the Nikons. More Fuji FMT's are put up for sale on AM in a month than there have been Nikon 18x70's in total, so I think that says alot. The only reason I'm offering mine up is that in the end, I really really don't like being bound to a tripod with a straight-thru binocular.

clear skies,
Rick


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starramus
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/01/04
Posts: 1124
Re: 411 on Nikon 18X70 Astroluxe new [Re: Rick]
      #1160833 - 09/22/06 04:26 PM

Thanks Rick for the informed hands on data. Yes I have read several mentions of the renowned Nikon coatings. I'd love to have a pair of binos with invisible lenses. However the field curvature issue does put me off a bit. The only real way to tell if it will bother me is to take a look for myself.

The no fault warranty is far better here in the states than Japan. One site stated a $10.00 flat fee. That is an incredibly low amount. Could that be a typo on that dealer site?

The best price I have found on the net for the Astroluxe is $1149.95. And with the adapter at $47.00 we are talking very close to $1200.00. I don't know what the going price is in Japan, but that is the best i have found in the U.S. The Best price for Fujinons is just under $600.00 so here in the U.S. anyway they are almost 2X rather than the 1.5X you quoted. If this is the very best image I will achieve of course they are worth it.

Some months ago i did buy a pair of Fujinons, but it wasn't only the ergonomics I was dissatisfied with, but had a problem with the optics. I returned them and have been debating of late on the purchase of another pair. Now i am in a quandary and am debating going with the Nikons instead. The dealer i was going to buy the Fujinons from is out of stock at present anyway. You are very right about seldom seeing the Astroluxe for sale on AM. I believe yours are the only ones I have seen in the last two years advertised.

Thanks again for the much needed info.

Regards and clear skies,


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Rich V.
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/02/05
Posts: 3143
Loc: Lake Tahoe area, Nevada, USA
Re: 411 on Nikon 18X70 Astroluxe new [Re: starramus]
      #1160946 - 09/22/06 05:41 PM

Starramus,

New Nikons in the USA have their standard 25yr. warranty as well as the "no fault" warranty which applies to any used Nikon bin whether you have proof of purchase or not.

The fee was $10.00 plus $7.50 shipping when I used this "no fault" warranty a year or two ago. I have since seen someone post that the fee went up a bit but it is still reasonable.

As far as field curvature is concerned, I find my 16x70 "original" type Fujinons do have some field curvature despite claims of "sharp to the edge". As my presbyopia has increased over the years my eyes can't force the "nearer" focus at the edges into focus as well any more, so I would say younger folks won't see the field curvature as much as us older guys do.

I've never used the Astroluxe but I find the views of the Fujis quite satisfying despite my inability to force the very edges into focus. The AFOV at 64 is still wide enough to ignore the edges for practical purposes.

In my experience, I think the aberrations of a binocular affect people differently, depending on their quality of eyesight and how their brains percieve that visual information. The old adage of "try before you buy" is still a wise one.

Rich V

--------------------
Binoculars:
33/50/71/150x100 Saturn III, 22x70ED, 16x70 FMT-SX, 10x50 PCF-V, 10x43 DCF-SP, 10x35 EII, 7x35 E, 8x30 EII,
7x26 Custom, 8x23CF AS Diplomat, 6.5x21 Papilio
Scopes:
C9.25, TMB130SS, SV80S-LOMO 80/480
IDA member


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Henry Link
sage


Reged: 03/31/04
Posts: 352
Loc: Greensboro, NC
Re: 411 on Nikon 18X70 Astroluxe new [Re: starramus]
      #1160997 - 09/22/06 06:11 PM

Since he is hoping to find a buyer for his pair I think Rick probably won't mind if I espress a higher opinion of the off-axis performance of the 18x70 Astroluxe. Using the eyepiece scale I measured the field curvature of my pair last night at about 2.25 diopters which I don't think is very much for a binocular with a 72 degree field. There is some astigmatism, but also not that much. Vega changed to a fairly short line at the edge of the field paralleling the edge. I compared the length of the line in the Astroluxe to several other binoculars. The only other 70 degree binocular I have is a Nikon 8x30 EII which shows more astigmatism at the edge and forms a line about twuce as long as the Astroluxe. The Zeiss 8x42 FL also shows a line about twice as long, but at the edge of only a 62 degree field. The Nikon 8x32 SE and Fujinon 8x30 FMT-SX only showed slight elongation of Vega at the edge of their 60 degree fields, but the Astroluxe is only a little worse at the same 30 degrees off-axis. In short I think the Astroluxe is actually quite good at the edge for a binocular with such a wide AFOV. The overall impression looking at a dark sky is of a very wide flat field of stars with no obvious deterioration toward the edge unless you look specifically for it.

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mooreorless
Just worried


Reged: 07/05/05
Posts: 2248
Loc: Cornpropst Mills,Huntingdon,Pa
Re: 411 on Nikon 18X70 Astroluxe new [Re: Henry Link]
      #1161064 - 09/22/06 07:14 PM

Hi Henry,This makes me want the buy the Nikon 18x70 Astroluxe,gee if I only had the money right now.:-[ The Zeiss 8x42 FL is this the sub 3 arc seconds Zeiss?
Regards,Steve

--------------------
Regards,Steve M



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Rick
Post Laureate


Reged: 04/12/05
Posts: 3285
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
Re: 411 on Nikon 18X70 Astroluxe new [Re: Henry Link]
      #1161088 - 09/22/06 07:47 PM

Thanks Rich and Henry.

~$20 for a "no fault" repair policy is an amazing deal for a binocualr of this caliber. But I bet the Nikon service techs don't see an Astroluxe or Prostar very often.

I'm happy to read Henry's measurement of the Nikon's edge performance. It makes me want to keep them! BTW Henry, do you also sense the Nikon puts up a brighter image than the Fuji? I noticed it during the day and at night on well illuminated objects.

Like I said, after awhile with them, if you don't look for the field curvature you won't see it. I had a chance to buy a well used Astroluxe last Xmas. But I was turned off by their field curvature. I didn't think I could tolerate it in an IF binocoular. That didn't stop my bino-meister friend Barry from snapping them up though. In return for finding them for him he gladly gave me a nice deal on his Fuji's just to get rid of them. At first, I thought I got the better end of the transaction. He just smiled and said I'll feel differently in a coupla months. He was right.

clear skies,
Rick


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Les
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/22/06
Posts: 859
Loc: Maryland
Re: 411 on Nikon 18X70 Astroluxe new [Re: Rick]
      #1161256 - 09/22/06 10:26 PM

I believe the "no-fault warranty" only extends to certain Nikon product lines. My 18x70s purchased 6 months ago came with only the standard 25 year warranty for workmanship/defects. Did any 18x70 owner get a no-fault warranty?

--------------------
Les

Canon 10x42L IS
Oberwerks BT80/45, Helix Hercules mount on Oberwerks Standard Tripod
Swift 8x44ED Ultralite
Questar 50th Anniversary Model, 501 head on Manfrotto 475 tripod
Stellarvue SV90T 90mm Fluorite refractor Bogen 3236/Televue Tele-Pod Head
Questar 7 Astro
Vixen GP-DX on Baader Surveyor Tripod


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Rich V.
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/02/05
Posts: 3143
Loc: Lake Tahoe area, Nevada, USA
Re: 411 on Nikon 18X70 Astroluxe new [Re: Les]
      #1161296 - 09/22/06 11:12 PM

Les,

AFAIK, the no-fault warranty applies to all Nikon binoculars, spotting scopes and fieldscopes excluding StabilEyes, laser rangefinders and eyepieces for their spotters/fieldscopes.

http://www.nikondownload.com/images/no-fault_warranty.pdf

The bins come with the usual 25 year warranty. You are required to provide proof of purchase to use this warranty. If you do not qualify for the 25 yr. warranty the no-fault warranty is in effect. No proof of purchase is necessary, contact their repair service to make the arrangements and just pay the fee.

Who does the repair work for them only Bill Cook knows.

Rich V

--------------------
Binoculars:
33/50/71/150x100 Saturn III, 22x70ED, 16x70 FMT-SX, 10x50 PCF-V, 10x43 DCF-SP, 10x35 EII, 7x35 E, 8x30 EII,
7x26 Custom, 8x23CF AS Diplomat, 6.5x21 Papilio
Scopes:
C9.25, TMB130SS, SV80S-LOMO 80/480
IDA member


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Les
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/22/06
Posts: 859
Loc: Maryland
Re: 411 on Nikon 18X70 Astroluxe new [Re: Rich V.]
      #1161342 - 09/22/06 11:51 PM

Thanks Rich. I learned something new. Wonder why it was not included with the other documentation that came with the binos. Do you contact them by mail or do they have a phone number?

--------------------
Les

Canon 10x42L IS
Oberwerks BT80/45, Helix Hercules mount on Oberwerks Standard Tripod
Swift 8x44ED Ultralite
Questar 50th Anniversary Model, 501 head on Manfrotto 475 tripod
Stellarvue SV90T 90mm Fluorite refractor Bogen 3236/Televue Tele-Pod Head
Questar 7 Astro
Vixen GP-DX on Baader Surveyor Tripod


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Rich V.
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/02/05
Posts: 3143
Loc: Lake Tahoe area, Nevada, USA
Re: 411 on Nikon 18X70 Astroluxe new [Re: Les]
      #1161383 - 09/23/06 12:53 AM

Les, they have moved from Torrance, CA to El Segundo, CA.

Nikon Inc.
Binocular and Sport Optics Service
841 Apollo St. Suite 100
El Segundo CA 90245-4721
1-800-645-6678

I've never seen any paperwork supplied with new Nikon binoculars except for the 25 yr. warranty form, product guide and instruction manual. The rest you have to glean from Nikon!

http://www.nikonusa.com/pdf/Nikon_Inc.pdf

Rich V

--------------------
Binoculars:
33/50/71/150x100 Saturn III, 22x70ED, 16x70 FMT-SX, 10x50 PCF-V, 10x43 DCF-SP, 10x35 EII, 7x35 E, 8x30 EII,
7x26 Custom, 8x23CF AS Diplomat, 6.5x21 Papilio
Scopes:
C9.25, TMB130SS, SV80S-LOMO 80/480
IDA member


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Rick
Post Laureate


Reged: 04/12/05
Posts: 3285
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
Re: 411 on Nikon 18X70 Astroluxe new [Re: Rich V.]
      #1161393 - 09/23/06 01:04 AM

That's the way it is here in Japan. Just bring it in and they charge you 10,000 yen to fix/refresh it. Nothing in writing on this policy that I know of. Of course, if you can prove you have a valid warranty then it is free.

-Rick


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Les
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/22/06
Posts: 859
Loc: Maryland
Re: 411 on Nikon 18X70 Astroluxe new [Re: Rich V.]
      #1161749 - 09/23/06 11:46 AM

Quote:

The rest you have to glean from Nikon!




Or CN forums. Thanks again.

--------------------
Les

Canon 10x42L IS
Oberwerks BT80/45, Helix Hercules mount on Oberwerks Standard Tripod
Swift 8x44ED Ultralite
Questar 50th Anniversary Model, 501 head on Manfrotto 475 tripod
Stellarvue SV90T 90mm Fluorite refractor Bogen 3236/Televue Tele-Pod Head
Questar 7 Astro
Vixen GP-DX on Baader Surveyor Tripod


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John F
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/16/04
Posts: 556
Loc: Washington State
Re: 411 on Nikon 18X70 Astroluxe new [Re: Henry Link]
      #1162477 - 09/23/06 11:00 PM

QUOTE: "In short I think the Astroluxe is actually quite good at the edge for a binocular with such a wide AFOV. The overall impression looking at a dark sky is of a very wide flat field of stars with no obvious deterioration toward the edge unless you look specifically for it."

I had a pair for 4 years and generally agree with that statement. It is not hard to find the deterioration out towards the edge of the field when you do look for it, but it isn't something that intrudes very much into the general view (which is excellent). I was out observing last night with a friend who has a pair and I very much enjoyed the views that I was getting with them.

John Finnan

--------------------
BINOCULARS
Nikon 7x50 Prostar
Swarovski 8.5x42 EL SV
Zeiss 10x56 Night Owls
Nikon 10x70 Astroluxe
Zeiss 15x60 B/GAT

SCOPES
Questar 3.5-Inch
Tele Vue NP127

EYEPIECES
Binoviewing: 24-19 Pans, 16-13-11-9-7 Naglers
Monoviewing: 31N, 17-13-10-8-6 Ethos & 2x PM




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