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jkevn
sage


Reged: 03/02/06
Posts: 213
Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Nikon Action Extreme 10 X 50 new
      #1584398 - 05/03/07 10:58 PM

I bought 3 pairs of Nikon Action Extreme 10 X 50 for a class recently. The purpose was to compare them with low quality, inexpensive binoculars at the $30 to $50 price point by looking at resolution targets. The reason I picked the Nikons was because of comments in several reviews about excellent central field of view sharpness, despite reported significant distortion toward the edge of the field. I know that there are binoculars with probably equal or maybe better central sharpness, and with much better field flatness and lower aberrations, but I wasn't prepared to go over the $150 or so price range. Other candidates were Luepold, Pentax and Orion 10 X 50s, but from the reviews, it seemed as though the Nikon 10 X 50 marginally won out on central sharpness.

Here is a summary of what I noticed about the Nikons, from both daytime viewing and viewing stars at night with the binoculars mounted on a tripod:

I was surprised about how sharp the central field was--really sharp--but I was also surprised about how bad the distortion was near the edge. This edge distortion is mainly (but not entirely) from poor field flatness. It is possible to focus better on objects near the edge of the field of view, but this will also cause more central objects to be more out of focus. This effect was much more pronounced when looking at stars than when looking at a landscape in daylight. Looking at stars is a pretty severe test of binoculars' field flatness, and optical quality in general.

I noticed that Nikon must have recently changed their coating specs for this model--these binoculars are not "fully multicoated" as I expected they would be, from reading reviews. They are only "multicoated", with some white reflections showing up looking down through the objectives on all three binoculars. The contrast, however, was excellent. The ergonomics were great. The straps were nice.

I was thinking about the design philosophy behind these binoculars. Nikon optical engineers have all the tools available to them to make the best possible optical design with state of the art technology--they're using CODE V or ZEMAX software, I'm sure. They are well aware of all aberrations in the binoculars, and they are well aware of all characteristics of competing binoculars at this price point. So why would they design binoculars with such crummy edge sharpness? I think it may be on purpose--they are balancing a lot of factors. They probably achieved better central field sharpness with very large field of view at the expense of worse field flatness, coma, spherical and astigmatism near the edge.

I think that they probably designed this model this way because these binoculars are primarily intended to be hand-held, and not to be used like a telescope looking at starlight point sources, mounted on a tripod where you observe over the field of view with the binoculars fixed in position. If the binoculars are hand held, if you notice something interesting in the edge of the field of view, you automatically will move the binoculars so the object is centered. Most people probably will not even notice edge distortion, but they will be impressed by the central field sharpness and wide field of view.

Interestingly, I also noticed that my progressive glasses prescription produces approximately the same amount of distortion as the Nikons when I look at objects at the edge of the field of view of my glasses. I'm used to this and it doesn't bother me at all. When I want to look at something directly, I move my head to center the image, of course.

In conclusion I think that Nikon Action Extreme 10 X 50 are excellent hand-held binoculars. But for me, anyway, not so great when tripod-mounted looking at the night sky, where I can focus on everything in the field of view and notice the distortion.


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BillC
on a new path


Reged: 06/04/04
Posts: 4391
Loc: Lake Stevens, WA, USA
Re: Nikon Action Extreme 10 X 50 new [Re: jkevn]
      #1584513 - 05/04/07 12:17 AM

Boy, you and Dick Buchroeder would get along fine. I was at lunch with him one day when he stopped to buy a TASCO with Ruby coatings. 'Never could figure out how they would fit in with his Zeiss and Leica products.

Oh, well, he is very inquisitive.

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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BobinKy
Post Laureate


Reged: 04/27/07
Posts: 3089
Re: Nikon Action Extreme 10 X 50 new [Re: jkevn]
      #1584517 - 05/04/07 12:23 AM

Kevin:

Thank you for the review of the Nikon Action Extreme 10x50.

I have looked at the AEs for two handheld purchases: Medium size (10x50) and small size (7x35--for a wide Field of View). I particularly like the twist-up eye cup feature on the AEs, as well as the Depth of Field (the depth in focus; not to be confused with the Field of View, the viewing width, usually expressed in degrees or feet per 1000 yards).

I agree with you: AEs are handheld models, economically priced. And yes, I also agree with you that current manufacturer specifications tell us the optic coatings have been downgraded from Fully Multi Coating (FMC) to just Multi Coating (MC).

I own one of the AE's economical siblings--Nikon Travelite 8x25. While the Field of View is 5.6 degrees, the eye relief is only 3.1 mm (not much relief). But what impresses me about my $73.95 shirt pocket model is the weight--a mere 9 oz. A true Grab-n-Go. I wonder how it will get along with the husky Bogen 3246/501 tripod/mount I just ordered?

Thank you for the review of economical models for those of us who fund binocular purchases with pocket change saved up in a pickle jar. I have got a lot of pickle jars to fill. Hey brother, can you spare a dime?



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KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
Loc: Lancashire UK
Re: Nikon Action Extreme 10 X 50 new [Re: BobinKy]
      #1584626 - 05/04/07 02:08 AM

Kevin ,

Although more of a " summary of first impressions " rather than a " mini - review " per se , I found your post above to be at least as informative as many mini - reviews we have in the " library " .

By the way , I think your observations and comments would apply to many more binoculars than just the Nikon Action Extremes ! :-)

PLEASE EdZ -- add Kevin's post to the mini - reviews section under Nikon Action Extreme 10 x 50 !

Regards , Kenny

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


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






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werewolf6977
Lord High Smasher


Reged: 12/15/03
Posts: 9034
Loc: Hanover, Ohio
Re: Nikon Action Extreme 10 X 50 new [Re: KennyJ]
      #1584701 - 05/04/07 04:10 AM

I second Kenny.

--------------------
Pete
6" Apogee/LXD55
Starhopper 6" Dob
Spaceprobe 130EQ
Black C8 OTA
WO Zenith Star 66 Patriot Edition
Sun Pak Pro 7500 Platinum Edition
8X42 Bushnell H2O Porro
7X35 Tasco
10X50 Nikon Actions (Type 7)
15X70 Skymasters
Dell Inspiron Dual Core 531s
"For those who fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know"


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edcannon
professor emeritus


Reged: 11/19/03
Posts: 693
Loc: Austin, Texas
Re: Nikon Action Extreme 10 X 50 new [Re: KennyJ]
      #1584703 - 05/04/07 04:14 AM

So what I've written a number of times after looking hard at the Nikon website has now been confirmed, that these are not fully multicoated. That's certainly a "need to know" point of information.

--------------------
Ed Cannon - Austin, Texas, USA

Bushnell H2O 8x42, Celestron Skymaster 12x60


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EdZ
Professor EdZ


Reged: 02/15/02
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Re: Nikon Action Extreme 10 X 50 [Re: edcannon]
      #1584761 - 05/04/07 06:25 AM

Quote:

So what I've written a number of times after looking hard at the Nikon website has now been confirmed, that these are not fully multicoated. That's certainly a "need to know" point of information.




I agree Ed. This seems to be one of those binoculars, every time I look at it I think one time it looks FMC, next time I look I think, HMMM but I really can't tell.

Worthy MR link.

edz

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


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jkevn
sage


Reged: 03/02/06
Posts: 213
Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Nikon Action Extreme 10 X 50 new [Re: EdZ]
      #1584996 - 05/04/07 09:52 AM

I just took a quick look at the Nikon website specs about these binoculars, http://nikon.topica.ne.jp/bi_e/products/out.htm

This says "Aspherical eyepiece lens eliminates image distortion (7x50CF, 12x50CF only)"

So maybe in the 7X50 and 12X50 models edge distortion is significantly better.


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EdZ
Professor EdZ


Reged: 02/15/02
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Re: Nikon Action Extreme 10 X 50 new [Re: jkevn]
      #1585019 - 05/04/07 10:08 AM

Quote:

So maybe in the 7X50 and 12X50 models edge distortion is significantly better.




Interesting Comment. here's what I found.


The 12x50 can see the same apparent separation (correction) at 70% out that the 10x50 can only see at 55% out. So yes, the 12x50 has better outer filed correction.
Binocular Field Sharpness


And here's what I wrote back in Jan. '05
In the 10x50 AE model, 50% out from center the image is good, stars are slightly enlarged... By 60% out from center the distortion begins... stars elongate into curved streaks as if you were seeing a half-hour long time exposure photo pointed at the north star. (note 5-5-07: BTW, I believe that is an indication of astigmatism and coma, not curvature, although certainly curvature may be present.). At 60% out, the image is fair, OK for wide-field background... stars now an elongated line. 70% out from center, the image is poor, the double is an elongated blob, all stars have a radial elongation. The further out from center the longer the streaks get. Between 70% to 80% out from center, the curved streaks that are supposed to be stars are really distracting. Stars near the edge of the FOV are extended lines several arcminutes long.

The 12x50 AE did a little better than the 10x50. I would say it was decent out to 70% from center. But the 10x50 has a wider field of view. So really both the 10x50 and the 12x50 are producing approx. the same undistorted field of view of about 3.3°. The 8x40 model suppresses this distortion a little more than the others (due to the) lower magnification makes it less apparent.






edz


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BobinKy
Post Laureate


Reged: 04/27/07
Posts: 3089
Binocular Field Sharpness new [Re: EdZ]
      #1585182 - 05/04/07 11:31 AM

Quote:

The 12x50 can see the same apparent separation (correction) at 70% out that the 10x50 can only see at 55% out. So yes, the 12x50 has better outer filed correction.
Binocular Field Sharpness

. . .

The 12x50 AE did a little better than the 10x50. I would say it was decent out to 70% from center. But the 10x50 has a wider field of view. So really both the 10x50 and the 12x50 are producing approx. the same undistorted field of view of about 3.3°. The 8x40 model suppresses this distortion a little more than the others (due to the) lower magnification makes it less apparent.




EdZ:

The chart at the Binocular Field Sharpness link above looks very interesting.

I am trying to match up the binocular Field of View to various star charts. I have been hanging out at the CN Stellar Media forum and noticed you have several good posts there about charts (atlases & guides), particularly developing a FOV circle to use for star hopping.

My first question is:

(Q1) Do you have a legend or glossary for the chart at the Binocular Field Sharpness link above?

Being a newbie, I am not sure how to read this chart. It looks like you have a lot of good data referenced. Perhaps, you can take one of the binocular models in the chart (e.g., Fujinon 16x70) and explain the data. Or maybe just point me to one of your many fine articles that already provides this explanation.

My second question is:

(Q2) Which of the various Field of View specifications should be used to develop the FOV circles (on acetate) for various charts?

I guess this is a question with a lot of detours. However, I am looking for a single FOV spec (hopefully this a clear and sharp spec) to use when examing binoculars for purchase, as well as using this FOV spec in developing FOV circles for various charts.

I appreciate any suggestions you can send my way.



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EdZ
Professor EdZ


Reged: 02/15/02
Posts: 18806
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Re: Binocular Field Sharpness new [Re: BobinKy]
      #1585208 - 05/04/07 11:47 AM

Quote:

(Q1) Do you have a legend or glossary for the chart at the Binocular Field Sharpness link above?


(Q2) Which of the various Field of View specifications should be used to develop the FOV circles (on acetate) for various charts?






Probaly thru the Best Of Section follow to Sharpness of Field. There are probably pages of explanation thru there. Also look in the section titled Measuring Aspects of Binoculars.

All the values on this chart are "Apparent Separations". the description below the chart states that. Actually, I've written several articles explaining this, but you are seeing the chart out of context.

Apparent Separation is all measured on double stars and is (magnification times separation). This equalizes all the readings from one power binocular to any other. In other words, If a 10 power binocular can see a 20 arcsecond pair split at 70% out in the fov, then a 15x binocular needs to be able to see a 13.3 arcsecond double and a 20x binocular needs to see a 10 arcsecond double at the same position to be equalized.

If you want FOV circles for charts then you have to use True Field of View. Afov does you no good at all, since you would be making filed conversions for every binocular to find Tfov.

Keep in mind actual measured True FOV is almost always smaller than manufacturer specified Tfov. The Afov/Tfov on my sharpness chart are all field measured.

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


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BobinKy
Post Laureate


Reged: 04/27/07
Posts: 3089
Re: Binocular Field Sharpness new [Re: EdZ]
      #1585213 - 05/04/07 11:52 AM

EdZ:

Thank you for the explanation and suggestions.



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jkevn
sage


Reged: 03/02/06
Posts: 213
Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Nikon Action Extreme 10 X 50 new [Re: KennyJ]
      #1585302 - 05/04/07 12:44 PM

Thanks Kenny!

Kevin


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Swedpat
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/18/05
Posts: 1144
Loc: Boden, Sweden, Scandinavia
Re: Nikon Action Extreme 10 X 50 new [Re: jkevn]
      #1585404 - 05/04/07 01:48 PM

I have noticed that the statement of edge-to-edge sharpness among many manufacturers is exaggerated. Not even the highly praised Zeiss Victory FL are nearly sharp to the edges, despite the statement of excellent edge-to-edge sharpness.

Patric

--------------------
*2,3x40 Constellation View Wide-Bino
*Leupold Katmai 6x32
*Nikon Sporter I 8x36
*Swarovski SLCNew 7x42B
*Bresser (Lidl) 10x50
*Oberwerk 11x70
*Stellarvue SV50 spottingscope
*Meade 5000 26mm Plössl, Vixen LV 10/5mm

Psalm 19:2


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EdZ
Professor EdZ


Reged: 02/15/02
Posts: 18806
Loc: Cumberland, R I , USA42N71.4W
Re: Nikon Action Extreme 10 X 50 new [Re: Swedpat]
      #1585433 - 05/04/07 02:03 PM

Quote:

I have noticed that the statement of edge-to-edge sharpness among many manufacturers is exaggerated. Not even the highly praised Zeiss Victory FL are nearly sharp to the edges, despite the statement of excellent edge-to-edge sharpness.

Patric




I would agree
In reference to the linked table I wrote this:
So often we hear brief reports about new binoculars to the effect, "this binocular is pinpoint sharp from edge to edge", or "I can only see distortion in the outer 5%-10% of the fov". How are we to believe subjective statements that are not supported by accurate measurments? Frankly, I have tested over 35 different binoculars and have found no fixed power binoculars that are sharp edge to edge and I have found only 2 or 3 that do not exhibit undesirable un-sharpness beyond 80-85% out. With well corrected eyepieces in variable power Binocular Telescopes, you can achieve edge to edge sharpness. This table shows results for a standardized means of measuring that sharpness across all brands of binoculars. It eliminates the subjectiveness.

edz

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


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hallelujah
Post Laureate


Reged: 07/14/06
Posts: 3980
Loc: Colorado Rocky Mountains
Re: Nikon Action Extreme 10 X 50 new [Re: EdZ]
      #1585586 - 05/04/07 03:24 PM

EdZ and edcannon and jkevn,

Here's another piece of the puzzle from the Nikon Birding and Sport Optics 2007 catalog:

Action 7x35, 8x40, 7x50, 10x50, 12x50, 16x50

"Featuring multicoated aspherical eyepiece lenses for clear edge-to-edge viewing".

Nikon's ATB Series binoculars:

"All models are fully waterproof and fogproof and feature Nikon's renowned multicoated optics for image brightness and shaprness, rain or shine."

No mention of FMC for Action or Action Extreme.

No mention of aspheric eyepiece lenses, in the 2007 catalog, for AE ATB 7x35, 8x40, 7x50, 10x50, 12x50, 16x50.

--------------------
Nikon7x35GoldSentinel 9.3*(2)+Pentax8x40PCFWPII+MinoxBD10x44BP+FujinonFMTRSX7x50
Nikon10x50GoldSentinel+Pentax12x50 5.5*Japan+Pentax12x50PCFWPII+Vixen8x56Geoma
Fujinon12x60HB+Pentax16x60PCFWP+Pentax20x60PCFWP+Pentax20x60PCFWPII
Tento20x60USSR+Orion12x63MiniGiant+Spectrum I 20x65+Orion15x70LittleGiant II
Orion20x70LittleGiant II+Orion16x80Giant+Orion30x80MEGAView+Barska30x80X-Trail
BurgessOptical20x90SeriesII


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