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Carpal Tunnel

Reged: 02/14/06
Posts: 2065
New Fujinon 16x70
      #1661957 - 06/14/07 02:14 AM

Bino lovers,
You guys are a bad influence. I've only had the 16x70 FMT-SX (new version, often called SX-2, $599 from Anacortes) for a few days, and my only nightime observing has been between clouds, but this is surely a nice bino.

Mechanically, it is perfect as far as I can tell. I see no collimation error, no difference between the two telescopes. Hinge and focussers are smooth and rather tight. With my 7x B&L Hastings triplet loupe (a fine little flat-field instrument worthy of a review, but I don't know of a hand magnifier forum!), I first measured the exit pupils both as 4.35 +/- 0.05mm. Next, using the adage "the exit pupil is an image of the objective", I placed a ruler across the objective, and the image of the exit pupil revealed a full 70mm of ruler. So this is really and truly a 16x70, close as I can measure. Down the barrels is black as night, a lovely sight. With the bino on a tripod, it is surprising how you can look from the front and see all the way through, just like there was nothing there, what's on the other side looks really little is all. Cosmetically, the objective coatings look as good as a Nikon SE, but the eyepiece coatings don't look quite to that level.

The first views were with a variety of cheap tripod, bino chair with deep seat and built-up armrests (between heartbeats this becomes perfectly steady for a fraction of a second), and boldly flat-footing it, which actually is fairly effective in daytime on a level.

Daytime views are awesome to me from the sheer magnification, and with reasonably good eye position I don't notice any lateral CA in the central 50% (by radius) in high-contrast. Outside that it's pretty bad. It doesn't have the utterly jaw-dropping contrast and sharpness of the 7x50, but I figure, we're pushing the limits here.

Sky views are quite thrilling. Bright stars don't look as neat as in the 10x50, but again, with twice the light and more magnification, I figure putting up with this is part of the cost of admission. Checking some doubles that give my 10x50 fits, I got bare separation on Mizar, good clear separation on Cor Caroli, and darned if Albireo didn't actually look gold and blue, wow! Beta Lyra was plumb easy. Venus looked a tad ugly, with color that I could vary with eye position but not get rid of. I could, to my amazement, just barely make out the separation between the disc and rings of Saturn, as discussed on this forum. Jupiter showed no flaring, possibly a hint of equatorial darkening, and a clear flattened shape, although the limb wasn't quite perfectly sharp. So, the 16x certainly isn't empty magnification, but this bino is a compromise tipped towards light-gathering and power, not pristeen perfection.

In the faint fuzzy realm where this bino should really be at its best, I didn't yet get looks at many of my favorites. M101 and M57 were easy as pie, which is pretty encouraging. Many of you know very well what a bino of this size and quality will do, and I thank you all for your many discussions which helped me choose it. The hard-to measure properties of eye relief, field of view, and edge sharpness have been examined by others here, and frankly I was too busy looking to care! I don't have the experience to judge it very critically, but in comparisions with other binos of the same series, it seems, not surprisingly, to be of the same quality, with differences explained simply by the difference in size and magnification. I'm looking forward to the new perspective of the sky that this power should give me.

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Fearless Spectator

Reged: 03/02/02
Posts: 5024
Loc: 3821'N 12055'W
Re: New Fujinon 16x70 new [Re: ronharper]
      #1663358 - 06/14/07 08:48 PM

Great report, Ron! The Fujinon 16x70 is a terrific binocular and it looks like you got a good start with it. I think you'll find the star fields and DSOs of the Summer constellations will give your new toy a chance to stretch its legs! Keep us posted!


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

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