CLOUDY NIGHTS FORUM ARCHIVES
"Live Forums" can be found here: Live Forums


Equipment Discussions >> Binoculars

Pages: 1 | 2 | (show all)
Fiske
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/14/04
Posts: 2230
Loc: Missouri / United States
Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm Mini-Review
      #71356 - 03/14/04 01:15 PM

Hi:

I'm new to the Cloudy Nights forums. Erik D. invited me to join after reading a message I posted to the BinocularAstronomy Yahoo eGroup about my new Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm binoculars. He asked me to post it here as a mini-review. I'm impressed with the format of these forums and all of the friendly and knowledgeable participants. I look forward to many informative and pleasant exchanges here.


After debating (at considerable length) what pair of binos to purchase, I decided on a new pair of Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm binoculars. I got a lot of information and advice during my search from folks on the Yahoo BinocularAstronomy egroup.

The LXs are widely regarded as one of the finest birding binoculars available, but they are not exactly a common choice for astronomy. I chose them over the Nikon Superior E 10x42 binoculars for several reasons.

They have twist up eye cups that enable me to set the correct eye- relief for my glasses so that I can rest the binos directly on my glasses, which makes it easy to stabilize them. They also have a locking diopter control, which prevents the right eyepiece from going out of focus (a big problem with my older pair). I felt (and feel) that 10x is too much magnification for 42mm binoculars as far as astronomy is concerned. The lower magnification increases the brightness of faint nebulous objects, making them easier to observe.

The optical quality is outstanding, though the view is not sharp to the edge of the field. The LXs have a 7 degree field of view. I would say the central 75% is about as sharp as I've seen in binoculars. The next 10% or so is less sharp -- comparable to less expensive binos. The outer 15% is noticeably out of focus (though the stars are still round in shape, not distorted).

The LXs are heavy for their size, weighing in at 34.6 ounces, about 10 ounces heavier than the SEs. Surprisingly, I find them easier to hold than the SEs (which are a very comfortable pair of binoculars). Partially, I think this is due to the twist up eyecups. But the LXs also have a marvelous shape. They fit my hands extremely well, much better than other roofs I have tried or any porros. The LXs are the most comfortable binoculars I've ever used.

I did some comparison testing last night with my older Nikon 10x50 Lookout IVs, which I've used for years. The first impression one has is that viewing with the LXs is like removing a film from in front of the binoculars -- the LXs are that much sharper. In addition, I found that I could detect fainter objects with the LXs, despite the lower magnification, smaller aperture, and light-pollution in my backyard. For example, M38 was detectable in averted with the LXs, though not the 10x50s. Also, M36 was better resolved in the LXs (though not fully resolved by any means). In M37, I noted a slight central brightening with the LXs that was not visible in the 10x50s.

Of course, more detail can be seen in larger binoculars, but the larger binos also have smaller FOVs and are either far less comfortable to hold or require mounting. Viewing with mounted binoculars is fun, but it's not the same experience as using handheld binos.

I bought the LXs from a locally owned birding store in Kansas City -- the Backyard Bird Center. They cost about $900 -- comparable to internet prices from reliable vendors (like Astronomics). This is more than 3x the cost of the Carton Adlerblick 8x42mm binoculars, which by all accounts is a fine pair of binoculars. Are they 3x better than the Adlerblicks?

I don't believe there is any way to answer that question objectively. I made my choice because I've spent more time under the night sky with my Lookout 10x50s than all my other instruments put together. And I've loved every minute of it, despite the limitations of those binoculars. It seems reasonable to me to get the best instrument I can afford for the type of observing I enjoy the most.


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

Fiske Miles
Nikon 8x42 LX / 12x50 SE Binos
Mini Borg 60ED, TV-101, AT80Ach, XT-8, C11/CI-700, 22-Inch Dob
Way too many Nagler eyepieces
http://www.fiskemiles.blogspot.com/
www.fiskemiles.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
Loc: Lancashire UK
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm Mini-Review new [Re: Fiske]
      #71430 - 03/14/04 04:05 PM

Fiske,

A warm welcome to you !

Thank you for your review.

The 8 x 42 High Grades you mention are certainly a fine binocular.

I posted a review of them to Excelsis over 2 years ago , but for some reason it appears under the 10 x 42 version.

I commented there that I consider this model a truly "world - class glass".

I found it a bit heavy for my liking.

Also spotted more chromatic aberration than I had expected for such a high price.

But in spite of these minor quibbles I was VERY impressed by them all in all.

Keep in touch !

Regards Kenny.

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


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Fiske
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/14/04
Posts: 2230
Loc: Missouri / United States
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm Mini-Review new [Re: KennyJ]
      #71488 - 03/14/04 05:49 PM

Kenny:

Thanks for the welcome.

I've noticed the chromatic aberration myself in daylight on high-constrast subjects. It's disconcerting. I'm going to be evaluating the pair very critically during the next few clear nights. On my first night out, I didn't notice any color issues whatsoever.

I'm also going to have a talk with Mark McKellar at the Backyard Bird Center. Mark is terrific. I don't believe he would hesitate to take them back if I decide they're not suitable.

However, I like the darn things so much it's going to take a lot to convince me they aren't the best choice.

Do you have a favorite handholdable binocular?

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

Fiske Miles
Nikon 8x42 LX / 12x50 SE Binos
Mini Borg 60ED, TV-101, AT80Ach, XT-8, C11/CI-700, 22-Inch Dob
Way too many Nagler eyepieces
http://www.fiskemiles.blogspot.com/
www.fiskemiles.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
Loc: Lancashire UK
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm Mini-Review new [Re: Fiske]
      #71495 - 03/14/04 06:15 PM

Yes Fiske

See my "mini -reviews" of Zeiss 7 x 42 and Swift 10 x 50

Regards Kenny.

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


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Fiske
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/14/04
Posts: 2230
Loc: Missouri / United States
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm Mini-Review new [Re: KennyJ]
      #71987 - 03/15/04 12:36 PM

Kenny:

A fine review of the Zeiss 7 x 42 binos. I'm interested in the Zeiss, but unfortunately have never had my hands on a pair. I think I'll purchase a pair when the Miles family CFO recovers from the shock of my LX acquisition -- probably next year. :-)

I suspect what I'll discover is that both binoculars have their strong points. I had the Nikon LXs at a dark site last night, and must say they are a joy to use. It's difficult to articulate the pleasure of studying the night sky with a quality pair of handheld binoculars. I have several fine telescopes (Celestron C-11 / Tele Vue TV-101) and use them frequently, but for pure relaxation and fun it's hard to beat a comfortable sling chair and binoculars.

The moon wasn't up last night when I was out, and that's where I anticipate seeing evidence of chromatic aberration. I could detect none in stellar views. I tried seeing if Sirius or Capella would show any. It wasn't really steady enough for a final test on Sirius. Vega would probably be a better bet from my latitude because it's much closer to the zenith. I have to think that the chromatic aberration is a design trade-off somehow -- it's hard to believe that Nikon optical engineers wouldn't have accounted for it. I plan to put the question to Nikon and will share their response in this forum.

Interestingly, I did detect the smallest hint of spiking on Sirius. I understand that this is an artefact of the phase correction coatings on the roof prisms.

When it comes to absolutely testing a pair of binoculars, I believe one needs to spend a lot of time with them. The only way to really do that is just to buy the darn things. It's like a friendship -- it takes time to appreciate the nuances. Also, like friendships, I don't think one is the limit. Barry Simon apparently owns 17 pairs of binoculars (or so). I don't know that I'll ever own that many, but half a dozen sounds reasonable. :-)

Regarding the Swift 10x50s -- are you referring to the Kestrels? I wear eyeglasses and understand that eye relief is a serious problem for eyeglass wearers with the Kestrels.

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

Fiske Miles
Nikon 8x42 LX / 12x50 SE Binos
Mini Borg 60ED, TV-101, AT80Ach, XT-8, C11/CI-700, 22-Inch Dob
Way too many Nagler eyepieces
http://www.fiskemiles.blogspot.com/
www.fiskemiles.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
Loc: Lancashire UK
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm Mini-Review new [Re: Fiske]
      #72029 - 03/15/04 02:05 PM

Hi Fiske,

My review of the Swifts clearly indicates it is indeed the Kestrel model.

And yes there is a problem with eye -relief as indicated in my review.

I don't think slight chromatic abberation need be a problem at all for the vast majority of celestial use.

To me it is more troublesome in terrestrial applications.

You are probably correct about the "spiking" being due to roof prisms as opposed to porros.

No binocular is perfect after all.

All in all , the Nikon High Grade is definitely one of the VERY best I've ever tried.

Regards , Kenny.

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


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Fiske
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/14/04
Posts: 2230
Loc: Missouri / United States
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm Mini-Review new [Re: KennyJ]
      #72174 - 03/15/04 06:25 PM

Kenny:

Sorry -- I hadn't checked the Swift review before posting the question about the Kestrels. As you say, the Nikon's may not be perfect, but they are still wonderful and a pleasure to use for astronomy. I've enjoyed chatting with you about the Zeiss and Nikon binoculars. I think I'm going to give the subject a rest for a while and just enjoy my new binoculars. I've been a little obsessed on the topic lately. I'm taking medication for the condition... :-)

Fiske

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

Fiske Miles
Nikon 8x42 LX / 12x50 SE Binos
Mini Borg 60ED, TV-101, AT80Ach, XT-8, C11/CI-700, 22-Inch Dob
Way too many Nagler eyepieces
http://www.fiskemiles.blogspot.com/
www.fiskemiles.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
KennyJ
The British Flash


Reged: 04/27/03
Posts: 20139
Loc: Lancashire UK
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm Mini-Review new [Re: Fiske]
      #72188 - 03/15/04 06:56 PM

You're very welcome Friske.

Great idea to enjoy the binoculars rather than chat about them.

I never thought of doing that :-)

Next time your obsession causes you to return to this "Binoculars Anonymous" helpline , let me know what medication you have been prescribed , and how it works !

Regards -- Kenny.

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


Milton Wilcox R.I.P






Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
brocknroller
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 10/16/03
Posts: 1983
Loc: Bedford Falls, Pa.
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm Mini-Review new [Re: KennyJ]
      #72213 - 03/15/04 08:03 PM

The "chromatism" on the Venturer is a complaint I've heard again and again so I wondered why Nikon doesn't make an ED version for those who are sensitive to color fringing. They did! For sale on eBay are two "D" HGs. According to the seller, nikons uses ED glass "throughout". Both an 8X42 and 10X42 model are selling for $600. These are "B" grade refurbished models, according to the ad, and the photos verify their used condition.

Anyone heard of these "D" HGs before, they are apparently not sold in America. With the deep pockets some Americans have, I wonder why not?!

--------------------
Press: Are you a mod or a rocker?
Ringo: I'm a mocker


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm new [Re: brocknroller]
      #72385 - 03/16/04 01:17 AM

The Astroluxe series are the only Nikon models using ED glass.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Fiske
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/14/04
Posts: 2230
Loc: Missouri / United States
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm new [Re: ]
      #72520 - 03/16/04 10:09 AM

I spoke with Ed Freedman at Nikon yesterday. I believe he's a regional rep for the Premier line. We talked about the LX chromatic aberration. He did not mention any "D" HG binos. I'm not sure he really understood my complaint about chromatic aberration. A couple of times he said that except for Nikon's astronomy binos, none of them were coma corrected. Of course, coma wasn't my concern. He did say that Nikon was not receiving complaints about the LXs similar to mine.

The dealer I purchased them from, an extremely knowledgeable and experienced birder, seemed not to understand what I was saying either. I'm going to get together with him to do some side by side comparisons with a few different binos. What I suspect is that birders in general don't use the binoculars in situations where the chromatic aberration is apparent. I mean, it is most visible when you do something like look at a grackle on a telephone wire silohetted against a cloudy white sky. (But what self-respecting birder would do that? :-) )

I suppose if you were really into raptors, the problem would be more of an issue. But, honestly, it's fairly well controlled. I haven't seen even a hint of false color on star fields at night. I anticipate seeing it on the moon, which I haven't had a chance to look at with the LXs yet. But 8x binos aren't exactly my preferred instrument for lunar observation. And compared with tinitis (which I developed last year) a hint of false color in brightly lit high-contrast views is a minor thing. :-)

I chose the LXs for a combination of factors -- their sharp, bright, contrasty views, the incredibly high comfort factor, the twist-up eyecups and locking diopter control, and the fact that they are 8x. I have field tested the Nikon Superior E 10x42 binos from dark sky sites and while they are fine binos, I firmly believe that 10x is too much magnification for a 42mm instrument used for astronomy. I would have selected an 8x42mm Superior E, but Nikon doesn't offer one.

I am very interested in testing out a pair of Zeiss 7x42mm BGATs, like KennyG recommends. One issue that I already anticipate is 7x versus 8x. Smaller objects like M1 are pretty difficult even at 8x, at 7x I'm not sure they would be visible. The 8.6 degree field sounds terrific, but an important question will be how much astigmatism and coma is involved. Day-time binocular use isn't nearly as sensitive to this issue as astronomical use. I've noticed that several reviews of the LXs comment on how flat and sharp the field is from edge to edge, while Zeiss reviews are silent on this issue. The real champs in this regard are reputedly the Nikon Prostar and Fujinon SMX (?) 7x50s. But they both weigh a ton (around 53 ounces).

There are just a lot of trade-offs. The real problem, for amateur astronomers, is that the handheld bino market is driven by birding, hunting, and sports (not astronomy).

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

Fiske Miles
Nikon 8x42 LX / 12x50 SE Binos
Mini Borg 60ED, TV-101, AT80Ach, XT-8, C11/CI-700, 22-Inch Dob
Way too many Nagler eyepieces
http://www.fiskemiles.blogspot.com/
www.fiskemiles.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Fiske
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/14/04
Posts: 2230
Loc: Missouri / United States
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm new [Re: Fiske]
      #72590 - 03/16/04 11:42 AM

Interesting. I just called Nikon technical support to ask about chromatic aberration in the LX 8x42mm binos. The support person said that any detectable chromatic aberration indicated that the binoculars were defective and should be exchanged at the dealer or returned to Nikon for repair or replacement.

I'm suddenly a much happier Venturer LX owner. Heh, heh. :-)

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

Fiske Miles
Nikon 8x42 LX / 12x50 SE Binos
Mini Borg 60ED, TV-101, AT80Ach, XT-8, C11/CI-700, 22-Inch Dob
Way too many Nagler eyepieces
http://www.fiskemiles.blogspot.com/
www.fiskemiles.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
EdZ
Professor EdZ


Reged: 02/15/02
Posts: 18806
Loc: Cumberland, R I , USA42N71.4W
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm new [Re: Fiske]
      #72614 - 03/16/04 12:34 PM

I'm surprised at the technicians answer, especially as it is impossible to completely eliminate chromatic aberration in a lens system.

Keep in mind the aspects of construction that drive CA to be higher, lower f ratios (faster optics). binoculars certainly fit that criteria.

Are these doublets or triplet lenses. If doublets and non-ED, who's kidding who, you can't rid the system of CA. If triplets, you can nearly rid the system of CA, but still not completely.

If you see CA AND are seeing a problem with focusing, diminshed light or inability to discern objects at low contrast, you have a problen. If you see CA but all the above are fine, you don't have a problem.

edz

edz

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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
jmoore
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 10/01/03
Posts: 1959
Loc: Beaufort, NC
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm new [Re: EdZ]
      #72672 - 03/16/04 02:04 PM

I haven't read this whole thread, so I apologize if I'm not taking the context of this question into account, but do we really need to even worry about CA for astronomical use of something like 8x42 binos? It's not like you'll be zooming in on Jupiter or anything.

--------------------
Hardin 12"


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Fiske
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/14/04
Posts: 2230
Loc: Missouri / United States
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm new [Re: jmoore]
      #72698 - 03/16/04 02:48 PM

edz:

I don't know if they're doublet or triplet. They are definitely non-ed. I presume they must be triplets, simply based on the technician's response.

He didn't make any qualifications. What he said was that if I could see any chromatic aberration under any lighting conditions in the LX binoculars, something was wrong with the pair I have. He didn't sound like a newbie.

I've read a couple of reviews on birding websites that specifically state no chromatic aberration is observable in the 8x42 LXs. It's readily observable in the pair I have. Perhaps there is some unit to unit variation? Perhaps Nikon has a quality control issue on this line. Perhaps I got a "lemon" pair. I don't know the answer.

I'm meeting with the dealer this evening. We're going to cross-check each pair of 8x42s he has in stock. If we can find one that doesn't exhibit CA I'll take it with me. If we can't, they're all going back to Nikon. (His statement.)

I'll follow up here with the result.

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

Fiske Miles
Nikon 8x42 LX / 12x50 SE Binos
Mini Borg 60ED, TV-101, AT80Ach, XT-8, C11/CI-700, 22-Inch Dob
Way too many Nagler eyepieces
http://www.fiskemiles.blogspot.com/
www.fiskemiles.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Fiske
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/14/04
Posts: 2230
Loc: Missouri / United States
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm new [Re: Fiske]
      #72703 - 03/16/04 02:52 PM

jmoore:

No apologies necessary. :-) And no, I don't intend to be zooming in on Jupiter with these.

BUT, when you pay this much money for what a number of authorities state is optically the finest 8x42mm bino on the planet, you don't expect frigging yellow and purple halos (no matter how small) in the fov.

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

Fiske Miles
Nikon 8x42 LX / 12x50 SE Binos
Mini Borg 60ED, TV-101, AT80Ach, XT-8, C11/CI-700, 22-Inch Dob
Way too many Nagler eyepieces
http://www.fiskemiles.blogspot.com/
www.fiskemiles.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Erik D
Post Laureate


Reged: 04/28/03
Posts: 4066
Loc: Central New Jersey, USA
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm new [Re: jmoore]
      #72713 - 03/16/04 03:12 PM

I would tend to agree with Jeff(moore) about CA been a non-issue in low power, small aperture binos for astro use. I have the Oberwerk 12X60 ($109) and can not detect false color at all even when I am viewing the edge of the full moon. With my 20X80 LW I can detect green/purple fringes when I am viewing dark objects against a bright sky background but I will have to be looking for it. That said, I would expect a pair of $900 8X42mm premium binos to have CA well under control for day or night viewing.

Erik D


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm new [Re: Erik D]
      #72735 - 03/16/04 04:31 PM

I have tried a Nikon 8x42 HG binocular and saw chromatic aberration. I have yet to try a 8x40-ish roof prism binocular that does not show quite a bit of purple fringing, increasing with distance off-axis. I saw lots through a Leica 8x42 Ultravid. It's normal. Not all people see it. In fact most people don't. I think it is in the design and not due to mis-alignment as suggested by Nikon. In practice it is minor and the view through this binocular is quite something: very clear and natural.

On point to note is that poor eye placement increases the amount of CA: I think you see what is called horizontal and/or vertical CA. Basically get the intra-ocular distance sorted, and align the bins correctly with your eyes.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Fiske
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/14/04
Posts: 2230
Loc: Missouri / United States
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm new [Re: ]
      #72761 - 03/16/04 05:21 PM

I have noticed a subtle (very subtle) difference in the CA depending on eye position, and I've monkeyed around with it quite a bit. I also tried observing without my glasses and didn't notice much difference.

I tested the binos on some Canada geese on a pond outside our office building over lunch, and saw thin yellow and purple fringes around all the white and black markings.

My dealer called me back after lunch to say that his Nikon distributer is sending him a new pair of 8x42s recently off the assembly line. He apparently has one other pair in stock, but from his comments I think he has had them for a while. I'm starting to wonder if Nikon had some production issue in the past which they have now corrected. :-)

I described what I was seeing on the Canada geese, and he repeated what the Nikon technican said -- something is absolutely wrong with this pair of binos. All the feedback from the Nikon dealer, distributer, and technician seems to pretty specifically indicate a defect.

I'm visiting the store this evening for some testing. The new pair won't be in for a couple of days. I'll be going back to the store when the new pair arrives.

It'll be interesting to see how the whole thing works out.

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

Fiske Miles
Nikon 8x42 LX / 12x50 SE Binos
Mini Borg 60ED, TV-101, AT80Ach, XT-8, C11/CI-700, 22-Inch Dob
Way too many Nagler eyepieces
http://www.fiskemiles.blogspot.com/
www.fiskemiles.com


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
brocknroller
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 10/16/03
Posts: 1983
Loc: Bedford Falls, Pa.
Re: Nikon Venturer LX 8x42mm new [Re: ]
      #72867 - 03/16/04 09:02 PM

Quote:

The Astroluxe series are the only Nikon models using ED glass.




Not according to Tony at La Maison du Oobaz
http://stores.ebay.com/La-Maison-du-Oobaz

I wrote him to verify that the Venturers he was selling on eBay were EDs. Here's his reply:

Greetings:

Thank you for your interest in this auction. These Venturer CF
binoculars use Nikon's ED glass, and were factory refurbished by Nikon USA. The 8x42 pair did sell on eBay, and I only have the 10x42 pair left.

Regards, Tony

--------------------
Press: Are you a mod or a rocker?
Ringo: I'm a mocker


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | (show all)


Extra information
0 registered and 160 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  EdZ 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 5239

Jump to

CN Forums Home



Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics