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Equipment Discussions >> Binoculars

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Tony Flanders
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: Mapleton]
      #5704155 - 02/27/13 07:59 PM

Quote:

I would prefer to get a premium binocular. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to spend $2000+ but I don't see the point in buying junk.




Hmmm, are you implying that the world is divided into premium and junk, and nothing in between? That's not how most people see the world.

Quote:

What would you rather have, 10 used Ford Pintos or one brand new Lexus?




Neither, thanks. I would rather have what I do in fact own -- a solid, reliable, sensibly engineered, unpretentious car.

But I certainly wouldn't want to own a "premium" car. Yuck!


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Lou3
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Reged: 07/19/12

Loc: PA, USA
Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5704498 - 02/27/13 11:08 PM

I have no doubt that I'll be blown away when I look through a Swarovision, Ultravid, or Victory, and will measure all other binoculars against them. I wouldn't buy one though. First, I tend toward "bang for the buck" options. The BA8 or Zen-Ray might not score as many points in a review, but they'd surely provide a lifetime of great service. Secondly, a $2,000 binocular would feel more like a jewel to me than a tool; I just wouldn't be able to relax with it.

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Stacy
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Reged: 09/15/02

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: Lou3]
      #5704711 - 02/28/13 02:54 AM

Quote:

I have no doubt that I'll be blown away when I look through a Swarovision, Ultravid, or Victory, and will measure all other binoculars against them. I wouldn't buy one though. First, I tend toward "bang for the buck" options. The BA8 or Zen-Ray might not score as many points in a review, but they'd surely provide a lifetime of great service. Secondly, a $2,000 binocular would feel more like a jewel to me than a tool; I just wouldn't be able to relax with it.




There is a LOT to be said for that. It's hard to relax with some of this alpha glass. However I DO love my new Lincoln.


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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

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Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: Lou3]
      #5704770 - 02/28/13 06:17 AM

Quote:

I have no doubt that I'll be blown away when I look through a Swarovision, Ultravid, or Victory, and will measure all other binoculars against them. I wouldn't buy one though. First, I tend toward "bang for the buck" options. The BA8 or Zen-Ray might not score as many points in a review, but they'd surely provide a lifetime of great service. Secondly, a $2,000 binocular would feel more like a jewel to me than a tool; I just wouldn't be able to relax with it.




I am not so sure you would be "blown away" by the $2000 view. The differences between a good quality optic and an excellent optic are in the execution and the fine points. The limitations are still the same, they don't go away. Sharpness is limited by the large exit pupil, the low magnification, small aperture, the fast focal ratios and the fact that you will most likely be hand holding the binoculars...

Jon


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*skyguy*
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Reged: 12/31/08

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Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5704865 - 02/28/13 08:23 AM

"We should seek excellence in that which we do, for the pursuit of perfection is a fools errand, unattainable by a human." Good advice when buying binoculars and for other pursuits in life!

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Tony Flanders
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Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5705111 - 02/28/13 11:07 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I have no doubt that I'll be blown away when I look through a Swarovision, Ultravid, or Victory, and will measure all other binoculars against them.




I am not so sure you would be "blown away" by the $2000 view.




Agreed. I'm sure I would be impressed with the view, and I'm equally sure I wouldn't be blown away -- nor would I measure all other binoculars against them.

I was very impressed when I first looked through an Ethos eyepiece. My internal reaction went something like this:

It's amazing that they can make an eyepiece like that. I'm really happy for the lucky owner. Now please give me back my Panoptic and let me continue observing.

Good enough is good enough for me.


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StarStuff1
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Reged: 04/01/07

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Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5705208 - 02/28/13 12:06 PM

Agreed. I'll keep my mid-level binos and eyepieces.

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Fomalhaut
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/16/08

Loc: Switzerland
Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: StarStuff1]
      #5705369 - 02/28/13 01:40 PM

Rather very seldomly premium bang binocular buyer (!) than ...
...many times (sequentially or simultaneously) many-littlebang-for-manymany-bucks...

Because?? => In the long run, it's cheaper!

Chris


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Lou3
super member


Reged: 07/19/12

Loc: PA, USA
Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5706257 - 02/28/13 09:42 PM

Quote:

I am not so sure you would be "blown away" by the $2000 view. The differences between a good quality optic and an excellent optic are in the execution and the fine points. The limitations are still the same, they don't go away. Sharpness is limited by the large exit pupil, the low magnification, small aperture, the fast focal ratios and the fact that you will most likely be hand holding the binoculars...

Jon



I don't mean that the alphas would blow away everything else, but that I expect they'd impress me more (if only incrementally) than anything else I've used. The point is that I'm sure the alphas have their reputation for a good reason. But, as Tony says, good enough is just that. Nothing against the alphas or people who buy them.


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RichD
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Reged: 11/08/07

Loc: Derbyshire, UK
Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: Lou3]
      #5706772 - 03/01/13 08:56 AM

For me it's about star sharpness. Once you've looked through a Televue Panoptic or Nagler for a while it's difficult to go back to those eyepieces that don't have as sharpn an image. You feel short changed, particularly if you hate (as I do) ragged stars anywhere near the field stop.

Same thing applies to binos, I once had a Helios stellar 15x70 (Orion mini giants in the US) and had fun with it, but after I splashed out on a Fuji 16x70, the image in the Helios compared to the fuji was so obviously inferior that it had to go. I'm no snob when it comes to optics and certainly not an expert observer, but when the image is so much better you have to pay the money for it.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: RichD]
      #5706864 - 03/01/13 09:46 AM

Quote:

For me it's about star sharpness. Once you've looked through a Televue Panoptic or Nagler for a while it's difficult to go back to those eyepieces that don't have as sharpn an image. You feel short changed, particularly if you hate (as I do) ragged stars anywhere near the field stop.

Same thing applies to binos, I once had a Helios stellar 15x70 (Orion mini giants in the US) and had fun with it, but after I splashed out on a Fuji 16x70, the image in the Helios compared to the fuji was so obviously inferior that it had to go. I'm no snob when it comes to optics and certainly not an expert observer, but when the image is so much better you have to pay the money for it.




I am OK with not so perfect views. I have two fast 4 inch refractors, an Orion AstroView 100mm F/6 and a TeleVue NP-101. The NP-101+ 31mm Nagler is about as perfect as it gets in terms of pinpoint stars from right up to the field stop. Still, I enjoy the AstroView achromat with the attendant field curvature at low magnifications and less than perfect stars at moderate and higher magnifcations.

If you are jaded by the NP-101 + 31mm Nagler and unable to appreciate views/stars hat tare no quite so perfect, you are pretty much stuck and unable to look through anything else. Even the best binoculars are not going to provide an evenly illuminated, truly sharp to the edge 82 degree field of view...

Not long ago, I spent most a night just looking through my ST-80 fitted with a 2 inch focuser. 6 degrees with the 31mm Nagler, lots of field curvature. Right next to it was the NP-101. Imperfect as the 80mm F/5 views were, it was showing me things not possible in the fancier scope and I just could not take my eyes off it.

Jon


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Mr. Bill
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Loc: Northeastern Cal
Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5706983 - 03/01/13 10:54 AM

There's no going back (for me) once you have seen what good optics are capable of....kinda like your first bottle of really good Pinot Noir.

My philosophy: a few really good things rather than lots of mediocre....YMMV



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Erik Bakker
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Reged: 08/10/06

Loc: The Netherlands, Europe
Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: Mr. Bill]
      #5707005 - 03/01/13 11:10 AM

I have enjoyed many instruments for observing the universe, and continue to do so. When they are really well made, they tend to get out of the way more easily. I enjoy and appreciate that and find myself willing and able to pay the price for that. The other way around: if we stop appreciating and buying premium stuff, none of them will be available new in the not to distant future. I don't like that idea, so I enjoy sponsoring the companies that make the choice to design and manufacture quality stuff. When I couldn't afford that stuff new, I bought used.

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Tony Flanders
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: ngc 9999]
      #5707374 - 03/01/13 03:26 PM

For what it's worth, there are two separate issues here: How picky one is about optics in general, and how picky one is about binoculars in particular.

The only place where I'm really, really critical about optics is in my main telescopes. In particular, when I bought my 12.5-inch Dob I knew this was going to be the biggest optic that I would buy for a long time, so its optical quality would be an absolute cap on what I'd be able to see with my own equipment.

But as far as I'm concerned, binoculars are always a compromise -- so I'm very happy to compromise on optical quality as well as other considerations. For me the main points of binoculars are wide fields of view and convenience. Both of those mean that you have to settle for seeing less than you might otherwise.

A wide true field of view can be achieved only at low magnification, and low magnification inevitably limits how much you can see. There's always a tension between small and big with binoculars. The bigger the aperture, the more you can see -- but also the higher the magnification and the smaller the field of view.

Big apertures also, obviously, reduce the convenience. But as far as I'm concerned, binoculars can never be considered genuinely convenient if they're mounted. And when I hand-hold binoculars, that invariably limits what I can see more than any optical deficiency does, unless the deficiency is truly gross.

I think the unstated third dimension here is how much you care about viewing with two eyes as a opposed to one. For me, it's a significant consideration, but definitely third place to field of view and convenience.

I think it's the people who are really passionate about using two eyes for whom the optical quality of binoculars is paramount. If the best possible two-eyed view is your primary goal, then of course you will mount the binoculars -- that goes without saying. And that's when you will really start to pay attention to the fine points of the optics.


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Mr. Bill
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Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5707397 - 03/01/13 03:45 PM

Very well put, Tony.

I'm passionate about any optics, including microscopes.



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Lou3
super member


Reged: 07/19/12

Loc: PA, USA
Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: Erik Bakker]
      #5707474 - 03/01/13 04:48 PM

Quote:

When they are really well made, they tend to get out of the way more easily.



Well said. I've seen that with other things, and I'm starting to see it with binoculars. It probably depends on how picky we are about precision. For better or worse, I notice a lot of stuff: spiky stars, soft outer edges, narrow FOV, weight, feel in the hand, stiff or imprecise operation. That's why I expect alpha binos would be my ideal, but hopefully something like a Zen-Ray or Vortex will strike the right balance.


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hallelujah
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Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper new [Re: Lou3]
      #5707523 - 03/01/13 05:29 PM

Quote:

That's why I expect alpha binos would be my ideal, but hopefully something like a Zen-Ray or Vortex will strike the right balance.




Lou,

Take a quick look at this brief comment, from someone who tested the Vortex>

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php/Cat/0/Number/3559992/...

Stan


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George9
sage


Reged: 12/11/04

Re: Bang for the buck vs premium binocular keeper [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5709427 - 03/02/13 07:38 PM

Quote:

I am not so sure you would be "blown away" by the $2000 view. The differences between a good quality optic and an excellent optic are in the execution and the fine points. The limitations are still the same, they don't go away. Sharpness is limited by the large exit pupil, the low magnification, small aperture, the fast focal ratios and the fact that you will most likely be hand holding the binoculars...

Jon




Maybe not blown away, but a couple are actually sharp to the edge like a Televue eyepiece, and it's most noticeable on the the night sky. I think there actually is a jump for the Swarovision, and in fact I wonder why most of the others (Bushnell Elite, Ultravid, Victory) have not caught up yet. Not that it is worth the money, but I think there can be a real jump in edge sharpness, putting shaky hand holding aside.


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