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The BEST Binoculars I've EVER Looked Through!

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#51 Joe Ogiba

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 11:27 AM

I recently got my pair of Canon 10x42L IS binoculars. I have been very curious to see just how Canon's best "L" glass would compare to Europe's finest. IS aside, these are phenomenally good optics! If Canon decided to forego the IS, and simply re-package these optics in a sleek and lightweight housing - this might be THE finest binocular on the market. They are bright, sharp across the entire field, free of chromatic abberation and completely free of flare in even the most difficult lighting.


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#52 Mr. Bill

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 11:27 AM

Here we go....

:gotpopcorn:
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#53 Erik D

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 12:21 PM

I recently got my pair of Canon 10x42L IS binoculars. I have been very curious to see just how Canon's best "L" glass would compare to Europe's finest. IS aside, these are phenomenally good optics! If Canon decided to forego the IS, and simply re-package these optics in a sleek and lightweight housing - this might be THE finest binocular on the market. They are bright, sharp across the entire field, free of chromatic abberation and completely free of flare in even the most difficult lighting.


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Forgot the Rest?
--------------------------

"....But alas, Canon is synonymous with Image Stabilization in the binocular world - and this is their undoing. Thanks to IS, they are overly large and heavy, and worse yet, an ungainly shape that doesn't seem to have been made to be comfortably held by human hands.

The price of image stabilization is an image that is constantly fluctuating into and out of perfect focus, due to the constant high-frequency movement of the prisms as they "Stabilize" the image. In fact, we have simply traded one annoying optical artifact (image shake) for another (a disquieting image instability). Since most of us have unintentionally trained our brains to compensate for a certain amount of image shake, this new and unaccustomed phenomenon is just bothersome. In order to keep the image critically sharp, it is still necessary to concentrate all ones efforts on holding them steady - but this is a bloated, overweight contraption - so doing so is even more tiresome than without IS (and all that comes with it) at all.

It's a shame, really -this may be the finest set of optics I have ever sold."

-----------------------------
In my case the ability to deal with image shake in bino up to 15X was a by-product of using higher powered rifle scopes in competition years ago. I am not bothered by the image sway("constant high-frequency movement of the prisms") of IS binos either. IS feature in binos 15X or higher means less mental effort is needed to hold still. However, for me personally, having IS does not compensate for the additional bulk, wt and cost with superior image quality. Not in the Canon 10, 12 and 18X IS bino I have look thru anyway.

Can't speak for anyone else, but If given $1,200 for a pair of 10-12X binoculars, I'd prefer to apply all of it towards better optics or other features instead of IS circuitry.

ERik D

#54 Joe Ogiba

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 01:17 PM

I don't have any IS problems with my 10x42L's and that is all I care about. And I purchased the larger and heavier 15x50 IS after I had the 10x42L's for over a year since the size and weight was not a problem for me. It's my money and I buy what I like and the 10x42L & 15x50 IS are my two most used binoculars because they give ME the best handheld views.
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#55 medinabrit

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 05:51 PM

I have to agree with you there Joe .While i appreciate Edz vast technical knowledge i think he is wrong on the IS bins .
Im fortunate enough to own a few pretty expensive bins But the IS specially the 12 are the most used .
Several times at wild life areas i have let birders with some high end stuff hanging around their neck look through the IS & almost to a man [or woman] they have been pretty amazed & delighted with what they saw.
What is the use of a $2000 edg or swaro if the image is shimmering [shaking]
I have not experienced any problems with mine other than the too hard eye cups on the 15.
Best thing since sliced bread in my humble uneducated opinion.
Brian.

#56 pcad

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 06:01 PM

Even EdZ said that the Canon IS binos were better than the competition when used handheld with the IS activated. That wasn't the point he was tring to make.

I see no reason why there should be any argument about a person saying these were the best bino's that they've looked through. It's just a matter of personal taste and priorities, no testing required.

#57 KennyJ

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 06:01 PM

I realise sliced bread is convenient , but for me the very best bread is sold in loaves that need to be sliced by the purchaser .

I know Brian likes his Canon IS binoculars and uses them more often than others , but this thread is about the BEST BINOCULARS we have ever looked through , and I also know that Brian has several binoculars in his collection , all NON image stabilised , that even HE admits are " better " than any of his Canon IS models !

Kenny

#58 pcad

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 06:12 PM

That may be, but do the best binoculars have to be the best optically? I could make a case for my best bino having an 11+ degree FOV, or ultra close focusing, or IS, or lightest weight, or having interchangable eyepieces, or the most magnification, or the sharpest image when mounted. What's best is in the eye of the binoholder. ;)

#59 Joe Ogiba

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 06:46 PM

It's amazing that after purchasing binoculars for almost 50 years some people think they know better and that I am not seeing what I am seeing in my binoculars. :rolling:

#60 Klaus_160

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 09:19 PM

Overall: Zeiss 15x60 BGAT (by a margin)

Faint stuff: Fuji 10x70 FMTSX
Tripod: Miyauchi 20x/26x/37x100
Honorable mention: Nikon 12x50 SE

#61 John F

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 10:50 PM

Rich,

Joe nailed it, it's the high 15x power. I don't think that any non-IS 15x binocular (no matter how light its weight or how superb is ergonomics) is going to be pleasant to use at such a high power. So why pay $500 - $2500 for a binocular that comes with that kind of handicap unless you plan to use it with a mount.

And in the particular case of the Zeiss 15x60 BGATs they're not that heavy (i.e., 55 ounces), but they're rather short and thick (because of their rubber armoring) and distinctly uncomfortable to hand hold. I used to have a pair of Zeiss Jena 15x60 Nobilems and those were longer, thinner and easier to hand hold, but even given its advantages in those areas its high 15x power was just too much to much. Nowadays I just use my 7x & 8.5x binoculars in hand held mode and use a mount with the other three. I have no complaints about that because they all work very nicely with the mount and I have a nice mount that I use with a LaFuma recliner there is nothing that I wish I could change about the system.
John Finnan

#62 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 01:22 AM

Are some, or all, or none of the Fujinon 25 x 150 EM-SX equipped with ED glass in an objective lens element(s). Am still hoping for a credible firsthand comparison of the Fuji ED 25 x 150 with the "ordinary" version, with which I am familiar inside and out, since the 1970's , in both the trunnioned, and the lighter, later version.

There are some pictures of someone working on the inside of WW II Busch design 10 x 80 Flak 45 deg. deviation binoculars in the Yoshikawa ad in the March issue of Temmon Guide.

#63 Gordon Rayner

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 01:32 AM

GlennLeDrew:

Are your beautiful custom Ethos-equipped right angle binoculars fixed IPD? Or, perhaps you can adjust them in semi-real time , for someone else? Or perhaps immediately? Any such mechanism does not seem to be visible.

#64 medinabrit

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 07:09 AM

Yes Kenny the IS definately are not the best .BUT those that are better are not in the carry about class.
I just think that the IS are the most useful.Specially for us old farts that have wonky knees & cant carry a tripod around the woods all day.
Brian.

#65 eklf

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 08:25 AM

.... I have a nice mount that I use with a LaFuma recliner there is nothing that I wish I could change about the system.
John Finnan


Hi John, If you dont mind may I ask you a quick question regarding the mount and the lafuma recliner?

I, too, have a lafuma recliner that I find the most comfortable chair, however I can only use it for handheld binocular viewing. Only a P-mount offers some degree of ease but it works only for a small sector of the sky. Even a slight lateral change requires annoying back twisting contortions. (By contrast, I find the P-mount to be best suited for a easy-to-swivel reclining chair, which the lafuma is not).

May I ask what kind of binocular mount do you use with the lafuma recliner?

Thanks in advance,
Kumar

#66 Erik D

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 11:29 AM

That may be, but do the best binoculars have to be the best optically? I could make a case for my best bino having an 11+ degree FOV, or ultra close focusing, or IS, or lightest weight, or having interchangable eyepieces, or the most magnification, or the sharpest image when mounted. What's best is in the eye of the binoholder. ;)


Peter,

Certainly, every person is free to decide what attributes in each pair of binocular is most important for them. As many on this forum know, I enjoyed using my $149 Burgess 20X80 LW for day time viewing and for astronomy for more than 6 years, Mounted AND handheld. I also know that EdZ tested the same model and found serious problems with the pair he had, including tilt prism and reduced aperture.

But at 3.6 lbs I found the 20X80 LW fairly comfortable to hand hold. Enough heft to dampen the shakes but less taxing than my 5.5 lb Japanese 20X80. No, I am Not a "human tripod", and I can not hold 20X binos motionless. But I can hold them still enough to discern more details than my friend's Canon 18X50 IS in extended, critical side by side test sessions. (No surprise there, ~74mm vs. 50 mm, 19X(?) vs 18X).

I am one of those who "have unintentionally trained our brains to compensate for a certain amount of image shake".

The Burgess 20X80s offer me the satisfaction of bigger image scale than a pair of 15X70 Ultra, HD or SS costing twice as much. 1/6 the cost of the 18X IS.

The 20X80 LWs with 70+ deg Afov are the "BEST" for ME till I can find something better.
But do they offer the same image quality as a pair of Astroluxe, FMT SX, Superior E or Tak Astronomer? I have NO illusions about that at ALL....

Several month ago Wes offered up a pair of Nikon 7X50 ProStars for sale at a Very attractive price. I was sorely tempted. I know they have been rated as one of the two best 7X50 astro binoculars ever made. I recall reading a glowing review of the ProStar back in the 1980s in Astronomy magazine. At a time when I can only Dream of premium binoculars. But I also know I have pair of 7X50 NOVA EWA binos sitting in the case for sometime, so I didn't.

I think I first came across a very favorable report of the Canon IS binoculars on CN nearly a decade ago. IIRC, it was by Allister on the 15X45 IS. I was excited and eager to try my friend's 10X30 and 18X50 IS after his purchase six years ago. I used them many times since, also looked thru the 12X36 IS II and 10X42 IS L briefly. IS worked on all of them. Small IS artifacts were visible in the 18X, but not a big issue for me. OTOH, The "Wow" experience of observing with "world class optics" many (including Holger and Kimmo) mentioned never came to me, so I haven't felt a pressing desire to own a pair either.

I am old enough to know my limitations, and secure enough about my optics choice to be at ease with both. ;-))

ERik D

#67 pcad

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 01:14 PM

I agree and I'm envious of your ability to use higher mag binos effectively. Wouldn't it be nice to get those premium optics in the LW 20x80 bino's, sigh....

Looking at the opening post, I think the intention was to report which binoculars had the best optics. "Which are the best" opens the door for all the other issues/features of a particular binocular to influence one's choice for best binocular.

#68 GlennLeDrew  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 04:36 PM

Gordon,
Re. your question about my latest home-made bino...
Due to the relatively large diameters of the objective barrel couplers (65mm) and the 2" focuser base widths (66mm), I elected to simplify to a fixed IPD (which for me is 67mm.)

My first RA bino *did* have built in an IPD adjustment, given that many more folk could use them due to the ~55mm minimum spacing that could be attained.

#69 stevecoe

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 06:48 PM

Gentlemen;

The best binoculars I ever looked through was a binocular chair created by the late Pierre Schwaar. He ground two matching 8 inch f/4.5 Newtonians with the same pitch lap so they had the exact same focal length. They are mounted over your shoulders as you sit in the chair. There is adjustment by a diagonal that brings the focal point to your eyes. It used 25mm Erfle eyepieces, with its own focuser. The field of view was 2.2 degrees.

The chair moves in azmuth by a battery powered gear and motor, you move it in altitude by tilting back or forward (carefully).

Scanning the Summer Milky Way in this device is the most entrancing view of the sky I have ever had. Start at M 7 and work your way north through the Lagoon, Sagitarrius Star Cloud and on to Scutum. Amazing dark lanes appear to be "in front"of the stars in the distance. Beautiful looping chains of stars come into view. Colors of orange, yellow and blue stars are immediately obvious.

There were three of us, each took his turn and then came back for more. We laughed about giving the person in the chair a hotfoot to get them out so the next could start viewing. It was a phenomenol night to say the least.

Clear skies to us all;
Steve Coe

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#70 pcad

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 06:57 PM

Reminds me a little of Wall-E, which isn't a bad thing.

I imagine the view would be more or less like the JMI reverse binoculars, except reverse part.

#71 John F

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 12:10 AM

Kumar,

I've attached a picture of my P Mount and LaFuma binocular observing system. The tripod which supports the P Mount is the same one Losmandy sells for use with their GM8 equatorial mount. It is very sturdy and with its legs compressed like the way I use it and it's the ideal height for use with a LaFuma recliner.

The P-Mount is a Universal Optics Unimount Light Deluxe. I've been using this system for 7 years now and have been very satisfied with it. Its not too large or heavy so its easy to assemble/disassemble and transport in my car. It also works well with all of my different pairs of binoculars.

As for the comfort factor, most of the time I don't find it to be uncomfortable at all and have in fact fallen asleep in the chair a few times while observing. However, when I have the binoculars pointed at or near the zenith I do have to bend my neck back a ways (and I have a small cylinder shaped neck pillow I use at those times) and that can be somewhat uncomfortable, but not so bad that I can't do it for considerable periods of time. However, I do wish that the backs of the LaFuma recliner could recline further back that they currently do. I have another chair similar to it in my library called "The Perfect Chair" which would be ideal for observing with except (unlike the LaFuma) it is too big and heavy to transport anywhere once you set it up.

John Finnan

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#72 EdZ

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 07:50 AM

I think I have to say the Tak 22x60 Astronomer. I've used a fair amount of binoculars of all sizes up to BT100s, and I just could not make the image any better than what I saw thru the Taks.

edz
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#73 Man in a Tub

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 10:03 AM

March 18, 2006
Lands End, San Francisco
San Francisco Amateur Astronomers' Public Star Party
Fujinon 16x70 on a parallelogram mount.

I was new to binocular astronomy. I had only one "serious" binocular, my Brunton Eterna 15x51.

It had been a very wet winter with almost no observing opportunities. After an opening presentation by none other than the Fujinon owner, clouds were sweeping in from the ocean, but surprisingly the sky suddenly cleared.

I spent more time with the Fujinon than with any telescope available. No one seemed to care. The owner was a great guy. He understood my fascination.

M41 and M44 were memorable.

#74 eklf

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 10:18 AM

Hi John,

Ahh Yes..I have seen your picture many times on the Universal Astronomics website. It certainly is a very comfortable position.

I have been using a home made P mouont with the lafuma and I do have to say it is indeed the most comfortable position and a change in alt is a breeze. Its just the change in az that becomes a little bit challeneging. Its intersting how quickly one gets used to the comforts such that even slight discomfort (within perfectly acceptable limtits) becomes rather annoying.

Thanks again for your sharing yout thougts and the picuture. It is indeed a very comfortable combination.

#75 eklf

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 10:32 AM

The 20X80 LWs with 70+ deg Afov are the "BEST" for ME till I can find something better.
But do they offer the same image quality as a pair of Astroluxe, FMT SX, Superior E or Tak Astronomer? I have NO illusions about that at ALL....


Hi Erik,

I have a (perhaps)similar baska 20x80 LW that I have been enjoying for over three years. I acquired a Fuji 16x70 FMT-SX (old yellow ring eyecap style) abt a year ago. I continue to use both of these instruments extensively.

I can easily state that, although the fujis have a better quality image, the images through the 20x80s are wonderfull. I would have absolutely no quamls using the 20x80s over the Fujis during any observing sessions because I dont think I loose much in the views. Perhaps its the combination of the wider FOV (they feel much more expansive than the 16x70s) and the increased eyerelief. Every single time I use it (inspite of all these years), it provides that *ahh* moment.

The differences in much mentioned edge-of-field peformance make very little impact to me as (in some ways contrasting with mono eyepeices on scopes) its more strenous for me to pay attention to the field edge using binoculars. There is something abt binocular usage that makes me want to look at the center of the field only..with the outer field only providing the perspective.

I have owned 82* and 100* eyepeices but _none_ have provided a "space walk" feel as much as the 20x80s.


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