Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


The BEST Binoculars I've EVER Looked Through!

  • Please log in to reply
212 replies to this topic

#151 bakerrihan


    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 80
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2013
  • Loc: Amman, jordan

Posted 31 March 2014 - 03:44 AM

1)Swarovsky slc 8x56
2)old russian 20x70
3)vixen bt81s-a

#152 Mr. Bill

Mr. Bill


  • *****
  • Posts: 9,823
  • Joined: 09 Feb 2005
  • Loc: Northeastern Cal

Posted 31 March 2014 - 06:16 PM

You can't buy them...I made them.


#153 Jarrod



  • *****
  • Posts: 1,310
  • Joined: 20 Jan 2013
  • Loc: SE USA

Posted 01 April 2014 - 08:02 AM

Mr. Bill wins. Again. :grin:

For me it was my father-in-law's Swarovski 8x42 - daytime use. Astonishingly bright and sharp to the edge with perfect color rendition. I was left with the impression that the instrument is, in a way, a work of art.

#154 SMark



  • *****
  • Posts: 4,781
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2011
  • Loc: Clay County, AL USA

Posted 01 April 2014 - 03:24 PM

For me
New binoculars.
From 80mm to 100mm
1) Docter Aspectem 40X ED and Kowa Highlander Prominar
2) Fujinon 25x150

From 30mm to 70mm
1) Swarovski Swarovision 8x32
2) Canon 10x42 IS
3) Docter Nobilem 8x56
4) Swarovski SLC (New) 8x56 e 15x56
4) Nikon EDG 8x42
5) NIkon 18x70

1) Leica Ultravid 10x25
2) Docter 8x21

1) Zeiss BLC 8x60
2) Sard 6x42
3)TZK 10x80

Considering the many high-end binos that Piergiovanni has reviewed, I am quite pleased to know that I own 3 of the 13 he mentioned. :cool:

#155 Binomania.it


    Vendor - Binomania

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 330
  • Joined: 20 May 2010
  • Loc: North Italy

Posted 05 April 2014 - 11:17 AM

Compliments! :-)

#156 schinia


    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 82
  • Joined: 17 May 2013
  • Loc: cape carteret,NC

Posted 06 April 2014 - 08:57 AM

you bet Stevie.

#157 Simon S

Simon S


  • *****
  • Posts: 2,318
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2007
  • Loc: Crawley West Sussex UK

Posted 06 April 2014 - 03:47 PM

It has to be the Nikon 8x32 SE's and the Nikon EII for me.
Then the Nikon Tropical and My lovely Binuxit's!

#158 Kevin Barker

Kevin Barker

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 934
  • Joined: 22 Apr 2009
  • Loc: Auckland, NZ

Posted 06 April 2014 - 04:06 PM

Binocs I have either owned or used....

Best for hand held, Zeiss 10X40 B/GA T*P , Nikon 12X50 SE,Zeiss 7X42 B/GA T*P, Sard 7X42

Best tripod mounted (up to 80 mm)
Fujinon 10X70 FMT-SX, Zeiss 15X60 GAT*,

Larger binocs
20X150 Fujinon

Over rated binocs IMHO........22X60 Tak(AFOV is far too narrow), Garrett 20X110(too hard to use), and Fuji 16X70(CA quite high in sample i used)

#159 nicklane1


    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 279
  • Joined: 04 Mar 2008

Posted 06 April 2014 - 04:33 PM

I haven't look through many binos. So far Nikon SE 8x32 has given the best views.

#160 spazmore


    Genial Procrastinator

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 2,112
  • Joined: 30 Aug 2008
  • Loc: Clinton, TN

Posted 07 April 2014 - 07:43 AM

Vivitar 10x50 with ruby coatings
  • Mad Matt, gene 4181 and fjnlsa11 like this

#161 Chief Bill

Chief Bill

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 5
  • Joined: 26 Mar 2008

Posted 13 August 2017 - 09:17 PM

My pick is the Fujinon 25 X 150 ED. I have owned it for eight years, bought it new. The only significant negative is the weight, and to a lesser extent, the straight through eyepieces. I would like to have the 45 degree eyepieces, but they were prohibitively expensive when I bought mine. Now they are no longer available, except from one overseas vendor, and are unbelievably expensive. Under dark skies the 25 X 150 ED is incredible. 

Edited by Chief Bill, 14 August 2017 - 02:27 PM.

  • paulsky likes this

#162 MartinPond


    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,418
  • Joined: 16 Sep 2014

Posted 13 August 2017 - 11:39 PM

Vivitar 10x50 with ruby coatings

As Moe says  "why you, I oughta..."




.do NOT try this at home.

(make sure the casual visitor knows this is a joke, haha)

  • Mad Matt and spazmore like this

#163 Bratman2


    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 286
  • Joined: 11 Apr 2005
  • Loc: NC, US

Posted 14 August 2017 - 08:49 AM

I don't have the money for super sized nice binoculars. So my Docter 8x56 would be the finest I have looked through. I spent several years quite a few years ago with an Octarem 8x50 that was pretty darn nice too! My eyes being 15 years younger may have helped, lol! 

  • paulsky likes this

#164 jay.i



  • *****
  • Posts: 2,893
  • Joined: 11 Jun 2017
  • Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Posted 14 August 2017 - 12:08 PM

Bringing back a classic thread, well, I might as well add my two cents...


As a relative newbie, having only seen through a handful of binoculars (all of them my own, since no one around me apparently has any mid-to-high end), I can say that the Fujinon FMT-SX 10x50 are absolutely stunning under the night sky, and the best I've ever looked through. They're pretty good during the day, with some definite CA if you don't position your eyes perfectly, but decent contrast, definitely not "worthless" for daytime use. That said, due to the IF, most people (including myself) will never use these as their primary daytime binoculars. That's where the Nikon LX-L 8x42s come in - super sharp all the way to the edge, nice and bright, smooth and fast focus that just locks in. I am receiving my SE 12x50s today so my "best binocular" choice may change. I will obviously have to wait to get them under clear dark skies but I have heard many good things, so I'm eager to pit them against the Fujis. I will probably end up getting rid of one of my pairs soon, to try and justify buying either the APM 82deg FPL53 BT or 100deg Semi-APO in a few months. Going to have a tough time choosing between those two.

Edited by yokken, 14 August 2017 - 12:08 PM.

#165 MartinPond


    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,418
  • Joined: 16 Sep 2014

Posted 14 August 2017 - 03:35 PM



For 10x50, Tasco "World Class Plus" ..... it is quite good....very.


For 8x,   "World 21423  Super-Anastigmat"   (8x35) ...freekishly perfect glass aspheric.


For 7x35 wide,  stiil the "King Korn Town & Country"  (or clones, but must be JB4/JE3)

    (say your Nikon E is good?  Check out out my "King Korn"....ahaha)


Super-precision 7x35 narrow:   Kendon and Limer IF..


Impossible to pick one for 7x50s...so many are so good.

Tower, Nikon Tropical, Kofu(wow), SeeFar(Tokyo Kogaku,,,lab-positioner focuser!), Nikon AE..

#166 SASeanOD


    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 12
  • Joined: 06 Feb 2017
  • Loc: South Africa

Posted 15 August 2017 - 12:20 AM



Any chance you could post some photos of these choices ? Especially as they are so uncommon ? "World 21423  Super-Anastigmat" has to be the greatest name for a binocular ever!

#167 Blind as an Eagle

Blind as an Eagle

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 298
  • Joined: 12 Aug 2016

Posted 15 August 2017 - 03:21 AM

Best view through a binocular was with a Zeiss 7x, 50mm IF porro marine type I checked out at during daylight hours in and about an optics shop in 1980. Stunning view for sure. $1000 retail there.


Runner-up is my  Fujinon 10x, 50mm FMTR-SX. I do mostly daytime viewing due to the fog, smog, and light pollution here. It does quite well, but


An FMT-SX 8x, 56mm I think would be a fabulous instrument for daytime observing, but alas...


I checked out a new Leopold Gold Ring 7x, 35mm porro CF bino about 15 years ago, which was very nice. The price was about $135 at a Wallyworld. Image quality was so good I was both impressed and surprised. Again, a daylight observation.

Should have purchased.


Best optics I have looked through, hands down, were those of the aft battle periscope on a diesel submarine at the Norfolk Va Naval Base on Armed Forces Day open house in 1965.


I'll bet that sucker had a substantial sticker price. And worth every $.01 spent. Not much for hand - held use though.

  • jrbarnett and steveincolo like this

#168 MartinPond


    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,418
  • Joined: 16 Sep 2014

Posted 15 August 2017 - 11:32 AM



Any chance you could post some photos of these choices ? Especially as they are so uncommon ? "World 21423  Super-Anastigmat" has to be the greatest name for a binocular ever!

Here are the 'interesting names':





---"Super Anastigmat" seems like a presumptuous claim, especially for a 3-element eyepiece,

      but special field lens grinding and precision fields were the field of battle in Japanese optics

       in the 1940s. This is pre-JTII.   The many different 7x35 "Featherweights" and "Zephyrs" of that era

      and the early 50s were also extreme precision fields as well, but this sort of tops them, I am assuming

      aspheric techniques, all in glass, since the ~50 deg field trounces any Kellner.


----The "Town & Country"  also appears to be best-in-class, from the mid-JTII period, and more obviously

     aspheric....10 degree, 70-afov, clean to the edge, clear and bright.  There are other good 3-element

    7x35//10d s, but this is special.   Toei Kogaku (JB4//JE4) had some fine grinding mojo.  

    The brand "King Korn" refers to a trading company that provided luxury catalog goods to US heartland

     farmers, many of whom were quite wealthy in the 50s and 60s., but far from department stores.

     As a "farmer-baron", you used credits awarded from your

     combine and fertilizer sales, like Green Stamps, but much pricier stuff to buy.  Tuxedos, silk skirts, big

     engagement rings, etc..   Toei Kogaku Later became simply Toei Optical, making semiconductor industry





I like the shoulder-plate wear marks on the Super-A.... it indicates careful but constant use over a long time.

At auction, that kind of shoulder wear is a flag for a special model.    

Edited by MartinPond, 15 August 2017 - 11:42 AM.

  • jrbarnett, CQDDEMGY and SASeanOD like this

#169 jrbarnett


    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 30,374
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 15 August 2017 - 04:45 PM

My answer changes through time.  


In the late 60s through the early 80s, it would have been Tasco 7x50 Model 124s.


From the 1990s through a few years ago, it would have been Carton Alderblick 7x50s.


Up until a few weeks ago, it would have been Fujinon Polaris FMT-SX 10x50s.


Now, 8x30 Nikon E2s.


I honestly have never looked through a roof prism binocular, including Leicas and Swarovskis, that I really liked.  Roofies look static and "dead" to my eye.  They are awesomely sleek and compact, though, and when I backpack with binoculars, it's always compact roof prisms, but optically they appear somewhat compromised to my eye.





#170 John F

John F


  • *****
  • Posts: 1,018
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2004
  • Loc: Pacific Northwest

Posted 15 August 2017 - 05:42 PM

This is a very old thread which originated in 2010.  I made a post to it a number of years ago in which I listed the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL (Swarovision Model, not the original EL models which date back to 1999) as the best binocular that I have ever looked through.  Since that time I've encountered others which I rate right up there with the 8.5x42 model that I previously had single out and praised.  And those others binoculars that I've since come to appreciate as being in the same league (image quality wise) as the 8.5x42 Swarovision ELs are the 8x32, 10x50 &12x50 versions of the Swarovision EL binoculars.  I have not had an opportunity to look through the 10x32 and 10x42 versions of those same binoculars but I would be surprised if they were league as the others ones in the series which I have tried and have been impressed with very much.


John Finnan

#171 Gordon Rayner

Gordon Rayner


  • *****
  • Posts: 3,325
  • Joined: 24 Mar 2007

Posted 15 August 2017 - 06:59 PM

Re   # 128, above, or previous  asphere   relevant  posts from Martin Pond:


At the SPIE   convention last week,   I spoke with a representative at the Asphericon   booth,  He said that Swarovski are using   molded GLASS aspheres  in  at least some of their  eyepieces.     Asphericon  have a large  chart which shows   modern applications   of aspheres  in optical design and production, including eyepiece  design,  showing  effects of  use of an asphere  at  various locations in an  eyepiece.


OPTIMAX, near Rochester, NY.   have aspheric  capability and products.    Their  chief designer/technical  leader  did not authorize  sale of   the notes for her  short  course  at the bookstore.  Other short course teachers have .   Those SPIE short courses  are $$$, but if  one's government contractor  or big industry  employer  is paying,   the attendee  would be indifferent to the cost.  




A few years ago   , at a  SHOT show  in  Las Vegas,   a Zeiss   representative   said that the asphere(s?)  in the Fuji  F-series   are molded.  I assumed that meant plastic.     Can it be that Fuji have been using molded glass aspheres  in the F-series?     Incidentally,   Yasuyuki  "Charley"Nemoto  ( RIP  approx.   1984  or 1985) ,  longtime  longtime binocular  boss at the  Wayne, N. J.   Fuji   US  hq.  ,  asked me,   ca. 1980  ,  IIRC,  but perhaps later, what I  thought they should do   to the binocular line.     Among my suggestions  was increased eye  relief, comparable to the Zeiss   7 x 50 B/BGA.

The result  was   the   -F  series.


Where are the aspheres (  Richter?) in the  1930's-1945   in at least some  Zeiss 8 x 60   and   10 x 80 (?)  , ( not the Busch   Flak 10 x 80, which lacks aspheres)  ?    The Koenig aspherized  inner surface  of the eyelens  of an Orthoscopic  design   is in the 8 x 40  tapered Porro equipped Deltar and Deltarem,  and in the 25 x 100 with 60 deg.  inclination of the line of sight ( which uses optical contacting,  instead of cementing, at one of  the prism to prism interfaces).


I believe that it was Richard Buchroeder who recently  posted    a copy, not on CN, IIRC,  of a 1936(?)   Richter  eyepiece design  which has an asphere   on a surface different from the  surface used in the Koenig aspherized   orthoscopic   eyepieces. 

Edited by Gordon Rayner, 15 August 2017 - 07:04 PM.

#172 Alan A.

Alan A.

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 581
  • Joined: 08 Feb 2007
  • Loc: San Francisco

Posted 15 August 2017 - 09:23 PM

Well, I got into binoculars in a backwards way.  First got into telescopes, then much later binoviewing, and after I realized how much I loved binoviewing got into binoculars.  Got a real education here reading through the threads on this forum, and a lot of truly excellent advice from fellow CNers along the way.


I have had the Fuji 10x50 (excellent, but not contrasty enough to me at least), the Fuji 16x70 (optically excellent but eye relief too tight to enjoy viewing for a long period), and the Nikon 12x50 SE (optically excellent and comfortable to use).  I have also looked through a friend's Canon 10x42 L IS both mounted and unmounted and thought that the views were very impressive.   Still, I was wondering if there was anything even better.


To my eye, all of these were surpassed by the 10x42 Swaro EL SVs that I purchased.  YMMV, but I found them to show quite a bit more contrast and also tighter stars than the already very respectable Canon 10x42L IS in a side by side comparison one night.   I like to use my 10x42 EL mounted for astronomy, and it is the best I have ever looked through.  For handheld my favorite is the 10x32 Canon IS - not optically as clean as the Canon 10x42 L IS- but both  lighter to use and more portable ( really looking forward to hearing how  the new generation of 32mm aperture IS performs when it comes out soon).   





#173 fishhuntmike


    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 259
  • Joined: 09 Mar 2014

Posted 16 August 2017 - 02:27 AM

For stargazing, Nikon Astrolux 18x70 (with eyeguards removed) from a comfortable chair using a handsfree parallelogram mount. Outstanding AFOV, tiny stars, and comfortable!

#174 SASeanOD


    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 12
  • Joined: 06 Feb 2017
  • Loc: South Africa

Posted 16 August 2017 - 03:21 AM

Firstly: Martin,


Thanks so much for that photo and the information.


Secondly, for me the overall best binocular I have ever used was (is) the Nikon 10x42SE.

The most comfortable is a Swift HR/5 8.5x44, closely forllowed by a Swift Audubon 10x50.

Tha sharpest has to be a '70  or '71 Zomz 12x40.

#175 KennyJ


    The British Flash

  • *****
  • Posts: 38,234
  • Joined: 27 Apr 2003
  • Loc: Lancashire UK

Posted 16 August 2017 - 12:45 PM

Co-incidentally, I've looked through quite a few Swift HR/5 8.5x44 Audubon Porros, and still own a 10x50 version, and a Nikon 10x42SE and a 1970s Zomz 12x40.


To my eyes, the Nikon 10x42 SE exceeds all the others in every conceivable aspect.



CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Recent Topics

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics