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Performance of 8.5x44 vs 9x63 vs 10x50?

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#26 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 09:18 PM

Jay,

How would you rate the Swift 8.5x44's for astronomy?

I agree that any wide angle bino will suffer at the edge of the FOV, but in your expirience with the Swift on the night sky, how far out from the centre of the FOV would you say is usable before the image degrades too much?

Frilby :winky:

#27 moynihan

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 11:31 PM

Frilby,
Do you where glasses or not when using binoculars?
I will check the fov/sharpness and get back to you. The reason I ask about the glasses, is that I think my fov (with glasses on) is about 7.5 degrees, not the 8.2 without glasses.

jay

#28 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 11:43 PM

I Don't wear glasses Jay... Not yet at least! (and that's something else I'm not sure about - should I buy binos with long eye relief now in case I may need glasses down the track considering they are a long term investment?)

But any feedback on the Swift would be greatly appreciated (even if you can only see about 7.5* I'd still be interested in your thoughts)...

Frilby :winky:

#29 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 11:44 PM

Frilby...put yourself out of your misery! :D

#30 moynihan

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 12:01 AM

Frilby,
I just checked the 8.5x44 (non-ED, but newer waterproof version).
I used street lights across the bay, since it is cloudy here tonight as usual :bawling:
Degradation becomes first noticable when looking for it, about 2/3 of the distance from the center. It becomes comma-like [ points stretch like a ( ] about 10% from the edge.
That is with my glasses on. I cannot focus binos without glasses. So, my estimate is:
If the fov is 8.2 degrees, and I am seeing about 7.5 degrees, ah...
With my glasses: 66% really sharp (just a under a 5 degree field) and 85-90% useable (about 6.5+ degree field).

jay

#31 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 12:04 AM

I'm trying Tom... believe me I'm trying! (and I'm sure I'm a little "trying", or maybe even a lot, on everyone here as well :smirk:)...

The "short" list (in no particular order) is as follows:

1) Pentax DCF SP 10x43 (6* FOV, 60* AFOV) - Excellent everything with the only reservation being the narrow FOV (although this is a big one).
2) Swift Audubon 820 8.5x44 (8.2* FOV, 70* AFOV) - Fantastic wide FOV, excellent contrast, sharp, but a big ? on quality of view away from the centre when used for astronomy.
3) Minolta Activa WP FP 8x40 (8.2* FOV, 65* AFOV) - New contender, great features, but no feedback on image quality?

So I am certainly "getting there", but just need a little more info to clinch the decision, particularly when it comes to a bit more confirmation on the FOV image quality with the Swift.

Worth a mention is also the Bushnell H2O 8x42 (8.2* FOV, 65* AFOV) - Great all rounder (although not in the same league as binos above), only Bak7 prisms, but has winged eyecups (great for light polluted areas like mine). This is probably not really a contender!

I've come a long way from knowing nothing 10 weeks ago, to what I know and understand now (most of which can be directly attributed to the fantastic support of everyone in this forum - :applause:THANKYOU!).

I just have that niggling fear that if I bite the bullet and buy the Swift, something won't be right (ergonomics, view, etc) and I'm not in a position to give it 2 or 3 tries when ordering from overseas!

Frilby :winky:

#32 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 12:11 AM

Frilby,
I just checked the 8.5x44 (non-ED, but newer waterproof version).
...
If the fov is 8.2 degrees, and I am seeing about 7.5 degrees, ah...
With my glasses: 66% really sharp (just a under a 5 degree field) and 85-90% useable (about 6.5+ degree field).

jay


How's that for service!!! :jump:

Many thanks Jay... So in rough terms, if you estimate the "sharp" FOV to be around 6.5*, then the Swift may still be a better buy than the Pentax SP with a 6* FOV as they are at least equal in usable field but have the added bonus of an additional 2* of field (albeit with degrading quality towards the edge)...

The Swift binos are definitely still favourable :waytogo:

Thanks again Jay... You are a gentleman :applause:

Frilby :winky:

#33 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 12:22 AM

Frilby

Here is my unsolicited .05's worth.

If you have a bino with a 6 degree FOV and 10x AND good quality, Get it!! :grin: I have some 11x70's by Prooptic with only a 4.5 degree FOV and they see everything I have wanted to see. If it doesn't quite fit in the FOV, study one side then the other. The eyestrain from moving my eyes around in a large FOV is worse than just moving the binos to view a different part of the image.

However, you sound like a man on a mission, so enjoy the hunt. I too have learned a lot by following your search. :)

Blessings
Keith

#34 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 12:56 AM

Jay, that is saying quite a bit...good info.

How much do you really see on the edges when focusing your sight on the center of view? I'm with you Frilby...the Swifts are still in the hunt big time! Sure wish I could get a pair in my hands...I've got to find a store around here that has them...

#35 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 01:04 AM

Jay/Tom,

I think one of the key things here is "what is really noticeable"?

I have heard a couple of comments (but can't confirm as I don't have access to a wide angle bino) that in general the loss of image quality is only really noticable if you look at it. If you concentrate on the centre field does this distortion really come into play or does it just assist your view and provide added visual input?

If I can look at the centre 6* FOV and get a sharp image, and get the added bonus of a wider field beyond this that is only really "bad" if I look directly at it, then it gets even better for the Swift...

Frilby :winky:

#36 moynihan

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 10:19 AM

Frilby,
Being i wear glasses, i have more of my fov taken up by the sharp area, since the eye relief loss (from the glasses) essentially masks some of the "soft edge". If you do not wear glasses, your % of the total FOV that is sharp will be lower than mine.
Generally speaking, for me at least, I notice the edge softening in a bino (unless it is horrendous) when I look for it. That is because my eye is usually centered.
Now, soft edge or comma in a scope eyepiece kinda drives me up the wall. Years ago when I had some 11x80 binos on a tripod, the edge distortion really bothered me. But for me, hand held viewing, I do not notice it that much.
Frilby, where do you live in Australia? Is there an optics shop anywhere around?
My 2 cents worth is to if possible try in person if you are really having trouble making a decision. Nothing like side-by-side comparisons, whether the binos are the ones we are all writing about or not.

jay

#37 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 11:13 AM

Kenny and Frilby,

The Pentax may indeed have a narrow, albeit USABLE FOV. But the weight of these are just crying out to be hanheld Coming in at just under 2.2 lbs. Compared to the Oberwerks 3.6 lbs. or others, this is a real advantage.
Look, if you are trying to fit the entire sky into your view and are not trying to capture a specific image of say a nebula or planet, then a FOV of say around 5 will do.

Also, the difference between 5.00 and 6.50 is not that large. Remember, it is not how much you see, but how you see it. Believe me Frilby, if you decide to get a lesser magnification (wider FOV), in about two months your going to be also buying a higher magnification binocular and giving in to a narrower FOV.

I think you would agree. Remember there is alot to look at Down Under!
Your fellow agonizer,
Ray A.

#38 KennyJ

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 03:35 PM

Ray ,

You may well be right about what Frilby MIGHT aspire towards one day , but for the present I thought he recently made quite a categorical statement that he was looking for binoculars that are " hand -holdable" with as wide a field as possible.

To that end alone , I doubt if the Pentax 16 or 20 x 60 are likely to be the "ticket" just at this present time.

clear skies --Kenny.

#39 moynihan

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 04:12 PM

Frilby,
You might find this interesting, another take on the Swifts, if you have not seen it already:

http://menura.cse.un...7/msg00187.html

jay

#40 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 11:15 AM

Kenny and Frilby,

I wouldn't go any lower than a 10x50 initially for astronomy use! Any lower magnification is just like using the naked eye.
Do you agree?
Ray A.

#41 Tom L

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 12:34 PM

I don't agree. I have a cheap pair of Nikon Action 8x40s. Naked eye I can't see M31, with the Nikons it pops right into view very nicely.

#42 EdZ

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 12:53 PM

I'm with Tom.

Even my 8x42 Swift provides a substantial gain for scanning and finding. Sometimes even used for sitting back in the lawn chair and wandering around the sky. I've seen all manner of objects with these 8x42s, even split doubles down to less than 20".

edz

#43 KennyJ

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 01:36 PM

Hello again Ray !

As I've commented before , there is clearly more than one "kind" of binocular astonomy , and one of these would certainly include "hand -held" at powers below 10x.

Just to mention one example ,there are legions of reports and reviews in numerous places on the WWW written by delighted owners of Fujinon FMT SX 7 x 50 binoculars alone !

Indeed even on this very Cloudy Nights site there is an article entitled " Messier Marathon with Fujinon 7 x 50s"

So Ray -- are you proposing a Messier Marathon with naked eyes ?

To suggest that "anything below 10x magnification is just like using naked eye" is absurd to say the very least.

Quite apart from that strange assertion , which I'm sure some binocular owners and designers could even find insulting , I would say , after getting on 40 years of binocular use , that anything ABOVE 10x -- indeed even 10x for me , definitely requires some form of stabilisation in order to derive the greatest benefit from it.

For some people , it seems no great problem to go to the trouble of mounting , even a 7 x 50 bino , but for me one of the greatest things about binoculars is the portability factor and ability to use them from carrying around my neck
or lying on my back , without the need for tripods , parallelogram mounts , or any other clumsy paraphernalia.

"BIG" binocular astronomy is indeed a growing trend within the hobby ,sitting somewhere between what used to accepted as "binocular astronomy" and lower powered telescope astronomy, and I'm very pleased and excited by the fact that instruments such as 25 x 100 binoculars are becoming available at prices affordable to many more people than they used to be not many years ago , but to me ,that sort of binocular astronomy is a whole different ball -game.

Even if I were fortunate enough to own Fujinon 40 x 150s , I would STILL also want and use my Zeiss 7 x 42s and my Swift 10 x 50s -- yes even for "astronomy use"

Clear Skies --Kenny.



#44 moynihan

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 03:25 PM

Below 50mm? :bigshock:

I have used (still have) mid priced 50mm (7x,10x) porros. Alderblick and Celestron Ultimas. Am thinking lately of selling them due to lack of use. I do have Type 2 solar filters for the 10x and long dew shields of the 7x... :thinking: ,well anyway...
First a caveat: I have never looked through high-end astronomy optimized 50mm porros (such as Fuji or nikon prostars etc). I have looked through Leica 10x50 roofs, which i lust for :praying:
At the risk of invoking outrage, :flame:
I must say that the high-end roofs i do have (7x42 Zeiss Classic, Leica 10x42 BA) have better contrast, resolution and eye comfort (and consequently detail) in astro viewing than any 50mm's i have used, subject to the above caveat. :tonofbricks:
The glass used in them is spendy, and coatings are really good. Prisms are phase coated.

I would have to say the same but to a lesser extent, for my 8.5x44 porros, actually, <flinch>

#45 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 10:59 PM

Given the comments of many over the past few days, I would have to say that I would be happy going ahead with the Swift Audubon 820 8.5x44 binos.

Jay and many others have all commented on the centrefield sharpness being fantastic! And overall, many commented about the great views for astronomy (with the inherent and expected characteristic soft edges of a wide field binocular).

I no longer question their suitability for my requirements, and I am happy with the idea that the loss of image quality past the 6* FOV mark will be outside the area of my focused vision on the centre field and as such will not be all that noticable (unless I specifically look for it).

Having said all of this... I do not think I will be getting the Swift :( for a a few reasons (none of which are too significant) with the exception of the eyepiece design.

I have tried on several occasions the new Pentax PCF V and PCF WP binos with the large pull-up eyecups. These are approximately 43mm in diamater! As a result, in trying to adjust the interpupillary distance to suit my eyes, the eyecups push in either side of my nose and I cannot quite get them into a comfortable position for viewing. I guess my eye sockets just aren't quite big enough... :bigshock:

I am assuming that these would be fantastic if your wore eye glasses, or perhaps you may need to rest them on your eyebrows rather than try to fit them into your eye sockets, but either way, they did not feel right and I could not get a comfortable viewing position with these binos.

Barry Simon was very kind in supplying me with some digital photos of his Swift 820ED yesterday, along with measurements of the eyecups, etc. The eyecups measure 42mm in diameter! Warning... Warning... Given my problem with the Pentax eyecups not being suitable, there is potentially a pretty good chance that I may have the same problem with the Swift as I did with the Pentax :bawling:

A BVD review, Barry, and another user (who's name eludes me) also mention that with the eyecups up, you can't quite see the entire FOV and they only have an all or nothing setting.

Overall, this whole eyepiece issue has concerned me enough that I am not willing to take the risk and end up with some fantastic binoculars that simply don't fit my face! :shrug: And pondering over the "what if" scenarios will never substitute the ability to pick up a pair and plant them on your face :bigshock:

So... Despite "what may have been" I need to move on an asses what other options I may have, and without starting all over and starting yet another long list of binos to narrow down, I am seriously considering the Pentax DCF SP 10x43.

This bino can be ordered on the basis that I can return it if it is not suitable (the only one I can get like this as it is a special favour by a supplier). The warranty is local, and overall it is a very good spec bino.

6* FOV (60* AFOV) is by no means bad, and if the feedback from a few users on this forum is correct they will be sharp almost to the edge!

I have 10x now in my Nikon TravelLite 10x25 binos and as such I can handhold 10x pretty steady on the night sky. I have tried 8x and although slightly less movement, the added magnification of 10x gave a more pleasing view of the sky, but it is certainly a tradeoff between what you can see (reach) and hand holdability. The 8x43 model has virtually the same FOV (6.3*) but has only a 50* AFOV (hence the 10x43 being more appealing)...

So... The Pentax 10x43 DCF SP is looking like THE ONE :waytogo: (allbeit just over double my original budget!)

In this price range, the Canon 10x30IS is also a contender (about $100 more) but this is not likely to be anywhere near as durable for the same investment (more fragile, faily bulky, requires batteries, etc). And 30mm compared to 43mm is a big jump as far as light gathering ability is concerned...

Final thoughts, advice, and sighs of "he finally got there" relief most graciously received...

#46 Tom L

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 11:08 PM

How about, Congratulations! I hope they work out for you and I'm glad to hear that if they don't you can return them. I am looking forward to hearing your review!

#47 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 09 January 2004 - 12:24 PM

Kenny,

I'm sorry if I rocked your world! Any forum is open to "any and all" discussions and or opinions. To take anothers opinion as an insult is acting a bit proud.
We are all learning and searching for the same answers to our questions. No one human being can ever state an absolute. We evolve in this way and come to understand each others thoughts.
This is'nt a test, don't get so political on anyone. I also
read your interjection regarding using Todd Gross verbage. He is highly thought of by all and to suggest we would steal his observatory statements regarding equipment reviews is absurd.
Lets just try to explain things to eachother rather than letting our feelings interfere.

You are a valued member as are all of us!
Ray A.

#48 KennyJ

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Posted 09 January 2004 - 01:15 PM

Hello Ray and thanks for the post.

There seems to be some slight misunderstanding here.

I certainly didn't feel that my boat had been rocked at all ! but realise now that I have apparantly hit some stormy waters -- so will try to steady my ship and protect myself and any passenges I may have on board.

I never intended to suggest for one moment that a forum is anything BUT "open to any and all" -- of course it is !

I never suggested that I had felt insulted myself by anything you or anyone else has written , I just said that SOME people MIGHT find such a statement insulting.

I realise that we are ALL learning.

Surely if NO-ONE knew ANYTHING more about a particular subject than another person , there would be little point in having a forum at all , or in having teachers , tutors or indeed pupils in any walk of life.

I was not aware of my being guilty of "stating absolutes" any more than any other contributor to this forum.

I never mentioned "this being a test" --whatever that means.

You accuse me of "getting political" -- but I don't know why.

As regards my reference to Todd Gross -- I said nothing derogatory about the man whatsoever - but was simply stating what I perceived to be a trend -setting aspect of his admirably concise reviewing technique , with particular reference to "edge performance in percentage terms" which was very relevant to the topic I was airing my views about.

You suggest that "we try to explain things to each other without letting our feelings interfere"

Surely a little license is acceptable here ?

Endless prose without personal style or emotion seems to me to be a most boring way of communication and in any case the tone of your last message suggests to me as being an example of anything BUT :-)

Very importantly Ray -- you ARE a most valued member of this normally most friendly forum and I am genuinely sorry if my particular style of writing offends you or anyone else.

I have spent and continue to spend many hours every week learning from other people on this forum and trying to help others in need of advice.

If anyone else "complains" --I will do the honourable thing and dissapear from the scene.

Kind regards --Kenny.



#49 EdZ

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Posted 09 January 2004 - 01:36 PM

Kenny,

don't disappear on us.

Your knowledge, humor and writing style are all valuable assets.

Students without teachers are lost.
Teachers without students are also lost.

edz

#50 Tom L

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Posted 09 January 2004 - 01:39 PM

Very well said, Ed.


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