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Excellent Nikon 8x30 EII review

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#1 holger_merlitz

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 08:47 PM

Just check the following review by Henry Link:

http://www.birdforum...ead.php?t=38202

Since we have recently been discussing a lot about quality, expensive and cheap binoculars, in my opinion the Nikon EII is one example which combines quality with a fair price. It seems that most of the experienced binoculars users are impressed about this glass. All the more surprising is the fact that Nikon apparently could never sell it - a lack of proper marketing?

Best regards,
Holger

#2 ngc6475

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Posted 21 July 2005 - 10:38 PM

I purchased a pair of the 8x30 Nikon EII binos not long ago...on the advice of a certain individual who haunts this forum...and I am very impressed. Wide fov, very sharp on axis views, and excellent mechanical quality. I can't imagine a better pair of binoculars for the price, and even for quite a bit more! Two thumbs way up! :waytogo: :waytogo:

#3 lighttrap

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 06:59 AM

Henry, I finally got a chance to fully read through that review, and it's a good one. Thanks to Holger for bringing it to our attention.

I'm currently working on a mini-review comparing the Nikon 8x30 E2s to an older, Japanese set of Celestron Noble PC 8x32s. Both were purchased used off A'mart at amazingly reasonable prices, and both represent very high quality. I plan to focus (ahem), on their field performance and how a couple of us relate to their very different ergonomics and designs.

#4 Mark9473

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 10:55 AM

The EII seem much less available in on-line retail than the Action Extreme model which has been discussed often on this forum - just check the review links. Has anybody compared the EII and the AE?

Another question: of the SE, AE and EII, only the SE gets rated as suitable for astronomy on Nikon's website. Can anybody comment on how relevant a 'birding' review is for us?

#5 Pinewood

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 11:12 AM

Dear Mark,

Henry Link thoroughly addressed optical performance, construction and durability of the 8x30 EII, the 8x32 SE, and the old 8x30 E and implied some useful information about other models in the EII line. An 8x30/32 would not be my first choice for astronomy, but it might be a portable, all around glass, which could help find planets in the dusk and even reveal Gallilean satellites of Jupiter. I have used the 8x30 EII for those astronomical applications, when I did not care to deal with a 12x50 on a monopod. As for Nikon's recommended uses, one has to consider what that firm's biases might be.

Clear skies,
Arthur

#6 hvezdar1972

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 11:47 AM

Thanks for the link, Holger. Henry Link's reviews are as good as they get, he really deserves our thanks. Lots of knowledge and experience, excellent taste, and no fluff or bluster. What an effort!

I have never once for a second regretted buying the 8x30 EII instead of the 2x more expensive 8x32 Superior E. This binocular is to me one of those rare cases where you don't get what you pay for - you get more. It is everything Henry says it is, and I would add for emphasis that it is a lot more relaxing than most small porros, which I sometimes find a strain because of stray light flashes in the daytime. It views like a $1000+ big roof prism bino without the weight and with added 3-D effect and a wider field. The only binocular I would rate as ultimately sharper is the Fujinon 7x50, and of course it is a lot less convenient in many ways.

Like Henry, I wondered about the "AM" on the center hinge cap. Perhaps it does mean Malaysia, but note that the other hinge cap (closer to the eyes) is engraved "Japan." Not that it matters in the least.
Nils

#7 Henry Link

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 01:33 PM

Holger,

Thanks for posting the link to my review. Like probably everyone else interested in binoculars I've made many pleasant and informative visits to your excellent website.

Nils,

Aw Shucks!...I'm speechless. Yes, now I see the "Japan"on the hinge cap. Don't know how I missed it. Thanks for pointing it out.

Henry

#8 KennyJ

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 01:53 PM

Henry ,

Congratulations on a masterful 3 -way review !

I also agree "THAT" hybrid 8.5 x 35 E11 which COULD be created , would surely be one very desireable daytime glass.

I recall it's close on four years ago now since Arthur highly recommended the E11 to me as being representative of one of the " best bargains " currently available.

More evidence that Arthur is seldom wrong !

By the way , I've used that "artifical star test" idea of yours several times since you suggested it to me 12 months ago !

That -- and the " tape measure " experiments , are two great ways people can have fun finding out more about their binoculars , without it costing them anything.

Thanks again Henry.

Kind regards , Kenny

#9 ngc6475

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 02:38 PM

Hello Kenny,

Would it be too much of an imposition to inquire about the artificial star test and the tape measure experiments?

#10 KennyJ

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 03:15 PM

Walter ,

It would be far easier if you clicked onto Henry's review here , and read the whole article !

http://www.birdforum...ead.php?t=38202

Regards , Kenny

#11 ngc6475

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 03:44 PM

Thanks, Kenny!

#12 mooreorless

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 08:21 AM

Hello Henry,Excellent review of the Nikon 8x30 E2.I noticed in your review that you use an Old Sky&Telescope resolution chart.I have been using an EIA resolution chart 1956 that I downloaded off Int. and then printed out,it is ok but I would like to get something different in the future without spending an arm and a leg.I know Edmund Optics has some test targets.What I would like to know is the Sky & Telescope test target you have is it still available today?Thanks for any information.
Steve M

#13 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 04:29 PM

I was lucky enough to take a couple of hours this afternoon to play at the "binocular buffet" at one of the area camera (and binocular...etc) shops, trying out most of their inventory samples. Most of their line consists of Nikon, with a few Cannon and other misc. pairs interspersed here and there, and I was anxious to do some relaxed daylight comparisons between a few that I had never paid much mind to in the past.

Their display samples consisted of Action and Sporter series glasses, as well as Travelites and similar models, on up the line to the Premier SE, and LX binos, a pretty much complete mix of the current Nikon line (with a few exceptions).

Giving them all a cursory look and rundown as to build quality and ergonomics, there was the usual "range" of performance until I reached the 8x42 LX. The brightness and contrast was really very good on this particular glass, something to be expected at the price point involved, and throughout the time I spent with the various models, I kept returning the the LX as my "on-the-spot" standard to really get a feel for all of the others;

.....that was until I got around to a lone pair of lowly left-over 8x30 E2s. This was one of those rare times in looking at binoculars that I put a glass to my face and EVERYTHING literally seemed to "click" as far as view and optical quality, ergonomics that "felt right", general feel of quality in the build and mechanics, and just an overall "wow" effect in comparison to what I was expecting after looking through so many others.

Moving on to a pair of 8x32 SEs (the other pair that I was seriously considering as a general use bino), I had to do many double-take comparisons to really determine which one I ultimately preferred, including the much costlier LX model. The 8x32 SE, while having very similar optics to the E2, gave an occasional vignetting or "kidney-bean" effect (what I assume others have mentioned as "black-out" in that model) that I found all but impossible to duplicate with the E2. That, combined with the preferred wider TFOV of the E2, really cinched the later as my new "general-duty" bino for daytime and REAL wide-field night sky viewing, realizing of course the restrictions of the light gathering ability of the small 30mm objectives. Still, with such small objective glasses, it's often amazing the kind of star counts you can get on a nice clear night of totally relaxed viewing enjoyment, and from all daylight indications, total field sharpness in the E2 appears to be right up there with the best, even considering its 8.8 degree true FOV.

I also had the opportunity to look through and "experience" some of the smaller Canon IS models, and while the stabilization feature on these particular glasses was excellent, comparing the optics themselves to the E2 showed noticeably reduced contrast and less overall image brightness, though field sharpness was very good and beyond that of many mid to upper priced binos on the market.

Unfortunately, the lone E2 at the camera shop was their display model, and had seen some significant "handling", though the price was still "full retail - take it or leave it" of $459, plus the $40 or so sales taxes involved locally. Knowing various online dealers had them available for what amounted to close to $200 less, I decided to wait and order one when I got back home.

This one will be interesting to compare side-by-side to my old favorite Zeiss 8x56 BGAT Classic, though as stated, it will likely not be a glass that is a preferred choice for astronomical use alone.

BUT......Oh what beautiful terrestrial views it can produce ! I now see the wisdom of the many who have shared their excitement in and recommended the Nikon 8x30 E2 these many years. Get one while you can !

Bryant

#14 KennyJ

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 04:56 PM

Bryant ,

What a thoroughly uplifting report !

I LOVE spending days like that , in bino shops , checking out as many models as possible for a cursory check.

I find it doesn't take very long when you know what you're looking for to ELIMINATE the ones that DON'T appeal.

Choosing between the " favourites " gets a little more difficult , admittedly :-)

I know what you mean about the " kidney - beaning " with the SE 8 x 32 . Eye placement can be a little tricky , but it's something I think one can quite easily get used to overcoming.

What did you reckon of the Nikon SPORTER ?

Did you check both the 8x and 10x versions ?

I quite like the 8 x 36 ( for less than £100 UK )

You have a VERY nice " new toy " to look forward to !

Regards , Kenny

#15 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 26 July 2005 - 05:29 PM

Thanks Kenny,

The Sporter 10x was the only version they had available on display, but first impressions were that it is a very nice little bino for the money (about $175 here in the states mail-order), and would no doubt be a good beginning binocular. But with the much narrower field (~6*) and slightly higher power of the Sporter combined with a somewhat dimmer and less contrasty view overall, the E2 again gave so much better overall views for so little additional money ($299 here in the U.S.) as to be very obvious even at first glance. What I think I found most amazing about the E2 was the performance to price point, and feel it is a real shame that Nikon has decided to discontinue that model. I've had experience with many of the "top" roof prism glasses, as well as many porros over the years, and the E2 gives up VERY LITTLE (if anything) in comparison to any other comparable sized/magnification glasses on the market IMO.

You're right, of course, about the "kidney-beaning" effect being something that can be fairly easy to overcome, and I hope I didn't turn anyone off from consideration of the SE as a result of my comments. I just personally preferred the "care-free" snap to view of the E2 without even the slightest problem along those lines, something that makes the inherent use of the glass much more natural and pleasurable in my view.

Bryant

#16 Henry Link

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 07:33 AM

Hello Henry,Excellent review of the Nikon 8x30 E2.I noticed in your review that you use an Old Sky&Telescope resolution chart.I have been using an EIA resolution chart 1956 that I downloaded off Int. and then printed out,it is ok but I would like to get something different in the future without spending an arm and a leg.I know Edmund Optics has some test targets.What I would like to know is the Sky & Telescope test target you have is it still available today?Thanks for any information.
Steve M


Steve,

Sorry, I just noticed your question. The chart I use appeared in S&T long ago. Unfortunately I don't even remember the year, late 80's or early 90's. It is in the shape of a narrow fan with black lines of decreasing width. It was designed for measuring telescope resolution at .3 mile with a measurement range of 2 to 0.2 arc seconds. I've reproduced it at smaller sizes and use it much closer for binoculars, usually at a distance that gives a range of 10 to 1 arc seconds. Perhaps someone remembers it and knows the date. I've also used the 1951 Air Force chart from Edmund. It's cheap, but I would not recommend the plastic card. Mine had very soft reproduction of the pattern. The large printed paper poster was better.

Henry

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 02:55 PM

Here is review link with added comments near the end on the quality and performance of the Nikon 8x30 EII that I thought was interesting. Note the reviewer's ratings of the EII in comparison to what is generally thought to be the "best of the best" Swarovski EL 8.5x42 birding bino.

I'm seriously thinking about buying a couple of more EIIs to put back for posterity........ :) Nikons best kept secret ?

http://alula.fi/gb/t...arovksi_EL.html

Bryant

#18 ngc6475

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 04:02 PM

It also appears the older E series wasn't far behind...

#19 KennyJ

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 04:32 PM

Thanks Bryant ,

I've enjoyed reading Kimmo's reviews for about three years now . He is a very interesting reviewer to read , and it's a bonus for me personally that his thoughts often co - incide with those of my own.

Just for the record though , one aspect I DO disagree with is that the Nikon HG 8 x 32 shows NO chromatic aberrations.

Three separate specimens I've looked through all have.

Oh -- and it's a good job Kimmo didn't apply his " magic formula points system " to my Helmsman 7 x 50 :-)

It would probably have totalled about MINUS FIVE :-)

I'd still back it against any of those 32mm models for astronomy , marine , twilight or long - distance terrestrial use !

Reports from elsewhere suggest that since that review of Kimmo's was submitted , the Zeiss 8 x 32 FL has emerged as another very strong candidate for the coveted " reference standard " in it's class.

Apart from the astronomical prices (please excuse the pun )
I think this rivalry between the " BIG FOUR " to lighten the wallets of the well - heeled " must - have the best roof prism bino " types is actually a very good thing all round for binocular enthusiasts.

I was checking out a Leica Ultravid 10 x 42 in a shop only the other day.

Ten short years ago , something like that would have been like something which had fallen from heaven.

For some reason , I can barely recall that model even getting a mention on CN. , although I think John Finnan DID praise the 12 x 50 version of the Ultravid in a thread discussing the Nikon 12 x 50 SE.

Anyway -- bottom line - the E2 is already building itself a reputation as a classic binocular in it's infancy.

Regards , Kenny

#20 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 04:49 PM

Kenny,

That Helmsman has sounded interesting since your first mention of it. Any web-links to it anywhere ?

While at the camera shop yesterday, I was fiddling with the EII, trying out its close focus, and suddenly thought of one of my other hobbies in the process...... that of hunting open cultivated fields for Native American Indian relics in the forms of arrowheads and etc. May have stumbled upon a new way of hunting without the need of all the stooping over and taking a closer look..... ;)

Bryant

#21 KennyJ

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 05:47 PM

Bryant ,

There are no links whatsoever to the Helmsman , apart from a personal link between Bill Cook and myself.

I've managed to convince myself , with a minimum of effort and imagination , and with no concrete evidence to the contrary , that I am THE sole possessor of such an instrument , world - wide .

I may as well be , as far as THIS forum is concerned , because as is the case with many fine models past and present , ( including your E2 ) I consider it unlikely , many modern day astro -bino enthusiasts will be attracted to such low power , large exit - pupil , moderately but respectfully priced instruments.

And yes -- very CLOSE focusing capability ( not , I hasten to add , an attribute of the Helmsman ) can be a VERY useful feature --

- - but again , not for star -gazers !

Bed time for me now.

Goodnight , Kenny

#22 mooreorless

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Posted 27 July 2005 - 07:08 PM

[quote name="Henry Link"]Hello Henry,Excellent review of the Nikon 8x30 E2.I noticed in your review that you use an Old Sky&Telescope resolution chart.I have been using an EIA resolution chart 1956 that I downloaded off Int. and then printed out,it is ok but I would like to get something different in the future without spending an arm and a leg.I know Edmund Optics has some test targets.What I would like to know is the Sky & Telescope test target you have is it still available today?Thanks for any information.
Steve M [/quote]

Steve,

Sorry, I just noticed your question. The chart I use appeared in S&T long ago. Unfortunately I don't even remember the year, late 80's or early 90's. It is in the shape of a narrow fan with black lines of decreasing width. It was designed for measuring telescope resolution at .3 mile with a measurement range of 2 to 0.2 arc seconds. I've reproduced it at smaller sizes and use it much closer for binoculars, usually at a distance that gives a range of 10 to 1 arc seconds. Perhaps someone remembers it and knows the date. I've also used the 1951 Air Force chart from Edmund. It's cheap, but I would not recommend the plastic card. Mine had very soft reproduction of the pattern. The large printed paper poster was better.

Henry [/quote]

Hi Henry,Thanks for getting back to me on this.I checked out Edmund's site and they show a 1951 white poster paper size 36"X24" for about $18 is this the one you are talking about?Edmund's calls this one Resolving Power Chart.I also see they have one printed on white photographic paper for $85 size 8.5"X11".I think Kenny J and another person talked about this one on another site.It would be nice if Sky&Telescope could reprint the chart you have.Thanks for any information.
Steve M

#23 KennyJ

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 01:16 AM

Steve ,

Since you mentioned my name with regard to this I thought it apt to respond.

I WAS involved in a ( very long and complex ) discussion over on AM a couple of years ago , which at one stage of the saga touched upon the availability and use of Resolution Test Charts .

From memory ,I'm not certain who actually FIRST brought a 1950s test chart into the discussion , but I think it may well have been fellow and very knowledgable CN member Alan French , and it was none other than one of our moderators Lighttrap ( alias Mike Swaim ) who suggested that alternatives to such a chart COULD be at least as useful for assessing the " reality " of a binocular's performance.

Coloured , printed posters were one of the suggested alternatives , from memory.

Personally , I've never seen one of those 1950s charts in the flesh , but have seen photos of them on the internet.

Regards , Kenny

#24 mooreorless

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 02:14 AM

Hi Kenny,I didn't want to mention names and AM,kind of silly of me.I did a google search for information on resolution charts a good while back and found EIA Resolution Chart 1956 and I was able to download it and copy with my printer.I was going to see if I could get a better copy done elsewhere but never did.I will see if I can send it here later.I am getting ready for work.
Steve M

#25 Henry Link

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 08:09 AM

The 36x24 Ednund poster of the 1951 USAF test sounds like what I had (missplaced long ago). If it is still the same it has different color, and as a result different contrast versions of the test pattern.


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