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Vixen Giant ARK 30x80: Seeking a review/personal experience

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#1 H-D Moose

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 10:13 AM

CN'ers,

 

I haven't uncovered anyone sharing any personal experience(s) with the Vixen Giant ARK 30x80s ... just one person with a Vixen ARK 16x80 who is happy w/ his (SMark) ... and I know SMARK and hallelujah really like their discontinued Orion Megaview 30x80s but they aren't Vixen 30x80s.  Given the Vixen's price point, I'm interested in hearing from anyone with personal experience with this particular unit.  I have a versatile bino collection but 30x intrigues me.

 

Thanks,

 

Troy



#2 hallelujah

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 02:47 PM

http://www.cloudynig...up-from-20x60s/

 

Stan



#3 H-D Moose

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 03:51 PM

Thanks Stan.

 

I had seen this - that you had returned a defective 30x80.  And I know you absolutely love your Orion Megaview ... if I recall from one post, you stated it was your "best astro investment".  I was [am] hoping someone had [has] a Vixen 30x80 that isn't defective.  I'm unfortunately a little too late for a seat on your Megaview bandwagon ...

 

Thanks - and Cheers,

 

Troy



#4 hallelujah

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 06:04 PM

Thanks Stan.

 

I was [am] hoping someone had [has] a Vixen 30x80 that isn't defective.  I'm unfortunately a little too late for a seat on your Megaview bandwagon ...

 

Thanks - and Cheers,

 

Troy

It's never too late.  :)

 

http://www.ebay.com/...=item51ca92f907

 

Also, the prices at Amazon.com are better than the prices at Vixen Optics.com

 

http://www.amazon.co...0x80 binoculars

 

Stan



#5 H-D Moose

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 06:26 PM

Stan,

 

Yeah, I'm watching it - but they come up once a year (2x at best).  This seller (not the original owner) got them at an Estate Sale, they're in the wrong binocular case, no telling if they are collimated, etc.  I won't get into a bidding war on these (I prefer to buy from an fellow amateur as I have a level of trust).  That's why I have one eye on the Vixen ARK Series and I'm soliciting "reviews".  One would think the Vixens being Nitrogen-purged & "updated" technology, per se, would provide better views than the Megaviews that came out a decade ago but I'm not so sure hence the research.

 

Thanks again, I read a lot of the binocular posts on the Forum ... I just don't post much myself.

 

Troy



#6 hallelujah

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 09:31 PM

Stan,

 

One would think

the Vixens being Nitrogen-purged & "updated" technology, per se, would provide better views than the Megaviews that came out a decade ago but I'm not so sure hence the research.

 

Troy

Not sure how you define "updated" technology.

 

I have not seen any updates to the Vixen ARC series over the years.

They have been only multi-coated for as long as I can remember,

whereas the Orion MEGAView 30x80 was Fully Multicoated at the time of its being discontinued.

 

I have never exposed my Orion 30x80 to any conditions where the Nirtogen-purging would have made any difference.

 

My Orion MEGAView is built like a tank. The Vixen 30x80 ARC was less impressive, in my hands, as far as build.

 

I would not hesitate to buy a used Orion 30x80 if it appears to be in very good condition. The majority of my binoculars were purchased used.

 

The binocular case pictured in the eBay photo is identical to the one I have.

 

As far as collimation is concerned, any binocular can be knocked out of alignment due to rough handling during shipping, especially ground shipping.

Nowadays I always insist upon USPS Priority Mail to avoid binocular torture.

 

Stan


Edited by hallelujah, 25 January 2015 - 11:38 PM.

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#7 H-D Moose

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 10:26 PM

Stan,

 

Six-months a year, Nitrogen-Purged in VA is a definite bonus versus what you encounter in CO.  Some nights in as little as 30-minutes it looks like I've observed in the middle of a sprinkler head.  Drying-off my CPC1100 and associated EPs & binoviewer or ending a session prematurely is the reason I've collected the assorted binos over the past handful of years.  However, you've convinced me to wait for a Megaview.  I very much appreciate your input & the back-n-forth.

 

Troy



#8 hallelujah

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Posted 25 January 2015 - 10:57 PM

Stan,

 

Six-months a year, Nitrogen-Purged in VA is a definite bonus versus what you encounter in CO.  Some nights in as little as 30-minutes it looks like I've observed in the middle of a sprinkler head.  Drying-off my CPC1100 and associated EPs & binoviewer or ending a session prematurely is the reason I've collected the assorted binos over the past handful of years. 

 

Troy

I grew up on Lake Erie so I appreciate & understand your concern regarding excessive humidity. I definitely do not miss the over abundance of humidity.

 

I have also collected an assortment of binoculars, over the years, some waterproof/fogproof & some not.

Probably another one of the reasons I do not fret about weather or atmospheric conditions.  ;) 

 

In the eBay photos there appears to be a detachable tripod floorplate on the bottom of the tripod adapter which needs to be removed

before the binocular will fit into the binocular case.

 

Initially I missed the photos on the bottom of the page. The Orion MEGAView 30x80 looks to be in new condition.  :like: 

 

Stan


Edited by hallelujah, 26 January 2015 - 12:22 AM.


#9 SMark

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 01:38 AM

Stan,

Yeah, I'm watching it - but they come up once a year (2x at best). This seller (not the original owner) got them at an Estate Sale, they're in the wrong binocular case, no telling if they are collimated, etc. I won't get into a bidding war on these (I prefer to buy from an fellow amateur as I have a level of trust). That's why I have one eye on the Vixen ARK Series and I'm soliciting "reviews". One would think the Vixens being Nitrogen-purged & "updated" technology, per se, would provide better views than the Megaviews that came out a decade ago but I'm not so sure hence the research.

Thanks again, I read a lot of the binocular posts on the Forum ... I just don't post much myself.

Troy



#10 SMark

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 02:51 AM

Having owned both the Vixen 16x80 and the Orion 30x80, comparing them side by side tells me that they are way more similar than they are different. I
Realize that the Vixen is advertised as MC and the Orion as FMC, but the coatings appear identical at every level. And, other than the obvious differences in scale, images / performance are the same. Overall build quality and features are also the same, so IMO It's safe to assume that both are J-B56 (Japanese) made binoculars with very similar features. If I was looking for one I would be happy to settle with either.

JMHO

#11 H-D Moose

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 06:02 AM

Thanks.

 

I picked-up the rescued MEGAView from the estate sale, so hopefully it's collimated ... just wish the seller wasn't sending it Parcel Post (that wasn't in the ad)!  

 

Thanks for the input.  You seem much more Vixen ARK-friendly than Stan :)

 

Troy



#12 hallelujah

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 10:05 AM

Thanks for the input.  You seem much more Vixen ARK-friendly than Stan :)

 

Troy

Mark has had a much more positive experience with his Vixen ARK binoculars than I did.

My sample had a chipped prism & other issues that made it less than impressive by comparison to my Orion 30x80.

 

My negative experience was a few years ago & I never had another opportunity to compare any other samples of the Vixen ARK.

I did not want to take a chance on being bitten twice.  :crazy:

 

Mark is a very sharp binoculars collector, you can trust his experience & his advice. :waytogo:

 

BTW the eBay ad for the Orion 30x80 said "economy shipping".  :(

 

Stan 


Edited by hallelujah, 28 January 2015 - 10:09 AM.


#13 SMark

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 10:57 AM

In either case, our experiences are each with just one sample. Regardless of the manufacturer, bad samples can get through. My Vixen Ark was a good one. But at the same time, while everyone speaks highly of the Chinese BA8 binocular series, I own a bad one. One that should have never gotten through quality checks. But there are many more examples of good BA8 experiences, so it follows that you can purchase with good confidence. It would be great if there were as many reviews of the Vixen to rely on, but they aren't so easy to find.

#14 hallelujah

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 11:57 AM

It would be great if there were as many reviews of the Vixen to rely on, but they aren't so easy to find.

Well, because the Vixen binoculars are so overpriced, here in the USA, that may not change any time soon. 

 

http://www.vixenopti...ulars/giant.htm

 

Stan



#15 Rich V.

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 12:54 PM

I don't recall reading about anyone doing the "flashlight test" of effective aperture on either the Megaviews or ARKs; does anyone know if they operate at full aperture or at ~72mms like many other "80mm" binos?  

 

Rich



#16 hallelujah

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 01:51 PM

Rich,

 

I'm pretty sure that I did the flashlight test, at least once, for Kumar. It was a full aperture reading for the Orion MEGAView 30x80.

When I get a few minutes of quiet time I can always try again.

 

Stan


Edited by hallelujah, 28 January 2015 - 01:52 PM.


#17 SMark

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 02:20 PM

Yes, both of mine were between 79mm and 80mm.

#18 Rich V.

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 02:22 PM

Thanks, Stan; I just don't remember...

 

Anyone checked the ARKs?  Don't hear much about them.  I know KUO's newest BA10s like the Obie 20x80 Dlx III have checked out to being within a mm or two of full aperture but am unsure about the Vixen products over the years. 

 

Back in the '90s into the early 2000s when most 80mm binos under Orion's brand or Celestron's were Vixen made, nobody knew to check if they were full aperture at the time.  We know many of the later China based "80s" weren't but it was undocumented for a long time.  EdZ was the first to shed light on the issue because an 18x72 has a 4mm exit pupil just like a true 20x80.

 

Rich



#19 H-D Moose

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 02:34 PM

Stan,

 

Binocs arrived 15-20 minutes ago.  Cursory daytime collimation looks okay - whew, I'm happy.

 

The case doesn't fit.  I suspected it was too small as advertised by the seller b/c if you look at the eBay picture, it only had one row of black rivets whereas the cases I had seen via AM ads for the MEGAView all had two rows of these black rivets (indicating it was likely longer).  Very strange because the case is too big for my 70mm Orion binoculars but the case won't fit either of my 80mm pair (neither these MEGAView nor the Barska Cosmos ... a closer fit for the latter but still no fit for either).  Of course, the extendable dew shields are retracted and the tripod shoe it was shipped with was removed but the latter wouldn't make a difference re: extending the length.

 

In summary, hopefully I can join you & Mark in its praises.  Thunderstorms have ended but the forecast is clear but w/ horrible seeing so I'll give it a test run tonight.

 

Troy



#20 hallelujah

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 03:27 PM

Troy,

 

Please give the dimensions of the case & I will compare with my original case.

 

Glad to hear about the collimation, but try it on the stars anyway.

 

Stan


Edited by hallelujah, 02 February 2015 - 03:28 PM.


#21 H-D Moose

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 03:43 PM

Thanks Stan.

 

It's about 11 3/4" tall, 4" wide at the bottom and tapered to 3 1/4" wide [edit] at the top.  The opening is 9 5/8" at the top.

 

The binoculars fit inside fine.  But no matter how they are inserted, the top won't close.  Standing them next to the case you can see they are too close to the same size as the case.  Plus the lid/top of the case has a slightly padded top, maybe 1/8" thick of padding across the entire opening.  The top is nowhere close to latching.

 

Yes, agree re: collimation ... the true test will be skyward.  Hopefully the horrible [forecast] seeing tonight won't degrade my impression of the binoculars too much.

 

Thanks again for the assist.

 

Troy


Edited by H-D Moose, 02 February 2015 - 03:44 PM.


#22 hallelujah

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 03:52 PM

Troy,

 

Mine measures 13" tall, 4 1/2" wide at the bottom, tapers to approx. 3 1/2"+ at the top, 9 1/2"+ across.

 

Stan


Edited by hallelujah, 02 February 2015 - 03:54 PM.


#23 H-D Moose

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 03:58 PM

Stan,

 

Yep, that explains it.  I bet yours has two rows of black rivets, too, like I've seen in the AM Ads.  Anyway, thanks for the hard numbers.  I wonder what this case was meant for b/c like I mentioned, the 70mm binoculars swim in them.  They must be for another 80mm pair ... I wish they fit the Cosmos.

 

Troy



#24 hallelujah

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 04:10 PM

Your welcome.

 

I purchased a used, Apogee, metal case, from CN classifieds, for my Orion 30X80 MEGAView.

 

Stan



#25 H-D Moose

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 05:45 PM

Stan,

 

A Plano Protector Series Four Pistol Case Model No. 1404 works quite well for 80mm binoculars.  They can be had for as low as $11.97 at Walmart or ~$24 from BassPro.  I have one I am using now.  SurplusShed has new 80mm Binocular Cases in the measurements you gave for $12 + $6 shipping but for slightly more you can score a Zeikos case off Amazon.  

 

I'll keep my eyes open for a prefit case like you scored but I haven;'t seen any in a long time.

 

Thanks again for the measurements.

 

 Troy




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