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

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#51 Pinac

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Posted 19 February 2016 - 04:43 PM

When atmospheric conditions are clear, I can see the bands of Jupiter with my ORION MEGAView 30x80mm.

 

 

 

You were right - today, all day cloudy here but sky suddenly cleared up and stayed clear for a while before clouds moved back in, but in between, quite good conditions, and I could easily see the two main bands on Jupiter with the ARK. I start to like that thing.



#52 hallelujah

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Posted 19 February 2016 - 05:37 PM

 

When atmospheric conditions are clear, I can see the bands of Jupiter with my ORION MEGAView 30x80mm.

 

You were right -

today, all day cloudy here but sky suddenly cleared up and stayed clear for a while before clouds moved back in, but in between, quite good conditions,

and I could easily see the two main bands on Jupiter with the ARK

 I start to like that thing.

I have been liking the Orion 30x80mm for several years. :bigshock:

I use the Barska 30x80mm mainly for long distance bird watching, when ever I am in the mood.

 

The more you use the 30x80 the more you will appreciate it. :like: 

 

Don't forget to take a  l o n g  look at the Double Cluster. :woohoo:

 

Stan


Edited by hallelujah, 19 February 2016 - 05:41 PM.


#53 jamespkrum

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 07:18 PM

Ordered a 30X80 Vixen Ark from Amazon warehouse deals.  Well they packed it with no cushion material.  Double boxed and one piece of bubble rap.  Looked through them last night.  Color and contrast is excellent.  But they either out of alignment at the factory or more likely knocked out during shipping.  Amazon no fragile stickers, no packing material.  Just box it up loosely and ship it out.  They don't have a clue.  Anyway these are buttoned up pretty tight.  There is no way to access collimation screws without cutting into the rubber casing.  You can't simply pry it up like most other binoculars.  They are glued and sealed tightly.  So no easy fix without compromising them had to  send them back.  Think if you are lucky enough to get a pair in collimation they would make for fine binoculars.  Just an FYI for anybody considering purchasing these.  Vixen would have been wise to make screws accessible.  They didn't so back they went.  My eyes still hurt from the strain of looking through those last night.  Ughhh....



#54 SMark

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 07:52 PM

I have one of those here that was destroyed by UPS. I think a couple projects will spawn from it one day...



#55 daniel_h

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 09:43 PM

i went & tried a pair of the 30x80 vixen in melbourne -unit was out of collimation & for the price they were aksing didn't seem worth it -could go close to merging planets in them. I though I posted a mini review but just can't find it at present



#56 Pinac

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 12:25 AM

I was quite pleased originally with my 30x80, but have since frequently used the Vixen BTs (both 70 ED and 81) and find the image of the ARK now unsatisfactory, compared to the BT and esp. keeping the - quite steep - price of the ARK in mind!

I think the BT 81, which is not that much more expensive than the ARK, outperforms the latter by a huge margin. If the ARK was new something like $ 500, I would find that ok, but mine cost me much more than that. If I compare it to other fixed mag binos like the Omegon Argus or the APM, the ARK simply cannot compete any more. The only big advantage it has is its super compactness and very light weight.

Vixen has in the meantime stopped producing the 30x80 (I am not sure whether they continue making the 20x and lower mag ones).

Pinac


Edited by Pinac, 07 October 2016 - 12:28 AM.


#57 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 11:11 PM

Hello, While I am still working on my (at least) year long quest to get as many observations as possible to complete my own review of the 25 x 100 GiantView binos (Yes, I am the RalphMeister), I have personally owned the 16 x 80 Vixen ARKS for well over a year. A very nice pair of equipment. If you don't mind some very good, yet unsollicited advice, try to trade them for the 16's. They will be easier to hand hold, and it will be far easier just to find celestial objects and keep them in view!

Unless you really have your heart set on the 30-magnification for what-ever reason,please consider the lower power model.

I am actually considering getting the 28 x 110mm in the next few years, but with binoculars, more power does not allows mean better.

Good luck - The RalphMeister



#58 btr209

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 06:04 AM

I was quite pleased originally with my 30x80, but have since frequently used the Vixen BTs (both 70 ED and 81) and find the image of the ARK now unsatisfactory, compared to the BT and esp. keeping the - quite steep - price of the ARK in mind!

I think the BT 81, which is not that much more expensive than the ARK, outperforms the latter by a huge margin. If the ARK was new something like $ 500, I would find that ok, but mine cost me much more than that. If I compare it to other fixed mag binos like the Omegon Argus or the APM, the ARK simply cannot compete any more. The only big advantage it has is its super compactness and very light weight.

Vixen has in the meantime stopped producing the 30x80 (I am not sure whether they continue making the 20x and lower mag ones).

Pin

Interesting reply.

Is CA in the BT81 well controlled up to that power (30x)? Is that of the Ark rather bad? I agree that the price tag of the Ark is steep but if optical quality was on par, its compactess would be a big plus indeed. I have been considering getting an Ark 30x80 but as a Zeiss Conquest HD 15x56 owner I fear I could be very disappointed, If the BT 81 is as good as the Zeiss I will buy one, as it will be good enough IMO.



#59 Pinac

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 09:13 AM

I would say that CA control is not the strong point of the BT81. If CA is the main issue, the BT-ED70 would be the much better choice, but it is double the price, and I find the image not as bright as I would have hoped, which means I don't use the ED70 much beyond 36x or so.

 

At 30x, I would say that the ARK is as good as the BT81 in terms of CA control, if not slightly better. However, the BT81 offers a much better off-axis sharpness and a brighter image. Observing e.g. the moon at 30x, which fills a large part of the fov of both instruments, in the ARK you can only see a fraction of the moon surface as a sharp image, the larger part is increasingly blurred, the further out you go from the center of the field. In the BT81, the larger part of the moon appears sharp and well defined at 30x. You are right, though, that the compactness of the ARK is a big plus, because you can just take it along and mount it on a tripod almost as easily as a 15x56 or so (which is what I sometimes do when I am not sure yet whether conditions are good enough to take out one of the larger binos).

 

I am not extremely sensitive to CA so I may be a bad reference point. But I find the BT81, considering its price, offers me good, bright and sharp images up to magnifications of well over 50x, with a little CA in the center and a bit more off-axis. I am even regularly using a 7mm DeLite, which gives 68x, and it has proven to show me further details not that easily visible with my 9mm Naglers.

I have to admit that I seem to have an extremely well collimated sample of the BT81, allowing me under ideal conditions to even use a 5mm DeLite = 96x (other BT81s I have seen have collimation issues from about 50x, and the same is unfortunately true for my BT-ED70 - I know, I know, Vixen does not recommend using eyepieces with less than 10mm.....).

 

Overall, I think the BT81 is well worth its money. But whether you can live with a certain amount of CA, which no doubt is there, depends much on the individual user (esp. if such user has a fine instrument such as the Conquest HD; although if you want to be pedantic, the HD  also displays a little bit of off-axis CA). You for sure cannot compare the BT81 with same size premium binos such as Docter or Kowa (I happen to have both of those as well), but for its price, the BT81 in my view performs very well.


Edited by Pinac, 12 November 2016 - 09:59 AM.


#60 btr209

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 11:20 AM

I would say that CA control is not the strong point of the BT81. If CA is the main issue, the BT-ED70 would be the much better choice, but it is double the price, and I find the image not as bright as I would have hoped, which means I don't use the ED70 much beyond 36x or so.

 

At 30x, I would say that the ARK is as good as the BT81 in terms of CA control, if not slightly better. However, the BT81 offers a much better off-axis sharpness and a brighter image. Observing e.g. the moon at 30x, which fills a large part of the fov of both instruments, in the ARK you can only see a fraction of the moon surface as a sharp image, the larger part is increasingly blurred, the further out you go from the center of the field. In the BT81, the larger part of the moon appears sharp and well defined at 30x.

 

This is crucial to me because I will use my next high power binoculars as a lunar instrument mainly. The Ark has a 2.3° FOV, not good if the larger part of the moon is already blurred in the Ark!



#61 Pinac

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 12:10 PM

I agree. For exactly that reason, the 30x ARK is in my view not a good instrument for the moon.

I don't know what you mean by "high power binoculars". And a question is of course whether you want a simple instrument with no changeable eyepieces, like the traditional binoculars, or a more flexible solution such as the BTs.

I so far have had the best view of the moon in a fixed magnification binocular with my APM 28x110 (probably essentially the same bino as some of the other 28x110 binos from Oberwerk, TS, Omegon etc.). Sharp, good contrast, little CA, fov 2.3 o (same as the ARK), impressive details, allowed my to see rupes recta when conditions were okay ! If 28x is high power enough for you, I recommend you having a look at such a beast - and that is also the point: the 28x110s are big and heavy beasts ! They are considerably heavier than even e.g. the Vixen BTs !!! They weigh almost three times as much as the ARK.

But of course, BTs with exchangeable eyepieces offer more flexibility and in the long run maybe also more satisfaction due to the possibility to modify your magnification, fov, etc. etc.

There are smaller and lighter fixed magnification binos which are easier to handle such as the Omegon Argus 25x100, but they in my view don't even come close to my APM  28x110 in terms of off-axis sharpness or CA.

If I were to consider an ARK again, I would probably go for the 20x which, I hear, gives a much better image than the the 30x and is often considered the best of the series. But I am not even sure they are still produced.

Pinac


Edited by Pinac, 13 November 2016 - 12:12 PM.


#62 jrbarnett

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 04:22 PM

Hello, While I am still working on my (at least) year long quest to get as many observations as possible to complete my own review of the 25 x 100 GiantView binos (Yes, I am the RalphMeister), I have personally owned the 16 x 80 Vixen ARKS for well over a year. A very nice pair of equipment. If you don't mind some very good, yet unsollicited advice, try to trade them for the 16's. They will be easier to hand hold, and it will be far easier just to find celestial objects and keep them in view!

Unless you really have your heart set on the 30-magnification for what-ever reason,please consider the lower power model.

I am actually considering getting the 28 x 110mm in the next few years, but with binoculars, more power does not allows mean better.

Good luck - The RalphMeister

I'd think hand holding any of these would not be optimal.  These big binoculars scream for a mount to deliver their best.

 

Regards,

 

Jim




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