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Good value-for-money zoom monocular?

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#1 dyslexic nam

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 02:29 PM

I am wondering what is out there in a pretty specific niche - I am looking for a decent zoom monocular.  I am thinking of something in the range of 7x or 8x to an upper magnification of 15x or 20x.  I know this starts to get into spotting scope territory, but I a thinking of a fairly compact monocular that is really portable and meant to be handheld.  

 

It is for a kind of survival kit.  My kids have collected a few things to put in their kits that have evolved over time, so I figure in could "kill two birds with with one stone" (no actual birds were harmed in this post) - they would get something that is hopefully useable optically, and they get a bit of kit for their kits.

 

I see fairly cheap monoculars on ebay, but I suspect they might be disappointing.  Wondering if anyone knows of anything decent out there - especially at a lower price point.



#2 MartinPond

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 08:24 PM

You don't see zoom monoculars discussed much in either spotter

or binocular forums because the widest field width is a great deal lower

than a monocular or binoculars at that power, and the field quality is

generally a lot lower than a monocular unless you spend multiples more money

and make it longer to give you good resolution at high power...

..which would make it the same as an expensive spotter....

big and expensive.

 

There is a shaking problem.  Over 8-10x, the shaking of your hand ruins

the extra detail, unless you use a tripod.  Now things are getting very, very big.

 

In the survival situation you have one last problem: a zoom monocular is

not very rugged at all compared with a fixed-power monocular.

 

If I were packing a monocular for survival conditions

it would be a solid, waterproof 8x25, 8x30 or so. Unless you have more space..

If the kit had to be very small, a good quality 8x21.

 

A cheap small zoom would not be as useful.

You might be worried about missing something without high power...

but you can see a lot with a plain fixed monocular, and 12x or 20x in your hand

is mostly a blur.


Edited by MartinPond, 10 October 2015 - 12:20 AM.


#3 edwincjones

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 08:02 AM

I have the Orion 10-25x42 monocular

10x works reasonably well,

higher mag quickly darkens and deteriates

 

edj


Edited by edwincjones, 10 October 2015 - 08:03 AM.


#4 Binojunky

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 12:05 PM

Having bought and owned a lot of monoculars over the years, the best one I came across is the 8x42 from Zen-Ray, not the cheapest ($135) but its all metal with great eye relief for spectacles, the case in a bit basic but very nice optics,like binoculars avoid the zoom versions, TD.



#5 kkokkolis

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 12:51 PM

a0da4dcb1d5964ef90d3790de594044f.jpg

 

That's my 1989 CCCP Zenica rugged all metal 8-24x40 foldable monocular. As an f/10 achromat it has great optics (for the era) with only downside the constant 40 degrees field of view. It is still made, now as KOMZ in Kazan, for a price of around 80 €. If I play the corsair with it, why wouldn't your children? 



#6 MartinPond

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 02:52 PM

Good example...the long body for higher powers.

Well, if they have the space for it, that's a good one to look for.

(the 1989 CCCP Zenica rugged all metal 8-24x40 foldable monocular)...

and: that longer length helps with the shaking.

 

There are a few zoom spotters that are similar size and work OK, too.

The Bushnell  40mm 9-30x is narrow but quite sharp..(and less rare).

Swift did the same thing in a 30mm.

 

Still...I was taking the survival use a bit seriously.


Edited by MartinPond, 10 October 2015 - 02:53 PM.


#7 kkokkolis

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 04:11 PM

http://www.binocular...s/zenica.shtml 

Now they read Made in Russia in Latin Alphabet. Mine says CCCP and ZT Zenica in Cyrillic. Serial starts from 89, the year of manufacture. KOMZ was founded in 1993 but still makes this and my 8x30 porro monocular (which is also from 1989, just before the last breath of the Eastern Block). While the 8x30 has the slight Soviet yellow tint, the Zenica is cool, perhaps a little blueish. At 8-12 it is perfectly usable and for 12-16 there is a mount thread. Eyepiece is wide (a 50mm Ortho of a sort) with huge eye relief. If it had a 60mm Erfle it would be a killer. But people spend big money for Orthos in this forum. 

Zoom function is under the focuser and works perfectly. The focuser moves the eyepiece (kind of helical). There is leather coat and a typical rough croc leather case. Mine didn't have caps and strap but I found in my spares box. I paid 30€ for it. 



#8 MartinPond

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 08:08 PM

50mm ortho...

to get high power, the zoom mechanism would have to

perform a variable barlow-type function.  That's certainly possible.

40 degrees afov is pretty good for a zoom. 

Quite a gadget!   



#9 stargazer193857

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 11:40 PM

Why even use the low power when the afov is so small you might as well be at high power. That is how zoom eyepieces are.



#10 kkokkolis

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 01:50 AM

In monoculars there aren't possible discollimation problems we expect from cheap zoom binoculars. 

I choose low powers (usually 10x and 12x) mainly for stability and brightness. But when mounted you can go straight to 20x and 24x after you spot the object (mainly ships at the horizon). 



#11 dyslexic nam

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Posted 12 October 2015 - 11:23 AM

Thanks folks.  I stepped away for the internet for a couple of days, so the replies are appreciated.

 

I wasn't aware of the orion zoom monocular.  I wonder how much it differs from the unbranded, cheaper versions with similar specs that are available on ebay.  I may need to compare the specs in detail to see if there is a no-name equivalent. 

 

As as for the more exotic options, I will keep an eye out.  Good to know that there may be some workable solutions out there.

 

:)


Edited by dyslexic nam, 12 October 2015 - 11:58 AM.


#12 Binojunky

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 01:02 PM

Also available is a Russian 8x30 monocular and a Tourist 10x30 draw tube telescope, harder to find but with good optics and build, TD.



#13 kkokkolis

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Posted 13 October 2015 - 03:11 PM

This monocular on the right? This was my workhorse for a couple of decades.

 

9759aa6bbdc51313fbfdef4451b8afa5.jpg



#14 nicknacknock

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 02:04 AM

Konstantinos,

 

I also like the "monocular" on the left! I have one of those on the way and it will actually pull double duty with it as a travelling scope  :waytogo:



#15 Binojunky

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 10:58 AM

Konstantinos,

 

I also like the "monocular" on the left! I have one of those on the way and it will actually pull double duty with it as a travelling scope  :waytogo:

Stellarvue sold a version of this a while back as a travel scope , they called it the Little Rascal, came with a clamshell for use on a camera tripod, rotating helical focuser, eyepiece and a fitted case, I still have mine, tried to sell it last year but got no interest, now I,m glad I kept it, it stands at the ready for examining visitors to the bird feeder, TD.




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