Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Nikon WX testing

  • Please log in to reply
400 replies to this topic

#1 GlennLeDrew

GlennLeDrew

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 15172
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Posted 08 June 2017 - 06:44 PM

I just got back after a round of testing the new Nikon 7X50 and 10X50 WX, conducted at the retail shop, Focus Scientific, here in Ottawa. My principal interest was the 10X50, for obvious reasons. There's a fair *chance* I'll go back again tomorrow, so if you have any specific points needing addressing, ask away.

 

In a word, WOW!

 

They meet my expectations, based on published info. That is, there were no surprises at all. Including the fact that the published figures for the AFoV understate reality notably, due to their being merely calculations.

 

Using the flashlight-through-the objective test, which projects a circle of light as defined by the field stop, I measure AFoVs of:

 

7X50, 71 degrees

10X50, 85 degrees

 

These figures should be correct to within about 0.5 degree.

 

It goes without saying that they utilize the full aperture on axis. But the circle of full illumination is quite small. But that's absolutely OK! A baffle, which appears to be within the prism system, is sized so as to provide maximal stray light suppression without impinging on the axial light cone. This is a very good strategy; it mirrors my own preference in my home-made binos.

 

False exit pupil segments, or 'fingernails' as we like to call them, are a NON ISSUE. There are two, but even the worst is such a tiny sliver as to be of practically no import... IF it were to be sufficiently near the principal exit pupil, that is. But nope, these pupil segments are well and safely removed from ever falling upon one's iris.

 

The region surrounding the exit pupil is agreeably dark when the instrument is pointed up toward the daytime sky. Which means that unless direct ingress of a quite bright light source illuminates the interior walls and prism/lens edges, this source of scatter to reduce contrast is vanishingly small. I should conduct some further testing under extreme conditions to explore this further, so as to divine just what surfaces would be illuminated and how near/far from the exit pupil they lie.

 

By *visual* comparison of an illuminated surface seen directly and through the the bino, I *crudely estimate* a transmission in the neighborhood of 90-ish percent. I could detect a slight dimming, which I feel must preclude a transmission of 95+%. But do note that such visual comparisons are fraught with the potential for illusion. If I can rig up an add-on tube for my SQM in time, I'll strive to obtain a much more reliable measurement, which I should think will have an error of no larger than about 1%.

 

More to follow... (I'm afraid of losing my work on this phone. ;) )


  • KennyJ, Mad Matt, edwincjones and 17 others like this

#2 GlennLeDrew

GlennLeDrew

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 15172
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Posted 08 June 2017 - 07:17 PM

Longitudinal chromatic aberration is invisible. A good quality 4X10 bino placed behind the eyepiece, thus acting as a 4X quadrupler, shows a still mighty fine image! The resolving power far surpasses the eye's ability to resolve. At this 40X on the 10X bino, details on a moderately distant power pole and its hardware were revealed which I think could hold up reasonably well compared to a dedicated 40X50 spotting scope of middling quality.

 

There is lateral chromatic aberration, which I suspect is introduced by the eyepiece. At the field edge, where it's naturally of maximal magnitude, I estimated the angular width of the colored fringes on a distant power pole as seen against the brighter sky. When the pole is placed near the right side field edge, there is a purple fringe seen against the right side of the pole, and a green fringe seen adjacent to the left side of the pole, projected against the sky. These two fringes are of essentially equal width. The pole was measured to be some 400m distant, using a laser rangefinder. It's apparent angular width I estimate to be some 2 arcminutes. The colored fringes for the 10X bino were about 1/4 the pole width, or about 1/2 arcminute. At 10X this is a magnified apparent width of 5 arcminutes. I did a quicker examination of this for the 7X50, and find a roughly similar magnified apparent colored fringe width of some 5 arcminutes. And so the *apparent* extent of this fringing is about the same for both binos at each's field edge, in spite of the smaller AFoV for the 7X unit. Note that these are *estimates*, which certainly could be improved upon.

 

Field flatness is excellent. Even for my increasingly crystalizing eye lenses ;) , for which focus accommodation is poor, it required no refocusing whatsoever to retain best sharpness as I scanned across the full field.

 

No astigmatism of note was seen even to the field edge. But if I go back tomorrow we'll be using an artificial star as seen across the building's basement. In such darkness I'll be using the full aperture due to my dilated irises. I just hope the near focus accommdates this...

 

I had no trouble at all seeing both fields in their entirety. But then, I also do well with 100 degree AFoV oculars in bino mode.

 

Late afternoon car headlights did not reveal any roof line-induced diffraction spike. I plan to use a blazing LED flashlight in the darkened basement to make for a *much* more extreme test.

 

The daytime impressions, using high amd low contrast test subjects, were most positive indeed. Based on this, I feel confident that nighttime performance will not disappoint. But it sure would be nice to have had that opportunity!

 

Hopefully more to come tomorrow...


  • KennyJ, edwincjones, Jon Isaacs and 10 others like this

#3 HfxObserver

HfxObserver

    Apollo

  • ****-
  • Posts: 1373
  • Joined: 12 Nov 2004
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 08 June 2017 - 07:22 PM

Thanks Glenn, an amazing report.

 

How was the weight? Did you Hand old or mount them?

How was the Eye Relief? Did you use glasses during observations?

Any chance you were able to look at the Moon?

 

Thanks again,

 

Chris


  • CAAD9 likes this

#4 Eric.TB

Eric.TB

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 184
  • Joined: 01 Feb 2017
  • Loc: Northeastern US

Posted 08 June 2017 - 07:25 PM

Glenn,

 

I understand you did not make a direct compareson, but based on memory, how do you feel the overall resolution (on-axis off axis) was compared to the Swarovski EL you mentioned using the other day?


Edited by Eric.TB, 08 June 2017 - 07:27 PM.


#5 JCB

JCB

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 331
  • Joined: 04 Oct 2004
  • Loc: France

Posted 08 June 2017 - 07:37 PM

It goes without saying that they utilize the full aperture on axis. But the circle of full illumination is quite small. But that's absolutely OK! A baffle, which appears to be within the prism system, is sized so as to provide maximal stray light suppression without impinging on the axial light cone. This is a very good strategy; it mirrors my own preference in my home-made binos.

Could you give an estimation of the percentage of illumination near the edges?

 

Another question:
What are your impressions about pincushion distorsion? With such a wide field, I suspect straight lines must appear very distorted.

 

Thank you for this test.


Edited by JCB, 08 June 2017 - 07:57 PM.


#6 CAAD9

CAAD9

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 589
  • Joined: 04 Mar 2016
  • Loc: Australia

Posted 08 June 2017 - 08:39 PM

Thank you for doing the test Glenn.  I'm too much of a newb (still) to ask any intelligent questions but would mirror Chris's questions around ergonomics.  

 

How did you find using and holding the binos while trying to focus the seperate eyepieces?

 

Not sure if you pay any attention to such things, but on a superficial level how do these look in real life?  

 

Thanks again,

 

Adam



#7 theo98

theo98

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 107
  • Joined: 04 Dec 2014
  • Loc: SE La

Posted 08 June 2017 - 09:10 PM

Glenn,

 

Thanks for the wonderful reporting on the WX's! I'll not bother you with any questions till you've completed your investigations and write-ups! waytogo.gif

 

Ted



#8 GlennLeDrew

GlennLeDrew

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 15172
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Posted 08 June 2017 - 09:14 PM

Thanks Glenn, an amazing report.

 

How was the weight? Did you Hand old or mount them?

How was the Eye Relief? Did you use glasses during observations?

Any chance you were able to look at the Moon?

 

Thanks again,

 

Chris

After about 5 minutes of hand holding my arms began to complain. ;) Most testing was done on a tripod. Focusing while hand holding is a bit of a chore because any momentary supporting by one hand does torque the wrist.

 

The focusing action is very smooth, with complete control over the finessing. Personally, I'd prefer a coarser, faster action, but I'm sure some folks will like the current speed of action.

 

I was paying no particular attention to eye relief because it's more than generous enough for me and my non-requirement to wear glasses. Moreover, I thought the eye relief was stated by Nikon. I did cursorily note that with the eye cups retracted their outer surface was something like 4-ish millimeters above the *center* of the concave eye lens for the 10X unit. I'll get a measure of the *real* eye relief for both tomorrow...

 

The Moon had nowhere near risen before the shop closed.


  • CAAD9 likes this

#9 GlennLeDrew

GlennLeDrew

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 15172
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Posted 08 June 2017 - 09:28 PM

Glenn,

 

I understand you did not make a direct compareson, but based on memory, how do you feel the overall resolution (on-axis off axis) was compared to the Swarovski EL you mentioned using the other day?

Based on my memory of the Swarovski EL, I'd characterize the two as being essentially similar in most respects as regards perceived image quality, more so on axis. Near each's field edge, the WX has somewhat worse lateral color, as might be expected for the wider AFoV, but might have a tad less astigmatism, in spite of the wider AFoV. I should remember to do a side by side...


  • theo98, CAAD9 and Eric.TB like this

#10 GlennLeDrew

GlennLeDrew

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 15172
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Posted 08 June 2017 - 09:33 PM

Thank you for doing the test Glenn.  I'm too much of a newb (still) to ask any intelligent questions but would mirror Chris's questions around ergonomics.  

 

How did you find using and holding the binos while trying to focus the seperate eyepieces?

 

Not sure if you pay any attention to such things, but on a superficial level how do these look in real life?  

 

Thanks again,

 

Adam

Focusing while hand-holding addressed above...

 

As to aesthetics, the published photos I've seen do them sufficient justice. The lines are a bit odd due to the massive eyepieces, but looks matter to me rather less than they once did. They exude a very practical, business-like quality that has its appeal. Kind of like the Germans' FW-190 among WWII fighters. The carrying handle is neat, and it has a threaded mounting hole on its underside for attachment to a tripod or a mounting shoe.


Edited by GlennLeDrew, 08 June 2017 - 09:36 PM.

  • Astrojensen, Fivemileshigh and CAAD9 like this

#11 GlennLeDrew

GlennLeDrew

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 15172
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Posted 08 June 2017 - 09:40 PM

I did take some pics, which I'll post in this thread after getting ahead on some magazine illustrations which have top priority.



#12 GlennLeDrew

GlennLeDrew

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 15172
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Posted 08 June 2017 - 09:50 PM

 

It goes without saying that they utilize the full aperture on axis. But the circle of full illumination is quite small. But that's absolutely OK! A baffle, which appears to be within the prism system, is sized so as to provide maximal stray light suppression without impinging on the axial light cone. This is a very good strategy; it mirrors my own preference in my home-made binos.

Could you give an estimation of the percentage of illumination near the edges?

 

Another question:
What are your impressions about pincushion distorsion? With such a wide field, I suspect straight lines must appear very distorted.

 

Thank you for this test.

 

I did take a pic of the exit pupil as seen from the point off axis where the field stop is just about to clip the pupil. I'd estimate illumination here to be at least 75% of that on axis, based on pupil area alone. How transmission may vary with field angle through the varying lens curvatures is too difficult to assess visually. If I can cook up a suitable meter around my SQM, I could look at this.

 

Rectilinear distortion is very low, with what appears to be a small amount of pincushion. In casual sweeping, straight lines are sensibly straight enough throughout the FoV. This is why an 85 degree AFoV can 'squeeze' in 9 degrees at 10X. Naively one might suppose an AFoV of 90 degrees based on magnification and TFoV multiplied.



#13 HfxObserver

HfxObserver

    Apollo

  • ****-
  • Posts: 1373
  • Joined: 12 Nov 2004
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 08 June 2017 - 10:01 PM

Thanks Glenn, I appreciate the answers.

 

Perhaps this is a hypothetical question, how robust does the "business-like quality" seem? Do they appear built to take the long term, years of heirloom / generational, abuse such a price-tag demands?

 

My most used gear has been the 7X35 9-degree AE....a 10X 9-degree of the highest quality for Milky Way scanning and other wide field applications would be astounding. 

 

Chris



#14 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 64707
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 08 June 2017 - 10:11 PM

Glenn:

 

Sounds like you had a great time checking out the WXs and that let the rest of us enjoy your experience vicariously.  Focus Scientific is to be commended for allowing you to test the binoculars so thoroughly.  

 

The one burning question:

 

Are you buying them or are they just not that good... ???   lol.gif

 

Jon


  • Mark9473, Sarkikos and Foss like this

#15 GlennLeDrew

GlennLeDrew

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 15172
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Posted 08 June 2017 - 11:27 PM

Jon,

These binos were brought along by the Nikon rep based in Montreal, doing a 2-day stopover in Ottawa, which is on his beat. I gather these very same binos will over time be trotted out across the country at cities having dealers of Nikon optics who move a reasonable quantity of product.

 

Because tomorrow is the last day they'll be here, I must get back to the shop in order to do some more testing.

 

If I had a credit card as assurance against tragedy, I would have been permitted to take a pair home with me for nighttime testing (at least on distant lights, if no holes in the cloud cover revealed stars.) Alas!

 

I *wish* I had the mad money to afford these! I'm a pauper, however. Here in Canada the selling price is $10,000 CDN.


  • Jon Isaacs likes this

#16 GlennLeDrew

GlennLeDrew

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 15172
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Posted 08 June 2017 - 11:38 PM

Incidentally, the Nikon rep did manage to obtain a bit of educating on the more 'esoteric' aspects of optics. He was newly exposed to the fundamentals of false pupil segments, slotted Porro prisms (not relevant here, of course, but raised in the context of false pupil suppression), measurement of the AFoV, the use of a small finder or bino to amplify the image, the fact of aperture reduction when one's iris is smaller than the exit pupil, and maybe one or two other tid-bits I forget.

 

He was surprised at the notably larger AFoVs than published. But he observed my measurement technique, and snapped pics--including of my crude working sheet upon which I sketched the geometry and jotted dimensions/calculations. ;) He mentioned that he'd be reporting my results up the chain.


  • Jon Isaacs, Mark9473, EverlastingSky and 9 others like this

#17 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 64707
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 08 June 2017 - 11:43 PM

Incidentally, the Nikon rep did manage to obtain a bit of educating on the more 'esoteric' aspects of optics. He was newly exposed to the fundamentals of false pupil segments, slotted Porro prisms (not relevant here, of course, but raised in the context of false pupil suppression), measurement of the AFoV, the use of a small finder or bino to amplify the image, the fact of aperture reduction when one's iris is smaller than the exit pupil, and maybe one or two other tid-bits I forget.

 

He was surprised at the notably larger AFoVs than published. But he observed my measurement technique, and snapped pics--including of my crude working sheet upon which I sketched the geometry and jotted dimensions/calculations. wink.gif He mentioned that he'd be reporting my results up the chain.

 

He probably didn't quite know who he was talking too.  Maybe if he had seen your RA binos with the 100degree Ethos eyepieces...

 

They got lucky.

 

Jon


  • Grimnir, whosthebadman and CAAD9 like this

#18 KennyJ

KennyJ

    The British Flash

  • *****
  • Posts: 35895
  • Joined: 27 Apr 2003
  • Loc: Lancashire UK

Posted 09 June 2017 - 03:34 AM

Just to convey my personal feelings of gratefulness and appreciation of the fact that this opportunity has come about.

 

Of all active members of this forum, past and present, Glenn is surely amongst an extremely tiny minority with the authority, knowledge, experience and capability of carrying out and conveying so clearly his conclusions from these tests.

 

Kenny


  • Jon Isaacs, Swedpat, EverlastingSky and 10 others like this

#19 GlennLeDrew

GlennLeDrew

    Hubble

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 15172
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2008
  • Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Posted 09 June 2017 - 03:41 AM

Thanks Glenn, I appreciate the answers.

 

Perhaps this is a hypothetical question, how robust does the "business-like quality" seem? Do they appear built to take the long term, years of heirloom / generational, abuse such a price-tag demands?

 

My most used gear has been the 7X35 9-degree AE....a 10X 9-degree of the highest quality for Milky Way scanning and other wide field applications would be astounding. 

 

Chris

My impression is of durability; they seem built to withstand the kind of knocking any non-armored bino could be hoped to withstand. Interestingly, the objective and eyepiece covers are very much like padded slip-on 'booties'. The aluminum carry case is reminiscent of a chest, what with its depth to accommodate the bino's carrying handle that can be left attached.



#20 KennyJ

KennyJ

    The British Flash

  • *****
  • Posts: 35895
  • Joined: 27 Apr 2003
  • Loc: Lancashire UK

Posted 09 June 2017 - 03:46 AM

After Glenn has completed round two of his tests, an "hypothetical scenario" I'm sure many others would share my curiosity about would be this:

 

IF given the choice of "FREE GIFTS" between either ONE of these Nikon 10x50 WX  models or both of the most recent versions of a Swarovski 8.5x42 EL and 15x56, to use for the rest of his life, which of those two "free gifts" would he feel most likely to accept, and why? 

 

Kenny


  • Mad Matt, Grimnir and CAAD9 like this

#21 trener

trener

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 191
  • Joined: 19 Nov 2014
  • Loc: European Union

Posted 09 June 2017 - 05:22 AM

Izi choice. For me obviously Nikon WX, they are something really special.


  • stargazer193857 and Eric.TB like this

#22 edwincjones

edwincjones

    Close Enough

  • *****
  • Posts: 11490
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2004

Posted 09 June 2017 - 06:47 AM

Just to convey my personal feelings of gratefulness and appreciation of the fact that this opportunity has come about.

 

Of all active members of this forum, past and present, Glenn is surely amongst an extremely tiny minority with the authority, knowledge, experience and capability of carrying out and conveying so clearly his conclusions from these tests.

 

Kenny

 

Jon,

........................I *wish* I had the mad money to afford these! ................

 

 

Darn-I was hopping that these would be a dud so I could forget about them and dream about something else.

 

edj


  • Mad Matt, Jon Isaacs, raal and 1 other like this

#23 Mad Matt

Mad Matt

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1562
  • Joined: 20 May 2003
  • Loc: Frankfurt, Germany

Posted 09 June 2017 - 07:23 AM

Glenn, many, many thanks for the review! I was going to say that these sound like they are worth there weight in gold but then that would make them worth more then $100,000 so I guess that would count as a slight over exaggeration grin.gif

 

I definitely envy you smile.gif and hope I get a chance to look though these someday. Setting all the talk (complaining) about the price aside. It sounds like Nikon have created the binocular against which others will be measured. That is good for the industry and also for us as consumers!... and have I mentioned how much I envy you? waytogo.gif


Edited by Mad Matt, 09 June 2017 - 09:05 AM.

  • nuvax likes this

#24 KennyJ

KennyJ

    The British Flash

  • *****
  • Posts: 35895
  • Joined: 27 Apr 2003
  • Loc: Lancashire UK

Posted 09 June 2017 - 08:29 AM

Having given my own question to Glenn some thought, as I sit on a balcony at around 150 feet above sea level overlooking a wonderful panoramic coastal scene, with two islands about 4 miles distant across the strait, where I've spent the past week switching back and forth between my Nikon 10x42SE and trying to make use of a Helios 30x90 Observation binocular with around 5mm eye-relief and a 20-60x x 60mm Auriol spotting scope that supermarket chain Lidl were selling for the princely sum of £25 a couple of years ago, I've decided I would probably feel to be in some kind of heaven with nothing more than one of these 10x50 WX binos fixed to my 501 head and Manfrotto 028 tripod.

 

The viewing is wonderful through the SE, but just imagining an extra 50% wide field of view with optics "superior" even to that of the "Superior E" has made my mind up for me.

 

I would take one of these 10x50s in preference to both of the Swarovskis I mentioned, but only if the eye-relief is at least 16mm. 

 

Kenny



#25 Mad Matt

Mad Matt

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1562
  • Joined: 20 May 2003
  • Loc: Frankfurt, Germany

Posted 09 June 2017 - 09:11 AM

Having given my own question to Glenn some thought, as I sit on a balcony at around 150 feet above sea level overlooking a wonderful panoramic coastal scene, with two islands about 4 miles distant across the strait, where I've spent the past week switching back and forth between my Nikon 10x42SE and trying to make use of a Helios 30x90 Observation binocular with around 5mm eye-relief and a 20-60x x 60mm Auriol spotting scope that supermarket chain Lidl were selling for the princely sum of £25 a couple of years ago, I've decided I would probably feel to be in some kind of heaven with nothing more than one of these 10x50 WX binos fixed to my 501 head and Manfrotto 028 tripod.

 

The viewing is wonderful through the SE, but just imagining an extra 50% wide field of view with optics "superior" even to that of the "Superior E" has made my mind up for me.

 

I would take one of these 10x50s in preference to both of the Swarovskis I mentioned, but only if the eye-relief is at least 16mm. 

 

Kenny

Having given your thoughts on Glenn some thought, as I sit in my office at around 8 feet below ground level overlooking a wonderfully cluttered desk, with two screens only about 50cm from my nose... I wonder which of us is better off... me with a plethora of some of the best optical instruments ever made (except the WX's) but stuck in a basement office with nothing but a wall to look at, or you with such a wonderful view!bow.gif  smile.gif


Edited by Mad Matt, 09 June 2017 - 09:12 AM.

  • Dan Williams and Foss like this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.







Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics