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Absolute Best of the Best in Binoculars

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#51 agmoonsolns

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 03:22 PM

A local dealer we have spent a ton of money with over the years loaned me Zeiss, Leica, Canon, Nikon, Swarovski, and Pentax binoculars to take home and try out. It wasn't about trust, he had my credit card number on file. 

 

After much testing and comparing them I decided on the Zeiss with the special coatings and the Canon IS, the rest were returned. You all are right, one pair just isn't enough. BTW, I thought the Swarovski were the sharpest and best corrected across the FOV and the Leica were the most comfortable to hold, but I was mildly disappointed in their performance. Not that they're bad, they're exceptional. I was just expecting them to be more exceptional than they were and what one would expect for the price. I thought the Swarovski were sharper and better corrected.

 

The thing is, the Zeiss had a huge FOV and were noticeably the highest transmission, brightness, and contrast of the bunch. I could see things with them the others totally failed to reveal. They are not as well corrected across the FOV, but the change is gradual and so one doesn't notice unless looking for it. Some of the others had a sharp drop in performance as stars were moved towards the edge and that was really annoying.

 

The Canon IS binoculars are extremely well-corrected across the entire FOV and are very sharp in the center. They have terrific coatings and excellent contrast, light transmission, and brightness. Most important of all, they were extremely comfortable to hold and use for long periods of time. With the IS, I can fully appreciate their higher magnification to really stare at distant objects to extract all of the detail I can. If I didn't have a huge amount to spend on binoculars, I would get a pair of the Canon IS binoculars, they're really terrific.

 

So, I now have a high power pair of binoculars for really scrutinizing objects and a lower power pair with phenomenal coatings/light transmission and a wide FOV for sweeping the Milky Way and looking for DSOs.

 

I still really want to try the Doctor and the Minox binoculars, they're on my list to get next. I'll probably get a pair of the Swarovski binoculars later too once I recover from this shopping spree. I'll post a more detailed review later. I just really wanted to thank everyone for their time, advice, and equipment feedback, you all helped so much! Thank you!


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#52 robodan

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 04:52 PM

You guys have seen nothing till you look through at least 100mm binoculars.

#53 Corcaroli78

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 03:53 AM

Thanks for the nice pics of the ZEISS Victory! These have a very big fan club.

 

ZEISS - Swarovski - Leica, and also the Kowa Prominar/Genesis, are certainly at the top

in optical performance and quality, and the observer's eyes finally decide which one is the best.

 

The legacy of their optics designs goes back to the tactical binoculars of WWII.

I have in my vintage collection the Carl Zeiss Jena 7x50 tactical Porros, which have been released in 1936 at the time of the Olympic Games in Berlin, and at that time they have been regarded as top, and cloned by other manufacturers.

 

Best,

 

JG

 

Hi JG,

 

Just a quick off-topic question

 

Interesting what you mention about the special edition of the 1936 Olympic games binos. Are they labelled as commemorative?  I remember a Zeiss West 6x20 with silver rings for the München Games.  If you have pics, could you share them with the classic forum?

 

LG / MfG.

Carlos


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#54 Swedpat

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 05:12 AM

You guys have seen nothing till you look through at least 100mm binoculars.

 

I wonder what do you really mean here? Aperture has nothing to do with quality. Brightness and contrast depends on exit pupil and glass quality/coating. And field of view is determined by the eyepiece design.


Edited by Swedpat, 23 September 2019 - 05:15 AM.

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#55 j.gardavsky

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 05:53 AM

Hi JG,

 

Just a quick off-topic question

 

Interesting what you mention about the special edition of the 1936 Olympic games binos. Are they labelled as commemorative?  I remember a Zeiss West 6x20 with silver rings for the München Games.  If you have pics, could you share them with the classic forum?

 

LG / MfG.

Carlos

Hello Carlos,

 

these are the Carl Zeiss Jena KF Septar 7x50H.

The KF may stay for Kriegsflotte (Navy), the S/N idicates the series manufactured 1935/36.

There are not a special edition released for the 1936 Berlin Olympic games, but they can be seen in the hands of A.H. on a tribune during the Games.

They are in pristine condition, certainly never used by Navy, just with some fungus on the prisms,

I am not going to remove.

I have them from an auction in Nuernberg.

Should you be interested, I can take a pic and post it.

 

Thank you for asking,

 

JG


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#56 j.gardavsky

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 06:47 AM

... I thought the Swarovski were the sharpest and best corrected across the FOV and the Leica were the most comfortable to hold, but I was mildly disappointed in their performance. Not that they're bad, they're exceptional. I was just expecting them to be more exceptional than they were and what one would expect for the price. I thought the Swarovski were sharper and better corrected.

 

The thing is, the Zeiss had a huge FOV and were noticeably the highest transmission, brightness, and contrast of the bunch. I could see things with them the others totally failed to reveal. They are not as well corrected across the FOV, but the change is gradual and so one doesn't notice unless looking for it. Some of the others had a sharp drop in performance as stars were moved towards the edge and that was really annoying.

 

...

I still really want to try the Doctor and the Minox binoculars, they're on my list to get next. I'll probably get a pair of the Swarovski binoculars later too once I recover from this shopping spree. I'll post a more detailed review later. I just really wanted to thank everyone for their time, advice, and equipment feedback, you all helped so much! Thank you!

This corresponds well with my experience.

 

I did not see any advantage of Leica Ultravid HD 8x42 over the Swarovski EL 8.5x42 Swarovision, so I have sold the Leica.

Still keeping the Leica Ultravid 7x42 due to their best transmissivity and contrast across the Ultravid series.

Contrary to other Ultravids this 7x42 seems to have the minimalist (2 - 1) Koenig eyepieces, like the Leica HC Plan professional grade microscope EPs, or the old legendary Zeiss E-Pl.

 

In the 10x50 class, I would prefer the Leica Ultravid HD 10x50, I have had for a short test, but I don't believe to need the 10x50.

 

There is a fan club of Docter optics in Germany, and one member in another Forum has all Docter binos up to the 40x80mm Aspectem.

Among the 3 Docter Nobilem Porro binos I have, the 8x56 is with its transmissivity peaking up to 99%

https://www.allbinos..._8x56_B_GA.html

and with a contrast performance hardly to be beaten, an exceptional piece of the optics technology.

 

Another remarkable piece of binocular performance is the 7x50 Docter Nobilem Porro with its enhanced transmissivity in near infrared, perfectly suited for the long range terrestrial viewing offering a high color saturation even above 10 miles, and well suited for viewing during dusk and dawn,

https://www.allbinos..._7x50_B_GA.html

 

Best,

 

JG


Edited by j.gardavsky, 23 September 2019 - 06:48 AM.

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#57 garret

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 11:55 AM

 

In the 10x50 class, I would prefer the Leica Ultravid HD 10x50

I have the Swarovski EL 10x50, to make it a perfect astronomical 10x50 binocular Swarovski must improve or ad the following details:

 

1) ghost images from light sources out of the field must be greatly reduced 

2) better antireflection coating, the current coating is way too bright

3) transmission for the 10x50 is only 85%, 93% must be possible( https://www.allbinos...warovision.html )

4) because rectilinear distortion is very low for the EL series, angular magnification distortion is very high, however the latter is unwanted in astronomical viewing, therefore distortion should be balanced for astronomical viewing.

5) apparent field for the 10x50 is only 62 degree, this must be about 10 degrees wider, notice, if you makes the field over 72 degree wide viewing comfort at the edge of the field will be compromised

6) filter thread at the objective side (55mm)

7) practical tripod attachment

8) ...


Edited by garret, 23 September 2019 - 12:00 PM.

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#58 kecked

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 01:11 PM

I have the canon 15x50IS  and they are great.  IF you get an IS get the 18x50IS  Why waste the IS on the lower power.

 

I have oberwerks ranging from 50-100mm.  Don't try and make them telescopes are your fine.  I was trying to push a 70BT like a telescope for the planets.

You can do it but the image is not worth the trouble.  I got a 102 astrotech for that and it's perfect. (super super scope)  but I wish I had the 127....

 

My favorite is a Fuji 10x50 MT.  THAT is a binocular.  Binoculars for large objects makes sense.  The minute you want planets or craters on the moon get something else.


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#59 j.gardavsky

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 02:49 PM

I have the Swarovski EL 10x50, to make it a perfect astronomical 10x50 binocular Swarovski must improve or ad the following details:

 

1) ghost images from light sources out of the field must be greatly reduced 

2) better antireflection coating, the current coating is way too bright

3) transmission for the 10x50 is only 85%, 93% must be possible( https://www.allbinos...warovision.html )

4) because rectilinear distortion is very low for the EL series, angular magnification distortion is very high, however the latter is unwanted in astronomical viewing, therefore distortion should be balanced for astronomical viewing.

5) apparent field for the 10x50 is only 62 degree, this must be about 10 degrees wider, notice, if you makes the field over 72 degree wide viewing comfort at the edge of the field will be compromised

6) filter thread at the objective side (55mm)

7) practical tripod attachment

8) ...

Very interesting, and many thanks for the list!

 

I have never had the Swarovski EL 10x50 in my hands, so I won't even try, ha, ha.

 

JG



#60 dries1

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 09:01 PM

#1 I agree with, so I use these two 10X56 shown below. I must admit I have had both for a while, and the FL is the king for conquering glare, day or night. 

 

The best IMO ergonomically is the Leica UV 10X50, a great handling glass.

 

Andy W.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 10X56 1.jpg

Edited by dries1, 23 September 2019 - 09:11 PM.

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#61 agmoonsolns

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 09:14 PM

Where's the best place to get the Docter binoculars?



#62 Corcaroli78

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 01:52 AM

Where's the best place to get the Docter binoculars?

They appear sometimes in European Ebay, or the german sub site Ebay Kleinanzeigen, the last one, being local, is just a "little" bit more realistic on the descriptions.

 

Another option is to contact some optical workshops who repair and sell Zeiss / Docter vintage binos. I tried the Docter Nobilem 8x56 and 10x50 two years ago in a workshop in Rathenow Germany. The owner kindly let me see his private collection, and the Nobilem series is another league in the vintage Zeiss world: wonderfull optics and top construction.

 

Here are some links, you can write to them in english, they are very friendly. I sent my binos for service to Rathenow and is a top service, they bought the inventory of the repair workshop of Zeiss.

 

http://www.optikservice-schilling.de/

 

https://www.augenbli..._zeiss_jena.htm

 

 

Carlos


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#63 j.gardavsky

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Posted 24 September 2019 - 09:12 AM

Hello all,

 

from the optikservice-schilling you get the binoculars refurbished and in top condition.

 

Another address is aurelia https://www.ebay.de/...=p2047675.l2562 , where you get the binoculars in the condition as described.

 

Some search engines can find them, https://www.r99sale....as&categoryId=0 ,

 

https://www.ebay.de/...rnglas&_sacat=0

 

The Analog Lounge is another resource to look at regularly,

https://www.ebay.de/...cat=36512182013

 

but you must carefully check the offers not to get burned.

 

Best,

 

JG


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#64 NDfarmer

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Posted 02 October 2019 - 05:11 PM

I did some reasonably careful comparisons with my binos earlier this evening. In particular, I wanted to study field curvature.

 

Basically, the Canon 10x42 IS is flat field and the edge resolution is the same as the centre. I estimate the resolution is better than 4 arcsec.

 

My Minox 10x58 set has field curvature which limits the edge resolution to about 3 Saturn diameters (say 1.5 moa.)

My Minox 15x58 set has similar field curvature with similar edge resolution. The higher magnification makes this more obvious. It's not a big deal because I look through the middle of the field.

The Minox 15x58 ED is a real CA performer, does not belong in any way in a "best of" list.  Sorry, but that is

my experience.  The worst CA in any large binocular I've owned and I've had several.



#65 noisejammer

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Posted 02 October 2019 - 05:56 PM

The Minox 15x58 ED is a real CA performer, does not belong in any way in a "best of" list.  Sorry, but that is

my experience.  The worst CA in any large binocular I've owned and I've had several.

Curious - my BD 15x58 ED's don't display excessive CA (my opinion, but it seems to be shared by several birders and stargazers.) Is it possible you were using the BL 15x56 - binos from a very different price point?



#66 Yarddog

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Posted 02 October 2019 - 06:55 PM

does anyone know what Nikon's top binocular is?

 

I thought for sure I saw one for $8000 but tried to find it on Google  but so far haven't.



#67 hallelujah

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Posted 02 October 2019 - 07:04 PM

https://www.amazon.c...8&condition=all

 

https://www.nikonspo...ry-edition.html

 

Stan


Edited by hallelujah, 02 October 2019 - 07:06 PM.

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#68 NDfarmer

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Posted 02 October 2019 - 07:10 PM

It also could be sample variance.

No, unless you have personal experience with this model, then don't speculate.  



#69 hallelujah

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Posted 02 October 2019 - 07:15 PM

https://www.cloudyni...tic-aberration/

 

Stan


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#70 mooreorless

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Posted 02 October 2019 - 07:28 PM

Wow Stan your link has a reply by Mike Swaim [Lighttrap]  and well Kenny also.  That is if you click on the the second link after the first.;) 


Edited by mooreorless, 02 October 2019 - 07:29 PM.


#71 Yarddog

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Posted 02 October 2019 - 07:32 PM

Thanks, that WX is the one I saw. Surely it is in the same class as the elite European ones.



#72 dries1

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Posted 02 October 2019 - 08:58 PM

Just get the slc 15x56, problem solved.

Andy W.


Edited by dries1, 02 October 2019 - 08:59 PM.

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#73 agmoonsolns

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Posted 02 October 2019 - 08:59 PM

Hey, gentlemen, could we please return to the discussion of binoculars? I really don't want to see this thread locked because of OT posts.

 

BTW, I am so impressed with the Canon IS binoculars, extremely sharp across the FOV. I wish I had picked up a pair sooner. What's the largest size of IS binoculars Canon sells?


Edited by agmoonsolns, 02 October 2019 - 08:59 PM.


#74 dries1

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Posted 02 October 2019 - 09:01 PM

180

Andy W



#75 SMark

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Posted 02 October 2019 - 09:02 PM

Hey, gentlemen, could we please return to the discussion of binoculars? I really don't want to see this thread locked because of OT posts.

 

BTW, I am so impressed with the Canon IS binoculars, extremely sharp across the FOV. I wish I had picked up a pair sooner. What's the largest size of IS binoculars Canon sells?

The 15x50 and 18x50. 

 

Zeiss has a 20x60 that is around triple the price, but those who own one talk highly of them.




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