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Optical Snobbery: a person view

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#26 BillC

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 08:58 PM

I agree Bonco. Instead of enjoying binoculars and loving the hobby some seem to want look at all the technical and Mumbo jumbo data and forget what thier actually looking at.


Now here is something with which I can TOTALLY agree. But you, I feel, prove my point. You call knowing something technical about binoculars a lot of “mumbo jumbo.” :bawling:

I want you to know that I totally respect that opinion. I have said many times on this list that some people are thinking things to death when they should be out under the stars. In that I agree with all the proponents of grab-em-and-go-down-and-dirty-inexpensive binoculars.

But, from my standpoint, so many here want to use that philosophy as a shield. When people start talking about “tack sharp,” “spot on collimation,” “no field curvature,” and the like, they are stepping out of the OPINION safety zone to make technical pronouncement that they usually can’t back up. THAT IS ALL I AM SAYING--ALL I HAVE EVER SAID.

Please, let me offer another example. Joe-New-Comer-To-Binoculars buys his first binocular. He tells me . . . us, how pleased he is. I am pleased for him. He tells us how much he enjoys his nights under the stars. I am pleased for him. He tells us that his binoculars are adding a new dimension to his life. I am pleased for him. He tells us that his binocular cost $59. We are all pleased for him. I ask again, have I EVER tried to hurt this persons feeling or make a fool of him? I have plainly asked the moderators to allow me to be pummeled if someone has the goods on me. Can anyone step to the plate and do it? No. They can stand back and criticize because they don’t agree with me. But, they can’t use my feelings against me. ‘Seems like some pretty shallow arguments out there to me.

Now, lets take this same person and have him say “they were great and had no chromatic aberration.”

From my standpoint, this person has crossed the line into the TECHNICAL and is making pronouncements that I do not have to look up to know are false . . . PERIOD!

When I walk to my office each day, I pass more than 20 of the best new Leica, Zeiss, and Swarovski binoculars in the world. EACH will show chromatic aberration to anyone who knows what chromatic aberration is or how it manifests itself. Do I want to pick on anyone who can’t see it? No. Do I want to rain on someone’s parade? No. BUT, on a list designed partly for the purpose of education, do I want someone to say that his XYZ binocular doesn’t have any—REGARDLESS OF ITS COST. NO!

I have designed lenses professionally and KNOW—and I don’t mean subject to opinion—that a simple piece of crown glass (usually Bk7) and a piece of flint glass (usually F2 or F4) are not going to eliminate chromatic aberration in an ~f/4 system—PERIOD. You can put it through prisms of BaK4 or dog poop and chromatic aberration will still be there. And in inexpensive binoculars, it will probably be much more pronounced.

Some here can turn their backs on my words because they don’t like my message. But it will do no good. Because long after I am dead and gone, most if what I have tried so hard to say will still be relevant and, more importantly, accurate.

Gentlemen, believe me, I know how it is to put one's foot in one's mouth—been there; done that; got the tee shirt.

Today, I had lunch with Dr. Dick Buchroeder—Buchroeder Tri-Scheifspeigler, Buchroeder-Houghton Camera, Buchroeder Relay Telescope, etc. and thought about how we met back in the stone age. If just one of the letters I wrote this man were to surface, I would have to DIE of embarrassment.

In those days, I had two options. I could have argued with him about things I was in NO WAY prepared to argue, because I had strong opinions, or I could listen and learn. I chose the latter. Today, when it comes to binoculars, he listens to me; when it comes to optics I shut up and listen to him . . . every time.

Finally, I have tried to make the point again and again that I respect the opinions of all, and welcome their right to have them. ‘That my only concern, in the past, in the present, or in the future, is the propagation of misleading information.

However, in the name of keeping peace, I am willing to leave the list so that I will never hamper those with more opinions than facts, if that is what is wanted.

But, since I like it here, I would like all those who think that solid information is not as important as opinion to simply say so that it may become archived and part of the public record. I think that is an entirely fair request to make. We don’t live in Neverland and the fact is you can’t have it both ways.

There are those who would say that some of us are not being “friendly” to newcomers. I disagree. What is the value of welcoming newcomers, if we are going to feed them a lot of bad information? Who is the true friend, the person who welcomes them with open arms and lets them get away with murder, or the fellow who welcomes them and lets them know that, on this list, accurate information matters.

Again, let’s see the names of those who think this list should be about something other than revealing the truth.

Kindest Regards (literally) :jump:

Bill
 

#27 Joad

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 09:17 PM

Bill, don't leave the forum. Period. I will not let you. I can't afford to let you go. I think if you leave I will be the shortest member left. We little guys must stick together.
 

#28 Alan French

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 09:38 PM

BillC wrote, in part...
"I have designed lenses professionally and KNOW—and I don’t mean subject to opinion—that a simple piece of crown glass (usually Bk7) and a piece of flint glass (usually F2 or F4) are not going to eliminate chromatic aberration in an ~f/4 system—PERIOD. You can put it through prisms of BaK4 or dog poop and chromatic aberration will still be there. And in inexpensive binoculars, it will probably be much more pronounced."

Bill,

This is a question that has puzzled me for some time. In a low power view through an achromat, secondary color is not generally an issue. Images of point sources in the red and blue ends of spectrum are bloated, and larger than the Airy disk, but are below the resolving power of the eye at low powers. (It is also helpful that the eye stops down a typical ~f/4 objective considerably on bright, sunny days when chromatic aberration would be most obvious.) The secondary color shows up when you get up to the higher powers, especially on brighter objects.

The term chromatic aberration seems to be used rather loosely with binoculars. From the descriptions people write, it is clear most folks are usually talking about lateral color, which is most obvious along high contrast edges toward the field stop.

Are you talking about lateral color, or secondary color. If you are including secondary color, how does it show up? Or is my analysis here missing something?

Thanks.

Clear skies, Alan
 

#29 Photo Guy

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 09:42 PM

While I applaud corporations' ability to put out a decent affordable product, I feel the emphasis on "affordable" really works against us in the long run. If 99% of binocular consumers feel satisfied with decent, $70 binoculars ($10 maybe by 1960's standards?!), then where is the impetus for companies to invest time, personel, R&D etc. into producing something of real quality? In other words, if people are fine with getting 'okay' quality then those of us who want something more are left hanging.

This goes for anything nowadays. It's hard to buy an appliance at the local Sears that won't breakdown in a few years. Why? Because people are fine with their washing machine quitting on them after 2 years. Well, I'm not. I work really hard for every dollar I earn and I want companies to take my business seriously.

My hope is that consumers will demand better optics, features and build quality even if it means spending a little cash for something worthwhile. This forum continues to be a truly invaluable source of information and it is my hope that we all leave here demaning just a little bit more bang for our buck.
 

#30 Alan French

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 09:56 PM

Mike,

I don't think you have much to worry about. It is quite obvious that people are willing to pay substantial sums for high end optics. A dealer I know thought the Swarovski ELs were priced too high when the came out - but found people were willing to pay the price.

Personally, my comfort level is about half what the "high end" glasses sell for. Fortunately, this included some that fit my needs and have the proper "fit and feel" in my hands.

Clear skies, Alan
 

#31 Stephonon

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 10:17 PM

Oh, how much more fun is this than boring old technical bino talk! :grin:

I would love to hear encouragement for the lowly sub 100.00 bino people.

Here here!

In Australia you can get binos for under $US100, like for example the AOE 7x and 10x50HGs, that are optically and mechanically at least equal and often better than many brand name binos costing 3 times as much. I suspect that even though the US is a huge market, it is cursed with a few giant importers having monopoly on good quality Chinese and Taiwanese optical gear. Prices of both binos and scopes seem to be higher than in our tiny Aussie market. We are lucky to have fierce competition between a handful of small importers. OTOH brand name stuff is usually overpriced here.

The sort of thing I don't like to see is someone with less than $50 to spend asking for advice on what binos to get being told not to bother because they need to spend over $100 to get anything decent. There is a best bino in every price range! Even under $10 you can get a second hand pair of very usable binos. And if you are a low or no income earner, you will appreciate what little money can buy. When I started in this hobby I could not afford more than an old Japanese 7x50 "coated optics" pair I picked up for about $12_US. I found it very useful for stargazing and as a finder/scout companion to my 8" Dob. It was much better having that bino than not having a bino at all. It's no Fujinon, Pentax or AOE HG even, but it was the best value for my few dollars.

When people start talking about "tack sharp," "spot on collimation," "no field curvature," and the like, they are stepping out of the OPINION safety zone to make technical pronouncement that they usually can't back up.

Same thing happens all the time on the eyepiece forum too. You read things like 20mm GSO Superview is as good as a 19mm Panoptic - by someone who clearly has not the experience to tell the diff. The "tack sharp" to the edge comment gets me just about every time too. These astronomers must have used some very blunt tacks. :p

Bill, you're fighting an ever-rising tide of newbies who will keep posting about how low cost Chinese gear is the best. But don't worry, soon they'll gain more experience and realise these are good value for money products, but far from being the best. But by then even more new newbies would have joined who will go through the same thing. I myself was very disappointed with my first "name" brand purchase, a 15mm TV plossl, as my GSO plossls costing 1/5th as much were just as good to my inexperienced eyes. Took me a few weeks to appreciate the diff. Now it's plain as day. As far as guiding newbies is concerned, gently does it imo.
 

#32 BillC

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 10:25 PM

The term chromatic aberration seems to be used rather loosely with binoculars. From the descriptions people write, it is clear most folks are usually talking about lateral color, which is most obvious along high contrast edges toward the field stop.

Are you talking about lateral color, or secondary color. If you are including secondary color, how does it show up? Or is my analysis here missing something?

Thanks.

Clear skies, Alan


Hi Alan:

TCA (transverse chromatic aberration)or lateral color. On this list "chromatic aberration" alone can get me into enough hot water. In addition, I could get over my head quickly.

Cheers,

Bill
 

#33 ChrisR

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 10:56 PM

Is it snobbery, or is it just honesty?

Have you ever noticed that the people that you think are smart, are the ones who agree with you?

I do not know about all the other forum's because I only seriously read three topics on this site, but it seems like alot of people want to make a general statement about binoculars, and Heaven forbid if someone with experience disagree with them.

This practice dumbs down the forum, and muddies the binocular waters even more than they already are. What I believe some people are forgeting is that equipment IS part of the hobby therefore it must be discussed, and discussed logically and truthfully.

If someone wants to pop in make some sweeping pronouncement about their $50.00 binocular, then claim that whoever disagrees with them is an optics SNOB needs to seriously do some self evaluation. It is easy to extole the virtues of this or that rubbish binocular and then just disappear in a huff when proven wrong, but what happens to the newbie that listens to you, takes your suggestion, buys the rubbish binocular, and then wonders why it doesn't work as well as you said it would. Is this a problem for you the big talker, NO, you can just disappear.

This practice is a big thorn in the paw to those people on this forum who have repeatedly tried to help guide the new enthusiast into the hobby. Why, look at the questions about collimation that keep coming up, (crud goes into the box, and crud comes out, (but because you didn't know what collimation was you didn't know how to warn them)). How many times have we heard about internal fogging, or fungus inside cheap waterproof binoculars, that somebody said were a, "great binocular for the money?"

Now I will make a big sweeping statement, "the best binocular is the one that gets used." If you want to say something about your binocular thats great, but don't whine about snobbery if someone proves you wrong, be ready to back up what you say.

Peace,
Chris
 

#34 Rick

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 11:03 PM

Have you ever noticed that the people that you think are smart, are the ones who agree with you?


I agree 110% :grin: :tonofbricks:

cheers,
Rick
 

#35 fatrowbridge

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 12:35 AM

Wow!

I posted for the first time on CN last week after I bought my 15 X 70 Skymasters. I read this forum while trying to determine if I wanted to buy the binos or not :confused:. (I have read far more about mirror making on CN I must admit).

I was really worried about the quality of the Skymasters after reading all the discussion, I considered Garret and Oberwerk instead, but finally decided to spend as much money (and more time) on a 6 hour (3 hours each way) trip to overpay for Skymaster 15 X 70 ($100) :foreheadslap:. Why? Good question, I wanted to hold the binoculars and look through them, I almost expected green images like a cheap Meade refractor I purchased a long time ago.

With no comment to optical quality ( I am certainly not qualified), I enjoy these binos alot. They have rekindled my interest in astronomy (and provided a welcome distraction from mirror grinding :D- LOL). I use these bino's hand held to sweep the sky, I love them. I know they are not top end, my DOB is not an Obsession either.

I think the fact that instruments like the Celestron 15 X 70 are available for $60 is a very good thing. They would be a much better choice (and less expensive) than a department store scope.

That said, for me they are binoculars. I don't expect telescope type quality- thats just me- but I like the FOV.

I really haven't seen any snobbery here, only real informed technical individuals :bow: and new or casual observers. The interests of these groups are not the same and this seems to generate the conflict.

This forum is awesome for detailed reviews of Bino's. I hope it also continues to be a place where a newbie can feel free to post. I want to like it here.

That's all.

Alex
 

#36 BillC

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 12:55 AM

Hi Alex:

Your post--and any similar--are certainly welcomed by most on this list. You speak in terms of emjoyment. And that is something we can all understand and appreciate.

I have many inexpensive binoculars, and certainly enjoy using them when the ocassion arises. In addition, I know that some of them need collimation (the barber never has time for a haircut). Some folks have felt that I have said I didn't like Sky Masters. I never said that. My concern has just been with some folks who wanted to act like the product was in a category that it was TECHNICALLY not in.

I have known Alan Hale, Co-founder of Celestron, for many years. He is a bino buff, but he NEVER tried to misrepresent anything to me. And when the "Auto-Focus" craze was going on, how did Celestron advertize theirs?

"FIXED-FOCUS." That product left a lot to be desired, but no one could fault their advertising.

Cheers,

Bill
 

#37 fatrowbridge

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 01:07 AM

Hey Bill,

I never thought you said anything bad about the Skymasters, they are what they are, no problem.

BTW, I am ex Navy- I was a submariner (only 6 years) in the late 70's early 80's.

Cheers,

Alex
 

#38 DJB

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 03:59 AM

Hello all, and I think Mardi made some interesting points.

The difference in cost between a $500 binocular and a $69 binocular is 7.24 or about 725% greater in cost.

In defense of a $69 binocular, I would ask if there is 725% LESS enjoyment with the $69 binocular? Are the specs and actual performance 725% less. As stated before, the enjoyment is what counts.

If one never had an opportunity to look thru a $500 instrument, then the enjoyment using a $69 binocular may well be 100% all the time.

My thoughts only, but I feel we have addressed the differences and conclusions in a well defined and logical manner.

Best regards,
Dave.
 

#39 yagon

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 07:24 AM

I'm new to astronomy: I bought my first telescope ~4 months ago. I am not an expert in astronomy or astronomical instruments.

The reason why I'm interested in astronomy is simple: I relax while watching the night sky. I have wonderful memories of lying on a remote beach counting the shooting stars (no scope or binos involved). When I received my telescope, I saw Saturn for the first time. I was stunned: I could actually see Saturn from my backyard! These memories bring a smile to my face when i think of them now. I feel a calm after I've been observing.

For me, astronomy is an escape. Like many on this forum, I lead a stressful life (the curse of modern life). After a big day at work, I enjoy going into my backyard and gazing at the sky. I 'decompress' while stargazing.

When I stumbled across this forum, I was a little surprised that most of the discussion appeared to be about equipment, technical issues and astrophotography. I was surprised because I expected more discussion about star gazing experiences.

Could I tell the difference between fujinon 16x70s and oberwerk 15x70s? I probably could if I A/B'ed them, but I doubt I could if I looked through them a week apart.

Would I receive more pleasure from having fujinon 16x70s over oberwerk 15x70s? I don't think so. Maybe I will one day, but at present I gain immense satisfaction looking at the sky with my 'sub-standard' equipment.

Does this make me less of an astronomer? I don't think so. In fact, I suspect that I get more out of astronomy than those who spend their time drooling over advertisments for astrophysics telescopes.

To draw an analogy from the world of music:

There are great musicians that use and appreciate the best and most expensive equipment to great effect.
There are also great musicians that play on limited equipment, but their talent generally shines through and they can still create great music.
Then there are some musicians that have the best equipment, but can hardly play a note nor recognise the quality of the instrument they hold (other than looking at the label): it is obvious to those in the know that they have no sense of rhythym or pitch. They spend more time talking about great guitars than improving their abilities.
In recreational/observational astronomy, the 'music' created is personal and cannot be easily shared.

Maybe one day I'll be able to appreciate the fujinons, but at the moment I'll focus on using astronomy to help me relax, work smarter, and hence make a greater contribution to our society. In my view, that is what this hobby is all about.
 

#40 Alan French

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 08:36 AM

The term chromatic aberration seems to be used rather loosely with binoculars. From the descriptions people write, it is clear most folks are usually talking about lateral color, which is most obvious along high contrast edges toward the field stop.

Are you talking about lateral color, or secondary color. If you are including secondary color, how does it show up? Or is my analysis here missing something?

Thanks.

Clear skies, Alan


Hi Alan:

TCA (transverse chromatic aberration)or lateral color. On this list "chromatic aberration" alone can get me into enough hot water. In addition, I could get over my head quickly.

Cheers,

Bill


Bill,

Thanks. I am working to make it harder to get in over my head, but it is slow going. There is a lot more good information available on telescopes than there is on binoculars, and low power viewing is a rather different venue.

Clear skies, Alan
 

#41 Joad

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 09:34 AM

Hi Yagon,

The great thing about Cloudy Nights is that there is a forum for almost everything. There are forums for DSO viewing, for Solar System viewing, for the lunar viewing (the "loony bin"), for variable star viewing, you name it, if it's in the sky, there's a forum for it. There are also equipment forums for just about every piece of equipment amateur astronomers make use of. Binoculars is largely an equipment forum, but if you look around you will see detailed, sometimes passionate, observation reports from such passionate binocular astronomers as Art Fritzon, Glass Thrower, and EdZ.

And then we also have our share of drama, but hey, so long as it doesn't get out of hand, even drama can be entertaining.

And, hint hint, wink wink, nudge nudge, everybody, I am doing my level best to avoid the drama getting out of hand. I sure appreciate any help I might get.
 

#42 Stephonon

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 10:15 AM

The difference in cost between a $500 binocular and a $69 binocular is 7.24 or about 725% greater in cost.

725% is not the difference, it's the ratio. The difference is $431. :p

In defense of a $69 binocular, I would ask if there is 725% LESS enjoyment with the $69 binocular? Are the specs and actual performance 725% less. As stated before, the enjoyment is what counts.

I enjoy some things that cost absolutely nothing. Does that mean that I should not buy binoculars at all because they will cost something which is infinitely more than nothing, yet surely they will not give me infinitely more enjoyment? Attempting to quantify certain things is just plain silly. "Optical performance" and "enjoyment" in the present context are two of them. :p
 

#43 Steve Napier

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 12:59 PM

Robert A.
Bullet in brain...ala Homer with Crayon in brain.
Please try to keep up.
Steve.
 

#44 BillC

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 02:04 PM

Attempting to quantify certain things is just plain silly. "Optical performance" and "enjoyment" in the present context are two of them. :p


Hi Steve:

You are certainly correct. However, this thread was not started to discuss that per se. It was started for the membership to determine whether this was to be a site of uninformed opinions or the conveyance of solid (as solid as possible) technical information.

I have not been ambiguous about my take on the matter. However, since most of the over-the-top comments come from many of the newcomers to binocular observing who use and like inexpensive binoculars, it keeps being viewed as a matter of snobbery. Frankly, I see MUCH more snobbery--if such exists--from those who thumb their noses at observers who have the desire or wisdom or money to prefer high cost / high quality instruments than I do from those who throw stones at those who can’t afford better, or who don’t WANT to purchase better.

As stated, this list is archived. Anyone who is interested is welcomed to challenge my comments with a little research. I will be pleased to be flamed if what I have said is not true. But where are my detractors? I have offered a couple of humble challenges for two days, now. But, who will come forth and put their names on the public record to say that the snobbery rests with the users of higher priced instruments, and back up their assertion by what has been said on the list? Or, that the value of this list rests on ever-shifting opinions?

Perhaps some are learning that it is much more fun to chase the bear than it is to catch him. But what goes around comes around. One day, those who believe that people who know a bit about serious optics and are just spouting “mumbo jumbo,” will, themselves (hopefully), be experienced observers who know something about optics. THEN, it will be their turn to do all they can to stand for the propagation of good information, while a new generation of newbees challenge everything they think, do, and say.

On another thread, Glassthrower wrote: “As for "distortion" and "field curvature,” I'll leave that to the experts. I have my opinion of what they are, but I'll keep it to myself because I'm sure my explanation is flawed or overly simplistic.” That’s a tragedy. He should speak his mind. If correct, someone on the list can probably verify his opinion. If not, they can probably aid in his understanding. Either way, something GOOD and POSITIVE will happen. As I see it, while people with an agenda may consider toning down their pontificatiousnessessity, those willing to learn and to teach as part of our little CN community, should never be afraid to speak.

Just a thought.

Bill

P.S. I want so much to be a friend to all here. I just wish the price in some cases was not so high.
 

#45 brocknroller

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 02:08 PM

"Opinions are a dime a dozen, but one fact holds true for anything (especially optics) : you get what you pay for."

"I would hope that we all know that short of being run over with a truck that a $1000 pair of binos are better than a $70 pair."

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here come a few "dime" opinions after which I will probably be run over by a truck (or by Bill, which would probably be more painful :-).

The first dime is that with binoculars, you DON'T always get what you pay for, sometimes you get less, sometimes (more rarely) you get more.

Case in point, I recently bought a $49 old stock Nikon "Action" binocular on eBay. I had another bin from the same series so I knew it would be a decent binocular for the price (provided it was properly collimated, often a gamble on eBay). The bin turned out to be BETTER than the other model in the series, in fact, I was blown away at how sharp and constrasty the images were. The bin compared favorably with my 8x32 SE, which I've owned for years, and an 8x42 LX, which I used extensively for a month.

Not being FMC, the old Action was not as bright as the other two bins, but still very good.

If I had bought the LX for $1,000, I would have felt ripped off since the barrel distortion was way more than I expected at this price point, and unlike others who have owned or tried these bins, I never completely adjusted to it.

With the older Action bin, I felt I got a great bargain since it performed better than my expecations, and I saved $951 to boot. No, i'ts not WP/FP, it's not built like a tank (but doesn't weigh as much as one either), and it doesn't have the "panache" of a premium roof, but for this fair weather backyard birder, it performs nearly as well as any top roof or expensive porro I've tried.

To qualify this extraordinary claim, the three bins mentioned above aren't the only bins I've owned or looked through (I posted a list on Cloudy Days of the 42 binoculars I've either owned or used extensively). While I'm not an optics expert like Bill or Edz, I do have experience with a variety of binoculars, and I think I have developed a critical eye for binocular optics over the years. For the skeptics, I could measure the resolution with an RAF chart.

While this inexpensive porro is an exception to the rule, it, along with other other older bins such as the Swift Audubon, have shown me that while optical manufacturing techniques have improved over the past two decades, there are some older bins, mostly porros since roofs were not p-coated back then, that can still hold their own against today's top bananas at a fraction of the cost.

Now the disclaimers:
This example does imply that if you buy an expensive roof, you are an optics snob or that you got ripped off. What pleases one person, may not please another, and we buy what we can afford. Snobs are usually easy to detect by their "attitudes" rather than just by what they purchase. There are "white collar" snobs and "blue collar" snobs. Many unassuming people buy expensive optics, because they can afford to and because they have come to appreciate high quality optics after buying some clunkers.

Dime two. I don't think Bill is a snob because he appreciates fine optics or points out errors in other member's comments about binoculars. As I recall, most of the binoculars Bill personally owns are NOT very expensive. The most costly I can remember was the 7x50 Prostar, which he probably repaired. However, I DO think his comments sometimes rankle people's feathers, because of the blunt manner in which they are delivered.

Despite what Auntie Em said, I think that people with greater advantages or more knowledge need to be tactful with less talented or less knowledgeable folks, even belligerent ignoramuses, particularly when they are your customers.

There are exceptions, of course. There is no reason to accept verbal abuse from a customer, CN member, or anyone. Where you draw the line, however, comes with wisdom.

Bill reminds me of myself when I was writing newspaper articles. Even when I was the "senior news writer" at a newspaper (no, that didn't mean I wrote about senior citizens or that I was one! :-), I was underpaid and felt underappreciated. From some of Bill's posts, I think he feels that way too.

When some snot-nosed, inexperienced editor, fresh out of journalism school, mutilated my article to justify his existence or couldn't see why I consciously violated the rules of grammar or usage for impact or artistic purposes, I would get frustrated and be brusque in my comments to him or her. Looking back, I probably should have used more tact, at least in most cases, some editors do need a swift kick. :-)

My advice to Bill is to start writing those articles in the magazines that your customers have tucked under their arms. Then they won't be misinformed, and you won't have to p-them off with your comments about their ignorance. From your lengthy proclamation above, I can see that you are a good writer.

Most writing gigs pay poorly (though technical writing can be lucrative), the real money comes after your articles/books are published and you are publicly recognized as an "expert" and asked to do talks and/or are interviewed on talk shows. Then you will be paid your worth, appreciated more than the few kudos you get on CN, and perhaps people's ignorant comments about optics will bother you less!

Thanks for your thoughtful post, Bill (I'm trying to make friends now so he doesn't bite my head off in case I have not been gentle enough :-).

I'll save the rest of my dimes for another cloudy night.
 

#46 BillC

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 03:21 PM

>>>Here come a few "dime" opinions after which I will probably be run over by a truck (or by Bill, which would probably be more painful :-).<<<

Get my sword . . . NOW!!!

Hi Brock:

Why would I be upset? I can’t be upset! You were dead on with all but one comment. I approach “ignorance” as soft and kindly as possible, for that is the way I would like to be treated. I only rear up on occasions when folks are stating things as fact that I know to be untrue, OR know that the other user does not have the experience to know.

You are an experienced observer.
You own a Nikon SE.
You compared it to a binocular costing MUCH less money.
You have your ducks in a row.

Who can find fault with that? Not only do some folks not have their ducks in a row, they’re using borrowed ducks.

And, about me coming across as a tank at flank speed. How can I find fault there? You are most certainly correct. Yet, I have stated many times why I do it that way. I’m here to help, not be elected mayor. I would like to be accepted by all. However, at this point, the price is too great. Helping folks—and I have received dozens of private email messages saying that I am helping—is more important than any need I might have for comfort. I want beginners to have good information. If I need to be a target, that’s okay by me.

Why is my birding binocular an SE as opposed to a Swarovski EL? Because I made the same analogy. And by so doing, saved $1,000. Those, who will stop throwing stones long enough will see that I have said many times that some of the Asian companies are getting very close to the performance of some of the finest European optics—some are better—some are actually . . . It’s there; all documented. I have binos in my showroom that are optically 95-97% the match of the very best we have, and which cost 30%-50% as much. Should a rational person really want or expect more? I’ve offered that point, too.

I am ready to be bashed in public. I just want the basher to be prepared for additional comments. And if I make a mistake, I will be PLEASED to apologize.

You wrote: “When some snot-nosed, inexperienced editor, fresh out of journalism school, mutilated my article to justify his existence or couldn't see why I consciously violated the rules of grammar or usage for impact or artistic purposes, I would get frustrated and be brusque in my comments to him or her.”

Ain’t it the truth.

As far as my articles, I have written about optics for 18 marine industry magazines, Sky & Telescope, and Astronomy. I am a member of the society for Technical Communication, and have earned a slot in The American Society of Journalists and Authors. (Yeah, yeah, I’m a lousy proof reader.)

PLEASE rest assured that if some important points could be made gently, I would most certainly do so.

You have a great day, and any time you feel I need a good bashing, well, that’s what I am here for.

Cheers,

Bill
 

#47 Joad

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 03:35 PM

The thing, folks, is that there isn't supposed to be any bashing at all on Cloudy Nights, even of those who would cheerfully accept it.

And I don't think that there have been very many posts anywhere at any time on this forum that were intended to bash, flutter, or otherwise discomfit (see also "disturb," "annoy," and "**** off").

But an internet forum is a very strange thing: while you might call it a vast extension of the telephone "party line" of old, or of a speaker phone conference today, internet forums are pioneering brand new dimensions of human social existence that we still cannot fully understand. We can talk to each other at all hours of the day, but we not only do not see each other (and visual cues are essential determinants in understanding what someone is saying), we do not hear each other (and tonal cues are as important as visual ones). So we are missing, with every post, much of what is necessary to be able to fully grasp what is being said. That is why these funny graemlins are provided, though of course they can't really replace the tonal and visual cues that make human communication fully interpretable.

But even though we recognize that we are on uncharted social terrain here, our instincts remain the same: our feelings are easily hurt when we suspect that there is some sort of edge in what someone else says. I know danged well that my feelings have been often hurt on Cloudy Nights.

So it's tough. The best we can do, all of us, is to continue trying to send whatever keyboard clues we can to clarify our intentions. Tact, humor, graemlins, whatever works. :grouphug:
 

#48 BillC

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 03:55 PM

What? Hello? Poor reception. What? Your Gremlins hacked up a tumor!?

Groooosss!! :roflmao:
 

#49 sparrow

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 07:03 PM

[quote
You are certainly correct. However, this thread was not started to discuss that per se. It was started for the membership to determine whether this was to be a site of uninformed opinions or the conveyance of solid (as solid as possible) technical information.

[/quote]
Bill,
OK. Fair enough. Let's lay aside the hurt feelings on both sides for a moment.

Many (most?) folks will probably never spend much over $200 for a pair
of bins.

Can you give a short list of say 5 sub $200 binos or lines of binos
that are currently available that you feel are the best of the lot?
Name definite brands and models. Can be for any purpose from birding to
Astronomy.

I think the readers of this list would find it both interesting and
useful.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Thanks,
Sparrow
 

#50 BillC

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 07:29 PM

Yes, But probably not til tomorrow. I've got a huge class project in my headlights.

Thanks for your patience.

Bill

P.S. It's all relative. While you think most people will only spend $200 for a bino, the AVERAGE bino I sell goes for $500.

Cheers,

Bill
 


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