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Initial Impressions of Binos on Showroom Floor....

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#1 777Guy

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 08:18 PM

Today I spent about an 1 1/2 hours at Anacortes Telescope and Wild Bird and was able to handle and view through several different brands of binoculars. The binos I looked through were the Takahashi 22x60, Swarovski 8.5x42EL, Swarovski 8x42SLK, Nikon 8x42, Canon 18x50IS, Canon 12x36IS with Sun Fliters, Celestron 25x100.
Takahashi 22x60.
The Takahashi are two 60mm APO refractors. Visually they are somewhat weird looking. The barrels are far apart and are much longer than my Burgess 15x70. The barrel is a gray color while the main body is black leatherette. The barrels look like Questars with little constellation diagrams on them. Looks almost cartoonish.
They are just a little heavier than my Burgess but lighter than my Fujinon 10x70. Once they were mounted on a head and tripod, the views were simply stunning! Very crisp and bright and tack-sharp right to the edge. I used a metal barn as a target that was reflecting a bright light and the Taks showed zero C.A. I also tested images to the extreme edge and found no obvious image breakdown either left or right or up and down. Taks uses individual focusers which make terrestrial viewing a challenge but I had no difficulty focusing. FOV was narrow (sorry couldn't measure)
and eye relief was very good. Coatings are very good, green, with no reflections and optical tubes well baffled with dull black paint. Going back Friday night to the star party hosted by ATWB and will look through them again at night, weather permitting. They are priced at $1,100US.
Swarovski 8.5x42EL
My first views through the mighty Swarovkis! What a view!
The ergonomics were almost perfect. Fit in my hand, well balanced, center focus. The views were very bright and tack-sharp almost to the edge. Tremendous contrast and views that were similar to the Taks but with a much wider FOV.
Built to last and worth the $1242US IMHO.
The Swarovski 8x42SLK are last years model and couldn't tell any difference in looking through them except cosmetic differences.
Nikon 8x42.
Sorry, can not recall the model number, but had a camoflage paint scheme. Wanted to compare to the Swarovski. The view through the Nikons was impressive. Nice and bright with excellent contrast. Good ergonomics but not quite as comfortable as the Swarvoksis. If I were looking for an 8x42ish size I would buy the Swarvoski if price wasn't an issue, but since it is for most of us, I think the Nikons perform very well for $289US.
Canon 18x50IS
I have read great things about these binoculars so I had to try them out. First impressions are somewhat negative. The ergonomis are poor IMHO. To change the IPD is a difficult maneuver. You have to put the unit down, away from your face and while holding them, turn the EPs either "in" or "out" and check the IPD. I took me three or four attempts to get it right and I never really found a comfortable setting. The unit isn't balanced very well and I was afraid I could easlily drop them. The views were much dimmer, and do not focus as sharp as the Swarovski and Nikon. However, when you push the stabilizer button, (which is an awkard maneuver) the image really settles down nice, but they are very heavy and really need a tripod, so I don't see the point. Nice technology but not user friendly. $1,100US
Canon 12X36IS with Coronodo Sun Filters.
Perhaps the most interesting pair I tried. Once I found the Sun, and turned the stabilizer on I could not believe how much detail of the Sun's surface I could see. Several large sun spots and four large flares. I was mezmerized. I want them but at $4,000US I have to start saving now so that in 10 years I might have enough.
I realize this is not a very technical review but thought there may be a few folks interested in initial impressions.
Clear skys,

#2 Tom L

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 09:14 PM

Thanks Jim...it was technical enough for me!

#3 lighttrap

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 10:14 PM

I like the fact that you chose to post about such an ecclectic selection of binoculars without restraint. I would be very interested in reading your comments once you've had a chance to star test these binos at that upcoming starparty. I would be particularly interested in seeing your comments regarding the Tak 22x60s as compared to the Celestron 25x100s.

Mike Swaim

#4 rboe

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 11:03 PM

Buy the Tak's, get a job shuttling the A380 around so you can afford the Canons with the Coronado filters. :D

Boy, be hard to choose between all those.

#5 KennyJ

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Posted 21 April 2004 - 01:18 AM

Jim,

Thanks for that info -packed post.

I was intrigued to find that regarding the only two models you commented upon which I have also looked through , i.e Swarovski 8.5 x 42 EL and Canon 18 x 50 IS , your opinions completely echoed those of my own.

I'm not just saying this . All my comments about these two models are stored on this forum SOMEWHERE amongst my multitude of postings !

I too look forward to further reviews from you

--and YES there IS a need for "non -technical" reviews of THIS nature --and the more the better in my opinion.

Thanks again Jim.

Regards , Kenny.

#6 Dennis

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Posted 21 April 2004 - 10:24 AM

Informative read Jim! As a newly enchanted bino fan, I am keenly interested in these impressions. Nice to have Anacortes nearby so you can really check out what's available!


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