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Swift Lark 4x30 and Hoya 3x30

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#1 piccolo3200

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Posted 08 April 2020 - 08:01 PM

Does anyone have any opinions on the Swift Lark 4x30? I have seen a few for sale online at what I think are reasonable prices; however there seems to be a lack of any other information or reviews about these. From what I've seen, I think Swift makes good binoculars, but maybe they make not so good ones as well?

I have only really been observing for about a year. I started out with a pair of Nikon Prostaff 3s and then got a Celestron 127EQ this past Christmas. The Celestron was alright but not great as is to be expected and after a lot of reading on Cloudy Nights I got a 20x60 Pentax which I was absolutely blown away by. I am finding myself liking the convenience and ease of small instruments and sometimes use the much inferior Nikons just because they are convenient. That got me looking at small binoculars again.

Well, this past week I ordered a pair of 3x30 Hoya binoculars - or I guess they may be opera glasses? They are stamped J-B195 and J-E 61. I haven't seen any information about these anywhere and would also like to learn if these are supposed to be good or not. They are made in Japan. When I received them I was disappointed to find that one lens had a pretty big chip. Nevertheless, I am impressed by the construction...it is almost entirely metal construction. I absolutely love these little binoculars and they are now my favorites that I have. Even with the chip I think they have bright crisp images and I am enjoying looking at clouds and constellations with them. These have really got me interested in using small binoculars for observing both the night sky and in general. Thus my interest in the Lark. I would appreciate any input on either of these two binoculars. I am new to astronomy but I am loving it, and I enjoy learning from Cloudy Nights! Thank you!
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#2 piccolo3200

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 07:56 AM

Well, after doing some more research I think both the Hoya and Lark are opera glasses. Here is a link I found with a Hoya very similar to mine but a little smaller.

https://www.depop.co...-opera-glasses/

This brings up another question for me. How do opera glasses compare to compact binoculars for astronomy? I know neither are considered ideal. From what I've read, it looks like opera glasses will offer brighter images and a wider FOV but compacts have higher magnification. I wonder - which wins out? I am very pleased with my Hoya and think it superior to the compact binoculars I've used but all the compacts Ive tried have been low end. How would opera glasses compare with something like the Vortex Vanquish - I havent tried a Vanquish yet but that is one I was interested in.

#3 DrJ1

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 09:19 AM

piccolo3200:  I can't answer your question but I offer suggestions on quality small binoculars.  I bought a military surplus M13A1 6x30 binoculars at a gun show for $40.  They are very sharp, sturdy, and amazingly bright even though they "only" have coated lenses.  If I had to guess, they look like they were made by Bausch & Lomb.  One of the best pocket binoculars I've seen is the Bushnell Custom Compact 7x26.  They were the top rated compact by Better View Desired ~20 years ago, a reputable birding site.  I've read that Bushnell also made a 6x26 Custom Compact, but I've not seen one.  The 7x26 binocs are available used on ebay, but still command a relatively high price in good condition (~$150). DrJ1



#4 DozerCSX

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Posted 24 May 2020 - 06:01 PM

Greetings!

I'm a longtime member, with a love for reverse-porro compact binoculars (among other optics);

 

Having said that, I just wrote a review of the twin sister of the Swift Lark, the Tasco J-B208;

they are identical, and everything said about that binocular applies to the Lark, and other copies;

I wrote it on a related site to CN, which many folks here are on (Birdforum), here's the link - Enjoy!:

https://www.birdforu...641#post4004641

 

In fact, I'd like your opinion - if you think it's worth it, I'll put that review on CN as well.

I didn't initially because these bins are so small, I didn't think it would be as applicable to astronomy

(although they are surprisingly competent at star splitting, and other basic astronomy tasks)

 

Clear Skies


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#5 Pinewood

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 05:34 AM

piccolo3200:  I can't answer your question but I offer suggestions on quality small binoculars.  I bought a military surplus M13A1 6x30 binoculars at a gun show for $40.  They are very sharp, sturdy, and amazingly bright even though they "only" have coated lenses.  If I had to guess, they look like they were made by Bausch & Lomb.  ...

Hello DrJ1,

 

As far as I know B&L made the optics for all the M13A1 binoculars.  The M13 binoculars are optically identical, just not waterproof.

 

Stay safe,

Arthur Pinewood 




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