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Astro-Physics binos

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#26 milt

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 09:30 PM

They even give you a post for mounting the binocular to a tripod. On a tripod they will give a much more stable image than a hand held IS, plus more aperture and more eye relief

You are going to try them, Rich, I just know you are. Then you can compare them to your stable of truly outstanding binoculars and report back to the group. :jump:

Best regards,
Milt

#27 XT10Guy

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 09:59 PM

Anyone know if these are IDENTICAL to the Oberwerk "Ultra Series" 15x70s? They sure look identical, but some of the specs are different (weight for one). And I think the higher price here

http://www.astromart...ified_id=441726

could be attributed to the fact that they include the adapter whereas the "L" adapter is not included here

http://www.bigbinocu...com/ultra70.htm

Bob/XT10Guy

#28 Rich N

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 10:36 PM

They even give you a post for mounting the binocular to a tripod. On a tripod they will give a much more stable image than a hand held IS, plus more aperture and more eye relief

You are going to try them, Rich, I just know you are. Then you can compare them to your stable of truly outstanding binoculars and report back to the group. :jump:

Best regards,
Milt


Hi Milt,

At first I was ready to call AP tomorrow and order both. However, after thinking about my other binoculars and these new binoculars my interest has cooled.

I have a Fujinon 10x70 FMT-SX, so I don't see a reason to buy the AP 10.5x70. The AP 15x70 is a little different than my Canon 15x50IS and Orion 15x63 MiniGiant. The AP may have better optics than the Orion MG.

I may see if one of my bino buddies will buy one and let me have a look. If I bought one and wanted to sell it at the club auction, I likely would have to pay one the cheap skates to take it. I've already have a cheap, virtually new, 10x50 I want to get rid of.

Rich

#29 rushintuit

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 10:38 PM

"dump my IS binoculars for 5.6 lb binoculars"

I agree, Joe! Weight is as much a factor for me as is optical quality. If it's over 3.5lbs, I'm going to look elsewhere.

#30 Mark Sullivan

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 10:21 AM

It's 5.6 pounds. I just ordered a 10.5x; is the problem with this much weight stability or stamina? (I'll gladly take up free weights if the latter!)

-Mark

#31 EdZ

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 11:25 AM

At 5.6 lbs., an only 10.5x it would be stamina, stability for a few people. At 15x it would be both stamina and stability for almost everyone..

edz

#32 Les

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 11:26 AM

Yeah right, dump my IS binoculars for 5.6 lb binoculars for handheld use.


You tell 'um Joe. Too many apple vs. orange comparisons in this thread.

Les

#33 EdZ

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 11:58 AM

I know several members out there have various one or the other brands of this model binocular. Please do this little test and report back what you see.

Look thru the objective lens at the exit pupil. Now carefully, line up your eye, the very edge of the objective lens and the very edge of any internal stop, even if that is all the way down to the prism stop. No take careful note of

How much of the exit pupil do you see? Estimate how much of the edge of the exit pupil circle is cut off and percent visible.

thanks.

edz

#34 Rich N

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 04:26 PM

Yeah right, dump my IS binoculars for 5.6 lb binoculars for handheld use.


You tell 'um Joe. Too many apple vs. orange comparisons in this thread.

Les


Hi Lee,

I was jerking Joe's chain a little when comparing the Canon IS binoculars and the AP binoculars.

Rich

#35 Les

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 06:45 PM

[quote name="Rich N"][quote]:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yeah right, dump my IS binoculars for 5.6 lb binoculars for handheld use.


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



You tell 'um Joe. Too many apple vs. orange comparisons in this thread.

Les


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



Hi Lee,

I was jerking Joe's chain a little when comparing the Canon IS binoculars and the AP binoculars.

Rich [/quote]

So I gathered. :smirk:

Les

#36 Joe Ogiba

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 09:07 PM

I like my 9x63 Pentax DCF roof prism binoculars on my Unimount Light Deluxe and I don't think I would gain much with the 10.5x70's. I also have a cheap pair of 11x70's.

Joe

#37 EdZ

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 07:58 AM

There are a number of importers/distributers currently offering what appears to be the same binocular. Keep in mind, none of these importers/distributors actually make binoculars. Oberwerk, Garrett, APM, AP, General Hi-T, TS, they all import these binoculars. While there is no positive assurance that we have identified all the originating sources, it is a pretty fair bet to say, there are not seven different manufacturers of these binoculars.

Of course it is nearly impossible to tell if they are all "exactly" the same. We know from experience that any particular model line can be custom made for any distributor. As an example, one of the most commonly available large import binocular sizes on the market is the 15x70. You can pick up a Barska, Celestron, Apogee, Oberwerk, Garrett, Telescope Service (or some other brand name) and set them on a table next to each other. At least for some of them, by looking at them you could not tell one from the other. But we have identified probably as many as a half dozen different things that can be done during manufacture to make all these brands different. There is a post in the "Best Of" threads titled "These Look The Same, What Could Be Different?" that addresses some of these differences. Trust me, there are some differences you cannot see.

For instance, no one could ever tell by looking at a binocular if the lenses were produced by a fast machine polish or slow precision polish which is purported to produce a much finer quality lens. No one can tell by looking at a multicoated lens if extreme care was taken to measure the thickness of the coatings to 1/4 wavelength for precision premium cooatings. These are just two major production differences which cannot be seen, but would make a huge difference in performance.

Roland Christen of Astro Physics has stated that he is getting his binoculars from a small operation. From his postings on the process that lead to his decision to carry these binoculars, these are a few qoutes from his comments several months ago. "About 2 weeks ago I received a pair of premium binos from a small Chinese maker which were said to be a direct copy of the 15x70 Fujinons. This sample was certainly a spitting image of that brand. The coatings are excellent all the way through, the eyepieces are nicely corrected over a fairly large field (not perfect at the edges), the spherical correction is miles better than any of the 70 and 80mm that I tested.....This bino definitely has some excellent contrast. To say that I was pleased with these is an understatement......The company that makes them is a small outfit, and they cannot compete on price with the large makers which supply all the normal budget binos in their various configurations."

We know United Optics/Kunnming Optical has had the exact same style binocular available for a quite a few months, and while no one has come right out and stated positively where they are getting their shipments from, it is possible (and IMO likely) that all or at least some of these US and European distributers are getting their supply from the same place.

A review of the United Optics website Series 8 binocular models shows what I believe is this binocular and describes the features that are being described by some or all of these distributors.
http://www.united-op...ts/products.htm

All of the following distributors have ads for an uncanily similar binocular.

http://www.astro-physics.com/

http://www.bigbinocu...com/ultra70.htm

http://garrettoptica...wsn/page14.html

http://www.generalhit.com./#

http://www.telescope...html#1070marine

http://www.apm-teles...fo.php?id=93736



I can agree with some other's comments regarding this new line of binoculars. With a binocular of such a this level of quality, none of the importers are going to skimp on anything. They seem to all advertise the same high degree of lens polish, premium coatings and rugged build quality. QC from the vendor may be the only variable.

edz

#38 Joad

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 08:59 AM

There is a giant factory in Korea (the Samick factory) that, as I've read, apparently manufactures most of the world's guitars--not only Samick label guitars but also the import lines of such giant companies as Gibson (its Epiphone line is built by Samick) and of such boutique companies as Breedlove (its Atlas line is Korean made). This reminds me a bit of what is happening in the binocular world, but with an important difference: the Gibson or the Breedlove imports (and the many many others) reflect the particular designs that their American made equivalents offer (a Korean Breedlove looks like a high end American Breedlove; an Epiphone looks and performs much like an American Gibson). In effect, when one buys a Korean version of an American guitar one is getting a less expensive version of the American brand that is almost as good (but, of course, lacks any investment or resale value).

But when a company like Astro Physics imports a Chinese made binocular, it is a generic instrument, manufactured according to the importer's specifications but still not an instrument that distinctively reflects a more expensive American design. This is just fine for the likes of the people on Cloudy Nights because they are so well informed. But, to go back to guitars for a moment, not all consumers are going to be so well informed. Korean made versions of American guitars almost never identify their place of origin. I know that when I bought an Epiphone Les Paul some years ago, I saw the name Gibson on it and thought I was getting a great deal on a Gibson guitar. I really had no idea that it was made in Korea and that for this reason it would have virtually no resale value.

Similarly, the Astro-Physics web page makes no mention that the "small company" that manufactures its new line is Chinese. It does not even indicate that the source is overseas. The "small company" could be American for all the consumer knows. Perhaps it is taken for granted that everyone knows that inexpensive binoculars are now always Chinese. But I would not be surprised if a number of binocular buyers purchase the AP import binoculars because of AP's legendary reputation, not only for quality but for resale/investment value. I know that without my Cloudy Nights participation I probably wouldn't be able to figure out that it wasn't an American binocular. I also probably wouldn't realize that the AP binocular is very close to any number of other American labelled versions of this Chinese instrument. It isn't a matter of quality but of being completely informed about the nature of a purchase, especially for resale value. Thus it would be nice if the origin of the instrument were clearly represented in the advertising and web presentation of it, including specifics on what made this version different from that.

Note: I'd like to add that Kevin at Oberwerk (who has take a little criticism for using a German sounding name for his instruments) has always been very up front about the origin of his products and has also clearly explained on his company site how he works with his Chinese manufacturer to produce what he wants, and also how he modifies his imported instruments in-house when those modifications are needed. I know that when I bought my Obies, which was long before I found CN, I knew what I was getting thanks to Oberwerk's clear presentation of its products.

#39 OBERWERK

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 09:28 AM

Note: I'd like to add that Kevin at Oberwerk (who has take a little criticism for using a German sounding name for his instruments) has always been very up front about the origin of his products and has also clearly explained on his company site how he works with his Chinese manufacturer to produce what he wants...


For these two particular models, I can confirm that they are all exactly the same regardless of label. The only variable may be the level of QC from the vendor. At this high level of quality (and cost), none of the importers are going to skimp on anything.
As for the Oberwerk name, most have you have probably heard this before, but I formed Oberwerk Corporation in 1991 when I was writing software. The name was chosen for a couple of reasons, none of which had anything to do with optics. It wasn't until almost 9 years later that we used the name on our first binocular.

#40 Les

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 10:05 AM

Joad,

Again this country of origin thing. My BMW has a French built transmission. Who would have thought that this would have been the smoothest automatic transmission I have own in 40 years of driving. BMW did, that's why they were confident to stick their logo on this car. We are not party to any of the contracts that these retailers have with the factory(s) of origin as to specs, selection criteria, or what percent they reject/return or pass on to the customer. As AP sells these binos and they take their place in the market, they will earn the reputation they deserve, for better or worse.

Sorry about your disappointment with your Epiphone although I gather that it performs its intended function of producing a wonderful sound. As far as resale value of any item, there are too many variables that enter. Quality is not the only one.

Trying to protect an uninformed public from making unwise purchases would defeat the process of natural selection :smirk:

Just my 2 cents,
Les

#41 Joad

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 11:28 AM

Joad,

Again this country of origin thing. My BMW has a French built transmission. Who would have thought that this would have been the smoothest automatic transmission I have own in 40 years of driving. BMW did, that's why they were confident to stick their logo on this car. We are not party to any of the contracts that these retailers have with the factory(s) of origin as to specs, selection criteria, or what percent they reject/return or pass on to the customer. As AP sells these binos and they take their place in the market, they will earn the reputation they deserve, for better or worse.

Sorry about your disappointment with your Epiphone although I gather that it performs its intended function of producing a wonderful sound. As far as resale value of any item, there are too many variables that enter. Quality is not the only one.

Trying to protect an uninformed public from making unwise purchases would defeat the process of natural selection :smirk:

Just my 2 cents,
Les


Hey Les,

I'm afraid I wasn't clear. I was not relating quality to country of origin (though I can say that my Epiphone could not hold tune through an entire song and in fact never could be properly tuned at all through a range of chords: ie., if i tuned it for a song whose root chord was C, any E chords would be out, and vice versa), I was referring to resale value. For better or for worse, consumers turn their noses up at used import guitars, whose resale value is extremely low relative to actual value. I suspect that the same will be true of binoculars, and as a fan of Consumers Union and a subscriber to Consumers Report, I believe in consumer protection and am pleased to see companies, like Kevin's, that work so hard to inform the public. I learned a great deal from his FAQ section (an FAQ on eye relief--if there isn't yet one there-- might be a useful addition to that, though!).

#42 Clive Gibbons

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 11:55 AM

But when a company like Astro Physics imports a Chinese made binocular, it is a generic instrument, manufactured according to the importer's specifications but still not an instrument that distinctively reflects a more expensive American design. This is just fine for the likes of the people on Cloudy Nights because they are so well informed. But, to go back to guitars for a moment, not all consumers are going to be so well informed. Korean made versions of American guitars almost never identify their place of origin. I know that when I bought an Epiphone Les Paul some years ago, I saw the name Gibson on it and thought I was getting a great deal on a Gibson guitar. I really had no idea that it was made in Korea and that for this reason it would have virtually no resale value.

Similarly, the Astro-Physics web page makes no mention that the "small company" that manufactures its new line is Chinese. It does not even indicate that the source is overseas. The "small company" could be American for all the consumer knows. Perhaps it is taken for granted that everyone knows that inexpensive binoculars are now always Chinese. But I would not be surprised if a number of binocular buyers purchase the AP import binoculars because of AP's legendary reputation, not only for quality but for resale/investment value. I know that without my Cloudy Nights participation I probably wouldn't be able to figure out that it wasn't an American binocular. I also probably wouldn't realize that the AP binocular is very close to any number of other American labelled versions of this Chinese instrument. It isn't a matter of quality but of being completely informed about the nature of a purchase, especially for resale value. Thus it would be nice if the origin of the instrument were clearly represented in the advertising and web presentation of it, including specifics on what made this version different from that.


Hi Joad.
Just to put things in a historical perspective...
Astro-Physics has sold many non-US made items in the past. In fact, for several years before they began making APO refractors, their business was almost entirely based on selling astro accessories, some of which wasn't made in the US.
So, these new Chinese-sourced binocs might be a change from what they've been known for in recent years, but doesn't mark a departure from what the company has done during it's relatively long history.
I can see and empathize with what you're saying. :ubetcha:
It would be informative if A-P did state where the product is sourced from. Especially if some consumers wish to avoid buying product from a particular country, for personal reasons.
But, if the binocs perform as advertised and offer good value for money, then most folks will likely be happy no matter where they come from.

#43 Art Fritzson

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 12:02 PM

I await the BIG models - 22x85IF, 20x110, etc.



Mike, in case you hadn't seen it already, there are now pictures of a 15x85 and 20x110 on the United Optics site at the link referenced by Ed above (http://www.united-op...s/products.htm ). It still says "available soon", but it must be getting closer.

- Art

#44 BillC

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 12:33 PM

Well, when I buy my first shipment of brand X binoculars they will be sold as coming from Kunming. I don’t want to play head games with anyone. And frankly, I think being open has bode well for folks like Kevin, Zach, and others.

What my customers will be getting will be binoculars that have been checked and collimated to a minimum of the old JTII standards. This, as Kevin and Zach point out, gives you bragging rights. And despite the opinions of some of the more trusting and vocal souls who frequent the list, many of the “binocular repair experts” that haunt some of even the big name optical companies, couldn’t explain the collimation process if there lives depended on it. And, of course, most do almost nothing in-house, anyway.

As for Epiphones: put you money into Sheridan II's and Casinos. The vintage guitar market has performed 16 TIMES better than the DOW JONES, over the last 6 years!

I had a Korean made Gretsch Nashville (6120) that was better—in many ways-than those made in America in the 50’s, 60’s, and (especially) in the early 70’s. And before someone accuses me of talking through my hat as those I have been know to question firmly, I have own all but three of the Big Gretsch models.

Although I am pleased with my Asian guitars, there is a big difference between the precision needed to make a guitar and that required to make a fine optical instrument. Some have it; some don’t.

Cheers,

Bill

#45 Les

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 12:55 PM

Joad,

I'm for consumer protection too (and I don't beat my wife either). But the onus is on the buyer to acquire the knowledge before purchase and not make assumptions. That's why "we" join forums like this one and surf the internet for everything we can glean. Not sure Consumer Reports would be my choice for ratings information though. I still remember decades ago when their "panel" rated Breyers ice cream better than Haagen Daas (it was still being imported at the time) and the editors had to include a caveat at the end of the article stating that the result might have been because Breyers was what was most familiar in taste to the panel (ie they had never tasted really good ice cream).

Let's not try to divine what the resale value of these binos will be due to country of origin. Being informed, neither you or I care about origin. That's a good start.

Les

#46 Glassthrower

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 01:19 PM

Art -

Thanks for the link. I had not noticed that yet.

Boy, those 110mm binocs look BIG. I wonder how much they weigh? That 20x110 is very tempting.....if it will eventually reside within my price point that is.

Clear dark skies...

MikeG

#47 BillC

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 01:21 PM

Post deleted by BillC

#48 Mark9473

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 03:05 PM

The size of the 85 and 110 mm units gives me hope that their f/ratio is high enough to give better than average image quality - especially towards the edge - with whatever eyepieces they put in there.

#49 BillC

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 03:26 PM

Joad,

I'm for consumer protection too (and I don't beat my wife either). But the onus is on the buyer to acquire the knowledge before purchase and not make assumptions. That's why "we" join forums like this one and surf the internet for everything we can glean. Not sure Consumer Reports would be my choice for ratings information though. I still remember decades ago when their "panel" rated Breyers ice cream better than Haagen Daas (it was still being imported at the time) and the editors had to include a caveat at the end of the article stating that the result might have been because Breyers was what was most familiar in taste to the panel (ie they had never tasted really good ice cream).

Let's not try to divine what the resale value of these binos will be due to country of origin. Being informed, neither you or I care about origin. That's a good start.

Les


Engrave that post and mount it!!!!!

Cheers,

Bill

#50 Art Fritzson

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 03:55 PM

That 20x110 is very tempting.....if it will eventually reside within my price point that is.



Mike, here's some calculations for what it's worth. Garrett offers a waterproof fogproof 15x70 for $220 and a Grizzly 15x70 for $380 or 1.7x. Their 10x50 Grizzly is twice the price of the non-Grizzly ($280 vs $140). Their 25x100 is $370 so if they offered a Grizzly version I'd expect it to be between $630 and $740. Since the one they will likely offer will be slightly larger aperture (110mm vs 100mm) I'd expect it to be at the higher end of that range. Similarly I'd estimate the 22x85 to be around $560 or twice the 20x80 triplet. These are just guesses mind you but I'll bet they turn out pretty close.

- Art


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