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Portable POWER and compromises... a 30X70

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#1 WALL.E

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 08:19 AM

Hello Friends,

 

There have been several previous threads on this specific topic but all are now archived.

 

Our own Mike G. put a fair amount of work into a SELSI 30X70 binocular and apparently wound up rather disappointed.

I still feel a little sad for Mike.

Are these binoculars just bad?

They certainly are "touchy" little crafts due to their intense magnification.

 

Kenny harbors a certain amount of disdain for any binocular operating at 30X. (Quite understandable).

SMark claims he learned the skies with this instrument in younger years.

Stan remarked about the severe "tunnel vision" with his, but it was a zoom model if I recall?

 

Why would I pursue such an "awkward" and questionable instrument?

Much of my observation these days is long range terrestrial.

I'm getting older and less inspired (lazy) to lug around the venerable giant binoculars and heavy tripod.

The State of Michigan is beautiful with all it's lakes and hundreds of miles of inland sea shores.

The magnificent Straits of Mackinaw must be experienced to be appreciated.

I often desire the convenience of just "grab and go".

 

I was blessed to acquire a SELSI 30X70 that works, and works well. At least within it's design limitations.

 

027_opt.jpg

 

I wanted something with a little extra magnification "punch".  Just a little more than the 25X100.

I have a wonderful 66mm ED refractor, but then there's the accessories and cases, you're back to one eye, and most of the time the ground level atmosphere does not allow for magnification over 30X. Just too "murky".

Magnifications of 40X-60X may work at scales of hundreds of yards, but not over MILES of open water or terrain.

 

I estimate this vintage SELSI to be 40-45 years old.

I had previous communication with the seller who assured me that it was in good order.

The binocular came from the estate of a retired pilot.

There was basically no signs of this having ever been used.

The coatings are a blueish magenta.

 

I took opportunities to point this binocular Heavenward.

The Moon; surprisingly crisp detail with just a touch of "greenish" chromatic aberration. Nice image. Hey, if I want to explore lunar craters I've got a great 150mm Maksutov for that!

 

Jupiter; moons very apparent, just a trace of the banding.

Saturn; ring forms very obvious, couldn't quite make a separation with planet. (Wasn't really expecting to).

Mars; strong spiking around Mars for some reason.

Venus; clearly showed as a crescent, nothing more.

Stars; well, a little dim as expected, sharp in the center but a coma kaleidoscope at the outer 3rd.

 

This is essentially a day time binocular for me.

If I had to wear my glasses while observing, this binocular would not work for me at all due to exit pupil and eye relief.

 

Would I have a slightly better image with the 25X100?  Quite so.

But then I'm struggling with a massive 25lb. binocular and mount again.

I offer a comparison photo of the instruments themselves.

 

I was able to study a Wasp (yes, an insect, not the other acronym) dallying around the neighbor's hedges about 450 feet away.

I could read the manufacturer's names on contractor's tools about 200 yards away.

The views are more telescope than binocular with a 2* field. But you are right there. Not much of a "tunnel".

I have an ORION LITTLE GIANT II 11X70 that I purchased new years ago. It is in mint new condition. Very sharp images.

The field is 4.5* and it does suffer horribly from tunnel vision in my opinion.

 

I chose to mount the SELSI 30X70 on a Manfrotto 3021B tripod. ( I think it's now the 055B). This has always been one of my favorite light-midweight tripods.

The binocular itself rests on an excellent Manfrotto 3275 geared head. Very stable and not very heavy.

As seen in the photos, there may be someone who wonders what the strange "contraption" is under the binocular barrels.

THAT is a home made stabilizer. Now the binocular is supported at two points. Everything helps at 30X in such a light binocular.

 

No, it does not interfere with the IPD setting. You just turn the wing nut on the bottom until the arms "rest" under the barrels.

All it needs is contact.

 

Note- I originally constructed the stabilizer for about 2 dollars worth of hardware store parts to settle the barrel "wobble" on my Oberwerk 20X80 LW's. Most of the traditional "L" brackets are tapped with two 1/4-20 holes. A proper sized machine screw fits right in.

 

The 20X80 LW's have good optics, almost no eye relief, and great coatings. They also lack a center shaft and any vibration or gentle breeze would cause those long unsupported barrels to send highly annoying "jitters" into the image.

My Oberwerks were puchased very soon after their introduction. Maybe current production has seen better rigidity in the barrels.

 

30X70 vs 25X100

025_opt.jpg

 

So, I dearly hope to be returning to Mackinaw in a couple of weeks where I can better determine if the mission assigned to the SELSI 30X70 will be fulfilled to satisfaction. The straits and channels between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are a nautical highway for shipping traffic.

 

The 30X70's, bracket, stabilizer, and mounting shoe together slip right into a small, padded, fabric cooler.

With the lighter tripod (opposed to a 028B), it should just be "zip, snap, and click" and you're viewing.

 

I am accepting this as a special purpose binocular.

I hope it does what I want it to do.

If I emerge "victorious", I hope Mike G. will take some vicarious satisfaction in the success.

I'll let you know what I experience.

 

Regards,

 

Eric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 WALL.E

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 08:20 AM

028_opt.jpg



#3 WALL.E

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 08:21 AM

030_opt.jpg


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#4 KennyJ

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 09:49 AM

Eric,

 

If there is any way you can double check the actual magnification, please do.

 

If it turns out to be 29x, rather than the claimed 30x, I will return to this thread and click the "like" button! smile.gif


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#5 WALL.E

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 10:06 AM

Kenny,

 

I knew there would be a heavy price to pay by presuming to speak for you.

 

THAT ONE really hit the funny bone! I'm still laughing.rofl2.gif

 

Good Grief!  You could also be entirely serious!  bawling.gif

 

Eric


Edited by WALL.E, 16 August 2020 - 12:59 PM.

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#6 SMark

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 02:18 PM

This brings back many good memories for me. Watching the movement of Jupiter’s moons for the very first time was fascinating. Jumping from a 7x50, which was my dad’s binocular, to the 30x70 was a huge leap! And I quickly realized after getting it but I was going to need to buy myself a tripod for it.

I used it for a couple years before upgrading to what was then “The Brand New” Edmund Astroscan 2001.
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#7 Prescott702

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 02:56 PM

The lack of fixed high binos is incomprehensible to me. 



#8 hallelujah

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Posted 18 August 2020 - 05:32 PM

The lack of fixed high binos is incomprehensible to me. 

Price has a lot to do with it.

 

Stan


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#9 WALL.E

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 03:44 PM

Trying to follow up a bit on my original post.

 

My attempt was to establish a "niche" for a relatively compact high powered 30X70 binocular.

Condition being that it is in good collimation and overall properly functional.

 

A full week in Mackinaw City Michigan (USA) provided phenomenal frustration due to atmosphere from ground upwards.

 

I will not admit defeat and remain undaunted.

 

My main observational targets in this last journey were to be shipping traffic in the Straits Of Mackinaw.

Nothing but "murk".

Astro observations were not even an option.

 

At one brief interlude, I was able to fix on the GRAND HOTEL on Mackinac Island.

The best distance calculation I can offer from my location is 7.5 miles, (over 12km).

I was lodging just SE of Mackinaw City.

 

Lower magnifications naturally offered better overall resolution. This should be nothing new to most.

But I think the SELSI 30X70 did it's job.

I wish I had better conditions to report back from.

 

I did indulge myself in eating pounds and pounds of deep fried Whitefish.

If you've never had Whitefish right out of the fresh waters of Lake Huron, you can't know what you're missing!!!

 

I offer views at various magnifications for comparison.

It's really all I was able to do.

 

048_opt.jpg

          NAKED EYE VIEW  -Grand Hotel, distance 7.5 miles. (12+ km)

 

049_opt.jpg

                      8X

 

050_opt.jpg

                     12X

 

051_opt.jpg

         20X  Vignetting due to Afocal photograph, not present in viewing through binocular eyepiece.

 

052_opt.jpg

       30X  Same Afocal conditions.

But not bad for this power level under crummy, lousy seeing conditions!

(Kenny, I wish I could say it was 29.4X just so I could garner your support).

 

054_opt.jpg

The poor, long suffering, frustrated author of this.

 

I beg the reader to recall that my comparison was intended for terrestrial spotting purposes.

A heavy 25X100 on massive tripod vs. the SELSI 30X70 on a light (and sturdy) Manfrotto mount. (In hand and out the door in moments).

 

In this case, before Sinatra starts singing, "Send In The Clowns", I declare this evaluation "inconclusive".

 

Faithfully,

 

Eric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#10 dries1

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 04:19 PM

That was very informative, pictures (photos) do tell a thousand words.

 

Andy W.


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#11 KennyJ

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Posted 13 September 2020 - 04:36 PM

Eric,

 

That report and accompanying photographs reminded me of countless posts of my own sent to the Cloudy Days forum between the years circa 2005 and 2009.

 

The image through the 30x70 is certainly better than it would have been through the 30x80 Helios I've had at my disposal a few times in recent years.

 

Edit:  -- I'm sure if you could somehow measure the effective aperture and exit-pupils, you would discover the true magnification to be closer to 28-29x than the stated 30x.smile.gif

 

Kenny


Edited by KennyJ, 13 September 2020 - 04:38 PM.


#12 WALL.E

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 04:48 PM

Kenny,

 

The idea that you've made many similar post humbles me.

I feel as though I'm treading in the steps of the "Giants" and the "Great Ones".sumo.gif

 

This particular SELSI 30X70 does yield nice images.

That's why I'm gravely disappointed that there was no good opportunity to let it do so.sigh2.gif

 

Unquestionably, you are right about the specs of most binoculars being slightly off.

(Excusing the super alpha makes of course).

But in this manner, all things are relative.

Certainly for my simple comparison purposes.

 

There will be another moment to seize I suppose.

 

In the meantime, the 30X70 will be relegated to the "cabinet".

I have already determined that it's not the best astro binocular.

And here in the City there's really nothing of any interest far enough away to really look at (with approximately 30X).

I smile to myself when I look at the neck strap lugs on the 30X70.

If anyone would ask why I think it's laughable, you're either superhuman or you clearly don't understand.

 

The "cabinet" seems to have become a "rest home" for binoculars I find interesting for one or more reasons.

Some are unique to a degree, some are just pristine treasures.

The SELSI 30X70 sort of falls into both categories.

My 7 or 8 most used binoculars do not reside there. Others wait patiently on a closet shelf.

 

Until another time,

 

Eric

 

 

                              Caution fellow enthusiasts, this can happen to YOU.

                            001_opt(4).jpg


Edited by WALL.E, 14 September 2020 - 05:09 PM.

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#13 WALL.E

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 04:50 PM

                            003_opt(5).jpg


Edited by WALL.E, 14 September 2020 - 05:09 PM.

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#14 KennyJ

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 05:37 PM

Dear Erik ( you mostly overly flatteringly of sodds )

 

Yes, on this, the night marking the 45th anniversary of the first ever TV broadcasting of the legendary "Fortly Tyres", starring Basil Faulty ), looking at that "rest home", one can only hope most sin shirley that this Coronavirus doesn't target binoculars.

 

One could be forgiven for thinking than someone with such a copious collection would have more sense than even consider purchasing a 30x70 bearing such a notoriously dubious brand title.

 

I hope I am smile.gif 

 

Kenny ( Goliath ) J


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#15 WALL.E

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 07:47 PM

Kenny J,

 

John Cleese. Basil Fawlty.

What a scream.

 

As the youngsters would have said a while back, "You ROCK dude!"

 

If I understand, absolution is unwavering and granted.

And who am I to judge?

 

EML



#16 Terra Nova

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 02:04 PM

I was up that way camping over thirty years ago. Went across the straits via the Mighty Mak suspension bridge, over to Mackinac Island on the ferry, toured the Grand Hotel, and then up to the locks of the Big Soo, and then Whitefish Bay on the U.P. and saw where the Edmund Fitzgerald went down. Just had a pair of Herters 8x40s with me but all the sights, including the night sky was amazing. And we ate lots of whitefish, both fried and smoked. It was a wonderful time and thank you for reminding me of it. I need to get way up there again. I love Michigan!


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#17 WALL.E

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 04:28 PM

Terra,

 

You have been away far too long!

It's all right there waiting for you.

Not much changes up there. At least not very fast.

 

The entire area is just so rugged and beautiful to behold. So much history there.

Odawa, French, English, and American influences have all left their mark.

European presence beginning in the 1600's

The archeological sites are fascinating.

 

059_opt.jpg

The binocular hanging from my neck is an awesome original Celestron Ultima 8X32.

 

 

The Whitefish is still the best in the world.

 

Do you still have the Herter's 8X40?  It was / is a respectable brand.

 

Eric


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#18 WALL.E

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 04:08 AM

Ahoy Friends!

 

Just in case anyone was interested.... (There is no need to activate missile defense or alert Fleet Air Operations), I just wanted you to know.....

 

I see there is a SELSI 30X70 binocular currently on Ebay for a "reasonable" price.

(It may be 28.5 X 65 in measured reality. There, I hope I'm covered now  fingerscrossed.gif ).

 

It appears to be in very satisfactory condition and the seller has the level of awareness to state that the binocular is in collimation. I consider this a good sign.

 

I would not consider this binocular rare, but you only see them periodically.

 

I have quite positive impressions of the model I own and have no regrets at all about the purchase.

(But I was blessed with a "good" one).

Perhaps the future will grant me seeing conditions to allow it's full potential to be appreciated.

 

Of course, I have no, 0% affiliation or business interest in this matter.

 

Eric



#19 KennyJ

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 06:19 AM

If the seller has spelt the word "collimation" correctly at least I suppose there is half a chance of it being true!

 

I don't suppose he or she mentioned the equipment utilised to verify the claim, or the method used? smile.gif

 

Kenny

 

P.S  I hope it's not the sample owned by a work colleague of mine


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#20 WALL.E

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Posted 17 October 2020 - 08:24 AM

Kenny,

 

Quite simply, you're a Treasure.

 

Absolutely no disrespect implied.

 

Eric


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#21 Mike G.

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Posted 19 October 2020 - 04:35 PM

nice to see an otherwise "specialized" use binocular actually being put to use.  mine have also been relegated to 'the cabinet', although it is not nearly as populated as yours.  since that time long ago when I also had some very nice WO 22x70's, I learned that I have a particular issue with not being able to hold my head very still and utilize binoculars with small (less than 3mm exit pupils) without the dreaded blackouts.  so the WO's were sold and some APM's purchased.  I can't say I have never looked back, since just this week I had the Pentax 16x60's out, and about a month ago the 20x80 Celestron/Vixens - even in this day a good bino.  not sure why the 30x70's are still around, I think that I just have a reluctance to pass off something that I personally feel is sub-par (mine won't come to sharp focus on one side).

I've never had the Whitefish from Lake Huron, but being only a few miles from Lake Erie, I would like to compare it to Lake Erie Perch - a truly delicious fish if it hasn't been frozen.  maybe that will happen if this pandemic ever goes away.

 

thanks for the report!


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#22 KennyJ

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Posted 19 October 2020 - 05:09 PM

One thing I noticed about the Pentax 16x60s when they became available as "alternatives" to their 20x60 bretheren was it seemed almost everyone faced with the choice of "either/ or" opted for the 20x60, on a basis of something akin to "well the TFOV of the 16x is almost as narrow as that of the 20x -- therefore I may as well go for the 20x".

 

What was possibly too readily overlooked by applying that philosophy was the not inconsiderable difference between a 3.0mm exit pupil and a 3.75mm exit-pupil.

 

That doesn't appear to be a significant difference "on paper", but in practice, I think perhaps it is.

-- And of course the TFOV is just that little bit wider with the 16x, which again could just make a difference.

 

Kenny


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#23 WALL.E

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 09:10 AM

Hey Mike G.!

 

I am deeply gratified at your reference to the 30X70 as a "Specialized Use" binocular. IT IS.

I will not bore the reader with all the criteria I previously posted as to why a fully functional 30X70 should be considered rather "Specialized". I tried to make that point.

 

I still feel little pangs of sympathy that the model you possess did not perform or satisfy.

 

Now that you brought up the perch issue, I will most lustily peel open a container of Kippers to have with my salad this morning.

Thank you!

 

I totally understand your predicament with the exit pupil vs. stability thing.

Once again, the 30X70 is a niche prescription.

It seems that either way, the 30X70 configuration just doesn't work for you too well.

I'm glad you read the post because they actually do work in the right circumstances.

I hope to use them further given good conditions and providing my eyes don't fail.

 

Kenny, I will study the Kippers more carefully and try to determine actual origin of waters, age of the individual fish, sodium content, etc. They are "Bar Harbor" brand, boneless, and claim to be sustainable. Smoked, packed in oil and water. If need be, I can measure the individual fillets for length, width, and weight. The expiration date is well within service range.

It's my understanding that the Trawler Captain uses 30X70 binoculars to identify every individual Herring before ordering the deck hands to capture it with a dip net.

So they must be very high quality I say, say.

 

Proud to associate with you all!

 

Eric


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#24 Rapidray

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 09:41 AM

Great post and thanks for sharing with us!  Love your “rest home”.


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#25 KennyJ

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Posted 20 October 2020 - 03:02 PM

Eric,

 

Whilst I've long considered a 20x80 perfectly adequate for haddock, for Herring, I think 30x is too low to reveal the all important details of whether or not one is worth catching.

 

Size estimation is also imperative from a distance, as some of them are too big to fit into those tins.

For those reasons, I would always recommend a Fujinon 40x150 for herring, especially now all the schools are back.

 

Any smaller an exit - pupil can lead to major disappointment at dusk or dawn.

 

The long discontinued Tasco Trout 6 x 50 was a great glass for riverside fishing at dusk, and back in the 1950s.,seldom were local anglers in Lancashire spotted without a venerable Canon Carp 5.5 x 35.5 poking out of one top pocket of their khaki gilets, with a 20 packet of senior service sticking out of the other.

 

Kenny


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