Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Low power Binocular review

  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 Bill david

Bill david


  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 45
  • Joined: 01 Dec 2016

Posted 27 October 2020 - 05:01 PM

Plan to do a comparison of:


6x30 Leopold roof Katmai,, Kowa 6x30 Porro, 8x30 porro Yosemitie, Fujinon 8x30 IP SMT and a Leopold 8x42 roof.


Have a brother that is a professional photographer that will be here over Christmas and we will send some pictures.


But my impressions are for the the Fujnons (no question, depth of field is outstanding) at night or day, but day and night the 8x42 Leoupolds are quality, but wanted a small and satisfying binoculars, Kowa 6x30's are it.


Know the Fujinon's are priced higher, but worth it!


Have another brother (have four others) that works for science and art.


Think he can give a more technical review, I'm only for observation experience.


I'm the one that went into the Army for a career, but just love two eyes!





  • Erik Bakker and Foss like this

#2 hallelujah



  • *****
  • Posts: 7,949
  • Joined: 14 Jul 2006
  • Loc: North Star over Colorado

Posted 27 October 2020 - 05:13 PM

Leupold Katmai (6x32mm) roof prism binoculars have been discontinued for a number of years.


Good luck trying to locate a Fujinon 8x30 FMTR-SX Porro.





Edited by hallelujah, 27 October 2020 - 05:25 PM.

#3 drt3d


    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 204
  • Joined: 01 Aug 2015
  • Loc: Cleveland Ohio USA

Posted 27 October 2020 - 06:29 PM

It would be nice to include the Kowa 6.5x32 roof too



Edited by drt3d, 27 October 2020 - 06:32 PM.

#4 gwlee



  • *****
  • Posts: 2,329
  • Joined: 06 Sep 2015
  • Loc: 38N 120W

Posted 27 October 2020 - 08:39 PM

7x50 has been the standard low power astronomy binocular for decades. Be nice to include it for comparison. 

  • Bob4BVM likes this

#5 Lt 26

Lt 26


  • *****
  • Posts: 2,602
  • Joined: 19 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Northwest Illinois

Posted 30 October 2020 - 07:18 AM

I may be picking up a pair of the Kowa 6.5x32 as a Christmas gift for my mother in law. I will compare them against my wifes Swarovski 8x30 cl's.


#6 Neil Sanford

Neil Sanford

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 266
  • Joined: 20 Nov 2011

Posted 30 October 2020 - 09:52 AM

(A) IMHO this can become a great thread.  And it would be helped if this could be agreed:  8x is the market standard for birding, hunting, general nature, travel, sightseeing, etc.  To include 8x as "low power" means possibly reviewing the entire core of the binocular market.  True, 8x is low for astronomy.  But IMHO this thread has more chance to become great if it focuses on 6x, 6.5x and at the margin maximally 7x.  (Of course it could be useful sometimes to refer to an 8x for comparison, but not as a subject of "low power" review.) 


(B) It might be useful to compile a list of low power models currently available.  (As opposed to discontinued, vintage or rare, e.g. Komz 6x24, Meopta 6.5x32, etc.)  I ain't sayin' to not mention or review such for comparison, just that often folks are interested in what's practical to acquire now.  I will start that list, and recommend that additions be implemented by copy-pasting the previous list, so the latest posted is convenient, instead of researching back in the thread.  I'll start with just my favorites.


Kowa 6.5x32

Vixen 6.5x32

Opticron 6.5x32 Adventurer

Zen-Ray 7x36 (last production run available on -bay)

Edited by Neil Sanford, 30 October 2020 - 12:14 PM.

#7 ihf



  • -----
  • Posts: 495
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2019
  • Loc: California, USA

Posted 30 October 2020 - 10:11 AM

Add the Pentax Papilio 6.5x21, VisionKing 5x25, Bushnell 4x30 Spectator Sport, Pentax 4X20 VD WP.

There are skinnier ones like the Vixen Saqras/Meglass 6x16 but they show too little on the night sky.

Most of these already have reviews here. 

#8 Cestus


    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 335
  • Joined: 30 Jul 2019

Posted 30 October 2020 - 10:23 AM

I ordered the new APM 6x30 MS. Still waiting for it to arrive. I donated my 6.5x32 Obie and this will be my replacement for low power.

  • Dobserver likes this

#9 Neil Sanford

Neil Sanford

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 266
  • Joined: 20 Nov 2011

Posted 31 October 2020 - 12:51 PM

These are my comments, perhaps a mini-review, on the Opticron 6.5x32 Adventurer.


You can see comments from an experienced bino guy in post #6 here:  https://www.birdforu...ad.php?t=359527.


Mechanics seem of very high quality.  (Unlike that user's comments, my right eyepiece diopter adjustment has appropriate friction and stays put in and out of a fanny pack.)


Brightness, color, contrast and center-field sharpness I would call outstanding.  I continue to be shocked at how good is the image in the center.  Okay, part of that attribute to the steadiness and optical forgiveness of low magnification.  On the other hand, isn’t that the point, or a major point, of this format.  As a practical matter, for general daytime use with this bino, I think it would be rare to miss any worthwhile detail that higher handheld magnification might deliver. 


I have never been bothered by deteriorated image quality toward the edge of field.  And I have several vintage 7x35 10, 11 and 12 degree, plus the Zen-Ray 7x36 9-degree.  Yet in this Opticron, I do notice the deteriorated view away from the center.  This bino is good enough to be my everyday choice, except I am fortunate to have great others to choose among.  My point is, I think I would adjust to the sweet and not-sweet zones in this bino, but the issue does exist. 


Before my conclusion, one further observation:  This is the “quickest” bino I have ever used.  I am careful about IPD adjustment and eye placement.  Just for comparison:  With my Zen-Ray roof, I find it takes some fussing to place the optical paths before my eyes.  After that, the view is extremely relaxed.  With my Nikon 7x35 E and 8x30 E2, the placement goes quicker and is quite natural.  But in no other bino have I experienced the instant-on feeling of raising this Opticron to my eyes.  The seeing is immediate. 


Bottom line, this is gonna be for my wife.  She likes binos, but has no interest in them, nor patience to get the best view, often forgetting to focus, and often holding to her eyes with one hand.  This very forgiving Opticton should be perfect for her.  The wide apparent field is pleasing, and given her style, the center-field performance should deliver her the maximum she is gonna see in any walkabout bino.


Or possibly I will use it, for the same reasons, for casual sharing.  It's a hundred bucks.  Punches way, way above that.

Edited by Neil Sanford, 31 October 2020 - 12:55 PM.

  • ihf likes this

#10 Bill david

Bill david


  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 45
  • Joined: 01 Dec 2016

Posted 02 November 2020 - 01:44 PM

My standard is the Fujinon 7x50 SMT that I compare everything else for night sky. (Yes, need a tripod)


So impressed, bought the 8x30's and still LOVE them.


But later thougt about a quality in a roof for daylight, travel and portability, so bought the Leica 8x 30 BN and have never looked backwards and this was in the 1990's.


Was working then and could afford my hobby.


Long story (divorce, kids education, blab blab) got back into this interest recently.


Recently bought Kowa 6x30 Porro and Leopold 8x 30's.


At first was more impressed with the Leopold's, but after a month of use, leaning towards the Kowa's.Its a differents of quality , but not ever had a Kowa product.


Someone one on this site was intelligent and directed me to Kowa and I truly thank you people!!


But the Funjion SMT 8x 30's are truly a great binocular for their size.


Love site, too many people here all over the world have a passion for this hobby and I appreciate the all!


My Two cents.


William David

#11 Knucklehead


    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 67
  • Joined: 01 Jul 2010

Posted 02 November 2020 - 07:37 PM

I keep a pair of 6.5x32 Atlas Strike Eagle bins in my car for those gotta take a closer look times. I gave one of my sisters the Eagle Kingbird 6.5x32s, slightly smaller than the Strike Eagle, and very short eye relief. Both are optically quite good considering I bought both pairs for just over $100, well worth the money IMO. Atlas folded up about 2 years ago, so neither model is sold new, but if you see them used in good condition give them a try. I think the Strike Eagle have the better optics, and certainly have better apparent eye relief.

I keep the Strike Eagle in the car, and I gave the Kingbird to my younger sister so she could view the moon and other bright objects, as well as birds that visit her back yard.

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Recent Topics

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics