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Choosing a 10x50

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#1 Area man

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 09:07 AM

Hi,

 

First time poster here. 

 

I am narrowing down on a set of 10x50s, and was hoping for some impressions on nighttime performance from folks who have used the models I'm looking at:

 

NIkon Action Extreme

Athlon Midas G2

Bushnell Engage EDX

Meade Masterclass (10x56)

 

I will primarily be using them for terrestrial critter viewing across open pastures (center focus is madatory), but I also have big, dark skies overhead here, so I will definitely do some stargazing. I already have a nice pair of 8x42 roofs for proper briding. 

 

I don't care if it's a porro or a roof design, I'm just interested in the views. I am willing to pay extra for a roof, for all the reasons people like roofs, but I would gladly buy a porro if the imaging was truly superior. These bins will not leave the house very often, so size is not a major consideration. I am farily certain all of the above models would provide excellent daytime performance to my eyes. I am just wondering how they compare for celestial viewing. I have also considered Fujinon and APM, but the individal focus is not for me. I'm looking to keep it under $600 unless there is something absolutely magical for a little more.  

 

This is NOT intended to be a debate on porro vs. roof prism theory. I am just hoping someone could tell me, from actual experience, if any of the roofs I am considering would do as well as the Nikons at night. In my experience, all the theory is out the window once you put the lenses to your eyes. The Nikons are widely reported on and highly regarded; it's really a question of whether or not the others match up to them in the dark. 

 

Unfortunatley, due to my location in rural Maine, there isn't a store nearby where I can compare these models in person, and if there was, it would be closed after dark!

 

Any other recommendations for a sub-$600 bin, roof or porro, with center focus that can match the Nikon AE 10x50 is also welcome. 

 

Thanks for your help!

 

 



#2 KaterinBortle9

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 09:24 AM

Hi Area man, welcome to CN. B&H photo still have the Celestron Granite 10x50 in stock @USD$350. You might want to check it out while waiting for more contributions by experienced CNers! 


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#3 Cestus

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 09:44 AM

You might look at the Oberwerk 10x50's.



#4 f18dad

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 01:21 PM

I have OB 10x50 ultras (similar to Fujinon), Nikon 12x50 AE's, and 8x40 AE's. Since you require CF I suggest you go for the 10x50 AE's. Very reliable and reasonable weight binocular with a great warranty. You don't always need to spend more than necessary to get a very good product, especially for daytime use. This is one such case.


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#5 ECP M42

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 02:29 PM

If you already have a mid-range rooftop 8x42 and like the way it works, to look for a 10x50 with center focus that gives you a substantial leap forward, I'm afraid it's a tough road. Because you can have a qualitative leap with Porro binoculars, but you won't find many models with smooth and easy mechanics like your roof. Indeed, you will not find any! (but if anyone could refute this, I would be very grateful).

 

If I were in your situation (and if I understood correctly), I would use the 8x42 for everything I need a quick and easy central focus and then I would buy good Porro binoculars without compromise, to dedicate to the stars (or to long observations. radius).

 

The model I would aspire to is the APM MS 12x50 ED.


Edited by ECP M42, 24 June 2021 - 02:32 PM.


#6 Cali

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 03:27 PM

Yeah, the Nikon AE 10x50 .

 

- Cal


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#7 Area man

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 04:13 PM

If you already have a mid-range rooftop 8x42 and like the way it works, to look for a 10x50 with center focus that gives you a substantial leap forward, I'm afraid it's a tough road. Because you can have a qualitative leap with Porro binoculars, but you won't find many models with smooth and easy mechanics like your roof. Indeed, you will not find any! (but if anyone could refute this, I would be very grateful).

 

If I were in your situation (and if I understood correctly), I would use the 8x42 for everything I need a quick and easy central focus and then I would buy good Porro binoculars without compromise, to dedicate to the stars (or to long observations. radius).

 

The model I would aspire to is the APM MS 12x50 ED.

Thanks, ECP, that is a very interesting take. I see your point that I would likely not need to use the 10x for anything close. To be honest, part of the reason I desire a little more versatility is that I would like the 8x42s to live in the car and the 10x50s to live in the house, so I will probably be grabbing them for a little of everything. Maybe I should rethink that. Get off my bum and walk out to the car, or just keep them both in the house. 

 

I assume you think the Nikons are not a substantial leap forward? They are really the top of the heap for center focus porros as far as Google and I can tell. 



#8 dries1

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 04:27 PM

The Bushnell Engage is a good one, it does very well on the night sky with a 6.5 degree FOV. I would check the ER on them and if suitable, a nice portable 10X50 roof for both terrestrial and the night sky. As with many of these low to mid priced models from various brands, make sure you get a good sample. As an all around 10X50 I prefer center focus, unless I only used it on the night sky, then IF is OK.



#9 f18dad

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 04:38 PM

If you are seeking a "leap forward" you might want to consider the Vortex Vulture HD 8x56 roof prisms from Dick's and others for $299.99

 

Echolight in particular has some very well thought out and expressed experience and opinion on these. He has made some very persuasive arguments that the Vulture 8x56's are more versatile and provide better viewing experience, especially as handhelds, for more pleasing viewing both daytime and nighttime, than comparable mag/ap options. If I understood his commentary and reviews correctly, he argues that these 8x56's are superior both day and night to 7x50's, 10x50's and 12x50's. The Vulture seems to hit a very good sweet spot as well as providing value for money. You can find his detailed discussions here:

 

https://www.cloudyni...inocular/page-5


Edited by f18dad, 24 June 2021 - 05:33 PM.


#10 f18dad

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 04:42 PM

I should have said here:

 

 

https://www.cloudyni...inocular/page-5



#11 Fiske

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 05:37 PM

Based on a budget of up to $600, the requirement for both daytime and astronomy use, and a goal of better optical performance, it seems like a roof prism binocular would be the likely candidate. A Vortex Viper 10x50 might be one possibility. It's very different from choosing an instrument for astronomy use only, where the prime optical performance choices in the price range might be APM 10x50 or 12x50 ED MS binoculars. Those are both IF instruments, probably superior to the Vortex optically but not suitable for daytime critter surveillance. Not unless the critters are a darn long way off. wink.gif

 

Fiske


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#12 GabrielKnight

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 05:38 PM

G'Day Area Man,

Perhaps not quite the answer you're looking for, but if in your position I'd relegate the 8x42 to daytime critter viewing and look for a decent 15x70 or 16x70 porro for astronomical observation. The view afforded of the heavens will be leaps and bounds ahead of what you're currently using for birding. Though the field of view does narrow down, as is to be expected, you'll be able to look deeper into the night sky and better discern doubles, star clusters, dark nebula and other celestial phenomena not readily visible at lower magnification. The downside is that these will be individual focus but focusing to infinity when stargazing is very much a 'set & forget' affair for most.

If it's a 10x50 you're after, the Nikon AE 10x50 is a very strong, capable and economical contender. A veritable crowd favourite. With a budget of USD600, one of these would leave you with enough spare change left over for something like an Oberwerk 15x70 Deluxe.

If end of financial year sales are in full swing in the US, you ought to have a fair few options on hand in making a final decision.

Good luck!!

G.K.

Edited by GabrielKnight, 24 June 2021 - 06:10 PM.

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#13 Echolight

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 07:58 PM

If you are seeking a "leap forward" you might want to consider the Vortex Vulture HD 8x56 roof prisms from Dick's and others for $299.99

 

Echolight in particular has some very well thought out and expressed experience and opinion on these. He has made some very persuasive arguments that the Vulture 8x56's are more versatile and provide better viewing experience, especially as handhelds, for more pleasing viewing both daytime and nighttime, than comparable mag/ap options. If I understood his commentary and reviews correctly, he argues that these 8x56's are superior both day and night to 7x50's, 10x50's and 12x50's. The Vulture seems to hit a very good sweet spot as well as providing value for money. You can find his detailed discussions here:

 

https://www.cloudyni...inocular/page-5

I do like the 8x56 a lot. And they definitely blow away the 7x50's. And to my eye, an edge on the 10x50. I mainly just like the bright image and the fact that as a hand held, the whole picture is always in focus without the jittery view that I sometimes get with a 10x on stars. And the daytime depth of field smokes the 10x50 without giving up any detail that I can notice on long range daytime.

Obviously this 8x56 model doesn't compete with those costing many times more. The $800 to $2500 models will have a wider field and probably a little sharper stars. But for $300 I'm really happy with them. They do what I want.

 

But I have not tried a 12x50. Although no doubt the 12x would bring the stars in closer, I'd really have to concentrate to hold them steady by hand. And that, concentrating, might make my head hurt. This is a casual hobby for me. And I like it to be easy and relaxing.

 

One point where I think I'd favor a 10x50 or 12x50 roof prism, is the smaller size and lower weight for carry binoculars. (Probably the 10x50, as I think with an elevated heartrate the 12x would be especially hard to hold.)

The 8x56 is kinda heavy at 39 ounces. If I had a 28 ounce 10x50 roof, it would probably take the place of my 8x42 and 10x42 roofs in the lightweight carry binoculars. And plenty small to tuck away in the car. They'd actually compliment the 8x56 nicely. But not replace them. For me, they can't compete with the bright easy to hold steady views I get with the 8x56.

I do think the 12x would be nice for lunar detail though.

 

I'd probably pick a Leupold BX-4 Pro Guide HD 10x50 ($599), if I were to choose something to compliment the Vulture HD 8x56. I've used lots of made in USA Leupold scopes and one made in Japan Leupold binoculars. And I just love their 100 plus year old history as a U.S. company that wrote the book on warrantees and customer service. Plus they have a huge history of clear, sharp, lightweight and rugged optics. And the BX-4 Pro Guide HD is often reviewed as having glass comparable with that in binoculars costing nearly twice as much.
Only 5.7 degrees true field of view. But it'll be sharp with a well defined field stop.


Edited by Echolight, 24 June 2021 - 08:13 PM.

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#14 sevenofnine

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Posted 24 June 2021 - 10:38 PM

Another vote for the Nikon AE 10x50. Cliched but these porro's really do punch way above their price point. They are comfortably ergonomic, waterproof, armored, powerful, bright and built to take abuse. The optics are consistently rated very good. Of course better and best are available but at a much higher price point. What you are paying for is mostly outer edge sharpness. I think you will enjoy the AE 10x50 for both night and day use. I certainly do...watching.gif


Edited by sevenofnine, 24 June 2021 - 10:39 PM.

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#15 ECP M42

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 03:14 AM

I assume you think the Nikons are not a substantial leap forward? They are really the top of the heap for center focus porros as far as Google and I can tell. 

I'm not familiar with the Nikon AE 10x50, but I can imagine that it could be a step up from your rooftop 8x42, in both brightness and optical resolution, and that perhaps it would be better than the other candidates you listed too. But you should try them all in a comparison.

From their photos I guess they are too short to be 50-56mm and this generally leads to an optical rendering a little too close to good and foolish. $ 600 is a lot of money, but if it has to be a roof, I would also look at the Bushnell or most likely a good used binocular, add some sesterzo (ex: Trinovid 10x50 BA).

 

It all depends on your actual needs.

At first you say you'll be using them primarily for viewing land creatures across open pastures ... so at distances beyond 200 meters? or how close?

 

Nikon is fine for that too, but if you look far, 12x50 or 15x might work too ... as long as you can hold them comfortably.



#16 Area man

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 09:49 AM

Thanks for all the great advice. This is a very helpful forum indeed!

 

I decided to go rogue and try out the Meade 10x56. It's risky, but the impressive specs make them very intriguing as an all-around set of house cannons. I thought a lot about the APM, but I just don't think I am looking for a dedicated astronomy bin right now. Most of my use will be on wildlife at distances varying from 100-500 yards, but I will also want to grab looks at birds in nearby trees. Plus I found the Meade on sale, and I just sold a house and am feeling a little rich. I am betting $485 that Meade built a high-end product and are selling it cheaper than others in its class (good 10*56 roofs with field-flattening optics are rare, and they tend to run 800+) in order to buy back some reputation. They were recently acquired by Orion, so the warranty should hold. I am hoping the extra-large objective will compensate for whatever inherent light-gathering disadvantages the roofs have, and it will definitely open up a huge FOV. All that, and I am a sucker for trying something that's a little unkown. 

 

I will let you know how they work out - there is not yet a lot of feedback online for this model. Thanks again for all your input!


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#17 Fiske

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 10:11 AM

Congrats on your decision, AM. Looking forward to your report on the Meade binocular.

 

waytogo.gif


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#18 Echolight

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 11:49 AM

They sound great. I didn't even know about these, or I might have tried them myself. Of course I didn't just sell a house and got the Vulture 8x56 for $249. So that seemed to make cents, or dollars, for me.

Looking forward to hearing what you think when you get them.


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#19 ECP M42

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 12:00 PM

You were right to try! I wouldn't have had all that courage.  waytogo.gif

 

Of the ones you have listed, this is the only one with center diopter and this is a feature that I rate positive for roof binoculars.

 

... and then its sea color !!!  grin.gif

 

 


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#20 Fiske

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 12:33 PM

You were right to try! I wouldn't have had all that courage.  waytogo.gif

 

Of the ones you have listed, this is the only one with center diopter and this is a feature that I rate positive for roof binoculars.

 

... and then its sea color !!!  grin.gif

And he even likes the color...

 

grin.gif grin.gif grin.gif



#21 Fiske

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 12:36 PM

They sound great. I didn't even know about these, or I might have tried them myself. Of course I didn't just sell a house and got the Vulture 8x56 for $249. So that seemed to make cents, or dollars, for me.

Looking forward to hearing what you think when you get them.

Or get an OB 25x100 Deluxe and then order a 100XL-SD to properly evaluate it...

 

hmm.gif

 

Guess I'll hold off on the Meade 10x56 too. wink.gif

 

It does sound great though.

 

Fiske


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#22 ECP M42

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 12:43 PM

And he even likes the color...

 

grin.gif grin.gif grin.gif

I bet $ 485, that her color you like too ...

 

 grin.gif grin.gif grin.gif



#23 f18dad

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 02:11 PM

Vulture 8x56 - 39 oz

Nikon 10x50 AE - 36 oz

Meade 10x56 - 39.9 oz

OB 10x50 ultras - 56 oz

 

The Meades seem like a potential winner to me. Reasonably light for their size and larger aperture for astro. Nice 6.5 FOV and 22mm ER. Also Limited Lifetime Warranty.

 

The architectural stats are nice. I wonder how this model would compare to a set of Fujinon 10x50's?

 

Appear to be definitely a "leap forward" from the Vulture albeit at twice the price.

 

Really looking forward to Area man's report...


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#24 f18dad

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 02:49 PM

FYR, the Limited Lifetime Warranty is good but not the same or as strong as those offered by Leupold, Vortex, Eagle Optics and others.

 

For example Leopold: "Built for a lifetime of performance - if at any time your Leupold riflescope, mounts, red dot, binocular, or spotting scope doesn’t perform, we will repair or replace it for free - whether you're the original owner or not. You don’t need proof of ownership or a warranty card, and there’s no time limit. We do this because we believe in superior quality and craftsmanship, and we’re confident your Leupold won’t let you down."

 

Also, the price for the Meade's on Amazon 9 months ago was $332. They are very similar to the Kowa 10x56 BD56-10 XD Prominar Binoculars offered by B&H for $499.

 

Intriguing nonetheless and the report will be interesting.



#25 Echolight

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Posted 25 June 2021 - 04:41 PM

FYR, the Limited Lifetime Warranty is good but not the same or as strong as those offered by Leupold, Vortex, Eagle Optics and others.

 

For example Leopold: "Built for a lifetime of performance - if at any time your Leupold riflescope, mounts, red dot, binocular, or spotting scope doesn’t perform, we will repair or replace it for free - whether you're the original owner or not. You don’t need proof of ownership or a warranty card, and there’s no time limit. We do this because we believe in superior quality and craftsmanship, and we’re confident your Leupold won’t let you down."

 

Also, the price for the Meade's on Amazon 9 months ago was $332. They are very similar to the Kowa 10x56 BD56-10 XD Prominar Binoculars offered by B&H for $499.

 

Intriguing nonetheless and the report will be interesting.

Looks like the same focuser and eye cups as the Vulture. But appears to be spec'd with wider field of view, and the field flattener.




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