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Choosing a 10x50

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#26 Area man

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 11:56 AM

OK, so I have had the Meades for a week or so now. I also ordered a pair of Vortex Vulture 8x56 for home use for my girlfriend, an avid birder. So I was able to do a head-to-head comparison. 

 

To recap, I opted for the Meade 10x56 because:

- I wanted 10x because I have long views at my house, and I tought it would also be nice for stargazing. 

- While I kind of wanted a porro, I decided I would like to have the versatility of the roofs, plus I plan to have these for a lifetime and I am certain I will drop them sometime(s)! 

- I wanted that extra-lage objective to widen the field of view.

- There are very few 10x56 roofs out there, and most are even more expensive than the Meades at $485. 

- I did not care that they have field flatteneing, but it didn't bother me that they had it, either (other than I assume it makes them more expensive). 

 

I bought the Vulture 8x56 for my GF because she will mostly use them for birding, and her property has shorter views than mine. I bought her the Vanquish 8x26 last year, and they are a real gem at $100 and change!. But she also wanted a big set of binos that never leave the house. 

 

Here's my impression of the Meades:

- Excellent build quality and packaged with care. Everything feels robust and solid; all the knobs are smooth, but hold their position well, too. I can affirm that the quality control is there. 

- Very clear optics, very bright light. 

- Definitely some rolling ball effect from the field flattener. 

- Great eye relief. 

 

Compared to the Vulture (keep in mind this is comparing  10x to 8x, both at 56mm objective)

- Meades present a brighter image

- Vultures seem to yield richer color and contrast, but this could be a function of them letting in a little less light?

- Clarity is similarly excellent for both. 

- Meades are sharper at the margins of FOV, but you really have to be looking for it. It's not noticable when viewing your subject. 

- No rolling ball from the Vulture

- Better depth of field with the Vulture

- Vultures are a good inch shorter than the Meades, and noticably lighter. 

- Build quality and all adjusters, plus lens caps are suspiciously similar in look and feel between the two. It would not surprise me if both models were built in the same factory.

- Meades are better for the night sky (more light coming in, better magnification, otherwise no difference or noticable distortion in either model). 

 

Overall impression: The Meades are a nice binocular, but I think they would be better, cheaper, and probably smaller if they didn't have a field flattener. I can't see the benefit of this feature in practical use for most humans, and the rolling ball effect is legitimately annoying. It almost gives me a feeling of vertigo! But given the lack of 10x56 roof prism options on the market under $800, they are a fine set of binos. I think Meade could make something as good or better, without flatteners, at more like a $350-$400 price point. 

 

The Vultures are a winner! I wish they made them in 10x. I got them on sale for $250, and in my opinion they are a better pair of binos than the $485 Meades. Vortex really seems to have a good groove in the mid-price market right now. 

 

Unless you are fixated on field-flattening for some reason, I don't think you would find the Meades to be worth the extra money, though again, they do provide excellent optics and they are a lot cheaper than Zeiss or Swarovski.


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#27 Area man

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 12:19 PM

Aaaaaand, I just saw that Amazon is selling the Meade 10x56 for $338. They must have known I just bought them for $485. Classic. 


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#28 pat in los angeles basin

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 12:25 PM

Area man: how were the bino's under a night sky? on jupiter? on bright stars (any spiking?). I appreciate the review. I do wonder  if the annoyance of the  "rolling ball" affect  would bother me. I recall a  meade review (might have been a celestron) where the purchaser had to go through 3 before he received a keeper- QC is still a question (thankful for generous return policies!)

                                                                                                                                                            Regards, Pat



#29 SUN RA KAT

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 01:10 PM

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! 

I have the Celestron Granite 10x50 binoculars. It is my first expensive binoculars and I bought mine from B&H when they first came out. They had an even better sale and I think I paid around $270 or slightly less for them. I normally adjust the neck strap on my cameras to have about an inch sticking out of the adjustment eyelet. I tried putting it around my neck and the strap slipped right out of the eyelet and I was lucky I caught my binoculars before it crashed on the ground. I now have 6 inches of strap hanging out through the eyelet and absolutely no problems have been detected but I still hold the binoculars and pull on them to make sure the strap is secure. The front lens covers take a little care as they need user input to get them to click into place back on. They also can get caught on the carrying pouch and pull out the lens cap from the binoculars. That happened to me and I drove 15 miles to where I do some observing because the sky there is darker than where I live. I couldn't find them and contacted Celeston for a replacement under the warranty and they quickly sent me a replacement. 

 

Now for the good news! The optics are spectacular both in alignment and viewing through them. They are light weight and can easily be hand held and for extended viewing an inexpensive binocular to tripod adaptor works great.  

 

My last nit-pick has been mentioned by other reviewers is the center focus knob and the tripod attachment cover being smooth and slightly hard to find in the dark. But even with all the nit-picks the optical quality of these binoculars at a good sale price makes them very much worth buying them.



#30 ECP M42

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 01:53 PM

I opted for the Meade 10x56 because:

1 - I wanted that extra-lage objective to widen the field of view.

 

Here's my impression of the Meades:

2 - Very clear optics, very bright light. 

Compared to the Vulture...

3 - Meades present a brighter image

4 - Vultures seem to yield richer color and contrast, but this could be a function of them letting in a little less light?

5 - Clarity is similarly excellent for both. 

 

6 - Vultures are a good inch shorter than the Meades, and noticably lighter. 

7 - Build quality and all adjusters, plus lens caps are suspiciously similar in look and feel between the two. It would not surprise me if both models were built in the same factory.

8 - Meades are better for the night sky (more light coming in, better magnification, otherwise no difference or noticable distortion in either model). 

 

9 - the rolling ball effect is legitimately annoying. It almost gives me a feeling of vertigo!

 

10 - The Vultures are a winner! ... I got them on sale for $250 

 

1 - A greater aperture, does not determine the greater width of the visual field.

2-3-4-5 - It is not very clear which of the two is clearer! smirk.gif  

4-8 - Voltures 8x56 should let in more light than Meade 10x56, for the greater pupil (7 vs 5.6mm), and not the other way around (assuming you've tried them during twilight or at night). Also interesting is the fact of the contrast. You should explain it better. 

6 - This leads me to think that the Meades are made consistently with the greater magnification and therefore are rightly longer and heavier. 

7 - Yes, they are very likely to be built in the same factory. But they can also have diversified quality controls. 

8 - While I can agree that they are better for the starry sky, no 10x56 can have more light in than an 8x56, let alone in exit. The opening is the same and the exit pupil is narrower. wink.gif  

9 - This is bad luck. If you suffer from vertigo it is a nuisance. Sure, the higher magnification is responsible for a greater globe effect, but you can only try to pan slower. 

10 - If they are the winners, why are you selling them? Did your GF turn them down because they were too heavy? lol.gif

 

 

Aaaaaand, I just saw that Amazon is selling the Meade 10x56 for $338. They must have known I just bought them for $485. Classic. 

It's a classic. This has happened to me few times, and I felt like I was playing the stock market even though I didn't want to! Annoying. 


Edited by ECP M42, 12 July 2021 - 01:56 PM.


#31 NDfarmer

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 08:23 PM

If you want to step up things a bit, look at preowned and high quality 10x50's. 

The Leica Trinovid 10x50 BA and the Swarovski 10x50 SLC are really good.  

 

Another great choice is the Nikon Wide Field 10x50 Criterion, these are all great choices and not made in China......grin.gif

 

Jerry


Edited by NDfarmer, 12 July 2021 - 08:24 PM.

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#32 Area man

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 11:47 AM

1 - A greater aperture, does not determine the greater width of the visual field.

2-3-4-5 - It is not very clear which of the two is clearer! smirk.gif  

4-8 - Voltures 8x56 should let in more light than Meade 10x56, for the greater pupil (7 vs 5.6mm), and not the other way around (assuming you've tried them during twilight or at night). Also interesting is the fact of the contrast. You should explain it better. 

6 - This leads me to think that the Meades are made consistently with the greater magnification and therefore are rightly longer and heavier. 

7 - Yes, they are very likely to be built in the same factory. But they can also have diversified quality controls. 

8 - While I can agree that they are better for the starry sky, no 10x56 can have more light in than an 8x56, let alone in exit. The opening is the same and the exit pupil is narrower. wink.gif  

9 - This is bad luck. If you suffer from vertigo it is a nuisance. Sure, the higher magnification is responsible for a greater globe effect, but you can only try to pan slower. 

10 - If they are the winners, why are you selling them? Did your GF turn them down because they were too heavy? lol.gif

 

 

It's a classic. This has happened to me few times, and I felt like I was playing the stock market even though I didn't want to! Annoying. 

2-5 - I should say they are both very sharp, but the Meade is brighter and the Vortex presents richer, more saturated color (and it may seem that way simply because they are not as bright). I would say both have excellent clarity, the Meade maybe a touch better, but it doesn't make a material difference to my eyes. 

 

Overall, it seems pretty clear that the Meades present a brighter image, regardless of specs and theory - this is what they present to my eyeballs. I don't know if it's better glass or better coatings or better engineering or all of the above, but it's pretty apparent in most situations. That said, I actually prefer the richer color that I see through the Vortex, and as I said before, the sharpness is great with both. 

 

I am not selling the Vortex, I am giving them to my girlfriend for her birthday. So I will still get to use them! 

 

Also - Weights on my cheapo Salton kitchen scale, with ocular lens caps removed and objective caps on:

Meade - 41.7 oz

Vortex - 40.5 oz

 

This was a surprise, as the Meades are noticably longer and feel heavier to me. Must be a placebo effect. 

 

Overall, I am happy enough with the Meades, but it's tough to see the price drop $150 a week after they arrive. I mean, dang. 



#33 Bkoh

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 12:05 PM

...

Overall, I am happy enough with the Meades, but it's tough to see the price drop $150 a week after they arrive. I mean, dang. 

Assuming your Meades are in like-new condition, you can simply order another set for the lower price and return your current set for a refund.


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#34 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 12:06 PM

Overall, it seems pretty clear that the Meades present a brighter image, regardless of specs and theory - this is what they present to my eyeballs.

 

 

What objects are you using to determine brightness?

 

Stars will be equally bright in both but show more contrast at 10x.

 

Which binoculars show the brighter sky glow? This is a good measure of brightness since it's independent of magnification and only depends on exit pupil. This needs to be done under skies dark enough that your pupils are fully dilated.

 

During the day, your pupil will limit the brightness of both binoculars.

 

Jon


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#35 ECP M42

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 12:18 PM

Ok, thanks, now it's a little clearer. 

 

Overall, it seems pretty clear that the Meades present a brighter image, regardless of specs and theory - this is what they present to my eyeballs.

it is possible that they have a noticeably greater transmittance (transparency), to be noticed even during the day. But this means that the Vortexes are very poor or that you can see even a 3% difference.



#36 Cestus

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 12:18 PM

Where are the Vultures on sale...I ask innocently.



#37 Area man

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 12:35 PM

Where are the Vultures on sale...I ask innocently.

It was Dick's sporting goods, but it was a 'flash sale'. Not sure it's still on. 



#38 Cestus

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Posted 15 July 2021 - 01:33 PM

Thanks, they are back up to 300.




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