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Rationalization of the format

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#1 ECP M42

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 09:27 PM

In my opinion, the first factor in importance is the site from which we raise our eyes to the sky and then the instrument. The second is the capacity of our eyes. And finally, there is the type of instrument that best suits us and the object to be observed. 

 

I am certainly not able to say which is the best tool ever, because it is not possible. 
But among all the possible options, I'm mostly aimed at 18x-20x with respective apertures of at least 46-48mm, to keep the tonnage low for easy hand use. 

 

The 20x60÷70 is already an excellent format, undoubtedly, but if I have to use the binoculars only on a stand, because it is too heavy, in that case I would prefer to have a multi-format instrument, with apertures of at least 120mm and with interchangeable eyepieces, angled at 45°. 

 

Therefore, I would prefer a 18x56 weighing 1Kg/35oz.

 

 

What's your take on the format?


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#2 MT4

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 09:44 PM

Based on my recent experience with a used Canon 15x50, I'd say an 18x56 IS would be about perfect as a handheld binocular for my local viewing conditions.  (If Canon wouldn't come out with an 18x56 IS, I would probably bite the bullet and get a used 18x50 IS down the line after having enough fun with my 15x50 IS.)

 

Sure, my Kowa Highlander Prominar with its 45-deg 21x/32x/50x eyepieces and 82mm of aperture and top-of-class optics, can show a lot more detail but sometimes all I really want is a good hand-held binocular unencumbered by a tripod and mount.


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#3 MT4

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 09:57 PM

I should have added a TFOV qualifier:   18x56 IS with 4-deg TFOV would be perfect for me.   I've been spoiled by the huge AFOV of my Nikon 18x70, which when combined with the large 18x image scale gives stunningly beautiful views.

 

The Canon 18x50 IS has a TFOV of 3.72 degrees, a bit shy of the Nikon 18x70's 4 degrees.  Still very respectable of course.


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#4 markb

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 12:05 AM

I've gotten many of the classics (darn CN!) , and really like the 8x56 Hensoldt AK Nacht Dialyts  (a Zeiss company and same core design), and 15x60 Leitz Campoforts. Both balance and handhold adequately (actually, really well for big straight throughs) but perform at their best mounted. 45 degree binos are easiest to use, mounted, though. Both are awesome for classics and solid users today. I have not had as pleasant a time handholding newer heavier binos of the same aperture.

 

I can handhold them, almost as easily as as 8 or 10(?)x50 Vertex Vipers (the modern build and coatings make even 42s work nicely), but prefer alt az mounted 45 degree 80s or 100s far more. Top 42mm new roofs, near alpha level but affordable, are remarkably usable at night considering the aperture.

 

If I handhold, I am best served by the Canon IS 18x50s but only because of the stabilization, not the throughput. I still prefer the 45 degree mounted biggies, will sell the 18x50s, and keep the 15x45 Canon IS I found when I realized the big IS ones wouldn't suit me long term. The 15x45s are really good all around users in daytime.

 

Neither canon matches the throughput on the Hensoldt I think... I do wish the 45s had a switch that would toggle on.

 

But I think personal preferences are even worse with astro binos than scopes, so best of luck finding your happy spot.

 

Mine is mounted 45 degree monsters. Nacht Dialyts, Campoforts or IS 45s for quick peeks, but the Vertex 50s or Chinese near alpha 42s (I researched and decided on the Endeavor HD and Promaster Infinity Elite) see use too.

 

Apologies on the ramble but balancing those pluses and minuses is brain rattling.


Edited by markb, 03 August 2021 - 12:08 AM.

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#5 ECP M42

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 05:22 AM

Don't worry, this is the place to ramble!

 

The 15x45 I find a nice "medium" format that goes well with super bright 8x56. 

 

Personally I have no need for an 8x56, although it is always fun to see the lightening effect after sunset, using super bright binoculars. 

E siccome il mio binocolo di base è il tascabile 10x25, da portare ovunque, per avere qualcosa in più nei cieli notturni, sono caduto intorno a 18x-20x... 

 

I'd like to try all the new AK 18x56 models and especially the Maven B.5 and the Vortex UHD ... but I'm not sure if their price is adequate.



#6 Pinewood

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 05:50 AM

 

E siccome il mio binocolo di base è il tascabile 10x25, da portare ovunque, per avere qualcosa in più nei cieli notturni, sono caduto intorno a 18x-20x... 

 

 

And since my base binocular is the the pocketable 10x25, to have some higher power for night skies, I enjoy 18x-20x.

 

Stay safe,

Arthur


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#7 ECP M42

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 06:40 AM

And since my base binocular is the the pocketable 10x25, to have some higher power for night skies, I enjoy 18x-20x.

Arthur, did you find the same way as binoculars like me, or are you just correcting my bad spelling? grin.gif  

 

In any case, thanks for the intervention!



#8 markb

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 09:46 AM

If you like the 10x25, Bushnell 'made' one of the aluminum prism case reverse style 6x25 micros, the "Broadfield" at 11 degrees (makes up for the too low power), even better, it is clearly stamped as an Ashai Pentax product. Mine doesn't fit my big hands but the size is hard to beat. They show up often enough to find and are easily cleaned.

 

I started picking up Hensoldt post war Dialyts when I realized they were essentially zeiss units.

 

16x56 AK Hensoldts were made through the 1950s into the 60s!

 

Essentially the later Zeiss binos but with single coatings. Arguably, the AK design and light paths do not require phase coatings, and, personally, I find this to be true, no resolution degradation is noticeable to me. Later modern coated Zeiss are better contrast etc, but the late 50s and 60s (I cannot find my production date tables, see Post 69 in the link below giving 1963) are still stunning. Pricing runs around 400 USD or euros last I saw, I assume 1/5 or less of a new or used late Zeiss. 

 

Eyepieces are simpler but excellent, fov varies between models. I have different models at 50 and ones at 60 degrees. Abberations are excellent I think, field curvature sensitivity seems to depend on your age. If you use reading glasses you will notice it. Fewer elements helps the throughput though.

 

There is a discussion of the lack of need for phase coatings in AKs at https://www.birdforu...d.139957/page-4 and the Holger Merlitz link in the post.

 

On any 50s 60s Leitz or Zeiss, later seems better. I have identical 7x50 Marseptits made early and late 50s, with similar coatings but the later ones are far 'whiter'. Both are amazing though. Of couse avoid anything uncoated, although the AK designs were apparently part of an effort to reduce transmission losses.

 

Only buy totally clear ones, they are essentially impossible to disassemble without special methods (I've done 1 1/12, one prism still won't free up but I'll free it when I have time), since the slide in prism bodies and securing screws corrode together. Light haze on the front and rear prism faces can easily be cleaned (pure cotton or microfiber looped towelettes only, do NOT try optical wipes unless you are certain the coatings are hard and late enough to avoid sleeking). Haze free Hensoldts are astonishingly better than ones with seemingly light internal haze.


Edited by markb, 03 August 2021 - 09:48 AM.

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#9 markb

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 09:51 AM

Forget about getting a 50s or 60s Zeiss or Hensoldt with perfect leatherette, Leitz too if I remember correctly, they all seem to flake and chip off. But the optical are unaffected of course. I have one that's unaffected and still don't know why.



#10 MT4

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 10:00 AM

I'd like to try all the new AK 18x56 models and especially the Maven B.5 and the Vortex UHD ... but I'm not sure if their price is adequate.

 

I used to wonder if I should have gotten the Maven 18x56 instead of 15x56.  If I were to buy a Maven 56mm today, knowing what I now know about my local viewing conditions, I would definitely go for the 18x56.  

 

The Vortex UHD is more expensive than the Maven.   Both are made in Japan, likely in the same Kamakura factory from what I've read.  I wouldn't be surprised if they turn out to be more or less the same binocular aside from cosmetic differences.


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#11 Northern

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 12:45 PM

6x42!

 

Super Wide field, easy to look through, no need for tripod.

 

 

Just look up and take in the views.


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#12 ECP M42

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 06:47 PM

If you like the 10x25, Bushnell 'made'... 6x25 ... "Broadfield" at 11 degrees

 

16x56 AK Hensoldts were made through the 1950s into the 60s!

 

 

I have identical 7x50 Marseptits made early and late 50s, with similar coatings but the later ones are far 'whiter'. Both are amazing though.

6x25 is another interesting format, because it is portable and wide-angle.

In my mind I define a scale of values that include 3.3x 6x 10x 18x-20x 25x 34x, and which represent nodal points of high interest on the increase in detail with each jump. 

 

However, the Tele-Dialyt 16x56 weighs only 670g (24oz) ... and that would be very interesting, even if only 16x. I don't understand why they stopped producing certain technical "works of art".

Today, good quality 15x ÷ 20x binoculars weigh at least 1150g (40oz).

 

The 7x50 is a classic and that Leitz is of high quality, as I've read around. I have two Leitzes from those years, a Binux 8x30 (IF) with the outer skin still perfectly intact and a Camparit 10x40 (CF) to which I had to replace it (now it's like new). However, both are slightly less "white" than other binoculars I have used: I see a very slight greenish dominance or I could say that they lack some red saturation. I wouldn't say they're as neutral as the modern Trinovid 10x25 BCA (which I've had), but they're the best binoculars I've tried for optical resolution.

 

 

I wouldn't be surprised if they turn out to be more or less the same binocular aside from cosmetic differences.

If there were only aesthetic differences, the Vortex would be a steal. So I guess there are also differences in quality, both optical and mechanical, to justify the difference in price. But I would have to try them both in a direct comparison, to be sure. 

 

 

6x42!

 

Super Wide field, easy to look through, no need for tripod.

 

 

Just look up and take in the views.

... I'm with you, but if it doesn't weigh 1700g (60oz) like the SARD!  cool.gif  

I would be very happy with a 6x28 of 700g maximum (25oz) and with at least 13° of range. waytogo.gif


Edited by ECP M42, 03 August 2021 - 06:48 PM.

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#13 MT4

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 06:54 PM

 

If there were only aesthetic differences, the Vortex would be a steal. So I guess there are also differences in quality, both optical and mechanical, to justify the difference in price. But I would have to try them both in a direct comparison, to be sure. 

 

 

Why would the Vortex UHD be a steal if it's a few hundred dollars more expensive than the Maven?   

 

Maven's business model is built-to-deliver, cutting out the middle man and that's why they're able to deliver high-quality products at reasonable prices.  They're near-alphas at half the prices of the alphas.



#14 Pinewood

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 07:01 PM

 

The 7x50 is a classic and that Leitz is of high quality, as I've read around. 

Hello,

 

My first binocular view of the Galilean moons of Jupiter was with a Leitz Marseptit.  That view was my starting point for an interest in binocular astronomy.  It was also able to resolve Titan, under favorable conditions, when I lived in Brooklyn.

 

Some years, ago, I compared the Marseptit with a 7x50 Porro from that Austrian company.  The older Leitz was better in field of view and in center resolution, as I recall.

 

Stay safe,

Arthur


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#15 ECP M42

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 07:29 PM

Why would the Vortex UHD be a steal if it's a few hundred dollars more expensive than the Maven? 

In my house the Maven costs 1500 and the Vortex 2000 ... perhaps we should evaluate the prices in the same currency as the place where they are produced / sold (?). The shape is different enough to lead me to believe it is two different designs. The optical performance I have read tells me that they are both excellent but not up to the Swarovski SLC 15x56 type tops, which however has a high cost too (at my house I pay 2200, not much more than the Vortex).

 

I don't know what to say, it's hard to value items when prices change so much from one place to another. Perhaps this is the main cause of so many misunderstandings and perhaps it is intended precisely to create confusion and "catch more fish with the same net" ... go and find out how things really are! wink.gif


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#16 ECP M42

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Posted 29 August 2021 - 06:46 PM

6x42!

 

Super Wide field, easy to look through, no need for tripod.

 

 

Just look up and take in the views.

The only 6x42 with a wide view that comes to mind is the SARD mk43 ... but that weighs almost 2Kg - 60oz.
Do you have another model in mind that you know?



#17 gwlee

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Posted 03 September 2021 - 02:27 PM

In my opinion, the first factor in importance is the site from which we raise our eyes to the sky and then the instrument. The second is the capacity of our eyes. And finally, there is the type of instrument that best suits us and the object to be observed. 

 

I am certainly not able to say which is the best tool ever, because it is not possible. 
But among all the possible options, I'm mostly aimed at 18x-20x with respective apertures of at least 46-48mm, to keep the tonnage low for easy hand use. 

 

The 20x60÷70 is already an excellent format, undoubtedly, but if I have to use the binoculars only on a stand, because it is too heavy, in that case I would prefer to have a multi-format instrument, with apertures of at least 120mm and with interchangeable eyepieces, angled at 45°. 

 

Therefore, I would prefer a 18x56 weighing 1Kg/35oz.

 

 

What's your take on the format?

A shaky view, small exit pupil, and narrow FOV would make it a largely useless binocular for me at my observing site. However, I often enjoy using a tripod mounted  92mm refractor at 18x here for viewing “binoculars objects.” 



#18 ECP M42

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Posted 04 September 2021 - 04:51 AM

... it's all very subjective, so I thought of a middle ground: 

 

Considering 3.6mm the average pupil, 3.1mm doesn't seem to be that "small".

Small would be < 2.5mm and large would be > 5mm.

 

The FOV depends a lot on the size of the observed objects and above all on the observation distance. The same Airone at 500 or 5m / ft / yd ...

And since the magnification will affect the FOV, for better or for worse, it is not easy to decide the ideal average viewing distance for everything (stars and butterflies).

 

Imagining a large jump of magnifications useful in binocular observation (from 1x to 400x), the middle ground is about 20x. But how much would a 20x72 weigh?

Thus, the weight and the exit pupil led me to the reasonable 18x56 format. 

 

Obviously, the wobble is always proportionate to the observable details, but it all depends on the user's hand and eye. And on this subjectivity, I don't see a reasonable univocal solution.



#19 edwincjones

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Posted 04 September 2021 - 08:21 AM

Favorite format-just depends on when you ask

 

In the beginning, a fujinon 10x70 and I saw most of the Ms-probably could have seen all with darker skies;

then miyauchi 20 & 26x100 to finish up the Ms and start on the Herschel 400s

then fuji 25x150s to finish the Herschels and view comets

now handheld zeiss dialyt 8x56s

 

tomorrow  question.gif  -- maybe naked eye

 

edj


Edited by edwincjones, 04 September 2021 - 08:22 AM.

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#20 gwlee

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Posted 04 September 2021 - 01:41 PM

... it's all very subjective, so I thought of a middle ground: 

 

Considering 3.6mm the average pupil, 3.1mm doesn't seem to be that "small".

Small would be < 2.5mm and large would be > 5mm.

 

The FOV depends a lot on the size of the observed objects and above all on the observation distance. The same Airone at 500 or 5m / ft / yd ...

And since the magnification will affect the FOV, for better or for worse, it is not easy to decide the ideal average viewing distance for everything (stars and butterflies).

 

Imagining a large jump of magnifications useful in binocular observation (from 1x to 400x), the middle ground is about 20x. But how much would a 20x72 weigh?

Thus, the weight and the exit pupil led me to the reasonable 18x56 format. 

 

Obviously, the wobble is always proportionate to the observable details, but it all depends on the user's hand and eye. And on this subjectivity, I don't see a reasonable univocal solution.

To answer your question about my take on the 18x56 format, at this point, I would be leery of any handheld binocular for my use with less than a 5mm exit pupil, greater than 10x magnification, or less than 6.5* FOV, or less than 20mm of eye relief because 50 years of observing a variety of objects with a variety of instruments has helped me to identify characteristics of instruments that work well for me and those that don’t. 

 

Thought experiments, imagining, reasoning, theorizing, and hypothesizing, not so much. However, these can be useful approaches for identifying instruments that might be worth a hands-on evaluation, but they have also lead me down the garden path a few times. 
 

If you think an 18x56 binocular might work for you, here’s something close to it that you can evaluate to find out:

https://www.bhphotov..._binocular.html
 


Edited by gwlee, 05 September 2021 - 01:10 AM.

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#21 Foss

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Posted 04 September 2021 - 01:51 PM

@ ECP M42

I like your approach to binocular selection.

You probably already heard this, but for those who haven't:

Legend has it that about a hundred years ago Zeiss used some formula that started with the average person's pupil diameter, plugged in 7x b/c they thought it most useful for handhelds, and came up with 50mm objectives.

Thus the ubiquitous 7x50 Porro format was born.

 

~ Foss



#22 ECP M42

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Posted 05 September 2021 - 05:14 PM

edj,
the naked eye is the standard device, the binoculars are the aid.
I'd love to try a 3.2x60 with 28° FOV, but I'm afraid no one ever will.
So, I would also be happy with a 6x30 with 15°. 

 

gwlee,
thanks for the great advice, but I have already solved it by assembling a light and easy to maneuver 18x50 binoculars, so now I am quite happy.
After Swarovski's excellent choice of designing and making the NL Pure, I believe that sooner or later he will also produce an 18x56 SLC. 

 

Foss, 

thanks, this approach comes naturally, but it can also be applied to the ends of the pupil. Thus we find the small paperback and the large luminous one, like the "evergreen" 7x50. 




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