This topic makes me thinking about the so often wrong thinking when it comes to magnification.
We know that magnification is a selling argument to ignorant people. The best example of that is probably these superzoom binos like 20-140x70 and similar. Such a configuration is pretty meaningless even with high quality optics, even more with junk optics.
I have been interested in binoculars and telescopes since I was a small kid. The first binocular was a christmas gift and it was a toy model. I still remember how fun it was despite a very bad plastic galilean design with plastic lenses and extremely narrow AFOV. But I could actually see more details than the naked eye.
Next optics was a 15x30 extendable handheld telescope. It was fun but the brightness was only sufficient for daytime use. And even if it was useable for moon and stargazing the shakiness was of course extreme.
To my 12-years birthday I wished a 10x50 binocular, which I also received. Within the same series there were also 7x50 and 8x40, but 10x was of course best. Still not as good as the 15 telescope...
The small dissatisfaction about the lower magnification was soon forgotten when I tried the 10x50. What a wide field! 70deg AFOV. And so bright! I could see details better than the naked eye even in dim conditions.
Before that a classmate to me had got the 8x40 in the same series. I proudly called him and told him I had got the 10x50...
In school there were 7x35 binos available to be used by the pupils at birdwatching sessions. I remember it was fun to get up early in the morning to birdwatch with the classmates and the teacher. Especially when I had got a 10x50, better than 7x35...
Such ignorant reasoning I had as a child.
Several years later when I had got my own income I started to learn more about binoculars, and visited opticians and watchmakers to try binoculars. The 10x50 was pretty big and I wanted a more compact model as a complement to be easier to carry around. At that time I actually had become aware of that the 10x50 was tiring with shaky image, so I aimed against lower magnification.
There were two binoculars that were interesting and that I had a bit hard to choose from: Zeiss Jenoptem 8x30 and Nikon 7x20. The 8x30 is brighter but the 7x20 is more compact...
I chose the 7x20. Which I really loved. It was so sharp, much sharper than my 10x50. And I actually perceived I could see more details than with the 10x50. That because of the better sharpness combined with more stable image. The ER of the 10x50 is < 10mm and I could hardly support the binocular to the face but had to hold it away from the face a bit, when it has no eyecup to support unto. With the 7x20 the eyecups allowed me to support the binocular unto the face.
The time went, and 30 years later I appreciate moderate magnifications with the stable view and wide FOV. It's interesting that I now, with much better ability to handhold binoculars steady than when I was a kid appreciate low magnifications like 6x, and even 5x.
The 10x50 for me as a 12 years ~40kg tiny boy, maybe corresponds to handhold a 15x70 today.
And if I had more knowledge when I was 12 year, I would choose the 7x50 instead. Both because of the more stable view and that I at that age really could make use of the 7mm exit pupil for even better image in real low light conditions.
But: the perfect binocular for me when I was 12 truly had been Vortex Viper HD 6X32!
Edited by Swedpat, 26 September 2021 - 05:08 PM.