I can see how a newbie could, after three days of discussion (long live the split infinitive), come away believing that this list was full of hostile people. I hope you don’t feel that way. Much effort in good faith has been expended on your behalf.
I spent my entire commute thinking about what to say to you next. However, as I look back on all that has been said—and largely ignored—to this point, I feel I might be wasting a good bit of time. Soooo, since you have not picked up on some of the subtleties I have offered—so as to keep me from being yelled at—I will approach it one more time, in a limited way.
1) There seems to be a presupposition among newbies here that everyone on these lists is a newbie searching for answers. The fact is that some of the participants here haven’t been newbies in decades and already HAVE the answers.
2) Newbies have a tendency to ask the same question over and over until they get the answer they wanted to hear in the first place, regardless of the validity or source.
3) Facts trump opinions.
4) Lest you bring up Nikon and Olympus again, neither Nikon nor Olympus manufacture all of their own binoculars, NOR do I know any Asian giants that do. In fact, some of the best “European” binoculars are actually manufactured in Asia. If this goes against the philosophies you hold dear, I am sorry. (see point #3) And, just so you know, my #1 bino for birding is a Nikon (8x32 Superior E), my #1 bino for astronomy is a Nikon (7x50 Prostar), and my #1 bino for marine use is a Nikon (basically an armored Prostar).
5) This is not to say these folks are cheating anyone; that’s just the way the game is played and has been for decades.
6) There are no US hand-held binoculars and some models come into the country under a dozen or more names, differing only in name, cosmetics and price tag. Today, Astro-Physic, Oberwerk and Garrett Optical all sell some products originating with Kunming Optical in China. In about a month, I will have my first shipment. Does my company make binoculars? No! Does AP, or Oberwerk, or Garrett make binoculars? No! And is that bad? No. If I listed the names of the BIG optical companies that DON’T make binoculars, you would be blown away.
7) Dust at five miles? I hope that was an exaggeration. However, even the suggestion—along with the POSSIBILITY of being interested in a hand-held 180x70 binocular—tells me that before you purchase anything, you should spend a bit more time reading classical optical literature than sales brochures from people trying to make a dime in the cut-throat world of consumer optics.
Chief Opticalman, USNR-Ret.
Manager, Precision Instruments & Optics, Captain’s Nautical Supplies
Former freelance lens designer
Former Optical Mechanic, WG-11, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
Contributor to Zemax lens design software
Tech writer for US Navy optical calibration manuals
Repair, restoration, calibration and collimation technician
Former editor of Amateur Telescope Making Journal
Editor, The Best of Amateur Telescope Making Journal Vols. I & II, Willmann-Bell, 2003
Author of dozens of articles on consumer optics AND
A par . . . tri . . . Ege in a peaaaaar treeeeee.