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Review of the KITE OPTICS APC 18x50 ED stabilized binoculars

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#1 Binomania.it

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Posted 23 April 2024 - 01:05 PM

This evening I present to you something new that many fans have been waiting for. These are stabilized binoculars (2°), made in Japan. It is equipped with ED optics, is well waterproofed, provides a fully usable wide-angle field of view (in daytime use) up to the edge and a battery life of more than 30 hours. Prices starting from 1700 euros with 30 years warranty on optics and mechanics and 5 on electronic components. Happy viewing and happy reading.
Full article: https://www.binomani...optics-18x50ed/
Video on Youtube: https://youtu.be/elVqKvgEDOM
In the next days i will create english subtitles for the video, on binomania.it there is a plugin for the translation of the article.

Best Regards from Italy

Piergiovanni

binocolo-kiteoptics-apc-18x50-ed-2-1.jpg


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#2 Sebastian_Sajaroff

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Posted 23 April 2024 - 01:20 PM

Grazie!
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#3 wrighty338

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Posted 24 April 2024 - 09:37 AM

Another great review. Its the first time iv seen any digiscope footage through an IS binocular. Optically they look nice, externally though not so nice lol.gif certainly a function over form design



#4 PerfectlyFrank

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Posted 24 April 2024 - 10:10 PM

Very good review, thanks for sharing.

 

The Kite 16x42 has my attention. At 1.6 lbs it's light weight. In contrast my Canon 18x50 IS are 2.6 lbs,

so the Kite should be easy to hand hold.

 

The Kite 16x42 are in stock at B&H Photo, so it is tempting me. smile.gif

 

https://www.bhphotov...lars.html/specs


Edited by PerfectlyFrank, 24 April 2024 - 10:11 PM.


#5 Jim.K

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Posted 24 April 2024 - 10:31 PM

Very good review, thanks for sharing.

 

The Kite 16x42 has my attention. At 1.6 lbs it's light weight. In contrast my Canon 18x50 IS are 2.6 lbs,

so the Kite should be easy to hand hold.

 

The Kite 16x42 are in stock at B&H Photo, so it is tempting me. smile.gif

 

https://www.bhphotov...lars.html/specs

You may want to compare the Sig Sauer 16x42 Zulu6 HDX to the Kite 16x42. I owned the Sig 16x42 (gen1) and replaced with the 20x42. Both Sig and Kite are custom manufactured for them by Kamakura.


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#6 Binomania.it

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Posted 25 April 2024 - 02:26 PM

Hi Jim, on May 11th I will be able to compare the Kite to the KITE 16x42 and the Canon 18x50. I have requested a SIG SAUER 20x42 from the Italian distributor, but the wait will be long, unfortunately. It is a product that personally interests me a lot because I also shoot at the range and I would like to travel lighter and perhaps leave the spotting and tripod at home. Thank you for your suggestion. On Binomania.it you can find a review of 16x42 https://www.binomani...e-optics-16x42/

In the next years i've reviewed many stabilized binoculars and actually i own a Farvision 20x50


Edited by Binomania.it, 25 April 2024 - 02:28 PM.

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#7 Binomania.it

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Posted 25 April 2024 - 02:30 PM

Another great review. Its the first time iv seen any digiscope footage through an IS binocular. Optically they look nice, externally though not so nice lol.gif certainly a function over form design

You're very kind, but I think I did a terrible job. I had to hold the binoculars with my left hand, with my index finger try to activate the stabilization, while with my right hand I supported the mirrorless and tried to place it on the eyepiece, trying to keep it on the optical axis and a little detached for vignetting  tongue2.gif However, I hope you were able to see the difference between ON AND OFF. Maybe I should try with a smartphone and adapter that fits perfectly into the eyepieces


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#8 PerfectlyFrank

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Posted 25 April 2024 - 03:02 PM

Hi Jim, on May 11th I will be able to compare the Kite to the KITE 16x42 and the Canon 18x50. I have requested a SIG SAUER 20x42 from the Italian distributor, but the wait will be long, unfortunately. It is a product that personally interests me a lot because I also shoot at the range and I would like to travel lighter and perhaps leave the spotting and tripod at home. Thank you for your suggestion. On Binomania.it you can find a review of 16x42 https://www.binomani...e-optics-16x42/

In the next years i've reviewed many stabilized binoculars and actually i own a Farvision 20x50

Because of your review and another review I found, I bought the Kite APC 16x42. 

The seller offered them at a 10% discount, so I could not resist.

 

For me the big advantage of the Kite 16x42 is their weight, only 1.6 lbs. So I should be able to hand hold them

much longer than my Canon 18x50 IS (2.6 lbs). 

 

Here's another review of the Kite APC 16x42

https://www.bestbino...-Review-275.htm



#9 tfmb

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Posted 02 May 2024 - 11:44 AM

Hello Piergiovanni,

 

Any chance to include also the Kite APC 14x50 in your comparaison on May 11th?

 

I can't make sense of the specification indicating the exact same real Field of View of 3.7° for both the 14x50 and the 18x50, but an apparent Field of View of 49° for the 14x50 and 61° for the 18x50 (https://kiteoptics.c...-stabilized-50/).

First, I'm surprised that the 14x50 does not have a wider real Field of View that the 18x50.

I kind of interpret that as maybe they use the same objective lenses but different oculars that enlarge the same image circle from 49° to 61° on the 18x50.

But if that's the case, with such a massive aFoV difference in favor of the 18x50 (which, I would image, translates into much more immersion in the view and comfort at the cost of slightly less light intensity), I see very little point for anyone to buy the 14x50.

At first, I thought there might be a typo on their website but the paragraph on the "wide angle view" does indeed mention only the 18x50 model.

 

I would be very much interested by a feedback on how these two models compare in real life.

Maybe, I'm totally misinterpreting the specifications here and I would be glad if anyone can help on this.

 

Cheers and thanks for the review!



#10 Rich V.

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Posted 02 May 2024 - 03:31 PM

I can't make sense of the specification indicating the exact same real Field of View of 3.7° for both the 14x50 and the 18x50, but an apparent Field of View of 49° for the 14x50 and 61° for the 18x50 (https://kiteoptics.c...-stabilized-50/).

 

First, I'm surprised that the 14x50 does not have a wider real Field of View that the 18x50.

 

I kind of interpret that as maybe they use the same objective lenses but different oculars that enlarge the same image circle from 49° to 61° on the 18x50. but the paragraph on the "wide angle view" does indeed mention only the 18x50 model.

There's a hard limitation where the prism clear aperture dictates the eyepiece field stop that will match it.  The eyepiece's field stop diameter determines the TFOV, not the focal length.  Though the magnifications are different, the maximum TFOV of the 50mm's optical design can't change.


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#11 tfmb

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Posted 03 May 2024 - 04:29 AM

There's a hard limitation where the prism clear aperture dictates the eyepiece field stop that will match it.  The eyepiece's field stop diameter determines the TFOV, not the focal length.  Though the magnifications are different, the maximum TFOV of the 50mm's optical design can't change.

Thanks Rich! I have definitely a lot to learn. I'd be interested if you could point me on ressources explaining the influence of the prism aperture and the eyepiece's field stop.

 

I'm interested by these Kite APC 50 and I'm trying to find criteria to go with the 14x50 or with the 18x50.

I understand from your explanation that the TFOV is indeed the same for both models. If I have this right, the exact same image is visible in both the 14x50 and the 18x50, but bigger in the 18x50 as it occupies a wider AFOV, isn't it?

What would be the advantage to choose the 14x50 in these conditions? Is it about the larger exit pupil? It seems to me like a wider AFOV is much more important as it has an impact on the comfort of viewing in any conditions, not only low light conditions as for the exit pupil.

 

What would be your criteria to go with one more than with the other?


Edited by tfmb, 03 May 2024 - 04:31 AM.


#12 Rich V.

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Posted 03 May 2024 - 04:27 PM

If I have this right, the exact same image is visible in both the 14x50 and the 18x50, but bigger in the 18x50 as it occupies a wider AFOV, isn't it?

 

Yes, if both binos have the same TFOV, they will show the same image, but the 18x will just make the image appear as if you were 1.29x closer (18÷14) . The larger exit pupil of the 14x (3.57mm vs 2.77mm) will allow 1.68x more light into your eyes, a benefit under dimmer lighting conditions or darker skies.  At night, extended objects like galaxies or the background sky will appear 1.68x brighter as well.  Stars will appear the same brightness in either 14x or 18x because their brightness is determined by the light gathering of the full 50mm aperture, not the exit pupil size.  It can be a bit confusing.  

 

If you haven't already, take a look at the "Best Of" section pinned to the top of this Bino forum's home page.  It was compiled primarily by the father of this forum, EdZ, many years ago now. Most of the information is timeless, so still applies today.  wink.gif Some of the old links may be dead but there's much to learn, just the same.  Take your time looking it over; there's a lot of information about optics and binoculars in particular to soak up.  You'll likely have more questions as a result.

 

Here's a link:

 

https://www.cloudyni...rum-start-here/


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#13 Usefulname

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Posted 09 May 2024 - 06:50 AM

This is my first post on this forum. I've become a binoculars addict only since last year. I'm not overly into astronomy or birding, but I do love observing nature, even without knowing exactly what is on the other end of the objectives. Hopefully this forum will help me to slowly get more knowledgeable re astronomy.

 

For now, I wanted to share my thoughts on my most recent purchase: the Kite 18x50 APC. Spoiler: I returned it after a couple of days. I don't intend this to be a review, just some random findings for people who are debating whether to get one.

 

Pros
- Very solidly build. It just feels like a tank.

 

- Very comprehensive set of accessories, especially compared to many other bins.

 

- Great stabilisation. Compared to the Canons 12x36 IS III that I recently acquired, this is just another level of steadiness.

 

- Very clear views, great detail.

 

- The waterproofing, LI-ON and ED-glass of course help too.

 

Cons
- The oculars are VERY stiff to change. I think this has got to do with the waterproofing. While this is a great advantage for sole users who don’t intend to change the IPD too often, it's a real pain for people like me who want to share this with their beloveds. I do own the Swarovski Habicht 7x42 as well, so I know stiff. This is another ball game. In practice, this leads to many missed opportunities when handed to someone -and back. This was instantly evident when we first used the binoculars. The oculars of my sample where so stiff, that I even felt if I was moving parts that weren’t intended to be moved. BIG disappointment for my use case.

 

- Since I intended this device for astronomy use more than anything else, I used it at night. I was looking forward to that. I then quickly discovered that the (very bright, way brighter than Canons) green LED is visible WITHIN the right barrel! When I looked through the bino with IS off, in a dark room, then to turn on the IS, a greenish haze becomes apparent. I’m no expert, but given that this is introduced as Kite’s flagship model, I find this to be very peculiar, if not unacceptable. It could partly explain why Piergiovanni perceives the whites to be a little off (which I have noticed as well in a comparison with the Canons). A big design flaw in my book (but again, I’m no expert).

 

- With well over a kilo, it is heavy. Since I’ve returned it, I can’t say too much about this in real use, but I feel this is not to be overlooked.

 

- I’ve been struggling with blackouts quite a bit. This is -I think- partly because the adjustment of the IPD is hard to get right quickly when someone else used it, and partly because of the smaller exit pupil.

 

Conclusion
I somehow hated it to come to the conclusion that this wasn’t the match I was hoping for. It gave renewed joy to use the Canons IS as a trade-off though.

 

If you are using this device somewhat stationary, just for yourself, I think it is a killer item. Looking at things miles away as if it is just in front of you, is just amazing. For security, surveillance and the likes, this is very useful (but I recommend masking off the bright LED).

 

If you use this more dynamically, in the field, with others, I think you won’t use it as much as you would anticipate, which is a shame for a € 1.700,- item.

 

Cheers, Nick, NL


Edited by Usefulname, 09 May 2024 - 07:25 AM.

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#14 Usefulname

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Posted 09 May 2024 - 07:08 AM

Attached, you find a (pretty poor) picture of the green LED, which is visible within the barrel.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 18x50.jpg


#15 Pinac

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Posted 09 May 2024 - 07:14 AM

Interesting!

Of your 4 cons, only number 2 about the green LED intrigues me.

Eyecups work great in my sample, weight is not an issue (the same size Canon weighs more), and I haven’t experienced any blackouts whatever.

I had no intention of using the APC for astro but will now check the issue you mention with the LED light, I hadn’t used the bino in darkness.


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#16 Usefulname

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Posted 09 May 2024 - 07:39 AM

@Pinac

 

The stiffness of the oculars was the one dealbreaker for me, since changing the IPD was very cumbersome (to be clear, not the extending of the actual cups). I'm glad not all samples seem so suffer from this. Maybe I'll have a look in a couple of months from now.

 

Regarding the light issue; I'd recommend trying it in a completely dark room to fully appreciate the issue. This could of course have been a one-off issue, but I doubt it.. I could very well tell whether the IS was on or off just by the vague haze that became visible in the barrel(s).


Edited by Usefulname, 09 May 2024 - 07:40 AM.


#17 Pinac

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Posted 09 May 2024 - 08:32 AM

Just tested the APC 18x50 in my cellar in total darkness.

 

Not a hint of a haze, whether green or other, complete black in both tubes, and I could not tell whether the green LED was on or off unless I directly looked at it on the upper side of the bino.

 

So you I suspect you must have gotten a faulty sample.

 

Changing the interpupillary distance by rotating the eyepieces is stiff indeed. I actually like that. But ymmv.

 

Pinac


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#18 Usefulname

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Posted 09 May 2024 - 08:38 AM

That's good news, at least on your end ;-) It makes me wonder though, whether mine was a pre-production item then, otherwise it could be a serious quality control issue.


Edited by Usefulname, 09 May 2024 - 08:50 AM.


#19 PerfectlyFrank

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Posted 09 May 2024 - 11:42 AM

Just tested the APC 18x50 in my cellar in total darkness.

 

Not a hint of a haze, whether green or other, complete black in both tubes, and I could not tell whether the green LED was on or off unless I directly looked at it on the upper side of the bino.

 

So you I suspect you must have gotten a faulty sample.

 

Changing the interpupillary distance by rotating the eyepieces is stiff indeed. I actually like that. But ymmv.

 

Pinac

I like my Kite16x42 APC so much that I also bought the Kite18x50 APC. I received them a few days ago.

 

Like Pinac, I don't have a problem with the green LED. I don't see it when looking thru the eyepieces. 

Most likely you did receive a faulty binocular.

 

I'm very picky about the IPD setting. It has to be just right. So I like that it is hard to move. But that's just me.

 

The Kite 18x50 APC weighs 2.3 lbs. My Canon 18x50 IS weighs 2.6 lbs. The savings in weight helps, but the Kite

is still a little heavy for extended hand holding. But it's easier than the Canon. And I like the shape of the Kite, it's

easier to hold in my hands.


Edited by PerfectlyFrank, 09 May 2024 - 11:45 AM.

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#20 pat in los angeles basin

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Posted 09 May 2024 - 01:38 PM

Out of idle curiosity, I tried to email Kite a question as to the LION battery used to power  the IS - unfortunately I never managed to get the message to send as the ability to contact them was blocked due to (for me) a non functioning "agree to terms" button that would not allow the message to be sent. Has anyone checked to see what the cost is to replace the  battery? Is it possibly user replaceable (sort of doubt that), would it need to be sent to the UK for repair work or can it be sent by US business that are designated  as reps.  Pat



#21 spectral532

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Posted 09 May 2024 - 02:04 PM

I like my Kite16x42 APC so much that I also bought the Kite18x50 APC. I received them a few days ago.

 

Like Pinac, I don't have a problem with the green LED. I don't see it when looking thru the eyepieces. 

Most likely you did receive a faulty binocular.

 

I'm very picky about the IPD setting. It has to be just right. So I like that it is hard to move. But that's just me.

 

The Kite 18x50 APC weighs 2.3 lbs. My Canon 18x50 IS weighs 2.6 lbs. The savings in weight helps, but the Kite

is still a little heavy for extended hand holding. But it's easier than the Canon. And I like the shape of the Kite, it's

easier to hold in my hands.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on how the 16x and 18x APC compare. I've been on the fence about picking one up, but can't decide which!


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#22 Pinac

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Posted 09 May 2024 - 02:20 PM

Out of idle curiosity, I tried to email Kite a question as to the LION battery used to power  the IS - unfortunately I never managed to get the message to send as the ability to contact them was blocked due to (for me) a non functioning "agree to terms" button that would not allow the message to be sent. Has anyone checked to see what the cost is to replace the  battery? Is it possibly user replaceable (sort of doubt that), would it need to be sent to the UK for repair work or can it be sent by US business that are designated  as reps.  Pat

I don‘t really know for sure, but I think my optics dealer in Switzerland who sold me the APC will be able to do the replacement of the Li-Ion battery here, without having to send it to Kite.



#23 DRodrigues

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Posted 09 May 2024 - 02:25 PM

...

The Kite 18x50 APC weighs 2.3 lbs. My Canon 18x50 IS weighs 2.6 lbs. The savings in weight helps, but the Kite

is still a little heavy for extended hand holding. But it's easier than the Canon. And I like the shape of the Kite, it's

easier to hold in my hands.

So we are expecting a post comparing the Kite to the Canon 18x50... wink.gif

I'm specially interested on image quality, stabilization and AFOVs...flowerred.gif
 



#24 PerfectlyFrank

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Posted 09 May 2024 - 03:33 PM

So we are expecting a post comparing the Kite to the Canon 18x50... wink.gif

I'm specially interested on image quality, stabilization and AFOVs...flowerred.gif
 

I'll make a post comparing the Kite to the Canon. But I want to spend a few more nights using both of them.

So far I like the Kite better than the Canon. But Canon is very good. 


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#25 PerfectlyFrank

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Posted 09 May 2024 - 04:00 PM

Out of idle curiosity, I tried to email Kite a question as to the LION battery used to power  the IS - unfortunately I never managed to get the message to send as the ability to contact them was blocked due to (for me) a non functioning "agree to terms" button that would not allow the message to be sent. Has anyone checked to see what the cost is to replace the  battery? Is it possibly user replaceable (sort of doubt that), would it need to be sent to the UK for repair work or can it be sent by US business that are designated  as reps.  Pat

Looking through the Kite 18x50 APC user manual it says...

 

This product incorporates a built-in rechargeable battery that cannot be replaced.

 

I'm guessing that means not replaceable by the user. At least let's hope so.

I read the warranty section and it doesn't say anything about the batteries.

 

About 2 weeks ago I sent Kite an email but never got a reply. So much for customer service.

 

I bought mine on amazon. The seller is RSD Outdoor, located in Utah. Fast shipping and well packaged.

 

https://www.amazon.c...product_details




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