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#374752 - 08/31/07 11:32 AM BINOCULARS
watchmaker
4 Point


Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 299
Loc: New York

Offline
BINOCULARS

Hi guys,
The big brown truck and the nice man that brings goodies to the house stopped yesterday with a package from Cabela’s.
I was deprived from sleep for the five days that it took between order and delivery, but finally the Nikon Monarch ATB 8x40 binoculars are here, and I will sleep soundly tonight.



Although I have quite a few binoculars in my safe, I don’t have nearly as many of them as I do flashlights (most of you know me as the crazy guy that owns all those flashlights); but fear not, I am getting there.
So it occurred to me that I should make a post about binoculars for those that are bored of hearing about my lights.
I had owned quite a good amount of binoculars since I bought my first as a 15 year-old with an itch about optics. I even owned an expensive Zeiss when I was single and didn’t had a family to take care of.
And I am here to tell you that the quality, brightness, sharpness, and durability of the new binoculars now on the market; it is better than ever.
Not long ago, if we wanted all these features in a good binocular the choice was between spending a thousand in a Zeiss, Swarosvki, Leica or Minox or looking for good Porro prisms in the Nikon or Pentax lines.
But since a couple of years ago, the Japanese starting coating the roof prisms of their binoculars with Phase Coating, and the sharpness and definition of their roof prism binos had increased to the point to rival the European imports from the big four, and all at very modest cost.

Take, for example, the Nikon Monarch ATB (All terrain binocular) 8x42 I just received, or my Pentax DCF WP 8x42 that I bought last year.




All lenses are fully multicoated (that means all surfaces, not only the glass to air surfaces) prisms are phased-corrected and have mirror-coated lower prisms (not cheap aluminum). They have blackened tubes to avoid reflections and are waterproof and fog proof; they have a nice outer coating of rubber (silent) and very good ergonomics. I particularly like the twist eye cups for eye-glass wearers and the ample eye relief: no problem using it with my glasses and instant acquisition of the picture even with glasses on.



All that can be said for the Nikon Monarch can be said also of my Pentax DCF WP 8x42, except for the weight: the Nikon is lighter at 22 ounces but I don’t know how much my Pentax weighs until I get a new battery for my fish scale.

I like the approach of securing the objective caps to the body of the binocular that the Nikon uses as well. I had to get creative with the Pentax and cook up something home-made to hold the caps to the binocular body.
I did the usual checking for good prisms by holding the binos a few inches away and looking at the light spot in the ocular lens, nice and round without any hint of flattening, just like I was expecting. I checked collimation by holding it a few inches away and pointing them at the yellow line in the road, straight and sharp with not sign of being distorted.
To test the sharpness and resolution most people look from the inside to the outside thru an open window, and most binoculars will perform well under those conditions. I look for a dark corner in the room and try to read some labels or a newspaper print set for the occasion; that is what separates the mediocre from the good or great binoculars.

As the Nikon and the Pentax are so the same in quality I tried to spot any optical differences between them by perching one on top of the other and alternatively looking thru them. After several minutes of this I have to admit that they are both the same optical quality as far as my eyes can tell, without resorting to an optical laboratory.



I have looked thru many Swarovski and Zeiss lenses, (I hunt the stores) superb optical quality in those glasses. I can tell you for sure than the new Nikon and Pentax are almost the equal of those expensive brands; that I only paid just over $300 with shipping for such a superb glass as the Nikon still amazes me.

Kind regards,
Watchmaker

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#383380 - 09/05/07 09:13 PM Re: BINOCULARS [Re: watchmaker]
Carlos Viagra
16 Point


Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 13494
Loc: Cumberland Plateau

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Cool gear. The binocs I have always fog up as soon as I look thru them. What's a lower priced set that won't fog up so easy?
_________________________
Do not be slothful- for yesterday and tomorrow are thieves of today.

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#383402 - 09/05/07 09:25 PM Re: BINOCULARS [Re: Carlos Viagra]
Hogbear
10 Point


Registered: 07/21/05
Posts: 4034
Loc: Cuba (near Memphis)

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My brother has the Bushnell Legends and i've always been impressed by how good they are for the price. Keep in mind that all Bushnells are not created equal and not made by the same manufacturer or in the same country. Bushnell doesn't actually make anything. They just hire out the maufacturing to different factories all over the world and sell them under the Bushnell name. Pentax and Bushnell are somethimes made on the same factory line. The Legends are the bushnells to get.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/246771-REG/Bushnell_133208_8x32_Legend_Binocular.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/190894-REG/Bushnell_134208_8x42_Legend_Binocular.html

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#384859 - 09/06/07 05:25 PM Re: BINOCULARS [Re: Hogbear]
Carlos Viagra
16 Point


Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 13494
Loc: Cumberland Plateau

Offline
I have a set of Bushnell binocs but they were an aniversary gift from work. Probably a cheaper set but I will look and see what the Legends cost.

Thanks HogBear.
_________________________
Do not be slothful- for yesterday and tomorrow are thieves of today.

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#393285 - 09/12/07 09:53 AM Re: BINOCULARS [Re: Carlos Viagra]
CZ284
8 Point


Registered: 10/30/06
Posts: 1198
Loc: Rossville, Tn

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Guys- try Ebay. I got a brand new Swarovski 8 x 30s a couple years ago for $300, never been used because some guy had gotten them as a gift and already had some. Don't go anywhere without them. Have had Zeiss, Nikon, etc but like these the best. Buy the best you can afford.
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#398782 - 09/15/07 01:22 PM Re: BINOCULARS [Re: CZ284]
watchmaker
4 Point


Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 299
Loc: New York

Offline
PENTAX PCF 7X BY 35MM
PORRO PRISMS

Six years ago I arrived in Gillete, Wyoming without my gun case and binoculars (the airlines momentarily lost it).
I was able to borrow a gun from the outfitter but the binoculars offered didn’t appeal to me, so I looked for a good one in the store where I purchased my out-of-state license.

I really can’t understand how any serious hunter can spend one grand in a rifle and scope and then turn around and pick up a $39.99 binoculars from the “on sale” rack.
To me the binocular is the “hunt”; I spend most of the time in a hunt glassing for game, looking for that tell-tale piece of fur between the vegetation, that antler sticking out of the bushes or that liquid shine of an eye in the bushes.

For me, glasses that are sharp, bright and have good definition are imperative to the success of the hunt, after all if I see something that appears to be an antler or horn sticking out of the brush, I want enough definition in my optics to tell me that it is really an antler and not a just a weathered branch.

PENTAX PCF 7X 35 mm



Good optics cost money, sometimes a good deal of it. A bargain is not found in the price, but in the quality of the optics that you can get for a predetermined amount of money that you are willing to spend.
For that reason when you are in that store comparing binoculars to each other it is necessary that you know what you are looking for regarding the quality of the glass inside the binoculars.
A good company name will have glasses of different prices; today it seems that even the cheap brands will advertise that they have Barium Crown glass (BAK4) and coated optics.
What you have to look for in the box that comes with the binoculars are those advertisings that say they use fully multicoated lenses. This coating is a bombardment of the glass with anti reflection particles of magnesium fluoride or other similar compound, the deposit will change the color of the glass to a blue hue or ruby or green, and what is does is sharpen the image and eliminate reflections that robs the light entering into them.
Cheap brands will coat once and only the outside of the lenses, what you looking for is fully multicoated lenses (as much as seven coats are applied) in all of the inside and outside surfaces, good brands will advertise the fact in the box or literature that come with the glasses.




Looking through a good glass, you will see that an image is sharp and well-defined, while the image from a cheap binocular will be soft and fuzzy.
Brightness in a binocular when you are in a store has to be checked by looking into dark corners of the store and trying to read some labels. The letters in those boxes will appear dark and fuzzy when looked at through cheap binoculars, while with a good set you will notice how the letters are sharp, lighted and well-defined. Don’t look out of the window to a bright street: it will tell you little about the capabilities of the binocular to perform in poor lighting conditions.

Some brands make waterproof and fog-proof binoculars by using good seals and charging the interior with an inert gas such as nitrogen, as it is more difficult to make a good seal in binoculars that have more parts than rifle scopes, and if waterproofing is important to you, consider a good name brand that will stand behind its warranty.

Look toward the borders of the glass to see if you can find any distortion in the picture. You may find some, as only the very best glasses are free of it, so just consider the brands that have the less of it.
Now that binoculars are designed by an optical computer program, it is rare to see other optical aberrations unless you are looking through a set of very cheap glasses.

That day in the Wyoming store I spend a good hour looking at different binoculars. I walked out with a Porro prisms model from Pentax (Porros are less costly than Roof of the same optical quality). I think I paid about $175.00 for it, and I never have regretted my selection.

It is just a coincidence that I selected a Pentax, as I was looking for optical quality that can be met by many brands: Bushnells, Nikons, etc. It is just that I have used Pentax cameras and I have been awed by the quality optics they have.
This one is a 7x by 35 mm Pentax PCF Porro prisms binocular and at 28 oz. not that heavy, Porros are always more bulky than roof prisms, but this particular model has good ergonomics and at 6” long by 5 ½ “ it is quite compact for a full-size glass.
This particular model have a focus lock on the focus turning wheel, when you have achieved the focus you can lock it in place by sliding the lock into place, very neat,
The right ocular has detent clicks in the diopter adjustment for the eye, another very neat feature that speaks attention to detail and innovation in the design.
While most Porros binoculars have a couple hinges connecting to the center shaft, these are designed with a more solid, all-body mass to center shaft, more like a quality roof prisms. I don’t see this binocular get knocked out of alignment by rough use anytime soon.



The glasses I have, had been replaced in the Pentax line for the new PCF WP II 8x40, and they are even better as they feature helical adjustment for eyeglass wearers instead of my old style fold down rubber eye guards, and I have noticed that they come with a rain guard for the ocular lenses tethered to the neck strap while my model has the easy-to-lose plastic caps.
As I want my optics dry and clean all the time, I had to rig my glasses with some tethering ribbons for the plastic caps attached to the strap for the oculars lenses and to the center screw cap for the objectives lenses.
And what’s more, the price of the new Porros PCF is still about the same, even lower at internet discount houses.

The exit pupil of an 8x by 40 mm is the same 5 mm as the 7x35, so these glasses should perform very well in low light situations, much better than those toy 8x20 daylight only binoculars that most folks seem to buy these days at the department store.

Good quality binoculars are a joy to use. If you can not afford the quality popular roof prisms that are in the market for about $300.00 USD, you owe yourself to look for a quality Porro prisms that for about half the price will give you just about the same optical quality.

Cheers
Watchmaker

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#400449 - 09/16/07 01:14 PM Re: BINOCULARS [Re: CZ284]
megalomaniac
12 Point


Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 5027
Loc: Mississippi

Offline
 Originally Posted By: CZ284
Guys- try Ebay. I got a brand new Swarovski 8 x 30s a couple years ago for $300, never been used because some guy had gotten them as a gift and already had some. Don't go anywhere without them. Have had Zeiss, Nikon, etc but like these the best. Buy the best you can afford.


Dayum, you got a great deal... most of the 8x30's sell on ebay for $6-700. I can never find a good deal on ebay.

I've also got a pair, and they are outstanding. CZ, you wanna sell me yours as a backup? I'll give you $400 ;\)

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#424649 - 10/01/07 10:25 AM Re: BINOCULARS [Re: megalomaniac]
CZ284
8 Point


Registered: 10/30/06
Posts: 1198
Loc: Rossville, Tn

Offline
Mega,

Thanks but I've been around long enough to know a bad deal when I see one! I love the glasses and wouldn't hesitate to buy a pair with my next tax return if something happened to these.

Nice try!
Where in MS are you?

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#433827 - 10/06/07 06:41 PM Re: BINOCULARS [Re: CZ284]
watchmaker
4 Point


Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 299
Loc: New York

Offline
NIGHT OWL 4X NIGHT VISION
COMPACT BINOCULARS

I have owned this night vision binoculars for about seven years. They are made in Russia and feature the first generation of Russian intensifiers tubes that are so popular lately.

It is my understanding that the Russian tubes were not of new manufacturing, but surplus tubes were released into the market. My first unit of these binoculars had a tube that was much dimmer than the other; however the Night Owl Company quickly exchanged them at my request.

As you probably you already know, unlike the older infrared night vision technology, the intensifier tubes do just that: intensify the light that is available (up to 30,000 times according to the instructions) and if ambient light is present, it doesn’t depend on the attached infrared emitter that is placed on top of the binoculars as an extension of the center pivot.

The binoculars enlarge the image transmitted to the oculars by 4 times. Not exactly a long-range pair of binoculars, but really very useful at short distances.




The Infrared emitter has a separate button for its operation. It is not really full infrared (infrared light is invisible) but a good amount of red shows out of the lens of the tube, making the fact that you are watching with them noticeable to humans. For game it really doesn’t matter, as most animals are blind to the red spectrum of light.

When used with a truly blind infrared powerful source (I just rigged a BOREALIS 1050 lumens flashlight ~2 million candlepower~ with a surplus Israeli jeep infrared filter) the binocular can easily “see” 300 yards away in total darkness.

The glasses weigh 31 oz., which isn't bad for a binocular that is 6 ¼ long by 6 ½ wide and 1 ¾ thick. The barrels of the objective adjust for focus individually. The adjustment is very smooth and easy to move; likewise, the ocular also has an adjustment that is individual to each eye, and it is not a center focus adjustment wheel, like in regular binoculars.

The metal screw in caps covering the objectives have a little pin hole to limit the amount of light that will enter if the binoculars are used during the day, which is mostly done to make adjustments for distance and focus previous to the projected night use. Those metal caps are noisy to unscrew or screw them, so if you're using them when game is near, I recommend replacing them with Buttler Creek or similar spring loaded binocular caps.

The power is supplied by a Lithium 123 3 volts battery that is loaded from the rear where the hinge is in the binoculars. These batteries are more popular than ever, thanks to the amount of tactical flashlights that make use of them.

This is better than the present problem I have of trying to find a number 1 battery for my Israeli surplus infrared night vision goggle (and by the way, if one of you readers know a source for such battery, please let me know).

For a first generation unit, the Night Owl 4x Compact is a very good binocular, well thought-out in its design and construction, with rubber covering to make gripping easier and to deaden game spooking noises. When I first bought them my son was 10 years old and interested in watching game, so we spent a few enjoyable nights watching deer eating apples at the tree and watching over a bear bait in upper Maine, just to see what was showing up.

To all you fathers out there, those kinds of memories can last a lifetime and tend to be the greatest ones, especially when that same son is now a college student and interested in watching other types of game. ;\) So cherish them well.
Best regards,

Watchmaker

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#434436 - 10/07/07 09:19 AM Re: BINOCULARS [Re: watchmaker]
.444 Marlin
16 Point


Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 15359
Loc: Benton, Polk Co. Tenn.

Offline
I really like nikon's and wouldnt mind paying the $ for them but I bought a set of bushnell 10x42s at walmart last year for $30 and they are clearer than some of the higher end bino's Ive used.
_________________________
Spike bucks come with their own meat skewers.


Alright, I'm here now who wants my autograph??

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