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Old Friday 2nd February 2018, 20:35   #1
jan van daalen
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What bin do we use

Really don't know if this is handled before, but.......

AP's remark (post 23) on WJC's thread "stalking the elusive alpha", that ....only a very very tiny fraction of us binocular users own a Zeiss, Leica and/or Swarovski...... made me wonder, mainly considering the brand sales figures which point in a different direction.

What do we use/have we used?

For me, my youth sin was the Japanese Jägermeister 8x56, followed by the B&L Elite 8x42 (always thought it was a 7x) and the SLC 7x30 from Swarovski. The Zeiss Dialyt 7x42 has served me also very well.
My current bin is the SF 8x42 which is waiting for SF 8x32 to show up.

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Old Friday 2nd February 2018, 21:11   #2
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I don't think Birdforum members are a representative sample of binocular users. Most binocular owners aren't even birders. In the USA, I see most people using old (and in their day) cheap bins that they or their parents or grandparents bought from Sears, Montgomery Ward, or the like. Most brands are unrecognizable or house brands (e.g. Kmart used the name Focal), but some better known labels among them would be Tasco, Jason, Bushnell, Simmons, and Vivitar. Barska is a big one nowadays. Someone wanting something better might go with Cabela's, Vortex, a high-end Bushnell, or Nikon.

--AP

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Old Friday 2nd February 2018, 21:28   #3
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My first binocular, which I bought at the age of 14 or so, was a 8x42 Porro called Esde Adlerblick.

When my interest in birding came back 30 years later (this happened in the tropics and the old Porro quickly suffered a mouldy death), I went straight to the Ultravid 8x42 HD.

I used my grandfathers Dialyt B 8x30 for a while and also tried a Zeiss FL 10x32 and the Nikon EII 8x30, but the Ultravid won and I keep using this one.

For the future, I might consider a 8x32 or 7x35, if something really good comes up. Or go the oppsite direction and for a Canon IS 10x42. Most likely though, I will keep my money and my Ultravid...
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Old Friday 2nd February 2018, 21:57   #4
jan van daalen
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Originally Posted by Alexis Powell View Post
I don't think Birdforum members are a representative sample of binocular users. Most binocular owners aren't even birders. In the USA, I see most people using old (and in their day) cheap bins that they or their parents or grandparents bought from Sears, Montgomery Ward, or the like. Most brands are unrecognizable or house brands (e.g. Kmart used the name Focal), but some better known labels among them would be Tasco, Jason, Bushnell, Simmons, and Vivitar. Barska is a big one nowadays. Someone wanting something better might go with Cabela's, Vortex, a high-end Bushnell, or Nikon.

--AP
OK, but what do you use?
And to add, how did one/you come to that choice?

Jan
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Old Friday 2nd February 2018, 22:03   #5
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Originally Posted by jan van daalen View Post
...What do we use/have we used?...
The first bin I ever owned (rather than borrowed) and that I used heavily for many years, was a Bushnell 8x42 Banner roof.

After that one, my favorites for birding were Nikon 8x40 Classic Eagle, then Zeiss 7x42 BGATP or Leica 8x32 Ultra Trinovid BA.

Nowadays, I use Leica 8x20 Ultravid BL, Zeiss 8x32 FL, Swarovski 8.5x42 EL SV nonFP, Pentax 6.5x21 Papilio II, and Browning 8x32. My girlfriend likes my Swarovski 8x32 EL (old style). My daughter uses Leupold 6x30 Yosemite.

--AP
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Old Friday 2nd February 2018, 22:11   #6
jan van daalen
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The first bin I ever owned (rather than borrowed) and that I used heavily for many years, was a Bushnell 8x42 Banner roof.

After that one, my favorites for birding were Nikon 8x40 Classic Eagle, then Zeiss 7x42 BGATP or Leica 8x32 Ultra Trinovid BA.

Nowadays, I use Leica 8x20 Ultravid BL, Zeiss 8x32 FL, Swarovski 8.5x42 EL SV nonFP, Pentax 6.5x21 Papilio II, and Browning 8x32. My girlfriend likes my Swarovski 8x32 EL (old style). My daughter uses Leupold 6x30 Yosemite.

--AP
Hi Alex,

I can understand every choice you made in this list. What does the Browning adds to this list?

BTW, your choices cover every bino use.

Jan
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Old Friday 2nd February 2018, 22:15   #7
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...And to add, how did one/you come to that choice?...
Some earlier selections were kind of happenstance, based on what was available. Later, they were the best (to my standards/taste) with a preliminary list to try from reviews from Living Bird, Pete Dunne, and Steve Ingraham (I was an early subscriber to BVD and got all paper back issues).

Nowadays, I follow my own taste. I like bins with the best optics in the handiest and most ergonomic package. I have several sizes to meet packing limitations. Most of the time, I use the 8,5x42 EL SV. The Browning is what I take bicycling. It fits in a rack top bag, or else on my body with a long strap bandolier style. It was inexpensive (so less concern in a bicycling crash) but has nice optics, super solid build, very well shielded against sweat, and it focuses down to 4 ft easily for butterflies, not just birds. And, I have it already set up with that long strap, which I prefer only while bicycling.

--AP

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Old Friday 2nd February 2018, 23:01   #8
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Originally Posted by jan van daalen View Post
AP's remark (post 23) on WJC's thread "stalking the elusive alpha", that ....only a very very tiny fraction of us binocular users own a Zeiss, Leica and/or Swarovski...... made me wonder, mainly considering the brand sales figures which point in a different direction.
Perhaps this isn't such a huge contradiction: how many binoculars apiece have Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski owners (it's so awkward to avoid the A-word) bought, vs buyers of cheaper brands? I have two at the moment, one 28 years old, but temptation has been known to arise.
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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 00:04   #9
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Personally my main use binoculars are the Maven B 2 9x45 and the Maven B 3 8x30. I'd be interested in the Nikon Monarch HG 8x or the upcoming Leica Trinovid Uppendahl to fit in between those two. I have more binoculars than I can reasonably use.
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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 00:41   #10
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Hi Jan,

Good point!

My first really good binocular was a Swarovski Habicht 10x40 I bought used in 1981, for the leather case price....! I use it, a lot and hard, until 2001 when it was stolen from my truck. In the meantime I bought 3 more S. Habicht 10x40. All very good instruments. In 2002 I bought a Leica BN 10x42. New. Great binocular! Very well made, PERFECT COLLIMATION, and great optics. But rather dull...I sold it to buy a Zeiss FL 10x42 in 2004. This was a cherry sample, great piece of optic. With all the brightness, contrast and great CA correction, that I was missing in the BN...In 2007 I bought the last S. Habicht 10x40 W GA. The last version. And, to me, the best of them! In 2014 I sold the FL to buy my present HT 10x42. The same year I bought my Meopta Meostar 8x32.
And my last was another HT 8x42, in 2016. New, in an incredible deal....!
My main and serious use binocular is the Zeiss Victory HT 10x42. And my travel one is the M. Meostar 8x32. But I use the others in certain circumstances with total satisfaction.
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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 05:11   #11
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I'm really not sure what binocular I use the most. I probably used a Leica 7X42 UVHD+ the most. I also birded a lot along the coast where I used the Noctivid 10X42 a LOT. I used the Monarch HG a lot for just general birding. I used my Conquest HD 8X32 a lot....the most I've used a car binocular.

Probably more Leica's than anything else in the last year....that's never happened before.
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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 06:17   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jan van daalen View Post
only a very very tiny fraction of us binocular users own a Zeiss, Leica and/or Swarovski...... made me wonder, mainly considering the brand sales figures which point in a different direction.
Only a small proportion of binoculars are purchased in specialty optics stores like yours. Thus those who are knowledgeable enough to seek a specialist will gravitate towards stores that stock the better brands, whereas the majority will buy whatever is available in a big-box store, Nikon Monarch if they are lucky, Bushnell more likely.

I started with my father's Nikon 9x30 D CF (circa 1985), and at some point I purchased a pair of Canon 7x17 FC flat pocket binoculars from an airline catalog.

The first serious pair I bought for myself were Canon 10x30 IS (2001, subsequently sold), then subsequently a Leica Trinovid 8x20 BC (2003, given to my father), a Leica Ultravid 10x50 (2004) for astronomy, Leica Ultravid BL 8x20 (2006), Leica Ultravid BL 8x42 (2008), Leica Monovid 8x20 monocular (2009), Sony DEV-3 (2013, piece of junk, resold), Leica Ultravid HD 8x32 (2013, thinking of selling it), Zeiss Victory HT 8x42 (2014), Swarovski EL SV 8.5x42 (2016), Canon 10x42L IS (2016), Meopta Meostar S2 spotting scope (2017), Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25 (2017).

As you can see, I started with lightweight EDC-type pocket binoculars and then went up. There used to be a telescope shop called Scope City in San Francisco with a small but decent selection of binoculars (Leica, Swarovski, Zeiss, Kahles, Steiner, Swift) where I learned much about optics (but slow to the uptake, the shop keeper repeatedly tried to sell me on Swarovski, but I kept going for Leica because they were lighter and because I don't like the open-bridge design).

I keep the Monovid in my jacket pocket at all times (the first time I learned about BirdForum was when I followed back links to my Monovid review from this site). The Zeiss HT live in my car, and the Swarovski EL SV 8.5x42 are the pair I will normally use when I specifically want to take along serious binoculars. Otherwise if I just want a decent pair just in case, the Zeiss 8x25. I seldom use the Ultravid 8x20 but I like them enough I bought my outdoorsy cousin a pair as a wedding present.

When I go out with my wife and 6 year old daughter on a field trip, I use the Swarovski, my wife uses the Zeiss 8x42 HT and my daughter the Leica Ultravid HD 8x32 (she "conveniently" misplaced the cheap and cheerful Bresser 6x21 kids' pair I bought her).

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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 08:12   #13
jan van daalen
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Personally my main use binoculars are the Maven B 2 9x45 and the Maven B 3 8x30. I'd be interested in the Nikon Monarch HG 8x or the upcoming Leica Trinovid Uppendahl to fit in between those two. I have more binoculars than I can reasonably use.
Hi Steve,

Via Hermann's post reached us the announcement from Leica that you'll have to wait more that 18 months before you can close the upcoming Leica in your arms
I wish you all the strenght in those coming months

Jan
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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 08:21   #14
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First good binoculars I bought were Leitz 10x25s in 1982.
Had mostly Leica since inc 10x42 BAs, 2 pair 7x42 Ultravids, 8x42 Ultravids, and my current best bins- 8x32 BNs.

Sprinkle amongst those Nikon 8x30 EIIs, Nikon ProStaff 8x25s, Vanguard Endeavor EDII 10x42s and 8x32 EDIIs, several IF Fujinon porros 6x30: 7x50: 16x70, Zeiss 10x25 Victorys,
and some cheaper (Browning and Bushnell) car bins.

I'm mostly a Leica guy.
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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 08:23   #15
jan van daalen
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Originally Posted by fazalmajid View Post
Only a small proportion of binoculars are purchased in specialty optics stores like yours. Thus those who are knowledgeable enough to seek a specialist will gravitate towards stores that stock the better brands, whereas the majority will buy whatever is available in a big-box store, Nikon Monarch if they are lucky, Bushnell more likely.

I started with my father's Nikon 9x30 D CF (circa 1985), and at some point I purchased a pair of Canon 7x17 FC flat pocket binoculars from an airline catalog.

The first serious pair I bought for myself were Canon 10x30 IS (2001, subsequently sold), then subsequently a Leica Trinovid 8x20 BC (2003, given to my father), a Leica Ultravid 10x50 (2004) for astronomy, Leica Ultravid BL 8x20 (2006), Leica Ultravid BL 8x42 (2008), Leica Monovid 8x20 monocular (2009), Sony DEV-3 (2013, piece of junk, resold), Leica Ultravid HD 8x32 (2013, thinking of selling it), Zeiss Victory HT 8x42 (2014), Swarovski EL SV 8.5x42 (2016), Canon 10x42L IS (2016), Meopta Meostar S2 spotting scope (2017), Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25 (2017).

As you can see, I started with lightweight EDC-type pocket binoculars and then went up. There used to be a telescope shop called Scope City in San Francisco with a small but decent selection of binoculars (Leica, Swarovski, Zeiss, Kahles, Steiner, Swift) where I learned much about optics (but slow to the uptake, the shop keeper repeatedly tried to sell me on Swarovski, but I kept going for Leica because they were lighter and because I don't like the open-bridge design).

I keep the Monovid in my jacket pocket at all times (the first time I learned about BirdForum was when I followed back links to my Monovid review from this site). The Zeiss HT live in my car, and the Swarovski EL SV 8.5x42 are the pair I will normally use when I specifically want to take along serious binoculars. Otherwise if I just want a decent pair just in case, the Zeiss 8x25. I seldom use the Ultravid 8x20 but I like them enough I bought my outdoorsy cousin a pair as a wedding present.

When I go out with my wife and 6 year old daughter on a field trip, I use the Swarovski, my wife uses the Zeiss 8x42 HT and my daughter the Leica Ultravid HD 8x32 (she "conveniently" misplaced the cheap and cheerful Bresser 6x21 kids' pair I bought her).
Hi Fazalmajid,

Seems you have the same bin strategy as Alex has.

Your remark about the store that "educated" you made me think on a "thinktank session" with Mike (ex-Zeiss USA) who told me his reps were instructed by him to educate the shopkeepers so that the customers good be brought up to speed about the consequences of their choices. Both of us were convinced that only education and customers practical field experience could lead to certain choices.

Thanks

Jan
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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 08:56   #16
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The binos I use the most are Conquest HD 8x32 despite me having SFs in both 8x and 10x. The SFs are optically and ergonomically superior and get used a lot especially on holidays. But nevertheless if I think about the hours of use then the little Conquest wins.

Next behind the Conquest would be Meopta's MeoStar 8x32 or Kowa's Genesis 8x33 in a close-run race.

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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 09:49   #17
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The binos I use the most are Conquest HD 8x32 despite me having SFs in both 8x and 10x. The SFs are optically and ergonomically superior and get used a lot especially on holidays. But nevertheless if I think about the hours of use then the little Conquest wins.

Next behind the Conquest would be Meopta's MeoStar 8x32 or Kowa's Genesis 8x33 in a close-run race.

Lee
Hi Lee,

None of these are El Cheapo's and can be considered as more that decent bins, but with what did you start with?

Jan
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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 10:04   #18
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Hi Lee,

None of these are El Cheapo's and can be considered as more that decent bins, but with what did you start with?

Jan
OK.
First binos: Swift Audubon for 3 years
Then, Zeiss Dialyt 10x40B for 5 years, then Leica Trinovid 10x40B for 7 years then Zeiss Dialyt 10x40BGAT* for 17 years.

Lee
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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 10:07   #19
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Bins I have used and use now (the last in the lists are my present bins):

Main bins:
8x30 porro (when I started birding at age 8, 10?)
Noblesse de Luxe 10x50 porro (more power is better! :-))
Vixen 8x23 reverse porro (didn't do much birding for a few years, mostly hiking)
Kite 8x23 reverse porro
Leica Trinovid 8x32 BA (went to the shop determinded to buy the best there was, which I thought was a Zeiss 8x30 BGATP, looked through everything they had and bought the Leica) (started birding again)
Leica Ultravid 8x32 BR
Leica Ultravid 7x42 BR
Swarovski 8x32 SV
Nikon 8x30 E2 (and Leica Ultravid 8x32 HD for family outings)

Long range observation:
20x50 porro (as a kid)
Nikon 12x50 SE
Swarovski 15x56 SLC

Compacts:
Leica Ultravid 10x25
Leica Ultravid 8x20
Monk Explorer 7x26 (same as Bushnell Custom 7x26)
Vogelbescherming 8x24
Leica Ultravid 8x20
Leica Trinovid 8x20

And some others in between, which have or will be sold.


George

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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 10:16   #20
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OK.
First binos: Swift Audubon for 3 years
Then, Zeiss Dialyt 10x40B for 5 years, then Leica Trinovid 10x40B for 7 years then Zeiss Dialyt 10x40BGAT* for 17 years.

Lee
Hi Lee,

Swift Audubon Still a popular bin. In the same category as the upper B&L serie IMHO.
First choice of many many birders in the past. To improve that you indeed had to step up to the other models.

Jan
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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 10:25   #21
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Zeiss 8x32 FL probably followed by some Oly 8x25 PCIs (not DPCI) purchased 11 years ago, closely followed by a mixture of EIIs, Habichts, 7x42 FL assorted Minox and Olympi depending on need.

The 8x25 PCIs turned out to be a star buy, being the most useable pocket bins I ever owned (sharpness and handling), despite competing against some costing many times more.

After over 60 years of owning and borrowing bins and being dissapointed by many, remembering to be polite about someones latest 'pet'; that you actually hated, and being pleasantly surprised by others, I have a set that works for me. I have an annual cull of those least used and the bulk are still mid to low in retail cost terms.

Finally, they were not all bought for bird watching anyway, the pair bought when my daughter decided to leap out of aircraft at high altitude have now gone, about the same time as her boyfriend plummeted a long way before his reserve safely opened......
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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 10:37   #22
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Zeiss 8x32 FL probably followed by some Oly 8x25 PCIs (not DPCI) purchased 11 years ago, closely followed by a mixture of EIIs, Habichts, 7x42 FL assorted Minox and Olympi depending on need.

The 8x25 PCIs turned out to be a star buy, being the most useable pocket bins I ever owned (sharpness and handling), despite competing against some costing many times more.

After over 60 years of owning and borrowing bins and being dissapointed by many, remembering to be polite about someones latest 'pet'; that you actually hated, and being pleasantly surprised by others, I have a set that works for me. I have an annual cull of those least used and the bulk are still mid to low in retail cost terms.

Finally, they were not all bought for bird watching anyway, the pair bought when my daughter decided to leap out of aircraft at high altitude have now gone, about the same time as her boyfriend plummeted a long way before his reserve safely opened......
Nehh, her boyfriend excersized HALO (for those who don't know: High Altitude Low Opening) just to impress his future father in law watching him with his new razorsharp bin Didn't you see him blink repeatedly with his right eye?

Nice mixture of bins BTW.

Jan
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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 10:56   #23
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Hard question to answer as I have multiple binoculars for multiple uses,
zeiss more for birding,
miyauchi and fujinon for astronomy

why- ? just worked out that way

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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 11:13   #24
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I mostly use mine for birding. Had been some canon 12x36IS for many years, very good detailed views. Recently picked up some eldely, but wonderfully wideangle Bushnell Rangemasters, which I pair with a scope for the zoomed in views. Also have some Papilio bins for butterflies and close up work. Not looking for any others... my “binocular cupboard” is full... so it’s have to be one-out, one-in if I were to change.

PEterW
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Old Saturday 3rd February 2018, 11:41   #25
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Hard question to answer as I have multiple binoculars for multiple uses,
zeiss more for birding,
miyauchi and fujinon for astronomy

why- ? just worked out that way

edj
All three A in that aspect.

To bad Miyauchi went bankrupt some years ago, as their bins are superb, but I don't think Monk optics shread any tears over that.

Jan
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