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Old Saturday 6th June 2009, 03:32   #1
Tvc15_2000
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Open Bridge vs Close Bridge Design

I am trying to figure out if the recent crop of open bridge binoculars is an example of “hive mind” fashion marketing or have consumers suddenly re-discovered and demanded the open bridge?

One reason often cited (in marketing literature) is open bridge provides a better grip. I am sure that may be true for some hands (but not most hands). I have tied both and any binocular feels secure in my hands.

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Old Saturday 6th June 2009, 06:04   #2
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I'm inclined to attribute it to the "hive mind" theory. Curiously, all the open bridge binoculars seem to look the same, while there are some variations in the looks among the old "Leica Style," if you will, binoculars. I don't think ergonomics, like comfort, are a big issue. I remember spending 15 minutes comparing a new model Swift HHS 8.5 x 44 with a Swarovski EL 8.5 x 42. As far as handling and hand comfort went, I much preferred the Swift to the Swarovski. The Swift was better balanced. I could rest it on the heel of one hand with out gripping it if I liked which seemed awkward when I tried it with the Swaro. I seemed to be looking for places to put my fingers with the Swarovski EL. Optically, the Swaro was better, but, to my recollection, not $1300.00 better. I may yet buy a Swift HHS.
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Old Saturday 6th June 2009, 06:43   #3
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I guess my 8x42 Trinovid BA, the first Leica, is the "old "Leica style"" if anything is. My wife uses the open hinge that started it all, the 8.5x42 Swaro.

The Swaro is just too comfortable to provide any real macho satisfaction. I reckon a 10 year old could pick it right up and go. There is a huge surface to grip, the barrels are trim, and the tactile armor is hard to turn loose. My wife loves it, but what's more, hates my Leica.

My BA, now that is one overbuilt and thickly armored, manly bino. I have mastered it. I grips it with me left hand, the ring and little fingers wrapped around the part of the barrel protruding ahead of the axle, and wraps me left thumb into the narrow space between the heavily ribbed barrels. It just barely fits, I am proud to say. I doubt that anyone else could do it. After this learning curve, you bet I'll say I prefer the ergonomics of the Leica. I've got something to prove!
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Old Saturday 6th June 2009, 16:18   #4
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I find the Swaro 8.5x42 very comfortable, but the same goes for the Canon IS 12x36, which looks like a solid brick but fits my hand (even "one-hand") very well. But the most beautiful bino to hold ever IMHO is the open-bridge Swaro EL 8x32...I sold it, optically the 8.5 outclasses it, but I do miss the ergos of the smaller EL. I havenīt tried any other makes of open-bridge bins.
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Old Saturday 6th June 2009, 16:46   #5
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Old Saturday 6th June 2009, 21:36   #6
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If your eyes are too close together, as mine are, there isn't much benefit to the open bridge.
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Old Sunday 7th June 2009, 02:47   #7
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Maybe some models. My understanding with some of the bins though is that it takes a certain physical length binocular to get the optical quality with certain glass designs. A traditional hinge binocular would weigh significantly more at that physical length. The double-hinge would help to cut down on overall weight...would it not?
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Old Sunday 7th June 2009, 05:48   #8
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It looks like two little hinges supporting the barrels some distance apart would be a more rigid structure than one big hinge.
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Old Sunday 7th June 2009, 16:37   #9
John Russell
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It looks like two little hinges supporting the barrels some distance apart would be a more rigid structure than one big hinge.
Absolutely, Ron but if my memory serves me correctly, you have some of those big 70mm Fujinons with a fairly short hinge section.
They aren't exactly fragile even though collimation at 10x or 16x is fairly critical.

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Old Monday 8th June 2009, 06:29   #10
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John,
That's right. And, the famously rugged traditionally built alpha brand roofs show that a single hinge can be plenty strong. Any theoretical rigidity gain of the open hinge design is of little consequence.
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Old Monday 8th June 2009, 06:44   #11
Kevin Purcell
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I doubt theopen bridge designs are any more rigid.

I think the issue is they're just as rigid but weight less. There's less in them though they span the same sort of distance.
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Old Monday 8th June 2009, 15:30   #12
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I think the issue is they're just as rigid but weight less. There's less in them though they span the same sort of distance.
That was my thinking as well. Save weight with the same level of rigidity.

I know the issue of alignment with the open-hinge bins has come up in other forums in the past but I have seen little to substantiate it.
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Old Tuesday 9th June 2009, 04:19   #13
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Not sure what 'hive mind' is but for me the open bridge is very comfortable and feels more secure to hold, especially with gloves on in cold weather. I have the Swaro 8x32 and Steiner Peregrine XP and they just seem lighter or livelier to hold. I am glad to learn that they may be stronger or just as strong as a single hinge. Since I wondered of they would be easier to bump out of alignment if, God forbid, they were dropped on the corner. Hope no one finds out the hard way. I have noticed in my experiance that newer users seem to like the open design better.
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Old Tuesday 9th June 2009, 14:34   #14
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statestat,

I recently had the opportunity to try the Peregrine XP and I have to say that it is definitely one of the most ergonomic bins I have had the chance to hold....especially for a full-sized one. They also seem to be very well put together. I doubt a drop on the floor would do much damage.

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Old Tuesday 9th June 2009, 17:21   #15
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I MUCH MUCH MUCH prefer a wrap-around grip, so much so that I'll never buy another bino that does not allow one. A few single-bridge binos with a short enough bridge and long enough barrels allow for a wrap-around grip, as do some pocket roofs (e.g. Leica Ultravid) but a properly proportioned open-bridge is hard to beat. I was a Zeiss 7x42 Classic user for many years and I love its virtually open-bridge and long barrels. When the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL was first announced it seemed to me that it was the first premium binocular designed to appeal to 7x42 Classic ergonomics devotees. The more slender barrels of the 8x32 EL allow for an even better realization of the concept.

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Old Tuesday 9th June 2009, 20:45   #16
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One thing I like to point out to people that "open bridge" is not new.

The British Army L11A1 is perhaps the ur-open bridge bin (unless you know different?). See the Funky Bin thread.

But I'd also argue that the standard non-armored porro was perhaps the inspiration for the open bridge. Check one out.

http://static.photo.net/attachments/...Q-29988684.jpg

Like the Nikon SE below with a two point hinge (rather than a true piano hinge which seems more common in roofs). The metal is rather nicely made and very smooth. See there is a bit of a gap at each side of the bridge bracketed. You fingers fit into that gap. But that bar in the top gets in the way. I can see a Swaro engineer thinking what if we got rid of that we might have something.

Then creating the a design on CAD then taking the CAD design and running it in one of the simulators so you can see how the enclosure deforms under load and how manufacturing tolerances affect the design. You can refine the design this way. Combine that with multi-axis CNC gear to actually make the mating surfaces and you can turn out these enclosures in reasonable quantities.

Once they'ed done it a few years later an innovative Chinese engineer did a similar sort of thing. The software for this is now widely available. He realized that he could design and make a very good enclosure. Along with an optical designer who did the basic ED bin optics design (particularly the objective and the focuser design) they came up with a very disruptive innovation.

BTW, this enclosure design wasn't patented by Swaro which makes me thing it was too similar to previous designs for them to get protection. They could (and do) get trade dress protection but that doesn't protected the broader implementation of an open bridge.

So is it hive mind thinking? No. Open bridges do work very well. They have real advantages. They reduce weight. They extend the range of grips people can use. And I think they help people with smaller hands.

Are other companies jumping on open bridges as a gimmick. Sure. "Look Ethel this ones just that the Swa...Sva...that expensive one but it's way cheaper". It the way design progresses. Just because an idea propagates doesn't mean it's a bad idea. Some of those propagation may be bad implementations but the original idea is a good one.

Does it have history. Sure it does. It's all an evolution.
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Old Wednesday 10th June 2009, 17:54   #17
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Fashion scores highest than ergonomy in the flooding of open bridge binos. The Swaro look seems to add some bonus. When I bought the 8.5X42 cause of their optics my opinion about their design was very poor. The very low focusing was an outcome of the complicated mechanism wich was compulsory in view of the distance between both barrels. After years I've found I usually use only my right hand when the tripod with spotting goes on the opossite shoulder. Surprisingly at the beginnig I consider this claim as only propaganda.
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Old Wednesday 10th June 2009, 19:13   #18
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After years I've found I usually use only my right hand when the tripod with spotting goes on the opossite shoulder. Surprisingly at the beginnig I consider this claim as only propaganda.
Hola, Fernando...I think this is the origin of the "one-handed" grip approach to binoculars, which Iīve seen mentioned on BF, by some of our U.S. friends, as a "European" phenomenon...(I donīt know where Americans keep their tripods!). I loved the EL 8x32 for this reason....it was a great "one-hand" bino. But my eyes prefer the 8.5x42, now that I wear glasses pretty much all of the time. Unfortunately, I have rather small hands, so I canīt keep the EL 8.5x42 quite as steady in a "one-hand" grip. Do you find this model comfortable to use with one hand?
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Old Wednesday 10th June 2009, 21:04   #19
Kevin Purcell
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Hola, Fernando...I think this is the origin of the "one-handed" grip approach to binoculars, which Iīve seen mentioned on BF, by some of our U.S. friends, as a "European" phenomenon...(I donīt know where Americans keep their tripods!).
That's interesting, Sancho. I associated "one-handed grips" more with American hunters who need a quick look over their rifle so you need a hand on each.
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Old Wednesday 10th June 2009, 22:00   #20
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That's interesting, Sancho. I associated "one-handed grips" more with American hunters who need a quick look over their rifle so you need a hand on each.
FWIW, I don't know any hunters who do that. If you've got your rifle in position, it's too late for binoculars.
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Old Thursday 11th June 2009, 23:42   #21
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FWIW, I don't know any hunters who do that. If you've got your rifle in position, it's too late for binoculars.
Yes, actually there are too many of my fellow Americans who insist on using anything with a "Magnum" following the caliber that shooting them with one hand would seriously impact their health.



I always thought that one handed binocular use was more popular in Europe?
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