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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 15:13   #1
marinemaster
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How much blackout do you tolerate in binoculars ?

Hi,

As I have tried a lot of binos in the past few years, I would say about half of the binos had blackout. Binos such as Nikon 8x32 Premier SE and Leica 7x42 HD had just too much blackout. The thing is that these are top of the line optics but the blackout is a deal breaker for me. My question is how much blackout you guys put you with ? do you tolerate it because the optics are excellent and live with it or not ?

Edit: I should have mentioned the binos above are specific to me, others may not have blackout issues with these particular models, any models in general I am asking.

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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 15:37   #2
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My understanding of "blackout" is too much eye relief. Because of my facial dimensions I rarely experience this...and I don't wear glasses.

I have run into several situations where I don't have enough eye relief so you may consider that an equal frustration for the folks on the other side of the eye relief spectrum.

I can see where either situation ruins opportunities for folks to experience some excellent glass. I wonder why manufacturers don't allow for a wider range of eyecup adjustment to compensate for both ends of the eye relief "spectrum".
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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 15:46   #3
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With 17mm specified eye relief, the Ultravid doesn't seem to have a blackout problem. I had problems with the Swift 828, which has 20mm eye relief specified, until I learned the MOLCET. But then, what's specified isn't always true!
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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 16:15   #4
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My favorite two binoculars, an 8x42 FL and a 10x50 Ultravid, have eyecups that will go high enough that I experience absolutely no blackout no matter how I swing my gaze around the field. But, with the eyecups at that height, I can't make out the edge of the field very clearly, and the field shows appreciable gradual dimming as the edge is approached. So, the impressive wide field experience that I want isn't quite happening.

Also, at that setting, I find that these binoculars, like most that I have used, are more sensitive to bright off axis light tending to wash over the image, or flare.

So, I often lower the eyecups enough to defeat or mostly defeat these complaints. But, that introduces the blackout effect. Using the binocular to advantage now requires steeling the impulse to gaze widely around the field, anxiously wondering how bad I've made the blackout. When I'm just playing with the setting, that impulse is hard to resist. But if there's something to look at interesting, the normal way of using the binocular, that is, to center the object in the field and look at it and nothing else, is sufficient that I don't notice the blackouts at all, while still appreciating the wide bright field and minimum flare. In this and many other ways, normal use is SO VERY less demanding on binoculars than going around looking for optical trouble.

I think about the only easy way to have it all at once is with a binocular that has a very large exit pupil, say 7mm, and a narrow apparent field of view, say 55 degrees. Then, you can look all over the field, which isn't that big to begin with, without your eye ever encountering the edge of the exit pupil. At least that's the way my 7x50 behaves.
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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 16:25   #5
RE Birder
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Sorry, what's 'blackout'?
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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 16:41   #6
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Doesn't the Nikon SE eyepiece stand accused of Spherical aberration of the Exit pupil (or is that Superincumbent Eyeplacement for some) as described here :
http://www.telescope-optics.net/eyep...erration_2.htm
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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 17:34   #7
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RE,
It's when you scan your eyes towards the edge of the field of view, and parts of the field that you aren't looking directly at go dark. It is quite disturbing, and makes a very unrelaxing viewing experience.

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It acts just like that illustration. You have to get closer to see the edge, then you aren't well positioned to see the middle, so if you look at the edge, the middle will go dark. If your eye is further back, you are well positioned to see the middle, and the edge looks dark. That is not as disturbing as what is usually called "blackout", but amounts to much the same thing. There's no single postion that lets you scan your gaze over the entire field, and have it all look bright.

My bro-in-law's 10x42SE drives me crazy if all I do is look for blackout. You could say the eyecups are too low. Some folks build them up with washers, etc. But in normal use, it is excellent, because then, it becomes naturally superincumbent upon the user to keep the peepers peeled midfield, as there should be the bird.
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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 17:48   #8
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I tolerate very little & was about to return my 8.5 Els shortly after purchase some years ago because of a blackout problem, a slight (but very annoying) "flickering" when rapidly panning. Fortunately, after a lot of trial & error, I learned to hold them in such a way as to minimize the flicker, though I still occasionally experience it. Blackout is certainly something I'll test for very thoroughly for before I buy my next pair of binoculars.
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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 17:48   #9
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I tolerate zero blackout. If you have to hold your bins in some awkward position to avoid blackouts, then they aren't the right bin for you.

Quote:
As I have tried a lot of binos in the past few years, I would say about half of the binos had blackout.
one thing to clarify -- it's really more about YOU and the shape of your face and the way you hold them than anything, a particular model doesn't "have blackout", it's just a question of how its specific combination of eyecups and eye relief combine with your facial structure and holding style.

you should definitely find a pair that works for YOU in this respect.
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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 18:20   #10
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Cheers Ronh
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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 18:49   #11
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I tolerate zero blackout. If you have to hold your bins in some awkward position to avoid blackouts, then they aren't the right bin for you. one thing to clarify -- it's really more about YOU and the shape of your face and the way you hold them than anything, a particular model doesn't "have blackout", it's just a question of how its specific combination of eyecups and eye relief combine with your facial structure and holding style.

you should definitely find a pair that works for YOU in this respect.
Eitan speaks with much wisdom, however, it should be noted that certain binoculars such as the Nikon SE cause image blackouts for so many people that it goes beyond user dependent features. It's that "anal aberration of the exit pupil" (saw one guy write this once and had to laugh, he meant "annular" though most of the time I've seen it written as "spherical aberration of the exit pupil"). As someone pointed out earlier, that's what "SE" stands for. :-)

With the SEs, I experience some image blackout with the 8x32 and 10x42 models. Not with the 12x50 even during the day (used it mostly for stargazing). Not sure why since they all have the same EP. One of those Nikon mysteries.

If the SEs had a reasonable sized twist up eyecups (most WF porros have twist up eyecups that are two wide for my eye orbits), I think I could mitigate the blackout problem better since I could set the ER at the proper distance for my individual eyes. My right eye is set slightly further back then my left eye, hardly noticeable in real life, but when eye placement is critical, every mm counts.

With the SE's fold down rubber eyecups, the choice is either all the way up or all the way down. One guy, think it was Claudio from Cloudy Nights, managed to use rubber bands to get the eyecups in a halfway up position. I tried it, but couldn't get them to stay that way. Must have stronger rubber bands in Italy. :-)

I think if you can modify the eyecups some way with washers or rubber bands, etc., then its worth trying to adjust to the bins if the optics are superb.

But unless you are a diehard porromaniac like me, there are so many good choices out there with roofs that you're bound to find ones that fit you better.

It's your cross to bear. You are either going to need to modify the eyecups or use the MOLCET or limit yourself to bins that don't cause blackouts for you.

My buggers are sensitivity to "rolling ball" and issues with "nose relief".

So to finally answer your question, yes, I am willing to put up with image blackouts to a certain degree, but if an optic requires superincumbent (Word-of-the-Day) contortions to avoid blackouts, then it gets black(out)listed.

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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 21:14   #12
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Sorry, what's 'blackout'?
The right image shows blackout/kidney beaning due to too large eye relief, and the left shows what you will see when the eye relief is insufficient.

//L
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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 22:14   #13
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I believe blackout is caused when your eye is "inside" the specified eye relief.

Screw in your eye cups and view with your eye too close and then too far... you'll see it happens only when the eye is inside the eye relief range.

Also happens when you move your eye off axis (looking left or right).

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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 22:16   #14
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The right image shows blackout/kidney beaning due to too large eye relief, and the left shows what you will see when the eye relief is insufficient.

//L
Thanks for that, really appreciated
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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 22:23   #15
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The right image shows blackout/kidney beaning due to too large eye relief, and the left shows what you will see when the eye relief is insufficient.

//L
Nicely illustrated! I've got to get PhotoShop. Those views were my two choices with the 8x32 SE with flared eyecups from being rolled down by the previous owner (four-eyed Frank :-).

Wasn't as bad as the first illustration, I only lost about 1/2*. If I dug my eyes in deeper while biting down on a rag soaked in whiskey, I could see the entire FOV but then here come the kidney beans.

With the EO 2.5x "extender," the kidney beans were on both sides (5 o'clock on right, like you show, plus another of equal size at 11 o'clock on the left side). Moore blackout than image.

One other user said he has to be careful to avoid blackouts with this booster, but Henry, Steve, and Jay are immune to the blackouts, so that goes to show you, if it's not one thing it's another. If it's not kidney beaning, it's too much black space around the view. Kvetch, kvetch, kvetch.

I plan to contact EO and see out what they have to say. Perhaps they will send me a new unit so I can tell if the fault lies not in my eyes, but in their lenses.

Now we'll see if Steve intends to keep his promise.

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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 22:24   #16
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Thanks for that, really appreciated
You're welcome!
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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 22:32   #17
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Just a note to say that some users, such as myself, do not have problems with blackout with the Nikon SE. Actually, I have very very rarely experienced blackout with any bin, even when I try to induce it. I can see some kidney beaning with very LER eyepieces if I want to. I think my glasses somehow give me immunity from these problems.

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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 22:54   #18
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Nicely illustrated! I've got to get PhotoShop.

Brock
Thanks! In fact, I'm parsimonious and use Gimp. But I've heard there are other and better free programs out there.

//L
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Old Friday 13th January 2012, 22:57   #19
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Just a note to say that some users, such as myself, do not have problems with blackout with the Nikon SE. Actually, I have very very rarely experienced blackout with any bin, even when I try to induce it. I can see some kidney beaning with very LER eyepieces if I want to. I think my glasses somehow give me immunity from these problems.

--AP
obviously you need to grab a rag, some whiskey, and try the Brock technique.
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Old Saturday 14th January 2012, 09:42   #20
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Nicely illustrated! I've got to get PhotoShop...

Brock
Try "GIMP", it's free and almost as good, for hobby use at least.
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Old Saturday 14th January 2012, 11:29   #21
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I've been using GIMP for a few years to touch up my photos. It seems to be simple and effective.
http://www.gimp.org
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Try "GIMP", it's free and almost as good, for hobby use at least.
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Old Saturday 14th January 2012, 18:09   #22
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Try "GIMP", it's free and almost as good, for hobby use at least.
"Free" is the magic word. I'll try it. Thanks.

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Old Sunday 15th January 2012, 00:29   #23
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And here I thought blackout was a normal occurrence with binoculars. After having my Nikon SE 8x32 for years, who knew. I can look straight on through the glass and see every corner of the view with exceptional sharpness. But as was stated here, when my eyes wander off axis, I seem to have significant blackouts (top, bottom, left & right) depending which direction my eyes are wandering to. Moving the bin closer or farther away from my eyes offer up little difference. Thanks guys. Now I am annoyed by an issue I never knew I had.

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Old Sunday 15th January 2012, 00:51   #24
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And here I thought blackout was a normal occurrence with binoculars. After having my Nikon SE 8x32 for years, who knew. I can look straight on through the glass and see every corner of the view with exceptional sharpness. But as was stated here, when my eyes wander off axis, I seem to have significant blackouts (top, bottom, left & right) depending which direction my eyes are wandering to. Moving the bin closer or farther away from my eyes offer up little difference. Thanks guys. Now I am annoyed by an issue I never knew I had.

Larry
Larry,
This may be caused by your facial physiognomy. I see blackouts with my SE unless I use them in a specific manner. We call it here the MOLCET, an acronym which is the product of Brocknroller's fertile (or is that fertilized? I never get that right) mind.

Anyway it is named after the manner in which Steve "mooreorless" and yours truly hold the binocular up to our eyes. To wit: Mooreorless ceasar eyebrow technique.

First, set your IPD correctly and then place the binocular eyecups firmly and just slightly under your eyebrows against your prehensile eyebrow ridge. Then VERY, VERY, slightly tilt the binocular upward.

Experiment with this a bit and see if it does not solve your problem.

Bob

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Old Sunday 15th January 2012, 01:10   #25
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"Free" is the magic word. I'll try it. Thanks.

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Brock,
It is free provided your time is also free. There is a real learning curve for the ordinary Linux user.
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