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Old Monday 16th January 2017, 22:04   #1
Themoog
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MHG - Beginning or end

I'm looking to upgrade from my first pair of binoculars which are absolutely fine for what they are but just not either mechanically or optically what I was hoping for.

I almost decided to make a blog out of the process and rationale behind what I end up with but decided to start here in the Nikon forum for no other reason than my current thinking is that, if pressed to upgrade tomorrow based on just what I've read then a pair of Monarch HG 8x42's would probably be my choice. I think this is perhaps a good benchmark choice as, from what I understand, it's challenging in an increasingly competitative 'Beta' market and appears to break new ground at this price point.
(In another window I'm reading the 'Death of the alpha' thread with fascination)

Fortunately I'm not compelled to buy straight away. In fact it will probably be more like 3-6 months.The one thing I'm reasonably certain I'm not going to do if it can be avoided is throw any more money at this issue without being able to look through the binoculars I might buy. Lesson learned.

I know myself well enough to know that my thinking will evolve and change with time, circumstances, growing experience and knowledge. I thought it might be interesting to share how this process evolves, especially if you would be willing to throw some of your vast knowledge and experience into the pot . If this sort of thing has either been done before to death or it belongs elsewhere then could I ask the mods. to either move or delete it as they see fit?

If it is in the right place and not just endlessly replicating many other similar threads then I'll periodically update where I am with the process.

I guess in the first update I'll start with the binoculars I have and go from there.

Tm
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Old Monday 16th January 2017, 22:18   #2
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What don't you like about your current binocular?

Bob
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Old Tuesday 17th January 2017, 01:07   #3
Themoog
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Update 1

The first pair of binoculars I had access to were/are a pair of Alberdon 8x40 Porro prism binoculars which appear to be quite old. Just been knocking around in the back of a cupboard for years sort of thing. They have no eye relief at all but are fine without my glasses. I quite like them as I have no expectations of them, they have no covers to worry about and just handy to have for a fixed look at some targets in the garden. The optics aren't up to much but they will focus and the diopter on the right lense works - just. Pretty cumbersome but quite steady.

Pair I bought are an 8x32 form factor.

Pro's ;

Nice weight and size. Something to have on me most of the time working on the premise that the best binoculars are those you have with you. I know this to be true from my camera years.

Well built. Sufficient eye relief although I doubt the indicated 18mm.

Con's ;

Focus wheel is too stiff and takes too many turns from close to (what appears to be) beyond infinity. Eye cups are a little abrasive against my glass lenses and my multifocal glasses were big so I want to look after them and their coatings for as long as I can.
It's winter of course but there's poor saturation and a kind of feint white cast to the image.
I see more breakdown of the spectrum/ colour aberration than I was hoping for.
Absolute critical focus isn't anywhere near as 'jump out' sharp as I was looking for.
The abberation from the edges has far more of the frame than I expected.

In short, the image is neither as punchy and vivid or sharp as I was hoping for.

It may be that my expectations of what's possible is too high as I'm coming at it from a period many years ago where I had and used a lot of good quality still camera and film prime lenses.

I won't know until I can get to a shop and try a few things out.

That won't be for a while as I'm laid up injured for a while with only short journeys out and about a few times a week.

If it turns out it's something where putting more money towards it makes a substantial improvement then so be it. If not then I guess I'll just put it to bed and adjust my expectations accordingly.

I'll probably keep these 8x32's and give them to Mrs.Themoog or as a backup.

I was just making a list, in no particular order of my priorities for going at this again with my eyes a little more open (pun intended and almost unavoidable in this forum no doubt) if it goes that way.

The list would include;

Size - the smallest I can get away with. See above about the best camera.
Weight- same rationale
Eye relief - based on the above I guess I would need 16 or 17mm but I haven't made my mind up if Im a 'glasses on' or 'glasses off' or indeed a 'contact lense' kind of user yet.
Good colour saturation or more precisely, something with vitality and colour depth. In fact might as well say something with a large improvement in overall optical quality.
Something available from a shop I can visit if possible. I want to try them out as so much of this is subjective.
A company with good backup for repairs and refurbishment if needed.
Something robust that can be travelled with and kept in a rucksack and carried around every day.
Pretty good dawn and dusk performance. Love these hours. Even moreso on holiday.

What I'm not too worried about at the moment is price and also I'm pretty certain I'm looking at a 7x or 8x at the most. A 10x is just too targetted for my interests although I get it.

Guess I'm probably looking for a solid all rounder then I can just forget about the whole technical comparison stuff, be confident I've got something solid I'm happy with and get on with enjoying the wildlife.

Tm
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Old Tuesday 17th January 2017, 05:39   #4
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Hi TM,

Your Porro prism binocular is designed to have focus beyond infinity because, if you are nearsighted, you will be able use it without wearing your spectacles. The more severely near sighted you are the more focus past infinity you will require and the more range your diopter will need--say as far as minus 5. When you use it wearing your spectacles the diopter should work for you at the central "0" position. Most new binoculars will have a minus 4 to plus 4 diopter range.

8x is a good choice for an all-around binocular. An 8x42 will have a 5.2mm exit pupil which is very good for early morning and later evening use.

The Monarch 8x42 and 10x42 HGs are Nikon's newest binoculars and they are designed to be its 2nd tier representative binoculars ranking just below Nikon's top of the line EDG series. They are quite light in weight for 42mm roof prism binoculars most of which weigh in around 27 to 29 ounces.

The 8x42 Monarch HG weighs 665 grams, about 23.5 ounces, and it has a Magnesium metal frame. It has eye relief of 17.8mm which should work with spectacles that do not have thick lenses and/or heavy frames. Naturally, at its price level, you will want to try one out first to make sure you can see all of its very wide (FOV) field of view of 8.3 which works out to 435'@1000yards.

You can keep those specifications in mind while you research and try out other 8x42 binoculars.

Bob

Last edited by ceasar : Tuesday 17th January 2017 at 06:00.
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Old Tuesday 17th January 2017, 09:44   #5
Themoog
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Originally Posted by ceasar View Post
Hi TM,

Your Porro prism binocular is designed to have focus beyond infinity because, if you are nearsighted, you will be able use it without wearing your spectacles. The more severely near sighted you are the more focus past infinity you will require and the more range your diopter will need--say as far as minus 5. When you use it wearing your spectacles the diopter should work for you at the central "0" position. Most new binoculars will have a minus 4 to plus 4 diopter range.

8x is a good choice for an all-around binocular. An 8x42 will have a 5.2mm exit pupil which is very good for early morning and later evening use.

The Monarch 8x42 and 10x42 HGs are Nikon's newest binoculars and they are designed to be its 2nd tier representative binoculars ranking just below Nikon's top of the line EDG series. They are quite light in weight for 42mm roof prism binoculars most of which weigh in around 27 to 29 ounces.

The 8x42 Monarch HG weighs 665 grams, about 23.5 ounces, and it has a Magnesium metal frame. It has eye relief of 17.8mm which should work with spectacles that do not have thick lenses and/or heavy frames. Naturally, at its price level, you will want to try one out first to make sure you can see all of its very wide (FOV) field of view of 8.3 which works out to 435'@1000yards.

You can keep those specifications in mind while you research and try out other 8x42 binoculars.

Bob
Thank you Ceasar.

To be clear. Whilst the Alberdon 8x40's are porro prisms the 8x32's I subsequently bought are roof prisms. Very interesting about the near-sightedness/past infinity. I guess I've spent most of my glass-wearing life counteracting short sightedness rather than long sightedness so this hadn't occured to me.
I was also thinking that some of the clarity I'm used to may be because a say 500 prime photographic lense is just that - one lense so all else being equal, it's quality should be twice that of a pair of binocular lenses at the same price. Also in, for example, a good SLR you only have 2 or 3 v. high quality and relatively large mirrored surfaces in the prism between your eye and the focal plane. In a 6x4.5 or 6x6 medium format Hasselblad or Roliflex for example, less. Transmission may well be better at maximum aperture (and of course you have a variable diaphragm to increase depth of field).

I may well be being a little demanding of my 8x32's for what they cost. I'm deliberately not saying what they are because I wouldn't want to appear like I'm picking faults in them per se and I've been watching this forum long enough to see how tribal and sensitive some can be about a brand. I understand that as I used to the same way about certain stuff. Motorcycles, camera gear, wrist watches etc. We all have a little of that to be fair.

Truth is IMHO, some manufacturers do indeed a develop a reputation for excelling in certain facets of their field and falling short in others. There's an obvious partial crossover in camera and binocular branding, technology and marketing, at least to some extent and it will be interesting to me to see if my experiences with camera tech are translated equally into binocular tech.

What I'm going to try not to do is allow my conceptions of camera lenses to foreshadow my experiences with binoculars. Different 'sport' in some ways.

For one we're still operating in a predominantly 'analogue' world here where ccd's, compression algorythms, memory caches, processor speeds and multipoint focussing hold no currency and have no bearing on the final image.

Also, I expect to spend considerably more time holding these objects to my eye than I would a camera so, for example, the ergonomics, comfort and balance are going to be at least as important as the specification.

The balance of prioroties, because everything is a compromise in the end, is quite different. Nevertheless, it's interesting that, at least on paper, Nikon appear to occupy almost exactly the same niche they do in the camera world (at least when I was in and around that world) whilst Canon, for example, do not so much.

I agree the specifications of the MHG 8x42 almost appear to offer some of the advantages of a 8x32 mid-size whilst at the same time surpassing or at least matching many of those available in the 8x42 format. All else being equal, if the optical quality is even approaching something like an EDG or, to widen it out, a Trinovid HD or Conquest HD then that appears to be pretty serious bang for buck.

Logic suggests the first two tests I want to make are a) another pair of the same binoculars I have now just to see if they are what they are b) something that costs about the same as the 8x32 I have but from a different manufacturer.

Test c) would be something from the top of the tree for an absolute scale of what's possible optically irrespective of price or format.

The whole thing could end right there.

If not, beyond that it's into the balancing act as with much of life. The only exception in my book is my eye glasses as eyesight is paramount.

My next stage is to continue with these 8x32's for now and enjoy their capabilities and limitations whilst aquainting myself with some of the more practical components of using them. After all, the birds are out there as I type and I need to top up a feeder aside from anything else. I love tech and I love window shopping but I'm more interested in watching wildlife beyond a certain point.

The Alberdon 8x40's - Can't find anything on the net about this manufacturer at all. Daresay they weren't all that great (but who knows?) even in their day but I've got a real soft spot for them and would like to know more- I see a few 10x50s on ebay but nothing else.

All the best and will continue with my rambling thoughts in due course.

Tm
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Old Tuesday 17th January 2017, 11:36   #6
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Originally Posted by Themoog View Post
The first pair of binoculars I had access to were/are a pair of Alberdon 8x40 Porro prism binoculars which appear to be quite old. Just been knocking around in the back of a cupboard for years sort of thing. They have no eye relief at all but are fine without my glasses. I quite like them as I have no expectations of them, they have no covers to worry about and just handy to have for a fixed look at some targets in the garden. The optics aren't up to much but they will focus and the diopter on the right lense works - just. Pretty cumbersome but quite steady.

Pair I bought are an 8x32 form factor.

Pro's ;

Nice weight and size. Something to have on me most of the time working on the premise that the best binoculars are those you have with you. I know this to be true from my camera years.

Well built. Sufficient eye relief although I doubt the indicated 18mm.

Con's ;

Focus wheel is too stiff and takes too many turns from close to (what appears to be) beyond infinity. Eye cups are a little abrasive against my glass lenses and my multifocal glasses were big so I want to look after them and their coatings for as long as I can.
It's winter of course but there's poor saturation and a kind of feint white cast to the image.
I see more breakdown of the spectrum/ colour aberration than I was hoping for.
Absolute critical focus isn't anywhere near as 'jump out' sharp as I was looking for.
The abberation from the edges has far more of the frame than I expected.

In short, the image is neither as punchy and vivid or sharp as I was hoping for.

It may be that my expectations of what's possible is too high as I'm coming at it from a period many years ago where I had and used a lot of good quality still camera and film prime lenses.

I won't know until I can get to a shop and try a few things out.

That won't be for a while as I'm laid up injured for a while with only short journeys out and about a few times a week.

If it turns out it's something where putting more money towards it makes a substantial improvement then so be it. If not then I guess I'll just put it to bed and adjust my expectations accordingly.

I'll probably keep these 8x32's and give them to Mrs.Themoog or as a backup.

I was just making a list, in no particular order of my priorities for going at this again with my eyes a little more open (pun intended and almost unavoidable in this forum no doubt) if it goes that way.

The list would include;

Size - the smallest I can get away with. See above about the best camera.
Weight- same rationale
Eye relief - based on the above I guess I would need 16 or 17mm but I haven't made my mind up if Im a 'glasses on' or 'glasses off' or indeed a 'contact lense' kind of user yet.
Good colour saturation or more precisely, something with vitality and colour depth. In fact might as well say something with a large improvement in overall optical quality.
Something available from a shop I can visit if possible. I want to try them out as so much of this is subjective.
A company with good backup for repairs and refurbishment if needed.
Something robust that can be travelled with and kept in a rucksack and carried around every day.
Pretty good dawn and dusk performance. Love these hours. Even moreso on holiday.

What I'm not too worried about at the moment is price and also I'm pretty certain I'm looking at a 7x or 8x at the most. A 10x is just too targetted for my interests although I get it.

Guess I'm probably looking for a solid all rounder then I can just forget about the whole technical comparison stuff, be confident I've got something solid I'm happy with and get on with enjoying the wildlife.

Tm

That was a very well summed up and rational thought process and the good news is that your 8x32 sounds really pretty bad so you are most certainly going to be able to improve on that considerably.

I don't want to recommend any particular thing for you as there are so many options these days and you will only really know for sure yourself if you had an opportunity to try all of those options in all usage situations so you may have to settle on how much of that you can do.

The MHG seems great. I have the small M7 and it's definitely good but I do find it can lack vividness of colour and show some slight CA at times but otherwise for it's size it's very useful. I would expect the larger HG to be obviously an improvement. I think Leica is the name for vivacity (is that a word? probably vivaciousness, ok it's vivid apparently lol ) currently so maybe just quit messing around and get hold of one of those to try? or ask on those threads about it.

I like compacts but they have yet really to come of age but obviously there are technical limits involved with size needed to be pocketable. I think folks get more value from larger bins. If you are going to be a real serious user then lug a large 42mm bin around (I have a good one for such purpose) or save a bit of space with a 32mm (have a coupe of these also) or accept the compromise and settle for a 25mm (I have more of these type). The best are reputed to be the Swarovski. 20mm and below is getting a bit restrictive but I still have a couple of those I like to use occasionally.

It's difficult to get one bin to be everything which is why there are so many choices so maybe a large 42 like the HG and small compact would be something for you to consider to cover both bases. I took the approach of buying loads of sort of value bins (but not poor image!) and I use a different one regularly as I get a bit bored with he same one or always having to carry a large bin. If I could get the view from my large bin through the small bin than that would be wonderful but alas there is compromise involved.

Good luck with whatever you find. Whatever else it's always nice to hunt and find something good and you surely will.

Will it be the holy grail of bins for which we all fruitlessly search? Probably not, so hope that saves you some time and expense.

If the perfect bin for everyone existed then I guess there would not be any point in ever producing any more. It's one of those things. It's a journey with stopping off points with the bin you currently have. Same for all the other stuff you mention so it's just a question of choosing to take part or not I suppose.

Another benefit of having a little collection is that the same places can be seen with a different perspective with different bins hence also why I change but I do find some bins more favourable for certain terrains than others and then other bins might suit other places I visit better but this is not absolutely necessary, just what I have found and I suppose very similar to different camera lenses for different aspects etc. I no longer bother with cameras.

Last edited by CliveP : Tuesday 17th January 2017 at 19:51.
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Old Tuesday 17th January 2017, 13:53   #7
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Tm,

You write: "I agree the specifications of the MHG 8x42 almost appear to offer some of the advantages of a 8x32 mid-size whilst at the same time surpassing or at least matching many of those available in the 8x42 format. All else being equal, if the optical quality is even approaching something like an EDG or, to widen it out, a Trinovid HD or Conquest HD then that appears to be pretty serious bang for buck."

It is reasonable to come to that conclusion. The EDGs were upgrades of Nikon's earlier HGL series of binoculars which were, at that time, Nikon's top of the line roof prism binoculars. The EDGs are competitive with Swarovski's, Leica's and Zeiss's top of the line binoculars. Their ratings compare very favorably with them on the Allbinos website. http://www.allbinos.com/rankings.html. Check the rankings of the 8x32, 8x42 and 10x42.

Nikon did retain for a short period the 8x32, 8x42 and 10x42 versions of the HGL series as their 2nd line binoculars with prices that were competitive with Leica's new Trinovid line and Zeiss's Conquests so it does appear that the new Monarch HGs are intended to be competitive with the above mentioned 2nd line Trinovids and Conquests of Leica and Zeiss.

The new Monarch HGs are upgraded with up to date coatings, wider FOVs and much lighter weight than the old HGL series binoculars had. Nikon stopped making and selling the old model HGLs when they introduced the new Monarch HGs.

No one knows whether or not Nikon is planning to offer 8x32 and 10x32 Monarch HGs.

Bob

Last edited by ceasar : Tuesday 17th January 2017 at 14:24. Reason: addendum and re-writing.
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Old Tuesday 17th January 2017, 23:24   #8
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That was a very well summed up and rational thought process and the good news is that your 8x32 sounds really pretty bad so you are most certainly going to be able to improve on that considerably.
That's very kind of you to say so. I honestly don't think it's bad per se it's perhaps that my expectations are somewhat excessive at that price. It's a perfectly robust and well finished piece and many on here and elsewhere seem very happy with it. I understand why. Turns out I'm just looking for something a bit different. Food for example? For me it's fuel beyond a certain point so haute cuisine would be pointless and wasteful. I like a good hot ruby as long as it's not too formal.

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I don't want to recommend any particular thing for you as there are so many options these days and you will only really know for sure yourself if you had an opportunity to try all of those options in all usage situations so you may have to settle on how much of that you can do.
Yes, it's going to be limited by what I can hold in my hand. I understand that the Torics' are much vaunted in certain quarters here but I wouldn't hand over one red cent on something I can't hold if possiible. I would at least want to see something from the same manufacturer and preferably range, at the least.

I do, ordinarily, have the London shops within my scope (goodness, it's a pun open goal here isn't it?). Also, I believe Clifton Cameras are thought of highly and Cambridge isn't too far away. Especially if it ends up being a major commitment. Plus, I love the 'chase' of it to a certain degree.
When I was a kid I went to Beaties model shop almost everyday after school to look at radio controlled cars until I knew more than the sales guy - ha !

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The MHG seems great. I have the small M7 and it's definitely good but I do find it can lack vividness of colour and show some slight CA at times but otherwise for it's size it's very useful. I would expect the larger HG to be obviously an improvement. I think Leica is the name for vivacity (is that a word? probably vivaciousness, ok it's vivid apparently lol ) currently so maybe just quit messing around and get hold of one of those to try? or ask on those threads about it.
Interesting about the M7. It would be on the list for my 'Nikon day' along with an M5, MHG 8x and EDG 8x32. My instinct is to stick with a mid-size format and it's was only the remarkable stats of the MHG that have opened up the 8x42 format as an idea. Of course that lets in the Trinovid 8x42 and a whole host of others. The Ultravids 8x32 , like many on here with glasses will probably prove to have too short an ER for me. Noctivid? They will have to be something amazing to even make the shortlist at that . Whilst my eyes are reasonably tuned in to certain things, I don't expect I will be able to differenciate a sufficient marginal gain. I like vivacity by the way. If it's not in the OED then it should be.

I read this earlier;

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=236943

and then couldn't find anything about the SV mentioned. I so far know little of the Swarovski lines. Has it been discontinued or supplanted? It sounds amazing if expensive. Another line of research beckons.

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I like compacts but they have yet really to come of age but obviously there are technical limits involved with size needed to be pocketable. I think folks get more value from larger bins. If you are going to be a real serious user then lug a large 42mm bin around (I have a good one for such purpose) or save a bit of space with a 32mm (have a coupe of these also) or accept the compromise and settle for a 25mm (I have more of these type). The best are reputed to be the Swarovski. 20mm and below is getting a bit restrictive but I still have a couple of those I like to use occasionally.
I used to lug a brass chassis slr and a few lenses around for a few years. It finally got to the point where even if I saw something interesting I was disinclined to get the kit out because it was such a faff. About then the logic for doing so breaks down and that was that.
Cartier Bresson was onto something with his little unmetered m3 (or something similar). For those reasons alone I favour a compact but I get what you're saying. More research needed.

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It's difficult to get one bin to be everything which is why there are so many choices so maybe a large 42 like the HG and small compact would be something for you to consider to cover both bases. I took the approach of buying loads of sort of value bins (but not poor image!) and I use a different one regularly as I get a bit bored with he same one or always having to carry a large bin. If I could get the view from my large bin through the small bin than that would be wonderful but alas there is compromise involved.
A possible strategy. I would rather not get into GAS with this hobby. I have GAS with guitars already. I really want a more of less constant companion every time I step out my door to enhance a walk, a holiday, sitting on a bench outside a country pub, walking through a park on the way home from work and at home in the garden. I'm thinking more of something that forms part of my EDC (as it's sometimes referred to) like my small LED Lenser torch. Small, perfectly formed, functional and importantly, always to hand. It will involve compromise, perhaps even to the point of rethinking my strategy. No more GASable hobbies. Mrs Themoog would go ballistic and she might have a point !

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Good luck with whatever you find. Whatever else it's always nice to hunt and find something good and you surely will.
Thank you Clive. Yes it is isn't it?

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Will it be the holy grail of bins for which we all fruitlessly search? Probably not, so hope that saves you some time and expense.
All constructive input appreciated. I really appreciate it.

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If the perfect bin for everyone existed then I guess there would not be any point in ever producing any more. It's one of those things. It's a journey with stopping off points with the bin you currently have. Same for all the other stuff you mention so it's just a question of choosing to take part or not I suppose.
That's almost bordering on metaphysical but I know EXACTLY what you mean. I agree wholeheartedly.

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Another benefit of having a little collection is that the same places can be seen with a different perspective with different bins hence also why I change but I do find some bins more favourable for certain terrains than others and then other bins might suit other places I visit better but this is not absolutely necessary, just what I have found and I suppose very similar to different camera lenses for different aspects etc. I no longer bother with cameras.
Also very true. Cameras eh? I shudder when I think of all the I sunk into it over the years. Best one I ever had overall was probably a Canon T90. Groundbreaking multifunction buttons but before the EOS mount arrived. You could probably have played football with it and it would still have worked - ha ha. Lenses weren't up to much but I couldn't have afforded anything Zeiss at that age. My current mobile phone has selective focus and metering, 16:9, all manor of filters, low noise, image stabilization and so on. I take 20 times as many pictures as ever I did because....I have it will me all the time. As they say, 'Nuff said right?

Tm
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Old Tuesday 17th January 2017, 23:51   #9
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I almost decided to make a blog out of the process and rationale behind what I end up with but decided to start here in the Nikon forum for no other reason than my current thinking is that, if pressed to upgrade tomorrow based on just what I've read then a pair of Monarch HG 8x42's would probably be my choice. I think this is perhaps a good benchmark choice as, from what I understand, it's challenging in an increasingly competitative 'Beta' market and appears to break new ground at this price point.



Tm
I agree and that's why I'm looking at the MHG as well (10x42). I have a great primary binocular, but would like to have a 10x in the future for open areas.

The MHG 8x and 10x each offer very wide FOV along with flat field , are very lightweight and somewhat compact. The ER on both look great too. I think this is a good model to try out first since it does push things forward a bit in its price range. I think it's probably the most exciting "mid-tier" bino to come out in a while. If I had a ton of money I would get a Zeiss SF 10x42, but I think the HG 10x42 may be a very nice less expensive alternative.

I do wonder what Swaro is coming out with soon and I wonder if Ultravid plus will drop in price. The MHG isn't available for a while here in the US, so I have some time. If you end up trying the 8x42 MHG at a local store anytime soon please post your impressions. Good luck !
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 00:42   #10
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Tm,

You write: "I agree the specifications of the MHG 8x42 almost appear to offer some of the advantages of a 8x32 mid-size whilst at the same time surpassing or at least matching many of those available in the 8x42 format. All else being equal, if the optical quality is even approaching something like an EDG or, to widen it out, a Trinovid HD or Conquest HD then that appears to be pretty serious bang for buck."

It is reasonable to come to that conclusion. The EDGs were upgrades of Nikon's earlier HGL series of binoculars which were, at that time, Nikon's top of the line roof prism binoculars. The EDGs are competitive with Swarovski's, Leica's and Zeiss's top of the line binoculars. Their ratings compare very favorably with them on the Allbinos website. http://www.allbinos.com/rankings.html. Check the rankings of the 8x32, 8x42 and 10x42.

Nikon did retain for a short period the 8x32, 8x42 and 10x42 versions of the HGL series as their 2nd line binoculars with prices that were competitive with Leica's new Trinovid line and Zeiss's Conquests so it does appear that the new Monarch HGs are intended to be competitive with the above mentioned 2nd line Trinovids and Conquests of Leica and Zeiss.

The new Monarch HGs are upgraded with up to date coatings, wider FOVs and much lighter weight than the old HGL series binoculars had. Nikon stopped making and selling the old model HGLs when they introduced the new Monarch HGs.

No one knows whether or not Nikon is planning to offer 8x32 and 10x32 Monarch HGs.

Bob
Thanks again Ceasar. I was sort of in the process of trying to piece the Nikon backstory together but you've gone and done it for me. Thank you. I like allbinos although for the life of me I can't get the comparison feature to work ! It's also frustratingly incomplete in some areas. Some brands have little representation in the way of full reviews with some glaring omissions. A good source though nonetheless.

Nikon seems to very good at capitalising on the shifting sands of taste, specification and demand at a given price point and then pushing something out to fill that airgap quickly. Sometimes a little too quickly if I umderstand the debate around the EDG mk.1 at all. I guess the sheer scale of it's operation and infrastructure gives it a turn around time unlike most. For some (without starting a big debate about it) this could be seen as possibly degrading the marginal value of each subsequent nuanced upgrade and thus denigrating the marque. For others, a marvelous chance to almost constantly experience that feeling of being a half a length ahead of the curve with each new iteration...and for a relatively modest turn around price if they trade up frequently.



A x32 MHG might be a dream ticket as long as they hang onto a good ER which seems very likely. They would be shooting themselves in the foot not to. As I read around the subject more I just simply can't understand Leica's Ultravid 8x32 having such a pathetic ER of 13.3 Of course I'll try them at some point but short of a miracle they won't make a shortlist. I can't deny I like Leica. Their provenance in lenses and the M series cameras is legendary. They seem to be making it very difficult for me to feel the same way about their binos. The Trinovid HD's might however make the shortlist.

Thanks again Ceasar.

Tm
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 00:56   #11
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...As I read around the subject more I just simply can't understand Leica's Ultravid 8x32 having such a pathetic ER of 13.3 Of course I'll try them at some point but short of a miracle they won't make a shortlist. I can't deny I like Leica. Their provenance in lenses and the M series cameras is legendary. They seem to be making it very difficult for me to feel the same way about their binos. The Trinovid HD's might however make the shortlist.

Tm
Tm,

I have the 7x42 Ultravid+ which has sufficient 17mm ER. You may not be interested in the lower mag., but just throwing it out there.

Yes, it is very disappointing the UVid 8x32 has such short ER. I always wanted the little 8x32, but not enough ER for me unfortunately (I wear glasses).
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 01:15   #12
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I agree and that's why I'm looking at the MHG as well (10x42). I have a great primary binocular, but would like to have a 10x in the future for open areas.

The MHG 8x and 10x each offer very wide FOV along with flat field , are very lightweight and somewhat compact. The ER on both look great too. I think this is a good model to try out first since it does push things forward a bit in its price range. I think it's probably the most exciting "mid-tier" bino to come out in a while. If I had a ton of money I would get a Zeiss SF 10x42, but I think the HG 10x42 may be a very nice less expensive alternative.

I do wonder what Swaro is coming out with soon and I wonder if Ultravid plus will drop in price. The MHG isn't available for a while here in the US, so I have some time. If you end up trying the 8x42 MHG at a local store anytime soon please post your impressions. Good luck !
Hello Gilmore Girl. I have just referenced a thread you participated in I think. You express your frustrations at the Ultravid HD+ 8x32 having a derisory ER?

Totally agree.

I think the MHG is a good point to work from and I'll certainly report back. May be some time though. I'm also not that technically versed in systematically 'interrogating' a set of binoculars. I'll get my points of reference from the ones I have here - at least to start with.
It'll all come down to what I can get my paws on. With access to London, not wishing to exhibit a classic London-centric attitude, any manufacturer that can't supply a reasonable representation of it's wares won't go down well. Having said that, to be fair, cameras are constantly in high demand in London. Binoculars? Perhaps not so much. I'll travel if I can get the time within a working week to go at a quiet time, say a Tuesday morning. Saturday afternoon on a sunny May bank holiday probably isn't such a good idea.

Swarovski- I know nothing of this brand but clearly need to gen up on it for a fuller picture. I'm almost terrified to try them in case they turn out to be a contender at that


All the best

Tm
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 02:34   #13
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How about Zeiss 8x32 FL?

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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 18:08   #14
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Tm,

I have the 7x42 Ultravid+ which has sufficient 17mm ER. You may not be interested in the lower mag., but just throwing it out there.

Yes, it is very disappointing the UVid 8x32 has such short ER. I always wanted the little 8x32, but not enough ER for me unfortunately (I wear glasses).
That's an excellent idea. Hadn't even thought of a 7x.

I was just doing some experiments whilst watching the garden at dusk.

Observations were;

Because of my injuries I'm not able to really hold the binoculars steady in a classic standing, arms tucked in position for very long without it hurting so I end up with the better arm having a classic grip and the worse arm as just a barrel steadying touch.
I don't seem to have a rock solid stance even when bracing myself as best I can.

I was watching a Collared Dove in a tree at about 200- 220 yards (based on my golf reckoning). I could identify it clearly even in the fading light. It's quite a big beast and by no more than a rule of thumb I would say that watching detailed behaviour in bird would be pretty difficult at much more than that and enjoyment of plumage and whatnot at probably no more than 150 yards, maybe less. Less again for smaller birds.

A little wider field of view might be nice in exchange for sheer resolving power however.

A little more depth at moderate distances (the 7x yielding around a third of an f stop more 5.25- f6), a bit less unsteadyness and a brighter view in a given ambient light would also push viewing possibilities up. Certainly in the longer, more drawns out sunrise and set of higher seasons.

We have seascapes and panoramic views not far from here and a higher magnification might be indicated here for sheer resolving power. However, a bird in flight or a creature on the move is going to be easier to track across land or sea with my unsteadyness with a wider fov I'm coming to see.

I can't see this sort of open plain and high magnification type of viewing as being something I'm that interested in and could always get a cheap 10x or 12x for that (uh oh). However, I do like more open field 'panoramic' views so to speak. Taking a wider field in at a lower mag gives a more balanced general view that interesting and comfortable to take in.

I think for example, watching the quite predatory gulls fighting on a jetty over a discarded (or nabbed ) burger that a seaside visitor has lost would be more interesting as they come in, tussle and back off again from a wider view than a tighter one- at least for the spectacle/ behaviour of it. I see gulls all the time and know their plumage very well. I'm perhaps more interested in their intriguing and often amusing behaviour.
I need to get out and test these 8x in say, the onset of dusk at low tide on the coast and see if I'm getting what I want.

You've really got me thinking GG.

Thank you

Tm
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 18:14   #15
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How about Zeiss 8x32 FL?

--AP
Yep, Zeiss will be in the mix too. The new Terra compacts seem interesting and in fact much of their 8x range.

I'm interested to see how they 'fit' me. I have have much greater expectations at that money, as I will with all of these very expensive binoculars.

I also would like to try something like Opticron or Minox but I don't hold out much hope for finding them to try. I could and probably will be very wrong. Ha ha !

All the best Alexis

Tm
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 19:12   #16
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Because of my injuries I'm not able to really hold the binoculars steady in a classic standing, arms tucked in position for very long without it hurting so I end up with the better arm having a classic grip and the worse arm as just a barrel steadying touch.
I don't seem to have a rock solid stance even when bracing myself as best I can.

A little wider field of view might be nice in exchange for sheer resolving power however.

A little more depth at moderate distances (the 7x yielding around a third of an f stop more 5.25- f6), a bit less unsteadyness and a brighter view in a given ambient light would also push viewing possibilities up. Certainly in the longer, more drawns out sunrise and set of higher seasons.

We have seascapes and panoramic views not far from here and a higher magnification might be indicated here for sheer resolving power. However, a bird in flight or a creature on the move is going to be easier to track across land or sea with my unsteadyness with a wider fov I'm coming to see.

I can't see this sort of open plain and high magnification type of viewing as being something I'm that interested in and could always get a cheap 10x or 12x for that (uh oh). However, I do like more open field 'panoramic' views so to speak. Taking a wider field in at a lower mag gives a more balanced general view that interesting and comfortable to take in.


You've really got me thinking GG.

Thank you

Tm
I love (!) my 7x42 for the reasons you mentioned - calmer image, nice DOF and wide true FOV. Also, the large 6mm exit pupil is nice with glasses and makes the view easy and comfortable (no fuss). It's great on dull/dreary days.

I am going to buy a 10x to supplement, so I should be covered well with 7x and 10x . I won't bring both bins out, but I'll grab which one I think will serve me best (considering the habitat) before heading out.

I still have tendonitis in my L shoulder and I sometimes hold the bino the way you describe with my left hand just steadying the bino (barrel rests on my fingertips).
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 19:29   #17
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Themoog,

You don't say where you are in Kent but you may find an event near you with Opticron bins to try

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....ghlight=Events

and on the at-infocus website.
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 20:04   #18
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Hi TM!

When I decided to take up birding I already owned my old man's Zeiss 10x40 B/GA (Classic, Dialyt or whatever) but wanted something more pocketable. So I bought the Minox HG 8x33 MIJ which was very likable. Unfortunately I found out that I couldn't really get along with it, it was sort of difficult to perform a rapid focusing action with it.
I always seemed to overshoot, go back and forth and gone was the bird. If I at the time of purchase had understood that I only can use binoculars that focus clockwise towards infinity (just like Nikon's lenses), it would never have left the shelf. Even after having found out about my inability, I had serious doubts about the 8x format.

A Nikon Monarch X 10,5x45 I owned for a short period of time had a very bad CA handling and was sold. Then I bought a couple of 6,5x32 (Vortex Fury and Meopta Meopro, both great binoculars in many ways) and carried them together with a 10x32 each (Zeiss FL 10x32 and a Nikon HG 10x32), so I always brought two binoculars at the same time.

The general properties of all these binoculars along with their viewing characteristics taught me to better understand what I was seeing. I learned to assess a binocular rapidly and like or dismiss it.
I bought a Nikon E II 8x30 and an EDG II 7x42 based on my personal visual taste.
But even though those two, each in their own respect, IMO have the most exquisite view found on the planet, they are not the ones that see the most use.

My most used binocular is the Meopta Meostar B1 8x32. As a whole, they make it for me. Undeniably, they have a warm, nearly yellowish hue of the image that makes the view far from as compelling as the Nikon's.
But the tiny but extremely comfortable casing and its easy, wide, "open" view (search on the forum for PFOV !) more than make up for that.

And here's the funny thing. Had I chosen the Meopta over the Minox, I would probably not have dealt with any of the abovementioned (and more still) binoculars. Bliss of ignorance!
When I initially only was after a smaller binocular, I was perfectly satisfied with the old Zeiss's view. In fact, the Meostar and the old Zeiss are not that far apart in terms of the view. And if the information I have acquired is correct, the Meopta made Cabela's Euro HD 8x32 has a better colour rendition than the European standard version.
I might get one of those in the future, but am not perfectly sure. My current binocular stable is completed and the expense for the Euro HD might not add much. But I do know the Meostar would be the last of my binoculars to sell if I was forced to only own one.

Best of luck with your odyssey!

//L
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Old Thursday 19th January 2017, 00:21   #19
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Themoog,

You don't say where you are in Kent but you may find an event near you with Opticron bins to try

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....ghlight=Events

and on the at-infocus website.
Thank you for that Wanderer.

(A fan of The Quo by any chance?)

I was after Slartibartfast from HHGTTG but someone done gone and nicked it already.

I'm going to be laid up for another month more or less so those dates are a little too early for me. I'll refer to the website when I'm fit and ready though.

Thank you

Tm
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Old Thursday 19th January 2017, 00:52   #20
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Hi TM!

When I decided to take up birding I already owned my old man's Zeiss 10x40 B/GA (Classic, Dialyt or whatever) but wanted something more pocketable. So I bought the Minox HG 8x33 MIJ which was very likable. Unfortunately I found out that I couldn't really get along with it, it was sort of difficult to perform a rapid focusing action with it.
I always seemed to overshoot, go back and forth and gone was the bird. If I at the time of purchase had understood that I only can use binoculars that focus clockwise towards infinity (just like Nikon's lenses), it would never have left the shelf. Even after having found out about my inability, I had serious doubts about the 8x format.

A Nikon Monarch X 10,5x45 I owned for a short period of time had a very bad CA handling and was sold. Then I bought a couple of 6,5x32 (Vortex Fury and Meopta Meopro, both great binoculars in many ways) and carried them together with a 10x32 each (Zeiss FL 10x32 and a Nikon HG 10x32), so I always brought two binoculars at the same time.

The general properties of all these binoculars along with their viewing characteristics taught me to better understand what I was seeing. I learned to assess a binocular rapidly and like or dismiss it.
I bought a Nikon E II 8x30 and an EDG II 7x42 based on my personal visual taste.
But even though those two, each in their own respect, IMO have the most exquisite view found on the planet, they are not the ones that see the most use.

My most used binocular is the Meopta Meostar B1 8x32. As a whole, they make it for me. Undeniably, they have a warm, nearly yellowish hue of the image that makes the view far from as compelling as the Nikon's.
But the tiny but extremely comfortable casing and its easy, wide, "open" view (search on the forum for PFOV !) more than make up for that.

And here's the funny thing. Had I chosen the Meopta over the Minox, I would probably not have dealt with any of the abovementioned (and more still) binoculars. Bliss of ignorance!
When I initially only was after a smaller binocular, I was perfectly satisfied with the old Zeiss's view. In fact, the Meostar and the old Zeiss are not that far apart in terms of the view. And if the information I have acquired is correct, the Meopta made Cabela's Euro HD 8x32 has a better colour rendition than the European standard version.
I might get one of those in the future, but am not perfectly sure. My current binocular stable is completed and the expense for the Euro HD might not add much. But I do know the Meostar would be the last of my binoculars to sell if I was forced to only own one.

Best of luck with your odyssey!

//L
Thank you for that Looksharp.

A salutory lesson in objective vs subjective. Why it would be so important for me to try the binoculars myself. I'll check out the Meostars but may struggle to put my paws on any.

This thread is starting to accumulate a wealth of incredible information and I'm most grateful to everyone for pitching in.

In another window I'm currently enjoying what appears to be a good old debate about wether the Swaro CL- P 8x25's are truly a 'pocket' bin (I'm on page 4 of well, many and back in January of 2014 still).

On the, shall we for arguments sake, call 'compact' side of things which is tempting to me for sheer portability, they seem a relatively financially modest way into the highest realms of quality portable glass with good ER to boot. Gotta get another cup of tea and a biscuit and see where this one goes.

You folks really do love a good thrash about and some frankly astounding and really interesting things get chucked into the ring in the process. It's really useful to read- I'm learning from a pool of experience I simply couldn't aquire anywhere or anyway else. I wonder if the people who design, manufacture, market, distribute and sell binoculars tune into this? If I was into this market I certainly would. Experience at the coalface, so to speak, is so valuable.

I'm quickly learning that if I want a good warts'n'all opinion on pretty much any lenses I care to research, typing 'productx birdforum.net' into the search engine will throw up a good debate I can get engrossed in.

Same on technical stuff with physics that would put an outside broadcast engineer to the test. I'm also getting some great advice on nest related stuff for my garden.
Anyway.

All the best. It's already proving to be an engrossing odyssey !

Tm
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Old Thursday 19th January 2017, 03:02   #21
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Tm,

You wrote in post #14:

"A little more depth at moderate distances (the 7x yielding around a third of an f stop more 5.25- f6), a bit less unsteadyness and a brighter view in a given ambient light would also push viewing possibilities up. Certainly in the longer, more drawns out sunrise and set of higher seasons.

We have seascapes and panoramic views not far from here and a higher magnification might be indicated here for sheer resolving power. However, a bird in flight or a creature on the move is going to be easier to track across land or sea with my unsteadyness with a wider fov I'm coming to see."

It seems that you have discovered on your own the merits of using a good wide field 7x binocular on flying birds.

Jerry Liquori, who wrote two excellent books on identifying hawks in flight: HAWKS At A Distance and HAWKS From Any Angle; wrote in a paragraph on "Optics for Hawk Watching" in the former book that he used 7x binoculars because of their wide field of view and that, because of their "unmatched" FOV, he had used Zeiss 7x45 Night Owls from 1994 till 2008 when he switched to a Zeiss 7x42 Victory FL.

Bob

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Old Thursday 19th January 2017, 07:57   #22
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Thank you for that Looksharp.

You folks really do love a good thrash about and some frankly astounding and really interesting things get chucked into the ring in the process. It's really useful to read- I'm learning from a pool of experience I simply couldn't aquire anywhere or anyway else. I wonder if the people who design, manufacture, market, distribute and sell binoculars tune into this? If I was into this market I certainly would. Experience at the coalface, so to speak, is so valuable.

Tm
Zen and the art of Binocular Choice

Eventually your head will break.

I think we've frightened off the makers etc from direct (confrontation) contact but they are watching (no doubt with excruciating expressions) for sure. I recently grumbled about some service only to receive a direct email form those concerned in what must have been only a matter of seconds later. I was happy.

You can still leave .... but you must do it now while there is still time
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Old Thursday 19th January 2017, 09:42   #23
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Thank you for that Wanderer.

(A fan of The Quo by any chance?)

I was after Slartibartfast from HHGTTG but someone done gone and nicked it already.

I'm going to be laid up for another month more or less so those dates are a little too early for me. I'll refer to the website when I'm fit and ready though.

Thank you

Tm
May Zarquon's blessings be upon you!

My choice for mid range 8x 32 would be between Conquest HD, Meopta B1 and Kowa Genesis 8x33. Undoubtedly there are others and as a brand that I feel you can always rely on there is Opticron and they do a rather nice 7x36 (BGA Classic) which is nice and bright, easy eyeplacement, easy to hold and 19mm eye relief. Typo (David) on here is a big fan and I have looked through his and it is a gem.

Lee
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Old Thursday 19th January 2017, 22:22   #24
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Tm,


It seems that you have discovered on your own the merits of using a good wide field 7x binocular on flying birds.

Jerry Liquori, who wrote two excellent books on identifying hawks in flight: HAWKS At A Distance and HAWKS From Any Angle; wrote in a paragraph on "Optics for Hawk Watching" in the former book that he used 7x binoculars because of their wide field of view and that, because of their "unmatched" FOV, he had used Zeiss 7x45 Night Owls from 1994 till 2008 when he switched to a Zeiss 7x42 Victory FL.

Bob
Ceasar, yes, it's a compelling option which will need to be factored into the equation. Gilmore Girl has certainly opened another raft of possibilities.

Some good news is that I've just ordered a new 'Man bag' which despite being considered being very effete in the UK by many, I find extremely useful.

It's one of these;

http://www.511tactical.com/2-banger-bag.html

....having carried one of these below around with me day and night, rain or shine for the last five years;

http://blackhawk.com/Products/Bags-P...attle-Bag.aspx

The Blackhawk was great but the plastic of the main clip lost it's securing tines and Blackhawk were a bit meh about letting me buy new ones. Shame. Good kit.

There's going to be room to include a set of all but the big and heavy binoculars in there wrapped in a soft cloth bag/wrapper or a leather pouch(think all the bags provided with bins I see pictured appear to be an afterthought or gesture imho) along with my usual tuht. (tuht -in case that doesn't translate = derogatory; tat, rubbish, cheap useless bits and bobs etc. junk shop stuff - fair translations fellow brits?)

I've also got into the habit of making use of other kit carrying options when I've been back to hospital for example and was pleased to find that the current bins I have will fit into a military style bum bag (chortle chortle) I was bought.

Between the two I've got enough daily capacity to keep the bins with me as I had anticipated.

All the best

Tm

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Old Thursday 19th January 2017, 22:35   #25
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Zen and the art of Binocular Choice

Eventually your head will break.

I think we've frightened off the makers etc from direct (confrontation) contact but they are watching (no doubt with excruciating expressions) for sure. I recently grumbled about some service only to receive a direct email form those concerned in what must have been only a matter of seconds later. I was happy.

You can still leave .... but you must do it now while there is still time
Ha ha. That all sounds scarily Blair Witch somehow. I'll keep the engine running, the keys in a safe place and won't look behind me....ever

Good news that manufacturers keep an eye here even , as you say, in a more surreptitious way.

Wasn't one of the threads of Pirzig's book that sometimes, a piece of tin from a Coke can makes a perfectly good engine shim but will rejected because it doesn't have BMW stamped on it? The debates I've seen on here transcribe in many ways eh?

Someone once said to me that we never grow out of toys; they just get more expensive as we get older



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