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Old Thursday 26th May 2005, 16:31   #1
Justin
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Cornell Lab Binocular Review

Does anyone have the link to the latest Cornell Lab Binocular Review. Thanks.

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Old Monday 30th May 2005, 01:31   #2
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Do you mean the one in the Living Bird magazine? Yes Justin, I have that. You have it too?
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Old Monday 30th May 2005, 02:28   #3
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AFAIK Cornell does not publish their "recent" Living Bird articles on the 'net.

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Old Monday 30th May 2005, 20:52   #4
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Yeah, I know what you mean Bill. This year's binocular review won't be on the net for 'a while'.
Have you seen that review? If you have, do you agree with it?
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Old Monday 30th May 2005, 23:01   #5
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marcus, we had a long thread about this a few months ago. Someone (I think it was Henry Link) provided a nice summary of the findings. I suppose it's inevitable in a forum full of binocular hobbyists such as this that many found the Living Bird article to be disappointingly lacking in technical detail (e.g., "image quality" was boiled down to one number for each model). One person thought the author was too much in love with Swarovski (more in the commentary than the scores) and showed too little respect for the new Nikons. The scoring and commentary were mostly based upon opinions of casual birders, not optical experts. Your opinion of the article will likely depend upon where your own favorites were ranked. Those whose favorites were at the top were more forgiving than those whose bins fell into the middle of the pack.

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Old Monday 30th May 2005, 23:23   #6
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Greetings!

In general, I would agree with Curtis - some of the results seem overly biased. In any case, here is a link to the article:

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/publica...g99/binos.html

Best wishes,
Bawko
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Old Monday 30th May 2005, 23:47   #7
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Bawko, That link is for a 1999 article. The most recent one is in the Winter 2005 issue of Living Bird.
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Old Monday 30th May 2005, 23:52   #8
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Here is the link for the thread on the last article:

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=27639
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Old Tuesday 31st May 2005, 00:02   #9
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BTW, in last issue they had a summary of the new Swift 8x42 Ultralite roofs. Apparently it arrived too late to get included in the previous article. Several of the reviewers have looked at it and they gave the optics a better rating than the highly rated (for a mid-price) Nikon Monarch. It appears to be pretty similar to the rather ubiquitous $250 - $300 42mm roofs.

Although at 25 oz or more I don't think you can really consider it to be an "ultralite".
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Old Tuesday 31st May 2005, 00:55   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Atwood
BTW, in last issue they had a summary of the new Swift 8x42 Ultralite roofs. Apparently it arrived too late to get included in the previous article. Several of the reviewers have looked at it and they gave the optics a better rating than the highly rated (for a mid-price) Nikon Monarch. It appears to be pretty similar to the rather ubiquitous $250 - $300 42mm roofs.

Although at 25 oz or more I don't think you can really consider it to be an "ultralite".
I'm glad to here that because The new swift ultra-lites are what I have now but I relied on the dealer's opinion quite a bit in picking those. The longer I've had them the more I like them.It's funny how you have to kind of get used to binoculars sometimes.
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Old Tuesday 31st May 2005, 04:29   #11
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Thanks for the responses to my initial question on the Cornell Lab review. I do not have the Winter 2005 issue, but may try to get my hands on it. I am mostly curious about their opinion of the Leica Ultravids and the poor marks they gave the Nikon HGL's, which they so highly praised in 99'.

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Old Tuesday 31st May 2005, 04:42   #12
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Cornell Lab Binocular Review

Bill,

I just read your February summary of the latest Cornell Lab review. In it you seem to indicate that a higher rating on the various scales was a better score. In an earlier undated Cornell review available in their web site they state that in the 1-5 scales and in the overall rankings a 1 is the highest score. Did I misunderstand your summary; or did Cornell change their ranking method in the latest review?

Thanks
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Old Tuesday 31st May 2005, 06:26   #13
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In the latest survey, high numbers are better than low numbers. Tops is 5.
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Old Tuesday 31st May 2005, 16:38   #14
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Thanks Curtis.
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Old Wednesday 1st June 2005, 13:33   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin
Thanks for the responses to my initial question on the Cornell Lab review. I do not have the Winter 2005 issue, but may try to get my hands on it. I am mostly curious about their opinion of the Leica Ultravids and the poor marks they gave the Nikon HGL's, which they so highly praised in 99'.

Justin
Ifyou get the chance to actually use some of the high-end binos, and then compare them to the new Nikon LXL/HGL, you'll be even more curious about their conclusions.
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Old Wednesday 1st June 2005, 16:48   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin
Thanks for the responses to my initial question on the Cornell Lab review. I do not have the Winter 2005 issue, but may try to get my hands on it. I am mostly curious about their opinion of the Leica Ultravids and the poor marks they gave the Nikon HGL's, which they so highly praised in 99'.

Justin
"Rounding out the 'perfect-image' club were Leica's 7x42 and 8x42 Ultravids and Swarovski's 8.5x42 EL... Although the new Leicas won instant fans among our testers, others were less than enamored with their overall feel, and these Leicas don't focus as closely as the other top models."

"Nikon, which now leads in all of our less-expensive categories, sent us a prototype of their brand new 8x42 Premier LX, a reworked, more lightweight version of their acclaimed Venturer. Although the image offered by these new Nikons is excellent, it didn't quite match the top-ranked models (one reviewer noted slight color-fringing), and some revieweres did not care for their heavier and bulkier feel (ironic, becasue the Nikon Venturer set the standard for usability five years ago). But a lower suggested retail price than most other top models may make these binoculars quite attractive." (Both quotes from Living Bird, Winter 2005, p.38).

Two observations: Even with the quoted reservations, the Nikon Premier LX received a significantly better "image quality" score than any of the mid-priced models. Also, the tested bin was a prototype. Maybe there were production bugs yet to be worked out.
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Old Thursday 2nd June 2005, 03:06   #17
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dwalton,

I've tried the new Nikon HGL's and thought they were awesome. I tried them alongside the Zeiss FL's and Swarovski El's and in my opinion they held their own quite easily. Interestingly, I had my dad try them all out (he has no prior binocular experience) and he immediately latched onto the Nikons as his favorite. The user friendliness that they provide really does make them quite an attractive binocular. I am looking forward to comparing one alongside a Leica Ultravid.


Curtis,

Thanks for the quotes from the article. It is too bad, and a little unfair to Nikon, that a prototype was used. One has to wonder what the outcome would have been with a finished product. Anyway, I phoned the Cornell Lab today and asked for a copy of the Winter 2005 edition.


Justin

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Old Thursday 2nd June 2005, 06:47   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin
Thanks for the quotes from the article. It is too bad, and a little unfair to Nikon, that a prototype was used. One has to wonder what the outcome would have been with a finished product. Anyway, I phoned the Cornell Lab today and asked for a copy of the Winter 2005 edition.
Justin
There are deadlines to be met, and it's up to the manufacturer to supply a representative product. I'm just offering the prototype explanation as a hypothetical excuse for the slightly-less-than-first-place optical performance of the Nikon. On the other hand, I have no specific knowledge nor do I see anything in the article that would lead me to believe that the Nikon Venturer LX on test was below standard for that model. It also has to be said, for any of the models tested, that apparently only one sample was available. There's no assurance that any of them were representative of typical production. My brief experience leads me to believe that optical performance of any of the top models is very close, and that even cheaper models can be quite competitive if only the center part of the field is evaluated. Handling or any of a host of other subjective considerations could easily override minor optical differences for a given birder. It's also quite possible that some of us in the older set are simply incapable of seeing differences that are readily visible to younger birders.
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Old Thursday 2nd June 2005, 10:53   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis Croulet
There are deadlines to be met, and it's up to the manufacturer to supply a representative product. I'm just offering the prototype explanation as a hypothetical excuse for the slightly-less-than-first-place optical performance of the Nikon. On the other hand, I have no specific knowledge nor do I see anything in the article that would lead me to believe that the Nikon Venturer LX on test was below standard for that model. It also has to be said, for any of the models tested, that apparently only one sample was available. There's no assurance that any of them were representative of typical production. My brief experience leads me to believe that optical performance of any of the top models is very close, and that even cheaper models can be quite competitive if only the center part of the field is evaluated. Handling or any of a host of other subjective considerations could easily override minor optical differences for a given birder. It's also quite possible that some of us in the older set are simply incapable of seeing differences that are readily visible to younger birders.
Curtis,

When I directly compared the LX 8X42 to Leica, Swaro, and Zeiss equivalents I observed that the Nikons didn't have that superb "snap into focus" that I wanted. One of my eyes has lost a lot of elasticity and I absolutely need a crystal sharp image to be comfortable. In direct comparison I found the Leica marginally superior to the Swaro EL 8.5 in this regard. The Leica and Zeiss FL both effortlessly snapped into focus...for me. My SE snaps into focus better than any bin I've used and, in doing so, sets a very high level of expectation. In short, once you've seen perfection it's hard to settle for less.

I'm absolutely convinced, however, that the Nikon LX is a superb binocular and that most eyes would find it amazingly bright, colorful and extremely sharp. My eyes just needed something different.

John
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Old Thursday 2nd June 2005, 12:51   #20
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Originally Posted by Justin
It is too bad, and a little unfair to Nikon, that a prototype was used. One has to wonder what the outcome would have been with a finished product.
Justin,

As so many optics experts have mentioned here and elsewhere (Kimmo, Henry, Chris Garvey, Bill Cook etc.), optical quality of the top scopes and binoculars seems to vary more within a make than between the makes. This would quite nicely explain the different results of different tests, even by the same testers. Unfortunately this also renders most reviews relatively meaningless: most just rely on the unit that the manufacturer/importer has sent. On the other hand, one thing (among others) that IMHO makes the Alula reviews so highly regarded, is that they so openly mention the possibility of individual variation and they - to some extent - seem to have a possibility to cherry-pick the tested optics.

Ilkka
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Old Friday 3rd June 2005, 08:09   #21
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Originally Posted by John Traynor
... The Leica and Zeiss FL both effortlessly snapped into focus...for me. My SE snaps into focus better than any bin I've used and, in doing so, sets a very high level of expectation. In short, once you've seen perfection it's hard to settle for less. ...
I should have bought the Nikon SE last year. With my recent investment in the 7x42 FL, I can't afford to buy the SE... and learn the terrible truth!

As for binocular reviews, Cornell Lab is for the birds. I think the base of binocular knowledge at BF is great, and unique. No pussy-footing around tough issues, no sacred cows, product sampling across continents, real-time updates, laughs galore, free. What's not to like?
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Old Friday 3rd June 2005, 19:47   #22
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So, Rico, are you saying there's a "sacred cow" at Cornell? Do you think the Cornell test suffered from "pussy-footing?"
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