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Old Friday 22nd September 2017, 16:01   #26
Steve C
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Steve:

I also think our little sparring match yesterday, was too much, and
I should develop a thicker skin.
The effort you put in with these comparisons and the reviews are well
done, and appreciated.

Hey, I don't mind any of the newcomers to the marketplace, they are
some very nice optics.

I just don't want anyone to forget some of the others out there, with
some exclusive design features.

It is nice, we have so many choices in todays world.

I think we can agree to disagree sometimes.

Jerry
Jerry,

Sure we can agree to disagree . The world can be a dangerous place when everybody thinks alike, or disagrees too much. OK I evidently either missed something or completely misunderstood something through the history of your posts. I'm not sure what, but something. I had it firmly fixed in my thought process that you were pretty adamantly opposed to the influx of new binocular brands. Reading your last post, I was either mistaken, or our views have evolved. One thing about reviewing the better end of the mid tier glass is that comparisons to alpha glass tends to bring forth what can seem to be a horde of alpha owners swinging swords. You either stick to your opinion and swing back or run away and hide. That has in the past, I'm sure, made for some interesting threads. Jerry, I had you more or less pegged into that category, right or wrong, there it is. The appearance of certain posters evidently caused me to perhaps prematurely place my hand on the hilt of my sword.

Aside from my shoving match with Jerry, It seems that generally there is far too much though process centred on the idea that all of these newcomers are indeed just laser printing off funny money and heading to an Asian back alley and waiting for the equivalent of ..."pssst, buddy you wanna a deal on some real good binoculars?" As I have said before, that kind of thing surely does happen, but look to the cheap crap from the cheap end of binoculars on Amazon if that is what you are looking to find. It should be pretty evident to anybody who has any objectivity left in their viewing process that binoculars like these, who most cannot tell from the real deal top tier glass are many steps above the $500 suitcase full class. It will be real hard for anybody to not think the GPO and the Maven are not way more expensive than they are or to think that a Stryka or Tract are not superlative instruments when you look at the price tag.

Gilmore Girl, I agree with every word of your last post. That is a point I try to make. Sometimes less successfully than other times.

Now I have 120 acres of hay that I have to get cut today. I'll take 150 if I can get it, but I'll finish after dark running the lights. Thank you lord for the John Deere W 235 swather and gps. I'm going to be in it all day. Just like yesterday, and tomorrow, and the day after
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Old Saturday 23rd September 2017, 06:24   #27
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Make hay while the sun shines.
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Old Saturday 23rd September 2017, 16:43   #28
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Make hay while the sun shines.
Good advice . I finished last night under the headlights at 10:00. Cutting in the sunshine is way preferable.
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Old Saturday 23rd September 2017, 17:51   #29
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It would appear that these lenses are in competition, perhaps not so much head to head, for whom may be the better price point bargain .

Should be interesting to watch for Black Friday/post X-mas prices to see what if any incentives are offered.

Discount pricing being much preferred over X$ gift certificate.
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Old Saturday 23rd September 2017, 18:18   #30
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It would appear that these lenses are in competition, perhaps not so much head to head, for whom may be the better price point bargain .

Should be interesting to watch for Black Friday/post X-mas prices to see what if any incentives are offered.

Discount pricing being much preferred over X$ gift certificate.

Tract has $80 off of their binoculars right now, making the Toric an astounding sub $600 glass. The regular price is a steal, this is downright crinimal......!
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Old Saturday 23rd September 2017, 19:06   #31
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......
Should be interesting to watch for Black Friday/post X-mas prices to see what if any incentives are offered.

Discount pricing being much preferred over X$ gift certificate.
Last year Maven offered a $200 gift certificate when a primary product was purchased at full price.

Tract had a 15% off promotion in December of 2016.

GPO was just started this year so we will have to see if they do anything special.

I do not know about any Styrka past holiday promotions but they have a $100 instant rebate promotion on the S9 till the end of September. That puts the Optics Planet 8X42 S9 at $879 and they have a10% off promotion till Tuesday with a coupon code of FALL. That brings it down to $791.10 with free shipping.

Keep in mind that what they did last year is not a guarantee they will do the same this year. For example, the Tract Elk Camp promotion last year was $100 off and this year it is $80 off.
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Old Sunday 24th September 2017, 00:53   #32
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Tract has $80 off of their binoculars right now, making the Toric an astounding sub $600 glass. The regular price is a steal, this is downright crinimal......!
JG:

I agree with your post. Steve gave us a very nice review to go by.

These binoculars are all very similar.

Jerry
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Old Monday 6th November 2017, 04:04   #33
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OK, now that I have had some additional time, Iím going to edit this review slightly. I said at the outset that this was not intended to be a shootout, winner take all review. I said then that the optics of each of these were too close to call an effective field worthy difference. I still think that way, but because that is how I view these binoculars, that does not mean I canít rank them. I was also asked which one would I pick for my own, Iíll answer that one too.

Maven B1: This is at the top for two reasons, one is I happen to like the ability to customize my binocular. Others could care less, but even here there are three different stock color choices. This has nothing to do with its optics or birding qualities, but here it is. Second it is here because of its wider than stated fov. Most readers think they need that, and this is one of this group that provides it. It has outstanding, crisp, bright images with good contrast, and color saturation. For me it is about right in ergonomics, it simply feels right in hand an at the eye.

GPO Passion HD: This is the hardest one of the bunch to rank. If this had a wider fov, then it would probably rank ahead of the Maven B1. Now I think this happens to be a nit picker of a reason, because I can find no particular objection, as I stated in the review, in viewing ability with the 375í fov. That is a deal breaker for some. I have no problem with that. I have come to the preference over the years of an 8* 8x binocular and since this is my preference, I will place this glass second. The eye cups and focuser are as good you will find in any binocular at any price. Some will pick the B1 as the most solid, but I think many will prefer the GPO in this regard. Like the Maven, it simply feels right in the hand at at the eye, my hands and eyes anyway. Other than the fov, the only practical difference is in ergonomics, which is largely a function of the considerable difference in the tactile feel of the B1 and the HD and in the difference in feel of the eye cup assemblies. Some are going to prefer the Maven focus and some the GPO.

Stryka S9: This is nearly as hard to rank as the GPO, and it is kind of hard to put this glass in third place, as it is really an impressive binocular. It is the only one of the bunch with S15 prism glass. Whether a function of the prism glass or not, this glass has a brightness advantage in dark, gray, dreary day viewing. Not so much in twilight compared to the others, but in the dark and dreary it shines. The eye cups assemblies are a little to weak in their detent positions, but the eye cup is quite comfortable up to my eye. It is a little too fat for my tastes and it would be better served with a bit more length between the hinges. It is not the most comfortable for me to hold, hence the third place rate.

Tract Toric: The primary reason for the ranking here is that the Toric has somewhat less depth of focus than those above it. Get in close and I find more focus wheel use than with the three above it. If you are not looking for this, which is something I have come to look for in a review, then it may well pass unnoticed. Another reason for the placement here is that the eye cups tend to be a bit loose at the top of their extension, the will wiggle a bit. The final reason is that the diopter ring is too easy to move and I had to set it several times during the course of my time with it. Tract states that this is the best binocular you can buy for less than $700, and as I said in the review, Iím not inclined to cast doubt in that direction. It is pretty amazing what they apparently got under the hood in this binocular for the price charged.

While I view the overall presentation of the eye cup assembly as a bit of a downer, I should note that the may well be the most comfortable for many people. A friend of mine stopped in the other day asking about binoculars. He had an old insta-focus Bushnell Discoverer 7x35. He honed in pretty quickly on the Tract because it fit his eyes. He has a fairly large nose and somewhat deep set eyes, though neither feature is extreme.

Stryka S7: OK, for irony, this is probably the binocular Iíd take for my own. I rank it here because it is not as good at CA control as the others. Like all of them, glare is well done, and I came to the point where I donít notice the CA nearly like I did at first. So why would I pick it? Well is is one of the most compact 42 mm binoculars I know of, the others being the GPO Passion ED and the Maven C1. I have 8x32ís longer than this one. The image is bright and sharp, and it is a very wide field, as measured, not stated. The size aspect is its personal draw. Eye placement is better for me than most 8x32 mm binoculars and it is just sometimes nice to have a smaller bit of gear to deal with.

There always seems to be some degree of angst stirred up when these $700-1,000 binoculars come up. There is nothing really new here. What, in my view has happened is technology transfer and the simple fact that we have reached the point in traditional porro and roof prism binoculars where there is not a lot of room left for really significant improvement. Improvement certainly is not dead and there is always room for improvement somewhere. It is not nearly as difficult to hone the technology to produce glass and apply coatings and generally produce binoculars as it was even ten years ago. The upper tier of binoculars will likely always be better built and companies will vary in their longevity and in their customer service, distribution, and promotion capabilities. This class of binocular has come to define a standard for very good quality for half of the price of the alpha binoculars. They are not as good, I have never said that, and really donít think that either.

Whether or not you buy a binocular form this price range, or whether you do what you have to do to save up the $$ for a top tier glass is I think dependent on two things. First is the level of disposable income and how far it has to go. The second is how a particular individual prefers to view their stuff as the best they can get or whether or not they can be happy with spending less. Personally if I wanted to, I could have bought a top tier binocular some time ago. From my standpoint the top tier is almost as good as their hype says they are, which is to say almost good enough to convince me to hand over the credit card.. The next tier down is as good as the hype says they are. The differences are pretty small, or pretty large depending on your viewpoint. Buy what suits you. Use what you buy and enjoy the binocular you have. You will not miss out on seeing what is out there to be seen with any one of these binoculars along for the trip.
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Old Monday 6th November 2017, 07:44   #34
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Hi Steve, thanks for that follow-up.
Could you please measure the length of the Styrka S7 8x42? (That is, with caps off and eyecups in.) The only images I can find to assess its size are a comparison with a human hand in a YouTube video, where it appears to be even shorter than the 5.5 inches stated by Styrka!
Also could you please give an idea of its sharpness in comparison with the other instruments in your group? (In the first post of this thread you say that its image is "overall bright and sharp".)
Thank you! Adhoc

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Old Monday 6th November 2017, 10:45   #35
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In Styrka's website is an interesting section, with videos, titled Honesty in Optics.

In it they also say the following (only extracts here). Does any other manufr. offer this service?

"STYRKA PRIDE...At STYRKA we offer more than a warranty; we make a commitment...It's the warranty to beat all warranties...Not only will we take care of your STYRKA product if you ever have a problem, we'll take care of it even if you don't.//That’s right. Once a year, you can send us your STYRKA optic and we'll clean it, tune it as needed and send it back to you virtually as good as new, on our dime. Forever. Yes, we're that serious."

PS. I have now noted that (contra Steve, and until now myself) it is Styrka, not Stryka. Sorry! In this post and the one above I now correct the name.

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Old Monday 6th November 2017, 16:23   #36
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I'm merely a recreational bird watcher however I encounter very serious birders all the time and have for decades because of where I work. I'm also a confessed binocular geek.

To suggest that some people don't consider the brand of binocular they will be wearing and how others will view their choice in the birding community is very dishonest. This is merely a fact. People do it with cars, clothes and yes, binocular choices too. Gasp and act offended if you wish, but that doesn't change the fact that many people would "never be seen" with anything other than a well-accepted "Alpha" on their person and in the last 30 years I've watched that go from Zeiss to Leica to now Swaro.

We're probably all adults here so let's just be honest.

I am thrilled to see reviews like this one because it dispenses with the notion that only "big green" is worthy and everything else is inferior - only to be seen around the necks of peasants.

Personally, I sold a mint pair of Swaro SLC HD's a few years ago because I prefered the view from my VERY beat up old Nikon LX-L's. The Swaro's were actually kind of annoying for me to use and I haven't missed them at all. Frankly, I'm glad I couldn't care less what anyone thinks of my binocular choice. It's very liberating to the mind and the wallet.

I run across a lot of very open minded birders these days, thanks to the outstanding quality of these lesser-known brands. When I see someone with a pair of LX-L's or even older Bushnell Elites or Cabelas Euro's, I always nod in approval because that to me is a smart shopper.

Thanks to this review, it looks like I have a few other bins to review myself now. And I look forward to the opportunity. If they can beat my ratty old LX-L's, they might just go home with me.

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Old Monday 6th November 2017, 17:07   #37
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In Styrka's website is an interesting section, with videos, titled Honesty in Optics.

In it they also say the following (only extracts here). Does any other manufr. offer this service?

"STYRKA PRIDE...At STYRKA we offer more than a warranty; we make a commitment...It's the warranty to beat all warranties...Not only will we take care of your STYRKA product if you ever have a problem, we'll take care of it even if you don't.//That’s right. Once a year, you can send us your STYRKA optic and we'll clean it, tune it as needed and send it back to you virtually as good as new, on our dime. Forever. Yes, we're that serious."

PS. I have now noted that (contra Steve, and until now myself) it is Styrka, not Stryka. Sorry! In this post and the one above I now correct the name.
Ouch! For whatever reason that blasted name gives me fits! In the separate Styrka review I posted, I misspelled it every time I used it. Somebody, Lee I think, caught it early and gently suggested I get off top dead center and change the spelling, which I did. I had to ask KCFoggin to change it in the title. So here I am, at it again

I am not aware of another manufacturer that does this as a a warranty policy.

The Styrka S7 is 5.43" long, eye cups down and objective covers off. That compares to the Maven B3 8x30 at 5.0 inches and the Theron Wapiti 8x32 at 5.25 inches. The S9 and the Toric are 6.0 inches, the B1 and GPO are 6.25 inches. The GPO ED is the same length as the S7 and the Maven C1 is 5.2 inches.

As to sharpness. In that regard all I can say is that they all read the same element on a USAF chart at 25 meters to the same degree of clarity and sharpness. They also define equally well something like power line wires against a sagebrush-Juniper hillside background. Power line at a mile and hillside at 2 miles.
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Old Monday 6th November 2017, 23:36   #38
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........
Tract Toric: The primary reason for the ranking here is that the Toric has somewhat less depth of focus than those above it. Get in close and I find more focus wheel use than with the three above it.
..............
Steve ...... Am I correct is concluding the Toric has a "slower" focus than the others? By slower, I mean there is noticeably more rotation travel going from close focus to infinity, assuming they all have similar close focus distance specs.

Your rankings make a lot of sense especially taking in consideration your explanations. I do not necessarily look at the rankings as one is better than the other but how one best meets you needs and preferences. They all look to be similar and so different folks with different preferences may shift the list a little. You explanations make it easy to make adjustments. This class of binoculars (which I think of as the Ziess Conquest HD class) is getting so close that the choice may be just come down to best price.


If it is not to much work, could you add a summary list of the FOV of the various models you have reviewed over the last year or so and state if that is a measured number or the specs per the seller. I lost track. I do know there have been a lot of differences in spec and actual for the Kamakura made models.

Thanks.
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 01:15   #39
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Steve ...... Am I correct is concluding the Toric has a "slower" focus than the others? By slower, I mean there is noticeably more rotation travel going from close focus to infinity, assuming they all have similar close focus distance specs.

Your rankings make a lot of sense especially taking in consideration your explanations. I do not necessarily look at the rankings as one is better than the other but how one best meets you needs and preferences. They all look to be similar and so different folks with different preferences may shift the list a little. You explanations make it easy to make adjustments. This class of binoculars (which I think of as the Ziess Conquest HD class) is getting so close that the choice may be just come down to best price.


If it is not to much work, could you add a summary list of the FOV of the various models you have reviewed over the last year or so and state if that is a measured number or the specs per the seller. I lost track. I do know there have been a lot of differences in spec and actual for the Kamakura made models.

Thanks.
Bruce, all of the binoculars from the review go from close focus distance to 75 feet in a full turn, There is around a quarter turn to infinity from there. Some have some over travel past infinity. Focus them all at 75 feet and all show objects in focus several feet closer than the Toric. The Toric, focused at 75 feet shows objects in focus down to 70 feet. The rest show objects in focus down to 60-65 feet.

I'll have to see what sort of a list I can do with regards fov. What I can say I have found is wider than stated fov. None of the variation I have found is for narrower than specified fov.

I tend to think the best way to rank is by how well a binocular fits the potential users ideals. I think you could add a Leica Trinovid, Zeiss Conquest HD, and the Nikon Monarch HG, or whatever else in that range, and have just that much more difficulty in analyzing how to rank them.
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 01:55   #40
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Thanks Steve, for that useful information.
If I do get the Styrka (had to re-type that!) S7 8x42 I hope my "eyes will learn to unsee" the CA.

Steve, others,
I would guess that the Styrka S7 8x42 is "co-clones with" a few other models by other manufrs. I cannot right now think which. Any ideas? Thanks.
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 02:21   #41
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Another nice summation...

I've owned three from this group. Currently still have two, the S7 and the B.1. I like the Maven branded binoculars. They are really well made. Focus....really among the best.... Really a nice product. Don't know a thing about the GPO but I'd certainly put the Maven at the top of MY list.

The S7...
Really a great handling binocular. It and the Terra ED 8X42 handle GREAT. It's mainly because they are smallish and light. Really a great feel to them!

I really like hands on reports....thanks Steve!
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 03:55   #42
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Thanks Steve, for that useful information.
If I do get the Styrka (had to re-type that!) S7 8x42 I hope my "eyes will learn to unsee" the CA.

Steve, others,
I would guess that the Styrka S7 8x42 is "co-clones with" a few other models by other manufrs. I cannot right now think which. Any ideas? Thanks.
No ideas, mostly it is a non issue to me. I suppose it could be argued that any roof prism binocular with a Schmidt-Pechan prism is a clone.

I think CA sensitivity is one of those individual things. I have stated multiple times I am not very sensitive to it. So I was a bit perplexed by its unbidden appearance when I first used it. I did not have to select high value CA targets and defocus the binocular.I wonder if this means it is just me and this particular binocular or just what. I will say I would be hesitant to tell you that because I don't see it in a bothersome manner in the S7 now that I have used it for a few weeks, that you will adjust in a like fashion.
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 04:07   #43
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Thank you Steve. The reason I would search for a "clone" is to see other options for an 8x42 of good optical quality which is similarly small with a wide FOV (though I do know that among "clones" these parameters can vary a lot).

I have found your review of the Styrka S7 8x42, which, I am sorry, I had forgotten about! What is said there about CA is not enocouraging, but you add: "Bill Cook did an evaluation of the S7, but he seemed to have better CA control in his unit than this one, or our eyes are just different." I have searched quite a bit for his review but cannot find it.

Also in the thread for your review, I note, David/Typo comments that he too cannot think of a "family member" (what I called a clone) for the S7. But it is likely that there is/are.
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 04:43   #44
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Thank you Steve. The reason I would search for a "clone" is to see other options for an 8x42 of good optical quality which is similarly small with a wide FOV (though I do know that among "clones" these parameters can vary a lot).

I have found your review of the Styrka S7 8x42, which, I am sorry, I had forgotten about! What is said there about CA is not enocouraging, but you add: "Bill Cook did an evaluation of the S7, but he seemed to have better CA control in his unit than this one, or our eyes are just different." I have searched quite a bit for his review but cannot find it.

Also in the thread for your review, I note, David/Typo comments that he too cannot think of a "family member" (what I called a clone) for the S7. But it is likely that there is/are.
If all else fails, I think Bills review is also on the Styrka site.

I don't off hand call to mind a similar glass, but different armor can change the appearance immensely. Since Styrka seems to be an outgrowth of Celestron, it is possible that it may be unique, but I can't say for sure.

Another compact 8x42 I reviewed some time ago with a really wide field, class leading in fact is the Kruger Caldera. Same length as the S7 but feels chunkier. I'll have to remember to drag mine out and put the two side by side
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 07:16   #45
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Thanks Steve.
Bill's review in the Styrka website: I just read it. (I could find no others on the S7 8x42 there).
S7 8x42 "clones": I will be following up.
Kruger Caldera 8x42: Some years back I read up all about about it in this forum and elsewhere (including what you wrote of course) and was keen on it for a while. But there were some negative aspects, I now forget exactly what, and the co. seemed weak; their website, I just found, is now defunct.
At a higher price the Nikon Monarch-HG 8x42 is tempting with all its positive qualities, but David/Typo's lone voice about its lack of sharpness has deterred me so far. If that is resolved (get it?) I may go for it.
The Styrka S7 842 is attractive to me because of its mix of size (even smaller), FOV and optical quality. Now, that CA...
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 08:55   #46
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Adhoc,

I'd speculated that one or two of these models might have European cousin, but I'd also posted that I could't think of anything similar to the Styrka 7.

Check the Nikon threads again. We might be a minority but I'm definitely not alone in thinking the Monarch HG centre field performance isn't a match for some other, upper midrange binoculars.

David
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 09:14   #47
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Steve,

We know from a technical perspective the depth of field is just dependent on the magnification and effective aperture, however our eyes set their own limits based on effective acuity and, I suggest, the binocular's optical performance. It doesn't surprise me that you found differences in the apparent DoF. Interesting that the Tract Toric was worst, if I understood you correctly. Which one was best?

David
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 09:26   #48
Chosun Juan
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by typo View Post
......Check the Nikon threads again. We might be a minority but I'm definitely not alone in thinking the Monarch HG centre field performance isn't a match for some other, upper midrange binoculars.

David
David,

Since it's been mentioned - just quickly until I can go into it more on the appropriate thread - I all too briefly viewed the Nikon MHG 10x42 at our BirdFair on the weekend. There was lots to like ergonomically (which really surprised me) and quality feel wise. The other surprise (from my recollection of reports) was the lack of CA over quite a bit (at least 2/3rds?) of the central view - and it was a brutal day for CA.

The 8x SF seemed sharper, but the 10x battle was closer. I spent no time setting the Nikon up, and I am wondering how much sharper it would appear with a bit of care taken. They seemed in the same ballpark as my Zens (which kept up with the Swift 8.5x44 ED porros), and get quite a lot of 'Wow' these are nice (for the price level) from many an Alpha retailer. If there's somewhere where you've listed resolution details of the MHG could you be so kind as to link it, or point me in the direction. Thanks



Chosun

Ps. Sorry Steve - these things have to be viewed in the context of the competition - back to normal programming
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 11:19   #49
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First, Steve: Sorry, I would repeat what Chosun says in the PS above.

David: Would Styrka actually develop a model like that from scratch, which they have not made a special effort to promote?

By "lone voice" on the Monarch-HG I meant, among the BF Celebs ;-) That is how I remembered it, sorry. There was a user who did say it was less sharp than some "alpha", but only at one time, he wavered. As I type now and think back on that thread I further remember one other user, who clearly said that vs the Leica Ultravid, whether in 8x or 10x I forget. Could they have improved that now? It seems a bit early...

Chosun: By "8x SF seemed sharper" do you mean, vs the 8x42 MHG? PS. You could respond in the "appropriate thread"!

Here is where David quantifies (approximately) the MHG's resolution, in case he finds it difficult to locate it for you: Post #23 in this thread. The MHG is off the column list.

Last edited by adhoc : Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 11:26. Reason: PS.
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 11:40   #50
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Thanks adhoc, I will trundle over to the thread you linked later on and answer your question there, and ask David a few MHG ones too - and leave Steve in peace here!



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