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Old Tuesday 21st February 2006, 22:24   #1
Swissboy
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BBC Wildlife Mag "test" of binoculars

Originally posted by Wes Hobarth: "Catch the reviews in BBC Wildlife Mag for March 06. Swaro's come third, I always knew they were for Dudes, Ultravid's which I PX'ed for my previous vids came second, Zeiss a dismal third, but first was Nikons. Can you really trust this Mag?

Wes"


Thanks to Wes, I have now had a chance to look at this so called test too. I think it is important to know how the results were apparently obtained: One person (in the presence of a reporter) tested one sample each on a simple outing. The three criteria (optical quality, focusing, handling) seem to have been dealt with on a very subjective level. Thus, minimal focusing and weight, while being mentioned, do not seem to have affected the rating at all. And while handling is clearly a very subjective matter which includes one's personal physiognomy and size of hands, the other parts of a test should essentially be based on some objective and comparable criteria. Looking at the text, this seems to be doubtful at best. Quoting from the info given for the Nikon 8x42: "Very bright and sharp, even the distant geese in the fog." And: "Looking at the whites on that shoveler, they really are white. Cheap binoculars often make whites look slightly dirty." This sounds as if only in the Nikons, those whites are really white (though the other models they looked at are all in the same price range). And how sharp can distant birds be that one sees in the fog? Unless those binoculars have some fog cutting ability, which I doubt.
There are other strange wordings: Of the Leica Ultravid 8x32 it is said that "they were easily the smallest binoculars here". But in fact, there is only 1 millimeter difference to the Zeiss FL 8x32. And for the Swarovski EL 10x42 it states: "It takes a long time to get something into focus, but on the plus side, this means there is a very good depth of field." Now if making such a connection is not complete bull...! (Or else, some of our experts here on BF need to explain this to me.)

And as wonders go, both Ultravids (8x32 and 10x42) had "very smooth" focusing. Now, from my experience, I have yet to encounter a situation where of any two randomly selected Ultravids of the models tested here, BOTH have very smooth focusing. Sure, there are fortunately such samples, but many more have that gritty focusing (up to the point where fine-focusing is impossible). For the Zeiss FLs, however, the "test" did have both samples with less that ideal smoothness. My experience, again, is the contrary. There are some that are not as smooth as they should be, but mostly they are OK.

What bothers me about such a warped compilation is the fact that many people probably use the info to base their choice on, thinking it is reliable as they found it in a publication from a reputable source. It's just the same as those infamous Cornell tests. But compared to this one here, those tests are at least based on impressions by a number of persons.
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Old Tuesday 21st February 2006, 22:31   #2
bill lord
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swissboy
The best Bins Money can buy?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Catch the reviews in BBC Wildlife Mag for March 06. Swaro's come third, I always knew they were for Dudes, Ultravid's which I PX'ed for my previous vids came second, Ziess a dismal third, but first was Nikons. Can you really trust this Mag?
All it says is what people on this site keep saying, there's not a lot of difference between all the top models. When I looked I agreed with the top rating given but there are lots of peple who for one reason or another prefer others.
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Old Tuesday 21st February 2006, 22:54   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill lord
All it says is what people on this site keep saying, there's not a lot of difference between all the top models. When I looked I agreed with the top rating given but there are lots of peple who for one reason or another prefer others.
Well, 31 or 37 out of 40 can hardly be considered at the level "they are essentially all the same". But my gripe is not the result, rather how apparently sloppily it was obtained.
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Old Tuesday 21st February 2006, 23:38   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swissboy
...
What bothers me about such a warped compilation is the fact that many people probably use the info to base their choice on, thinking it is reliable as they found it in a publication from a reputable source. It's just the same as those infamous Cornell tests. But compared to this one here, those tests are at least based on impressions by a number of persons.
Alas, there is nothing you or I can do about it. Many people look at such ratings to validate their own prior equipment selections, and many who don't yet have equipment believe such ratings are "better than nothing." A wise friend of mine was fond of saying: "You can't worry about people more than they worry about themselves."

Ed
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Old Wednesday 22nd February 2006, 15:05   #5
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I too found this review very shallow and highly subjective. There was little real attempt to explain exactly why certain bins were liked or disliked. I think this was partly because the magazine just didn't give it enough space.
BBC Wildlife magazine is now competing with Birdwatch magazine in the worst British optics reviews category...
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Old Wednesday 22nd February 2006, 18:17   #6
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yep

the HGs are the best

and the cheapest

when they came out all the In Focus guys got pairs immediately

save yourself some money and reduce the dude factor

Tim
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Old Wednesday 22nd February 2006, 18:58   #7
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Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
yep

the HGs are the best

and the cheapest

when they came out all the In Focus guys got pairs immediately

save yourself some money and reduce the dude factor

Tim
Reminds me of a story about the cost of apples at the famous Harrods store. A reporter discovered you could buy apples there at about 10x the normal cost (very special, hand selected ones no doubt). Thinking this would be a good story he challenged the manager who simply replied "Some people prefer to pay more sir".
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 11:32   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
when they came out all the In Focus guys got pairs immediately
And upgraded immediately when the ELs, Ultravids & FLs came out?


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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 12:15   #9
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Originally Posted by iporali
And upgraded immediately when the ELs, Ultravids & FLs came out?


Ilkka
curiously Ilka no! well not on the ELs and Ultras!
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Old Thursday 23rd February 2006, 15:01   #10
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[quote=iporali]And upgraded immediately when the ELs, Ultravids & FLs came out?
I don't think infocus staff would be allowed to be seen using Ultravids as infocus, in its wisdom, doesn't stock Leica. Seems to be part of the current infocus philosophy that they know best what the birder needs, and promote heavily a fairly limited range. At high prices too. When I inquired about Leica 8x50 bins some years ago (before infocus stopped stocking Leica) I was told they didn't have any of the 50mm range ''because people don't buy them''. A self-fulfilling philosophy I thought, when I bought a pair elsewhere.

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Old Friday 24th February 2006, 16:26   #11
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Reviews at best can give but a short list of things to try. I bought both my scope and bins after extensive testing at different times on field days held at our local Country Park. The company was Kay Optical who operate in SE England. A wide range of new and second hand kit to suit all budgets and lots of advice from Tony Kay

Get out there and try them and buy what feels right on the day
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Old Friday 3rd March 2006, 17:32   #12
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[quote=dogfish]
Quote:
Originally Posted by iporali
And upgraded immediately when the ELs, Ultravids & FLs came out?
I don't think infocus staff would be allowed to be seen using Ultravids as infocus, in its wisdom, doesn't stock Leica. Seems to be part of the current infocus philosophy that they know best what the birder needs, and promote heavily a fairly limited range. At high prices too. When I inquired about Leica 8x50 bins some years ago (before infocus stopped stocking Leica) I was told they didn't have any of the 50mm range ''because people don't buy them''. A self-fulfilling philosophy I thought, when I bought a pair elsewhere.

Sean
In focus haven't sold Leicas for years, they told be it was because of Leica's poor after sales service.
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