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Old Tuesday 2nd May 2006, 15:15   #1
Ripantuck
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Some basic questions

I have been reading this forum for several months now and have learned an enormous amount from you. However, some nagging questions never seem to really be answered definitively:

1) Finding birds or animals in your binoculars. The biggest problem I have, in woods and heavy brush is finding what I am looking at in my binoculars. It is an ongoing problem for me. Things look so different through 8X or 10X binoculars that it takes me several tries sometimes to find what I see with my naked eye. By the time I find it, the bird is gone. I have noticed over the years in hunting with a riflescope that I had the same problem. Somewhere around 6X or 7X seems to be the maximum for me to quickly pick up what I have seen with my naked eye. That's why I can't understand why 6X to 7X binoculars aren't more popular. Am I the only one with this problem? I think this is partly a function of field of view, but, more importantly, a function of the difference in how things look at zero magnification vs. 8X or 10X. This is NOT a problem in open areas, but many birds live in woody areas. Also, it is not a matter of distance. If I am looking for birds in a treeline and I am 50 or 100 yards from the treeline, it is just as much a problem as if I am surrounded by woods and brush.

2) Porro prism vs. roof prism. Are porro prism binoculars harder to hold steady or operate than roof prism binoculars. I have a pair of B&L Discoverer porro's and I seem to be able to hold them as steady and operate them as well as I can roof prism binoculars, but I don't use roof prisms much so I am not certain. They are certainly as lightweight as roof prisms of the same power and objective lens size. I am just having trouble understanding why anyone would pay so much more for roof prisms with similar optical quality? I will admit that roof prism binoculars have a neat, compact appearance, but is this worth $500.00 or $1,000.00 extra since you still can't conveniently carry binculars with 32mm or 42mm in your pocket? Compact roof prisms, I understand, but full size roof prisms are a mystery to me. Some of the reasons given for people preferring full size roof prism binoculars simply don't make sense to me, yet that preference seems to be nearly universal.

Don


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Old Tuesday 2nd May 2006, 15:39   #2
Tero
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Roof prisms are usually easier to hold, but I can work both.

Finding the bird with the tool you have takes practice. Kind of like driveing a new car, it feels wrong at first. Stare at the bird, don't take your eyes off it. Slowly slip the binoculars in between. Do not move your head or body while you do this. Good luck. Get the 7x, widest FOV available. Should help.
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Old Tuesday 2nd May 2006, 15:59   #3
solentbirder
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Good advice from Tero. I use the same technique to keep my eye on the bird as I raise the binoculars. Over the years this becomes automatic and pretty accurate. In the end you should be able to get the bird in the field of view on the first attempt. Admittedly this is more difficult in thick woodland with all the potential obstacles. Take your time and keep practicing - you'll get there.

As for the porro vs. roof debate, there are whole threads devoted to this. I grew up using porros and I find them comfortable to hold, although I've also grown to like roofs. It's a personal preference thing in the end.

One reason people like roofs is that they are generally better sealed against the elements than porros. A fully waterproof roof prism bino can be quite compact whereas waterproof porros tend to be bulky.

Have fun !
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Old Tuesday 2nd May 2006, 17:33   #4
lucznik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ripantuck
I have been reading this forum for several months now and have learned an enormous amount from you. However, some nagging questions never seem to really be answered definitively:

1) Finding birds or animals in your binoculars. The biggest problem I have, in woods and heavy brush is finding what I am looking at in my binoculars. It is an ongoing problem for me. Things look so different through 8X or 10X binoculars that it takes me several tries sometimes to find what I see with my naked eye. By the time I find it, the bird is gone. I have noticed over the years in hunting with a riflescope that I had the same problem. Somewhere around 6X or 7X seems to be the maximum for me to quickly pick up what I have seen with my naked eye. That's why I can't understand why 6X to 7X binoculars aren't more popular. Am I the only one with this problem? I think this is partly a function of field of view, but, more importantly, a function of the difference in how things look at zero magnification vs. 8X or 10X. This is NOT a problem in open areas, but many birds live in woody areas. Also, it is not a matter of distance. If I am looking for birds in a treeline and I am 50 or 100 yards from the treeline, it is just as much a problem as if I am surrounded by woods and brush.

2) Porro prism vs. roof prism. Are porro prism binoculars harder to hold steady or operate than roof prism binoculars. I have a pair of B&L Discoverer porro's and I seem to be able to hold them as steady and operate them as well as I can roof prism binoculars, but I don't use roof prisms much so I am not certain. They are certainly as lightweight as roof prisms of the same power and objective lens size. I am just having trouble understanding why anyone would pay so much more for roof prisms with similar optical quality? I will admit that roof prism binoculars have a neat, compact appearance, but is this worth $500.00 or $1,000.00 extra since you still can't conveniently carry binculars with 32mm or 42mm in your pocket? Compact roof prisms, I understand, but full size roof prisms are a mystery to me. Some of the reasons given for people preferring full size roof prism binoculars simply don't make sense to me, yet that preference seems to be nearly universal.

Don
I agree with what has already been suggested to you. Practice is the only thing that will make the transition from naked-eye to binocular usage more natural. I follow the same process of continually looking at the item of interest as I bring up the binocular and have no trouble getting "right on" what I want to look at almost every time. This includes birds in flight, as well as animals that are semi-obscured by brush. A wide field of view can be very helpful here but, practice is the deciding factor.


I also have a porro prism B&L Discoverer and can also hold it as steady as any roof prism I have ever tried. Image quality is also superb, easily matching binoculars costing many hundreds of dollars more. However, this binocular is significantly larger than most comparable roof prism binoculars, which can result in my leaving them at home if I'm carrying a lot of other equipment on a particular trip. My roof prism Pentax is much more accomodating in this regard. The porro prism binocular's larger size can also prove to be somewhat uncomfortable for people who have especially small hands. (Like my wife for instance, who has a hard time manipulating the focus on my Discoverer as her fingers don't quite reach as far as she would like.)

Just how much more rugged a roof prism binocular is I can't say as I'm not terribly hard on my optics but, roofs are renowned for their tank-like ability to take on hard field use - a claim porro prism binoculars can't make. I wouldn't worry about this too much with your Discoverer as it has a lifetime warranty and I have never had anything but good experiences dealing with Bushnell on warranty matters.

In the end it often comes down to styling and pride. Some people just want to own the very best regardless of cost and if they can afford it, then that's a choice that is theirs to make. How many people do you think there are that can come up with a legitimate need for a Hummer? (Especially considering that the civilian version is really a rather poor trail vehicle - and that's only if the owner is willing to actually take it off-road and risk getting the paint scratched!)

Is a Rolex watch worth its incredibly high cost as compared to say... my Timex? They both tell time equally well. (Some people will answer this question "yes.")

Take a look at the "high" fashion industry. Is any of the crap they show on the various runways worth the values on their pricetags? I say H@## no! But, others just love that stuff.

Who knows what makes people do the things they do?
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Last edited by lucznik : Tuesday 2nd May 2006 at 17:37.
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Old Tuesday 2nd May 2006, 17:52   #5
Ripantuck
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Thanks. Those are great answers. I have read some of the threads on Porro vs. roof prism but I think the answers above really get to the heart of the matter.

Well, I guess I will just have to practice more to learn to pick up objects better in a woodland setting. Actually, it makes me feel better to learn that it can be done with no problem - with practice. Maybe after I get really good at picking up objects with my 8X42's, I'll spring for one of those little compact 10X25 Lieca's or similar someday!



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Old Wednesday 3rd May 2006, 01:57   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ripantuck
Thanks. Those are great answers. I have read some of the threads on Porro vs. roof prism but I think the answers above really get to the heart of the matter.

Well, I guess I will just have to practice more to learn to pick up objects better in a woodland setting. Actually, it makes me feel better to learn that it can be done with no problem - with practice. Maybe after I get really good at picking up objects with my 8X42's, I'll spring for one of those little compact 10X25 Lieca's or similar someday!



Don
It even extends to changing bins. I can find things almost instantly with my Nikon 8 x 30 EII Porro Prisms but when I switch to my Nikon 8 x 32 LXL's I need to practice for a few minutes before I feel comfortable. Focusing speed also factors into this too. the LXL's focus almost too fast. The EII's also have a greater depth of focus (or field) if you will. The LXL's have better ergonomics and construction which accounts for the difference in price over Porro's which can and often have better optics, as in the case of my bins.
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Old Wednesday 3rd May 2006, 16:06   #7
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Quote:
Focusing speed also factors into this too. the LXL's focus almost too fast. The EII's also have a greater depth of focus (or field) if you will.
Isn't that the truth. I love the ergonomics of the 8x32 LXL but with the focus was more like the 8x42 version. It offers a great feeling of control.
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