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10x50/54 format

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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 05:25   #1
CharleyBird
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10x50/54 format

There are ten people in the poll who prefer 10x50 format (let's assume that may include 10x54).

I'm interested to know what brand of binocular and why you prefer them?


And answers to this follow up question would be greatly appreciated:
Has anyone compared Leica UV+ 10x50 / Swaro EL 10x50 / Zeiss HT 10x54? Especially regarding 3d effect, CA, sweet spot, colour balance.


Maybe it's lockdown/first week of retirement, but I'm seriously considering buying a pair (to replace my 2 pairs of much loved 10x44 Steiner Discovery and an Inpro 9x63)
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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 05:39   #2
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Swarovski 10x50 EL would probably be my first pick although I have tried the Leica 10x50 UV and it is also very good. I have not tried the Zeiss HT 10x54 but I would guess that it quite excellent also. Any, alpha with a 50mm objective is usually going to be very good. I like the 10x50 Swaro for it's big FOV, relaxed view, good 3D for a roof and sharper edges than the other two. Many on the forum have said it is their favorite binocular and I would have to agree. It is an excellent binocular and the one I would buy if I wanted a 10x50. You mention 3D effect and to get that in spades you might look at a porro like a Fujinon 10x50 FMT-SX although they use individual focuser's which isn't the best choice for birding but fine for astronomy.

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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 06:37   #3
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Hi CB,

Roger Vine has reviewed all 3 at:http://www.scopeviews.co.uk/BinoReviews.htm
So if you've not already checked out Roger's comments some useful info


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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 11:45   #4
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Thanks for these replies. The Roger Vine reviews are good reads, and combined with Canip's website really help.

Interesting to note in the poll here that a couple of people use 8x56, also some use 12x56 and 12x50, nobody preferred 10x56.
Yet the 10x56 SLC HD gets a Roger Vine review on par with the 10x50 EL, and, along with the Leica 10x50 UV+, makes my current shortlist of three despite being a bit heavy on paper
(can't help but think Maserati Ferrari Aston)
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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 12:36   #5
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Originally Posted by CharleyBird View Post
(can't help but think Maserati Ferrari Aston)
That's an analogy that I've used with binoculars and scopes for many years. Thing is to test drive them and then choose which one you find suits you.
And there 's no fuel or running costs once you've splashed the cash.

Good luck.
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Old Tuesday 5th May 2020, 13:18   #6
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IMO if you don't mind carrying the weight a bigger aperture is always going to be better than a smaller aperture. Go for the 10x56 SLC HD especially if you are into astronomy at all as it will go much deeper into the sky on DSO's but remember it is going to get heavy when you carry it birding all day .

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Old Sunday 10th May 2020, 19:04   #7
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Interesting to note in the poll here that a couple of people use 8x56, also some use 12x56 and 12x50, nobody preferred 10x56.
Yet the 10x56 SLC HD gets a Roger Vine review on par with the 10x50 EL, and, along with the Leica 10x50 UV+, makes my current shortlist of three despite being a bit heavy on paper
I don't think 10x56 is likely to poll as anyone's favorite (daily?) binocular, even mine, but it is what I wound up with when I was considering 10x50s. The reasoning was that I wasn't going to carry that 10x50 everywhere all the time either, so what the heck, another few ounces... and I really, really liked the SLC.
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Old Sunday 10th May 2020, 20:15   #8
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Tenex, that's how I was reasoning. However I'm now seriously considering the 12x50 EL which is a more normal size bin to carry and with extra reach that could be handhold satisfactorily. Binoculars are about usable magnifcation in a situation, and I'm thinking coastal walks.

Probably going to keep my 10x44 Discoverys whatever I decide, they are a near perfect ergonomic fit for me. I've been trying to figure out what it is about them, comparing them to others I have. The balance, the shaped barrels, but especially the design of the oculars with large glass, the eyeshades? Obviously far too much time on my hands.
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Old Sunday 10th May 2020, 20:37   #9
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Tenex, that's how I was reasoning. However I'm now seriously considering the 12x50 EL which is a more normal size bin to carry and with extra reach that could be handhold satisfactorily. Binoculars are about usable magnifcation in a situation, and I'm thinking coastal walks.
Fwiw, a 12x50 served me superbly well as my birding glass for many years.
It is a wonderful combination of reach and view.
It is easily hand hold-able and quite adequate even for warbler watching if you have normal eye hand coordination.
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Old Sunday 10th May 2020, 21:47   #10
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I don't think 10x56 is likely to poll as anyone's favorite (daily?) binocular, even mine, but it is what I wound up with when I was considering 10x50s. The reasoning was that I wasn't going to carry that 10x50 everywhere all the time either, so what the heck, another few ounces... and I really, really liked the SLC.
i agree. That is why I jumped from a 10x42 to a 15x56. If I am going to carry a bigger binocular anyway I want it to be a big jump in magnification from my 10x. I don't see any reason to get a 10x50 or 12x50. The way I see it either go big or go home.
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Old Sunday 10th May 2020, 21:50   #11
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Tenex, that's how I was reasoning. However I'm now seriously considering the 12x50 EL which is a more normal size bin to carry and with extra reach that could be handhold satisfactorily. Binoculars are about usable magnifcation in a situation, and I'm thinking coastal walks.

Probably going to keep my 10x44 Discoverys whatever I decide, they are a near perfect ergonomic fit for me. I've been trying to figure out what it is about them, comparing them to others I have. The balance, the shaped barrels, but especially the design of the oculars with large glass, the eyeshades? Obviously far too much time on my hands.
Ehh. Get the 15x56. A 12x is not that big of a jump from a 10x. You can hold a 15x as steady as you can a 12x and you will double the detail you can see. With either one you are going to shake a little.
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Old Sunday 10th May 2020, 23:25   #12
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Ehh. Get the 15x56. A 12x is not that big of a jump from a 10x. You can hold a 15x as steady as you can a 12x and you will double the detail you can see. With either one you are going to shake a little.
Interesting, because that was not my experience at all.
I had no trouble at all carrying the Docter (ex Zeiss Jena) 12x50 BGA as my birding glass, easy hand held views of shorebirds, raptors and warblers, really a delightful instrument that was a joy to use.
By contrast, the Zeiss 15x60 was just a bridge too far, the FoV was too small for the increased magnification, it made the inevitable shakes intolerable. It was simply no fun to use, even though it was irreproachable optically.
So please try before you buy, there really is a big usability difference between 12x and 15x imho.
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Old Monday 11th May 2020, 03:05   #13
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I had an SV 10X50 only a short time ago(sold it). I used it some for about 2-3 years. I found that a 10X42 would do practically everything the 10X50 would. Actually for me it would do EVERYTHING the 10X50 would. So I next bought a couple of 10X56s. They stay in their cases except to be mounted on a tripod and look at the night sky.

I DO still have the SV 12X50. It's a great binocular for a little extra reach over a 7X/10X. I actually probably use it more than my 10X42s. It's pretty easy to hold steady.

I really am probably never going to go the 15X56 route. I'd rather have a spotting scope.
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Old Monday 11th May 2020, 04:16   #14
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Interesting, because that was not my experience at all.
I had no trouble at all carrying the Docter (ex Zeiss Jena) 12x50 BGA as my birding glass, easy hand held views of shorebirds, raptors and warblers, really a delightful instrument that was a joy to use.
By contrast, the Zeiss 15x60 was just a bridge too far, the FoV was too small for the increased magnification, it made the inevitable shakes intolerable. It was simply no fun to use, even though it was irreproachable optically.
So please try before you buy, there really is a big usability difference between 12x and 15x imho.
Hand holding a higher magnification binocular depend's a lot on the ergonomics and balance of the binocular. I find roof's are way easier to hand hold than porro's because of the better balance. That big heavy Zeiss 15x60 would be a bear to try to hand hold. Try a Swaro 15x56 SLC or a Meostar HD 15x56 sometime. They are much easier to hold steady because they are better balanced. They actually don't feel much heavier than an SV 12x50.
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Old Monday 11th May 2020, 05:11   #15
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I had an SV 10X50 only a short time ago(sold it). I used it some for about 2-3 years. I found that a 10X42 would do practically everything the 10X50 would. Actually for me it would do EVERYTHING the 10X50 would. So I next bought a couple of 10X56s. They stay in their cases except to be mounted on a tripod and look at the night sky.

I DO still have the SV 12X50. It's a great binocular for a little extra reach over a 7X/10X. I actually probably use it more than my 10X42s. It's pretty easy to hold steady.

I really am probably never going to go the 15X56 route. I'd rather have a spotting scope.
You would be surprised how nice a 15x56 binocular is especially on a tripod. Much bigger FOV than a spotter and the detail is way beyond your 12x50 SV. I use my 15x56 to spot Wolves in Yellowstone in the early morning but it is very cool for distant raptor's and shore birds also.
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Old Monday 11th May 2020, 06:04   #16
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https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...82f4cfec_k.jpgIMG_E1642


Denco, I've got a 16x70 for supported use, bought after contemplating the 15x56 for years. I know their IF is less than ideal for birding but all bins are a compromise.
The EL 12x50 appears a good way to update & upgrade my 10x44 Discovery, to carry and handhold on walks of a couple of hours
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Old Monday 11th May 2020, 16:34   #17
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10x50 has quite an interesting history in that it was used much more for general purpose observation than it is today. Nowadays with better coatings etc. the 10x42 has mostly replaced the 10x50 for birding, offering the same magnification in a smaller package, and the 10x50 seems more often used by the astro guys. 10x50 for birding now seems to be a bit of a niche tool, only favoured in those situations (prolonged scanning, distance observation, difficult conditions etc.) where its advantage of more comfortable viewing thanks to the 5mm exit pupil outweighs (pun intended) the extra weight, bulk, and cost - the last being a not unimportant factor as a good 10x50 represents a considerable expense to most folks.

x56 is the next step up in bulk, resulting in a hefty enough binocular that very few, other than hunters working in low light situations, have considered the weight, bulk and limited field of view worth the trouble. While Zeiss's 10x54 HT is more handy than Swarovski's 10x56 SLC it is still larger than the EL 10x50, which is itself larger than the Ultravid. I wouldn't enjoy toting either 10x50, let alone a x54 on coastal walks, but your tolerance of weight and bulk might be greater than mine. Personally I think a binocular that is a "near perfect ergonomic fit" (as you have found your Discovery to be) is a real treasure, and would recommend only parting with it after you found something that matches you as perfectly, which is more likely to be a smaller format (eg. 10x42 SF) than larger.

Big mag - my experience matches etudiant's in that I have found a 12x50 (an older cousin of etudiant's Docter) pretty useful at distance, hand held but supported wherever possible (elbows braced on knees or other structure). But 15x is beyond me in terms of shake/wobble. Frankly, out on the coast with wind buffet a constant factor, I think even 12x would be difficult.
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Old Monday 11th May 2020, 16:42   #18
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https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/...82f4cfec_k.jpgIMG_E1642


Denco, I've got a 16x70 for supported use, bought after contemplating the 15x56 for years. I know their IF is less than ideal for birding but all bins are a compromise.
I got some APM ED 70mm 45degree bins (tripod use), can run as low as 17x, normally used with ultrawide eyepieces at 30x, I like immersive views and getting close to far away stuff. Not exactly lightweight, but the views make up for the back ache!

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Old Monday 11th May 2020, 17:53   #19
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Patudo, your advice about not parting with my ergonimic 10x44 is exactly how I feel after thinking it over for a couple of weeks.

I may have said previously, throughout 2019 my sister was looking for an alpha bin, so we have tried Zeiss, Leica and Swarovski's best at 8x and 10x.
None of them really tempted me to trade in my Discovery despite them being undeniably better in some ways. In autumn I bought a pair of 8x44 Discovery new in box from a dealer clearing stock for 599.
My sister tried them for maybe half a minute, looked at me and said "Can I have them...". Literally, that's what happened. Search over.
They have an easier view than the 10x, but are still quite heavy at 850g.

Anyway, from all this, I feel if I'm gonna spend 2k on a slightly heavier bin weighing 1kg, I'd like a bit more mag.
That's where I am today.
And for all the other comments, especially on the 12x I say thank you, they reassure.

Wllmspd, my APM are the fixed MS ED APO, so relatively lightweight, and cheap considering their optical quality. I think I need to move to a house with a vista before indulging in one of their high end bins that you have. I keep looking through the website, terrific range.
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Old Monday 11th May 2020, 19:50   #20
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.. APM ED.. nice, I have the 10x50, tolerably wide field and sharp to the edge, once you notice edge blurring (especially easy at night), avoiding it can become an expensive desire..!

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Old Tuesday 12th May 2020, 15:39   #21
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Peter, it was talking to you (and Canip) who helped me choose re APMs last year, and no buyer regrets here, they give good views and seems well built. I wonder if IPD distance can be a problem with some of the cheaper models though, as mine are a close fit, and this reminds me to measure my own.
I keep a couple of APM and Kowa Highlander links bookmarked to compare; just as well lockdown is easing or GAS may set in.

Hope you and your folks 'round the corner' from me are well.

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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 08:23   #22
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I own a pair of Docter Nobilem 10x50 porros as my main binocular and like them very much. 10x is still hand holdable and the 50 diameter provides some comfortable view and a bright picture even on rainy days and even at night. If you are willing to schlepp it - and I am - it's my favorite size. They seem to be hard to get and are not made since some years.
Even more magnification would start to be harder to hand hold and would be more limited concerning field of view. If you are willing to carry some extra stand you are good to go obviously.
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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 10:12   #23
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Interesting reading this thread as I am currently stuck in Vienna due to CV-19 (and my 10x42 Ultravids are at home).

So I'm going to buy a pair of cheap but good bins here and although I was looking for a pair of Vortex Diamondback HD 10x42 (I should be able to sell these easily when I return home) I have found them difficult to buy with delivery being 3-4 weeks (probably due to popularity).

I can however get either the Vortex Crossfire HD 10x50 or 12x50 variants with delivery in 2-3 days. And all are around the same price if not same weight (40s are about 25% lighter than both 50s).

My use is currently fields and woods, mostly smaller birds (starts, warblers etc.). So open fields and woodland followed by narrow paths (2-3m wide) through the trees where the birds are often close-by but near impossible to see/ID by the naked eye.

Anyone agree / disagree with the choice and magnification for use ?
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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 10:20   #24
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As you are stuck in Vienna wouldn't this be the perfect place to grab some Swarovski binoculars? This is a corona story to tell and would make some great souvenir from Austria for your collection. Pick a size you still need and enjoy life. Possibly some second hand options with a huge selection are available in antique stores or similar as well over there? How about some nice Habicht Porro?
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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 10:29   #25
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As you are stuck in Vienna wouldn't this be the perfect place to grab some Swarovski binoculars? This is a corona story to tell and would make some great souvenir from Austria for your collection. Pick a size you still need and enjoy life. Possibly some second hand options with a huge selection are available in antique stores or similar as well over there? How about some nice Habicht Porro?
I checked out 7-8 camera stores last week. Ridiculously expensive. Far better off buying from EBay or Amazon I'm afraid and even that's expensive compared to China where I'm resident (which is roughly equivalent to US pricing).

I'd love the Swarovski binos but I don't want a divorce (at least not at the moment, though if the CV-19 restrictions continue ...)

And I do have my Leicas at home. I'm just looking for something good but cheap and cheerful to get me by for a few months, not a long term investment.

Thank you very much for the suggestions ! I'll look out for the Habicht Porro's as I've never heard of them.
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