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Early Reviews SE and EII Porro Binoculars

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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 00:25   #1
John A Roberts
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Early Reviews of SE and EII Porro Binoculars

I recently posted about Zeiss’ original series of Victory binoculars, which were made from 2000 to 2006
In doing so, I consulted two sources of then contemporary reviews:

- Steven Ingraham of Better View Desired. For further information see: https://www.birdforum.net/showpost.p...91&postcount=4, and

- Kimmo Absetz of Alula. See: https://www.birdforum.net/showpost.p...0&postcount=20


Steven and Kimmo also did contemporary reviews of Nikon’s premium Porros, dating from the mid-1990’s through the early 2000’s
They may be of interest to some in providing perspective as to the rated performance of the binos at the time, especially compared to roof prism alternatives

The first 4 reviews are from Steven


cont . . .
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Nikon SE 8x32 | BVD, Feb 1998.pdf (218.6 KB, 56 views)
File Type: pdf Nikon EII & SE | BVD, c.2000.pdf (322.0 KB, 87 views)
File Type: pdf Nikon 10x42 SE | BVD.pdf (187.7 KB, 38 views)
File Type: pdf (multi-coated 7x35 E) Old Reliables | BVD, Aug 93.pdf (197.2 KB, 34 views)

Last edited by John A Roberts : Friday 31st May 2019 at 01:20.
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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 00:27   #2
John A Roberts
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And this review is from Kimmo includes the EII


John


EDIT: another of Kimmo's reviews includes the 10x42 SE - also attached
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Attached Files
File Type: pdf 8x32 Nikon HG DCF v Swaro EL (2003).pdf (80.8 KB, 25 views)
File Type: pdf 10x32 Nikon HG and others (2004).pdf (91.5 KB, 24 views)

Last edited by John A Roberts : Friday 31st May 2019 at 08:39.
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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 03:12   #3
NDhunter
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John:

Thanks for bringing these reviews up, they are important as the Nikon models mentioned are
still very popular.

I have always enjoyed both Steven and Kimmo's reviews, well done and very interesting, BVD is
a great historical summary.

Some on here should know "Better View Desired" is a review site, no longer in production but
almost was dropped because nobody wanted to host the site on the web.

Thanks to: christophers, ltd, Astronomics, and Cloudy Nights Binocular subforum for keeping the site
hosted.

Cloudy Nights has an active binocular subforum, all uses, mainly astro, and several members that are active
on this site also.

Jerry
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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 04:03   #4
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John. Nice summary of those older, historical reviews. I always did like the "NEED's TEST". It seemed a good way to compare resolution in different binoculars.

Last edited by [email protected] : Friday 31st May 2019 at 04:11.
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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 04:37   #5
ceasar
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There is an outstanding review of the Nikon 10x42 SE written by our own WJC aka Bill Cole in an issue of "Sky and Telescope" magazine (if my memory is correct) back around 1998 or so. I recall it as a classic example of how to write a binocular review!

I have the magazine some where in my archives where I can't find it.

Perhaps Bill can come up with it?

Bob

Last edited by ceasar : Friday 31st May 2019 at 04:42.
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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 16:55   #6
ceasar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John A Roberts View Post
And this review is from Kimmo includes the EII


John


EDIT: another of Kimmo's reviews includes the 10x42 SE - also attached


Kimmo's highly rated review of the Nikon 10x32 HG prompted me to purchase the USA Version (LXL) which I still have and use.

When Nikon came out with the new 10x32 EDG version I purchased it to satisfy my curiosity on how it differed from the older LXL.

Nikon's legendary smooth working focus wheel remains the same!

The Diopter has been placed on the center hinge and integrated with the focus wheel. Dielectric prisms have replaced the silver coated prisms while ED Glass was added to the EDG. Its eye cups are removable unlike the LXLs.

Otherwise some "tweaking" was done. The FOV remains the same but the ER of the EDG is 1.3 mm longer at 17mm and the diameter of the glass element in the eye pieces is about 2mm wider.

The weight of the EDG is 45 grams lighter 695g to 650g; and it is 9mm longer, 138mm to 129mm.

In use I find the EDG to be brighter than the LXL. That's about it!

Bob

Last edited by ceasar : Friday 31st May 2019 at 16:59.
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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 18:25   #7
Binastro
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I just watched Perry Mason, Lady in the Lake, 1988.
26 minutes into the episode with possible ads, there is a prolonged view of, I think, a Nikon 8x30 WF Porro.
The view is so long and Nikon is clearly visible on the front between the barrels that I suspect product placement.

When was the 8x30 WF 8x30 introduced?
I think that the 8x30 EII may have followed.

I have both the EII and SE. I like the EIIs but not the SEs because of blackouts.
In addition, I think that the star images in the Conquest HD 10x42 are just as good at 6.0 degree field as the Nikon SE 10x42 at its full 6.0 degree field. Yet the Conquest HD goes on to 6.6 degree field from memory with lesser star image quality, but still very good.
For me the 10x42 Conquest HD is just as good as the 10x42 SE but with a larger field and no blackouts. It is also exceptionally good for lack of flare.

B.
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Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 06:11   #8
John A Roberts
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Binastro

From 1978 with the introduction of the E series models, the word ‘Nikon’ was included on the front axle cap,
see the example from ‘franksbinoculars’ Flickr feed: https://www.flickr.com/photos/franks...7650925198199/
Is this the way it appeared in the film?

If the film was released in 1988, it would have been in production before then - and at the very latest, finished in early 1988
- so I suspect the bino would have been an original model E, see the chronology below

And I presume by the 8x30 WF that you're referring to the A model? - see the attached A series spec's for the designation

- - -
To put the 8x30 models into context . . .
Nikon did not start to make 8x30 binoculars until after WWII (it had previously made an 8x35 from 1923, and this was recommenced after WWII in 1948)

The sequence of 8x30 Porro models is:
Date (marked FOV)
1948 (8.5) Mikron (the Mikron designation was once used on most of the binocular lines)
1959 (8.5) A model (A = aluminium?, not marked on unit; new eyepiece)
1969 (8.5) A model continues (only a change to markings, from Nikon Kogaku to Nikon; from now on, no markings on RH prism plate)
1978 (8.3) E model (E = Execulite, not marked on unit; new eyepiece with longer eye relief; folding rubber eyecup)
1988 (8.3) E model updated (C = Criterion, marked on LH prism plate, indicates multicoated)
1999 (8.8) EII model (EII not marked on unit; new body with sloped prism plates; new prisms and eyepiece, longer eye relief)

And
1998 (7.5) SE 8x32 (S = Superior E; rubber coated; field flattener, longest eye relief)

As can be seen, during the period Nikon was working on a 10 year cycle of upgrading features - or in one instance just ‘refreshing’ the markings


John
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Last edited by John A Roberts : Saturday 1st June 2019 at 20:56.
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Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 07:11   #9
Gijs van Ginkel
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There is also a Dutch test report of different (historic) Nikon binoculars on the WEB-site of House of Outdoor.
Gijs van Ginkel
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Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 07:14   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceasar View Post
There is an outstanding review of the Nikon 10x42 SE written by our own WJC aka Bill Cole in an issue of "Sky and Telescope" magazine (if my memory is correct) back around 1998 or so. I recall it as a classic example of how to write a binocular review!

I have the magazine some where in my archives where I can't find it.

Perhaps Bill can come up with it?

Bob
Bill Cook (not Cole), surely.

Graham
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Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 13:27   #11
ceasar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grimnir View Post
Bill Cook (not Cole), surely.

Graham
Yes indeed! My bad!

Bill Cook, surely!

Bob
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Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 17:30   #12
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Dear John,
Thank you for your very detailed response.
The film quality of the Perry Mason episode was not great, and I cannot remember how the NIKON appeared. I didn't notice a serial number bit it may have been too small.
It was horizontally placed, so maybe another indication of product placement. Often movies are made a year early than stated but Perry Mason is so slick it probably was made in 1988. Maybe the updated Nikon 8x30 E.

Nikon has over the top product placement on CSI, which to me is just too much. We get the idea. Nikon is used on CSI.
Actually Topcon Super DM cameras were chosen by the U.S. navy in preference to the Nikon F and Zeiss and other makes. They used them until Topcon stopped making cameras. Topcon also had binoculars, but I am not sure if made in house. Topcon quality was at least as good as Nikon, maybe better.

Nikon was supplying military binoculars very early on and I think had Zeiss staff advising them in early times.

Product placement is a bit naughty and some movies now state that product placement is used.
The Canon 18x50IS is clearly placed on a Jacky Chan movie with Jennifer Love Hewitt.
And Chris Packham? has a Canon 12x32 IS hanging from his neck unused.

There is an early British T.V. drama with the Canon 10x30IS Mk 1.
The Zeiss 10x40 Dialyt is used in one movie, but I think it is the actor's personal binocular.
About 50% of all movies have a binocular in them. This is way higher than in real life.
What really is crazy is the red front coated binoculars shown in many movies. Which surveillance person would use such things. I think that they buy the cheapest possible binoculars, by people who don't know anything about binoculars.

An Italian documentary showed Swarovski scopes and unmarked thermal imagers.

The telescopes shown in movies are often utter junk, but one movie has a fine Questar shown frequently in use.

Regards,
B.

P.S.
I think it was an E model in good condition, but I would have to see the film again to be sure.

Last edited by Binastro : Saturday 1st June 2019 at 17:36.
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Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 19:43   #13
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It's odd how certain models obtain a cult status and others die on the vine. The Victory II is a good example - won the technical shootout in the test against the cultists, but is much unloved today.
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Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 21:37   #14
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Is the Victory II 10x40 or 10x42?

On Youtube Perry Mason Lady in the Lake at 21.57 to 21.25 the Nikon is shown but not as clearly as in the T.V. movie.
There is a hint of a serial number under the horizontal Nikon in the centre front of the binocular.
The binocular seems to have wide eyecups probably rubber.

On another Youtube it is 1 mnute later.

Maybe it would be better on a high resolution screen.

B.
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Old Sunday 7th July 2019, 18:36   #15
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Thanks for these reviews, really good reading. I was only today thinking how much I enjoy the SE 8x32. I’ve been using mine for the last month or so after not using it for a couple of years. They are absolutely superb binoculars.
I really ought to find another pair just in case I lose these ones.
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Old Sunday 7th July 2019, 19:21   #16
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I also use them quite frequently also, still a superb glass by today's standards. I tend to use them and the 8X30 EII more than any roof in 8X30/32.

Andy W.
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Old Sunday 7th July 2019, 20:10   #17
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Yes. I prefer them to my Swarovski EL SV 8x32. A more pleasing view to my eye. And porro 3D. It was these bins that put me on to 7x roofs. I was looking for roofs that could match the SEs view. 7x roofs have better 3D than 8x ones but they aren’t the same as a porro.

If only there was a 7x SE ��
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Old Sunday 7th July 2019, 20:41   #18
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I know Nikon has the WX 7X50 and 10X50, but if Nikon had made the SE line with 8 and 10x with a larger aperture say 8X45/10X50 I would have used them extensively (better value $$ wise). The 12X50 is a great night time glass for astronomy, and I use it often.

Andy W.
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Old Sunday 7th July 2019, 21:31   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boogieshrew View Post
Yes. I prefer them to my Swarovski EL SV 8x32. A more pleasing view to my eye. And porro 3D. It was these bins that put me on to 7x roofs. I was looking for roofs that could match the SEs view. 7x roofs have better 3D than 8x ones but they aren’t the same as a porro.

If only there was a 7x SE ��
Have you tried the 7x Dialyt? See Holgers favorites http://www.holgermerlitz.de/favorites/favorites.html
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Old Tuesday 9th July 2019, 19:17   #20
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I tried one very briefly a long time ago. Liked them at the time but not sure how I’d find them now. I’ve tried a lot of 7x bins now, currently owning Zeiss FLs, Swarovski SLCs, Nikon EDG, and Leica UvHD+
Leica being my current favourite. The one I regret selling is Meopta Meostar.
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Old Thursday 11th July 2019, 15:29   #21
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Sitting on a 10x35EII in great shape if someone is interested. I can't use them with my glasses. Priced to move, PM me.

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Old Sunday 28th July 2019, 11:01   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceasar View Post
There is an outstanding review of the Nikon 10x42 SE written by our own WJC aka Bill Cole in an issue of "Sky and Telescope" magazine (if my memory is correct) back around 1998 or so. I recall it as a classic example of how to write a binocular review!

I have the magazine some where in my archives where I can't find it.

Perhaps Bill can come up with it?

Bob
A pity that Bill Cook's review of the Nikon 10x42 SE cannot be found — it would have been a treat to read.

The older reviews so thoughtfully posted by John A. Roberts mostly came to my attention at the time but the choices I made while buying binoculars did not fully utilise the wisdom in them. After being shown four samples of the Nikon 8x32 SE ($475) at Adorama in 2000, I bought a Pentax 8x42 WP ($325). The Nikon was visibly better but not $150 better, or so I thought at the time. Now I think I should have bought the Nikon.

I was in East Africa on the coast when I needed a 10x binocular for field birdwatching. I ended up buying a Nikon 10x42LX (Europe 10x42HG) mainly because I was concerned about fungus in the non-waterproof 10x42 SE and not sure whether I would get the blackouts which many users were reporting. This, despite fairly firm evidence from these and other reviews, that the central and peripheral sharpness of the 10x42 SE was marginally but noticeably greater than that of the 10x42LX. There was a review from BirdForum member Stephen Green who found the 10x42HG was able to resolve details marginally but distinctly better than the 10x42SE at distances of 200-300m in low light. It might have influenced my choice to a degree.
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