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$100 to $200 US binoculars vs. $1000+ US binoculars

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Old Friday 17th September 2004, 07:40   #1
Rich N
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$100 to $200 (USD) binoculars vs. $1000+ (USD) binoculars

Sorry if the thread title is unclear. I'm not talking about US made binoculars but the price range in US dollars.

The largest difference, IMHO, between modestly priced binoculars and the exensive models is ruggedness of construction and not image quality. With reasonable care you don't need to have a waterproof binocular or one that will take hard bumps.

There are differences in image quality between different modestly priced binoculars but some come surprisingly close to the images seen through the most expenisve binoculars.

You want to find a binocular that is well aligned, comfortable to look through, has enough eye relief to see most of the field of view and not too heavy for your neck. If you find a binocular you like in every way but weight, a binocular harness will let you enjoy your heavy binocular.

Can I see a difference in image quality between my Zeiss 10x42 FL and my "old" (made in Japan) Orion 8x42 Ultraview? Yes, but not so big a difference that I hate the veiw of a bird through the Ultraview. The view through the Ultraview is really very good. So, why did I get the Zeiss? Because I'm a binocular and optics nut.

Rich

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Old Friday 17th September 2004, 17:15   #2
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But most cheap makes are harder to use while a top bino will "work" immediately - providing a "walk in image". That makes them more restful and easier to use for a duration - maybe even better for the eyes in the long run. Cheaper bins also usually provide a darker and narrower image; they exhibit flare easily and colour fringing is unavoidable. Sharpness, too, is clearly better in the top end products.
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Old Friday 17th September 2004, 17:22   #3
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Well, if you can enjoy the difference, you may want to pay the price.

Often the external features may be similar. My favorites I have to hold a bit funny. I rest the binoculars on the top, above my eye. This has more to do with face than with my binoculars. I think I may find other styles to fit my face better and they may be more expensive.

I have cheaper binoculars that are lighter, and they are easier to hold to the eye than my favorites and even those $1000 pairs. But I can't use any of them with my glasses.

All kinds of factors here.
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Old Friday 17th September 2004, 20:44   #4
Rich N
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scampo
But most cheap makes are harder to use while a top bino will "work" immediately - providing a "walk in image". That makes them more restful and easier to use for a duration - maybe even better for the eyes in the long run. Cheaper bins also usually provide a darker and narrower image; they exhibit flare easily and colour fringing is unavoidable. Sharpness, too, is clearly better in the top end products.
I find the $100 plus binoculars may have a narrower apparent field and likely a narrower true field, but the image is still quite good. No, they don't give you that wide, clean apparent field. You don't feel like you are looking out of a picture window. But, if you are selective there are some that are easily workable.

My older Orion Ultraview 8x42 may be an exception but it has a very sharp image. I have an Orion 8x42 Savannah roof prism that is in the $300+ range. It has a narrower and a little less sharp image than my Leicas and Zeiss but I certainly don't find it hard on my eyes.

The really chaep binoculars often have alignment problems and will make your eyes tired. I have seen this in several of the cheap large binoculars sold for astronomy.

The most annoying problem I've found with modestly priced binoculars is poor eye relief.

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Old Friday 17th September 2004, 22:03   #5
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The extra $1000 probably only gives you an extra 10% better optics. But it's the same for almost everything- stereos, cars, etc. But I refuse to ever buy another pair of bins that aren't waterproof, vintage porros excepted.
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Old Friday 17th September 2004, 22:23   #6
Rich N
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Originally Posted by Kevin Mac
The extra $1000 probably only gives you an extra 10% better optics. But it's the same for almost everything- stereos, cars, etc. But I refuse to ever buy another pair of bins that aren't waterproof, vintage porros excepted.
The extra $1000 usually buys a much more rugged binocular. If you are thousands of miles from home to see a special bird you may miss your chance if your binocular breaks. You may not be able to replace the binocular quickly.

OTOH, around home if you break a modestly priced binocular you can have another that day or in a couple of days. And, with luck, the bird will be in your area for a few days.

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