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10 years old vs new

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Old Wednesday 20th February 2019, 14:52   #1
Old Hat
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10 years old vs new

Good morning, after much lurking this is my first post.

I have been using an approx 10 year old binocular, an Eagle Optic Ranger 8x32 with the SRT marking. I believe I had paid just short of $300 at the time.

Lately I have been curious how much if any there have been improvements on this end of the market in that time. I see units like the Diamondback by Vortex, The Endurance ED by Hawke, Bushnell's various models, Nikon ProStaff advertised in the same ballpark or even quite less than I paid for my Rangers. Have there been enough upgrades over ten years to notice a difference?

Thank you all.
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Old Wednesday 20th February 2019, 15:58   #2
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Good morning, after much lurking this is my first post.

I have been using an approx 10 year old binocular, an Eagle Optic Ranger 8x32 with the SRT marking. I believe I had paid just short of $300 at the time.

Lately I have been curious how much if any there have been improvements on this end of the market in that time. I see units like the Diamondback by Vortex, The Endurance ED by Hawke, Bushnell's various models, Nikon ProStaff advertised in the same ballpark or even quite less than I paid for my Rangers. Have there been enough upgrades over ten years to notice a difference?

Thank you all.
There are always changes, but sometimes not for the better. I recently bought a Nikon travelite 8x25 as a gift for someone as my old pair of around 12 years old or so had been so good for the money. The view on the new pair was noticeably darker with less easy eye placement. I think they must have compromised on quality somewhere (glass and used more baffling or prism or something). The view was definitely worse and the rubber casing didn't feel so nice as the old pair. So the moral is not to expect quality to constantly improve, sometimes to keep the price down it gets worse. Best thing is to try some.

Sorry, I feel I've used your post as a bit of an excuse to rant after my disappointment. I'm sure others can give lots of examples of model updates where there are good improvements. Generally I get the impression that in the mid-range with the makes you've mentioned there's been a lot of positive developments bringing good quality at low cost.
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Old Wednesday 20th February 2019, 16:04   #3
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Originally Posted by Old Hat View Post
Good morning, after much lurking this is my first post.

I have been using an approx 10 year old binocular, an Eagle Optic Ranger 8x32 with the SRT marking. I believe I had paid just short of $300 at the time.

Lately I have been curious how much if any there have been improvements on this end of the market in that time. I see units like the Diamondback by Vortex, The Endurance ED by Hawke, Bushnell's various models, Nikon ProStaff advertised in the same ballpark or even quite less than I paid for my Rangers. Have there been enough upgrades over ten years to notice a difference?

Thank you all.
Hi Old Hat!

Welcome to Bird Forum!


I have 2 EO Rangers about that old. One is a 6x32 and the other a 10x32.

You will notice a difference in brightness with more recently manufactured 8x32 binoculars in your price range because of the improvements of the coatings on the prism mirrors. Yours probably has Aluminized coatings. Now Silver coatings are standard on 8x32 prisms in that price range.

You will notice a lot more difference in brightness in more expensive versions of the 8x32. For instance, I have an expensive Nikon 10x32 LXL binocular with Silver coated prisms about the same age as my 10x32 Ranger and the Nikon is vastly brighter than the Ranger is. They aren't in the same league.

You could look into the Nikon Monarch 7 8x30. You can buy it direct from Nikon for $380.00. It has di-electric prism coatings, the brightest of all along with a very wide field of view.

https://www.nikonsportoptics.com/en/...ch-7-8x30.html

The Nikon Pro-staff 7S 8x30 can be purchased from Nikon for under $200.00 but it will have a narrow field of view compared to the Nikon 7 8x30 and not be as bright.

https://www.nikonsportoptics.com/en/...f-7s-8x30.html

There are many very good 8x30/32 binoculars in this price range. Here is the very popular Sightron 8x32 SII Blue Sky which sells for $210.00.

There is a very long thread about it on this Forum! Look it up and read it!

https://www.adorama.com/siibl832.htm...SABEgLF3vD_BwE

Bob

Last edited by ceasar : Wednesday 20th February 2019 at 16:07.
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Old Wednesday 20th February 2019, 16:45   #4
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Thank you both,

I was thinking that my iteration of the Ranger SRT had somewhat better prism coatings than Aluminized. Dialectic rings a bell but the packaging and manual are long gone so I could be mistaken.

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Old Wednesday 20th February 2019, 20:01   #5
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Originally Posted by Old Hat View Post
Good morning, after much lurking this is my first post.

I have been using an approx 10 year old binocular, an Eagle Optic Ranger 8x32 with the SRT marking. I believe I had paid just short of $300 at the time.

Lately I have been curious how much if any there have been improvements on this end of the market in that time. I see units like the Diamondback by Vortex, The Endurance ED by Hawke, Bushnell's various models, Nikon ProStaff advertised in the same ballpark or even quite less than I paid for my Rangers. Have there been enough upgrades over ten years to notice a difference?

Thank you all.
Please keep in mind that “new and improved,” has more to do with marketing than optics. When MAJOR improvements are made, most folks can appreciate the difference. But when MINOR “improvements,” real or imagined, are made, MOST cannot appreciate the difference ... even though they might go to their grave swearing they can—physics never takes a backseat to opinion. However, it is opinion—not physics—that causes the cash register to ring.

Think about it. If each minor “improvement” announced was, in fact, an improvement, we would have 1,000 power binoculars coming in a case the size of a thumb drive. As Aristotle was prone to say: “Reality bites.”

Bill
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Old Wednesday 20th February 2019, 21:38   #6
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Hi,

first of all, welcome to BF!

In general, the last 10 years have not brought major innovations in binoculars, even my almost 30 year old Nikon SE are still quite good.

As Bob has pointed out, especially in roof bins some desirable features formerly found only in top tier models might have trickled down to the economy class...

If you want to try sth else in 8x32, the Nikon M7 is worth a try...

Joachim
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Old Wednesday 20th February 2019, 22:28   #7
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Hello Old Hat,

Try before you buy is always good advice.

Do you live Winona or elsewhere on the MN/WI border? I visited the ice fishermen there, one December.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur Pinewood
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Old Wednesday 20th February 2019, 23:34   #8
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Mr. Pinewood, I reside near the Twin Cities and have property across the way in Wisconsin and north a bit, though I am pulling stakes and trading the Cities for New England within the year.

I can certainly still see wildlife in the Rangers, the haven't obsoleted or anything. Its tough to find anything but 10x42s and other biggies n person around here, birders are a minority optic purchaser in these parts.
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Old Thursday 21st February 2019, 02:01   #9
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The biggest improvement in the last decade was probably the Zeiss Victory SF with its enhanced field of view. Not that many people can afford a $2400+ pair of binoculars and enjoy that, though.

Another one is the Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25 and the new Swarovski 8x30 CL Companion B, compact binoculars that punch far above their weight.

Midrange binoculars have also made major improvements, essentially getting closer to the Alphas, i.e. their value-for-price ratio has gone up, unlike the Alphas where prices have risen to match. Ten years ago top of the line was $2000, today it's more like $2400–2600.

That said, I am still very happy with my 11 year old Leica Ultravid 8x42 BL, even though they are not optical state of the art, but still can't be matched for feel in the hands.

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Old Thursday 21st February 2019, 02:56   #10
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New Glass

These were made between 1995 and 2000, and perform extremely well. So in essence my answer is no.

Andy W.
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Old Thursday 21st February 2019, 16:49   #11
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I think the original question, or its intent, has been lost.

On the question of optical improvement over the past ten years, I agree with others that in the binocular field as a whole, and especially in the upper tier, it hasn't changed very much. However, when it comes to $300 roofs, they have (on average) improved a lot in two areas: field of view and contrast/CA control. Those improvements, which came with what we used to call the "Chinese ED binoculars", were available in some budget roofs 10 years ago, but they have made their way into many more models since.

On the question of whether something among today's budget roofs would significantly improve on the performance of the Eagle Optics 8x32 Ranger SRT, the answer is (in my opinion) a hearty YES. That binocular was optically mediocre in my opinion, even in its day. Its contrast is functional but poor by current standards, colors are muddy, and its sweet spot is on the small side relative to its (respectably large) field of view. Off-axis performance is hampered by astigmatism. The only thing at which this bin excels is close focus (3 ft), which is why I own one (purchased for kids' use, to carry when bicycling, glove box etc. I later got a Browning 8x32 which is far superior overall). The unit I purchased was the best of three that I tried. I haven't kept up with what is currently available in 8x32 at this price point, but I'd be looking at Nikon 8x30 Monarch 7 for starters, and compare it to similarly priced bins from Leupold, Vortex, Meopta, and maybe Opticron, Vanguard, or Hawke.

As for where to view 8x bin in the Twin Cities area, in my experience REI has had a good selection (esp. of Nikon) as has Cabela's (but not sure now with the buy-out by Bass Pro Shops).

--AP

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Old Thursday 21st February 2019, 17:36   #12
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Thank you Alexis for your input. I wonder if you could answer this based on your experience with the SRT: as I am reading reviews of newer 8x32s like the Diamondbacks they get a demerit for having lower quality edge views. Shall I take these only as relative to current alternatives or would it compare to my SRTs as well through time?

I have Prime so perhaps I'll have Amazon dispatch me a Diamondback to peek through. Won't cost me.a thing but time if I can't see an improvement.

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Old Thursday 21st February 2019, 17:54   #13
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Originally Posted by Alexis Powell View Post

As for where to view 8x bin in the Twin Cities area, in my experience REI has had a good selection (esp. of Nikon) as has Cabela's (but not sure now with the buy-out by Bass Pro Shops).

--AP
There is a propensity for the observer to see anything new as better. That’s what the advertisers are paid the big bucks to entice you to think over, and over, and OVER THE TOP! “Everybody has one; SO SHOULD YOU.” If you don’t, you’re silly and less than a good observer. Just think, spending only $2,500 will put you in contention to be a REAL person!

A few years ago, a salesman came into my shop wanting me to carry his line. He was so excited because all of them had ASPHERIC optics. He used the word “aspheric” so often, I think he wanted me to swoon. I thoroughly reviewed his samples. Not only did two of the three have bits of foreign matter throughout, the performance in chromatic and field curvature put that performance behind any number of much cheaper Asian imports. Although not one of the BIG THREE European firms, it was still from a company that commanded respect.

Since chromatic aberration and field curvature are two good reasons designers use aspherics here and there—although production costs are a magnitude higher—and since this salesman kept using the term over and over, I asked him to tell me what it meant and what it would mean to my customers.

Apparently, he thought the WORD alone had magical powers. He did the best he could but just danced around the issue. I told him I had done design and optimization work—pointing to Zemax-EE, then on my computer screen—and that overall his expensive samples were not nearly up to the cost they carried.

Feeling the young fellow meant well, but that he had been duped by a boss who knew a lot about sales but little about optics, or a young wife wanting to be taken to a nice restaurant, I had the fellow sit while I dragged out Sidney Ray’s Applied Photographic Optics.

Across the nation, route salesmen, regional salesmen, and importers concentrate on selling through buzzwords and a keep up with the Jones’s technique because that’s all most vendors really understand or care about understanding. And, as long as consumers fail to do any serious study on the matter ... that will be all that’s required.

‘Bottom line is Alexis’ last comment:

“On the question of optical improvement over the past ten years, I agree with others that in the binocular field as a whole, and especially in the upper tier, it hasn't changed very much. However, when it comes to $300 roofs, they have (on average) improved a lot in two areas: field of view and contrast/CA control.”

My bottom line is from Desiderata:

“... Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals ...”

Cheers,

Bill
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Old Thursday 21st February 2019, 20:09   #14
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Thank you Alexis for your input. I wonder if you could answer this based on your experience with the SRT: as I am reading reviews of newer 8x32s like the Diamondbacks they get a demerit for having lower quality edge views. Shall I take these only as relative to current alternatives or would it compare to my SRTs as well through time?

I have Prime so perhaps I'll have Amazon dispatch me a Diamondback to peek through. Won't cost me.a thing but time if I can't see an improvement.
You're quite welcome. Unfortunately, my comments are mostly based on experience w/all price levels of 8x42 bins, and esp. w/models of 3 or more years ago. I haven't kept up w/the latest model iterations, esp. in the mid-priced 8x32 format, so I don't have any specific advice. I don't have experience w/the current version of the Vortex 8x32 Diamondback. The Diamondback line, in the past, was quite capable (esp. in 8x42) and was competitive with the EO Ranger line, but it was a step down from the bins that really impressed me with their performance (all of which were "Chinese ED" types). I don't know about the 8x32 Diamondback's edge performance, but this is something that differs a lot between models at the same price point.

--AP
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Old Thursday 21st February 2019, 23:37   #15
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The Diamondback is certainly inexpensive enough while seeming similarly spec'd that checking one out via Amazon is within reason. I am recalling that what made me finally 'spring' for the Ranger was the price reduction to closer to $200ish when they moved production.

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Old Friday 22nd February 2019, 03:45   #16
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Hey Old Hat,

Vortex Diamondback 8X32- If I were wanting a clear "step up" in optics, this wouldn't be it. I bought the new model for a friend. I couldn't stand watching her TRYING to see something thru the binocular she owned that she prob paid $20-$40 dollars for and I absolutely knew she would be elated and that it would be an exponential improvement over what she had. It was. For ME, the optics were absymal and I could't imagine birding for a day with them. YOU are wanting to step up from what you have so let's do that.

Above, the Monarch 7 8X30 was recommenced and I think it is a good recommendation. Also the Vanguard Endeavor ED II and Meopta Meopro would be good choices. The least expensive really nice binocular might be the Sighton Blue Sky 8X32, probably less than $200. I had MUCH rather see you with that binocular than the Diamondback.
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Old Friday 22nd February 2019, 12:11   #17
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Thank you Chuck. When encountering the larger Diamondbacks in person and then viewing the Vortex site the higher MSRP led me to assume these were in a similar strata to my version of the Ranger. The online pricing does seem to devalue them a bit.
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Old Friday 22nd February 2019, 16:22   #18
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Thank you Chuck. When encountering the larger Diamondbacks in person and then viewing the Vortex site the higher MSRP led me to assume these were in a similar strata to my version of the Ranger. The online pricing does seem to devalue them a bit.
When I encounter the "larger diamondbacks," I assume I'm in Georgia, Florida, or South Carolina.
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Old Saturday 23rd February 2019, 01:13   #19
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On rare occasions one might encounter a small Timber Rattler in the Mississippi River bluff areas south of here. The singular specimen I've encountered in the wild was a massive three-footer. We have mosquitos bigger than that...
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Old Saturday 23rd February 2019, 01:29   #20
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On rare occasions one might encounter a small Timber Rattler in the Mississippi River bluff areas south of here. The singular specimen I've encountered in the wild was a massive three-footer. We have mosquitos bigger than that...
Out here in the west, we have plenty of rattlers. However, the Eastern Diamondback is the daddy of them all. The force and pain of the strike ALONE could send a fellow to the hospital. See attached.

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Old Monday 25th February 2019, 04:47   #21
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I've discovered another change over the last 10 or so years, at least in this segment of the marketplace:

When I bought my Rangers the midsize models at this price weren't just lighter and more compact but had a much wider field than full size versions of the same. Folks chose a larger view or a brighter view and I went with larger.

Perusing specs it seems current models in both sizes have pretty large fields of view. That might be a reason to move ahead a few years to me right there,to upsize to a bigger model without losing a more open view.
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Old Monday 25th February 2019, 18:24   #22
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I've discovered another change over the last 10 or so years, at least in this segment of the marketplace:

When I bought my Rangers the midsize models at this price weren't just lighter and more compact but had a much wider field than full size versions of the same. Folks chose a larger view or a brighter view and I went with larger.

Perusing specs it seems current models in both sizes have pretty large fields of view. That might be a reason to move ahead a few years to me right there,to upsize to a bigger model without losing a more open view.


You will find that many times 8x32 binoculars will have wider FOVs than 8x42 binoculars of the same brand. It is not unusual; in fact it may be the rule. You probably enjoyed longer eye relief with the 8x42 binoculars than you would have with an 8x32 too and that often means more comfortable viewing. An 8x42 also has an exit pupil of 5.25mm to an 8x32s 4mm so your IPD setting is not as critical in placing your pupils inside the cone of light that enters them on bright days.

Bob

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Old Monday 25th February 2019, 19:29   #23
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You will find that many times 8x32 binoculars will have wider FOVs than 8x42 binoculars of the same brand. It is not unusual; in fact it may be the rule. You probably enjoyed longer eye relief with the 8x42 binoculars than you would have with an 8x32 too and that often means more comfortable viewing. An 8x42 also has an exit pupil of 5.25mm to an 8x32s 4mm so your IPD setting is not as critical in placing your pupils inside the cone of light that enters them on bright days.

Bob
Still, the old webpage I founds lists the 8x42 Ranger at 341 feet @ 1000 yards and the competitior Nikon Monarch 8x42 at just 330 feet. The 393 foot wide view of the 8x32 was immense in comparison.

Now both sizes are well above the older 8x42s I would've considered at the time.
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Old Monday 25th February 2019, 22:22   #24
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Still, the old webpage I founds lists the 8x42 Ranger at 341 feet @ 1000 yards and the competitior Nikon Monarch 8x42 at just 330 feet. The 393 foot wide view of the 8x32 was immense in comparison.

Now both sizes are well above the older 8x42s I would've considered at the time.
That would have been about a normal FOV for an early Ranger.

I've lost count on how many different Monarchs there have been since the original ones came out. For instance, I have a friend who is a millionaire who bought one of the first Monarch 10x42s. They were notorious for having eye cups than wouldn't stay extended. His binocular still has the problem but he wears glasses so he doesn't need to use it with the eye cups extended. He is still using it. It has to be about 14 years old.

Nikon sold many 8x42 binoculars over the years under the name of Monarch that had differing FOVs. The Monarch 3 ATB 8x42 had a 330'@1000yd FOV\ it was still being sold in 2017 based on the reviews Nikon received on it. Prior to these there were others that have been removed from the Nikon binocular archives.

https://www.nikonsportoptics.com/en/...Tabs-TechSpecs

Bob

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Old Tuesday 26th February 2019, 00:11   #25
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That would have been about a normal FOV for an early Ranger.
Yup, for the 8x42. Everything I can find indicates the 8x32 was always wider at 393 feet @ 1000 yards, which was the point I was getting at. I chose a few feet over a few minutes. Now I could get both in the 42mms in this price range.
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