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Leica Ultravids (thread contains a variety of topics, optic reviews & other binos)

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Old Sunday 23rd November 2003, 21:23   #26
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No, I haven't seen any reviews on the 50mm models yet. But check out this page regularly: http://www.kikkertspesialisten.no/kikkerttest.htm
There are loads of reviews of binoculars to check out there..and I guess all the new Leicas will be reviewed as soon as they are common in the stores here in Scandinavia..at this time, they are very difficult to get hold of...
I was really about to send you a message saying what Chas Zoss. Is that kikkertspesialisten.no site in ENGLISH anywhere? I really love to spend a lot of time looking through it.
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Old Sunday 23rd November 2003, 22:19   #27
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John.
I believe that a yellow bias does not give an advantage in low light, this surely would be if it had a blue bias, as the human eye is sensitive to blue light in low light conditions.

I agree with you about the Zeiss especially optically (not sure about the feel), but I was shown (by the people on the Zeiss stand) at this years BBWF the light path through their prism system. The Zeiss roof prism does not contain a mirror which means less light is lost when passing through the prism (perhaps someone from Zeiss could confirm). I think they also said that you do not notice the difference in day, only when the light begins to fade.
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Old Monday 24th November 2003, 10:56   #28
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A bit off topic, but I'm willing to concede to CDK that the human eye may well be more sensitive to blue light. However, my undertsanding is that since the extra thickness of air light passes through at low angles filters out blue light - hence it looks yellowish evening & morning - a bias towards that end of the spextrum is advantageous at these times. Certainly it's my recollection when looking through various optics at this time that a greenish/yellowish bias aids brightness.

Incidentally although I too would love to see that Norwegian site in English, it isn't too hard to work out the meanings of the various column headings & get the gist of them! John
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Old Monday 24th November 2003, 13:44   #29
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Bins; Nikon 10X. Optically excellent. Chiropractors dream. Great bins for those with a very strong neck. Try wearing them in the tropics for days on end with just a t-shirt for padding!

Zeiss Victory10X. Optically excellent. Again great bins if you like focussing every milli second!

Rave reviews for the new Leica's everywhere.

ME. I'll just stick with my faithful 21 year old friend the Zeiss Dialyt 10x40 bt* still brilliant even though showing the signs of old age.......yeah I know they are pretty heavy too. Just can't bear to part from them.

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Old Wednesday 26th November 2003, 01:34   #30
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This is my first posting to this forum. Let me preface my comments on the Ultravid by saying that I favor 7x or 8x binoculars over 10x. For whatever reason--be it improved steadiness of the image or not--I get more information out of good 7x or 8x binoculars than comparable 10x binos. More than three years ago, after trying all of the high-end binoculars, I purchased my first “serious” birding binoculars--Nikon Superior E 8x32. I have used them heavily since then. I also often use Leica 8x20, especially when my purpose is hiking/walking rather than birding, and these are truly little miracles. And I own Swarovski Classic (porro-prism) 10x40 WM, which I enjoy but do not favor over the others. Since buying the SE I have been looking for a world-class, waterproof and fogproof, roof-prism bino with pop-up or twist-up eyecups that weighs less than 30 ounces and has great ergonomics. This was obviously a difficult assignment.

While traveling on business, I have visited retailers all over the US to handle binoculars and have also had opportunities to try them in the field while birding with other folks. When I finally purchased the SE, I had the opportunity in the store to compare it side-by-side with almost all of the other leading binoculars, and after two hours my last two choices were the SE and the Nikon Venturer LX (known to many of you as the HG). I have since had other opportunities to use the Venturer LX. In the end I did not consider Zeiss ClassiC 7x42, for reasons stated below. More recently I dismissed the Zeiss Victory, because the original model was disappointing on a number of fronts. I admit that I have not handled the improved Zeiss Victory II.

The Venturer LX has superb ergonomics, but I find them heavy and their field of view a bit narrow. Although few people believe it from their appearance, the Nikon SE also has great ergonomics. Importantly though, the Venturer 8x42 is obviously brighter than the SE 8x32. Imagine my surprise when I compared the SE side-by-side for an extended period to the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL, only to conclude that the Swarovski was barely brighter than the little Nikon, if at all. I thought it was my imagination until Stephen Ingraham (Better View Desired) drew the same conclusion. The SE also seemed to be sharper than the EL, though they were very close. Lastly, I could not stand the focusing mechanism in the EL.

I recently had the opportunity to handle the Leica Ultravid 8x42 BL, 8x42 BR, and 7x42 BR, and to compare them to my 8x32 Nikon Superior E. In comparing brightness I held one barrel of my SE to my right eye and one barrel of another glass to my left eye, with both binoculars focused on the same object. I was able to view objects from ten feet to infinity in open sunlight, and objects from ten feet to about forty feet in open shadow under a tent. This is not a scientific method, but it approximates use in the field and I have used it many times over the years.

I handled the 8x42 BL only briefly. The leather covering is attractive, but I found the ergonomics disappointing. I would not buy it, though I am sure it will have its fans. The 8x42 and 7x42 BR models represent serious advances over the older Trinovid line. I hate the feel of the Trinovids, but the Ultravids fit my hands perfectly--the ergonomics are vastly improved. The lighter weight and the balance are wonderful, and the focusing mechanism is silky smooth and precise. I like the focusing mechanism as much as that on the Venturer LX, which is superb, and which until now has had no equal. Even the SE has an excellent focusing mechanism, though it is stiffer than the Ultravid or Venturer.

The color fidelity of the Ultravids is exceptional. Chromatic aberration is minimal to nearly undetectable. I focused repeatedly on extremely high-contrast subjects, including highly reflective metal in open sunlight, and only got a hint of CA. This is not my experience with the Venturer LX, which on several occasions has exhibited significant magenta fringing on contrasty subjects, whereas the SE shows little or none. For those who are interested, the Swarovski porro-prism has outstanding color fidelity, but shows strong reddish fringing on contrasty subjects.

The Ultravid has excellent baffling and barely flares at all when pointed near the sun. This is also the case with the SE, though the Leica 8x20 flares terribly when viewing toward the sun. The field of view in the Ultravids is very flat. Although Leica says the Ultravids are sharp “to the edge of the field,” they have drop-off of sharpness toward the edges that is similar to that in the older Trinovid line. This is also present in the Nikon SE, though the Nikon drops off closer to the edge of the field than the Ultravid does. This does not bother me in the Ultravids or in other glasses that exhibit this trait, because in use, I move the binoculars rather than look toward the margin of the image.

The Ultravid 8x42 did not outperform the Nikon SE 8x32, though this may be attributable to the fact that the example I handled was pre-production. The SE was just as bright and was obviously sharper than the 8x42 Ultravid I handled.

The 7x42 was an entirely different matter. I have formerly used both the Zeiss and Swarovski 7x42s in the field and like them both. As many optics reviewers have pointed out, Zeiss by now should have done something to make their 7x42 ClassiC fogproof, given it pop-up or twist-up eyecups, and improved the armor. The ClassiC is optically great, but for me its eyecups are uncomfortable, and on top of other issues the focusing mechanism exhibits backlash, making a slight tactile “clunk” every time the direction of the focusing wheel is reversed. The Swarovski 7x42 is optically very fine, but it is heavy, the close focus is more than thirteen feet, and the focusing mechanism feels rough.

The Ultravid 7x42 is superb. It is as sharp as the Nikon SE and is obviously brighter. The handling, at least for me, is outstanding. The only feature which I consider outclassed by another bino is the eyecups. They are excellent, but not quite as comfortable as those on the Swarovski EL, which fit my face perfectly.

A 7x42 binocular is not for everybody, but I think the 7x42 Ultravid is clearly one of the ultimate binoculars. I purchased a pair and received them today. They are even better than their first impression. These are truly a great achievement for Leica.

Last edited by Jonathan B. : Wednesday 26th November 2003 at 14:45.
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Old Wednesday 26th November 2003, 14:42   #31
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Hello Jonathan and welcome to this forum. I have just recieved my 10x42 Ultavids, I must concur on your observation of the eyecups and add that they do not turn out as smoothly as the swaros, also I might add that eyepiece covers could be constructed of a stiffer material so that they remove a little quicker, I do not use the objective covers as I find them to be more bother than they are worth, other than that they are truly are superb optics and I am enjoying using them at our www.eaglewatch.ca, Raptor.
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Old Wednesday 26th November 2003, 23:57   #32
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Welcome Jonathan & thanks for what I thought was a really excellent summary. I use 8x32 SE binoculars and they are very good. However, I thought the new 8x42 Leicas were just a little sharper, but it's a close call, John
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Old Thursday 27th November 2003, 01:08   #33
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Originally Posted by John Cantelo
Welcome Jonathan & thanks for what I thought was a really excellent summary. I use 8x32 SE binoculars and they are very good. However, I thought the new 8x42 Leicas were just a little sharper, but it's a close call, John
John:

First to you and Raptor, thanks for the warm welcome. I have been following several different forums for the past few months, but this seems to be the one that actually has birders who are sharing practical information, rather than theoretical or other things.

I am pleased to hear that the production 8x42 performs like the 7x42, and not like the pre-production 8x42 that I was able to handle (this was at a Leica booth at a birding fair here in New Mexico last weekend). A relative wants me to recommend an "ultimate" all-around binocular, and I will tell her to buy the 8x42. Because the performance of the one I handled was close to my Nikon SE, I didn't think the 8x42 would fill a niche for me, and I do a lot of woodland birding, thus the choice of 7x42.

I used the 7x42 for awhile today and I'm simply amazed by the sharpness, contrast, and brilliance of the image.
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Old Friday 28th November 2003, 00:15   #34
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Magazine bias

John raises some good points there. He is also a very helpful birder who showed me a Black Brant in Kent a few years ago. I base my opinion of Birdwatching's anti Nikon bias on a telescope review a couple of years ago, when they rated a Nikon 78 ED's optical quality worthy of a laughable 6 out of 10. Having used this scope for a few years, I know better. Taking into account that no two scopes from the same maker are identical in performance, the big Nikon is worthy of a higher rating. OK, the design is dated, it's not waterproof and has no hood. But optically it is a fine bit of kit and compares very well with other top end scopes. Optically. IMHO. In fact, I had an in depth e-mail debate with the Editor about that result, and basically it came down to the fact that they were right, because they knew best! They would never have said otherwise anyway.

Top manufacturers fly magazine testers to exotic birding locations to test their latest products, how could a critical review possibly follow that kind of generosity. Possibly because today's top products are so good that they do not warrant criticism? I wonder if they get to keep the 'used' optics.

I have Swarovski 8.5x42 EL that need two and half turns of twirling from close focus to infinity. You cannot possibly follow a close, perched bird if it takes off and flies away, and maintain the bird in focus. I discussed this in several e-mails with Swarovski. It seems they were designed by a committee, which explains everything really. The new 8x32 EL has focus modified to one and a half turns from close to infinity, a huge improvement. Maybe someone else compained. They have also said I may at some time in the future be able to have the focus modified on my pair. They are excellent optically, but they sure aint perfect.

Anyway, thats the end of my rant.

And thank you, John, for that Black Brant
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Old Friday 28th November 2003, 00:42   #35
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Never had a Nikon scope William but I can't believe that review.
Nikon optics have always been sharpest to my eyes. Only reason I didn't get one of their scopes was the 'flask' reputation

On the subject of bins and focussing - has anyone ever beat he old Ziess dialyt 7 x 42? Almost didn't need focussing - their depth of field is so good - I could basically do it all with my eyes.
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Old Friday 28th November 2003, 12:48   #36
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December Issue Birdwatching.
8x Binocular survey.
#1 Leica Ultravid 8x42
#2 Swarovski EL 8x32
#3 Swarovski EL 8.5x42

Last edited by mak : Friday 28th November 2003 at 15:16.
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Old Saturday 29th November 2003, 00:00   #37
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First, thank you William for your kind (and probably entirely undeserved) comments. You must have met me on a good day :-)! The 6/10 the Nikon is a bit harsh, but I wouldn't have given it much more on my sole experience looking through one - I thought it less good than the 60mm Nikon! Good to see. though, the latest 'Birdwatching' survey at long last includes the Nikon porro 8x32 SE bins. I can't agree with the 7.5 for handling though esp as the 8x42 BNs - the world's most unergonomic 40/42mm bins on the planet - get 8.5 (as I recall anyway - I don't have the article to hand), John
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Old Saturday 29th November 2003, 00:45   #38
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Originally Posted by John Cantelo
First, thank you William for your kind (and probably entirely undeserved) comments. You must have met me on a good day :-)! The 6/10 the Nikon is a bit harsh, but I wouldn't have given it much more on my sole experience looking through one - I thought it less good than the 60mm Nikon! Good to see. though, the latest 'Birdwatching' survey at long last includes the Nikon porro 8x32 SE bins. I can't agree with the 7.5 for handling though esp as the 8x42 BNs - the world's most unergonomic 40/42mm bins on the planet - get 8.5 (as I recall anyway - I don't have the article to hand), John
Yes it does seem perverse to give the Leica 8x42 BN better marks for handling than the Nikon 8x32 SE. Maybe Arnold Schwarzeneggar was the tester? I tend to disagree strongly with Bird Watching magazine reviews esp. regarding Leica binoculars. I have always found the Leica 8x32 BN to have too much chromatic aberration to be useable and as you indicate the 8x42 BN is an awful shape. I wonder how the Nikon 8x32 HG were rated in comparison to the Leica 8x32 BN given that the former seemed noticeably brighter to my eyes?

Some years ago Bird Watching magazine reviewed the Steiner 10x40 Rocky S binocular and gave it top marks. They were roughly the same price as a Leica 8x42 BA. I tried them and they were very bright but thought they looked soft. They also had excessive chromatic aberration. I compared them with my cheap Nikon 8x40 Egret and could see no more detail. (A Nikon 8x42 HG walked over the Nikon Egrets as expected!) Reviews on the web indicated that the Steiner bins were not even phase coated which would explain the decidedly soft images. I suspect the reviewer was comparing them against his own 10 year old pre-phase coating roof prism binoculars. A year or two later the price halved, reflecting IMO their true worth.

Of course a comparative side by side review performed by multiple testers might be expected to be more reliable and average out the personal foibles of each person.

I think the more significant bias of BW magazine - as mentioned in an earlier post - is the one against porro prism binoculars. Many people buy an expensive pair of waterproof roof prism binoculars for Sunday afternoon wanders around the local nature reserve and a quality porro prism binocular would give better views at half the price. I've been told by several well known UK specialist optics dealers that a porro prism binocular will not give as good images as a roof prism. I think the truth might be that they will not make as much profit, or - to take a more generous attitude - perhaps they have not tried them out themselves. I should add that other UK dealers seemed to be a bit more informed.
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Old Saturday 29th November 2003, 07:22   #39
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Leif and anyone else

why don't the likes of Zeiss, Swaro, Leica make porro prism bins?
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Old Saturday 29th November 2003, 09:06   #40
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Originally Posted by pduxon
Leif and anyone else

why don't the likes of Zeiss, Swaro, Leica make porro prism bins?

Swarovski do. They have two models, an 8x30 and a 10x40. Of course, being Swarovski's, they aint what you would call cheap. The 8x30 looks very dated, and when I recently compared them with a more modern looking Nikon 8x30 E2, I preferred the E2. The Nikon is a couple of hundred pounds cheaper if bought from Ace Optics.

John and I will have to agree to disagree about the Nikon 78ED, I used to sea watch with 60 and 78 Nikons mounted side by side on the same tripod, the 60 with a 20x and the 78 with a zoom set to about 40x. The set up worked very well. The wide angle of the 20x for finding, then a switch to 40x to follow the bird. I actually preferred the 60 for its portability, but to my eye the 78 was far brighter. I now use fixed eyepieces only, 25, 38 and 75x. I recently compared the 78 with a friend's new Swaro 65 zoom and found them comparable in good light, the 78 was marginally better in poor light. IMHO, of course.


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Old Saturday 29th November 2003, 09:26   #41
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Clive,

I have a pair of 8x30 Nikons which are very good optically. But, although I've had them for only 6 months, the rubber grips have completely come off. They started by bubbling where my fingers rested and eventually flapped about until I pulled them off. Unfortunately, I bought them in Saudi Arabia, cheaply (£150ish) so there isn't a proper guarantee. Does anyone else have any experience of this sort of thing? Any suggestions as to what glue to use to try to repair them?

Steve
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Old Saturday 29th November 2003, 09:43   #42
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I'd definitely send them back to Nikon UK - the fact they are Nikon is your guarantee of quality not the fact of their being bought in Saudi, I hope. It would be interesting to hear what Nikon UK have to say.

If you do try to repair them you'll definitely invalidate any warranty, though. If you are tempted, rubber and metal stick magically well together with cyanoacrylate adhesive ("super glue") so far as I remember, but the bond is not too flexible.
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Old Saturday 29th November 2003, 10:18   #43
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I thought of superglue but it makes an instant bond which means you have to line the rubber up accurately as you only have one chance. I think I'll write to Nikon, but I don't hold out much hope of am early answer.

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Old Saturday 29th November 2003, 10:32   #44
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Originally Posted by steverowe
Clive,

I have a pair of 8x30 Nikons which are very good optically. But, although I've had them for only 6 months, the rubber grips have completely come off. They started by bubbling where my fingers rested and eventually flapped about until I pulled them off. Unfortunately, I bought them in Saudi Arabia, cheaply (£150ish) so there isn't a proper guarantee. Does anyone else have any experience of this sort of thing? Any suggestions as to what glue to use to try to repair them?

Steve

Steve, I agree with Scampo, send them to Nikon UK and hopefully they will cure the problem. Let us know how you got on.

Was at Dowrog Common in Pembrokeshire last week to see the Hen Harriers coming in to roost and had an opportunity to try Leica Duovids. They were very impressive even in poor light at 12x, as it grew dark. I was surprised to find that they were so hand holdable at 12x, as I do not have the steadiest hands. The weight and ergonomics may contribute to this. If these binoculars had indents at 9, 10 and 11x they might be the ultimate all-round bins.


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Old Saturday 29th November 2003, 13:36   #45
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Originally Posted by steverowe
Clive,

I have a pair of 8x30 Nikons which are very good optically. But, although I've had them for only 6 months, the rubber grips have completely come off. They started by bubbling where my fingers rested and eventually flapped about until I pulled them off. Unfortunately, I bought them in Saudi Arabia, cheaply (£150ish) so there isn't a proper guarantee. Does anyone else have any experience of this sort of thing? Any suggestions as to what glue to use to try to repair them?

Steve
Steve: I have a pair of Nikon 8x32 SE - bought used - and I doubt the grips would come off. Are you referring to the cheaper Nikon 8x30 E binoculars? I might try superglue if I were in your place but I would be very wary about causing further damage.
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Old Saturday 29th November 2003, 13:45   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by william j clive

Was at Dowrog Common in Pembrokeshire last week to see the Hen Harriers coming in to roost and had an opportunity to try Leica Duovids. They were very impressive even in poor light at 12x, as it grew dark. I was surprised to find that they were so hand holdable at 12x, as I do not have the steadiest hands. The weight and ergonomics may contribute to this. If these binoculars had indents at 9, 10 and 11x they might be the ultimate all-round bins.


Clive
Don't you find them heavy if used without a rest of any kind?
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Old Saturday 29th November 2003, 13:54   #47
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Originally Posted by pduxon
Leif and anyone else

why don't the likes of Zeiss, Swaro, Leica make porro prism bins?
I am told that Leica do not make them because of the difficulty of making them waterproof. Roof prism binoculars use internal focussing. This means that the internal volume does not change, and hence they can be sealed against water ingress. The second reason is the poor close focus. Because the optical assemblies are further apart they tend not to focus so close. I cannot focus close - i.e. 3m - with the Nikon 8x32 SE without closing one eye! The third reason is the shape. Porro prism binoculars tend to be bigger, with the odd dog leg barrel shape. Most people find this less comfortable to hold than an inline roof prism bin.

I presume Zeiss and Swaro have similar reasons, though as noted above Swaro do have some porros, but they are old designs, and the 8x40 have poor FOV and poor close focus.

I have just looked at the latest issue of Bird Watching magazine and the review seems rather good. I think the presence of multiple testers is essential. The 7.5 given to the Nikon 8x32 SE was for design as well as handling. No doubt the lack of waterproofing cost them at least 1 point, which seems reasonable to me. They also have rubber eye tubes which are a pain compared to the push-pull or twist up- twist down one. That would have cost another point. So overall 7.5 is fair.

Last edited by Leif : Saturday 29th November 2003 at 14:06.
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Old Saturday 29th November 2003, 14:44   #48
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Leif,

Yes they are the cheaper EII bins. I decided to leave the rubber off and put it down to experience. I didn't want to be without them for long. I tried to remove the stuck on glue with a brand name glue remover but most of it wouldn't come off. So then I tried to scrape it off with a sharp knife but scraped a bit of paint off . Then I found that my wife's nail polish remover took the glue off easily. Managed to hide the scraped off paint with a permanent marker. I'm telling you all this to show that impatience gets you nowhere.

Steve
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Old Saturday 29th November 2003, 15:37   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pduxon
Leif and anyone else

why don't the likes of Zeiss, Swaro, Leica make porro prism bins?
Pete,

I own a pair of the Swarovski porro-prism 10x40 W glasses, which I bought on eBay secondhand but in virtually new condition for a great price. I really don't like 10x binoculars much for birding, but thought I would try them at regional Hawkwatch sites. I used a pair of 8x30 Swarovski porros briefly once and was impressed, so thought I would give the 10x40s a try.

The build quality and finish is high. Swarovski claims their porros are the only nitrogen purged and truly fogproof porros on the market. They are very sharp, but their contrast is less than the Nikon SE, the new Ultravid, and some other great binoculars, so the apparent resolution is diminished slightly. Color fidelity is exceptional. Chromatic aberration is sometimes obvious and appears as a dull red fringe around contrasty subjects. Despite the dated design (the original Swarovski porro in this style, a 7x40, was released in the late 1940s) ergonomics are good, at least for my relatively small hands. FOV is the same as many 10x binos on the market--330 feet @ 1,000 yds.

One helpful feature is that the objective lenses are deeply recessed--about a half inch--which protects them effectively. Eye relief is shallow, making them undesirable for use with eyeglasses. It also causes eyelashes to touch the oculars, which makes cleaning a necessity more often. The folding eyecups are easily removed/replaced.

The seals that make these waterproof are between the ocular barrels and the barrels behind the prism housing. When a glass is new, these are very tight, making focusing difficult. Mine has loosened quite a bit. However the focusing wheel is small, metal, and finely grooved, and focusing in cold weather, either with cold fingers or a gloved hand, is not as easy as on other premium binoculars.

Altogether these are very good and underrated/overlooked.

Leif mentioned some drawbacks of Nikon SE. I personally consider the ergonomics exceptional. But aside from lack of waterproofing and the dated rubber eyecups, Nikon might at least have made the eyecups removeable for cleaning and replacement, like Swarovski and Zeiss have done.
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Old Saturday 29th November 2003, 16:09   #50
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Posts: 6,161
As Clive (sorry about getting your name wrong) has obviously much greater experience of the old 78mm Nikon scope than me. I’m happy to concede that I was probably looking through a ‘lemon’ and his experience is more typical. The one I looked at was obviously less sharp and no brighter than the 60mm model. As I think he pointed out earlier individual instruments do vary quite a bit. In contrast, the new Nikon 82mm is a clear improvement (or at least the one I looked through was!).

As for the bias against porros, I ‘m afraid it extends well beyond magazine pages. I recall having a conversation a few years back with a sales person, responsible for selling an awful lot of bins to birders, which went something like this:-

Me: - Well, of course, technically the porro design is optically superior to the roof prism one.
Sales person: - No they’re not. The roof prism design is technically better.
Me: - No, I think you’re wrong there. Roofs are perhaps more ergonomic and have improved a lot, but technically the optics aren’t as good.
S/P:- No they’re not. I sell a lot more roof binoculars than porros which proves they’re better.
Me:- Why do only roofs, but not porros, have ‘phase coating”?
S/P:- It isn’t worth spending the extra money on porros because they’re not so good as roofs.
Me:- No, actually, it’s because “phase coating” corrects a defect in roof prism binoculars that porros don’t suffer from.
S/P:- No it isn’t. Porros aren’t as good optically as roofs. It just your opinion.
Me:- No, it’s not a matter of opinion it’s actually fact – something to do with the path of the light through the instrument. (Since I’d been reading up on this at the time my response was more technical at the time!)
S/P: - Well, that’s just your opinion. I sell lots of binoculars you don’t, so I know what I’m talking about.
Me:- Well no wonder you sell fewer porro bins as you’re clearly biased about them.
S/P:- (Heatedly) I give unbiased advice! Roof bins are technically better. You don’t sell binoculars so don’t know anything about them, I do.
Me:- Well, lets agree to disagree.
S/P:- No, you’re wrong.
Exit one birder sans new binoculars!

…. this from someone working at an outlet that must be in the top handful in the UK for sales of birding optics!
(PS – last 3-4 times I was there I saw no sign of the person concerned & got much more balanced advice so it’d be unfair to name names!)

As for good porro bins, as I’m concerned the latest Audubons represent stunning value for money – far better than equally priced roofs. However, in the latest 8x42 Ultravids, Leica now has an instrument that is as comfortable to hold and marginally better optically than my Nikon 8x32 SEs. I doubt, though, that this would be the case if a similar amount of money were spent on developing a porro instrument of similar quality. One of the best binoculars I’ve ever looked through was an old pair of west German porro Zeiss 10x50s – superb.

John
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