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Konica Minolta Activa (8x40) vs. Celestron Ultima DX 8x32 vs. Nikon Action EX 8x40

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Old Friday 19th June 2009, 20:33   #1
Martin Fagg
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Konica Minolta Activa (8x40) vs. Celestron Ultima DX 8x32 vs. Nikon Action EX 8x40

Hi everyone,

I fancy having a pair of porros for a back up pair of bins.

Does anyone have any thoughts on

Konica Minolta Activa (8x40) vs. Celestron Ultima DX 8x32 vs. Nikon Action EX 8x40

How do they compare optically? How do the views compare?
I wear spectacles so what do you think of their eyerelief/spec-friendliness?

The Konicas are an unknown to me (can find no reviews on line). They interest me because they are a bit lighter than the others.

I know the Celestron are highly regarded by many on BF. That's why I'm interested in them.

I have tried the Nikons in a local optics shop and like the view and the feel of them.
The other two I can only get on line (the Konicas from the US only) so I'd like as much info as possible before parting with cash for them.

Thanks in advance for any info/opinions you can give.

Cheers,
Martin.
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Old Friday 19th June 2009, 22:44   #2
BinoBoy
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Hi Martin,

I own the Celestrons. They have enough eye relief to work perfectly with my glasses with the eyecups down. Optical quality is amazing for what I paid ($75). I haven't used the Minolta or Nikon, but based on the postings I've read, my impression is that they are both a bit dated.

Two other binoculars you might consider are the Bushnell Legend 8x42 Porro and the Pentax 8x40 PCF WP II. The Legend has a little more eye relief than the Celestron. I have to raise the eyecups just a little. The optical quality is as good and perhaps a little my contrasty than the Celestron Ultimas. I just bought the Pentax at a give away price and I'm very impressed with them. They have a narrow field of view (just 6.3 deg) but the optical quality is outstanding. They also have the best ergonomics of any budget porro I've seen. They allow you to keep your elbows down next to your body where they belong. The Celestrons and Legends force your elbows out, which gets tiring and makes it harder to hold the bins steady. The Celestrons, Bushnells and Pentax are all waterproof with external focusing. This results in somewhat stiff focusing due to the o-rings used to waterproof them.

Of the three, I like the Pentax the best because of the ergonomics. All of them provide incredible value for the money. Good luck with your purchase.
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Old Friday 19th June 2009, 23:59   #3
Kevin Purcell
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Originally Posted by BinoBoy View Post
They also have the best ergonomics of any budget porro I've seen. They allow you to keep your elbows down next to your body where they belong. The Celestrons and Legends force your elbows out, which gets tiring and makes it harder to hold the bins steady.
Reaching around to the focuser on top of the porro often forces your arms out (especially with the Legend porro ... they do seem wide) so try focusing with your thumb on the bottom of the focus wheel.

Try the thumbs up grip or military grip (search the forum for a couple of threads) which will free up your thumbs and puts your arms directly under the bins. I find this is the best grip to use with a porro.

Or use the top focus but use two fingers (one left and one right) to push-pull the focus (useful if you can just get your finger tips to them).

Or focus from the top and change your grip (works for distant targets that don't move towards or away from you).

I've not tried two of the three but I do like Celestron DX. The Nikon's should be fine given some other comments on the forum about them. I wouldn't say they're "out of date" ... heck, they're a fully multicoated porro with good ER and wide FOV so they should do the job. They were the standard "cheapest decent bin for beginning birders" for a while. Their optics hasn't worsened

The Legend porro is another you should consider too.

Last edited by Kevin Purcell : Saturday 20th June 2009 at 06:05.
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Old Saturday 20th June 2009, 02:25   #4
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The Minoltas WPFP are very nice,They have a super Wide field,about 425'..8.5˚ if I remember well,and decent eye relief...I just sold a pair of them recently,..I gave one to a good friend a while back,and recently acquired another as a part of a trade...Center resolution is quite good,but there is a little bit of distortion around the edge,If I remember well..It uses Hybrid-Aspherical lenses in the eyepiece,as the Nikon EX series,and it is waterproof..It is also well made,..Magnesium body and focusing bridge..All rubber armored and great coatings..But Minolta does not make binoculars anymore,and they are hard to find used..It is a good all around,inexpensive bino,Probably VERY similar to the Nikon EX........
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Old Saturday 20th June 2009, 05:17   #5
BinoBoy
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Looks like my memory failed me on the Nikons. The Cloudy Nights review rates them well. The link below will give you some info about the Nikon, Legend and Pentax but no mention of the Celestron or Minolta.

http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=1761
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Old Saturday 20th June 2009, 07:44   #6
Martin Fagg
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Originally Posted by BinoBoy View Post
Looks like my memory failed me on the Nikons. The Cloudy Nights review rates them well. The link below will give you some info about the Nikon, Legend and Pentax but no mention of the Celestron or Minolta.

http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=1761
Thanks BinoBoy. That's is one in depth review. It's gonna take a while to digest it.
Looks like the Action EX & Pentax are highly rated. I'll have to check up on the Pentax.

Thanks,
Martin.
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Old Saturday 20th June 2009, 07:52   #7
Martin Fagg
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Try the thumbs up grip or military grip (search the forum for a couple of threads) which will free up your thumbs and puts your arms directly under the bins. I find this is the best grip to use with a porro.

Or use the top focus but use two fingers (one left and one right) to push-pull the focus (useful if you can just get your finger tips to them).

The Legend porro is another you should consider too.[/quote]

Hi Kevin,
Thumbs up/militray grip- isthis with the bins upside down so the focus wheel is underneath?
Could be good. I'll try it out.

I tried the Legend porro. I could get it to sit comfortably in my hands. Perhaps I should try again with the militry grip.
I thought they had a great view but I couldn't see all of it due to my specs.

Thanks,
Martin.
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Old Saturday 20th June 2009, 08:39   #8
Martin Fagg
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Originally Posted by mayoayo View Post
The Minoltas WPFP are very nice,They have a super Wide field,about 425'..8.5˚ if I remember well,and decent eye relief....
Thanks Mayayo,

do you wear glasses? If so, did you find the eyerelief ok on he Minoltas?
I know everybody's different but at least if you found them ok, it may be worth me risking ordering them from the US and giving them a go.

Thanks,
Martin.
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Old Saturday 20th June 2009, 19:31   #9
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I do wear glasses,And I think eyerelief was On the long side,so plenty there...They also have the screw in-out eyecups...But I dont think you are going to find them for sale ,They are discontinued,and No longer stocked .Once in a while they show On Ebay...........But if you want a good Porro,Just get the Swift Audubon#820,ED or not..The Non ED can be found for a very reasonable 250$+/-,and that binocular is a step ahead in image quality compared with the Minoltas or Nikon EX..Totally worth whatever extra they cost,In my opinion(the Audubon #820 compares very well with the mighty SE series )..The Audubon #820 non ED has been praised as the best deal in optics ,for a long time,and it is a classic in its own class..ALTHOUGH,And now going back to the subject of your question,eye relief is a bit tight for Eyeglasses. The massive field of view help to compensate for any loss in that regard,though...

Last edited by mayoayo : Saturday 20th June 2009 at 19:33.
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Old Monday 29th June 2009, 22:43   #10
mmx_4
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Minolta Activa (7x35, 8x40) has good sharpness & contrast at center field.
Edges.. for 65˚ (9.3˚, 8.2˚) its relatively good. 8)
sweet spot at ~~70%
Minolta is lighter (-100 gr.), than Nikon EX.
IMHO for [thick] eyeglasses wearers Minolta Activa is better, than Leupold Cascades - I try Cascades 10x42, and it have smaller ER, smaller diameter of eyepieces.
1-st series of Minolta Activa was made in Japan. Last series - made in China.

Last edited by mmx_4 : Monday 29th June 2009 at 22:46.
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Old Tuesday 30th June 2009, 02:43   #11
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I have had experience with both the Nikon and the Celestron. I think overall quality of both is fairly comparable but I prefer the slightly more color-neutral view of the Celestron. The apparent centerfield sharpness, color and brightness is pretty much unmatched by any similarly configured porros in its current price range.

I gave both of my pairs of Ultima DXs away to birding friends/relatives that were in sore need of updated optics. They love them!
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