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Advise needed on three bino's

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Old Thursday 27th October 2011, 16:29   #1
Walter David
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Advise needed on three bino's

Hello. I will be making a purchase in the next few weeks. My budget is $250.00 and my use will be for of day time and casual astronomical star gazing. I have a telescope for more prolonged outings and deeper sky views.

So I narrowed down to a few models; the Minox BD 10x44 BP which seems to be a real steel-deal at Camera Land NY and the the Bushnell HD Legend which gets great reviews. I also found a lot of great reviews on the ZEN RAY Summit so I am considering the Zen Ray too. I know the Minox's field of view is pretty narrow like the Pentax 10x50 WP, but if the optics are the best of the bunch, I am willing to accept it. (ie compromise)

I'll probably be buying whatever I choose from Camera Land. They sell all of the above models that I am looking at so I feel I will get objective advice. I called them yesterday and the person I talked to was very nice, knowledgeable and spent a few minutes with me on the phone. As a result of the conversation, I was steered towards the Minox.

From what I've read about the Minox BD 10x44, everyone who has had experience with it says that they have very good optics for day time use, and great build quality ergonomics, etc. However, the there are conflicting opinions regarding the Minox for astronomical use and makes me hesitate in buying them. I get the impression that the Minox is not designed for astronomical use? One person describes spikes coming off of bright objects such as Jupiter? Since I will want a binocular for dual use-both daytime and night time this would be a deal breaker for me. (I hate returning / exchanging..etc..).
If the night time use is not the best with this otherwise fine binocular, I guess my choice will be narrowed to the Bushnell or the Zen Ray.
So I really am interested in anyone's opinion on the two of these. The Minox seem to be used by less people than the other two.

Thanks in advance for any input and experience you may have on any of these.
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Old Thursday 27th October 2011, 18:48   #2
FrankD
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Walter,

I can be of some help with this issue. I have the 8x42 versions of both the ZRS HD and the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD. I also have the 8x42 Opticron HR WP (practically identical to the Minox BD BP). I don't use them that much for astronomy though I have found myself in recent months occasionally using them in this fashion more for star-testing and general impressions of various models.

I don't think you will make a "bad choice" when considering any of these models. Each of them have their strongpoints.

The internal focus porros (Minox, etc..) have some of the best "3D effect" I have ever seen out of any of the porro prism models I have owned. The Opticron and the Leupold versions are exceptionally ergonomic though the Minox is a bit less so because of the armoring. They also have a relatively large sweet-spot (percentage of the field of view). Keep in mind though that the field of view is fairly narrow. I am not sure how detrimental this is from an astronomy standpoint but for daytime use it can be an inconvenience at times.

Also, because of the porro prism design, I am left with the impression that the depth of field is better with this model. Now, whether that is because it actually is or because the design allows my eyes to refocus more easily I cannot say but the results are pretty much the same.

Bushnell Legend Ultra:

Very wide field of view...especially in the 8x...with great centerfield apparent resolution an color fringing control. Good contrast as well in that sweetspot. Ergonomic and lightweight as well. The bad news optically is that the sweet spot is rather small and the edge distortion is somewhat distracting at times.

ZRS HD:

More compact than either of the other two with excellent apparent brightness and contrast plus a very large sweet spot. The area outside of the sweetspot does display color fringing but the sweetspot does not under almost all conditions.

Hope this helps somewhat.
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Old Friday 28th October 2011, 04:37   #3
Walter David
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Thanks for that great info Frank.

Maybe I should also look at the Leupold (I think Cascade?) too. But from what you say, I think my choice would be narrowed between the Porro option and the Zen Ray. I think the softer edges that the Bushnell would give may really bug me!

Do you think the Leupold Cascade is as good as the Minox BD I am looking at?

Also, I may want the 10X of the ZRS for less eye relief since I do not wear glasses while viewing. At least for now. I may get glasses in the near future for slight astigmatism. But that is only a maybe.

Thanks for that great first hand knowledge!

Walt
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Old Friday 28th October 2011, 11:43   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walter David View Post
Thanks for that great info Frank.

Maybe I should also look at the Leupold (I think Cascade?) too. But from what you say, I think my choice would be narrowed between the Porro option and the Zen Ray. I think the softer edges that the Bushnell would give may really bug me!

Do you think the Leupold Cascade is as good as the Minox BD I am looking at?

Also, I may want the 10X of the ZRS for less eye relief since I do not wear glasses while viewing. At least for now. I may get glasses in the near future for slight astigmatism. But that is only a maybe.

Thanks for that great first hand knowledge!

Walt
Walt

Frank and I generally agree more often than not on our assessments, but having had both of the 8x42 & 10x42 Zens and Legend Ultras, my preference has been the Bushnells. The 8x Legend has a very slight amount more pincushion at the outer edges than the Zens, but I would hardly call it annoying, and the sweetspot is certainly not small. I sold my Zens and kept the Ultra HD'a as I felt they were a much better all around bino. Plus, you may not be aware that Bushnell has a $50 rebate on the Ultra HD's thru the end of the year.

Here is what another very knowledgeable member (RJM) had to say several days ago in another forum on the 8x42 Legend Ultra HD's: Quite a testimonial.
Quote:
That said, my 12xSE and 10xEII do not get much luv from me as I tend to reach for the Bushnell Legend 8x42 Ultra HD as my main GOTO binocular. After getting the Legend I sold the 8x EII, Kowa BD8x32, and Swift 8.5x44 ED as I tested it actually to be superior optically and/or functionally to those models.
The internal focus Leupold Cascade porros were discontinued by Leupold in 2008, and replaced by the Mesa model and then the Rogue, neither of which are internal focus. All the reviews I have read on the Cascade porros have been very positive, and it would seem that Leupold phased them out because they were too expensive to manufacture. The only seller I know of that still has any in stock is BobWards who has the 10x42 model for $173. I have no experience with the Cascade or Minox porro, so can't offer much help.

http://www.bobwards.com/LEUPOLD-Casc...noculars-42008

Tom
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Old Friday 28th October 2011, 12:31   #5
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Tom,

I dont have the Ultra on hand at the moment but will spend some more time comparing them when they come back from Bushnell. I would be curious to hear from Rick exactly which optical characteristics he found superior.
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Old Friday 28th October 2011, 13:17   #6
Walter David
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Is there any truth to the report that at least some of the Bushnell HD Legends have an annoying rattle? If the Zen Ray is in the same performance of the Legend and has no rattle, I would opt for the ZRS.

Also, not sure if I mentioned this on my original post (sorry if I am repeating myself) but when I asked Doug at Camera Land NY which binocular is superior he said without hesitating, that the Minox was a better binocular. He said the optics are in another class. I assume he knows the only ED is the Bushnell but maybe other actors contribute to optical performance?

But again, I am still concerned about the report or review that I read, that the Minox is not great for astronomical use. Is it good on the night sky on bright objects? I'll be using whatever I get for day time and casual night time use.
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Old Friday 28th October 2011, 13:22   #7
Walter David
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yeah,.. sort of did repeat myself. sorry about that!
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Old Friday 28th October 2011, 16:38   #8
Walter David
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Here is an additional option. Does anyone have an opinion on these Leupolds and how they compair to the Minox? They are even LESS expensive and they are close outs too just like the Minox.

http://www.bobwards.com/LEUPOLD-Casc...noculars-42008
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Old Friday 28th October 2011, 17:43   #9
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My understanding is that the Leupold and Minox are essentially the same binocular. Be aware that both have narrow apparent fields and very wide objective spacing. That, combined with the high magnification will make them very poor at merging the left and right fields at close distances. I imagine objections to the Minox for astronomical use are probably based on the narrow apparent field.

Last edited by henry link : Friday 28th October 2011 at 17:58.
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Old Friday 28th October 2011, 19:39   #10
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Walter,

Ditto on Henry's comments...and I do prefer the Leupolds/Opticrons to the Minox. The Minox are a few ounces heavier and the rubber armoring makes them less ergonomic in my opinion. I was very fond of several pairs of the Leupold Cascade porros I owned in recent years. They were the 8x42 version though.
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Old Saturday 29th October 2011, 02:26   #11
lilcrazy2
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Walter
I have the Legend Ultra HD's in 8x36, 8x42 and 10x42 (2pr), and have parted with several others. The only rattle I have heard is the one in my head for buying so many.

I suspect that Doug recommended the Minox porros because porros generally have a slightly brighter image than comparable roofs.

I doubt you would be unhappy with any of the recommendations as they are all very good binos at the price point. The biggest decision seems to be on FOV as the porros have a much narrower FOV compared to the roofs.

Tom
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Old Saturday 29th October 2011, 19:18   #12
Walter David
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Thanks for all the replies and help.

This may be true but I did get the feeling that Doug was not jus talking about the difference between the roofs vs porros but that he was saying the Minox was just plain a better optical system.

Anyway, I also started looking at the Leupold Cascade which is just like the Minox. I really have a decision to make now between the Minox and the Leupold Cascade. The original price point of these two are pretty far apart but the Minox is probably the way I going.

But the Leupold is tempting at $179.00!

Last edited by Walter David : Saturday 29th October 2011 at 19:21.
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Old Saturday 29th October 2011, 23:32   #13
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Brock just posted over in the "feel good bino thread" that the Cacade porro was the best feeling of all time for what that might be worth.

If it was me, I would go for the Leupold as their customer service and warranty are second to none - simply outstanding!

My 2 cents again.

Tom
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Old Sunday 30th October 2011, 01:31   #14
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Get the Leupold. Same optics as the Minox but better ergonomics and lighter as well. I do also agree about the warranty and customer service of Leupold as well. Truth be told, I was looking for another Cascade porro but found the Opticron version instead.
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Old Sunday 30th October 2011, 14:20   #15
Walter David
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I may flip a coin. There is a thread on the Minox topic of this forum talking about the warranty. http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=199961

Don't know if the warranty that Leupold provides is this good. Maybe it is.




Also, I've been reading a lot of very detailed comparisons between the two found on this thread; http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?p=1626401

The build quality may go to the Minox and the ergos go to the Leupold.


If there was a slight performance between the two I would make that the decisive factor. I read somewhere that the CA is just slightly better in the Leupold but I can't find that anymore.

Anyway, this is now sort of comparing apples-to-apples in the bino category and quality levels so I know know one can help me past this point in the decision process. I just need to make the final decision. on my own.

I will let you know what I FIANaLLY get...
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Old Sunday 30th October 2011, 16:06   #16
John Dracon
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Walter - I have had and used the 8 and 10 power Cascade and Minox binos. I prefer the 8 power Cascade for wider field than 10 and the 6 mm exit pupil suits me better. The Minox advertised at $180 is a steal. John
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Old Sunday 30th October 2011, 16:39   #17
Walter David
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Originally Posted by John Dracon View Post
Walter - I have had and used the 8 and 10 power Cascade and Minox binos. I prefer the 8 power Cascade for wider field than 10 and the 6 mm exit pupil suits me better. The Minox advertised at $180 is a steal. John
Actually, it is the Leupold that is priced at the $180.00. I would agree and want the 8x too though. However, they are difficult or maybe impossible to find so the deals are on the 10x. Maybe I won't mind the 10X because I'll be using these as a dual purpose bino for day time and night time sky scanning.

I am over 50 and I bet my eyes will not be benefited by anything more than say, 5 mm exit pupil.

I do not buy often and I will be making part of my decision based on what is the most durable and warranty and so far it looks like the Minox may have the slight edge. I will sacrifice a little ergonomics for bullet proof. But if I heard a clear opinion on CA i either, I would place more value on that.

The bad news for me is that this is a difficult decision but the good news ironically, is that I don't think I can make a truly bad decision in this case.
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Old Sunday 30th October 2011, 16:56   #18
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Walter,

I do agree with your last statement on not really making a bad choice either way. Keep in mind though that two individuals that do/have owned both are suggesting the leupold. The only difference in build quality is the thicker/heavier armor of the Minox.
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Old Sunday 30th October 2011, 17:54   #19
Walter David
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Originally Posted by FrankD View Post
Walter,

I do agree with your last statement on not really making a bad choice either way. Keep in mind though that two individuals that do/have owned both are suggesting the leupold. The only difference in build quality is the thicker/heavier armor of the Minox.
Point well taken... Thanks Frank
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Old Sunday 30th October 2011, 23:13   #20
Walter David
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OK, so I have almost given up hope that any 8x42 Cascade new in box was still available but after searching a lot, I found one. There are 5 left at $249.00
From what I've been reading from those who really like the Leupold Cascade, they seem to prefer the 8X over the 10X.
If I could swing the extra $$, should I go for the 8X?

I thought they were all gone but I guess not!!
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Old Monday 31st October 2011, 01:32   #21
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So where did you find it? There was one place...I think "East Coast Gun Sales" that still had about that number in stock a few weeks ago. They were the only place left that I was aware of. I almost ordered one but $250 isn't much of a discount considering the new price was $300 and they are now discontinued.
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Old Monday 31st October 2011, 02:28   #22
Walter David
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Yes. Here is the link. I guess if these are in the shortest supply and considered the better option between the two powers, that is why the price is higher.
http://eastcoastgunsales.com/product.php?ID=98208

So is it worth it to spend an additional $70.00? Is the 8 that much more preferable than the 10?
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Old Monday 31st October 2011, 02:35   #23
Walter David
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I mean, considering I can get the 10x42 for $179.00 vs the 8x42 for the $247.00.

Maybe I can swing a deal?
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Old Monday 31st October 2011, 02:59   #24
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If I were looking for a dual purpose bin for astronomy that was also suitable for birding and did not want to spring for the Nikon 10x42SE I would choose the Bushnell Legend 10x42 Ultra HD. Not only do you get a $50 rebate, if you don't like them after a year Bushnell will buy them back. Combined with a Lifetime Warranty from a global company with a 50yr history I'd say it is a no-brainer.
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Old Monday 31st October 2011, 12:13   #25
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Walter,

I am not sure where in SE PA you are located but that is my neck of the woods as well. We should get together. As previously mentioned I have the Opticron version of the internal focus porro (same as the Leupold Cascade) as well as the ZR ZRS HD and I should have the Legend Ultra back in my possession in a week or two. Trying them side by side is the easiest way to make the right decision.
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