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Your dream binocular

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Old Wednesday 10th October 2018, 20:16   #1
Zory
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Your dream binocular

Hi Everyone,

I am very interested in the future of optics and I would be super curious what you would like to see in a binocular as an innovation.
What is it what you struggle with the most? Is it weight, is it field of view, is it the optical quality?
Have you ever thought of some freaking features which should definitely be included into a bino?
Thanks for sharing.

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Old Wednesday 10th October 2018, 23:11   #2
Alexis Powell
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Many optical problems that relate to birding practicalities have been solved well enough by the best birding bins. For me, the most important remaining issue is improving one's ability to get on close to mid-range small flitting birds very quickly as they reveal themselves briefly from behind foliage etc. A wide flat FOV and forgiving eye placement help with this a lot and are available in the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL SV and some others. Very rapid yet precise focus is the missing capability. I'd like to see the bins of the future make use of variable-ratio focus to solve this problem. So far, it has been used only in some bins that are not optimal for birding, such as the Pentax Papilio, Brunton Epoch, and Minox HG. Give the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL SV this ability and it would be my dream binocular for birding.

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Old Wednesday 10th October 2018, 23:47   #3
Lightbender
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ALL of my dream binoculars DO already EXIST. Although, for me, my dream items lack in eye relief. This is my only complaint, and two millimetres more would make me a perfectly happy binocular user. But apart from that, no need to dream.

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Old Wednesday 10th October 2018, 23:56   #4
james holdsworth
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Mechanical / gimble-type gyro-stabilization in a small, light and attractive package, preferably with variable magnification...say 8 - 25 X, so I can ditch the scope forever.
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Old Thursday 11th October 2018, 03:44   #5
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A really good zoom binocular is what I'd like to see.
It should allow one to scan an area at low power and then zoom in on the birds.

That may require a more radical design to sidestep the problem of two matched zoom lenses, which would perhaps spur further innovations in this space.
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Old Thursday 11th October 2018, 05:00   #6
cycleguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james holdsworth View Post
Mechanical / gimble-type gyro-stabilization in a small, light and attractive package, preferably with variable magnification...say 8 - 25 X, so I can ditch the scope forever.
What this guy said, but I'd be happy with 10x steady.
Wouldn't mind the option of being able to click a pic to record what I saw (of course in the same slim package and of high quality).

CG
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Old Thursday 11th October 2018, 06:09   #7
dries1
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Dream Binocular

I think I found mine, usable in the day as well at night.

Andy W.
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Old Thursday 11th October 2018, 07:31   #8
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Zory

I would like a Zeiss SF 42 that is about 25-30mm shorter to improve handling, with metal eyecups having 6 adjustable positions.

One of the most discussed problems on Birdforum is that of eye relief, or more accurately, how eyecups do or do not bring the user's eye into the right position. This has already been mentioned by Lightbender. Greater adjustability would be welcomed by many to bring ease and comfort of eye position. This is perhaps not as glamorous as zoom binos or image stabilisation but it is certainly something that would benefit bino users everywhere.

Lee

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Old Thursday 11th October 2018, 09:21   #9
yarrellii
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Light (max 450 - 500 g), compactish roof (say, Leica Ultravid HD+ 8x32) but with bigger reach (the zoom idea sounds like a good one), up to 12 - 15x (obviously, should be stabilized), and the ability to capture and broadcast images and videos to the cloud or your mobile device (wifi, bluetooth or the like)... ah, no batteries, obviously (we're dreaming, aren't we? ). Maybe some sort of automatic charging mechanism via the movement of the birder while he/she walks (not unlike automatic watches, for that matter).
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Old Thursday 11th October 2018, 12:12   #10
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Hi,

I think the next step would be a combination of a digicam with VR goggles - preferably in a small and waterproof package and with a well thought out array of controls which can be used blindly and with gloves.

This would give the following features:

- zoom - without the annoyingly small fields of classic zoom EPs

- stabilisation

- moderate low light vision with high iso sensor and image processing

- the option to make images or videos

The power usage will be quite a bit though with lots of stabilisation, a powerful processor and two displays to run. Replaceable LiPo batteries will be necessary - just like your digicam.

The big problem of such a device is that it will be expensive and age badly with a lot of electronics and micromechanics in there to break or just get obsolete. Zeiss had this problem with the photoscope which was very expensive and the digicam part got obsolete fast. It might make sense to make a "camera body" like this for one of the smaller sensor mirror-less system camera lines... for example a 75-300mm M43 tele zoom would give the equivalent of a 3-12x zoom binocular.

Joachim
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Old Thursday 11th October 2018, 12:43   #11
Zory
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Hi Everybody,

thanks a lot for your well thought through comments.
What do you all think about the handling of binoculars in general?
When I am using my binos (although they are really light compared to other models) I come across the situation that I still have to hold them in front of my eye all the time. If I do not have a place to rest my elbows on it can still get quite stressful after a while. Do you also have this situation?

Zory
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Old Thursday 11th October 2018, 17:12   #12
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Originally Posted by james holdsworth View Post
Mechanical / gimble-type gyro-stabilization in a small, light and attractive package, preferably with variable magnification...say 8 - 25 X, so I can ditch the scope forever.
I really liked the idea of the Duovid (8x/12x or 10x/15x), but it is way too heavy. A practical Duovid would be fantastic.

Otherwise, I'm pretty happy with the current kowa / zeiss / swarovski top-of-line (and even some of their older ones!).

Marc
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Old Thursday 11th October 2018, 17:55   #13
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Originally Posted by Zory View Post
Hi Everybody,

thanks a lot for your well thought through comments.
What do you all think about the handling of binoculars in general?
When I am using my binos (although they are really light compared to other models) I come across the situation that I still have to hold them in front of my eye all the time. If I do not have a place to rest my elbows on it can still get quite stressful after a while. Do you also have this situation?

Zory
Zory

This is due to the eyecups not delivering your eyes to the exit pupil. The eye relief is longer than your eyecups so you are having to hold the binos away from your eyes instead of having the eyecups securely in your eye sockets. This is one of the problems I was trying to solve with my dream SF mentioned above.

There is a similar problem to this with Zeiss's Conquest HD which is OK for many people but for a significant number the eyecups are too short and Zeiss has made optional longer eyecups available free of charge.

Eyecups and eye relief probably cannot be made perfect for every single person on the planet and their spectacles but I am convinced that a better job can be done than is the case now.

I think before we encourage bino makers to make science-fiction all-singing all-dancing binos it would be good if they improved the binos that we have now.

Lee
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Old Thursday 11th October 2018, 19:38   #14
jremmons
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8.5x42 w/ Swarovision sharpness and colors, Leica/EDG baffling/glare control/focus, and Zeiss HT brightness and control of CA - with a little of Canon's IS technology thrown in for good measure? Most of the alphas are already good enough optically, in at least one or more categories, that there'd be little to improve upon in practical use - IS technology and maybe high-quality variable zoom being the biggest exceptions (the second of which not seeming particularly likely in the near future).

Justin

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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 03:37   #15
james holdsworth
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I'd like to hear from some of the experts as to what would really be required to make a relatively compact binocular with a high quality variable magnification eye-piece. Too long, too heavy, too costly?

What about using Zeiss's 20x60 stabilization system - it seems to be pretty successful in that application - why have we not seen a smaller, more modern version after all these years?
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 14:35   #16
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Originally Posted by james holdsworth View Post
I'd like to hear from some of the experts as to what would really be required to make a relatively compact binocular with a high quality variable magnification eye-piece. Too long, too heavy, too costly?

What about using Zeiss's 20x60 stabilization system - it seems to be pretty successful in that application - why have we not seen a smaller, more modern version after all these years?
Ask Leupold about their old discontinued switch power binocular.

They had a 7/12x32 Golden Ring Switch Power binocular for a couple of years. It cost about $1000.00.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Leupold-Bin...d=163243701739

Leica's 8/12x42 are quite a bit larger and more expensive.

Bob
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 16:59   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james holdsworth View Post
I'd like to hear from some of the experts as to what would really be required to make a relatively compact binocular with a high quality variable magnification eye-piece. Too long, too heavy, too costly?

What about using Zeiss's 20x60 stabilization system - it seems to be pretty successful in that application - why have we not seen a smaller, more modern version after all these years?
I've heard good things about the Canon IS system, especially the newest ones like the 10x30 IS II. I have not tried one yet.

Marc
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 18:18   #18
james holdsworth
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I think a cost-effective mechanical IS binocular, with reasonably trim proportions, would be a game-changer. When it comes to IS, few want the batteries, electronics and cost / irritations of repair.
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 18:44   #19
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I think a cost-effective mechanical IS binocular, with reasonably trim proportions, would be a game-changer. When it comes to IS, few want the batteries, electronics and cost / irritations of repair.
Strongly disagree.
Batteries are no bother, they last for weeks and if they fail, the glass just reverts to being unstabilized, so no biggie.
What I cannot believe is that anyone still has the opinion that a superprecision mechanical instrument would be more cost effective to make and easier to repair than the electronic counterpart. Even older watches are rapidly getting to be impossible to repair, because the skilled precision mechanical craftsmen are retiring without successors. Like fine Italian tailoring and leather shoes, the essential skills are not getting passed on.
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 20:26   #20
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I have been using electronically stabilised Canons as my primary birding binoculars for over 15 years by now, and have run out of batteries while birding maybe half-a-dozen times total. And if this happens, like Etudiant says, I'm left with unstabilized binoculars pretty much on par with any of the other alphas.

Nowadays, I re-charge my eneloops a bit more frequently and they never run out when I'm out. I cannot see any way to make a fully mechanical stabilisation system that would be anywhere near as compact, lightweight or effective as the one utilised in the Canons.

My dream binocular for the near future would be the 10x42 IS L that I have now but with fine-tuned optics and better eyecups. Or, better yet, eye-relief and eyecups taken from Swaro 10x56 or 8x56 SLC.

For fine-tuned optics, nothing more would be needed than a pair with Canon's current optics but a sample with the lowest aberrations possible with that configuration in both tubes, and in perfect alignment. My present sample is very good both by Canon standards and by comparison to any and all other alpha brands and models, but, like with any other binocular, they fall behind when compared with a truly aberration-free image such as I see daily in my ATX 95. I haven't seen it yet, but from what people I trust say (Typo, Glenn LeDrew) the Nikon WX 10x50 might be a binocular with the image quality level I'd be happy with. But, it is too big and lacks IS.

Once fully digital binoculars are capable of giving the same subjective image quality I'm getting from the Swaro ATX at 30x, to both eyes, and with stabilisation, we will have arrived at a point where I'll stop following the development of the field.

Kimmo
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 20:54   #21
james holdsworth
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I'll put it this way - this is MY version of a dream bino, not yours. I, personally, do not want batteries and electronics in my binos.
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 21:06   #22
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Originally Posted by Zory View Post
Hi Everybody,

thanks a lot for your well thought through comments.
What do you all think about the handling of binoculars in general?
When I am using my binos (although they are really light compared to other models) I come across the situation that I still have to hold them in front of my eye all the time. If I do not have a place to rest my elbows on it can still get quite stressful after a while. Do you also have this situation?

Zory
I find ergonomics to be more and more important. Without a perfect hold, you cannot get a perfect image.

For the situation you describe: have you tried using a cap? Just hold the bins to your eyes and with your little fingers let them hang loosely from the cap of your cap. Some of the weight of the bins will now be hanging from the cap, thus releasing some stress on the arms. Also great for stabilizing the bins as (micro-) vibrations will be absorbed by the cap.

George
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 21:25   #23
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I'll put it this way - this is MY version of a dream bino, not yours. I, personally, do not want batteries and electronics in my binos.
The idea has great visceral appeal, as illustrated by the many people who much prefer mechanical watches to their digital successors.
But there is no hope that a mechanical stabilization can be robust enough to survive routine field use, nor that one could find anyone able to repair it when it needed help. The training pipeline for such people has been dismantled, so no one to make them and no one to fix them.
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 23:25   #24
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What do you all think about the handling of binoculars in general?
When I am using my binos (although they are really light compared to other models) I come across the situation that I still have to hold them in front of my eye all the time. If I do not have a place to rest my elbows on it can still get quite stressful after a while. Do you also have this situation?
Yes! Many binos in these days of huge eye relief cause this problem for me, because their eyecups are too short, so I can't enjoy holding them. There are ways of holding them up against your brow, or with fingers there etc, but really you need something that fits your face, and if you look at enough different models you will eventually find one. Good luck!
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 23:48   #25
james holdsworth
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The idea has great visceral appeal, as illustrated by the many people who much prefer mechanical watches to their digital successors.
But there is no hope that a mechanical stabilization can be robust enough to survive routine field use, nor that one could find anyone able to repair it when it needed help. The training pipeline for such people has been dismantled, so no one to make them and no one to fix them.
Hence the ''dream'' part of this thread...
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