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Who also loves Super-wide and Ultra-wide view binoculars?

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Old Sunday 18th June 2006, 04:09   #1
ksbird/foxranch
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Who also loves Super-wide and Ultra-wide view binoculars?

For many years I have been enamoured with super-wide and ultra-wide angle binoculars. The panorama effect of the best of them has always dazzled me. My weakness for this type of binocular is such that I actually collect them. Since there hasn't been a 10 degree field of view 7x or greater binocular made in 20 years, I don't run across them very often.

When I first began doing nature viewing while attending Loyola College and the University of Montreal in the 70s, I had a very sturdy pair of Bausch & Lomb Zephyr 7x50s. They were bright and sharp to the edge if a bit large. Their dust seals were so good that I have never had that pair of bins cleaned and I can still use them today. I would sit on the roof of my apartment building and watch the flames and workers at the refineries near Richeleau racetrack. My friends and I would go to the Laurentians and the stars would be dazzling. The birding is also quite fabulous in Montreal (it's an island in the middle of a river, with a rather elevated "mountain" in the middle of it, so the local habitats are wildly diverse, and the environs are even wilder).

My friends had Agfa 8x30s, Leica Trinovid 7x35s and a pair of US Coast Guard yellow 7x50s that were probably made by B&L. We'd throw our bins into back-packs and motorcycle our way to various places all summer, or take the Metro in the winter. My friend with the Agfas went out of town and stored his stuff with me and offered me the use of his bins while he was away. They were lighter and easier to use during daylight. I liked them and decided to search out a pair of 8x30s. When I saw the Zeiss Jena Deltrintem 8x30s I was hooked. I couldn't afford those bins new, but I knew I wanted an ultrawide binocular for my next pair. The panoramic view available in a binocular with a 500 foot (150 meter) wide field of view at 1000 yards (900 meters)(approx 9.5+ degrees at 7x) was so breathtaking, I had to have it. Tracking birds became a snap. I began to see other activity that birds were responding to. Binocular viewing stopped being a peephole show through a keyhole and took on a more life-like quality.

Fan Tao is a collector of wide angle binoculars whose collection mirrors my own. His website (http://binofan.home.att.net/index.htm) showcases many of the same binoculars I have collected. I limit my collection to super-wide view binoculars with the following minimum specs: 7x35 - 9.6 degree FOV 502+ feet wide FOV (150 m) @ 1000 yds (900 meters), 7x50 or 8x - 8.55 degree FOV 450 feet wide FOV (135m) @ 1000 yds (900 meters), 10x50 - 7.3 degree FOV 382 foot wide FOV @1000 yards (900 meters). I actually prefer Ultra-wides with 10+ degree fields of view and I do find some of those although they are rare in binoculars with 50mm objectives. I have favorites with 11 or 12 degree wide fields of view in multicoated 7x and 8x magnifications and even one 10x fully multicoated binocular with an 8+ degree field of view. All of the binoculars are porro models because roofers don't seem to allow for super-wide or ultra-wide designs.

Every major binocular producing country is represented in my collection (USA, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and Russia/USSR), although the USA seemed to stop making super and ultra wides after about 1953. I'm not sure why this type of bin is so unpopular today. When friends look through any of the high quality ultra-wides I have, they all agree that they'd buy them today. Even if all the ultra-wides were porros, it would still be nice to have them available. If anyone knows for certain why there are no 10 degree 7x or 8x binoculars being made today, let us know. Like one of my friends commented recently, "It's a given that an ultra-wide view bin won't have perfect sharpness to the edge, but if it has a 10 degree field and sharpness out to 85% of the field, then it's going to give a better view over more field than any 7 degree view could ever provide."

Super and Ultra wide view bins also seem to be smaller (though chunkier) than normal bins of the same type (7x35s for example). The US Army M19 binocs (a 7x50) in my collection are like that. Most porro 8x30s resemble super-wides in design even if they are not, but 7x50s are very rare. It's strange but a few squat looking 7x50 and 8x30 waterproof bins made today by Steiner and Tasco also look like they should be super-wides but they aren't. If any of you out there have favorite super-wide or ultra-wide view bins that you still use today let me know. Maybe there is a model I still need to add to my collection.

Last edited by ksbird/foxranch : Tuesday 20th June 2006 at 01:16.
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Old Sunday 18th June 2006, 04:55   #2
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I very much agree with you and your enthusiasm for super-wide binoculars; they're are all-too-rare these days. I only have a couple myself: Minolta XL 7x35 (about 10 degrees), Swift Sport King 7x36 (36, not 35; also about 10 degrees). Among the recent binoculars, but not as wide and, worse, discontinued: Nikon 10x35 EII (7-degree at 10x) and 8x30 EII (don't have this one; 465 feet at 1,000 yards).

I bought a couple of old Jason Statesman's 7x35 (10 degrees), but their collimation was out. Don't know what to do with these, now. I don't think that they're worth the cost of servicing.
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Old Sunday 18th June 2006, 05:18   #3
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I have a pair of 'Ranger Deluxe' 7x35 porros that show an 11 degree field or 578 feet at 1000 yds. Quite impressive bino, although a bit fuzzy on the edges. The difference in FOV is really apparent when compared to a 'standard' 7x35. Sort of a squat fat-barreled bino, but still quite comfortable to hold.
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Old Sunday 18th June 2006, 14:22   #4
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I love wide angles. A wide angled binocular is so much more pleasant. It's probably one of the reasons why i prefer 8x32's.
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Old Sunday 18th June 2006, 15:30   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveF
I very much agree with you and your enthusiasm for super-wide binoculars; they're are all-too-rare these days. I only have a couple myself: Minolta XL 7x35 (about 10 degrees), Swift Sport King 7x36 (36, not 35; also about 10 degrees). Among the recent binoculars, but not as wide and, worse, discontinued: Nikon 10x35 EII (7-degree at 10x) and 8x30 EII (don't have this one; 465 feet at 1,000 yards).

I bought a couple of old Jason Statesman's 7x35 (10 degrees), but their collimation was out. Don't know what to do with these, now. I don't think that they're worth the cost of servicing.
Steve, I have a little test to see if a binocular is worth the hassle of getting a tech to recollimate it. I use Jupiter (which is in the night sky now, lucky you). Even a 6x binocular will work for this test (haven't tried it on my Zeiss Diadem 3.5x yet). You use each barrel of the uncollimated binocular and look at Jupiter at the best focus. If Jupiter is a definite round disk, and you can clearly see the pinpoints of however many of its moons are visible at the time then it is worth sending out for recollimation.

If it's an oval disk, or if there are flares or spikes coming off Jupiter, or no moons are visible at best focus then I pass on recollimation and either give away the binocs, sell them or make them into monoculars (if they are individual eyepiece focus models)(make sure to test 2 nights in a row because there is always a tiny chance the moons may be all behind or in front of Jupiter).

Some of the Jason Statesman wide angle bins were really well made, and they are pretty bright and quite usable on cloudy days at dawn and dusk (I have a pair that work well), but the Statesman's "zip" focus isn't my style. I either focus past the object or not quite to it. We have herons, egrets, cranes, hawks and turkey vultures that patrol our ranch and for these birds "on the wing" the Statesman are nice.

Good luck getting repairs. Most of the binocular techs here in Kansas City are in their 60s and 70s and many are retiring. Luckily the headquarters for Bushnell/B&L is here in the KC metro area so we can get Jason, Empire, Bushnell and B&L bins fixed (for a pretty hefty fee). But joining the local Astronomical Society chapter (plug, plug) is usually a great way to get binoc service done for a reasonable price as long as the repairs are simple (like recollimation). Getting a waterproof bin resealed and nitrogen purged is something only factories (or factory authorized service centers) can do.

Last edited by ksbird/foxranch : Sunday 18th June 2006 at 19:54.
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Old Sunday 18th June 2006, 23:11   #6
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Thanks for the information and ideas, Ksbird. I appreciate. When the sky conditions are suitable, I'll give it a try. I agree with your comments about the Stateman models, particularly the focus lever.

In your opinion or collection, which are the best super-wide binoculars? Which are the best among those that are wide, but not necessarily super-wide?
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Old Sunday 18th June 2006, 23:11   #7
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Thanks for the information and ideas, Ksbird. I appreciate them. When the sky conditions are suitable, I'll give it a try. I agree with your comments about the Stateman models, particularly the focus lever.

In your opinion or collection, which are the best super-wide binoculars? Which are the best among those that are wide, but not necessarily super-wide?
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Old Monday 19th June 2006, 01:41   #8
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I couldn't agree with your sentiments more. Though not quite as wide as what you have posted my Nikon 7x35 Action EX with their 9.3 degree field of view have quite an addicting image. Despite their outer edge distortion and slightly less expensive design I find myself grabbing them more often than many of my roof prism bins. Their overall image experience coupled with their ergonomics provide a very pleasing viewing experience. I would love to see more ultra-wide bins on the market.
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Old Monday 19th June 2006, 03:33   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveF
Thanks for the information and ideas, Ksbird. I appreciate them. When the sky conditions are suitable, I'll give it a try. I agree with your comments about the Stateman models, particularly the focus lever.

In your opinion or collection, which are the best super-wide binoculars? Which are the best among those that are wide, but not necessarily super-wide?
Steve, I guess I should stand corrected about no super wides being made today. I actually reviewed a Baigish 8x30 bin that just barely qualifies as a super wide. It's a nice binoc overall, with very sharp images and no pincushion distortion on the edges. For the price it's a steal.

In wide angle bins I like the Nikon Action Extreme 8x40 and the Olympus Trooper 8x40 DPS-R, Both have aspheric eyepiece designs. Other wides that are good (IMO) are the Leupold 6x30s, the Steiner 8x30s and the new Nikon SE models. All these are porros. There are some unusual binocs made with super wide efle eyepieces today but rarely in 7x, 8x or 10x size. There is a 14x60 made with an erfle eyepiece in China and it has a FOV of 288 feet @ 1000 yards (900 meters), that's a 6 degree field and definitely an ultrawide for a 14x bin. I've seen samples and eye "alignment" is crucial but it's a surprisingly wide field for the magnification.

The #1 classic ultra-wide is the fully coated (or multicoated??) Zeiss Delactis or Delactem 8x40. The 90 degree AFOV eyepiece in these models uses every bit of available human peripheral vision. The Zeiss multicoated Deltrintems(Deltrintis) are very good too (because they offer modern T multicoatings). The SARD 7x50s and B&L 6x30s (WW2 era) binoculars are excellent. I'll have to make another list of good quality vintage super and ultra wides from other brands, but Nikon has been making good super wides with 30mm and 35mm objectives for many years. The cost seems to be discouraging Nikon and a few others from making super-wides now.
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Old Tuesday 20th June 2006, 01:14   #10
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Originally Posted by ksbird/foxranch
Steve, I guess I should stand corrected about no super wides being made today. I actually reviewed a Baigish 8x30 bin that just barely qualifies as a super wide. It's a nice binoc overall, with very sharp images and no pincushion distortion on the edges. For the price it's a steal.

In wide angle bins I like the Nikon Action Extreme 8x40 and the Olympus Trooper 8x40 DPS-R, Both have aspheric eyepiece designs. Other wides that are good (IMO) are the Leupold 6x30s, the Steiner 8x30s and the new Nikon SE models. All these are porros. There are some unusual binocs made with super wide efle eyepieces today but rarely in 7x, 8x or 10x size. There is a 14x60 made with an erfle eyepiece in China and it has a FOV of 288 feet @ 1000 yards (900 meters), that's a 6 degree field and definitely an ultrawide for a 14x bin. I've seen samples and eye "alignment" is crucial but it's a surprisingly wide field for the magnification.

The #1 classic ultra-wide is the fully coated (or multicoated??) Zeiss Delactis or Delactem 8x40. The 90 degree AFOV eyepiece in these models uses every bit of available human peripheral vision. The Zeiss multicoated Deltrintems(Deltrintis) are very good too (because they offer modern T multicoatings). The SARD 7x50s and B&L 6x30s (WW2 era) binoculars are excellent. I'll have to make another list of good quality vintage super and ultra wides from other brands, but Nikon has been making good super wides with 30mm and 35mm objectives for many years. The cost seems to be discouraging Nikon and a few others from making super-wides now.
I didn't think there were any super-wides being made today when a friend showed me his Tasco 8x30 Offshore binoculars (usually under US$100). These bins seem to be a total knock-off of the Steiner 8x30s, but they perform well and they are definitely friendly to eyeglass wearers. Rubber armoured and waterproof (nitrogen purged), these bins are less than .1 degrees off of my minimum spec for a super-wide (they're 445 feet FOV @ 1000 yards) and they are being made today.

One of the classics I left out of my previous list of oldies-but-goodies was the Minolta MK 8x40 500 feet FOV @ 1000 yards (900m). Some of these Minoltas were individually assembled, collimated and tested and they can be extremely sharp for a super wide. Check the spec and view on bins from Tasco, Sears, Jason and Bushnell and you can also find super and ultra wide gems that might otherwise be overlooked due to their low-end brand names.

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Old Tuesday 17th February 2009, 15:31   #11
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Gentlemen ,
I have recently purchased a pair of Glanz 7x35 wide angle 10.5degree pair of binoculars,does anyone have information on this company and in particular this model.
Thank You
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Old Tuesday 17th February 2009, 15:36   #12
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Wide Angle binoculars

Gentlemen,
I have recently purchased ,second hand a pair of 7x35 Glanz wide angle 10.5 degree binoculars,can anyone provide any details on the company and if possible on this specific model.
Thank You
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Old Tuesday 17th February 2009, 19:17   #13
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I also enjoy a wide, (read 'comfortable'), view and use these for that purpose:
Leitz 6x24 Trinovid 12* (212m/1000m)
Bushnell Rangemaster (Fuji Photo Optics) 10* (175m/1000m)
Browning 7x35 roof 8.4* (148.6m/1000m)
(Re-badged B&L Customs)
Leica 7x42 Ultravids 8* (140m/1000m)
Swift 8.5x44 Audobons 8.5* (148m/1000m)

While the last three are not super wides they do give a wide and comfortable view.
Regards, John
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Old Wednesday 18th February 2009, 00:27   #14
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It is mentioned one time in Thread #2 above, so it won't hurt to mention it again. Nikon 8 x 30 E II. 8.8 degree FOV.
Bob
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Old Wednesday 18th February 2009, 21:00   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksbird/foxranch View Post
If it's an oval disk, or if there are flares or spikes coming off Jupiter, or no moons are visible at best focus then I pass on recollimation and either give away the binocs, sell them or make them into monoculars (if they are individual eyepiece focus models)(make sure to test 2 nights in a row because there is always a tiny chance the moons may be all behind or in front of Jupiter).
Jupiter testing is so useful that folks should use this URL to a little Javascript applet

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/obser...script/jupiter

to see what the state the moons is at any given time.

Very useful if you like splitting close objects (when two moons are close) or when you can't see 4 moons (because fewer than 4 are visible ... it's not the bins!).
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Old Wednesday 18th February 2009, 23:04   #16
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Loved the idea of superwides, even built up a small collection, but found that they all have short eye relief. May be inherent in the optical design for all I know.
In any case, glasses wearers such as myself are shortchanged in terms of the available field of view with them. Maybe contacts are the answer...
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Old Thursday 19th February 2009, 01:21   #17
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Hi, from a recent discussion in a optics forum I learned that in binocular design, there is a trade off between wide angle and eye relief. That's the why modern binoculars, that all are designed for good eye relief, don't have the really wide angle of some of the older binoculars.
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Old Friday 20th February 2009, 21:21   #18
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On the question of short eye relief vs super or ultra wide angle binoculars I find the trade-off is the size of the eye lens vs eye relief. Some 11 or 12 degree 7x binoculars have "normal" sized eye lenses, forcing the viewer to push down with their eyes so that the eye is almost touching the eye lens to see the complete field. This is an eyepiece design flaw. I have a 13 degree real field binocular with a 32mm diameter eye lens and the eye relief stretches back about 20mm to still see the complete field.

This difference occurs sometimes within a line. The Yukon Futura 7x50 WA bin has 20mm diameter eye lenses and very comfortable eye relief with or without glasses. But the Futura 10x50 WA and 12x50 WA models from Yukon have much smaller eye lenses that are curved convex "outwards" and the eye relief is only useful without glasses.

Modern binocular designers seem to understand this. The Hensoldt 8x30 military IF model is very wide angle, but the eye lenses are like shirt buttons. The newer design (Erfle) KOMZ 7x30 IF military bin has much larger eye lenses.

In Hawaii, there are hotels that have in-house binoculars and telescopes for guests. Using binocular viewers or two coupled telescopes, they almost always have eyepieces utilizing designs with huge eye lenses so that eyeglass wearers can see the complete wide field while looking at birds in the daytime or stars at night. In one case they use 50mm widefield Plossl eyepieces with eye lenses 43mm in diameter and at 40x they can see almost 1.8 degrees of actual field, which is similar to the field of 10.5 degrees seem in a 7x bin. Generally manufacturers don't feel like spending the money to make eyepieces for birding binoculars that have 24mm-30mm eyepiece diameters, so there is good eye relief. It's the same with microscopes. I have Nikon UZM eyepieces (24mm FL) with truly huge eye lenses, because allot of people using microscopes need corrections for their vision. The answer is an eye lens that is about 25mm in diameter for good eye relief on a 65 AFV microscope system.

Large eye lenses create some design problems, all that glass can actually add weight, and the cost is really high. But huge eye lenses really help people wearing eyeglasses. I've now seen a German symbol on eyepieces that allow eyeglass wearers to see the entire field "as rated". I have both Leica and Zeiss eyepieces with the symbology. It won't be long before birding binoculars (for people who lift weights) will arrive with flat-field, wide-field eyepieces. The eyepieces are being brought down in price in China, and will soon be incorporated in the 4 lenses in 3 groups models. Then eyeglass wearers will have something to cheer about.
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Old Thursday 26th February 2009, 01:47   #19
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Thanks, KSBIRD, that is quite enlightening. I'd love to find an ultrawide with good eye relief, because birding with 300/400 vision doesn't happen without glasses thick enough to defeat 10-12mm eye relief oculars. Any links that you know to these newer Chinese designs?
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