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FYI Allbinos review 8x43 ED2

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Old Sunday 2nd December 2012, 14:56   #1
jaymoynihan
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FYI Allbinos review 8x43 ED2

http://www.allbinos.com/177-news-Zen...9;_review.html
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Old Sunday 2nd December 2012, 20:18   #2
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Its about time they tested a Zen but I wish it would have been the Prime!
Thanks for the heads up.
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Old Monday 3rd December 2012, 10:52   #3
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Allbinos docked 5 points for the objective size: 42mm instead of 43mm. I think we all knew that already. Zen also fudged about the field of view and I think we knew that as well. 420ft rather than 426. It's a clone after all: they're all the same. Well, with minor variations in coatings.

Here's Allbinos:
"However, as the Zen-Ray is an 8x42 device, like every other instrument from this segment, why lie to your potential buyers that the binoculars’ objectives are actually 43 mm in diameter? To annoy the reviewer? Well, here they succeeded without any problem."



Personally I think the Zen is quite a nice binocular. Too much pincushion but I still use it.

Mark
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Old Monday 3rd December 2012, 12:13   #4
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Yeah, I would call that a negative review if I have ever read one. Actually I think that was probably the worst review I can remember reading on their site (though, admittedly, I have not read some of their reviews on some of lowest rated models).

What I got out of it was that they liked the fact that the binocular had a wide field of view and well-corrected CA and astigmatism. They didn't like much else.

I am not sure how long ago this was written but the ED3 series has been available for a year and a half now. I am surprised they didn't have access to one. Even if they did though I am not sure much of their impressions would have changed. The distortion/aberration performance didn't change much and I wouldn't expect the exit pupils to be any less truncated unless that was a quality control issue with the particular unit they tested. Probably the only issue I think they would have seen an improvement on, considering what and how they test, would have been the transmission curve as that was something that ZR keyed in on in the upgrade.
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Old Monday 3rd December 2012, 14:02   #5
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...I cannot understand at all why Zen-Ray decided to cheat at the easiest parameter to measure and check - the objective’s diameter. What’s more they did it in a very stupid way.


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I have to admit, though, that reading favourable opinions on different sites and looking at the price of the binoculars I’d expected something better.
I wonder which website and whose opinions are the reviewer insinuating...
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Old Monday 3rd December 2012, 16:59   #6
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I typically take Allbino's reviews with a grain of salt. Every so often I think they get one either way too high or way too low. Their methodology has been hashed over here before.

One thing they seem to take as a given is that the specimen they have to test is in fact representative of the entire line. Maybe, maybe not. I'd say this one is not a proper sample. I say that because of their rankings of the binocular as regards to distortion and coma in particular. To some degree I wonder about the remarks about blurring at the edge. I full well realize that the edge performance is an issue with the ZEN ED series binoculars in general. I will wager I have seen more different samples of different Zen Ray Optical Co. offerings than anyone else outside of somebody at Zen Ray. One of the things I will note is that there can be some variation in the degree of edge performance in ZEN ED series binoculars. Those I have personally had to my eyes tell me the ED 3 is the best of the series at edge performance, and that that performance is better than the result Allbino's mention. Those I have had to my eyes also tell me the distortion and coma are also less significant than what Allbino's saw here. I will also state that I am still waiting for the first payment of any sort from Zen Ray. I also am NOT trying to imply that Allbino's did not see what they saw. I have always thought that for a review specific site like theirs, that reviews should be from multiple specimens with aberrant ones removed. I think the ones they seem to miss are either on one hand, due to a cherry sample out of the box, or a clunker. This review, I think, is result of a binocular from the clunker end of the scale. I had a 7x43 that was like the one Allbino's reviewed and promptly sent it back. The second one was a different story in respect to having much better edges and significantly less distortion.

It is also sort of hard sometimes to make much sense out of some of the ranking scores they give in some of their categories.
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Old Monday 3rd December 2012, 18:15   #7
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I say that because of their rankings of the binocular as regards to distortion and coma in particular.
I can't comment on the coma but I don't see anything funny about the distortion ranking. Their ranking is only based on where the distortion BEGINS, and everyone knows the Zen ED's have significant pincushion, so I'm not surprised that the distortion begins only 34% out from the center. They don't rate the DEGREE of the pincushion distortion, just where it begins.

Similarly, I don't doubt their findings on edge performance, but the high level of coma does make me think they got a bad sample.

That said, it boggles my mind why they would choose, in December of 2012, to review an ED2 and not the newer, superior ED3 which has been out for over a year?? They claim, "In the moment of beginning our 8x42 class test the ED3 series models weren’t available yet so we featured their predecessor, the ED2." But that is rubbish. Plenty of Euros have the ED3's. AFAIK there is even a Polish dealer!


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It is also sort of hard sometimes to make much sense out of some of the ranking scores they give in some of their categories.
For sure, some of the categories seem to be pretty quantitative but certain things seem almost completely arbitrary. The biggest example to me is the IPD score. They dock the ED3 three points for an IPD measurement of "from 54.4 to 72.9mm", only scoring 3 out of 6. Yet something like, say, the Leica Ultravid, measured at "from 54.1 to 75.7mm" gets a 5 out of 6. OK, so it can go a whopping 2.8mm wider... But the Kowa BD, measured at "from 58.3 to 74.1mm", also get a 5 out of 6! Same with Pentax DCF ED, measured at "from 58.5 to 74.1mm" but also gets 5 out of 6 points! A bit over 1mm more on the wide end but almost 4mm less on the narrow side, but it gets an extra 2 points over the Zen?

This seems really arbitary and non-objective. They complain in the Zen review that, "A big and solid-looking body is comfortable to hold but pray, explain me why, with such significant dimensions, the maximum IPD is just 73 mm?" Yet they consistently fail to dock points for binoculars which have a very poor MINIMUM IPD measurement -- clearly a bias against little faces! :p

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Old Monday 3rd December 2012, 18:29   #8
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Originally Posted by eitanaltman View Post

That said, it boggles my mind why they would choose, in December of 2012, to review an ED2 and not the newer, superior ED3 which has been out for over a year?? They claim, "In the moment of beginning our 8x42 class test the ED3 series models weren’t available yet so we featured their predecessor, the ED2." But that is rubbish. Plenty of Euros have the ED3's. AFAIK there is even a Polish dealer!
T
My bad I did not indicate the presence of the ED 2 in my comments. The less stellar edge of the ED 2 is a difference to my eyes over the ED 2 vs ED 3. I have also figured it out that the "distortion" seen varies on whose eyes are seeing it too.
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Old Tuesday 4th December 2012, 13:50   #9
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Contrary to all of the reports of the ZEN, and other Chinese ED binoculars being brighter and sharper than the Minox, Leupold, and Opticron IF Porro's, I have always maintained that my ED2 8X43 is not close to my BD 10X44 BP in either area. I enjoy the view through the ED2 a great deal, but I'm not surprised by the light transmission figures. I'm convinced that the roof design inherently gives up a considerable amount in overall optical performance to a Porro of similar quality and price.
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Old Tuesday 4th December 2012, 14:29   #10
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I agree with Steve's evaluation of this review.

The review unit is clearly defective. The observation of center field coma and the misalignment of optical train apertures they refer to as "truncated" exit pupils are classic symptoms of laterally misaligned optics. Why would they would go on to treat this unit as representative?

As for distortion, we know that Allbinos naively treats pincushion distortion as an aberration rather than a design choice. Note that their new review of the Swarovski 8.5x42 SV gives it a perfect score for distortion because it has virtually no pincushion distortion in the outer part of the field. Apparently they don't even notice the high level of angular magnification distortion that results from the absence of pincushion.

Then there is the odd downgrade for "eyepiece" FOV even though they mention that the FOV is wider than most similar binoculars. And then there's the downgrade for the widest IPD setting being too narrow, but no mention that the narrowest setting is unusually accommodating for people at that end of the scale. And then there's the moral indignation over a trivial 1mm overstatement of the aperture, something that Allbino's would discover is common if they measured the clear aperture from the eyepiece end.

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Old Tuesday 4th December 2012, 14:47   #11
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My problem with Allbinos reviews are that they do not report what the view out really looks like - apparent sharpness, contrast, panning behaviour, colour etc.

They give a good list of technical attributes but never use the bin for anything but the night sky. It's crazy to give a bin a ''3'' for pincushion, which is almost invisible and a ''10'' for none when we know what that results in, as Henry mentioned.

The site could be so much better if they tested bins in the field, for birding or hunting, rather than just astro.
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Old Wednesday 5th December 2012, 01:32   #12
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Originally Posted by jaymoynihan View Post
I agree entirely with allbinos review. I had 4 Zen Rays and I sold them all. They are a CPOS. Very inconsistent in quality. They got a poor review so they got a defective pair. What does that tell you about their QA. I had one thing or the other wrong with every pair I had.

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Old Wednesday 5th December 2012, 17:13   #13
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I agree entirely with allbinos review. I had 4 Zen Rays and I sold them all. They are a CPOS. Very inconsistent in quality. They got a poor review so they got a defective pair. What does that tell you about their QA. I had one thing or the other wrong with every pair I had.
Dennis has a short memory and forgets he has a significant post trail. You can check this thread for yourselves, but it it typical Dennis.


http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....mcast+zen+7x36

Here are some copies from some of the dennis-isms from that thread:

Yes. You could buy two pairs of Zen Ray 8x43 ED for $720.00 then if something happens to one you have a spare. I am sorry I am just really impressed with the view of the Zen Rays. I don't think I would buy a non ED binocular when I see what nice images those ED lenses create. John get the 8x43 ED now and then get the mid-size Zen Rays when they come out. You can sell your Ultravid and buy them both and have money left over to go to Costa Rica on a birding trip. I will bet that unless you have the Ultravid HD's you will like the view of the Zen Rays better.

Dennis
----
Eaxctly. The Nikon 8x32 SE's are just as if you walked up closer to what you want to look at. They are clear and bright with almost no distortion in any way. You really should try the Zen Ray 8x43 HD's though! They are alot like the Nikon 8x32 SE's except with a roof prism type of view. Almost as sharp too. You will be amazed.

Dennis
----
That is exactly the way I am. I will put up with a few imperfections in binoculars if the view is there. That is exactly why I like Zen Rays 8x43 ED's!

Dennis
----
My checking account balance will help me resist the $2500.00 alphas. I am excited that Zen Ray has come along an offered a really top quality binocular for a price I and other people can afford. At $360.00 you don't have to worry about them so much either like you do your $2K Swarovski EL. Another advantage.

Dennis
----

Your experiences have little relevance to this thread. An older unsealed non-waterproof porro-prism develops fogging problems so you should buy alpha binoculars because of their higher quality does not make sense any more. The new Zen-Ray 8x43 ED is far from your first porro-prism. This is a binocular that is Argon sealed and is totally as fogproof and waterproof as the top alphas. It's build quality from my observations after having many different alphas is 99% as good as any alpha and I really don't feel it is going to fall apart in a year. Furthermore the optics are 99% as good as the very top Alphas costing five times as much and after comparing it side by side with my older alphas including my Leica 7x42 BN's and my Nikon 8x32 L-XL's it is easily way superior! I sold my Leica 7x42 BN's and my Nikon 8x32 L-XL's after observing with the Zen Ray for a week. I did not want to go BACK to the optics on the Leica or the Nikon. The Zen Ray is that superior. I observed under different lighting situations and in different situations and every time I much preferred the image of the Zen Ray. I am a very experienced observer. I know what I am seeing. Leica, Zeiss and Nikon should be very scared because if you are looking for value and if you don't have to have a big name hanging around your neck and you don't care about status but you care more what the view looks like when you look through the binoculars then you have some serious competition. When I started this thread I too did not believe these Chinese ED binoculars could ever come close to the big name binocular manufacturers. Well my experiences have been educational for me. The view through these Zen Rays is absolutely wonderful and the price performance ratio is astounding. Build quality, ergonomics, and balance are all very close to the alphas. They need some improvements especially in their accessories that is true but that is easy to do and you can rectify that your self for a small investment. Top quality optics are now available to the people who can't or don't want to spend $2000.00 and I think that is fantastic.

Dennis

There's more, but enough effort expended.
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Old Wednesday 5th December 2012, 17:25   #14
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Originally Posted by Steve C View Post
Dennis has a short memory and forgets he has a significant post trail. You can check this thread for yourselves, but it it typical Dennis.


http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....mcast+zen+7x36

Here are some copies from some of the dennis-isms from that thread:

Yes. You could buy two pairs of Zen Ray 8x43 ED for $720.00 then if something happens to one you have a spare. I am sorry I am just really impressed with the view of the Zen Rays. I don't think I would buy a non ED binocular when I see what nice images those ED lenses create. John get the 8x43 ED now and then get the mid-size Zen Rays when they come out. You can sell your Ultravid and buy them both and have money left over to go to Costa Rica on a birding trip. I will bet that unless you have the Ultravid HD's you will like the view of the Zen Rays better.

Dennis
----
Eaxctly. The Nikon 8x32 SE's are just as if you walked up closer to what you want to look at. They are clear and bright with almost no distortion in any way. You really should try the Zen Ray 8x43 HD's though! They are alot like the Nikon 8x32 SE's except with a roof prism type of view. Almost as sharp too. You will be amazed.

Dennis
----
That is exactly the way I am. I will put up with a few imperfections in binoculars if the view is there. That is exactly why I like Zen Rays 8x43 ED's!

Dennis
----
My checking account balance will help me resist the $2500.00 alphas. I am excited that Zen Ray has come along an offered a really top quality binocular for a price I and other people can afford. At $360.00 you don't have to worry about them so much either like you do your $2K Swarovski EL. Another advantage.

Dennis
----

Your experiences have little relevance to this thread. An older unsealed non-waterproof porro-prism develops fogging problems so you should buy alpha binoculars because of their higher quality does not make sense any more. The new Zen-Ray 8x43 ED is far from your first porro-prism. This is a binocular that is Argon sealed and is totally as fogproof and waterproof as the top alphas. It's build quality from my observations after having many different alphas is 99% as good as any alpha and I really don't feel it is going to fall apart in a year. Furthermore the optics are 99% as good as the very top Alphas costing five times as much and after comparing it side by side with my older alphas including my Leica 7x42 BN's and my Nikon 8x32 L-XL's it is easily way superior! I sold my Leica 7x42 BN's and my Nikon 8x32 L-XL's after observing with the Zen Ray for a week. I did not want to go BACK to the optics on the Leica or the Nikon. The Zen Ray is that superior. I observed under different lighting situations and in different situations and every time I much preferred the image of the Zen Ray. I am a very experienced observer. I know what I am seeing. Leica, Zeiss and Nikon should be very scared because if you are looking for value and if you don't have to have a big name hanging around your neck and you don't care about status but you care more what the view looks like when you look through the binoculars then you have some serious competition. When I started this thread I too did not believe these Chinese ED binoculars could ever come close to the big name binocular manufacturers. Well my experiences have been educational for me. The view through these Zen Rays is absolutely wonderful and the price performance ratio is astounding. Build quality, ergonomics, and balance are all very close to the alphas. They need some improvements especially in their accessories that is true but that is easy to do and you can rectify that your self for a small investment. Top quality optics are now available to the people who can't or don't want to spend $2000.00 and I think that is fantastic.

Dennis

There's more, but enough effort expended.

I think all of us would be able to cut Dennis a bit more slack if we just admit that ''Dennis'' is three different people........Freud would understand.
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Old Wednesday 5th December 2012, 18:30   #15
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I think all of us would be able to cut Dennis a bit more slack if we just admit that ''Dennis'' is three different people........Freud would understand.
I cut Dennis all the slack in the world. I think he is certainly more that one person. This was just too much of a hanging curve ball for me to resist. I hope Freud understands too.
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Old Wednesday 5th December 2012, 23:01   #16
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Lol! This is getting interesting! Let me get some pop corns...
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Old Thursday 6th December 2012, 00:48   #17
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Lol! This is getting interesting! Let me get some pop corns...
Dennis always makes it interesting......like the odd-ball brother-in-law that spices up the holiday gatherings, better to have him here than not.......
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Old Thursday 6th December 2012, 00:53   #18
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Dennis always makes it interesting......like the odd-ball brother-in-law that spices up the holiday gatherings, better to have him here than not.......
Lol!
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Old Thursday 6th December 2012, 02:48   #19
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... if we just admit that ''Dennis'' is three different people........Freud would understand.
Jung would understand better (if he thought again): id, ego, hyperego. (Dennis, just kidding!) That last is his "forum personality" when he turns himself up a notch. When you guys (a very collective term there) confront him fiercely he turns it back down.

Steve, going largely by Frank's, your and Xb_ 's excellent reviews, also, less by shorter ones by others in Bf. like CJ, had decided on a ZR ED3 8x43 in my quest for a wide-field 8x42/43 (uh - that last subject to Allbinos!). Till 2-3 days ago Wayfair in the USA (newish, large, good mail order co.) had it for $ 286! A slight delay by my friends over there who were kindly to order it for me and the chance was gone! It's now $ 354 at Wf. which I believe is still rel. low.

But then also came Allbinos and Dennis on this thread, and I switched to Bushnell Ultra, for $ 169 at B&H. Now you come up with the above - thanks - and I waver! That's the strongest endorsement of the ED3 8x I've seen by such a reviewer. Correction in edit. Just realised that's you Dennis and not you Steve! Back to Bushnell.

BTW, Hawke makes a "clone" which is pricier. They also make what seems to be an optically very close or near-identical smaller, single-bridge 8x42. Both are named "Sapphire ED". A Brit. review compared the two but afraid I just cannot find it now!

PS in edit • Found the review. http://www.hawkeoptics.com/user/pdf/...h_Jan_2012.pdf. • Steve, while searching for that I find that a year ago you said in Bf. about the Hawke 8x42 (I had seen this before): "That Sapphire looks too short to have the focal length for ED glass to assert itself." But the review shows it's optically very close or equal to the longer 8x43.

Last edited by pompadour : Thursday 6th December 2012 at 10:11. Reason: Corrections: "165" to 169, "there" to "at Wf." Additions. A major correction.
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Old Thursday 6th December 2012, 04:53   #20
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Instead of birdforum, it should be renamed the Dennis Forum.
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Old Thursday 6th December 2012, 05:06   #21
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I agree there are things in Allbinos's ratings that don't have much to do with what I think makes a good binocular, but with those caveats, with which I have become familiar, I find the review thorough and useful, although shy in the subjective "ok now let's look through it" department. I realize Arek is trying to eliminate subjectivity: honorable, but still leaving important things unsaid. But I am happy for him personally--how happy he must be with the Swarovision! It meets his personal edge infatuations so perfectly. Even the HT doesn't stand a chance now, no matter how well you can see through it! But I suppose he is obligated to measure the transmission....

I don't think a defective unit should be forgiven. Like, so I murdered somebody, but I'm basically a nice guy, I was just having a bad hair day, it almost NEVER happens. Some innocent little old lady with 20/12 vision, or I myself, or even you, might buy that binocular and just suffer along with it, never feeling it was quite right. Get 'em, Arek.

As for Dennis, I actually rather like Dr. Jekyll, and Mr. Hyde is a hoot and a half!
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Old Thursday 6th December 2012, 14:04   #22
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Ron,

I guess we disagree a little about the value of reviewing defective optics. I think it's similar to road testing a car with a flat tire. It doesn't tell us what we want to know, which is how the car handles when the tire isn't flat. In this particular case it appears that Allbinos didn't even notice that they had a flat tire. As for the objectivity of their reviews, please read the article on their methods and see how objective you think they really are.

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Old Thursday 6th December 2012, 16:19   #23
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Henry,
Well, I did, and must say that several of the tests seem highly dependent on the tester's eyesight, and perhaps mood. Hardly suffering from subjectivity but more from plain wrongness, the measurement of "external objective diameter" is useless as it ignores internal aperture stops, and even becomes harmful as it enters into the calculation of magnification. Similarly, their calculation of apparent field ignores the effects of distortion, which otherwise "they hates it forever".

I think now, that if Allbinos really gives the binoculars extensive workouts in the field like they say, the reviews could be improved by eliminating some of the dubious measurements, and putting in more about "the view", even though completely subjective. It seems they are letting their considerable taste and experience go to waste, and reporting some cookbook measurements instead.

I admire your search for the Platonic ideal of optical intentions, and admit that the careful testing of a dog is unwarranted, since manufacturing flaws can take so many different forms. You do the best that can be done: you tell us frankly about the incidence of flaws, like, if it's got a good barrel and a bad barrel, or if you sent the first one back it was so bad. That tells us plenty about the quality control with that model. That is the ideal state of affairs.

Unfortunately, large scale reviewers like Allbinos apparently never recognize these things. So, I take what I can, and find it useful. I'm sure it doesn't surprise Arek to find his methods criticized here! Still, bully for them, for doing what they do, and for keeping the reviews rolling in...we love/hate binoculars, and we love/hate binocular reviews too, all part of the fun!
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Old Thursday 6th December 2012, 16:42   #24
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If a bino manufacturer [or dealer] sends a product for review, and that product is defective, the manufacturer has only themselves to blame for not sending their best.

Look through it before sending it out as ''representative.''
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Old Thursday 6th December 2012, 18:12   #25
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James,

The flip side of that is the smart manufacturer who supplies a hand corrected cherry unit, better than anything you're likely to find in a store.

Henry
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