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Ultravid 7x/8x 42 pre-HD, HD, HDplus transmission figures

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Old Thursday 7th June 2018, 22:33   #1
SeldomPerched
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Wink Ultravid 7x/8x 42 pre-HD, HD, HDplus transmission figures

In the last month I have made slow and small but sure strides in bird watching and identification but rapid ones in learning about and trying out binoculars, thanks to a very generous local binocular and camera shop! Once I am on holiday I hope to rectify the imbalance.

Some data I find hard to amass are the measured figures for brightness and sharpness differences between the following SIX Leica models:

7 x 42 Ultravid;
7 x 42 Ultravid HD;
7 x 42 Ultravid HD plus;

8 x 42 Ultravid;
8 x 42 Ultravid HD;
8 x 42 Ultravid HD plus.

Additionally I haven't got anywhere in trying to find out objectively what the optical differences are in the manufacture of the pre-HD, HD, and HD plus models. I.e.. what they did differently between these iterations.

The reason I'd like to see transmission and sharpness data for these models is that, compared to the Zeiss SF 8x42 (a more modern design) that I have been using on generous free 14 day loan from the local stockist, my Leica Ultravid HD (not Plus) 8x42 doesn't seem so sharp or penetrate nearly so well into the dark shadows of a wood when viewed from open countryside in strong overhead sunlight. In more evenly balanced conditions I also don't feel I'm getting the same sharpness. I have tried them out against the SF and now also against my just arrived 2nd hand Dialyt 7x42B T*P* on near and far views from my back window into the garden and beyond at different times of day and I also find more flare/glare/degradation as the sun gets lower compared with the SF and the Dialyt.

I have a long relationship with Leica, having shot with M-series 35mm cameras and lenses for over 25 years and I have always found in colour slide photography that their lenses produce a depth of colour and plasticity (I think that's the word) that just doesn't seem to feature in the other manufacturers' designs. They don't lack in sharpness either - the 28, 35, 50 and 90 Summicrons for instance. However, while my first two years with the Ultravid 8 x42 were a revelation after only using a pocket 8 x20 before, now I'm finding the UVs a bit disappointing sharpness and flare-wise compared with the clarity of the Zeiss offerings - SF 8x42 and Dialyt Classic 7x42 T*P*.

So, to get back to the questions: can anyone help locate/point to transmission and sharpness data for the models mentioned at the top? And would I be right - or is it just wishful thinking - to say the 7x Ultravids might be in a class above the 8x when used on a level playing field and leaving aside handholdability and extra light gathering power in low light? I.e. both 7 and 8 power bins mounted on a tripod for fair comparison.

Thanks for listening! Brevis esse conor; obscurus fio....


Tom

Last edited by SeldomPerched : Thursday 7th June 2018 at 22:36. Reason: Pedantry!
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Old Friday 8th June 2018, 00:38   #2
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Afaik, none of the manufacturers supply actual transmission or resolution data for their binoculars. Part of the problem is that production variances make it hazardous to guarantee these.

It is only thanks to dedicated amateur sites such as Piergiovanni's Binomania or the Olech's Allbinos that some reasonably comparable data is published.
Fortunately there are expert contributors such as Henry Link, Alexis Powell, Gijs van Ginkel and others on BF who will share their insights to help answer questions.
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Old Friday 8th June 2018, 03:34   #3
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1. Thread "HD vs HD plus": [link]. On searching you will find many more relevant posts in BirdForum mostly in the Leica subforum.

2. "...leaving aside handholdability...7 and 8 power bins mounted on a tripod for fair comparison..." That is useful only if you will actually use these mounted. Else, if your vision is normal, from all I have read the Uv-Plus 7x42 conveys as much or more detail than the Uv-Plus 8x42.

3. Among the Uvs the 7x is said to be the favorite of Leica's own designers.

4. Against "flare/glare/degradation" I would think Leica is at least as good at Zeiss to the naked eye with normal vision. Eyeglasses, though, can introduce such problems, in some models.

Hope not too brevis and/or obscurus.

Last edited by adhoc : Friday 8th June 2018 at 17:32.
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Old Friday 8th June 2018, 12:50   #4
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Tom

Go to: http://www.houseofoutdoor.com/verrek...n-vergelijken/
And you will find transmission figures for many models by our good friend Gijs van Ginkel and whose results have been verified by top manufacturers. Don't be put off by the Dutch texts and you will find not only transmission graphs but often selected transmission figures in the tables.

If you need help please PM me.

Lee
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Old Friday 8th June 2018, 13:20   #5
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Originally Posted by SeldomPerched View Post
...my Leica Ultravid HD (not Plus) 8x42 doesn't seem so sharp or penetrate nearly so well into the dark shadows of a wood when viewed from open countryside in strong overhead sunlight. In more evenly balanced conditions I also don't feel I'm getting the same sharpness. I have tried them out against the SF and now also against my just arrived 2nd hand Dialyt 7x42B T*P* on near and far views from my back window into the garden and beyond at different times of day and I also find more flare/glare/degradation as the sun gets lower compared with the SF and the Dialyt.
Tom,

Three highly subjective points of comparison -
1. I have both 7X and 8X UV HD+, and I can detect no differences between them in terms of sharpness, glare/flare control, etc. Both are superb instruments, in my opinion.
2. I also have a late Dialyt 7X42 T*P*, and while I feel it can still compete with the best, I find that either HD+ can pull just a bit more detail out of the shadows.
3. It was a direct comparison between the HD+, SF, HT, and Dialyt some time ago that convinced me to buy the Leica, primarily because of its ability to work the shadows.

Curiosity question: Have you tried another example of the 8X42 HD for comparison to yours?

John
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Old Friday 8th June 2018, 13:28   #6
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And would I be right - or is it just wishful thinking - to say the 7x Ultravids might be in a class above the 8x when used on a level playing field and leaving aside handholdability and extra light gathering power in low light? I.e. both 7 and 8 power bins mounted on a tripod for fair comparison.

Tom
The benefits with a 7x bin are normally a larger FOV and depth of field, larger exit pupil and a more stable view. To me that is enough reasons to choose a 7x before an 8x. But it's more about personal taste than class IMO.

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Old Friday 8th June 2018, 19:26   #7
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Tom

Go to: http://www.houseofoutdoor.com/verrek...n-vergelijken/
And you will find transmission figures for many models by our good friend Gijs van Ginkel and whose results have been verified by top manufacturers. Don't be put off by the Dutch texts and you will find not only transmission graphs but often selected transmission figures in the tables.

If you need help please PM me.

Lee
Thanks once again, Lee. I think Gijs's tables will give me the data I'm after. I'm puzzled why my UVHD 8x42 now seems disappointing and lacking some sharpness - though I like the colour effect - as I do of the Dialyt. They are different but both definitely more than acceptable. :)

..... and just in case it's something really dumb that I've overlooked: I just had another look at the UVHD 8x42 and I see the objective lenses are a bit dusty - I tend to try to keep lenses clean rather than clean them (told that at a Leica photography course long ago) but may have overlooked them a bit. I'll feel silly if in the morning they are a whole different experience after a careful clean. But I don't think that would account for much more than flare and loss of contrast; sharpness should seem the same.

Tom
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Old Friday 8th June 2018, 19:45   #8
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Tom,

Three highly subjective points of comparison -
1. I have both 7X and 8X UV HD+, and I can detect no differences between them in terms of sharpness, glare/flare control, etc. Both are superb instruments, in my opinion.
2. I also have a late Dialyt 7X42 T*P*, and while I feel it can still compete with the best, I find that either HD+ can pull just a bit more detail out of the shadows.
3. It was a direct comparison between the HD+, SF, HT, and Dialyt some time ago that convinced me to buy the Leica, primarily because of its ability to work the shadows.

Curiosity question: Have you tried another example of the 8X42 HD for comparison to yours?

John
Hello John,

1. I haven't yet tried HD Pluses in any magnification or objective size but I certainly find the UVHD a superb-handling instrument. I love the shape, size, heft, and really like the thumb detents -- which I realize don't suit everyone. Perhaps my 12.5% German ancestry included Leica design for my hands, so the binoculars would make a snug fit... They handle so nicely with the focus wheel falling naturally in reach. Mind you, the enormous SFs I borrowed were lighter and even better handling, if not so attractive -- and I thought they reached better into the shadows in a direct comparison.

2. The Dialyt are the first 7 power binoculars I have ever tried and so the easy viewing effect and the light gathering power in early and late daytime when the garden is largely in shadow have made a tremendous impression on me. Also the colour rendition; different from Leica but I like both very much. I prefer the colour of the Dialyt to the Victory SF but I didn't use them side by side as the SF has gone back after loan; so my memory probably supplies an unreliable comparison, made worse by use in different terrain and lighting conditions. I like the handling of the Dialyt and its eyecups give an easy view. The dioptre adjustment has already strayed in use over the 32 hours since the binoculars arrived, but it's easy to put back in the right place.

3. I'm interested to hear you thought the Leica UVHD plus worked the shadows better than the Zeiss HT and SF.

I wonder if I may have a poor sample of the UV. (Addendum: no, I haven't had access to another pair. I will try HD plus when I get a chance though, alongside my HD.) I'll try them again tomorrow, directly against the Dialyt though of course 8x against 7x won't be a level comparison in less than ideal light. And I'll check the UV glass is clean! My working hours have been very long at this stage of term and a good night's rest might be the best service for the binoculars.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Tom

Last edited by SeldomPerched : Friday 8th June 2018 at 20:03. Reason: Hadn't answered JF's last question.
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Old Friday 8th June 2018, 19:57   #9
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1. Thread "HD vs HD plus": [link]. On searching you will find many more relevant posts in BirdForum mostly in the Leica subforum.

2. "...leaving aside handholdability...7 and 8 power bins mounted on a tripod for fair comparison..." That is useful only if you will actually use these mounted. Else, if your vision is normal, from all I have read the Uv-Plus 7x42 conveys as much or more detail than the Uv-Plus 8x42.

3. Among the Uvs the 7x is said to be the favorite of Leica's own designers.

4. Against "flare/glare/degradation" I would think Leica is at least as good at Zeiss to the naked eye with normal vision. Eyeglasses, though, can introduce such problems, in some models.

Hope not too brevis and/or obscurus.
Neither brevis nor obscurus but quite utilis!

I don't wear glasses for photography or binocular work. I think I did read that the Leicas are more prone to glare; it certainly seemed that way when testing against the much newer Victory SFs I borrowed but as mentioned in a post just above I may simply be guilty of not keeping the front lenses clean enough and in any backlighting that isn't going to help at all.. I'll confess tomorrow if that turns out to be the cause!

After my very new experience with 7 power binoculars -- since yesterday -- I can see why they are such a favourite. When I bought the UVHD 8x42 a few years ago I actually wanted 7x42 after hearing all about their advantages -- and increasing scarcity -- but went for 8s because they were in stock and cheaper as remaining stock of pre-Plus HDs. I should have stuck to my wishes and waited for a delivery of 7s. Not that I haven't enjoyed using the 8s. They give a very 3-dimensional image, as do Leica photographic lenses.

Tom
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Old Friday 8th June 2018, 20:00   #10
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Afaik, none of the manufacturers supply actual transmission or resolution data for their binoculars. Part of the problem is that production variances make it hazardous to guarantee these.

It is only thanks to dedicated amateur sites such as Piergiovanni's Binomania or the Olech's Allbinos that some reasonably comparable data is published.
Fortunately there are expert contributors such as Henry Link, Alexis Powell, Gijs van Ginkel and others on BF who will share their insights to help answer questions.
Thanks for giving me these resource links. I have seen Gijs's name feature here and now will look at the others too.

Tom
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Old Saturday 9th June 2018, 06:43   #11
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Thanks once again, Lee. I think Gijs's tables will give me the data I'm after. I'm puzzled why my UVHD 8x42 now seems disappointing and lacking some sharpness - though I like the colour effect - as I do of the Dialyt. They are different but both definitely more than acceptable. :)

..... and just in case it's something really dumb that I've overlooked: I just had another look at the UVHD 8x42 and I see the objective lenses are a bit dusty - I tend to try to keep lenses clean rather than clean them (told that at a Leica photography course long ago) but may have overlooked them a bit. I'll feel silly if in the morning they are a whole different experience after a careful clean. But I don't think that would account for much more than flare and loss of contrast; sharpness should seem the same.

Tom

Forgive me for suggesting something very basic but do check the dioptre setting. The setting you need can vary over time and you have probably worked out already that if you need plus 1 on one bino it doesn't mean plus 1 will work on all binos.

Lee
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Old Saturday 9th June 2018, 20:52   #12
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Go to: http://www.houseofoutdoor.com/verrek...n-vergelijken/
And you will find transmission figures for many models by our good friend Gijs van Ginkel and whose results have been verified by top manufacturers.
This page refuses to load in my browser (408 error, timeout).
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Old Saturday 9th June 2018, 21:03   #13
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Works for me.
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Old Sunday 10th June 2018, 12:51   #14
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Re: dioptre correction

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Forgive me for suggesting something very basic but do check the dioptre setting. The setting you need can vary over time and you have probably worked out already that if you need plus 1 on one bino it doesn't mean plus 1 will work on all binos.

Lee
Hi Lee,

Fair suggestion! Yes, I have checked the dioptre setting. I rechecked it too as the first check was made on a day when I had been at work for about sixteen hours, so was not at my steadiest or freshest optically or in any sense.

The Dialyt and the Ultravid both seem best at -1/2. By comparison the other bins I have, a fold-in pair of green Trinovid 8x20BCA bought new in 1993, are murder to set up and use: the dioptre ring is on one lens barrel and whenever I try to twist it the barrels move because of the twin hinge bridge. My neighbours have heard words they may not have known existed as I fiddled with these little binoculars at my back window! Stylish, but form doesn't seem to give best function with them. Also the scale consists of only lines, with no numbers. Of course before I ever had full size bins I thought they were the best thing since sliced bread.

My experience of QC in Leica-M camera lenses has been very good. Can examples of their binoculars made in recent years sometimes be below tolerance? Mine being the UVHD non-plus version and bought in -- give or take a year either side -- 2015, were presumably made at some time from 2007 till the introduction of the plus version.

Tom

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Old Sunday 10th June 2018, 13:39   #15
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Troubadoris, my Mrs, has a non Plus Ultravid HD 8x32 and its as sharp as anything but there can be variations from unit to unit as with any product. Somtimes the problem can be slightly hazed lenses that reduce contrast and so give the impression of a low resolution so after giving the objectives and eyepieces a good blow and a good brush it might be an idea to clean them with either an optics cleaning wipe or a microfibre cloth with a bit of cleaning fluid sprayed onto it, then finish with the microfibre cloth alone or with a bit of breath if needed.

Lee
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Old Sunday 10th June 2018, 15:58   #16
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My experience of QC in Leica-M camera lenses has been very good. Can examples of their binoculars made in recent years sometimes be below tolerance? Mine being the UVHD non-plus version and bought in -- give or take a year either side -- 2015, were presumably made at some time from 2007 till the introduction of the plus version.
Hi
Like you I have experience of Leica camera lenses and have too been surprised by the lens aberrations in their Ultravid binocular lenses. I have sold my UV 8x32 (original, non HD model) now and the chromatic aberration and lens flare were factors in my moving to another brand.

I concluded that Leica UV were being marketed on the reputation of the brand (earned through their camera lenses) and could thus get away with (relatively) high prices. Optically I found them disappointing but still the most pleasing design to look at rather than through. The lenses were no better in my view than many other mid priced brands - OK but not outstanding, and to such an extent that I wondered if Leica actually manufactured the optics at all?

Having said all that the UV is still a nice binocular to have but doesn’t command the optical superiority in the binocular market that the camera brand does in that one, from my experience.

Peter
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Old Sunday 10th June 2018, 16:15   #17
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Having only looked at numerous shop models over the years, plus my personal Ultravid BR 8x42, I don't have enough experience to comment on QC variation, but I've never seen a bad sample. Mine are as sharp as my 8x32 and 8x42 SEs and better than the 8.5x42 ELs I used to own.
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Old Sunday 10th June 2018, 16:21   #18
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I have the UV HD 8X42 and it is a nice glass very portable and provides great contrast, and no issues what so ever,additionally I did not see any difference with the UVHD + so for $800 less I purchased the HD. This was before Leica increased their prices on their glass, at first I thought it was only their cameras, not their binoculars. I am glad I obtained the 10X50 UVHD+ when I did as an open box with warranty from an authorized Leica Dealer.

Andy W.
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Old Sunday 10th June 2018, 16:28   #19
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Hi
Like you I have experience of Leica camera lenses and have too been surprised by the lens aberrations in their Ultravid binocular lenses. I have sold my UV 8x32 (original, non HD model) now and the chromatic aberration and lens flare were factors in my moving to another brand.

I concluded that Leica UV were being marketed on the reputation of the brand (earned through their camera lenses) and could thus get away with (relatively) high prices. Optically I found them disappointing but still the most pleasing design to look at rather than through. The lenses were no better in my view than many other mid priced brands - OK but not outstanding, and to such an extent that I wondered if Leica actually manufactured the optics at all?

Having said all that the UV is still a nice binocular to have but doesn’t command the optical superiority in the binocular market that the camera brand does in that one, from my experience.

Peter
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Old Sunday 10th June 2018, 17:41   #20
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Tom

Troubadoris, my Mrs, has a non Plus Ultravid HD 8x32 and its as sharp as anything but there can be variations from unit to unit as with any product. Somtimes the problem can be slightly hazed lenses that reduce contrast and so give the impression of a low resolution so after giving the objectives and eyepieces a good blow and a good brush it might be an idea to clean them with either an optics cleaning wipe or a microfibre cloth with a bit of cleaning fluid sprayed onto it, then finish with the microfibre cloth alone or with a bit of breath if needed.

Lee
Lee,

I have tinned air & wdn't use it upside down etc etc; also good optical wet wipes - Zeiss as it happens! No brush though as I never clean camera lenses, just keep a filter on. As the Leica UVHDs are waterproof would it be acceptable to dip the front glass briefly in cool water to loosen anything that might be abrasive then proceed gently with the wipes? Thanks.

Maybe Zeiss wipes contain a virus or worm that attacks Leica glass....

Tom

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Old Sunday 10th June 2018, 18:49   #21
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Lee,

I have tinned air & wdn't use it upside down etc etc; also good optical wet wipes - Zeiss as it happens! No brush though as I never clean camera lenses, just keep a filter on. As the Leica UVHDs are waterproof would it be acceptable to dip the front glass briefly in cool water to loosen anything that might be abrasive then proceed gently with the wipes? Thanks.

Maybe Zeiss wipes contain a virus or worm that attacks Leica glass....

Tom
At this point I'm sure your bins are clean, and I suspect you either have a lemon that slipped through Leica QC, or for some reason, the Ultravids just don't work for you. Regarding washing them under the faucet, it's been a while, but I remember reading just that advise in the Ultravid owners manual. I would rinse the tap water off with distilled water just to be safe.
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Old Sunday 10th June 2018, 18:59   #22
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At this point I'm sure your bins are clean, and I suspect you either have a lemon that slipped through Leica QC, or for some reason, the Ultravids just don't work for you. Regarding washing them under the faucet, it's been a while, but I remember reading just that advise in the Ultravid owners manual. I would rinse the tap water off with distilled water just to be safe.
OK, John, thank you. I'll give them a clean now and check them again. It's all been a bit discombobulating! Will post my findings when I've done it.
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Old Monday 11th June 2018, 22:44   #23
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I wonder if I just had a very bad week, was overtired, overtrained and under-rested last week and Mr Zeiss listened while Miss Leica stamped her feet. Anyway, after a careful clean of the objectives, which was easy with the Zeiss wipes and perhaps helped by the Aquadura coating, all looks fine and dandy with the view now. On the subject of cleaning though, is it common for the eyepiece glass to be a bit more resistant to smear removal? I don't want to be too persistent, for fear of damaging any coatings. As said, the front end was a doddle. And I am getting the views that persuaded me to buy these 8x42 UVHD bins in the first place. Thanks everybody for your patience.

One of the great excitements I am finding in these early (renewed, really) bird-watching days is focusing the binoculars on a particular area or object, like the top of a fence, and all of a sudden seeing something walk or land into view. It happened also last summer: I hate snakes, they have terrified me ever since reading a book about them when far too young but I still felt privileged when, idly viewing the ground near a garden roller, what did I see but a grass snake come completely unexpectedly into view? I had never seen one in the garden before and here was one just the day I got out my binoculars after months of disuse. I nearly dropped the bins, so near did the creature seem, even though I was actually at a first floor window a good 25 yards away!
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Old Tuesday 12th June 2018, 01:07   #24
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On the subject of cleaning though, is it common for the eyepiece glass to be a bit more resistant to smear removal? I don't want to be too persistent, for fear of damaging any coatings.
!
You are quite right to never rub the optic surfaces, damage to the eye pieces is more bothersome than specks on the objectives.
You're also right that eye pieces are more challenging to clean.
Not only does the metal frame make it difficult to smoothly wipe the surfaces, but also the close proximity with the eyes ensures more crud will get deposited.

I've had pretty decent results using ROR (Residual Oil Remover, a proprietary lens cleaner) for a cleaning step.
The process includes a gentle rinse followed by a soapy scrub with a finger and another rinse, par dry, spray on the ROR, then use an alcohol wipe to take off any leftover ROR, then a final clean water rinse, pat dry with clean microfiber cloth.
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Old Tuesday 12th June 2018, 18:09   #25
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You are quite right to never rub the optic surfaces, damage to the eye pieces is more bothersome than specks on the objectives.
You're also right that eye pieces are more challenging to clean.
Not only does the metal frame make it difficult to smoothly wipe the surfaces, but also the close proximity with the eyes ensures more crud will get deposited.

I've had pretty decent results using ROR (Residual Oil Remover, a proprietary lens cleaner) for a cleaning step.
The process includes a gentle rinse followed by a soapy scrub with a finger and another rinse, par dry, spray on the ROR, then use an alcohol wipe to take off any leftover ROR, then a final clean water rinse, pat dry with clean microfiber cloth.
Thanks for the comprehensive instructions. I will get hold of some ROR and keep a note of these steps.
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