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What binoculars have the best build quality?

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Old Saturday 20th January 2018, 21:33   #1
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What binoculars have the best build quality?

There has been a lot of discussion about build quality and quality issues with binoculars at all price points on Bird Forum. Of course you would expect the more expensive "alpha" binoculars to have less quality problems but lately even this elite group doesn't seem to be immune from defects from the manufacturer. What brands of binoculars have you found to have better initial quality and less problems down the road? Have some brands slipped lately in quality? What's your experience been?
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Old Saturday 20th January 2018, 21:54   #2
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Swarovski?
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Old Saturday 20th January 2018, 22:53   #3
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The Leica Trinovid BN is rumored to be bomb proof.

https://www.allbinos.com/340-Leica_T...fications.html

And here:

https://www.allbinos.com/237-Leica_T...fications.html

See the individual reviews of them.

Of course their optics are somewhat dated by now and they have been replaced by the Leica Ultravids.


Bob

PS: Dennis,

As I recall, you had an old thread here raving about the Leica 7x42 Trinovid BN! as "the best binoculars I have ever used!"

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=84073

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Old Saturday 20th January 2018, 23:09   #4
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I had several Leica Trinovids BN's and BA's in 8x32 and 7x42 and I agree they are one tough binocular. Great binocular for rough and tumble use.

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Old Saturday 20th January 2018, 23:33   #5
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
There has been a lot of discussion about build quality and quality issues with binoculars at all price points on Bird Forum. Of course you would expect the more expensive "alpha" binoculars to have less quality problems but lately even this elite group doesn't seem to be immune from defects from the manufacturer. What brands of binoculars have you found to have better initial quality and less problems down the road? Have some brands slipped lately in quality? What's your experience been?
These days, brands mean a fraction of what they once did and as long a folks go weak in the knees about brands that weren't heard of 15 years ago—and may be gone 15 years from now—it will remain so. Today, some fine names and reputations are behind some marginal products. However, in optics, as in everything else, perception is reality—At least for those who believe everything they read. Competition is as sharp as a razor and there are WAY too many vendors for the limited business.

And, what might be a structurally superior instrument, today, may not be superior, next week.

Just a thought.

Bill
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 00:12   #6
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I would put the Kowa Genesis up against any thing else. I have had mine for close to seven years now with hard use thru the first four before my mobility became restricted. I told the story a short time back about missing a step coming off an observatory doing a full length pratfall and landing with the kowas against my chest. The result was a dent in the wood and two cracked ribs for me but not a scratch on the bins and they work perfectly. Don't try this experiment at home with your SF's, SV's, Trinovids or what ever as you wouldn't like the cracked ribs and might not like what happens to the bino.
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 00:42   #7
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The Kowa's have a great complete armour cover which probably helps a lot with knocks and bangs. The Kowa Genesis I had was also built very solidly. They have great optics too.

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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 01:27   #8
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Out of all the binos I have owned, or used over the past 20 years, and that's a lot of them, the most bulletproof would be:

Leica Trinovid BA
Meopta Meostar HD
Leupold Gold Ring HD
Swaro SLC wb
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 01:37   #9
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Anecdotal is no good - find some sort of industrial / standardized testing or long-term testing involving large numbers of participants.
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 01:48   #10
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Anecdotal is no good - find some sort of industrial / standardized testing or long-term testing involving large numbers of participants.
How about this. The Allbino's Endurance Test of 8x42 Binoculars.

https://www.allbinos.com/18.1-binocu...inoculars.html
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 01:49   #11
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Out of all the binos I have owned, or used over the past 20 years, and that's a lot of them, the most bulletproof would be:

Leica Trinovid BA
Meopta Meostar HD
Leupold Gold Ring HD
Swaro SLC wb
I agree on your list. Wouldn't you put the Tract Toric HD 8x42 in there?
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 02:59   #12
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I agree on your list. Wouldn't you put the Tract Toric HD 8x42 in there?
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 03:07   #13
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Swarovski has the finest build quality on the market. Leica and the higher end Zeiss are very close in second, but I think the Swarovski's have just the tiniest edge in build refinement and optics.

No scientific measurements or data can really take the place of actually holding the instrument in your hands, and making your own judgements as to how well it's built.
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 03:21   #14
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Yo, your gunnyness ...I haven't seen a new post on Optics Talk in 3 weeks. Has that site gone the ways of the world?

Cheers,

Bill
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 03:28   #15
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Swarovski has the finest build quality on the market. Leica and the higher end Zeiss are very close in second, but I think the Swarovski's have just the tiniest edge in build refinement and optics.

No scientific measurements or data can really take the place of actually holding the instrument in your hands, and making your own judgements as to how well it's built.

Regarding Swarovski's "finest build quality;" a few year back there was an anecdote floating around the Swarovski u tube sites about the editor of a Birding Magazine taking her Swarovski binocular into SONA for refurbishing whereupon a woman supervisor in the refurbishing department there proceeded to tear the covering off the binocular using only her well manicured fingernails. Her nails sustained no damage.

A close examination of my SLCs convinced me that this was indeed possible!

Try that with a Leica Trinovid or Ultravid or a Zeiss Victory or a Nikon EDG or other binocular. Fingernails must retain their manicured appearance.

Bob

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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 03:38   #16
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"No scientific measurements or data can really take the place of actually holding the instrument in your hands, and making your own judgements as to how well it's built."

Good point and I fully agree.
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 03:47   #17
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Bill what exactly do you mean by this? Thanks.

"And, what might be a structurally superior instrument, today, may not be superior, next week."
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 04:20   #18
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Yo, your gunnyness ...I haven't seen a new post on Optics Talk in 3 weeks. Has that site gone the ways of the world?

Cheers,

Bill
the crickets are even quiet over there....
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 06:41   #19
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Originally Posted by ceasar View Post
Regarding Swarovski's "finest build quality;" a few year back there was an anecdote floating around the Swarovski u tube sites about the editor of a Birding Magazine taking her Swarovski binocular into SONA for refurbishing whereupon a woman supervisor in the refurbishing department there proceeded to tear the covering off the binocular using only her well manicured fingernails. Her nails sustained no damage.

A close examination of my SLCs convinced me that this was indeed possible!

Try that with a Leica Trinovid or Ultravid or a Zeiss Victory or a Nikon EDG or other binocular. Fingernails must retain their manicured appearance.

Bob
Bob:

Most binoculars have rubber armor over a metal frame. This is very common
and it is done with all.

Jerry
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 06:56   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceasar View Post
Regarding Swarovski's "finest build quality;" a few year back there was an anecdote floating around the Swarovski u tube sites about the editor of a Birding Magazine taking her Swarovski binocular into SONA for refurbishing whereupon a woman supervisor in the refurbishing department there proceeded to tear the covering off the binocular using only her well manicured fingernails. Her nails sustained no damage.

A close examination of my SLCs convinced me that this was indeed possible!

Try that with a Leica Trinovid or Ultravid or a Zeiss Victory or a Nikon EDG or other binocular. Fingernails must retain their manicured appearance.

Bob
Its a great story Bob and I would have loved to see this lady do her stuff, but one of our members pointed out a couple of years ago that armour is meant to be removeable to allow repairs to be done, and no doubt she knew exactly where to apply those fingernails to get the job done.

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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 07:28   #21
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I think James is right: anecdotal evidence is interesting but is likely to be misleading. There was a time when a steady trickle of complaints about Swarovski focusers (including one from me) gave the impression to some (especially Brock) that Swaros were fatally flawed in this respect. This reaction totally ignored the fact that Swaro has been for years, and still is, the biggest selling alpha, and this doesn't happen with fatally flawed binos.

My best answer to Dennis's question is this: on the two biggest nature reserves local to my home town, there are two brands that I commonly see being carried by every member of groups of visitors. I see many brands there, and sometimes might see two people together carrying the same brand, but there are only two brands where I am no longer surprised to see a group of 3-4 people all carrying the same one.

The two brands are Swarovski and Opticron.

This situation has pertained for the last 10 years at least so I am confident that the opinions about these brands that get shared between folks are consistently good and this has gone on for so long I conclude that reliability and therefore build quality is maintained at a consistently high level.

Lee

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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 08:39   #22
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Hi,

it really depends on how you define build quality - some possible categories:

- consistent optical quality (think lemons which just don't give a good view)
- consistent mechanical quality (the usual focuser problems)
- resistance to chemical agents (think rubber armor getting tacky with time - Leica Televid spotters getting blind when exposed to salty air)
- water proofing (think the Leica U-Boat affair)
- resilience to serious abuse (think torture tests like allbinos, the Zeiss conquest torture video or finally the proofing instructions for east german army Zeiss Jena EDF)

But since a rigorous test with the numbers for statistically significant results might be a lot of work or quite expensive if using the last category, we will have to do with anecdotal evidence...

For that I can contribute, that I like my Nikon porros quite a lot so far - optics and mechanics are great and no problems with armor either. This seems to be consistent with the relative lack of compaints in the Nikon subforum.

Joachim
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 09:54   #23
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Hi,

The Swarovski Habicht W GA are my serious contenders here...

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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 10:25   #24
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Endurance

Bring on your green glass for endurance then a final meeting in the Colosseum,
just kidding.

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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 13:52   #25
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Bob:

Most binoculars have rubber armor over a metal frame. This is very common
and it is done with all.

Jerry
Correct.

But my point is that some are harder to tear off than others.

Bob
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