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Choosing top-of-the-range scope

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Old Wednesday 11th February 2004, 19:31   #26
Art Thorn
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And then, for the discerning few, there is the TeleVue 85! Just thought I'd throw that in to get the debate going into an elipse instead of the usual cirlce. Put a 9mm Nagler eyepiece on it and get 67 power with a true field of 1.2+ degrees (82 degree apparent field) and the brightest, sharpest view of the lot. Ask the Norwegians (http://www.kikkertspesialisten.no/pdf/testtele.pdf) or the American Cornell Lab of Ornithology (http://www.birds.cornell.edu/program...eview2002.html). So it weighs a few pounds more and isn't waterproof... We are talking about the best view here aren't we?
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Old Wednesday 11th February 2004, 20:08   #27
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Swarovski and Leica optics seem to be a similar price anywhere in the world were as Nikon and Zeiss would appear to be far cheaper in the U.S.A. Dont forget Nikon tried to fleece the British birder when they came out with the 8x42 and 10x42 HGs(£1400).After almost no sales they dropped the price to almost half.Swarovski prices for their scope may be higher than others but they should retain a good secondhand value
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Old Wednesday 11th February 2004, 20:58   #28
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Hi Graham

They did - but my word, do you remember the reviews it got at the time. Wow.

And... odd what you say but only Leica seem to be playing an equal price game. Swaro is way cheaper in the States according to another thread (I think the writer quoted a dealer called B&H??).
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Old Wednesday 11th February 2004, 21:10   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scampo
Hi Graham

They did - but my word, do you remember the reviews it got at the time. Wow.

And... odd what you say but only Leica seem to be playing an equal price game. Swaro is way cheaper in the States according to another thread (I think the writer quoted a dealer called B&H??).
Hi Steve,in fact Leica are significantly cheaper in the USA as well,partly because of the favourable exchange rate presently.
The ultravids in particular seem to offer better deals than the Swaro models at the moment.

ps. can't make out the other half of the new Avatar?
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Old Wednesday 11th February 2004, 21:16   #30
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No - I'll have to change it again. It's the Moody Blues' "On the Threshold of a Dream" album cover.

I'm pretty sure that the Leica Apo 77 was the same as in the UK on the other thread. The Zeiss 85T* was also a similar price.
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Old Wednesday 11th February 2004, 21:45   #31
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Steve .Have often looked with envy at the price of optics on the B&H website.E-mailed them once to find out how much postage and insurance plus any taxes for Nikon 8x42HGs but when i worked it all out not a lot of diference to over here with vat etc.But the swaro's seem the same price as over here.Tried a pair of 8x42 HG's the other day spent about an hour compairing them with the new ultravids the Nikon were fractionally sharper to my eyes, extremely well made,BUT after an hour of playing decided they were to heavy and got the Leica's.If Nikon were to bring out binoculars that were lighter but the same optics and build quality they would sell ashed loads.
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Old Wednesday 11th February 2004, 22:02   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragna
If Nikon were to bring out binoculars that were lighter but the same optics and build quality they would sell ashed loads.
My thoughts precisely. According to one review, they (8x42 HG) are heavy because the frame is designed to withstand a drop onto a hard surface from a good height. (So it's not the glass elements that weigh a tonne.) Very nice optics though, despite my reservations about a bit of CA, and a very nice texture and shape to the armour.
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Old Wednesday 11th February 2004, 22:04   #33
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You're right, Graham - and I suppose they might have a new model in the wings as the HGs are now older than others. They are no lightweights but I do find I can hold them very easily and comfortably. Leif does see some CA, but I can't replicate that at all with a friend's but I'm going to have another good go soon - in fact my Swaros can produce CA if I try hard.

I haven't looked at the Ultravids yet (I ought to keep well away - having just taken my first "digiscoped shots" this afternoon, I can't see my beloved looking too happily on me buying a new digital camera (my Fuji's front lens element is just too big not to cause serious vignetting).

The Swaro's take some beating as far as bins go for me as I have large hands and I can wrap my fingers all the way round the barrels. I wouldn't change from my Optolyth Alpins for years because I found roof prisms hard to get used to.
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Old Wednesday 11th February 2004, 22:13   #34
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I've never understood the problem of a few extra grams on a pretty light pair of bins anyway (HGs), when birders carry monstrous scopes and heavy tripods. Seems back to front to me.
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Old Wednesday 11th February 2004, 22:35   #35
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Steve just checked B&H prices approx Ultravids 8x42 £750 Swarovski 8.5x42 £820 Nikon ventura 8x42 £500.The Leica's are cheaper over in America but the Swaro's are more expensive,The Nikon's they are giving away best price i have found over here is £725.Almost worth flying out to get a pair.
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Old Thursday 12th February 2004, 08:19   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
I've never understood the problem of a few extra grams on a pretty light pair of bins anyway (HGs), when birders carry monstrous scopes and heavy tripods. Seems back to front to me.
Tim - you're not expecting logic, are you??

(-:

I agree with you 100% - but the 8x30s are quite a bit different from the 8x42s in weight. They're all very "holdable" though.
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Old Thursday 12th February 2004, 08:20   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragna
Steve just checked B&H prices approx Ultravids 8x42 £750 Swarovski 8.5x42 £820 Nikon ventura 8x42 £500.The Leica's are cheaper over in America but the Swaro's are more expensive,The Nikon's they are giving away best price i have found over here is £725.Almost worth flying out to get a pair.
Now thats' a good idea, Graham - buy them in Florida and a tour of the Everglades could put them to good use, too! I'm not sure but you might be collared for 17.5% VAT + duty on your return, won't you?
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Old Thursday 12th February 2004, 08:30   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Allwood
I've never understood the problem of a few extra grams on a pretty light pair of bins anyway (HGs), when birders carry monstrous scopes and heavy tripods. Seems back to front to me.
Not really. Binoculars are around my neck all of the time when I'm in the field but I'm only actually carrying my scope and tripod for a minority of the time. Agree that the 8.32 HGs are light enough not to worry though. Anything up to 800g doesn't bother me.
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Old Thursday 12th February 2004, 19:57   #39
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The problem with the notion of buying the optically best scope - in the context of digiscoping - is that very few objective tests actually exist. Most digiscoped images are shown at 1/4th of the images original resolution and have been worked over in an image processing program. Things like chromatic aberration artifacts are routinely removed by people interested in showing nice photos.

Most scope reviews are highly subjective and entirely based on visual observation - not digiscoped images. This leaves the buyer wondering how much sharper a photo digscoped with a 1 or 2 ranked scope will be when compared to a scope ranked 4 or 5. Was the lower ranking due to a color cast that is of virtually no consequence in a photo? Was there some other factor that has little to do with final photo quality?

Furthermore, what makes a good viewing scope and what makes a good digiscoping scope aren't necessarily the same. I much prefer a straight scope for digiscoping, but would rather view through an angled scope. Its hard to dislike very long eye-relief for digiscoping. But some people prefer shorter eye reliefs for visual observation. Other ergonomic issues might factor in as well.

So in the end, its very much a balancing act between how often the scope will be used visually and how often it will be used for digiscoping. And then there is always the "value" issue. Even when purchasing a top end optic, one still should ask the question of whether the fine points that distinguish two very close contenders really are worth any significant extra cost. They may very justify the additional expense. But if the money is dear, then this must certainly be weighed.
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Old Thursday 12th February 2004, 21:42   #40
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A fine, balanced analysis and explanation, Jay - what complicates matters further is the idiosyncratic ways in which we choose items that are very expensive - and what influences come to bear on the decision making process.

I was speaking to someone today whose friend amazingly changed his new (month-old) Leica 77mm TeleApovid for a new Swaro 80 the day after he looked through the latter.

I suggested this was plain daft as I have looked through these scopes alongside my Nikon ED82 and the differences just are not objectively sufficient to choose one above the others. Needless to say I was rebuffed. A kind of madness borne of our affluence, I suppose.
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Old Friday 13th February 2004, 03:19   #41
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Originally Posted by scampo
A fine, balanced analysis and explanation, Jay - what complicates matters further is the idiosyncratic ways in which we choose items that are very expensive - and what influences come to bear on the decision making process.
<snip>
I suggested this was plain daft as I have looked through these scopes alongside my Nikon ED82 and the differences just are not objectively sufficient to choose one above the others. Needless to say I was rebuffed. A kind of madness borne of our affluence, I suppose.
Thanks. I'm inclined to agree with you but I'd hold out a little bit on the possibility that there are very real differences in the way we see and possibly moreso in the way our brains interpret what we see. I remember recently someone mentioning how much clearer a particular digiscoping result was compared to another. But a simple change in color balance suddenly made them appear sharper. The significant color cast lead the person to perceive a lack of sharpness.

OTOH, I know from personal experience how we adapt ourselves to our perceptions. I've read true blind tests where high end audio equipment cannot be differentiated from mid-level mass market items except by a very few and then usually only by listening to very unmusical test tones.

It would be interesting to try to try to design such a "blind" scope test.
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Old Friday 13th February 2004, 08:42   #42
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A blind test (what a lovely metaphor, here!)?

It seems odd, on the surface, that no magazine does such a thing as it cannot be beyond their ability. But, on reflection, I don't think they have any need as they operate to suit their market - and a rather affluent, idiosyncratic and untechnical market it probably is, in the main (interestingly, not reflected within BF).

An objective and technical review would appeal only to the minority, these days, I suspect and - from a marketing view - would be a waste of time and money.

I have seen photo magazines go the same way over the years, and the reasons are surely the same. As a youngster and a keen photographer, I was fascinated by objective tests; yet, my own two sons, both far better educated and more knowledgable in many ways than I was at their ages, have no interest in such things; and their friends are the same.

Such information seems to have become a thing of the past for the majority - a quirkiness that hangs only in a few. And now to a paradox: an almost perverse fascination seems to exist with arcane technical details at the point of sale: car and electronic manufacturers love to use techno-speak, especially acronyms and abbreviations, for example, RAM, rpm, Mb, Mp, LCD, vario, and so on. Such terms impress would-be customers, it seems, and help them decide on which products to purchases. Yet few either know or care what the terms trul;y mean.

Odd indeed.
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