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Do You Like the "Open Bridge" Binos?

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Old Monday 10th December 2018, 05:49   #1
MUHerd
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Do You Like the "Open Bridge" Binos?

Hey all,

I'm curious as to how many prefer the binos that are called "open bridge" binoculars. I might not be using the right terminology, but they are the binos that allow the user to curl your fingers around each barrel to hold on to them while glassing.

I've never handled a set like this. I don't think I've ever even seen a set in real life. The sporting goods store I am always going to go to is Academy Sports and they don't usually have the higher end binos.

Do you find they are much more comfortable while using than the standard binos that these evolved from.

What do you like and why?

Thanks
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Old Monday 10th December 2018, 07:22   #2
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You have quite some lower end (or let's just say cheap) open bridge bins.

I don't find them more comfortable but each one has his own preferences.
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Old Monday 10th December 2018, 13:54   #3
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It really depends on the binocular. I absolutely LOVE the way my little Sightron 8x32 Blue Sky's handle, and they have an double hinge or "open bridge" design. For smaller binoculars, I think it's very helpful.

However, I also have a pair of Bushnell Legend M 8x42's that are open bridge, and they are in a word, massive binoculars. Having said that, they handle pretty well but the open bridge design does make them much larger than they need to be.

I recently sold a pair of Nikon EDG 7x42's that were open bridge and I felt they were just too large and heavy for a 7x42 set.

If I'm not going to be carrying them all day around my neck, then full size open bridge binoculars are generally more pleasant in the hand. However, if I plan to spend a lot of time with them around my neck, and particularly if I'm hiking or expect to be going through brushy areas, I don't want something that large to deal with.
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Old Monday 10th December 2018, 16:01   #4
Chosun Juan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MUHerd View Post
Hey all,

I'm curious as to how many prefer the binos that are called "open bridge" binoculars. I might not be using the right terminology, but they are the binos that allow the user to curl your fingers around each barrel to hold on to them while glassing.

I've never handled a set like this. I don't think I've ever even seen a set in real life. The sporting goods store I am always going to go to is Academy Sports and they don't usually have the higher end binos.

Do you find they are much more comfortable while using than the standard binos that these evolved from.

What do you like and why?

Thanks
MUHerd
Previously, I would have said that the 'open bridge' style was the only bees knees ergonomic design. I'm not sure I'm old enough to understand what you mean by "the standard binos that these evolved from."

To me, my favourite bin for ergonomics are the open bridge Zen-Ray ED3 - fantastic! I don't find them overly large or too heavy at all (yet less weight hanging around the neck is always appreciated). These bins are the best by far in the hand. As the company is now defunct, they have achieved 'classic' status and may soon command five figure sums to secure

Not all things are created equal though, and the very similar kissin' cousin Bushnell Legend M feels nowhere as good in the hand. It's not the open bridge design that makes them long - that is due to the optical train f ratio, and is what gives these (and the Zens) their outstanding CA handling ability.

My next favourite ergonomic bins are the Swarovski 10x50 SV. I like the hand filling proportions - very steady to hold, though could wish for a little less weight and a larger, faster, focusing wheel.

If you have smaller hands, the Swarovski x32 SV would be hard to go past.

The bin that caused me to consider other bridge designs is the new 'single bridge' (H style) Nikon MHG. I didn't think I would like it, but upon an extended session with one, I have to say that it felt great in the hand right from the very first grip and very steady. Perfect positioning. It is almost like the Zen, but without the front bridge. It is handily about 100 grams lighter too. I would have to say I could happily live with these ergonomics, especially at that weight, and wide fov's. Bravo Nikon !

I should give an honorable mention to the 'unitary' reverse porro designs - smallish though they are - often the 'curves' make them more palatable - provided the focuser is in the right place and of the right size.

I find the ergonomics of the smaller Canon IS models decidedly woeful - almost necessitating the IS system to compensate!

Apart from these specifics, in general I would probably prefer an 'open bridge' style over the 'closed bridge' style - some of those feel decidedly yukky to me .......



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Old Monday 10th December 2018, 23:06   #5
Alexis Powell
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I've been loving open-bridge since before they were invented. For me, the designs of the Zeiss 7x42 BGATP and B&L 8x42 Elite (non waterproof version, with focus on front of hinge) were super ergonomic for allowing a wrap-around grip. For me, the Swarovski 8x32 EL (or EL SV) and the 8.5x42 ELSV are perfect in the hand. What I like about wrap-around grip is that it allows for a very secure grip, even when my hand is relaxed. The natural resting position of my hands is with fingers curled. These bins fit within that natural position.

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Old Tuesday 11th December 2018, 00:22   #6
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Yes, the open bridge (or dual hinge) binos I've tried seemed very nice. However, I do agree (with post#3) the open bridge EDG was not too comfortable to hold compared to other open bridge I've tried. I handled them once in store briefly.

I really liked the Swaro SV (especially 32) and Zeiss SF 42 (despite the size) the times I've tried those.

There are also some good single hinge or traditional bins I've owned like original swaro CL 30mm and Meopta Meostar 32. I briefly had the Cabella branded Meostar. These two were exceptional for comfort/ergonomics imo.

Also, I had an old Zeiss Jenoptem 8x30 which was super comfortable. Smaller porros can be real nice.

Oh yeah, the affordable Kowa SV 32 was a nice fit too (brief experience with it).

My Ultravid 42 is good for a full size despite its weird design with huge hinge.

Swaro SV 32 may be the best of all the above, but the original CL and Jenoptem are close.
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Old Tuesday 11th December 2018, 07:40   #7
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I find that I can get comfortable with most binos whether open hinge or traditional, but there are different levels of comfort and not all open hinge binos are created equal IMHO.

Of traditional closed hinge I get on very well with Leica Ultravids, Meopta MeoStars, and Opticron Imagics (and no doubt I would like many others if I tried them) and I also enjoy Zeiss's HT.

Of open hinge binos I have tried, Swaro's EL isn't bad but my narrow IPD means I can't quite grip the barrels as I would like, whereas I can do this with Zeiss's SF. I can hold SFs steady for significantly longer than most binos which is great for observing behaviour. I find Leica's Noctivid unsatisfactory because I can't comfortably reach the focus wheel if I use the open-bridge grip and if I move my hand until I can reach it, which is easy to do, I always start to think 'why did they bother with the open bridge layout'.

The importance of any of this depends on how you use your binos too. If you only use your binos for a quick sweep around to locate a bird and then spend most of your time using your scope then bino comfort and balance will perhaps not be so important. If you often use your binos for extended periods then comfort and balance becomes more important.

Lee
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Old Tuesday 11th December 2018, 13:52   #8
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I prefer the more traditional style seen on the Zeiss Victory T*FL and Meopta Meostar, among others. I've got fairly large hands, and bridges such as these seem to allow me more room to lay my hands atop the bridge in an almost 'stretched out' manner. As Lee mentions, I'm more of a quick spot and go person for 80%+ of my viewing time, so this style may just be simpler for as I don't have to spend time wrapping around the barrels to produce a steady grip.

I do own and have owned several open bridge models and they are fine as well, just not preferred.

Justin
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Old Tuesday 11th December 2018, 22:20   #9
james holdsworth
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I would say the HT is a bit of a hybrid - open / closed bridge design. Essentially, it is the SF without the bottom hinge.
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Old Wednesday 12th December 2018, 00:27   #10
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This is completely a matter of personal taste. I dislike open bridge designs. There's noplace underneath for my thumb to rest against as I want it to, and to me it's effortful not relaxing to curl my fingers fully around the barrel. I want them resting on the bino, not gripping it. (I hate most "ergonomic" designs in general, including thumb rests/grooves, because I don't want to be forced to hold something the one way someone with different hands -- and possibly brain -- thought I should.) Try and decide for yourself; that's the only way.
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Old Wednesday 12th December 2018, 00:57   #11
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Hello,

I believe that the "open bridge" design was welcomed by shooters who welcomed a binocular which could be held in one hand while a rifle was held in the other. The concept never appealed to me. There are far more aspects of binoculars which are of greater importance to me. My most used binocular, an 8x32 Zeiss FL, does not have an open bridge design.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur Pinewood
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Old Wednesday 12th December 2018, 02:44   #12
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I'm not nearly as fussy as some, and I just enjoy using my Swarovski EL SV 10X42, and it always blows my mind how much I can see with them.

I spent quite a bit of time the other day watching the antics of some Hooded Mergansers, and got a good look at five Snow Geese, as well as Common Mergansers and hundreds of Canada and Cackling geese. Oh, and there were two Greater White-fronted geese there too.

Not once did it occur to me that perhaps my binoculars were deficient in some matter of design. I actually never even gave it a thought.

They are a superb tool, and enable me to see like an eagle, so what more could I want?
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Old Wednesday 12th December 2018, 14:37   #13
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My preference is single hinge design... just more comfortable for me, however, the dual hinge design is not a deal breaker.

My .02,

CG
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Old Wednesday 12th December 2018, 16:56   #14
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I have many in both styles and can't say I prefer one over the other.
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Old Wednesday 12th December 2018, 18:55   #15
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Originally Posted by james holdsworth View Post

I would say the HT is a bit of a hybrid - open / closed bridge design. Essentially, it is the SF without the bottom hinge.
This is absolutely correct.

Lee
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Old Wednesday 12th December 2018, 21:45   #16
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It really depends on how well the open bridge works with the rest of the bin. My first interest is that the instrument be easy to hold and control.
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Old Thursday 13th December 2018, 05:14   #17
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Originally Posted by tenex View Post
This is completely a matter of personal taste. I dislike open bridge designs. There's noplace underneath for my thumb to rest against as I want it to, and to me it's effortful not relaxing to curl my fingers fully around the barrel. I want them resting on the bino, not gripping it. (I hate most "ergonomic" designs in general, including thumb rests/grooves, because I don't want to be forced to hold something the one way someone with different hands -- and possibly brain -- thought I should.) Try and decide for yourself; that's the only way.
I totally agree with you
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Old Thursday 13th December 2018, 12:57   #18
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"I have many in both styles and can't say I prefer one over the other."
I agree with this from oldfortyfive, for me it is all about adaptation.

Andy W.
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Old Thursday 13th December 2018, 18:17   #19
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The "open bridge" is not only a matter of ergonomics, styling or... just an innovation without further purpose than being different.

There might be a correlation between "open bridge" lay out and reportedly more frequent focusser problems, because of overloaded, too cramped mechanisms required due to less space available compared to more conventional designs.

HW
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Old Friday 14th December 2018, 01:10   #20
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...There might be a correlation between "open bridge" lay out and reportedly more frequent focusser problems, because of overloaded, too cramped mechanisms required due to less space available compared to more conventional designs...
I agree to an extent (e.g. problems with early production Swarovski EL), but I think the bigger problem is that Chinese manufacturers don't always have good design or quality control for assembly of focus gearing. Nearly all of the problems that I've heard about and witnessed have been in Chinese made binoculars, both open-bridge and conventional. In my experience, such problems are rare in Japanese bins, even cheap ones. When it comes to "alphas", Swarovski and Leica have historically inspired the most complaints, but those complaints often targeted the SLC and the Ultravid series, neither of which are open-bridge designs.

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Old Friday 14th December 2018, 01:29   #21
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I agree to an extent (e.g. problems with early production Swarovski EL), but I think the bigger problem is that Chinese manufacturers don't always have good design or quality control for assembly of focus gearing. Nearly all of the problems that I've heard about and witnessed have been in Chinese made binoculars, both open-bridge and conventional. In my experience, such problems are rare in Japanese bins, even cheap ones. When it comes to "alphas", Swarovski and Leica have historically inspired the most complaints, but those complaints often targeted the SLC and the Ultravid series, neither of which are open-bridge designs.

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Where's Brock when you need him to chime in?

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Old Friday 14th December 2018, 16:31   #22
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"Open-bridge" is never a consideration for me. Good optics come in all chassis types and I've found I can adapt to most hinge designs. The best handling binocular I have have DOES happen to be an open-bridge design, the SV 8X32.
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Old Saturday 15th December 2018, 02:55   #23
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I also like open bridge binoculars among many others.

The 2 best binocular models available today are open bridge you know.

The Zeiss Victory SF and the Swarovski EL Swarovision.

Jerry
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Old Saturday 15th December 2018, 10:26   #24
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I also like open bridge binoculars among many others.

The 2 best binocular models available today are open bridge you know.

The Zeiss Victory SF and the Swarovski EL Swarovision.

Jerry
The old Cat bridge design was the best ... until Zeiss decided it wasn't practical ...
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Old Saturday 15th December 2018, 10:46   #25
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The old Cat bridge design was the best ... until Zeiss decided it wasn't practical ...
I beg to differ - that's a special edition Swarovski BTX being used the wrong way around!
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