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Meopta Meostar 12x50 HD review

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Old Tuesday 13th February 2018, 12:48   #51
Raubtier
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Martin,

I don't do astronomy, so roof spikes and flat views are not up my list of priorities I'm afraid. If that is important to you, wouldn't you be better off looking at porros?

David
I certainly would, trouble is porro binoculars have either moving ocular bridge in which case they can't really be fully watertight and terribly rugged, or individual focusing, which makes them great for astronomy and hardcore military use, but unwieldy for everything else. Internal focusing porros are scarce and the only ones I found didn't look really convincing.

I'd love to have an overbuilt porro such as the Fujinon FMT-SX 10x50, but it's close focus distance isn't great, according to Holger and allbinos it isn't sharp to the edge anyway (I believe Holger stated at his website that he doesn't use this anymore as the MeoStar B1 10x50 took it's place), so then I'd have to have another pair of binoculars, perhaps the MeoStar 12x50 HD for everything else, which comprises nature observation, tourism, aircraft spotting, air shows and military shows, and occasionaly bird watching, where I'd prefer the promptness and ease of use of central focus, and lower weight.
And if the Swarovski can be the jack of all trades, and I can get one at the same cost as the combined cost of MeoStar B1 12x50 HD and an adequate astro porro bino, why not have the Swarovski, with the added benefit of hydrophobic coatings, finer roof prism system with dielectric mirrors as opposed to silver, sound brand name () that may keep the value better, and a flat field without globe effect?

I really wanted the MeoStar, and I still do and I want to like it for many reasons, but I have to be rational. Finding a place that lets me try out the 12x50HD without them having to order it for me (and me having to buy it then, like it or not) has so far been a bust. Unless I'm able to find one, I can't dish out over 1000 € without being absolutely positively certain I know what I'm going to get; I'm not buying a box of chocolates. Not to mention my worry, what if 12x is way too much for me to hold steady. It may be okay for terrestrial observation, for sky observation 12x seems like too much to hold without tripod (and binoculars ment to be hand held mounted on a tripod are really awkward to use for objects close to zenith ... I'd need something like those parallelogram stabilizers).

Considering all that, plus the CA difference that I honestly can tell between MeoStar 10x50 and EL 10x50, and am unable to compare yet with the 12x50, 2nd hand 2nd generetion Swarovision seems like a much safer bet. That is, unless I get my hands on the MeoStar 12x50 HD and erases all of my doubts.


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Old Tuesday 13th February 2018, 12:53   #52
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Hi Martin

Meopta certainly has a dealer in Prague and they list the B1 12x50 but I do not know if they keep it in stock:

SUPRA Praha
Mochovská 23/310, Praha 9
Tel.: +420 284 820 939
E-mail: [email protected]

http://www.supra-dalekohledy.cz/

Lee

Hi Troubador,

That's exactly where I went to yesterday, where they told me the thing about low sales of 12x50, standard or HD, hence them not keeping this particular model in stock. Only to order, non-cancellable.

I appreciate your effort though. Thank you.

Martin
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Old Tuesday 13th February 2018, 14:29   #53
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Hi Troubador,

That's exactly where I went to yesterday, where they told me the thing about low sales of 12x50, standard or HD, hence them not keeping this particular model in stock. Only to order, non-cancellable.

I appreciate your effort though. Thank you.

Martin
Hi Martin

As I posted the details I had a sinking feeling that this would be the case. Sorry it didn't work out. Meopta only list the 12x50 HD on their website, and no 'standard' one.
Let me see if I can find one near Prague.

Lee

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Old Tuesday 13th February 2018, 14:29   #54
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Raubtier,

It is truly a shame that you cannot try the 12x50HD. As with all binocular purchases, it is important to try-before-you-buy.

When I first started looking at high(er)-end bino's, I first acquired the Vortex Razor HD 12x50, which was the first binocular to introduce me to CA... and how annoying it can be. I swapped those out for the Meopta 12x50HD, and I have not been able to find any CA every since. Something else I noticed was the narrower FOV, but, to my eyes, sharp from side to side. I just did your test looking at my phone's LED light and the diffraction spikes extended to about 25% of my view. Mind you, I can see diffraction spikes looking at the light through naked eyes (I need to see an optometrist...), so take it with a grain of salt.

I agree with you that with 12-power binos, its hard to get all-day-use out of them because they are simply too powerful without a tripod. I do primarily long-distance viewing so it was only natural for me to invest in a proper tripod set up as seen in the picture. The Outdoorsmans Tripod System is the best available mounting system in my opinion and I just added the Manfrotto MVH500AH fluid head which made panning an absolute delight. Interestingly enough, I do not find it uncomfortable looking up at the stars with this setup, and I do a fair amount of stargazing. Stars are pin-point sharp with these binoculars. I have no experience with the 10x50 Meostars unfortunately.

However, I too have been exposed to the products made by your southern neighbors. In the search for the perfect all-around bino, I am looking with great interest at the 10x50 EL. The weight doesn't bother me and the difference between 12x and 10x for me was quite drastic. I actually am a great fan of the aesthetics of the EL's. The view just popped a little more with the Swaro's when I compared them to the Meopta's. I can't really describe it. Roger Vine over on scopeviews does excellent reviews (http://www.scopeviews.co.uk/) and he is a huge fan of the EL's (he goes into depth in his reviews of binoculars in the night sky). I wish he reviewed any Meostar HD to see how they stack up.

In the meantime, I am perfectly happy with the Meostars on a tripod, but at some point in the near future, I can see myself selling them and saving money to invest in the EL's.

Forgot to mention that I also have an 8x42 Meopro HD which I got on sale and have been really pleased with. They have awful glare, but a good set of eyeshields took care of that.
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Old Tuesday 13th February 2018, 15:12   #55
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Thanks Troubador, but please don't worry too much about it, I'll be going to my hometown soon and I remember there was a hunting good store which had Meopta. They may not have a website or e-shop, so I'll try and see.

There's a guy in Czech rep. selling few months old Meostar 12x50 HD at 20500 CZK, which is about 720 GBP with current exchange rate, he lives quite far from me but I'll give it a try.


Samolot,
It shouldn't be that difficult I imagine, as I used my Aculon 16x50 for everything before I bought the 8x42 Endeavor, mainly for airshows and aircraft spotting, where the 16x came in handy and I managed, and with 12x being halfway between 16x and 8x, it should be okay. But for astro, it's just too much. And
I too looked at Roger Vine's website in hope of finding Meopta review. Pity there isn't one, but the EL 10x50 SV just seems perfect all round.

"the difference between 12x and 10x for me was quite drastic"

Is that good or bad?
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Old Tuesday 13th February 2018, 15:21   #56
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Should have clarified: In term's of handheld stability, I noticed a significant, drastic, difference between 10 and 12x. The view is much stabler with 10x hence why I would consider it a good all-around binocular *for me*.

I take the 12x50 HD with me on hikes, and looking at objects that are closer is easy enough to enjoy the sharp detail delivered through the meoptas. When I look at objects far away, and up in the night sky, the 12x's need to be mounted.
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Old Tuesday 13th February 2018, 15:23   #57
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720 GBP comes out to about 1000 USD. Is the resale value really that good?
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Old Tuesday 13th February 2018, 15:40   #58
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I think it's a rather low price for a pair of binoculars bought in August last year. Over here they cost between 27-30 thousand CZK new, which is equivalent to 1300 - 1450 US dollars.
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Old Tuesday 13th February 2018, 18:23   #59
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Just a quick comment on how my 10x42 and the Meostar HD 12x50 compared for stability.

Of all the binoculars I own I feel my 10x42 is the most balanced in the hand. While the amplitude of the shake is greater than my 7x36 for example, it seems less than others I own, but for the most part the oscillation frequency seems the same. However when I read a line chart hand held vs. using a tripod, the percentage reduction in detail is pretty much the same at 40-50% (depend on my caffeine levels at the time ). With the 12x50 I needed to change my grip to get a reasonably steady view, but the amplitude still seemed much higher than with the 10x let alone the 7x. However the weight seemed to have reduced the frequency a little. The net result was an identical percentage reduction in detail hand held to the other two, meaning I was getting the full benefit of the increased power. That was in daylight. It seemed worse at night, but I wasn't able to quantify it.

David
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Old Monday 19th February 2018, 00:10   #60
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and the objective covers that when removed leave behind a gap with a bare wire are absurd (what was wrong with the 2nd gen Swarovski lens cap attachment anyway?).

Martin
The FP comes with wire covers that snap in the little gap, thereby closing the gap. You just didn't see it in the box. Or the dealer removed it. There is no absurdity.

Also, there was nothing wrong with the 2nd generation lens caps. This does not mean that any company cannot do something different if it desires. Manufacturers are always trying to come up with some new innovation every now and then, in order to keep an product line from becoming stagnant. You might have noticed at some point in your life that automobile models change every now and then. Binocular manufacturers are no different.

The anchoring loops of the 2nd gen. lens caps will eventually loosen up, allowing the caps to be lost if the owner is not careful. It might take a number of years to loosen, but they will if given enough time. The new system allows for an attachment method that is less likely to loosen over the years. Time will tell if this is truly the case.
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Old Tuesday 20th February 2018, 21:06   #61
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Hi everyone and thanks David for the great review.

I managed to get my hands on a 'new other' Meostar HD 12x50 which I am very happy with, as well as Opticron DBA VHD 10x50, which is also very sharp. The Meostar's larger image is even more satisfying, especially for its fine differentiation of colours, some of which could not be seen with my other binoculars. I would not say steadiness is much less than with DBA 10x50 and the Meostar is really ok for quick views when out and about, without bothering with the monopod, and again it's even better when seated.

Glad also to find that the eyecup surrounds take up only 3mm of the 15mm eye relief, and that with glasses I can comfortably see the whole field. The focus wheel action is similar to that of the DBA, being smooth with no stiction, and lightly damped.

The only fault is a broken catch on the fabric-type bag (not the felt type), although the catches look the same on each type. The button has broken off at its stalk (picture below) and I intended to try to mend it by drilling the broken plastic parts, and fixing them together with a short piece of wire and some araldite.

While above, in the photos of bags, the buttons are shown at 90 degrees to the slots they have passed through, the action of the catch is a bit mysterious. This is because the stump of the button stalk, remaining in the catch-mounting, does not seem to be able to rotate (and maybe that is why it got broken).

To understand it better before I go ahead, may I ask if the part of the button carries a spring within the fixed part of the catch, perhaps to give some resistance and then to provide a self centring action, or should the button be able to rotate freely?
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Old Wednesday 21st February 2018, 07:15   #62
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Chris,

I haven't a clue. I think the first step is to give Meopta's UK distributor a call. http://www.vikingshoot.com/meopta/

If that doesn't solve it, I don't think the Meopta people I've met would know, but they might know someone who does.

David

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Old Wednesday 21st February 2018, 09:04   #63
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David,

Thanks very much. Viking Arms say they will just replace the bag under warranty - small problem solved.
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Old Wednesday 21st February 2018, 09:49   #64
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Excellent news! Hope you enjoy the view.

Da
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Old Wednesday 7th March 2018, 07:42   #65
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cheating?

David,

With regard to both hand-held steadiness, ER, impression of disproportionately greater magnification, and 'micro-resolution' my Meostar B1 HD 12x50 are just as you described, so for my purposes there is now no reason to pick up anything else.

While the effects of those features are evident, to try to understand this I compared with Opticron DBA VHD 10x42:
- Meo is just as steady hand-held, and no great advantage with monopole.
There seems a bit more more high-amplitude low-frequency shake, which is less disconcerting,
and a bit less jitter, than with DBA.
- No probs with glasses
- Greater AFOV may explain the impression of greater size?
- Looking at Acuba, (variegated fruiting laurel-type evergreen) the berries looked a little more orange (cf. immediately they were only red with DBA), with different shades becoming apparent (with study this variation could 'just' be discerned with DBA, but it was hard work), and ditto for the otherwise unremarkable splits in one berry, which revealed the creamy pulp. Reflective parts of the berries were also differentiated to a greater extent by the Meostar.

The plant was at about 25ft and I found that the Meostar view could not otherwise be obtained, even by getting very close indeed: It was then a surprise to find that the Meostar had in fact exaggerated the variations. The view with DBA had actually been more reallistic, if less interesting!

After all it is about the magic of seeing what can't otherwise be seen, and I reckon it is those very exaggerations with Meo which are so beneficial, especially at longer range, and after all it's only an illusion of an illusion

As far as the enhancement of texture is concerned, the Meostar seems to put a very fine/invisible drapery over things to bring out the underlying contours, as in Greek sculpture. I guess that it might be helped to achieve this by increasing the apparent variation of colours and shine, along with very fine resolution.

Chris

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Old Wednesday 7th March 2018, 16:44   #66
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Chris,

Thanks for the comments and the eloquent descriptions. Sounds like the HD12x50 impressed you as much as it did me. I'm not sure I recall that it "put a very fine/invisible drapery over things to bring out the underlying contours", but I stuck to birdwatching myself.

David

Hop
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 10:00   #67
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Honi soit qui mal y pense
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 11:23   #68
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 11:50   #69
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Old Monday 12th March 2018, 21:41   #70
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With the Meostar, this afternoon in failing light, in the top of some beech trees a couple starlings, quite unusual now and perhaps newly arrived, could be recognised from their markings. In the opposite direction, with the sun nearly in the line of sight and only lightly veiled by cloud, a blackbird was confidently singing for the better weather on a twig 20ft away. To the naked eye it was just a sihouette but with Meostar the variations of its black and brown feathers and bright eye were comfortably revealed, and its yellow beak crumbed with dark wet soil - a nice moment.

These 12x binoculars have themselves been a revellation and Viking Arms have sent me a new case which will be good as a shoulder bag, together with an extra strap, under warranty. I have been trying Meostar 8x32 which are also the best I have used and are tiny, but can't convince myself that I really need both...

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Old Monday 12th March 2018, 22:58   #71
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That is a nice combo, 8 and 12X. I am also interested in the Meopta 12X50 on a tripod for astro at the house and for migration in the fall. I have the 7X42 B1 and the 8X42 also and truly enjoying them. The 8X32 did not fit my eye sockets properly, but the views were great.They are a great product with very good value. Right now I am enjoying the 10X50 UV and appreciation of a large aperture.

A.W.
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Old Tuesday 13th March 2018, 06:59   #72
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Chris

Here is where I go out with a 32mm rather than a 42 or bigger:
When carrying a lot of photo gear, camera and 2 or 3 lenses.
When expecting to be scrambling over rocks and crags and bogs and I will want to tuck the binos safely inside my jacket.
When I am going to be lying down a lot to examine small flowers, inter-tidal marine life in rock pools, and to take photos in that position.
When going shopping for groceries on holiday and I don't want a big pair of binos swinging about.
When walking through our local estate on my way to countryside and farmland and not wanting to alarm neighbours who might suspect me of peering into their houses with my binos, so again they go easily under my jacket.
On holiday, if its too wet to be out walking, we drive around from place to place with our binos round our necks and stop to look around. 32s are ideal for this rather than bigger binos, and this also applies for the hundreds of miles driving through Scotland to our holiday destinations. A 32 around my neck while driving for 9 or 10 hours is fine and they don't get in the way like 42s.

A 32 partnering a bigger bino gives you 'carrying' choices as well as optical ones.

Lee
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Old Tuesday 13th March 2018, 08:11   #73
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That is a nice combo, 8 and 12X. I am also interested in the Meopta 12X50 on a tripod for astro at the house and for migration in the fall. I have the 7X42 B1 and the 8X42 also and truly enjoying them. The 8X32 did not fit my eye sockets properly, but the views were great.They are a great product with very good value. Right now I am enjoying the 10X50 UV and appreciation of a large aperture.

A.W.
Pity about the 8x32 eyesocket problem. I got my meostars 'new other' at secondhand prices so both had minor problems. They were not too costly but even so one had to go back. I would like to try duovid, out of my class but bet the 10X50 UV is nice!

Chris
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Old Tuesday 13th March 2018, 08:28   #74
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Chris

Here is where I go out with a 32mm rather than a 42 or bigger:
When carrying a lot of photo gear, camera and 2 or 3 lenses.
When expecting to be scrambling over rocks and crags and bogs and I will want to tuck the binos safely inside my jacket.
When I am going to be lying down a lot to examine small flowers, inter-tidal marine life in rock pools, and to take photos in that position.
When going shopping for groceries on holiday and I don't want a big pair of binos swinging about.
When walking through our local estate on my way to countryside and farmland and not wanting to alarm neighbours who might suspect me of peering into their houses with my binos, so again they go easily under my jacket.
On holiday, if its too wet to be out walking, we drive around from place to place with our binos round our necks and stop to look around. 32s are ideal for this rather than bigger binos, and this also applies for the hundreds of miles driving through Scotland to our holiday destinations. A 32 around my neck while driving for 9 or 10 hours is fine and they don't get in the way like 42s.

A 32 partnering a bigger bino gives you 'carrying' choices as well as optical ones.

Lee
Lee

That is an excellent list of good reasons, thanks so much. You guys certainly get around and wish I could say the same - can only dream of scrambling over rocks and crags and bogs and driving for 9 or 10 hours to Scotland. It was 20 years ago that we last tried that but only got half way and settled for the Lake District. These days I take the car to the common which is half a mile away, then trek as far as a bench!

Come to think of it might need the Meostar 8x32 after all, in case something's spotted on the way back from Tesco.

Chris

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Old Tuesday 13th March 2018, 09:51   #75
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Lee

That is an excellent list of good reasons, thanks so much. You guys certainly get around and wish I could say the same - can only dream of scrambling over rocks and crags and bogs and driving for 9 or 10 hours to Scotland. It was 20 years ago that we last tried that but only got half way and settled for the Lake District. These days I take the car to the common which is half a mile away, then trek as far as a bench!

Come to think of it might need the Meostar 8x32 after all, in case something's spotted on the way back from Tesco.

Chris
Hi Chris

When I go for a local walk I go through a housing estate to an old bridle track that is actually an old drovers sunken track. It goes through open fields around the estate and gives some nice views of places where rooks, jackdaws and woodpigeons forage and has the usual finches and tits in the hedgerows. Across the fields to the south I saw a fox a few weeks ago as it squeezed through a hedge to flop down in the sunshine on the other side, watched amiably by some sheep.

My companion on these walks is often the Meopta. Its a pleasure to use and tucks into my jacket as I walk through the estate.

Last year on the Isle of Uist for 3 weeks, as an experiment I took only 32s and I didn't feel deprived at all. Some might say I was depraved rather than deprived but I am used to that

I really recommend having a 32 available and I can see myself drifting more towards this more compact size in future years.

Lee
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