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Vortex Viper UHD beats Zeiss SF and Leica Noctivid!

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Old Thursday 23rd January 2020, 04:00   #26
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"Where are you getting those numbers, Dennis? The EDG and the HT have the common pattern of fixed triplets consisting of a singlet and a cemented doublet with an air space between, followed by a singlet focusing element. I wouldn't argue that there are no doublets at all in current roof prism binoculars, but I can think of only one recent design that uses a fixed cemented doublet followed by a focusing singlet, the Zeiss SF. I suppose there could a clone or two of it or a similar old Swarovski doublet design."

From Scopeviews Reviews as quoted:

"As we will see, the EDG has top-line optical performance; it’s also very short. Given that some recent binoculars (e.g. Zeiss’ HTs) have six elements in their objectives alone, you’d think these Nikons were similarly packed with slivers of glass to achieve that combination. Not so. In fact the EDGs are a bit sparse on glass generally: whereas the HTs have no less than 14 optical elements per side, the EDG have just 9.You might ask how is this possible? Well part of the answer seems to be that although the main objective in the EDG is a doublet (with a further focusing element), it is an unusual design with a very thick rear element. This reminds me of a design of apochromatic telescope much discussed on the astro’ forums a few years ago and called, rather unglamorously, ‘The Brick’. I am completely guessing here, but I wonder if Nikon’s ability to make its own glasses allows a design not feasible with off-the-shelf blanks from the likes of Ohara that the other makers have to use."

http://scopeviews.co.uk/NikonEDG8x42.htm
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Old Thursday 23rd January 2020, 13:37   #27
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Dennis,

Sometimes a little alarm needs to go off in your head when you encounter something in a review that doesn't make sense. In this case somewhat misleading cutaways have been uncritically accepted at face value.

The Nikon cutaway misleads by failing to indicate cementings, so the fixed objective triplet, which consists of a singlet air spaced from a cemented doublet, was misread as a doublet with a "thick" second element. The little alarm should have indicated that the second thick lens has external curves that could never function as the curves of an appropriate mating singlet for the front singlet.

The EDGE and the HT objectives (see below) actually have the same 1-2 fixed triplet arrangement up front. The HT cutaway misleads by including dim straight lines that are supposed to represent the opposite edge of a single concave lens, not another element cemented to its back or front. Here the little alarm should have sounded at the crazy spectacle of a binocular containing two cemented triplets, one in the objective group and one in the eyepiece. Notice that if you subtract the dim straight line and the internal curved line of the cementing from the HT objective doublet you're left with a representation of a "thick" lens with external curves very much like the ones in the EDGE cutaway.
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Old Thursday 23rd January 2020, 14:31   #28
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I guarantee you if a UHD is $1400, and a mint/used SLC is $1500, 9 people out of 10 will choose Swaro. Oh, and last time I checked, optics are a subjective thing too.
The current (due to the SLC discount) streetprice (no VAT) for the US for a brand new 8x42SLC is 1.150,00 euro.

Jan
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Old Thursday 23rd January 2020, 14:53   #29
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"Where are you getting those numbers, Dennis? The EDG and the HT have the common pattern of fixed triplets consisting of a singlet and a cemented doublet with an air space between, followed by a singlet focusing element. I wouldn't argue that there are no doublets at all in current roof prism binoculars, but I can think of only one recent design that uses a fixed cemented doublet followed by a focusing singlet, the Zeiss SF. I suppose there could a clone or two of it or a similar old Swarovski doublet design."

From Scopeviews Reviews as quoted:

"As we will see, the EDG has top-line optical performance; it’s also very short. Given that some recent binoculars (e.g. Zeiss’ HTs) have six elements in their objectives alone, you’d think these Nikons were similarly packed with slivers of glass to achieve that combination. Not so. In fact the EDGs are a bit sparse on glass generally: whereas the HTs have no less than 14 optical elements per side, the EDG have just 9.You might ask how is this possible? Well part of the answer seems to be that although the main objective in the EDG is a doublet (with a further focusing element), it is an unusual design with a very thick rear element. This reminds me of a design of apochromatic telescope much discussed on the astro’ forums a few years ago and called, rather unglamorously, ‘The Brick’. I am completely guessing here, but I wonder if Nikon’s ability to make its own glasses allows a design not feasible with off-the-shelf blanks from the likes of Ohara that the other makers have to use."

http://scopeviews.co.uk/NikonEDG8x42.htm
Ehhh..... Dennis,

Fact checking.
6 elements in objective?
14 elements each?

Jan
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Old Thursday 23rd January 2020, 15:14   #30
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The current (due to the SLC discount) streetprice (no VAT) for the US for a brand new 8x42SLC is 1.150,00 euro.

Jan
Boy, the SLC's are really being discounted. That is $1273.00 USD. I wonder if Swarovski is planning on discontinuing them in the near future? The lowest price I see in the states right now is $1549.00. I could see them discontinuing them if they don't sell well compared to the EL's. Just like Zeiss discontinued the HT's except for the 8x54.

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Old Thursday 23rd January 2020, 15:16   #31
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Ehhh..... Dennis,

Fact checking.
6 elements in objective?
14 elements each?

Jan
Maybe Roger Vine was snipping at the bottle when he wrote that review. It sounded weird to me too. But he is usually pretty accurate. Get the Vortex Razor UHD 8x42's today. More to come.

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Old Friday 24th January 2020, 01:43   #32
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I received the Vortex Razor UHD 8x42's today and it was too dark to take a look through them but I will tomorrow. I happened to be at Cabella's today and I compared a Vortex Razor UHD 10x42 to a Vortex Razor 10x42 in the store. The UHD was noticeably brighter and sharper on-axis than the regular Razor. I found the ergonomics of the UHD to be better also even though it is larger and heavier. The eye cups work much smoother on the UHD and it also has a much better diopter setting on the eyepiece with continuous settings instead of clickstops. Here is a picture of the Vortex Razor UHD 8x42 , Zeiss FL 8x42 and the Nikon EDG 8x42 to compare size. Notice the similarity in shape and size of the UHD and the FL because of the bigger AK prisms. Also, notice how much farther the objectives are spaced on the UHD. This should give better 3D. One thing I am really curious about is the CA control on the FL versus the UHD. The FL IMO has always been the "King" of CA control but Vortex is advertising their new UHD as "Apochromatic" so I will be curious to see which one is better.
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Old Friday 24th January 2020, 15:49   #33
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I contacted Vortex Optic's and they said their Razor HD and Razor UHD for the objective lens use a true triplet Apochromatic lens system. All of their other roof prism binoculars use a doublet Achromat on their objective lens including their Viper HD, Diamondback HD and Crossfire fire HD.
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Old Friday 24th January 2020, 16:02   #34
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OK, Dennis I'll go a little ways down the rabbit hole with you, but then I'm out and back to the adult world.

First, we can't even speculate about how good the color correction of any 42mm triplet is without knowing it's focal ratio and glass types. A marketing claim that such a lens is a "true triplet Apochromatic lens system" should be met with plenty of skepticism until it's tested (and I don't mean tested by just looking through the binocular). Now, at the risk of a little pedantry let's back up and examine the quality of the information about the UHD objective lens that Vortex' actually gives us. Here it is:

"Apochromatic (APO) Lenses
"Rather than the more widely used and less expensive achromatic doublet lens design that as the name suggests uses two lens elements within each lens, Vortex Razor UHD binoculars have apochromatic lenses that are usually made up of at least 3 lens elements.Whist this additional piece of glass in each lens is certainly one of the contributors to the instrument being both heavier and longer than average, the advantage is that instead of just two, an APO lens is able to focus three wavelengths of light onto a single point and thus are able to better reduce chromatic and spherical aberrations for a higher definition image."

The first sentence starts off forgivably wrong by calling the conventional cemented doublet used in binoculars an "achromatic doublet lens". It's a doublet alright, but at an aperture of 42mm and a focal ratio somewhere below f/4 such a lens doesn't even meet the minimum standard for an achromatic lens. There's a simple formula to determine the lowest focal ratio a conventional doublet can have and still meet the minimum standard of red and blue blurs three times the diameter of a focused green airy disk. That's N = 0.122D where N is the minimum focal ratio and D is the aperture in millimeters. So a 42mm conventional doublet needs to be f/5.1 to meet the minimum standard, which itself is none too good.

Then we are told that UHD binoculars have "apochromatic lenses that are usually made up of at least 3 lens elements" . So are the UHD objectives triplets or just "usually, at least" triplets?

Then we are told that "an APO lens is able to focus 3 wavelengths of light onto a single point". Presumably they mean their "APO" lens is able to focus blue, green and red to a single point. After ignoring violet that would be essentially perfect visual correction of longitudinal chromatic aberration, a very high standard. But then the next phrase says "and thus are better able to reduce chromatic and spherical aberrations". So which standard is met; perfect longitudinal CA correction for visual purposes or the lower fuzzy standard of "better" reduction of longitudinal CA compared to a conventional f/4 doublet? The latter I can believe, the former is "usually, at least" marketing BS when it's applied to fast binocular objectives.

As for the burning question of whether there are more triplets or doublets being used in current roof prism binoculars with internal focusing lets just say that both types can be found at all price points. Each belongs to a different historical line. The fixed triplets with moving negative focusing lenses go back to the original Leica Tronovid BAs from about 1990 and the fixed doublets with moving positive focusing lenses trace back to the 50/56mm Swarovski SLCs from the early 1990s. At the moment, at least among high end roofs the fixed triplets with negative focusing lenses prevail, with only the Zeiss SF (and I think some Meoptas) using fixed doublets with positive focusing lenses. I'll be happy to leave the chore of tallying up the doublets and triplets in all the inexpensive knock-offs to Dennis.

I'm jumping out of the hole now.

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Old Friday 24th January 2020, 16:03   #35
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I think the objectives may appear much wider apart because of the bridge difference.
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Old Friday 24th January 2020, 17:05   #36
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OK, Dennis I'll go a little ways down the rabbit hole with you, but then I'm out and back to the adult world.
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First, we can't even speculate about how good the color correction of any 42mm triplet is without knowing it's focal ratio and glass types. A marketing claim that such a lens is a "true triplet Apochromatic lens system" should be met with plenty of skepticism until it's tested (and I don't mean tested by just looking through the binocular). Now, at the risk of a little pedantry let's back up and examine the quality of the information about the UHD objective lens that Vortex' actually gives us. Here it is:

"Apochromatic (APO) Lenses
"Rather than the more widely used and less expensive achromatic doublet lens design that as the name suggests uses two lens elements within each lens, Vortex Razor UHD binoculars have apochromatic lenses that are usually made up of at least 3 lens elements.Whist this additional piece of glass in each lens is certainly one of the contributors to the instrument being both heavier and longer than average, the advantage is that instead of just two, an APO lens is able to focus three wavelengths of light onto a single point and thus are able to better reduce chromatic and spherical aberrations for a higher definition image."

The first sentence starts off forgivably wrong by calling the conventional cemented doublet used in binoculars an "achromatic doublet lens". It's a doublet alright, but at an aperture of 42mm and a focal ratio somewhere below f/4 such a lens doesn't even meet the minimum standard for an achromatic lens. There's a simple formula to determine the lowest focal ratio a conventional doublet can have and still meet the minimum standard of red and blue blurs three times the diameter of a focused green airy disk. That's N = 0.122D where N is the minimum focal ratio and D is the aperture in millimeters. So a 42mm conventional doublet needs to be f/5.1 to meet the minimum standard, which itself is none too good.

Then we are told that UHD binoculars have "apochromatic lenses that are usually made up of at least 3 lens elements" . So are the UHD objectives triplets or just "usually, at least" triplets?

Then we are told that "an APO lens is able to focus 3 wavelengths of light onto a single point". Presumably they mean their "APO" lens is able to focus blue, green and red to a single point. After ignoring violet that would be essentially perfect visual correction of longitudinal chromatic aberration, a very high standard. But then the next phrase says "and thus are better able to reduce chromatic and spherical aberrations". So which standard is met; perfect longitudinal CA correction for visual purposes or the lower fuzzy standard of "better" reduction of longitudinal CA compared to a conventional f/4 doublet? The latter I can believe, the former is "usually, at least" marketing BS when it's applied to fast binocular objectives.

As for the burning question of whether there are more triplets or doublets being used in current roof prism binoculars with internal focusing lets just say that both types can be found at all price points. Each belongs to a different historical line. The fixed triplets with moving negative focusing lenses go back to the original Leica Tronovid BAs from about 1990 and the fixed doublets with moving positive focusing lenses trace back to the 50/56mm Swarovski SLCs from the early 1990s. At the moment, at least among high end roofs the fixed triplets with negative focusing lenses prevail, with only the Zeiss SF (and I think some Meoptas) using fixed doublets with positive focusing lenses. I'll be happy to leave the chore of tallying up the doublets and triplets in all the inexpensive knock-offs to Dennis.

I'm jumping out of the hole now.
Which leads us to the conclusion that the rep doesn't know his stuff or misleads his customers
Which leaves me to the (unpleasant) conclusion I told the same story to mine.
So Henry, please go back into that hole and explain a bit more.

If I understand it correctly, we need a higher F ratio in a bin to get the APO factor working, but a 42mm bin has a to low F ratio to even get this working?

Jan

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Old Friday 24th January 2020, 18:56   #37
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Jan,

We'd still need to know the glass types to hazard a guess at what the minimum focal ratio needs to be. I guess I would add that this is a classic example of Bill Cook's "BB stacking". In this case Vortex has made the extravagant and really unnecessary claim of having stacked the BBs all the way to the ceiling. Objectives for low power binoculars don't really need to be true APOs any more than golf carts need to be powered by Ferrari engines. It's just one of those marketing things that sounds better and better the less you know.

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Old Friday 24th January 2020, 19:48   #38
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Jan,

We'd still need to know the glass types to hazard a guess at what the minimum focal ratio needs to be. I guess I would add that this is a classic example of Bill Cook's "BB stacking". In this case Vortex has made the extravagant and really unnecessary claim of having stacked the BBs all the way to the ceiling. Objectives for low power binoculars don't really need to be true APOs any more than golf carts need to be powered by Ferrari engines. It's just one of those marketing things that sounds better and better the less you know.
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Old Friday 24th January 2020, 22:09   #39
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I'll just add one more thing. I don't think there is any real need for further correction of longitudinal chromatic aberration in binoculars. That aberration has been thoroughly brought to heel in modern ED binoculars, but plain old monochromatic spherical aberration, sphero-chromatism and lateral color still do visible damage to the image quality of most binoculars regardless of price.

I use a binocular that allows me to get a glimpse what is possible when those aberrations are better controlled than they are in any 42mm binocular I've seen yet, but it means applying the blunderbuss approach of using an 8x56, effectively stopped down to its center 20-30mm of aperture in daylight. I'd love to see a 8x42mm binocular with really good spherical corrections and no lateral color near the center of the field.

Henry

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Old Saturday 25th January 2020, 00:15   #40
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Hi,

what Henry said is all correct. But there is two facts to note in addition...

- at a focal ratio of f4, building an apochromatic objective lens is difficult, regardless which of the much fought over definitions of apochromatic and objective construction is used. The limited aperture of 40mm helps a bit, but still...
On the other hand with hand-held binos you can't easily go for a much slower focal ratio due to size constraints. Objective constructions with large air space help a bit but are tricky mechanically and thus not much loved by manufacturers...

- for binoculars we do not really need an apochromatic objective by any of the different definitions. The magnification is low enough so we still have sufficient depth of focus to get all three colors inside it. The fact that different colors come to focus at different points is called longitudinal or axial chromatic aberration, btw. You can see it in plain glass spotting scopes, which tend to get a bit difficult to get to best focus beyond 40x or so.

- The purple/yellow fringes at high contrast edges we all hate are called transversal or lateral chromatic aberration. It mostly is generated by the eyepiece. It depends the number of optical surfaces and the objective focal ratio.

This puts the designer in a nice dilemma - very fast focal ratios like the f4 typical for binoculars call for complex EPs for a good view but on the other hand many surfaces in those stacks of glass increase transversal CA. For astro use there's also eyepieces with ED elements for better compensation.

Joachim
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Old Saturday 25th January 2020, 00:54   #41
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Henry. You are correct in that a binocular even though it is claimed to be Apochromatic is never going to be as color free as a very fine Astrophysics Apochromatic refractor telescope that cost $10K. I know I am an amateur astronomer as well and I have had many fine refractor telescopes. The binocular doesn't have the necessary focal length but I think the binocular manufacturers understand this and when they say Apochromatic they just mean it is much better than an Achromat without ED glass. They all use the term through out the industry so you just have to understand what they mean by it.
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Old Saturday 25th January 2020, 01:13   #42
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I have been comparing the 8x42 UHD, FL and EDG under different lighting conditions and it very hard to decide which one is better. They are all stunning optically. The UHD and the FL with their AK prism are a little brighter than the EDG. The UHD controlled CA the best with the FL 2nd and the EDG 3rd. The UHD is almost colorless so I can see why Vortex says it is Apochromatic. The EDG and UHD have a little sharper edges than the FL. They are all better than an EL at controlling glare and the UHD and FL especially are a little sharper on-axis.The one big difference is the bigger FOV of the UHD. That extra 20 feet makes a difference and makes it stand out from the FL and the EDG. The EDG has the smoothest focuser but the UHD is very close albeit a little tighter. The FL focuser is stickier and doesn't move as smoothly as the other two. The ergonomics are great on all of them and the quality of the UHD is just as good as any alpha level binocular I have ever seen. The eye cups are perfect and the diopter on the eyepiece is superb. If I had to rank them I would place the UHD 1st and the FL and EDG tied for 2nd. The UHD WOWED me more than the other two every time I went back to it because of the bigger FOV, the excellent contrast and the superb resolution on-axis. I can see why Audubon and Best Binocular's reviewed it so highly. It is definitely an alpha binocular.
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Old Saturday 25th January 2020, 05:29   #43
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Nice review. I've been wondering what prevents new companies from matching or exceeding the alphas. Design, manufacturing, patents? I imagine prices would have to be in alpha territory which would lead most people to buy from an established company.
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Old Saturday 25th January 2020, 06:32   #44
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Nice review. I've been wondering what prevents new companies from matching or exceeding the alphas. Design, manufacturing, patents? I imagine prices would have to be in alpha territory which would lead most people to buy from an established company.
Not so really. The Vortex Razor UHD 8x42 is 1/2 the price of the alpha's at around $1250.00 but definitely in the alpha territory performance wise. They have excellent service and an unconditional warranty which matches companies like Swarovski and in ways even exceeds them. If you accidentally drop your binocular in the river Vortex will replace it. I am not sure Swarovski would even do that.

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Old Saturday 25th January 2020, 07:52   #45
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.....
.....
..... and an unconditional warranty which matches companies like Swarovski and in ways even exceeds them. If you drop your binocular in the river and it is your fault Vortex will replace it. I am not sure Swarovski would even do that.
Warranty has to do with product defects, malfunction etc. What Vortex seems to offer in the above mentioned case is not a warranty, but insurance, which costs money and is something for insurance companies, so I hope Swarovski would not replace your bino if you throw it in the river and rather use their money diligently.
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Old Saturday 25th January 2020, 08:03   #46
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Warranty has to do with product defects, malfunction etc. What Vortex seems to offer in the above mentioned case is not a warranty, but insurance, which costs money and is something for insurance companies, so I hope Swarovski would not replace your bino if you throw it in the river and rather use their money diligently.
Vortex's Unconditional Warranty is like an insurance policy which I am sure drives the cost of their binoculars up just like Swarovski's warranty increases the cost of their binoculars but I am sure it helps sell their binoculars especially to the hunter's whose binoculars tend to have a tougher life than a birder's binocular's.
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Old Saturday 25th January 2020, 08:23   #47
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Not so really. The Vortex Razor UHD 8x42 is 1/2 the price of the alpha's at around $1250.00 but definitely in the alpha territory performance wise. They have excellent service and an unconditional warranty which matches companies like Swarovski and in ways even exceeds them. If you drop your binocular in the river and it is your fault Vortex will replace it. I am not sure Swarovski would even do that.
Dennis,

Time to stop talking and proof what you claim.
Some people believe in angels and there are even people who believe that when they throw their binocular in the river the manufacturer will replace it.
Sweet dreams or proof it. Tell them you thrown your Vortex in the river and want another one.
Time to wake up.

Jan

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Old Saturday 25th January 2020, 14:10   #48
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I have been comparing the 8x42 UHD, FL and EDG under different lighting conditions and it very hard to decide which one is better. They are all stunning optically. The UHD and the FL with their AK prism are a little brighter than the EDG. The UHD controlled CA the best with the FL 2nd and the EDG 3rd. The UHD is almost colorless so I can see why Vortex says it is Apochromatic. The EDG and UHD have a little sharper edges than the FL. They are all better than an EL at controlling glare and the UHD and FL especially are a little sharper on-axis.The one big difference is the bigger FOV of the UHD. That extra 20 feet makes a difference and makes it stand out from the FL and the EDG. The EDG has the smoothest focuser but the UHD is very close albeit a little tighter. The FL focuser is stickier and doesn't move as smoothly as the other two. The ergonomics are great on all of them and the quality of the UHD is just as good as any alpha level binocular I have ever seen. The eye cups are perfect and the diopter on the eyepiece is superb. If I had to rank them I would place the UHD 1st and the FL and EDG tied for 2nd. The UHD WOWED me more than the other two every time I went back to it because of the bigger FOV, the excellent contrast and the superb resolution on-axis. I can see why Audubon and Best Binocular's reviewed it so highly. It is definitely an alpha binocular.
The Blaser pre dates the UHD very similar design looks like a pimped out Swarovski CL Nomad.

Here is a review of the Blaser Primus vs Noctivid https://huntingbinoculars.net/2019/0...r-primus-8x42/

... “ It is actually a big surprise that Blaser’s optics are that good and can compete with an established producer such as Leica. Blaser has every right to be in the same category as other top-quality manufactures. Because of Abbe-König prisms it probably has the brightest image in this category of binoculars.”

The guy who sells the Blaser’s on eBay wrote this about them;

... “At the moment it is the best binoculars on the world, glass is from company Schott and maker is Wetzlar company (Carl Zeiss). I spent many time testing of binoculars, thousands of binoculars ... at the moment I can tell that binoculars from Blaser are top of the world. Images are so sharp in low light conditions, that is unbeliveble. This is oportunity for all.”

Last edited by zzzzzz : Saturday 25th January 2020 at 14:28.
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Old Saturday 25th January 2020, 14:50   #49
jan van daalen
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The Blaser pre dates the UHD very similar design looks like a pimped out Swarovski CL Nomad.

Here is a review of the Blaser Primus vs Noctivid https://huntingbinoculars.net/2019/0...r-primus-8x42/

... “ It is actually a big surprise that Blaser’s optics are that good and can compete with an established producer such as Leica. Blaser has every right to be in the same category as other top-quality manufactures. Because of Abbe-König prisms it probably has the brightest image in this category of binoculars.”

The guy who sells the Blaser’s on eBay wrote this about them;

... “At the moment it is the best binoculars on the world, glass is from company Schott and maker is Wetzlar company (Carl Zeiss). I spent many time testing of binoculars, thousands of binoculars ... at the moment I can tell that binoculars from Blaser are top of the world. Images are so sharp in low light conditions, that is unbeliveble. This is oportunity for all.”
GSO Germany does Minox and Minox does Blaser (Japan and China OEM made).
Zeiss has nothing to do with GSO.

Jan
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Old Saturday 25th January 2020, 15:07   #50
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Dennis,

Time to stop talking and proof what you claim.
Some people believe in angels and there are even people who believe that when they throw their binocular in the river the manufacturer will replace it.
Sweet dreams or proof it. Tell them you thrown your Vortex in the river and want another one.
Time to wake up.

Jan
I wouldn't tell them I THREW it into the river! I just accidentally dropped it while in hot pursuit of a deer.

Last edited by [email protected] : Saturday 25th January 2020 at 15:09.
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