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Nikon SE binoculars and ED lens

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Old Thursday 11th February 2010, 15:40   #51
John M Robinson
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I live in snow for at least four months of the year, and we have black horses in our pasture, so I have a pretty severe test of CA right in my backyard. Of the bin's I use regularly the worst are my 8x42 Ultravid BRs and the best are my 8x32 SEs, though still visible. I also have 20-10 vision and as I work in design, I am very tuned into colors, so CA does bug me. That said, in normal, no snow viewing against a background of foliage, my Ultravids seem exceedingly sharp to me, and in the rare instance I see CA out in the field, I can pretty much null it out by centering the object.

BTW, my 10x42 SEs are much worse with CA than the 8x32s, about 60% toward the Ultravids from the 8x32 SEs.
John

Last edited by John M Robinson : Thursday 11th February 2010 at 15:42.
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Old Thursday 11th February 2010, 18:51   #52
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Hi Bob, I am off today, wife's birthday. We are going out later.:-) I did try my new Swaro 8x30 SLC and CA was well controlled in this, even in these conditions. I was able to see some on the shed roof with sun to the left. Other than that I am very happy so far. BTW the focuser is a dream even using my ring finger. Just so I am not off topic I took out my Nikon 12x50SE to check it out under these conditions and at 12x the 12SE could use ED glass. I saw more CA but it wasn't really bad with all this snow. I could do one thing I couldn't with the 8 and that is read the neighbors truck license plate with ease.:-) I thought I was going to get blown off my back porch though.
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Old Friday 12th February 2010, 06:34   #53
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Hi Steve,
Quite a coincidence! My wife's birthday is today! Yesterday, (2/11) was bright and cold but I had a dental appointment and couldn't get much else done. I almost bought that Swaro 8 x 30 years ago but decided to get a Nikon 8 x 32 LX L instead. Of all my Nikon's it is my least favorite.
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Old Friday 12th February 2010, 09:53   #54
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Hi Bob, Yes, that is a coincidence. We ended up at Red L and I got the Peach Bourbon BBQ Shrimp & Bacon Wrapped Scallops and it was excellent. Sorry you had to go to the dentist.

I really like the 12SE and I think it would be a lot better to use in the daytime with some more control of CA.

Regards,Steve
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Old Friday 12th February 2010, 22:29   #55
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I really like the 12SE and I think it would be a lot better to use in the daytime with some more control of CA.

Regards,Steve
Hmmmm, all this talk of CA with respect to the 12X50 SEs has me nervous. Why? Because I have a new pair on order from Amazon, and I loathe CA! I have a pair of 8X32 SEs, and find them to be acceptable, but I wouldn't want to put up with significantly more.

I live on a small man made lake in Arizona and use my bins mostly for observing water fowl on the lake, so I am viewing in high contrast situations a great deal of the time. I ordered the 12X to get a little more reach as so many of the birds are often 200 yds. or more distant. However, if I'm going to be looking at red and/or green outlined birds, I'd rather pass. Can anyone give me a better sense of how much CA the 12X SEs are going to exhibit, perhaps in relation to some other well known models? Is noticeable CA going to be a fact of life in any of the 12X or higher powered binos currently available?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Dean
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Old Saturday 13th February 2010, 02:05   #56
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Hmmmm, all this talk of CA with respect to the 12X50 SEs has me nervous. Why? Because I have a new pair on order from Amazon, and I loathe CA! I have a pair of 8X32 SEs, and find them to be acceptable, .................................................. ................. Can anyone give me a better sense of how much CA the 12X SEs are going to exhibit, perhaps in relation to some other well known models? Is noticeable CA going to be a fact of life in any of the 12X or higher powered binos currently available?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Dean
You must be VERY susceptible to CA if you only find the 8 x 32 SE
"acceptable." I can barely see it with them even while looking for it on white straight edges on the corners of houses in bright sunlight. The same goes for my 10 x42 SE.

Maybe you would be better off getting a top of the line spotting scope or a small telescope with a longer focal length and ED glass objectives for looking at waterfowl on your lake.

Bob
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Old Saturday 13th February 2010, 04:04   #57
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Dean, I have to agree with Bob, you can buy one of the astro 66mm-80mm ED scopes for about $300 or get a ED WP spotting scope. I have a Celestron 80 ED astro/spotting scope and have never seen CA during the daytime. I don't want to highjack this thread, but here is an excellent thread by Paul Corfield on here showing what these scopes [80ED] can do, notice lack of CA.
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=151732

Regards,Steve

Last edited by mooreorless : Saturday 13th February 2010 at 14:54. Reason: more info
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Old Saturday 13th February 2010, 16:41   #58
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Bob and Steve,

Thanks for your assessment. Yes, I am very sensitive to CA, and because of it, I only own two pairs of bins: The Nikon 8X32 SEs and the Canon 10X42Ls. Both of these have very well controlled CA, with the Canon being slightly superior to the Nikon in this parameter. "Acceptable" CA to me is the virtually non-existent variety. Strangely (to me), my eyes seem to be more sensitive to it on some days than others.

I've never used a spotting scope, so perhaps I should check them out. I guess I've been resistant to it due to concerns regarding FOV, feeling the need to use a tripod, and my affinity for using both eyes.

Thanks for the feedback.

Dean
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Old Sunday 14th February 2010, 01:18   #59
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Hi Dean, There is snow everywhere here right now and one reason to have more trouble with CA in the 12SE. I consider this extreme conditions. You can get binoviewers for these astro scopes, I have never tried that.The big Kowa Prominar Highlander binocular would be a good buy for you.:-)

Dean we are always glad to help you spend your money er I mean help.:-)


Regards,Steve
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Old Sunday 14th February 2010, 02:42   #60
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Hmmmm, all this talk of CA with respect to the 12X50 SEs has me nervous. Why? Because I have a new pair on order from Amazon, and I loathe CA! I have a pair of 8X32 SEs, and find them to be acceptable, but I wouldn't want to put up with significantly more.

I live on a small man made lake in Arizona and use my bins mostly for observing water fowl on the lake, so I am viewing in high contrast situations a great deal of the time. I ordered the 12X to get a little more reach as so many of the birds are often 200 yds. or more distant. However, if I'm going to be looking at red and/or green outlined birds, I'd rather pass. Can anyone give me a better sense of how much CA the 12X SEs are going to exhibit, perhaps in relation to some other well known models? Is noticeable CA going to be a fact of life in any of the 12X or higher powered binos currently available?

Thanks for your thoughts.

Dean
Let's put it this way, if you have never seen a purple-tailed hawk, you are in for a treat with the 12x50 SE. :-)

I've seen much worse CA. The 1999 Obie 15x70 made a soccer player's red, white, and blue jersey look like his mother forgot to separate the colors from the whites when she did the wash, because the red "bled" into the white, with some green and yellow leaking in from some other laundry. Fortunately, the Obie's have gotten better over the years, but 15x is still challenging for a fast optical system like binoculars. High powered bins can greatly benefit from the addition of low dispersion glass.

Having said that, the 12x50 SE is one of the best binoculars ever made, IMO. However, I prefer to use them for stargazing where they really "shine," partly because of the daytime CA, but also because their balance point is between the seam and prism housing (unlike the 8x and 10x SE, which balance on the housing), so it's not as comfortable to hold and harder to hold steady than the 8x and 10x SE.

So for daytime use, I found the 12x50 SE to be "neither fish nor fowl" and if I'm going to mount a bin for long distance observing, why limit myself to 12x?

Even though they are great bins, for your situation and your eyes, I wouldn't recommend them.

There are a number of 12x-15x ED bins out there now that would be more suitable.
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Old Monday 15th February 2010, 21:41   #61
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The big Kowa Prominar Highlander binocular would be a good buy for you.:-)

Dean we are always glad to help you spend your money er I mean help.:-)


Regards,Steve
Yeah, Steve, that Kowa Prominar would be great, provided I was purchasing it with your money. I could buy about 7 pairs of 12X50 SEs for the same cost.

Dean
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Old Monday 15th February 2010, 21:55   #62
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Just trying to help you out Dean!
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Old Monday 15th February 2010, 22:14   #63
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Let's put it this way, if you have never seen a purple-tailed hawk, you are in for a treat with the 12x50 SE. :-)
No, Brock, I haven't ever seen one. Maybe 12X50 SE owners will be the first to identify a new variant?

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High powered bins can greatly benefit from the addition of low dispersion glass.
I'm sure they would, but I haven't found any. Even the Swarovski 15X56 at 3 times the cost of the 12X SEs don't use ED glass, and I can see plenty of CA with them (yes, I've tried them on the lake).


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So for daytime use, I found the 12x50 SE to be "neither fish nor fowl" and if I'm going to mount a bin for long distance observing, why limit myself to 12x?
Might cost have anything to do with it? Seriously, though, I've seen where a lower powered bin with great sharpness and contrast can be preferable to a higher powered one that's so-so.


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There are a number of 12x-15x ED bins out there now that would be more suitable.
Could you name one or two? The only one I'm familiar with is the Minox 15X58 ED, but I'm of the opinion that they are discontinued. I'm pretty new around here, so if it isn't kosher to repond in a thread devoted to Nikon SEs, let me know and I'll start a new thread.

BTW, Brock, I've read a number of your posts and enjoy your poetic prose and sense of humor. Thanks for your experienced feedback.

Dean
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Old Monday 15th February 2010, 22:29   #64
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Dean, I would choose the comparably priced Canon 15x50IS with UD element over the Nikon 12x50SE everytime. I find 10x is pushing the limit of handholding steadiness for me. But perhaps I drink too much coffee during the day and not enough alcoholic beverage at night!

Since you have the 10x42L, I am suprised you didn't consider its big brother. FWIW, I also prefer the 8x30 EII to the 8x32 SE.

cheers,
Rick
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Old Monday 15th February 2010, 22:39   #65
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For example, the Minox BD 15x58 ED BR Asph Binoculars

Never tried them but they're not expensive now they've been marked down

e.g. http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthr...pics/3651962/1

BTW, these "Big Eyes" bins as the hunters call them have quite a following on 24 hour campfire and other hunting websites. You can find quite a few threads and articles over there.

There is an article by Rick Bin about "Big Eyes" too.

http://www.24hourcampfire.com/big_eyes.html/

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Old Monday 15th February 2010, 23:15   #66
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Dean, I would choose the comparably priced Canon 15x50IS with UD element over the Nikon 12x50SE everytime. I find 10x is pushing the limit of handholding steadiness for me. But perhaps I drink too much coffee during the day and not enough alcoholic beverage at night!

Since you have the 10x42L, I am suprised you didn't consider its big brother. FWIW, I also prefer the 8x30 EII to the 8x32 SE.

cheers,
Rick
Hi Rick. Elsewhere I have written of my experiences with the Canon 15X50 IS bins. I have tried three different pairs, and was frustrated with all three. One pair had adequately controlled CA, but the other two did not. The image stabilization was not nearly as good as on my 10X42Ls (two pairs being much worse than the third), and they all exhibited slightly less contrast than my 10X42s, which exhibit less contrast than my Nikon 8X32 SEs.

I guess it just depends on what a person wants to see, meaning what parameters of the binos performance are most endearing. My order of preference is: 1) an ultra sharp, bright, and highly detailed image; 2) low CA (as in "next to none"); 3) good contrast; and 4) a decent FOV.

The Canon 15X50s were reasonably sharp, but not as sharp as either of the two binos I've mentioned, and certainly had a decent FOV for their high power. Wouldn't you know, the pair that had the best image quality and least CA was the one with the the worst performing IS; and it was the pulsating, defocusing nature of the IS system that became the final arbiter. I really wanted a pair of these to be as good as my 10X42s. Maybe Canon will come out with a 15X50L at some point.

As good as my 10X42Ls are, my Nikon 8X32s seem a bit sharper--a point of light is going to be a finer point through the Nikons. So, I reasoned that if the 12X50s were equally as sharp at the higher power and were similarly more contrasty (is that a word?), that I would prefer them mounted on my monopod over the 15X50s similarly mounted or hand-held with the IS on. Then I started reading about noticeably greater CA in the 12X50s, and have become nervous about my order for the Nikons.

BTW, I also have a pair of 8X30 Es (the original ones) that I've had for over 20 years, but I've never experienced the EIIs. Interesting that you find them preferable to the SEs--I've heard others express a similar preference.

Dean
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Old Monday 15th February 2010, 23:59   #67
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...
Could you name one or two? The only one I'm familiar with is the Minox 15X58 ED, but I'm of the opinion that they are discontinued. I'm pretty new around here, so if it isn't kosher to repond in a thread devoted to Nikon SEs, let me know and I'll start a new thread.

BTW, Brock, I've read a number of your posts and enjoy your poetic prose and sense of humor. Thanks for your experienced feedback.

Dean
Dean,

Thanks for the compliment. Not everybody enjoys my brand of parody, hyperbole, and tomfoolery.

Speaking of hyperbole... I should have said "small number" of 12x-15x ED bins. Two were already mentioned. Now that the ED glass movement is in full swing, I expect we'll see an increasing number of 12x-15x ED bins.

There's a rumor of one going around that Zeiss will soon be launching two new FL bins, a 12x56 and a 15x56, but I've yet to see an announcement.

If you've got deep pockets, those might be the way to go if you need a larger exit pupil than the 15x50 IS can provide (expect to pay around $3K for the "Big Eyes" FLs).

Another bin to consider is the 12x50 Ultravid HD:
http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...questid=110941

The Leica 15x56 Geovid HD has a built-in range finder (though I have read reports about color bias with this model due to meeting the requirements of the laser):
http://www.binoculars.com/binoculars...binoculars.cfm

If those are all too pricey, here's a 12x50 ED bin for under $1,000. I haven't tried it, but I do like the open bridge design, which could make it marginally hand holdable.

http://www.spottingscopes.com/binocu...binoculars.cfm

Vortex 15x50 Viper is the least expensive 15x low dispersion glass bin at $619:
http://www.adorama.com/VORV1550.html...66275751479404

Here's a great buy if you can find them in stock - 22x77 Miyauchi Semi-Apo BS-77iB. I think they have been discontinued.
http://www.optics4birding.com/miyauchi-bs77ib-1110.html

If you want to see the flecks of color of the ducks' irises, the Docter Aspectum line will get you there (the 40x80 has a WF EP):
http://www.eurooptic.com/Docter-Opti...DO&parent=XXDO

My personal favorite high power bin is the Nikon 8-16x40 XL Zoom binoculars. They aren't ED, but I never saw enough CA at 15x to be bothered, probably because the exit pupil is only 2.6mm. The weight and balance make them marginally hand holdable, but the smallish exit pupil is rather limited if you live in Cloudy Valley.

They have been discontinued, but pop up from time to time. 4* TFOV @ 15x.

If none of the above appeal to you, you might have to go monovision with an ED scope.

You don't need to use a zoom lens. Some brands sell separate fixed power EPs.

Stick one of these 72* AFOV 30X EPs in a Swaro 80 HD scope and behold...:
http://www.eagleoptics.com/spotting-...fications#tabs

Good Luck!
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Old Tuesday 16th February 2010, 00:01   #68
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Dean,

Sorry I wasn't aware of your previous experience with the 15x50IS. I think your issues with it compared to the 10x42LIS are directly related to the increased magnification. Some folks notice the IS "fuzzies" that seem to affect ALL Canon IS bins more than others.

I know when I had the 15x I didn't notice them but when I moved to the 18x they were quite apparent (and once seen in the 18x, I saw them in the 15x!) and annoying AT FIRST. But after some use I became accustomed to them I learned to use the bino in a way that minimizes them. Always using a fresh pair of Sanyo Eneloop batteries before a session helps too.

Unfortunately, I know for me the increased mag and larger aperture of the 12x over 8x SE will make their CA much more apparent. Like with my experience, once seen in the 12x, you will see it in the 8x too! Let us know how it goes.

Rick

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Old Tuesday 16th February 2010, 02:43   #69
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Brock,

Thanks for the slew of suggestions. I'm afraid many of those are beyond my comfort level in terms of cost. However, a Zeiss 15X56 FL might tempt me to take out a second mortgage.

The Vortex line hasn't proven workable for me due to my fairly narrow IPD. I tried the 15X56 Kaibab, but the eyepieces are of such large diameter that by the time I got them adjusted down to my 61-62 mm IPD, there wasn't room for my nose (which really isn't all that terribly large). Moreover, I haven't been that impressed with the overall quality. The focus wheel on the Kaibab was exceedingly stiff and sticky, and I've looked through the 12X50 Razor and wasn't all that impressed.

Interesting that you mentioned the Docter line. While I wouldn't spring for a bino with a 2 mm exit pupil, I would love to know more about the Docter 15X60 Nobilem. The only place here in the states that seems to carry them is an outfit called SWFA, and they don't seem to be all that anxious to sell them. They apparently don't stock them, and I don't think they offer any kind of return policy. I've read they aren't particularly good in terms of edge sharpness, and I can't really get a sense of how much CA they may have; but if they were sharp 80% of the way out and gradually fell off after that, I could probably live with it. Have you had any experience with that model?

I really don't have much desire to go with a scope. I don't do well using just one eye, and the FOV is typically way too narrow for me. While I've never used a spotting scope, I often times wonder how anyone spots anything in a timely manner with those FOV specifications.

Thanks again for your comprehensive list of suggestions. All things considered, I suspect I'll wait until the Nikons show up. I can return them if I find them unsatisfactory.

Dean
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Old Tuesday 16th February 2010, 03:02   #70
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Rick,

I would agree that the higher power exacerbates the IS "fuzzies", but there were other issues as well. Right now, my 10X42Ls are my favorite binos all around. Any shortcomings they have are really minor, and they have a quality of really enlarging the image while presenting a very natural, eye relaxing view.

It will be interesting to see how the 12X50 SEs compare. I don't think it will be necessary for me to see the CA in the 12X50s in order to see it in the 8X32s since I already do. What I don't understand is why, viewing the same object under the same lighting conditions, I see more CA on one viewing than the next. I feel as though something in the eye changes. Sensitivity to CA seems to vary from one moment to the next, and from one day to the next.

I'll post my impressions of the 12X SEs after I've had a chance to give them a go.

Dean
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Old Tuesday 16th February 2010, 04:01   #71
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Dean - I"m one of those CA " challenged" persons, which means I don't look for it, and I don't see it. Perhaps it is another way of saying ignorance is bliss. But just because I can't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist for some folks. Perhaps it is something like poison ivy or oak. I'm dreadfully sensitive to ivy but many of my friends can wallow in it without one itch. Now I wouldn't fret about your 12x50 SE purchase. If you don't like it, you can sell it without difficulty. I find it a delightful piece to use - when sitting down with elbows on knees. For me 12X it is about the limit of hand held use. I have found several woman who handle it with ease. Looking forward to your impressions.
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Old Tuesday 16th February 2010, 05:46   #72
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Dean,
If you don't like your 12x50 SE, think what big points you'll get from us for being so dang picky, almost worth the money don't you think?

I recently got a 12x50 Leica Trinovid BN used for $950. I really bought it for stargazing and it is great for that, with a huge field and excellent sharp focus, and of course there's virtually no CA noticeable on stars. By day, CA is present but I don't find it objectionable, in fact surprisingly small given the size and power. I have a Zeiss FL, but I can still easily bear the pain of looking through a normal glass binocular! I expect the SE would beat it for brightness, but for me at least that would not be an important issue in the harsh light on water like you're talking about. But I think within any series, BN or SE or FL or whatever, a big powerful binocular is going to show more aberrations than its smaller siblings.

Although the large image is a lot of fun, without bracing the binocular somehow I can't see any finer detail than I can with 8x. Or at least hardly any, and only with the greatest difficulty, and a rather frustrating feeling of trying to follow a severely jiggling image around. It tires me out fast to try to see too much with it. I think that would be the case even if it was optically perfect. But if I just relax and enjoy that bird be big now feeling, I love it.
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Old Tuesday 16th February 2010, 17:24   #73
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Dean - I"m one of those CA " challenged" persons, which means I don't look for it, and I don't see it. Perhaps it is another way of saying ignorance is bliss. But just because I can't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist for some folks. Perhaps it is something like poison ivy or oak. I'm dreadfully sensitive to ivy but many of my friends can wallow in it without one itch. Now I wouldn't fret about your 12x50 SE purchase. If you don't like it, you can sell it without difficulty. I find it a delightful piece to use - when sitting down with elbows on knees. For me 12X it is about the limit of hand held use. I have found several woman who handle it with ease. Looking forward to your impressions.
John
John,

To be sure, I don't look for CA--it just shows up. Sometimes, however, my eyes seem better behaved and it's completely absent; other times not.

You must be a relatively young man, John. When I was younger I might have been able to find several women interested in handling my binos as well, but as I approach 65, they seem to be few and far between. So, in the absence of female assistance, I've decided to use a manfrotto monopod and hand-grip swivel head. Works great and really stabilizes the image without any attitude. Perhaps you should try one--the women are more suited to other activities anyway.

Dean
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Old Tuesday 16th February 2010, 17:54   #74
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Dean,
If you don't like your 12x50 SE, think what big points you'll get from us for being so dang picky, almost worth the money don't you think?

I recently got a 12x50 Leica Trinovid BN used for $950. I really bought it for stargazing and it is great for that, with a huge field and excellent sharp focus, and of course there's virtually no CA noticeable on stars. By day, CA is present but I don't find it objectionable, in fact surprisingly small given the size and power. I have a Zeiss FL, but I can still easily bear the pain of looking through a normal glass binocular! I expect the SE would beat it for brightness, but for me at least that would not be an important issue in the harsh light on water like you're talking about. But I think within any series, BN or SE or FL or whatever, a big powerful binocular is going to show more aberrations than its smaller siblings.

Although the large image is a lot of fun, without bracing the binocular somehow I can't see any finer detail than I can with 8x. Or at least hardly any, and only with the greatest difficulty, and a rather frustrating feeling of trying to follow a severely jiggling image around. It tires me out fast to try to see too much with it. I think that would be the case even if it was optically perfect. But if I just relax and enjoy that bird be big now feeling, I love it.
Ron
Hi, Ron. Well, I've been picky as hell all my life. I guess that's another reason that, unlike John, I don't have any females lined up to hold my binos.

Sounds like you got a wonderful buy on those Leicas. How do they compare to the FLs? I assume your FLs might be only 8 power. Let me tell you, I mount my 8X32 SEs on the monopod all the time, and the amount of detail I can see is phenomenal. In fact, there is no way I can really dial-in the right eye dioper adjustment without using the monopod. Even then, I find it takes several tries to get it just right; but, when I do, the detail is incredible. Of course, as the subject moves further away, you really need the higher power if you expect to see any detail. I would really prefer to get a 15X than a 12X, but just can't find any 15X that seem to work for me.

BTW, I agree with you that the higher the power, the more aberrations that show up. What I don't know is if the higher power is revealing the aberrations in my eyes or in the binos (probably both). When I got my eyes examined, the resolution of my bins really improved. Now I'm thinking I should probably get my head examined so I can just enjoy what I've got.

Dean
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Old Tuesday 16th February 2010, 18:18   #75
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Originally Posted by Dean L View Post
Hi, Ron. Well, I've been picky as hell all my life. I guess that's another reason that, unlike John, I don't have any females lined up to hold my binos.

Sounds like you got a wonderful buy on those Leicas. How do they compare to the FLs? I assume your FLs might be only 8 power. Let me tell you, I mount my 8X32 SEs on the monopod all the time, and the amount of detail I can see is phenomenal. In fact, there is no way I can really dial-in the right eye dioper adjustment without using the monopod. Even then, I find it takes several tries to get it just right; but, when I do, the detail is incredible. Of course, as the subject moves further away, you really need the higher power if you expect to see any detail. I would really prefer to get a 15X than a 12X, but just can't find any 15X that seem to work for me.

BTW, I agree with you that the higher the power, the more aberrations that show up. What I don't know is if the higher power is revealing the aberrations in my eyes or in the binos (probably both). When I got my eyes examined, the resolution of my bins really improved. Now I'm thinking I should probably get my head examined so I can just enjoy what I've got.

Dean
Dean:
Do you wear eyeglasses when viewing? You may have mentioned it up above.
You've said you need to adjust the diopter when looking through the 8x32's,
and for me it is just set it and forget it.
Did you get a new prescription after your last exam? Maybe that will help.

Jerry
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