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Spoiled by the SE view...now what?

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Old Monday 20th December 2010, 13:04   #26
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I'm one of the Come-Lately crowd, having gotten EIIs only this summer from a shop in Philly closing out some new old stock 8x30 for the 2004 price. While I share Dennis' enthusiasm for the huge picture-window effect and overall "wow" factor, they are far from perfect. I have tried friends' SEs (both 8x and 10x) and much prefer the rugged housing, strap attachment point, and especially the crisp, comparatively even view. For looking at nature, and the birds in it, I'll always take the EII. If I could get along with the ER of the SE, it would be my choice for looking at birds.

Now that it is winter, I find the focus stiffness and narrow wheel of the EIIs quite aggravating, issues shared by the SE.

For the foreseeable future, my EIIs are the best glass I can afford.
I don't think you are suffering to much then!
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Old Monday 20th December 2010, 17:33   #27
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Seems like my provocative comments on the superiority of the SE 8x32 over the EII 8x30 has the BF's hornet nest buzzing. A great quote from Twain. "It is a matter of opinion that makes a horse race." For sure certain ergonomics favor certain folks. No argument there. And if your favorite binocular is a Tasco, I'm all for you. But to say a wider field of the EII 8x30 trumps the SE 8x32's obvious superior construction and overall quality including optics, is like saying ...................oh well.

Another provocative statement. I much prefer the view of my 10x35 EII to the 10x42 SE. The 10x35 EII is my favorite when exposure to the elements is not an issue, which means it hangs on a peg ready to be used outside of my home. In my pickup or car on the floor boards rides the Leupold Cascade porro 8x42, dust and water proof. I don't baby my binoculars or fret over them. I occasionally clean my lens - more so in a salt spray environment. Ever since I discovered the Cascade 8x42 will outperform my SE 8x32 and Zeiss 8x32 FL at late dusk, (those extra 10 mms of objective lens do make a difference), my enthusiasm for the alphas has diminished somewhat. I can understand why Dennis and other EII 8x30 users are firm in their enthusiasm. The EIIs are arguably the best optics for the money out there. John
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Old Monday 20th December 2010, 20:27   #28
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Have you tried a Nikon 10x35 EII? It might be able to compete with your 10 x42 SE.
No. It won't. The build quality of the 10x42 SE is better, and the larger objective lenses make it easier to use in the field. The 10x35 EII is nice, but it's not in the same class. Not quite.

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Old Monday 20th December 2010, 23:02   #29
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Seems like my provocative comments on the superiority of the SE 8x32 over the EII 8x30 has the BF's hornet nest buzzing.
Oh, don't mind Dennis! He's just an incurable romantic.

David
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Old Tuesday 21st December 2010, 03:13   #30
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No. It won't. The build quality of the 10x42 SE is better, and the larger objective lenses make it easier to use in the field. The 10x35 EII is nice, but it's not in the same class. Not quite.

Hermann
I don't know that the build quality of the SE is that much better than the EII they are just built differently. My objective rings on my SE popped off because they are just glued on. The EII's objective rings are fastened so they will not come off. The SE's build looks like it was built for a 10 year old kid to be played with like a toy with all that rubber on it,whereas, the EII is built stout but with no excess frivoloties. I actually prefer the classic retro look of the EII and the narrowness of it fits my hands better. The SE for me is just to fat. The 10x42 SE for a lot of people produces blackouts and again the EII has a more relaxed view than the SE. I would not say the SE is in a different class than the EII or that it is better. They are equal but just different and I think Nikon had a little different design objectives with each one.
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Old Tuesday 21st December 2010, 03:43   #31
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Dennis:
Your views are amusing, the armored SE is clearly better than than EII, with the metal
clad objective. Anyone who has handled both would prefer the SE, when they set them
down on the table, "be careful with the EII, and no 10 yr. old kids are allowed to handle".
The SE is not too fat but perfectly proportioned, by the way they are very close in every dimension, and as far as the easier view in the EII, you may be right, it may be easy,
but the SE has a great sweet spot and a tack sharp view to the edges, that the EII does
not have.


They are both nice binoculars, but for many the SE ranks very well.

Jerry
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Old Tuesday 21st December 2010, 06:30   #32
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Well I found a good deal on the Canon 15x50's on Ebay. They are pretty amazing. I regret to say that the 10x SE's have been relocated to a drawer. Even the 8x32 SE's are not seeing much use.

My deck faces a Marine Base / Air Station that is about 2 miles across the bay. With the Canons I can clearly see people walking around, fishing, etc.

The Canons are not perfect. I find that they are best when I sit down. The image can blur (come in and out of focus) with too much movement. It's kind of annoying. It takes some hand holding. I thought they were defective and brought them to a the local Canon factory repair center and they said they were working fine.

But, the positives far outweigh the negative for me.

Unless someone has a need for that much power I'm not sure how useful they would be.

Take care,
Dave
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Old Tuesday 21st December 2010, 06:57   #33
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Well I found a good deal on the Canon 15x50's on Ebay. They are pretty amazing. I regret to say that the 10x SE's have been relocated to a drawer. Even the 8x32 SE's are not seeing much use.

My deck faces a Marine Base / Air Station that is about 2 miles across the bay. With the Canons I can clearly see people walking around, fishing, etc.

The Canons are not perfect. I find that they are best when I sit down. The image can blur (come in and out of focus) with too much movement. It's kind of annoying. It takes some hand holding. I thought they were defective and brought them to a the local Canon factory repair center and they said they were working fine.

But, the positives far outweigh the negative for me.

Unless someone has a need for that much power I'm not sure how useful they would be.

Take care,
Dave
Yes. The Canon's are pretty good optically but not quite alpha quality. I got quite a bit of glare with all of mine and they didn't have quite the contrast of say a Zeiss FL but still pretty good optics for the price. The edge sharpness is excellent on them though. I just saw a pair of the 15x50 IS's go on E-bay go for $385.00 but the guy selling them had 0 feedback and was an E-bay member for about a week which is kind of scary. He also lived in Estonia which is near Russia I guess. I almost bid on them but I really don't need them and all my Canon's I end up selling because I start missing the contrast of the alphas after awhile with them. The view is good just not as exciting or vivid as a Zeiss FL.

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Old Tuesday 21st December 2010, 07:14   #34
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Dennis:
Your views are amusing, the armored SE is clearly better than than EII, with the metal
clad objective. Anyone who has handled both would prefer the SE, when they set them
down on the table, "be careful with the EII, and no 10 yr. old kids are allowed to handle".
The SE is not too fat but perfectly proportioned, by the way they are very close in every dimension, and as far as the easier view in the EII, you may be right, it may be easy,
but the SE has a great sweet spot and a tack sharp view to the edges, that the EII does
not have.

Jerry

To each his own on those two. The EII's feel better to me and that is personal opinion. Watch the objective rings on your SE they really come off easily and you have to send them in to Nikon to get them reattached! I agree that the SE is SLIGHTLY sharper at the edge but I prefer the bigger FOV of the EII. I really LIKE a BIG FOV! I guess I like a bigger screen tv. These two binoculars are so good it is personal opinion which is best for them. Neither is better though and each person has to decide for themselves which they like better. It seems to be about evenly divided here on Bird Forum. I notice though that the people who like the SE are REALLY loyal to them and defend them vehemently! I can understand that since they are one of the best optics you can buy and the view is very addictive. I suggest if you are torn between the two try before you buy. In my case I sold my SE's the next day. They are both becoming harder and harder to find though especially the EII's. Neither is waterproof though so for bad weather I still get my Zeiss 8x32 FL's out. With all this talk of BIG aperture advantage though I would like to try the Zeiss 8x56 FL's but damn they are expensive and there don't seem to be any discounted pairs out there. I would imagine the view is awesome through them though.
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Old Tuesday 21st December 2010, 12:46   #35
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Stop starting rumors! The objective rings do not come off the SE's easily as you darn well know!

Bob
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Old Tuesday 21st December 2010, 12:59   #36
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Stop starting rumors! The objective rings do not come off the SE's easily as you darn well know!

Bob
MINE DID! Don't touch them too much. They WILL come off. Just warning you SE owners. They are just attached with a LITTLE adhesive.
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Old Tuesday 21st December 2010, 13:02   #37
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When do you sleep?

You would need a utility knife to cut the ones off my older 10 x 42 and the ones on my newer 8 x 32 can be pried off with your fingers if you are mischievous enough to do so and can be slipped right back on and kept there with a touch of glue. You can actually unscrew the objective rings on the EII easier.

Bob

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Old Wednesday 22nd December 2010, 01:27   #38
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When do you sleep?

You would need a utility knife to cut the ones off my older 10 x 42 and the ones on my newer 8 x 32 can be pried off with your fingers if you are mischievous enough to do so and can be slipped right back on and kept there with a touch of glue. You can actually unscrew the objective rings on the EII easier.

Bob
Yes, but you have to deliberately unscrew them on the EII , whereas,on the SE they can pop off pretty easily and let me tell you it is not that easy to put them back on properly. I had to send mine back in to Nikon. I would much rather have to screw them off.
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Old Wednesday 22nd December 2010, 02:27   #39
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Yes, but you have to deliberately unscrew them on the EII , whereas,on the SE they can pop off pretty easily and let me tell you it is not that easy to put them back on properly. I had to send mine back in to Nikon. I would much rather have to screw them off.
Dennis:

I am wondering about your experience with the Nikon SE, above you posted
that you had them all of (1 Day), and then returned them. And you had the objective collar fall off in that length of time.

They are firmly attached, so some here are calling you on your story.

Jerry
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Old Wednesday 22nd December 2010, 02:34   #40
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In the 10.5 years I have had my 8x32 SE, I have only encountered three other birders who have one. The beauty rings were missing from both objectives on one birder's SE, but it was clear that the bin had been used very heavily. I have never had a problem with mine.

I think the important point is that the SE and the EII are both superb, but they are really quite different from each other. The EII is a gem, but I still think the SE is the greatest binocular ever made, if judging solely the optics. I don't wear glasses, and I have never had the blackout problems that others mention.

Rather than argue about which one is better, I'm interested in knowing more about the vintage 8x30s that preceded them. 8x30 was a popular formula in Europe and the USA, though production in the USA was a fraction of that in Europe. The last great iteration of it in Europe was probably the Zeiss Oberkochen 8x30, which as Holger Merlitz points out would likely equal the EII in optical performance if it had modern coatings. I still haven't had a chance to handle one.

The other one I am interested in handling is the Bausch & Lomb Zephyr 8x30, introduced in about 1936, and made with a magnesium fluoride coating starting immediately after the war. Its field of view is 445 feet at 1,000 yards, while that in the Zeiss Oberkochen 8x30 is 450 feet, and in the EII 460 feet. I doubt those differences are perceptible in the field.

The Zeiss and Bausch models evolved from bins introduced in 1920 and 1935, respectively (though Bausch had an 8x30 as early as 1922). The EII evolved from a model introduced by Nikon after the war, and it seems to have been inspired by the Zeiss 8x30 of the time. The Zeiss Oberkochen 8x30 remained in production until the early 1970s, while at least one other Zeiss 8x30 was made until 1990 (the Deltrentis, representing a seventy-year production run). Production of the Bausch was moved from Rochester to Japan around 1970 and ceased not long after that.

The EII became the last great, classic, high-end 8x30, following in a very long tradition. The SE 8x32 does not seem to have evolved from any other Nikon model, but appears to have been a completely new concept.

I have handled an optically perfect and immaculate Bausch Zephyr 7x35 made in Rochester, and despite its shortcomings (relatively narrow field of view, yellowish color bias, distant close focus, and dropoff of sharpness toward the edge) its optical performance is superlative. It is amazingly sharp, bright, and contrasty. I am curious to know if the much scarcer 8x30 performs as well.

I also wonder if any of the Chinese manufacturers have considered making an optically and mechanically superior 8x30 porro bin. I assume that it would be possible to match the EII or Oberkochen 8x30 and retail it for under $300, but maybe nowadays there isn't a big enough market for anything at that price that isn't a roof-prism bin.
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Old Wednesday 22nd December 2010, 05:23   #41
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Dennis:

I am wondering about your experience with the Nikon SE, above you posted
that you had them all of (1 Day), and then returned them. And you had the objective collar fall off in that length of time.

They are firmly attached, so some here are calling you on your story.

Jerry
I had them for about a year and a half. Part of the problem could have been I had those Bushwacker objective covers on them which slip over the end of the objective. I think maybe a combination of heat under those covers loosened the glue around the objective covers so when I took them off the objective covers just fell off. I wouldn't recommend using Bushwackers on the SE for that reason. They really worked well but I think they might have contributed to the lens covers coming off. I wasn't impressed at all with the small amount of glue on the covers and I challenge anybody to reapply them with a little glue. It isn't that EASY to get them looking like factory. So take my advice and be careful with them especially if use Bushwackers! I guarantee you I did not fabricate this story to make the SE's look bad. I feel it is weak point in them though.

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Old Wednesday 22nd December 2010, 05:44   #42
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In the 10.5 years I have had my 8x32 SE, I have only encountered three other birders who have one. The beauty rings were missing from both objectives on one birder's SE, but it was clear that the bin had been used very heavily. I have never had a problem with mine.

I think the important point is that the SE and the EII are both superb, but they are really quite different from each other. The EII is a gem, but I still think the SE is the greatest binocular ever made, if judging solely the optics. I don't wear glasses, and I have never had the blackout problems that others mention.

Rather than argue about which one is better, I'm interested in knowing more about the vintage 8x30s that preceded them. 8x30 was a popular formula in Europe and the USA, though production in the USA was a fraction of that in Europe. The last great iteration of it in Europe was probably the Zeiss Oberkochen 8x30, which as Holger Merlitz points out would likely equal the EII in optical performance if it had modern coatings. I still haven't had a chance to handle one.

The other one I am interested in handling is the Bausch & Lomb Zephyr 8x30, introduced in about 1936, and made with a magnesium fluoride coating starting immediately after the war. Its field of view is 445 feet at 1,000 yards, while that in the Zeiss Oberkochen 8x30 is 450 feet, and in the EII 460 feet. I doubt those differences are perceptible in the field.

The Zeiss and Bausch models evolved from bins introduced in 1920 and 1935, respectively (though Bausch had an 8x30 as early as 1922). The EII evolved from a model introduced by Nikon after the war, and it seems to have been inspired by the Zeiss 8x30 of the time. The Zeiss Oberkochen 8x30 remained in production until the early 1970s, while at least one other Zeiss 8x30 was made until 1990 (the Deltrentis, representing a seventy-year production run). Production of the Bausch was moved from Rochester to Japan around 1970 and ceased not long after that.

The EII became the last great, classic, high-end 8x30, following in a very long tradition. The SE 8x32 does not seem to have evolved from any other Nikon model, but appears to have been a completely new concept.

I have handled an optically perfect and immaculate Bausch Zephyr 7x35 made in Rochester, and despite its shortcomings (relatively narrow field of view, yellowish color bias, distant close focus, and dropoff of sharpness toward the edge) its optical performance is superlative. It is amazingly sharp, bright, and contrasty. I am curious to know if the much scarcer 8x30 performs as well.

I also wonder if any of the Chinese manufacturers have considered making an optically and mechanically superior 8x30 porro bin. I assume that it would be possible to match the EII or Oberkochen 8x30 and retail it for under $300, but maybe nowadays there isn't a big enough market for anything at that price that isn't a roof-prism bin.
Yes, it is also interesting that the EII was developed AFTER the SE. Most people think that the EII is an older less modern design. It is not and was obviously developed with different design parameters in mind like a bigger FOV which probably meant it's edges couldn't be as sharp as the SE. I think the coatings between the two are a wash in that they are similar in contrast and glare control. I don't see why the Chinnese couldn't make a high quality porro it's just so many people are not aware of the optical advantages of the design and they see and EII or SE and they think they are OLD FASHIONED! Until they look through them and then they are blown away. If you want some alpha quality optics at about 25% of the price look no further than these two jewels though.
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Old Wednesday 22nd December 2010, 07:57   #43
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I agree with you there Dennis!

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Old Wednesday 22nd December 2010, 12:56   #44
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Yes, it is also interesting that the EII was developed AFTER the SE. Most people think that the EII is an older less modern design. It is not and was obviously developed with different design parameters in mind like a bigger FOV which probably meant it's edges couldn't be as sharp as the SE.
This begs certain questions. The fact the EII came out a year later does not mean it is more modern. Except for the EP design, most components of which it shares with the SE, the EII is the next step from, well, the E. Late model Es debuted the new green/purple coating inherited by both the SE and EII. As Henry Link indicated in his famous review of both models, the internal build (especially the prism brackets) of the SE is more rugged, while the EII shares with the E a more basic (and economical) design. The SE has "modern" ER, where the EII barely improves on E series (just enough, though, for eye-glass wearers like me). Additionally, the curved back panels on the EII mimic the curved dogleg of the SE.

Let's get the history correct.
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Old Wednesday 22nd December 2010, 13:06   #45
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This begs certain questions. The fact the EII came out a year later does not mean it is more modern. Except for the EP design, most components of which it shares with the SE, the EII is the next step from, well, the E. Late model Es debuted the new green/purple coating inherited by both the SE and EII. As Henry Link indicated in his famous review of both models, the internal build (especially the prism brackets) of the SE is more rugged, while the EII shares with the E a more basic (and economical) design. The SE has "modern" ER, where the EII barely improves on E series (just enough, though, for eye-glass wearers like me). Additionally, the curved back panels on the EII mimic the curved dogleg of the SE.

Let's get the history correct.
I don't think either one is more modern than the other. Just different design parameters for a different price point. For non-eye glass wearers the ER on the EII seems to work better so maybe the SE ER was designed with that in mind to cover a larger base of people. That is one thing I prefer on the EII the ER is just right for my eyes and I do not wear glasses.
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Old Wednesday 22nd December 2010, 16:33   #46
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Boys, boys, Nikon is not the only 8x30 Porro on the planet.

China do indeed make a good one, according to Holger Merlitz:
http://www.holgermerlitz.de/ares8x30.html

Individual focus, AIEE!, the plague, stay away! Or you will soon be like me, with 6x30 and 8x30 FMTR-SXs, and a 60s era Hensoldt DF, http://www.holgermerlitz.de/image8x3...dt_df_8x30.jpg which, cross my heart and hope to die, has a view which, except for the dullsville old coatings, I would put equal to anything I have ever seen.

Focussing IF is really not that bad. Wanna see me cross my hands?
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Old Wednesday 22nd December 2010, 17:11   #47
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Boys, boys, Nikon is not the only 8x30 Porro on the planet.

China do indeed make a good one, according to Holger Merlitz:
http://www.holgermerlitz.de/ares8x30.html

Individual focus, AIEE!, the plague, stay away! Or you will soon be like me, with 6x30 and 8x30 FMTR-SXs, and a 60s era Hensoldt DF, http://www.holgermerlitz.de/image8x3...dt_df_8x30.jpg which, cross my heart and hope to die, has a view which, except for the dullsville old coatings, I would put equal to anything I have ever seen.

Focussing IF is really not that bad. Wanna see me cross my hands?
Ron
I have been tempted to acquire some of those great IF bins. But implied in my comments (not very clearly) is 8x30 usable for birding. I have played with IF bins for birding, but only on bodies of water, where close focus is irrelevant, and it took a really long time before I was convinced that focus was ideal. I suppose it might be a little easier for astronomical use. I have not been able to find that Chinese bin on the market. Holger gets access to beautiful bins for his tests. Some of those European 8x30 IF bins are in virtually new condition.
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Old Wednesday 22nd December 2010, 19:07   #48
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The hard thing about using IF is not the physical effort of turning two knobs at once, but the left/right visual awareness that is required. When I first started using IF for all distances and birding, I would see that something was screwy about the view, but could not even tell which eye was out of focus! Somehow though, I married myself to the idea, and got over this deep level physio/perceptuo learning thing, which I think would interest forum member Ed. But it's weird at first. I'd recommend getting one of Holgers IF "classics" for practicing, which can be had for only $100-$150 in many cases, and is a historic prize too.

I find the IF system attractive:
1) Almost impossible to make NOT waterproof.
3) Functions well in bitter cold
2) Lightest weight focusing system
4) Simplest mechanics, best aligned, flex-free

Mountain weather is nuts, I tend to get rained on.
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Old Wednesday 22nd December 2010, 19:30   #49
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Mountain weather is nuts, I tend to get rained on.
Ron
Rained on? In New Mexico? Bang goes another one of my illusions. The Hensoldt are readily available on e-bay, in various conditions, ranging from 100 to 200 euro. The Chinese Mil 8x30 seem to be only available from Italian dealers. They look very interesting, especially if theyre approaching the same league as the EII/SEs, and waterproof to boot. I get rained on a lot.
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Old Wednesday 22nd December 2010, 19:43   #50
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Here at 7500 ft., the mountains are full of big evergreen trees that use a lot of water. Summer thunderstorms are sudden and violent. There's downhill skiing 5 miles away.

Down low in the desert, though, that is the popular New Mexico stereotype, you need a binocular that is mainly drought-resistant, and rattlesnake-proof!

Ireland, well obviously it is not green for no reason.
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