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Spoiled by the SE view...now what?

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Old Friday 21st January 2011, 15:34   #126
James Bean
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In my experience no single binocular can be all things to all men (or women). I've waxed lyrical about the 10x42SE because it's outstanding for what it is, and likely the best of its kind I've ever known (or likely to know under 1,000). I can now understand why BVD made it a reference standard back in the 1990s, since when I've always wanted one and am delighted to have realised that ambition (and especially for only 280!). The 10x42SE won't replace my 8x32SE, nor 8x42HG, not even 10x35EII, and certainly not Zeiss 10x40BGAT*, because I enjoy them all in their own ways. If, of necessity, I could have only one, it'd be an anguished choice and inevitably a compromise. I guess it would be an 8x something to cover most situations, but then I'd miss the 10x power view; I'm still able to handhold 10x steady, but for how long? Sancho probably has the sensible solution to that one, in the form of a Canon IS. And as for exotica like Swarovision, Nikon EDG and top models from Zeiss and Leica, even if I could afford one, could I really justify it? No. So, I've reached the point where, for all practical purposes within my budget/eyesight, I have the best binoculars in the world. For me, it can't get better than this...
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Old Friday 21st January 2011, 16:50   #127
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Sancho probably has the sensible solution to that one, in the form of a Canon IS....
Pay no attention to Sancho. He sees Smurfs that arent there.

I have 8.5x binos, and the jump to 10x isnt that significant. (I had 10x35EII but sold them.) One knows one is "over-binned" when a concern is which combination of binoculars is ideal. At the moment, my mind is drifting towards Canon IS 15x50 plus a nice little 6x30. Portable and cover most bases on a "no-scope day".

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Old Friday 21st January 2011, 19:59   #128
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Nikon 10x42SE arrived this morning. Lovely condition, complete with original Nikon case, strap, and lens covers. Very misty here today, with visibility down to about 200 metres, so hardly ideal conditions for testing the optics. First impression: sits easily in my hands, perhaps even better than the 8x32SE (because there's more body to grip) and a nicer shape than the 10x35EII (more ergonomic). If the weather improves "I shall return" later with more views (literally) but it's getting murkier so I'm not optimistic it will be today. In the meantime, my serial numbers are 0076xx if someone would be kind enough to advise on the year this 10x SE was manufactured...?
Sancho: Sorry, but I've never had an avatar. Indeed, I'd never heard the word until the movie was released, but now it seems it's everywhere. If I had one, it would be a Robin.
Glad you like them James.

I also spotted them but let them pass DOH !!, quite a few nice bins on at the moment, just watching the Leica 10x42 Hunter green edition(i think!) also a Fujinon FMTR.
Buying bins is an addiction with me though, i really need to cut down !!!.
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Old Sunday 23rd January 2011, 11:27   #129
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Just a gentle reminder... My 10x42SE serial number is 0076xx. Does this indicate it was made circa 2000/2001 or earlier, and would it therefore have leaded glass? Thank you.
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Old Sunday 23rd January 2011, 13:58   #130
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James,

Remember, the speculations that have made here about dating the year of manufacture from SE serial numbers have never been confirmed by Nikon and the same is true for the adoption of Eco glass in the SE series and its supposed effects.

Henry
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Old Sunday 23rd January 2011, 17:33   #131
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I dont think so, HK. Id love to see one, as they have such brilliant reviews. But for high mag, I have Canon IS 15x50, which covers that base.



Exactly how I feel.
"For 10X and above, I like image stabilized binoculars.

However, if my hands were more steady, I would not hesitate to own the 10x42 SE, in addition to the 8x32 SE"

Me too! For 10X I have the Canon 10X30 IS. The Nikon 10X35 EII's have slightly better optics but I can't hold them steady so hence I can SEE more detail with the Canon's than the Nikon's. I sold my Nikon 10X35 EII's for that reason. Still have the Nikon 8X30 EII's because I can hold them steady. If you used a tripod it would be a different story BUT the Canon's have excellent optics being sharper at the edges than the Nikon 10X35 EII's but overall the optics on the Nikon are slightly better and have a bigger FOV and of course are brighter in twilight situations. But I can SEE more with the Canon's.

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Old Sunday 23rd January 2011, 19:24   #132
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James,

Remember, the speculations that have made here about dating the year of manufacture from SE serial numbers have never been confirmed by Nikon and the same is true for the adoption of Eco glass in the SE series and its supposed effects.

Henry
Nor have they been proven false!

I've asked Mike Freiberg to answer those questions, but he did not respond or didn't know. Or at least he didn't respond to me, but I think he did respond to someone else later on, though I can't remember which question that poster asked about, the date/digit scheme or lead free optics changeover dates, but I think Mike said he didn't know the answer to whatever the question was, correct me if I'm wrong, Mike.

I also asked Myron, a customer rep at Nikon, about this information, and he told me that information was not in his "knowledge base".

So all I have are the data I presented. Which is that Henry bought his 500xxx 8x32 SE new in 1997, and my 501xxx was purchased new in 1998 (still have the receipt somewhere, have a photo of it, in any case), and that my 505xxx sample was bought new in 2002, according to the previous owner.

In addition, I solicited dates of purchase and serial #s from six other 8x32 SE owners, and all agreed with a sequential year per third digit correlation.

However, since that time, I have gotten other data that do not fit. I suspect the reason is that as SE's get long in the tooth, the problem with establishing correlations with dates of purchase and serial #s is that the the bins might have been sitting on the shelf for years before being purchased.

To read the frenzy over these bins now, it would seem hard to believe that Nikon didn't sell out every year it produced the SEs, particularly the 8x32 model, but as one BF member reported, who personally talked with a number of camera dealers that carry or carried the SE series, the SEs were slow movers.

If people have been reading BF for a long time, they would have noticed that roofs became all the rage and that the venerable SE got lost in the shuffle except for some occasional threads.

But then in 2007 or 2008, when Nikon reintroduced the SE series with the 550xxx 8x32 SE (check the archives for when the "frenzy" began), there was a revival of interest in the SE series and EII series, along with a growing realization that these gems, except for not being waterproof, where the equal if not the better of the latest offerings in roof prisms designs costing multiple$ more.

The momentum has slowed down a bit since then, but interest in the SE series still remains strong as evidenced by this recent thread.

I'm not sure if I actually published all those "data points" on the dates/serial #s on BF, my iMac died and along with it those figures, but I could painstakingly try to reassemble that information with another call for data, but why bother?

Until Nikon comes clean on this, people will remain a skeptical no matter how many "data points" I gather unless others are able to independently duplicate the same results. I invite that participation.

However, with pre-550 8x32 SEs now sitting on shelves for an unknown period, we would need to contact the store to find out when they originally received them... ....information they might no longer have at this point or have but might not want to share (in case they have old stock that hasn't sold).

Given the sample of data collected, and the fact that they are in agreement with the year/digit scheme I outlined, I would not call the scheme a "null hypothesis," because the data sample is small. At the very least, it shows a pattern that should be further explored.

The other thing that lends support to the date/serial number scheme is that Zeiss used a similar scheme in its bins. Someone posted that scheme on europa.com a few years ago. I no longer have that information, but someone on BF might, or it could be available in the europa archives.

As far as dating when Nikon switched over to lead glass in the SE, what throws a "zone of confusion" into this inquiry is that Nikon itself has not been consistent in its information about its changeover to "eco-glass".

One PR statement said the company had started switching over to lead free glass in 2000 and completed the changeover in 2002.

Another statement said that 70% of its glass was lead free by 2002. There was third statement that gave a figure of 40%, but I don't remember which year that was for. I've posted all this information on various BF threads over the past few years, and I probably have bookmarks for some of this, at least within the past two years before my iMac died.

So if you're waiting for Nikon to come clean about this, the fact that their own PR people don't seem to have the story straight should tell you not to hold your breath!

I also have or had a public document from OHARA, and I posted a link to it on BF awhile back, which explicitly stated that the company's earlier efforts at making lead free glass were not on par with its lead glass, but that through continual development and trail and error, they eventually found the best combination of lead substitutes (and ones that did not add significant cost such as titanium oxide would have), such that their latest glass, as per the date of the publication, was "nearly as good as" their older lead glass.

Yes, I know, someone posted Abbe numbers that show OHARA's latest lead free glass is on par with lead glass, so this document was written before their latest release.

But that doesn't diminish my point, which was and continues to be, that the bins in question - the EII, the SEs, LX and LXL -- were all made years before these latest Abbe figures were published.

So to say that those bins use the the same lead free glass as the the latest lead free glass with Abbe #s that match lead glass, and especially because, as one poster put it "Nikon engineers wouldn't release a bin with glass inferior to lead glass" is in itself "speculation" (Nikon engineers don't "release" the glass, Nikon administration tells them what or what not to do).

Think about it, have you ever been told to do something by your boss that was not quite copasetic, but you went ahead with it anyway for practical considerations (like keeping your job)? You think the engineers at Toyota wanted to release cars where the "rush to market" overrode safety considerations? You think the engineers at NASA wanted to let Challenger fly when they knew the outdoor temperatures were below the "O" rings tolerances? They didn't make those decisions, the management did.

What we do know is that there was a "follow the leader" push to use lead free glass in sports optics around the turn of the century, which could have resulted in a "rush to market" by Nikon and others (I've posted reports of increased CA by owners of other brand bins and microscopes when those companies switched over to lead free glass during roughly the same period).

However, what we don't know is if OHARA's under par lead free glass was actually used in the bins in question (Nikon does use OHARA glass, but not exclusively) or if Nikon made the glass and that their first generation lead free glass was on par with their lead glass or their lead free glass today.

The truth is out there, but for whatever reason, Nikon has it locked in the "vault". Since the Freedom of Information Act exempts private companies, it will stay in the "vault" until they choose to release it (if ever).

In any case, I know what my eyes see in comparing various Nikon models, and in my personal purchase decisions, I will use those observations.

I would advise Jim and others who have read my posts on these matters not to take them as gospel, but rather use them as a starting point for their own inquiries and comparisons.

Last edited by brocknroller : Monday 24th January 2011 at 00:40.
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Old Monday 24th January 2011, 14:06   #133
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Brock,

Whew!... You sure know how to fill up a computer screen. I won't try to convince you or anyone else that your speculations are false. I'll just point out that they remain unproven. Unfortunately, on the internet repetition is sometimes mistaken for verification.

Henry
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Old Monday 24th January 2011, 16:56   #134
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Brock,

Whew!... You sure know how to fill up a computer screen. I won't try to convince you or anyone else that your speculations are false. I'll just point out that they remain unproven. Unfortunately, on the internet repetition is sometimes mistaken for verification.

Henry
I agree.

I still think it's a product code + serial number (that increments with each bin). This matches other Nikon usage (on cameras and lenses).

But there is no certain evidence for either.

This is the point Mike Frieberg could actually tell us ...
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Old Monday 24th January 2011, 19:19   #135
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Brock,

Whew!... You sure know how to fill up a computer screen. I won't try to convince you or anyone else that your speculations are false. I'll just point out that they remain unproven. Unfortunately, on the internet repetition is sometimes mistaken for verification.

Henry
I have a large screen monitor. :-)

Actually, that was out of necessity, because I wanted to be absolutely thorough ere you should find a small hole in my argument and poke a finger through it! :-).

Also, I wanted to fill in newcomers on these ongoing debates since it's been a while since someone broached the subject.

I welcome proof that my "speculations" are false. The problem is, you don't have any more information than I do (unless you're holding out on us).

I view my "speculations" as tentative explanations for phenomena, used as a basis for further investigation, or another words, a hypothesis.

However, your last point is well taken, about repetition being taken as verification, which is why I put a disclaimer at the end of my post. Hopefully, that will also be picked up upon its next repetition.
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Old Monday 24th January 2011, 21:59   #136
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So, I'm none the wiser then, despite being better informed...?
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Old Monday 24th January 2011, 22:38   #137
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So, I'm none the wiser then, despite being better informed...?
James, I wouldn't want you to come away without at least a tidbit of new knowledge. So I will confirm one thing, the SEs with higher third digit numbers have more advanced coatings.

For example, the 505xxx 8x32 SE has noticeably better color saturation than the 501xxx 8x32 SE.

Similar results have been reported with higher serial # 10x42 SEs. I compared two 10x42 SEs side by side and found the one with the higher serial # had improved coatings. (This was a "blind" test! but not "color blind" :-).

I also had two sample 12x50 SEs, purchased 10 years apart, and noticed better color saturation in the second sample, but I can't confirm that the serial # was higher in that unit, because it was rubbed off! But it did list the FOV as 5* while the first sample I had 10 years ago listed the FOV as 5.3*. I tried another 12x50 SE, with a listed 5* FOV, and it too had better color saturation than my first sample.

However, the 505 8x32 SE also has a bit more CA than the 501. This may be as simple as Ed (elkcub) had suggested, namely, that better AR coatings produce increased light transmission, which inadvertently increases CA.

So w/out fanfare, Nikon has been adding improved AR coatings to subsequent production runs of Superior Es. That's not surprising, considering that other companies, including Swarovski, have done the same thing without announcement, as confirmed by Dale Forbes.

My friend Steve recently received a 504xxx 8x32 SE, and as soon as the temperatures thaw enough to move the focusers (low temp was 0*F in Bedford Falls last night, high was a balmy 14*F), we will compare the two samples and see if we find any differences in color saturation, contrast, or CA.

Jerry (NDHunter) also has a 504 model and reported different color reflections off the objectives than the 505, but that may be neither here nor there, because reflection colors can change with the angle of incidence.

So we shall see... literally! I will report our observations on BF, with the usual disclaimers or maybe just a simple YEMV. :-)
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Old Monday 24th January 2011, 23:35   #138
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Now I know why I divorced my ex-wife- talk about beating a dead horse to death
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Old Tuesday 25th January 2011, 18:29   #139
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Enough, enough now. I'll just enjoy my '502' 8x32SE and '007' 10x42SE for what my eyes tell me they are: truly magnificent binoculars...
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Old Tuesday 25th January 2011, 20:23   #140
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Enough, enough now. I'll just enjoy my '502' 8x32SE and '007' 10x42SE for what my eyes tell me they are: truly magnificent binoculars...
James,

Yes, the earlier versions are magnificent and with the lower CA, maybe even better for people who are sensitive to CA. In fact, I wish I had been able to keep both the 501 and 505 SEs since they each have their strong points. I particularly liked the 501 in the colder months because of its nearly CA free images and better gray-scale contrast.

If I hadn't bought a Nikon 8x32 LX/HG, which has phenomenal color saturation, better to my eyes than a Swarovski EL I tried that was manufactured around the same time, I wouldn't have bought a later model 505 SE, which is still not quite on par with the LX/HG in that regard, even though they were also made around the same time.

Nikon apparently put their best glass and coatings into their LX/HG roofs. Not to say that the SE series is shabby, but take a look though an LX/HG and see if you notice the difference in colors. (never mind, just read your post #126, you've tried the 8x42 HG).

Some people might not notice any difference. I have a neighbor who's an artist, and she noticed the difference immediately - without prompting - when I asked her look at a yellow finch at my backyard feeder through the LX and 501 SE. "Wow! The yellow looks really vivid in the roof," she said.

Unfortunately, I couldn't hold the 8x32 LX's steady with my big mitts, and I also found the lack of 3-D effect vs. the SEs disappointing, so when I noticed the better color saturation in my friend's 505 SE, I traded my LX for his SE.

I'm "color junkie," what can I say? :-)

The older 10x42 SE I looked through was a 002. You can't go wrong with a 007 10x42 SE. Good enough for James Bond....er I mean Bean, good enough for me!

Enjoy!

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Old Wednesday 26th January 2011, 00:15   #141
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Thanks for that, Brock. I can't explain scientifically why I like the Nikon 8x42HG so much, but it just 'does it for me'. Some other bin's do some things better, but if I have to grab just one bin' from my collection as the ship starts to sink, it will be the HG...
On reflection, this may not be such a wise choice: it's so heavy, I'll sink like a stone!
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Old Wednesday 26th January 2011, 01:56   #142
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Brock,

Whew!... You sure know how to fill up a computer screen. I won't try to convince you or anyone else that your speculations are false. I'll just point out that they remain unproven. Unfortunately, on the internet repetition is sometimes mistaken for verification.

Henry
You must remember Brock is a writer! And a good one at that.
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