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Other Than Price... What Matters?

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Old Friday 27th September 2013, 13:29   #1
pete_gamby
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Other Than Price... What Matters?

Just another follow to the Countryman BGA HD competition we ran. To answer the question:

"Besides price, what are the three most important things you consider when purchasing a binocular?"

We got somewhere north of 75 respondents and of those I managed to identify 220 "answers". I've collated the results as below. Please note that I have not assumed that the top three answers were necessarily in order of importance i.e. each 'vote' has not been weighted. In addition, I have tried to reduce the number of different categories by assuming, for example, that "performance" and "image quality" could be considered broadly the same.

Ergonomics 17%
Performance 16%
Build quality/durability 12%
Weight 10%
Clarity 8%
Resolution/sharpness 8%
Warranty/reputation 6%
Good eye relief 6%
FOV 5%
Brightness/light transmission 3%
Focus system 3%
Configuration 2%
Waterproof 2%
Size 1%
Reviews 1%
CA control 1%

As I think at least one of the respondents mentioned, the issues of determining exactly what is meant by "performance" or "clarity" or "ergonomics" are subject for threads of their own (and these are things often discussed here anyway). The fact that these come high on the list is no real surprise!

What was interesting from my point of view was that build quality was specifically mentioned twice as much as warranty although I suppose one could infer that good build quality should be reflected by a good warranty offering.

Similarly weight was high on the list as a specific feature and above field of view, waterproofing etc. Perhaps we all expect a birding bino to be waterproof these days :-)

More than 75% of the votes were in regard to physical or performance attributes of the binoculars with the other 25% or so relating to the less tangible or measurable features or service-related issues.

Thanks again to all that contributed.

We hope to be able to run another competition shortly - look out for a post from the admin team.

Cheers, Pete
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Old Friday 27th September 2013, 15:41   #2
bh46118
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Resolution/sharpness
Brightness/light transmission
CA control
These three are 90% of what counts for me. I enjoy a large FOV, but I don't consider it an "optical" quality. I have two of the widest field roofs you can buy and that doesn't keep me from enjoying the world class view of the Minox BD even though it has a fairly narrow field. The CA of the BD on the other hand is a bit of a problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pete_gamby View Post
Just another follow to the Countryman BGA HD competition we ran. To answer the question:

"Besides price, what are the three most important things you consider when purchasing a binocular?"

We got somewhere north of 75 respondents and of those I managed to identify 220 "answers". I've collated the results as below. Please note that I have not assumed that the top three answers were necessarily in order of importance i.e. each 'vote' has not been weighted. In addition, I have tried to reduce the number of different categories by assuming, for example, that "performance" and "image quality" could be considered broadly the same.

Ergonomics 17%
Performance 16%
Build quality/durability 12%
Weight 10%
Clarity 8%
Resolution/sharpness 8%
Warranty/reputation 6%
Good eye relief 6%
FOV 5%
Brightness/light transmission 3%
Focus system 3%
Configuration 2%
Waterproof 2%
Size 1%
Reviews 1%
CA control 1%

As I think at least one of the respondents mentioned, the issues of determining exactly what is meant by "performance" or "clarity" or "ergonomics" are subject for threads of their own (and these are things often discussed here anyway). The fact that these come high on the list is no real surprise!

What was interesting from my point of view was that build quality was specifically mentioned twice as much as warranty although I suppose one could infer that good build quality should be reflected by a good warranty offering.

Similarly weight was high on the list as a specific feature and above field of view, waterproofing etc. Perhaps we all expect a birding bino to be waterproof these days :-)

More than 75% of the votes were in regard to physical or performance attributes of the binoculars with the other 25% or so relating to the less tangible or measurable features or service-related issues.

Thanks again to all that contributed.

We hope to be able to run another competition shortly - look out for a post from the admin team.

Cheers, Pete

Last edited by bh46118 : Friday 27th September 2013 at 15:51.
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Old Saturday 28th September 2013, 14:25   #3
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. It may be that this is covered under another heading but I would think that essentially perfect Collimation would be the number one priority.
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Old Saturday 28th September 2013, 14:28   #4
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. It may be that this is covered under another heading but I would think that essentially perfect Collimation would be the number one priority.
I would think that falls under build quality.
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Old Sunday 29th September 2013, 02:04   #5
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Glad to see that ergonomics received the most votes even above the mufti-faceted "performance." If you can't hold a bin steady or comfortably, the optical performance is moot. An example for me was the Fujinon 6x30 FMTR-SX. Tony the Tiger GRRRRRReat! optical performance but a brick would feel more comfortable to hold. On the roof side, the Nikon 8x32 LX/HG was even harder for me to hold comfortably, and I went through the entire Kama Sutra of binocular hand positions. Both bins were the least uncomfortable while held upside down.

I'm sure there are a lot of birders with large hands, larger than mine, which are not Wilt Chamberlain sized hands, but I find most closed bridge roofs are not comfortable for me to hold, particularly midsized roofs, because the width is too narrow and there's too little space underneath for good thumb support. So that excludes about 80% of roofs.

In the 20% open bridge or open hinge category, none were so intuitively easy to hold as the 8x32 EL WB. The open bridge Opticron Natura looks comfortable but with only 6.2* FOV in the 8x42 model (49.6* AFOV), the view would probably feel too constricted.

FOV would make # 2 or 3 on my list of birding bin qualities. Even if a bin is comfortable to hold, a narrow FOV/AFOV makes birding like looking for a needle in a haystack and renders the ergonomics moot. The Natura 8x42 needs at least a degree more FOV to catch my interest.

au Natura

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Old Sunday 29th September 2013, 03:30   #6
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Old Sunday 29th September 2013, 05:48   #7
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Fiddly focus drives me nuts. Would that be in the "performance" category?
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Old Sunday 29th September 2013, 07:19   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brocknroller View Post
Glad to see that ergonomics received the most votes even above the mufti-faceted "performance." If you can't hold a bin steady or comfortably, the optical performance is moot. An example for me was the Fujinon 6x30 FMTR-SX. Tony the Tiger GRRRRRReat! optical performance but a brick would feel more comfortable to hold. On the roof side, the Nikon 8x32 LX/HG was even harder for me to hold comfortably, and I went through the entire Kama Sutra of binocular hand positions. Both bins were the least uncomfortable while held upside down.

I'm sure there are a lot of birders with large hands, larger than mine, which are not Wilt Chamberlain sized hands, but I find most closed bridge roofs are not comfortable for me to hold, particularly midsized roofs, because the width is too narrow and there's too little space underneath for good thumb support. So that excludes about 80% of roofs.

In the 20% open bridge or open hinge category, none were so intuitively easy to hold as the 8x32 EL WB. The open bridge Opticron Natura looks comfortable but with only 6.2* FOV in the 8x42 model (49.6* AFOV), the view would probably feel too constricted.

FOV would make # 2 or 3 on my list of birding bin qualities. Even if a bin is comfortable to hold, a narrow FOV/AFOV makes birding like looking for a needle in a haystack and renders the ergonomics moot. The Natura 8x42 needs at least a degree more FOV to catch my interest.

au Natura

<B>
Brock

Check out the Opticron ED-X, high micro bridge and a 7.5deg fov.

http://www.opticron.co.uk/Pages/ed-x.html

John.
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Old Monday 30th September 2013, 15:13   #9
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Chromatic aberration above all else. If CA isn't well controlled then the bin is useless. Next most important would probably be ergonomics.
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Old Monday 30th September 2013, 15:31   #10
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I find longer eye relief to be the most important feature and I always look at it first when deciding to buy a binocular.

I brace the binocular up against and just under my eye brows to steady it.

I notice that even as little as 1mm more ER, like 16mm vs 15mm, can make a difference in the ease of view when using 2 different 8 x 32 binoculars. However a lot of these problems can also be caused by the eye cup designs on the binoculars so their stated ERs cannot be relied on without trying the binoculars out first.

Chromatic Aberration does not bother me at all and it is not a factor when I decide to buy a binocular. I believe I could be just as happy with non HD glass as with it.

Bob
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2013, 01:39   #11
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I agree on the eye relief, CA is a non issue for me, Interesting poll
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2013, 01:55   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theorist View Post
Chromatic aberration above all else. If CA isn't well controlled then the bin is useless. Next most important would probably be ergonomics.
There are some binoculars that are among the very best that do show some
CA, and you mention the word "useless".

I am wondering about your experience and why you would even go
there.

Tell us more.

Jerry
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2013, 03:29   #13
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What ceasar said, eye relief, I forgot to mention. A lot of great binos did not make it, such as Nikon SE 8x32.
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Old Tuesday 1st October 2013, 05:27   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul2013 View Post
Fiddly focus drives me nuts. Would that be in the "performance" category?
No, that would be in Swarovski binoculars.

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Old Tuesday 1st October 2013, 06:46   #15
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What ceasar said, eye relief, I forgot to mention. A lot of great binos did not make it, such as Nikon SE 8x32.
Hi marinemaster,

I have that binocular. It has 17mm ER which is long enough for me; but the problem with the kidney beaning blackouts in the SEs (which some people are troubled by) is that they are caused by the eyepiece design (I am told) and not by the eye relief of the binocular. For instance, the equally legendary Nikon EIIs have short eye relief of about 13mm but I have not heard of anyone complaining about it.

I keep forgetting the term used to explain it in the SE but Steve (mooreorless) knows it and probably has it bookmarked. Brock knows what it is called too. He's on the spot now. Don't help him this time Steve!

Bob

PS: Never mind. It's called "Spherical Aberration of the Exit Pupil."

"Binoculars ain't beanbag!" "Tip" O'Neill misquote.

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Old Wednesday 2nd October 2013, 02:13   #16
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Not to get off topic here, but eye relief has been one of the greatest mistery to me. I have tried binos with 19mm eye relief and I was still getting blackouts. What you said "Spherical Aberration of the Exit Pupil." makes sense that is actually a design difference in the binos, because 19mm eye relief is plenty long. Then also it must be how different people have different eye construction so to speak or placement. I have a Nikon 7x35 porro with short eye relief and is perfect, no blackout. Thanks for the explanation.

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Old Wednesday 2nd October 2013, 02:40   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NDhunter View Post
There are some binoculars that are among the very best that do show some
CA, and you mention the word "useless".

I am wondering about your experience and why you would even go
there.

Tell us more.

Jerry
Appears he has abandoned this one.

I was fooling around with a old Bushnell sportview 7X35 today, no CA that I could see. Probably sold for $40 new.

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Old Wednesday 2nd October 2013, 03:41   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marinemaster View Post
Not to get off topic here, but eye relief has been one of the greatest mistery to me. I have tried binos with 19mm eye relief and I was still getting blackouts. What you said "Spherical Aberration of the Exit Pupil." makes sense that is actually a design difference in the binos, because 19mm eye relief is plenty long. Then also it must be how different people have different eye construction so to speak or placement. I have a Nikon 7x35 porro with short eye relief and is perfect, no blackout. Thanks for the explanation.
You are right that "spherical aberration of the exit pupil" can also happen with binoculars which have very long eye relief. I first experienced it with my old, discontinued Leitz 7 x 42 Trinovid BA which has eye relief of 22mm.

Bob
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Old Thursday 3rd October 2013, 14:03   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NDhunter View Post
There are some binoculars that are among the very best that do show some
CA, and you mention the word "useless".

I am wondering about your experience and why you would even go
there.

Tell us more.

Jerry
What would you like to know?
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Old Thursday 3rd October 2013, 18:10   #20
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Ergonomics
Resolution
Light transmission
FOV
Waterproof

My two most used binoculars are Opticron Marine Pro-Series II and Zeiss Dialyt Classic 7x42 BGA T*P*. Very different beasts, but both hit the right spot in those categories for the particular uses that I put them to.

cheers
martin
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Old Friday 4th October 2013, 01:32   #21
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CA is more or less a non issue for me; I notice it in nearly all of my binoculars but don't find it distracting. Brightness, Sharpness, and build quality are the three most important for me, with ER, warranty, and FoV coming up later.
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