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Review selects Athlon Midas 8x42 best value binocular

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Old Monday 11th September 2017, 21:11   #1
Tom Bombadil
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Review selects Athlon Midas 8x42 best value binocular

"To find the best binoculars, we had a professional ornithologist spend over 100 hours field-testing 17 pairs against his own $2,500 Leica Ultravids. After using our test pairs in the mountains and hills of Southern California, then on a research trip to the rain forests of southern Mexico, he found that the Athlon Optics Midas ED 8×42 pair was the best of the group, offering performance comparable to his Leicas for a fraction of the price ... "

http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the...8&kwp_1=784773
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Old Monday 11th September 2017, 22:34   #2
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"To find the best binoculars, we had a professional ornithologist spend over 100 hours field-testing 17 pairs against his own $2,500 Leica Ultravids. After using our test pairs in the mountains and hills of Southern California, then on a research trip to the rain forests of southern Mexico, he found that the Athlon Optics Midas ED 8×42 pair was the best of the group, offering performance comparable to his Leicas for a fraction of the price ... "

http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the...8&kwp_1=784773

... "Not only will some Asian products go head-to-head with Europe’s best, but at savings that can run into hundreds of dollars per unit. An American company sold the binocular on the left for $580. The binocular on the right, from a European “manufacturer” sold for $899. The differences between the two? Minor aesthetics, marketing, and $319. Both binoculars were made by the same company … in Japan."

Bill
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Old Monday 11th September 2017, 23:00   #3
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A lot of the Chinese binoculars like the Athlon Midas have exceptional optics for the money. In my experience with them their biggest weakness is quality control and build quality. You might get a good one and you might not and they have a tendency to develop problems mechanically. That is where the Japanese built Maven's and Tract's have an edge. They have the same great optics but much better consistent quality and more solid build quality. IMO that is worth a few hundred dollars more. I wonder what brands the other 17 pair they compared were.

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Old Monday 11th September 2017, 23:21   #4
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..... I wonder what brands the other 17 pair they compared were.
Scroll down to the bottom of the article and you will find a chart listing 18 models. They all look to be entry level units and should not be compared to higher level class occupied by Maven, Tract, Zeiss Conquest, etc. I doubt these fairly compare to his Leica Ultravid.


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........
That is where the Japanese built Maven's and Tract's have an edge. They have the same great optics but much better consistent quality and more solid build quality. .........
I would hope that Tract, Maven, etc have better quality optics than most of the Chinese models that generally occupy a less expensive entry class.
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Old Tuesday 12th September 2017, 00:54   #5
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I have the Celeston Trailseekers that were mentioned as second best in the review. They are an OK set of binoculars, but the Maven B2 blows them away (when I'm not seeing CA in challenging light, which I see about equally with both sets). So do my Zeiss Terra Compacts (and they lack the CA). And so do the Leicas I've tried (although I wasn't able to try these in challenging light, so I don't know about CA).

What do I mean by 'blowing away'? I'm not really sure, other than to say that the experience is more immersive--as my wife put it--it looks like we're watching a bird movie vs. just seeing the bird. Maybe we're both fooling ourselves. I guess a double blind study would be the only way to know for sure.
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Old Tuesday 12th September 2017, 01:34   #6
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Athlon, never heard of it. Are they an optics company ?

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Old Tuesday 12th September 2017, 02:24   #7
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One of the store brands at Eagle Optics.
edit... I'm wrong. that is Atlas...

Rob.

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Old Tuesday 12th September 2017, 03:43   #8
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Scroll down to the bottom of the article and you will find a chart listing 18 models. They all look to be entry level units and should not be compared to higher level class occupied by Maven, Tract, Zeiss Conquest, etc. I doubt these fairly compare to his Leica Ultravid.




I would hope that Tract, Maven, etc have better quality optics than most of the Chinese models that generally occupy a less expensive entry class.
Those other 17 binoculars are a bunch of low enders. No wonder the Athlon Midas 8x42 won.
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Old Tuesday 12th September 2017, 13:59   #9
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Brand loyalty and bias disregarded, I doubt I would ever be tempted by a ''Athlon Midas'' anything. I'm quite fed up with the myriad rebranding going on in the binoc. world these days. It's becoming almost impossible to know who makes what anymore.
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Old Tuesday 12th September 2017, 16:56   #10
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I ordered an Athlon Midas 8x42 based on the review cited by the OP. The binocular had many nice characteristics like reasonably sized sweet spot, decent CA control, wide field of view, good contrast, decent baffling--certainly good performance for its price of ~$300. Unfortunately, my binocular was miscollimated enough to cause a bit of eyestrain so I returned them. Rather than replacing them, I decided to try binoculars at lower (Sightron) and higher (Maven) price points. I was also leaning more to 32mm objectives than 42mm for daytime use.

Unfortunately, there are QC problems with precision optics even at rather premium prices, but in general, the failure rate is higher at the lower prices and the customer service by the manufacturer at lower prices tends to be replacement from current stock which may or may not include previous returns. I bought the Athlon and Sightron from Amazon where it is basically a numbers game: you keep ordering and returning until you are pleased or give up. When I bought from Maven, they sent me several binoculars to test out and spent quite a while on the phone hand holding and answering questions. I have faith in Maven that they will help me with any problems I may have, even though I realize they have not been in business for 100 years.

While there are better and worse values at a given price point, I believe that precision optics is one of those areas where you basically do get what you pay for. It isn't linear scale; at the high end you pay large sums for small steps. I don't really think it is helpful for a reviewer to say that a $200-$300 binocular is just about as good as a $2,000-$3,000 binocular. And this is prior to the morass of what good, better, or best mean, since this is such an individual equation.

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Old Tuesday 12th September 2017, 17:35   #11
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Athlon, never heard of it. Are they an optics company ?

Jerry
Gosh Jerry:

I thought you were smarter than that—all the politically correct turkeys may BACK OFF, he’s a friend. With two empty suitcases, and $500 to spend, a person can come back from Asia as an optical maggot, magpie, or mogul, depending on how they conduct their new business.

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Old Tuesday 12th September 2017, 17:44   #12
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"Unfortunately, my binocular was miscollimated enough to cause a bit of eyestrain so I returned them." That is the kind of problems I had with the low end Chinese binoculars. It is true you generally get what you pay for but Maven and Tract have kind of changed my opinion on that because they have eliminated the middleman and cut out a lot of the cost of a premium binocular. These two brands are very close to the alpha's for a lot less money. In my opinion the top alpha's are grossly overpriced for what you get and a lot of that high price is just profit for the alpha manufacturers. When you buy a Swarovski you are paying for their country club memberships and probably other toys of the super rich. Several members of the family are billionaires. They didn't get to be billionaires by selling binoculars for $500.00. A Maven or Tract will give you the very near the performance of an alpha binocular for way less money. In fact they both have a better focus than a Swarovski and they both are better at flare control.

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Old Tuesday 12th September 2017, 18:17   #13
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"Unfortunately, my binocular was miscollimated enough to cause a bit of eyestrain so I returned them." That is the kind of problems I had with the low end Chinese binoculars. It is true you generally get what you pay for but Maven and Tract have kind of changed my opinion on that because they have eliminated the middleman and cut out a lot of the cost of a premium binocular. These two brands are very close to the alpha's for a lot less money. In my opinion the top alpha's are grossly overpriced for what you get and a lot of that high price is just profit for the alpha manufacturers.
The industry leaders backed themselves into a corner by paying techs and engineers what they were worth in an economy before the proliferation of lens design software and earth-shaking production and testing techniques. Now, those guys are backing themselves into a corner. When I bought my first Zemax, it was less than $1,000. Now, as an “industry standard” it is selling for over $5,000 with a high monthly support cost and people who don’t depend on it every day are turning to alternatives. What goes around comes around.

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Old Tuesday 12th September 2017, 22:16   #14
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"I don't really think it is helpful for a reviewer to say that a $200-$300 binocular is just about as good as a $2,000-$3,000 binocular."

If not helpful perhaps consoling unto those that think three bills is a small fortune to pay just for bins.
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Old Friday 15th September 2017, 23:44   #15
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I tried the Athlon Midas 10x50 because of it's large fov, but found the build quality the be kinda shoddy. The edge distortion is also starts 70% to the edges making the whole binocular "meh".
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Old Saturday 16th September 2017, 00:11   #16
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"I don't really think it is helpful for a reviewer to say that a $200-$300 binocular is just about as good as a $2,000-$3,000 binocular."

If not helpful perhaps consoling unto those that think three bills is a small fortune to pay just for bins.
I totally agree. But as long as the inexperienced are knee deep in secondhand opinions and paper thin in verifiable knowledge, it will remain that way.

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Old Saturday 16th September 2017, 01:26   #17
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I tried the Athlon Midas 10x50 because of it's large fov, but found the build quality the be kinda shoddy. The edge distortion is also starts 70% to the edges making the whole binocular "meh".
Exactly. I found all the lower end Chinese binoculars to be that way and I tried a lot of them. The Japanese built binoculars like the Maven and Tract are a whole different ballgame. You really have alpha optics and alpha build quality for a 1/3 of the price.
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Old Saturday 16th September 2017, 07:09   #18
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E...... I found all the lower end Chinese binoculars to be that way and I tried a lot of them. The Japanese built binoculars like the Maven and Tract are a whole different ballgame. ........
Is that a fair comparison? The four finalists in the review ranged from $198 to $400. The Tract Toric is $654 and the Maven B1 is $900. For that price difference, the Japanese Toric and Maven should be a better ball game.
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Old Wednesday 20th September 2017, 16:25   #19
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I did reviews of some of the Athlon optics a year and a half ago when the company first debuted. I still have the Midas 8x42 along with their high end scope and their compact 50 mm scope to do reviews on. For the price paid the optical performance is quite good. The Midas, in my opinion, hits the sweet spot (no pun intended) between performance and price.
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Old Wednesday 20th September 2017, 16:52   #20
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Is that a fair comparison? The four finalists in the review ranged from $198 to $400. The Tract Toric is $654 and the Maven B1 is $900. For that price difference, the Japanese Toric and Maven should be a better ball game.
I agree the Tract's and Maven's can't be compared really to the lower end China stuff price wise but I was pointing out I think you are better off to pay the difference in the long run. Way less frustration.
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Old Wednesday 20th September 2017, 23:52   #21
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My take on the Athlon products...

I have a Athlon Ares 8X42. Notice I haven't said anything about it? Optically it's pretty good.. .built quality I'd say less than average. Not a cheap binocular either. Focus adjustment is well below average these days. I'd put Zen-Ray and Athlon in the same group....the no recommend group. YMMV.
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Old Friday 22nd September 2017, 13:27   #22
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I never tried that one Chuck but you are right...it looks to be of the same design as the Zen Ray, Atlas Optics Intrepid and several others. I have tried some of the others...Cronus, Midas and Argos. The Midas is the only one that isn't similar to other products from other companies though each has a little twist on the original concept.
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Old Friday 22nd September 2017, 14:07   #23
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Gosh Jerry:

.......... With two empty suitcases, and $500 to spend, a person can come back from Asia as an optical maggot, ........

Bill

WOW-I can become an optical maggot for only $500.-I will specialize in Ruby coated Zooms

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Old Friday 22nd September 2017, 17:43   #24
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WOW-I can become an optical maggot for only $500.-I will specialize in Ruby coated Zooms

edj
Shame on you for not using the whole quote.

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Old Saturday 23rd September 2017, 12:23   #25
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Shame on you for not using the whole quote.

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