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12x50 options (1 Viewer)

Binastro

Well-known member
My selected 12x45 Russian binocular easily and certainly and repeatedly outresolves the Nikon 10x35 EII terrestrially for me.
Hand held not braced.
The 12x45 is long old fashioned but beautifully well balanced.
The 12x45 has poorer transmission and a yellowish cast.

The Canon 10x30 IS II outresolves both when the stabilser button is pressed.

It is a personal thing and depends on which 12x binocular one chooses.
I have no problem hand holding and seeing more detail with 12x or 15x or 20x binoculars, depending on size, weight and inertia.

P.S.
The other main factors are the length of time of observations, general and critical detail observation.
Length of pauses in observation.
Tiredness.
Strength of the observer. A heavy binocular is steadier than a light one.
Whether one has something on which to rest ones arms or the binocular or both.

A lower magnification binocular is more restful long term but may not show as much detail as a high powered one.
 
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Pinewood

New York correspondent
United States
Hello Gus,

I have a 12x50 Leica BA. I use it mounted on a monopod, whether for astronomy or for bird watching. However, I use it for bird watching only on beaches or similar open terrain. Finding a cattle egret among the common egrets at hundreds of metres is where it excels. Similarly for identifying any distant bird. I usually watch birds in Central Park, basically woodland interrupted by open water, when I usually leave it home.
Without the monopod, I would find it useless.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur Pinewood :hi:
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
Hi Gus..

I bought a 12X50 at the beginning of the year. I compared and read everything available. Everything I read kept coming up SV 12X50. So that's what I went with. FLAWLESS binocular. Simply excellent. Just enough eye relief to use with eyeglasses. I don't use it as much as my other binoculars...it's more of a specific situation optic for me....mainly waterfowl where it is impractical to carry tripod and spotting scope.

For sure I don't see how you could go wrong with it..

Here is a picture of the SV 12X50 next to the SF 8X42:
 

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BruceH

Avatar: Harris Hawk
Gus .... I have to go along with Chuck's comments on the Swaro 12X50 but it is expensive, and as you said, out of the price range you have set.

One excellent binocular not yet mentioned is the discontinued 12.5X50 Bushnell Elite. The problem is that they are hard to find on the used market. Maybe it is different in your part of the world. Besides great optics, the binocular feels relatively light weight and the ergonomics are excellent, making it easier to hold steady compared to other 12X binoculars. The last new unit I know of was sold a few months ago by Adorama for $1,000. An ocassional used unit in near new condition will go for about $700 or somewhat less here in the US.

Bushnell Elite 12.5X50 on the left, Bushnell Elite 12X43 on the right ...

http://www.birdforum.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=386597&d=1337957232
 

adhoc

Well-known member
Hello Gus,

I have a 12x50 Leica BA. I use it mounted on a monopod, whether for astronomy or for bird watching. However, I use it for bird watching only on beaches or similar open terrain. Finding a cattle egret among the common egrets at hundreds of metres is where it excels. Similarly for identifying any distant bird. I usually watch birds in Central Park, basically woodland interrupted by open water, when I usually leave it home.
Without the monopod, I would find it useless.

Happy bird watching,
Arthur Pinewood :hi:

This brings up an interesting point. If a person whose ability to hold a typical 8x/10x42 binocular steady is about average uses a 10x on a tripod, or I assume, monopod, or well steadied on a ledge, etc. there will be a great improvement in image detail over that 10x handheld.

If someone intends to only use a 12x binocular mounted, then, before adding one to a set which has a 10x, or taking it along on a trip with a 10x, they might consider if it is worth it, for the extra detail gained beyond a 10x mounted. Arthur, perhaps you have already done this comparison, and for your use it does make a difference?
 
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Pinewood

New York correspondent
United States
This brings up an interesting point. If a person whose ability to hold a typical 8x/10x42 binocular steady is about average uses a 10x on a tripod, or I assume, monopod, or well steadied on a ledge, etc. there will be a great improvement in image detail over that 10x handheld.

If someone intends to only use a 12x binocular mounted, then, before adding one to a set which has a 10x, or taking it along on a trip with a 10x, they might consider if it is worth it, for the extra detail gained beyond a 10x mounted. Arthur, perhaps you have already done this comparison, and for your use it does make a difference?

Hello Adhoc,

I welcome this diversion from the American elections!

I have, among other binoculars, a 6.5x35, a 7x42, a 10x32, and several 8x30/32 binoculars which are most used.

For bird watching, I tend to use binoculars in pairs: 6.5x and 10x; 7x and 10x; and 8x and 12x. The latter combination when I anticipate viewing at fair distances. I certainly reject using a 10x on its own. The difference between the lower and upper power are always significant. I avoid using a 'scope, as do most Americans.

For astronomy, when looking for planets at dawn and dusk, I like a 7x. For other astronomical observing, my first choice is the 12x50. Asterisms like the Pleiades or Orion's Belt need that power and more. I can do better with a 15x60 but that has to be used on a tripod.

Even with a monopod, there is something about using binoculars which is a marvel. An excellent binocular simply becomes an extension of one's eyes, making the invisible apparent. When one's optics, binocular or spotting 'scope, are on a tripod, the optics are more "fiddly," becoming more intrusive; the effort to use them more palpable.

To answer your question directly, I must write that the 12x50 is a specialty tool. Is that helpful?

Happy bird watching,
Arthur :hi:
 

adhoc

Well-known member
Arthur, Post #27. Thank you for the helpful and interesting response. Among the varied ways bird watchers use binoculars I can understand yours. I am trying to pare down the total to 3-4 including a pocket model all of which I can take on all nature trips! Presently I am deciding whether to add a 12x50 or a 10x42/50/56 to an 8x42. If it is a 12x it will probably be the Cabelas/Meopta HD 12x50. I too prefer a monopod to a tripod, partly for the reason you explain, and expect to have one for the 12x or the 10x.
 

14Goudvink

Well-known member
The difference between a 8x and a 12X, both mounted on a tripod, is there, but sometimes it is not that obvious, If you are going to use a tripod, why not go for a 15X? Then the difference will be significant and you will have the equivalent of a 20-25X scope.
 

typo

Well-known member
George,

You raise some points in your last post that juggle various aspects of technicaly performance and user perception which I would agree with mostly, but other elements would vary according to the user.

I haven't tried that many, but so far I would rule out 15x for hand held use. The issue for me has not necessarily been the magnification or the weight. It's more the inabilty to hold them in a position where I can both focus and hold them in a balanced position without additional strain on the hands which aggrevates the shake. I'd agree a view with a tripod can be really rewarding. So far I haven't found a satisfactory adaptor which would allow me to use an x15 with a monopod (unlike x50 scopes). With stronger hands and wider IPDs others may have more success.

I think we would all agree shake impairs the view, but how much will vary with the individual's physical makeup, the weight and balance of the binocular, and actually the user's acuity. For me it's normally in the 30 to 50% range for loss of limiting detail, but if I use reduced acuity it can be as low as zero. However, perception is quite different.

You suggest the difference between an 8x and 12x may not be very obvious. From my experience, given the right binoculars, I'd have to disagree. Technically a 12x can deliver at most a 50% improvement in detail over an 8x, but that Meostar 12x50 I reviewed gave the impression that it had double the magnification. I've also tried 10x binoculars that appeared to have lower magnification than an 8x. I'm not at all sure what the brain is doing with the signals from our eye, but binocular characteristics that appear to be important seem to include AFOV, edge sharpness, contrast profile and stereopsis amongst other things. I've tried a monster 15x110 with a 90° AFOV which was awsome. My first guess was 30x. It may not be 'real' but what we think we see may have little to do with physics much of the time.

Of course it's possible to boost the magnification of one barrel of a binocular and effectively use it as a scope, which I've found can be useful on occasions, but can be limited either the optical quality of the binocular or the reduced acuity of the eye at small exit pupils. You may noy see any more detail with a 15x50 than a 12x50 when boosted 2x.

David
 
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adhoc

Well-known member
The difference between a 8x and a 12X, both mounted on a tripod, is there, but sometimes it is not that obvious, If you are going to use a tripod, why not go for a 15X? Then the difference will be significant and you will have the equivalent of a 20-25X scope.

I am not sure whether your post is directly for Pinewood/Arthur or me but I will respond. In the meantime we have the interesting comments above by Typo/David.

We see that for Arthur there is a significant difference between even 10x mounted and 12x mounted; I have cautioned about adding a 12x just for mounted use if one already has a 10x because the increase in image detail versus 10x mounted might possibly not be worth that. I should think that to anyone the difference between 8x mounted and 12x mounted will be striking. To me (as an individual user) there is no gain in mounting an 8x. There is some steadying but at the distance at which this makes a visible difference the subject is too far for an 8x image to convey more useful detail. With 10x mounted versus 10x handheld, however, there is a significant difference in image detail. There is a further improvement with 12x mounted over 10x mounted. Thus the difference between 12x mounted and 8x mounted will be that much greater.

A 15x will have the disadvantage that it is very difficult to use handheld. About this there are many comments like David's on the internet. (I have negative experience with one 16x model.)

The handheld use of 12x is difficult for some, but found quite easy by others, of even average or slight build. We see this in David's recent review of the Meopta HD 12x50, and this video of its Cabelas version, which although by less of an expert conveys that well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umrBk2nKius. It seems that across varying size and strength of users heavier weight (up to a point) in a binocular of about 12x power can actually help make it steadier.
 
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oldfortyfive

Well-known member
I've not had any real problem hand holding my 12x. Viewing things like aircraft is easier than ground level objects. You'll have to put them down and rest the arms more, but it's workable. As I noted earlier plan on having a tripod adapter too.
 

adhoc

Well-known member
Among those who can hold a 8x steady enough but not a 10x, or a 10x but not 12x, in ordinary bird watching, many will find that they can use the higher power or powers for observing a distant raptor in flight, well enough even to make out finer points in ID, or I assume, an aircraft flying across. I think this is because the binocular is anyway being moved, smoothly, as it follows the subject, and then shake does not occur or does not affect this, and also it is being held more vertically.
 
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adhoc

Well-known member
...If you are going to use a tripod, why not go for a 15X? Then the difference will be significant and you will have the equivalent of a 20-25X scope.

I am keenly interested in a conversion factor, with rule-of-thumb, or even very rough, being good enough, to compare the effective magnification of a mounted binocular to the magnification of a mounted monocular scope of the same or similar optical quality. By effective I mean in the degree of detail conveyed. 14Goudvink, is that 15x -> 20-25x from your personal experience? If that ratio works for 10x then 10x -> 13-16x! Could anyone direct me to some material on this? Thank you!
 

typo

Well-known member
Adhoc,

Apologies for jumping in again.

I've found a number of published articles relating to this topic which do show quite large (~40%) improvements in tests relating to disease conditions (eg. Low contrast targets) , but the consensus seems to be that for healthy individuals in good light the average binocular (two eye) advantage is around 10%. One interesting point made in the introduction to the attached paper is that the advantage decreases with the complexity of the target. This only relates to acuity of course, the are other quantitative and qualitative differences, of which stereopsis is probably best understood here.

Those tests were obviously done without the aid of binoculars or telescopes and I can't find anything published on the topic. In my own tests with binoculars using line charts, 10% improvement was my most common result but there were repeated occasions when I could get up to 25%, but I can't really explain the reason for that variation. I think the magnification illusion I mentioned before isn't relevant to acuity, but I'm sure for most the one eye vs. two eye advantage is pretty obvious. Stereopsis is measurable, and so is contrast but how that perceptually improves object identification, 'as if' the magnification was higher is beyond me and I've not seen anything published on the subject. I've found different binoculars give different results but I don't think George's numbers would be too far adrift as a guide to the perceptual advantage.

David
 

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14Goudvink

Well-known member
David and others,

From my personal experience I wouldn't recommend 15X or 12X for handheld use. For a quick look ok, but not for more extensive birding. I experience the same as David: the balance of highpower bins is often at the objective end so I have to reach back to focus which is uncomfortable and induces more shake/movement. And like Adhoc observed, for me too following a moving object is easier with high power bins than looking at a stationary one.

My remarks about the difference between 8x vs 12X and 8x vs 15X are based on casual observations instead of serious experiments. For a year I used a set of a high quality 8x32 and a high quality 12X50 and almost every time found myself testing if the 12X showed more relevant detail than the 8X. Sure, the bird looked larger, but did I really see so much more detail that it really helped in ID-ing or offered more enjoyment? Was it really worth carrying a second bin? Nowadays I use a 8x30 and 15x56 combo and all doubting/wondering is done and over with :)

What I was trying to say is: If you are going to carry a tripod, you might as well buy a 15X instead of a 12X. 15X will always show you more detail than 12X. And Meopta makes a very fine 15x56 that doesn't cost much more than the 12x50 and doesn't weight that much more either.

Regarding 15X bins compared to a scope I have read in various places and from experienced observers (Binomania?) that 15X on bins can be compared to 20-25X on a scope. If you have a 8X and a 10X bin you can see this for yourself. Just compare the 10X looking through one tube only with the 8X looking through both tubes. The idea is that using both eyes will give you more visual information than when you use just one eye (two eyes see more than one) so this offsets a difference in magnification.

George

PS
I just saw David's last post with more scientific material on the bins - scope issue.
If you have only one bin you can also see the effect: just compare the image using only one tube/eye with the image when you use both eyes/tubes.
 
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chill6x6

Well-known member
Gus .... I have to go along with Chuck's comments on the Swaro 12X50 but it is expensive, and as you said, out of the price range you have set.
http://www.birdforum.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=386597&d=1337957232

SORRY I sure missed those price constraints... I do that to myself sometimes DON'T WORRY! |=)|

Figuring that in it would be an easy choice to pick the Meopta Meostar 12X50 B1. From the experience I have with the Meostar 8X32 and 7X50....I'd have no problem purchasing it...
 

adhoc

Well-known member
Thank you David and George. A mounted 12x binocular will then be as good as a scope of 10-25% more power (David) or 33-67% more power (George), which is 13.3x-15x or 16x-20x, which averages to 16.7x. (Correction: please see PS#2.)

David, I prefer your summary as the article is not very light reading! It is not a perceptual but a more objective conversion ratio that I was thinking of. For a proper test it will be difficult to find several instruments of differing power with other parameters also equivalent across the range. Maybe a special zoom device needs to be made. Or if someone could get hold of two Leica Duovids, or better two each of the two Duovid models ;-)

George, your comments on 12x are useful in general but this does depend of course on the steadiness and the visual acuity of the user. I envy your "combo" which is the ultimate in my own quest for a minimal set! But for certain reasons going that far will not work for me. I too had remembered reading something like 20-25% and with your tipoff now found it in Binomania (in the Meopta 15x56 review). More ideas on this ratio are welcome, even based on "gut feeling", for the present.

PS#1. I should have added there: Although the power of the Duovid is stated to be "switchable" I have read in a user report that it can be varied continuously (zoom-wise).

PS#2. Sorry, I note that 33-67% was the ratio suggested only for 15x and was not claimed for 12x. Thus, going by those two sources, the max. for 12x may be less than 20x and the average less than 16.7x.
 
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Colin

Axeman (Retired)
England
Among those who can hold a 8x steady enough but not a 10x, or a 10x but not 12x, in ordinary bird watching, many will find that they can use the higher power or powers for observing a distant raptor in flight, well enough even to make out finer points in ID, or I assume, an aircraft flying across. I think this is because the binocular is anyway being moved, smoothly, as it follows the subject, and then shake does not occur or does not affect this, and also it is being held more vertically.

You are probably right. However, depending on what the observer wants to do make sway the choice. Say, the observer is watching a particular spot for long duration or waiting for something to move, then the lower mag is better. I find things with the bins and then use the scope if necessary as someone else has posted. If a tripod is needed, may as well put a scope on it and benefit from even more magnification. Personally I use 7x or 8x and occasionally 10x bins.
 
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