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Anyone still using the B&L Elite 8x50 (roof looking) Porro? (1 Viewer)

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
I've been digging deep in the archives of BF and I've found a number of threads dealing with the quirky-looking 8x50 Bausch & Lomb Elite 61-0850. By most accounts it seemed to be a very nice device with the main caveats of a narrow FOV and peculiar ergonomics that were not everybody's cup of tea. However, most threads are more than a decade old. So I would like to know if there's any forum member still using them in 2021 and, if so, I'd be grateful if they could comment or compare their performance to other current (or well known) binoculars, mainly in the 7x50 and 8x56 formats, since 8x50 is not a very common one, with some notable exceptions like Leica for example. For reference, in those formats (7x50/8x56) I use or have used the likes of Meopta Meostar, Vixen Foresta and Ultima (same as Celestron), Delta Optical Titanium, Fujinon FMT-SX, Steiner Nighthunter, etc.

Do the roof-looking B&L Porro still deliver? Or maybe it's the view matched by any of the number of current "lesser middle-class" MIC roofs with PC and dielectric coatings?

Any first hand experience and tips are greatly appreciated.
 

slingworks

Well-known member
Hi Yarrellii, I might share a bit.

I briefly had a pair in 2020. The 8x50s are very sharp and bright, but having what I felt was a tunnel like view. They were 7deg, although I wonder if maybe a bit less? Resolution was absolutely outstanding as was also brightness and the colors superb. But I did not like the tunnel like view they gave, nor did I like how they balanced, so sold them off. The B&L 8x50 is a poro and I guess have none of the potential disadvantages of the big roofs. They had very good eye relief, but I do remember them having what I thought was allot of curvature at the edges for such a narrow field of view.

I'd say they're probably the ideal bin for certain applications, but not most. Good for lets, say, counting points on an Elk's rack at extreme range, but not so good for scanning/panning the horizon.

I have a pair of B&L 7x50 and Fujinon 7x50FMT-SX, and prefer those mainly for the slightly wider field, even if lacking in some other regards to the 8x50 Elites.....
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
Hi Yarrellii, I might share a bit.

I briefly had a pair in 2020. The 8x50s are very sharp and bright, but having what I felt was a tunnel like view. They were 7deg, although I wonder if maybe a bit less? Resolution was absolutely outstanding as was also brightness and the colors superb. But I did not like the tunnel like view they gave, nor did I like how they balanced, so sold them off. The B&L 8x50 is a poro and I guess have none of the potential disadvantages of the big roofs. They had very good eye relief, but I do remember them having what I thought was allot of curvature at the edges for such a narrow field of view.

I'd say they're probably the ideal bin for certain applications, but not most. Good for lets, say, counting points on an Elk's rack at extreme range, but not so good for scanning/panning the horizon.

I have a pair of B&L 7x50 and Fujinon 7x50FMT-SX, and prefer those mainly for the slightly wider field, even if lacking in some other regards to the 8x50 Elites.....
Slingworks, thank you ever so much for taking your time and collect all those memories and details.

This device seems to be a bit of an oddity (and a highly interesting one): not the most usual format, roof-looking Porro and by most accounts offering both terrific image and build quality. I also use a nice Porro 7x50, in my case it's the very light yet capable Vixen Ultima. I love 7x50, but I've always wondered whether 8x50 would give an edge in low light performance, given the increased magnification and the still large 6,25 mm exit pupil. Contemporary and quality central focus 7x50 Porro binoculars seem to be scarce, hence my interest in the 8x50 Elite (I saw and ad the other day, going for 250 €). However, two things worry me about the Elite, the+900 g weight and the limited FOV. According to the specs you are indeed right in thinking they're in the short side of 7⁰, because the specs say 6,3⁰.
I use the 7x50 almost every day. Because they are so comfortable to hold (those long, thick barrels are a joy to grab) and look through, due to the huge depth of field and large EP they make for great window binoculars, not specifically for birding, but just to see the world (obviously this includes birds on the garden and surrounding fields, but also backyard astronomy). So the question remains whether the image quality could compensate for the compromise in FOV and weird ergonomics.
 

smartfinds

New member
I've been digging deep in the archives of BF and I've found a number of threads dealing with the quirky-looking 8x50 Bausch & Lomb Elite 61-0850. By most accounts it seemed to be a very nice device with the main caveats of a narrow FOV and peculiar ergonomics that were not everybody's cup of tea. However, most threads are more than a decade old. So I would like to know if there's any forum member still using them in 2021 and, if so, I'd be grateful if they could comment or compare their performance to other current (or well known) binoculars, mainly in the 7x50 and 8x56 formats, since 8x50 is not a very common one, with some notable exceptions like Leica for example. For reference, in those formats (7x50/8x56) I use or have used the likes of Meopta Meostar, Vixen Foresta and Ultima (same as Celestron), Delta Optical Titanium, Fujinon FMT-SX, Steiner Nighthunter, etc.

Do the roof-looking B&L Porro still deliver? Or maybe it's the view matched by any of the number of current "lesser middle-class" MIC roofs with PC and dielectric coatings?

Any first hand experience and tips are greatly appreciated.
I bought a new pair of B&L 8x50 Elites in 2008 and was pleased with them. Great build quality and I liked the ergos, even if unusual. By stacking the porro prisms above or below (depending on how you hold them) lessens the 3D effect of normal porro prism binos. There are very few 8x50 binos, my current one is a 1960s Nikon Mikron 8x50IF that has been refurbished and is outstanding. In 2008 I also purchased a B&L 12x50 Elite which was much more enjoyable then its brother the 8x50 Elite. The AFOV is much greater and it focused at 17 feet as I recall, which was perfect for my bird feeder. About 3 years ago I purchased another 8x50 and had a chance to compare it to a number of 8x binos and although it still was excellent, not as good as my Nikon 8x32HG for daytime viewing. It's too bad Nikon never made a quality 8x50 center focus model, but my 8x50 Mikron IF is mostly used for night skies so IF is fine with me. If a 12x50 Elite came my way I would not hesitate to purchase it if under $400. Modern high quality 8x42 roofs will outperform the 8x50 Elite but you have to step up to the $700+ range to get a good one. I don't know of any modern high quality 8x porros bigger than the 8x32mm size, which is too bad as a 8x50 modern porro would be a fine instrument. But fashion wins out with roofs being the only 8x42-8x56 high quality instruments being made today. Incidentally, there was or still is a Nikon Mikron 8x50IF on ebay recently, though it looks like it will need to come apart for cleaning etc.
 

yarrellii

Well-known member
Supporter
smartfinds, thanks for the detailed account. There's one in the local classifieds going for 250 €, and having read very positive reviews of it, I was very curious. Truth be told, there are a number of nice and not that expensive 8x56 roofs out there (I had a Delta Titanium open bridge and it was quite nice), that would probably outperform the Elite in low light. It was very clarifying to read that the 3D effect of Porro binoculars is diminished by the unusual set up of the prisms. Thanks!
 

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