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Binocular Evolution I: Field of View (3 Viewers)

kimmik

Well-known member
United Kingdom
I checked my non-IS Canon 8x32WP, 7.5°, and it has some slight pincushioning. Like Henry wrote, just enough to keep panning behaviour nice and civilized. And it has a very flat field, just like the IS-models.
I also checked a few of my other flat-field models and they all have a small amount of pincushion distortion. Way less than the old super wide models but of course they have smaller FoVs anyway.

That sounds like an excellent model to have next to an EL 8x32 to help elucidate the root cause of complex distortion. Especially if an internal schematic was found.

I do already notice several potentially relevant differences on spec sheet, including weight, FOV, ocular lens diameter, eye relief. Pushing these features while also correcting optical aberrations can't be easy.
 

Binocollector

Well-known member
Germany
That sounds like an excellent model to have next to an EL 8x32 to help elucidate the root cause of complex distortion. Especially if an internal schematic was found.
The only downside of the Canon 8x32WP is that it seems to have no p-coatings. I still like it but it is not up to modern standards. Handling is excellent however, as is image quality (despite the missing p-coatings) and build quality. That thing feels like a tank. AR-coatings are also excellent.
Just for the sake of comparing distortion you could try finding a used one. But they are often in bad condition. I was lucky to find one that looks like new.
I took two pics through the bino (and it looks pretty much the same when I use it) to show the distortion on the edge of the field -- once on the left where you can see the house-wall and once the wall in the garden on the bottom.
img30vcvn.jpg

img2phiud.jpg

img1vjc0e.jpg

img09hi50.jpg
 

ariban

Well-known member
I need to note that I do actually agree with this - but I also think that you can scan effectively (capturing a fast-moving target when the binocular is brought to your eye is different) with a binocular that doesn't have a SF or NL-like field of view. I've found that when using binoculars with really large fields of view (Nikon WX), yes the wider FOV covers a larger area but, and I suppose this depends on how obvious the target you are scanning for is, it takes longer for your eye to sweep that wider FOV. Whereas with something more restricted (eg Nikon SE) you quickly take in what's there and move on. You may end up traversing the binoculars more quickly but in essence cover the same area in more or less the same time. A really large field of view (WX) can actually also be distracting at times, in that it can capture other things besides the target you are seeking.

That being said I have never looked through a wide FOV binocular and wanted less of it!
Before I say anything, I will take a wide field binocular too for birding.

Two typical use cases for me are:

1. I am birding in a woodland. Scanning the undergrowth, looking for Warblers. I move left to right and back and will change my position slightly - moving torso or neck. The distances to subject could be as close as 4 or 5 meters to say 50-70 meters. The best/ widest bins (8x) have a field of 1.5 meters or so at 10 meters. The narrowest (Pentax ZDED) is 1.1 meters. Frankly, at close distances, even upto a bit far out.
2. I am in a car on a dry lake bed looking for Falcons. Distances involved are 100 meters plus. . Again I keep moving my head and/ torso. A wide field binocular helps scan better, but only by this much. This scenario would be same in the desert. Bustards, our ones are very skittish and 100 meters is a good proximity! Ample light but big birds - did well with the Pentax 8x43. I had a 8x32 NLP along. It too did well. Distant Harriers were easy to spot. In either bin one quality stood out - nicely corrected fields.

I usually pan slowly. Large birds flying across the field are also the slower ones. A White-eye flitting is always going to be fast and a challenge.

Arijit
 

cytherian

Well-known member
United States
I took a few more pics to compare curvature and pincushion on some of the EWA models.
Kowa:
img_20221124_112305-jpg.1480491
Interesting to see this on the Kowa BD-II XD 6.5x32. I had read a number of reviews and responses with complaints about the edge-to-edge clarity. Looks pretty reasonable here, given the price point.

I take it most people who are new to the arena of binoculars fixate on magnification and are ignorant about field-of-view, then later learn the folly. I humbly admit I was such a person. Of course magnification has its purpose and needs. I really see the merit of having 2 binoculars on hand--one for enjoying ultra clear bright wide FOV, and another pair with high magnification to lock onto greater detail for something of interest.
 

GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
Interesting to see this on the Kowa BD-II XD 6.5x32. I had read a number of reviews and responses with complaints about the edge-to-edge clarity. Looks pretty reasonable here, given the price point.

I take it most people who are new to the arena of binoculars fixate on magnification and are ignorant about field-of-view, then later learn the folly. I humbly admit I was such a person. Of course magnification has its purpose and needs. I really see the merit of having 2 binoculars on hand--one for enjoying ultra clear bright wide FOV, and another pair with high magnification to lock onto greater detail for something of interest.
Folly?
 

Binocollector

Well-known member
Germany
Interesting to see this on the Kowa BD-II XD 6.5x32. I had read a number of reviews and responses with complaints about the edge-to-edge clarity. Looks pretty reasonable here, given the price point.
I think it looks not as bad in this pic because the street was pretty close -- maybe around 20-30 meters. The soft outer area looks slightly worse when looking at targets farther out like 300m or more. But it's very comparable to most other low magnification wide angle binos that I looked through so far. And it has better eye relief than all my vintage wide angle porros, that's for sure.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Sorry, the folly of being mostly obsessed with magnification and clarity. IMHO field-of-view is equally important. Of course, the balance is subjective based on intended use (e.g. bird watching vs. hunting distant prey).
I was exactly the same, fixated on magnification and went straight for a 10x model. After 17 years I switched to 8x and have never regretted it. I do have a 10x available but rarely use it in the field.

Lee
 
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GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
I was exactly the same, fixated on magnification and went straight for a 10x model. After 17 years I switched to 8x and have never regretted it. I do have a 10x available but rarely use it in the field.

Lee
Lee,

I'm playing here. Riffing on Cytherian, just a little... You may remember a back and forth on a different thread a few months back.

Binoculars exist to provide magnification. That's it. Thats why they exist. Thats what they do. FOV is an attribute of a bino. One that differentiates one instrument from another, but it is not the reason the thing exists. FOV without magnification is not a thing. Can you imagine buying an FOV instrument? FOV of what?

I get FOV may be why one buys one bino vs another. As well though, I see folly in some folks fixation on FOV as Ive written several times. Divide 1000 whatevers by 10 to get down to the birding relevant thing. Dont be fooled by marketing.

But Lee please, let's not turn this into another 8 vs 10 thing.... again. Been there done that. A bino exists to provide magnification. WHAT magnification is the buyers choice. We've talked about this.

Cytherian if FOV is material to you, choose the bino you prefer. But FOV more important than magnification? Nah. Baby and bathwater.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Lee,

I'm playing here. Riffing on Cytherian, just a little... You may remember a back and forth on a different thread a few months back.

Binoculars exist to provide magnification. That's it. Thats why they exist. Thats what they do. FOV is an attribute of a bino. One that differentiates one instrument from another, but it is not the reason the thing exists. FOV without magnification is not a thing. Can you imagine buying an FOV instrument? FOV of what?

I get FOV may be why one buys one bino vs another. As well though, I see folly in some folks fixation on FOV as Ive written several times. Divide 1000 whatevers by 10 to get down to the birding relevant thing. Dont be fooled by marketing.

But Lee please, let's not turn this into another 8 vs 10 thing.... again. Been there done that. A bino exists to provide magnification. WHAT magnification is the buyers choice. We've talked about this.

Cytherian if FOV is material to you, choose the bino you prefer. But FOV more important than magnification? Nah. Baby and bathwater.
Absolutely agree my binos are there to provide me with 8x magnification (sometimes 10x). A more generous fov simply means I get 8x magnification of a bigger slice of the world every time I look through them.

Lee
 

cytherian

Well-known member
United States
Cytherian if FOV is material to you, choose the bino you prefer. But FOV more important than magnification? Nah. Baby and bathwater.
I meant to impart that I see them as equally important. Sure, magnification is essential. But it isn't necessarily the priority. Any maker can magnify... but providing it in a pleasing & highly useful form is another talent altogether. This is why alpha binos exist, isn't that so?
 

Binocollector

Well-known member
Germany
Binoculars exist to provide magnification. That's it. Thats why they exist. Thats what they do. FOV is an attribute of a bino. One that differentiates one instrument from another, but it is not the reason the thing exists. FOV without magnification is not a thing. Can you imagine buying an FOV instrument? FOV of what?
That argument makes no sense.
Imagine the following statement:
"Cars exist to get you from A to B. That's it. That's why they exist. That's what they do. Horsepower is an attribute of a car. One that differentiates one car from another, but it is not the reason the thing exists. Horsepower without getting from A to B is not a thing. Can you imagine buying a HP car? HP of what?"
And yet people by cars with a lot of horsepower.
I get FOV may be why one buys one bino vs another. As well though, I see folly in some folks fixation on FOV as Ive written several times. Divide 1000 whatevers by 10 to get down to the birding relevant thing. Dont be fooled by marketing.
Who gets "fooled by marketing" when buying 7x35 binos from the 70's? They are not marketed and just a short while ago, a large FoV didn't seem to be much of a concern for the alpha makers.
So all things being equal, I'd always prefer a larger FoV. All things are not equal of course. To stay with my car analogy (us Germans love our cars) - do you want more hp or more trunk space?
I think it's not up for debate that there is a certain minimum of FoV to even be useful, and a certain FoV that might get too large and beginning to show too much abberations, distortions, whatever. I personally never came across a bino though where I said, "oh, now this is too much". And to claim magnification is the only important thing? It seems FoV has been very much a driving factor in bino development lately.
If all we care about is magnification, we might just as well still use Galilean binoculars with a tiny FoV.
To claim one cares not about FoV, only magnification should better read "I don't care about FoV past a certain point", let's say 60° AFoV.
Edit: just like with cars, one would maybe not buy one with 20 hp, while 60 might be fine and 500 too much for most uses.
 
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Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I get FOV may be why one buys one bino vs another. As well though, I see folly in some folks fixation on FOV as Ive written several times. Divide 1000 whatevers by 10 to get down to the birding relevant thing. Dont be fooled by marketing.
The percentage difference between two binos, of fov at 1,000 whatevers, is the same at 10 whatevers. So if bino A has a fov of 10% bigger than bino B at 1,000 whatevers, Bino A will have a fov 10% bigger at 10 whatevers. For example two of my favourite binos are Zeiss SF8x32 (fov 155m at 1,000) and Leica Trinovid HD 8x32 (fov 124m at 1,000). It is clear that the SF has a significant fov advantage (which may or may not be important to any one observer) and that this advantage will be present at all distances. There is no marketing tomfoolery going on here. Fov at 1,000 is simply a standardised way to express fov and to allow an easy comparison of different binos.

And don't fall into the trap of thinking binos are only made with birders in mind. Distances that are relevant to birders are not relevant to everybody that buys binoculars, so bino manufacturers have simply chosen 1,000 m or ft as being simple to understand and compare, whether the user only uses them in the backyard, or at the horse-racing track, or while visiting the old towns in Italy or Greece, or watching deer and goats up in the mountains, or observing yachts and dolphins down on the coast.

Lee
 
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William Lewis

Wishing birdwatching paid the bills.
United Kingdom
I'm not too fussed about a mega wide fov, perfectly happy with 60 ish degrees apparent but anything over 110m at 1000m is fine by me for practical use, whether it's in a 7x 8x or 10x.

Talking of which my brief bit of birding this morning didn't require a huge fov!
 

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GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
That argument makes no sense.
Imagine the following statement:
"Cars exist to get you from A to B. That's it. That's why they exist. That's what they do. Horsepower is an attribute of a car. One that differentiates one car from another, but it is not the reason the thing exists. Horsepower without getting from A to B is not a thing. Can you imagine buying a HP car? HP of what?"
And yet people by cars with a lot of horsepower.

Actually it does and so does your example. Binoculars exist to magnify, bring objects closer, make them bigger - your choice. Cars exist to get us from point A to Point B. These are their primary functions, why they exist.

FOV is a plus that compliments, enhances the magnification mission, along with other attributes. Horsepower (top speed) or torque (acceleration) similarly enhances the job of getting us from here to there, along with the steering wheel, brakes, etc.
 

GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
The percentage difference between two binos, of fov at 1,000 whatevers, is the same at 10 whatevers. So if bino A has a fov of 10% bigger than bino B at 1,000 whatevers, Bino A will have a fov 10% bigger at 10 whatevers. For example two of my favourite binos are Zeiss SF8x32 (fov 155m at 1,000) and Leica Trinovid HD 8x32 (fov 124m at 1,000). It is clear that the SF has a significant fov advantage (which may or may not be important to any one observer) and that this advantage will be present at all distances. There is no marketing tomfoolery going on here. Fov at 1,000 is simply a standardised way to express fov and to allow an easy comparison of different binos.

And don't fall into the trap of thinking binos are only made with birders in mind. Distances that are relevant to birders are not relevant to everybody that buys binoculars, so bino manufacturers have simply chosen 1,000 m or ft as being simple to understand and compare, whether the user only uses them in the backyard, or at the horse-racing track, or while visiting the old towns in Italy or Greece, or watching deer and goats up in the mountains, or observing yachts and dolphins down on the coast.

Lee
We've had this conversation Lee.
 

GrampaTom

Well-known member
United States
Who gets "fooled by marketing" when buying 7x35 binos from the 70's? They are not marketed and just a short while ago, a large FoV didn't seem to be much of a concern for the alpha makers.
So all things being equal, I'd always prefer a larger FoV. All things are not equal of course. To stay with my car analogy (us Germans love our cars) - do you want more hp or more trunk space?
I think it's not up for debate that there is a certain minimum of FoV to even be useful, and a certain FoV that might get too large and beginning to show too much abberations, distortions, whatever. I personally never came across a bino though where I said, "oh, now this is too much". And to claim magnification is the only important thing? It seems FoV has been very much a driving factor in bino development lately.
If all we care about is magnification, we might just as well still use Galilean binoculars with a tiny FoV.
To claim one cares not about FoV, only magnification should better read "I don't care about FoV past a certain point", let's say 60° AFoV.
Edit: just like with cars, one would maybe not buy one with 20 hp, while 60 might be fine and 500 too much for most uses.
What does buying 7x35 binos from the 70s have to do with this, please? I know you are a bino collector, but I miss your point. If you prefer a large FOV, thats cool. It is your choice. You buy a bino cuz it magnifies. You buy a particular bino cuz it has the wider FOV, that you like, that compliments what you see when viewing with that X. See it?

"And to claim magnification is the only important thing? It seems FoV has been very much a driving factor in bino development lately."

The only important thing? Did I say that? Apologize if i did.

I agree FOV has been a driver of late. It reminds me of women's skirt lengths or 2 button vs 3 button mens suits. Course that'll date me. If you're a bino maker and looking for ways to sell more in a competitive market, such as we have, certain attributes come and go. FOV wasnt emphasized for awhile, so the opportunity existed for the makers to add a bit and advertise it to sell more. Remember 2 summers back when the SF 32s were announced and guys were waiting? Swaro dropped the NL 42 bomb with widest FOV. Some here cancelled there SF order in anticipation. Then still waiting for the SF 32, the NL 42 being delivered Swaro announced the NL32. That was fun. But look at those FOV numbers. The diff for we birders (yes I know Lee binos arent just for birding) ain't much. The race was on. We bought.
 

Paultricounty

Well-known member
United States
FOV is like a fad, that comes around every generation or so. So many of us today talk about wide field binoculars being 8 to 8.5 degrees. Truly that’s not really wide. The vintage high quality binos from the 50’s to the 80’s are the true wide field binoculars With 10 to over 13 degrees.
 

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kimmik

Well-known member
United Kingdom
I wouldn’t call wide fov a fad, as the current fov race is in compact roof format, and furthermore adds the challenges of internal focusing, and good edge correction.

Not having owned a vintage ultrawide, but the photos suggest substantial weight, and externally focused design.
 

Binocollector

Well-known member
Germany
Not having owned a vintage ultrawide, but the photos suggest substantial weight, and externally focused design.
There are far more compact EWA designs than the 7x35 Japanese porros. Like the 6x24 Komz super wide or the 6x25 skeleton binos (one of my absolute favourite super wide angle) with 11.5°.
I think the most impressive are still the 8x30, 10° models however. Those really feel like you can no longer see where the FoV ends without rolling your eyes around. And they are fairly compact for porros.
True, they all have external focusing but I know how to open them should they ever get dust or moisture inside. The Komz 6x24 is also pretty well sealed with the felt on the ocular shafts that keeps out dust and moisture to a certain degree and the rest of the body being pretty well sealed with the typical "Russian black goo".
I think these old things kick behinds.
If you find a good one it will be as sharp as todays top models but not as bright of course because of the coatings. Some are fairly good though and for daytime use I don't really need 90+ % light transmission.
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The most compact wide angle design would be the 2x54 starfield binos of course.
w1c6p.jpg
 

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