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Has anyone tried the Switch Power Golden Rings? (1 Viewer)

Passive

Active member
I've been waiting, hoping someone would pipe up and offer some hand-held insight on the 7/12X Switch Power Leupold Golden Ring Binoculars. So far, no one has said anything. Anyone touch these yet?

Thanks.
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
Just wanted to respond to this old post because I think these are a fascinating idea. So far as I know, these binoculars are still not in production yet, and Leupold delayed their release. But if they can pull off the engineering feat, and actually produce binoculars that offer two different powers -- and without any significant optical or ergonomic compromises -- it would seem to me one of the most interesting developments in binoculars in quite some time.

The specs for the 32 mm version are out, and look quite intriguing on paper. See here:

http://www.leupold.com/observation/...n-ring-712x32mm-with-switch-power-technology/

Low weight (21 ounces), decent field of view (376/215), good eye relief (18.7/21.8) waterproof, and a relatively affordable price ($850 at Eagle Optics). But the delay in release suggests they may be having some difficulty in both achieving the novel design and maintaining high-quality optics.

Jim
 

lucznik

Inspector Gadget
JBut if they can pull off the engineering feat, and actually produce binoculars that offer two different powers -- and without any significant optical or ergonomic compromises -- it would seem to me one of the most interesting developments in binoculars in quite some time.
Jim

Well, except of course for the Leica Duovid - which already accomplished these ideals (though, with a much higher price tag.) o:D
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
Well, except of course for the Leica Duovid - which already accomplished these ideals (though, with a much higher price tag.) o:D

Thanks for pointing those out. I was not aware of them. However, they do not really meet the criteria I was thinking of. Even the 8/12 X 42s are far too heavy (37 ounces), have insufficient eye relief, and are obviously very expensive.

I first tried zoom binoculars about 40 years ago. (I forget the brand). I thought they were actually fairly good, and really thought zoom was a neat and potentially useful feature. I have been disappointed that more progress has not been made along these lines, and am hoping that Leupold will succeed in bringing this into the mainstream. These are not technically zoom binoculars of course, but the effect is almost the same.

Best,
Jim
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
It looks like they will be out in April. see this link: http://www.buytelescopes.com/product.asp?t=&pid=12727&m=176
Bob

I just called Leupold and the phone rep now states a date of July. I asked if that was a firm date and he said no, only an estimate. I am beginning to have serious doubts as to whether Leupold is really going to be able to pull this off and make switch power binoculars that are not only high quality but also lightweight and relatively affordable.

We shall see,
Jim
 
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Passive

Active member
I would be curious to know what the production delays are. Weren't they originally supposed to come out in May of 2007?
 

klar

Member
Just spoke to Eagle Optics this morning and they've had a very few of them in. There's a wait list and the 10/17x42s seem to be more popular. I asked to be put on the list for the 7/12x32s. I love my 6x32 Katmai's and I'm told the Switch binos are better - that's all I needed to know.
 

klar

Member
the 7/12x32s are being shipped..

every other binocular/monocular/scope i've ever bought was based on reading everything i could find here or on BVD or Cornell - this time there wasn't a word anywhere. There's some discussion on the Leica Duovids at 3x the price but nothing conclusive enough to say yes or no to a dual power binoc.

so, there wasn't any choice - i was forced to follow the correct path and order these.
 

klar

Member
First impressions of the 7/12x32

Receiving this yesterday was surprising since last week this bin was a big guess as to when or if it would be available. I’ve had some mixed feelings about this purchase but think it’ll be an interesting experience.

The carrying case, harness, stretchy neck strap and eyepiece and tethered ocular caps are all top quality. I’ve never seen a better original case and one that’s actually big enough for a loose fit and chocolate bar plus a wallet slipped into the pocket under the top flap.

The body of the bino had me worried. The engraving on one gold ring, with some letters discolored, said ‘FOV: 5.0*/2.6*’. I was relieved to see the silver sticker on the focus wheel say ‘7.2*/4.1*’. I knew the silver sticker had to be right since it looked like a sticker – the kind that can be quickly made by a sticker shop when the first production models can’t wait for the new gold rings. Also, who would buy a 7x binocular at 5*? The glue used for the sticker having air pockets, the crudely finished underside of the focusing joint, the strap lug finish and uneven seams all reminded me of the decent but crudely made telescopes coming out of China a few years ago. I have no idea where this was made. My ‘Green Ring’ Katmai has ‘Made in Japan’ stamped on it and, although much less expensive and a simpler body design, it has elegance. I expected a Golden Ring to at least give a similar impression. Ok, these are the trade-offs for not having the patience to wait. Mechanical finesse and detail are part of the allure of spending $850 but I can live with an early production model if it performs.

Looking into the objective, switching to the higher power appears to involve a lens element being folded into the light path, near the eyepiece end. The switch is clean although a tiny bit of refocus is needed depending on the distance. In future models, it would be nice to see a bit shorter throw for the switch lever and the lever rest points equa-distant from centre line. Also, there’s a very slight initial play in the focus wheel. I’ve come to like it actually since it intuitively gives a ‘notice’ without being intrusive, similar to steering lag in a car – if it’s too much it’s sloppy but a tiny bit is welcome.

Optics: I’m not a birder, yet. Most of my viewing has been astronomy, wildlife, touring and events. Over the past year or so I’m finding myself using binoculars more and more and, having had cataract surgery in both eyes recently, it’s turned out that I have better vision than ever before. What I’m finding is that I have to learn to see more critically. My comparison binoculars are Swift Audubons Model 804 (8.5x44 porro) and Leupold Katmai 6x32s.

So far what stands out is: the Switch/Power views give noticeably more color saturation than the Katmais and a bit more than the Audubons. The Switch/Power are slightly sharper than the Katmais and I’m not sure yet compared to the Audubons. Chromatic Aberration in the Switch/Power bothers me. Fringing on leaves against bright sky occurs about 4/5 from centre with the Katmais, ¾ with the Audubons and 2/3 with the Switch/Power at 7x. At 12x, the Switch/Power have a very small sweet spot less than 1/3 from centre. But, and it’s a very big but – how important is that for these types of high-contrast views and what did I expect when an optical system has to have some compromises? The view at 12x is sharp though. I question the prism type used and it would be an incredible binoc had they used that HD glass. I’d gladly spend an extra few hundred bucks.

What I did not expect was how easy 12x is to hold. I’m finding myself using 12x often and with a 4* field it’s not bad. 7x is more relaxing for longer scanning but the ability to jump into an area is something I’m finding very addictive. A light, high end spotting scope such as the Nikon ED50 or image stabilizer binocs are other options I’ve looked at but the ability to scan at low power and flip a switch and still hand-hold a good view without a tripod has me intrigued.

Oh – pleasant surprise: close focus is better than advertised – about 5 feet at 7x, 6 feet at 12x. This is one of those things that didn’t matter to me before but when I had it with the Katmais the feature became a necessity.

I see that the Switch/Powers are listed as ‘In Stock’ just this week so it’ll be interesting to see how others find them. It’s a great adventure for me, trying to figure out whether these are the ones or what direction this journey might take. A top end 10x versus a top end low power or this medium quality that does both? If nothing else, this binoc will help me find out I think.
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
Thanks for the detailed review klar! I have not taken the plunge yet, but plan to give them a try at some point. The miniscule differences in optical quality that distinguish $1000-$2000 binoculars from quality $500 binoculars do not get me excited, but these new switch power binoculars offer a definite advantage over traditional single-power binoculars. I found the comment below especially encouraging

What I did not expect was how easy 12x is to hold. I’m finding myself using 12x often and with a 4* field it’s not bad. 7x is more relaxing for longer scanning but the ability to jump into an area is something I’m finding very addictive. A light, high end spotting scope such as the Nikon ED50 or image stabilizer binocs are other options I’ve looked at but the ability to scan at low power and flip a switch and still hand-hold a good view without a tripod has me intrigued.

Best,
Jim
 
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Lewie

Well-known member
Good review.

I went and looked at the bins at EagleOptics web site. Pleasantly surprised at the good eye-relief and the low weight. A little disappointed at the narrow FOV. I also will be interested in reading more reviews.

Lew
 

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