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Latest Optics not floating my boat ... (1 Viewer)

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
8x25 Zeiss Victory Pocket.

If it was the only binocular you owned, you might use it, albeit with initial reluctance. I expect that it may meet some of your needs, and perhaps fail miserably at others, as it appears all binoculars are doomed to do in some capacity, with the exception of your beloved Zen Ray. Since you've been so faithful to this one binocular, which nothing on the market can best, perhaps your search for the perfect bin has been over for some time. I get the impression that you are so used to a single optical device that everything that differs from it falls short in comparison for one reason or another. If you had to use a few different ones in rotation, you might find each has some merits, and some faults, but would be able to adapt more readily to each one in short order, like different musical instruments.

Due to your physical circumstances, it seems weight of said object is a primary issue, hence my suggestion. If you can alleviate that one issue, maintain physical comfort, still get good optical performance, and your enjoyment of observing nature improves, your opinion may evolve about what your critical needs truly are.

Cheers,

Bill
Bill, I appreciate the advice of the 8x25 Zeiss Victory Pocket - but I'm far from ready to go there .... maybe one long day from now when I'm wrinkled, old, and grey ! Even going to a Swaro 8x32 SV would somehow seem like 'giving up' 😲
A glamazon should be able to take on the world - 42mm binoculars included 😁

You are right, the 25mm would fail miserably at a few key performance parameters for me. All bins on the market contain a compromise in one or more areas for me, and I expect most people. It's not so much that I am used to the single device, it's just that the Zen ticks several key boxes - ergonomics, including focus wheel tactile feel (probably it's best and most important feature !)/speed, central view, CA handling, and Fov.

I have even learned to live with some of its drawbacks - focus wheel backlash /hysteresis, average outer field view, and average colour spectrum extremities saturation, and average glare handling. Average - not bad, but just a little short of wow in those areas.

In short, I can whack it up to the face (specs always on), get a good view of an off axis fleeting bird, change focus as rapidly as needed, and not be plagued by major annoyances like finicky alignment, debilitating glare or CA. In that regard it is 'good enough', and a pleasure to hold (if not cart around at the moment).

Paying (substantial amounts) for other bins with other compromises just does not seem an efficient use of the planet or funds (which could be better spent on blueberry muffins, banana smoothies, and fruit salads ! 😁 )

I could be happy enough to pay even for a less than perfect bin if it was a worthwhile improvement in key areas. If you could shove NL, SF (would have to fix up that green ham - welcome to Mars colour cast), or even SV optics in a Nikon MHG body, keep the weight down to zero increase, and swap the focus wheel out for a knurled lightweight metal one - then I would be a very happy camper 😊


Chosun 👧
 
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Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
In my limited experience, binoculars only "fail" when we spend time looking for flaws. (unless we shop in the lowest tiers)

Once we find them they continue to bug us, so they are a constant annoyance.

I see so much that I would never even know was there that I don't seem to ever notice failures.
That's true.

Though, after the honeymoon period is over, after the analysis phase is over, and you get down purely to the just use 'em and enjoy what you are looking at phase, even things that bug us can fade into relative insignificance.

For me the standout annoyance of the Zen was it's focus wheel backlash. Used to drive me mental, and I thought it would be a fatal flaw in the Zen's longevity in the stable.

The key factor in whether a drawback continues to annoy you rests on two parameters.
1) does it seriously affect the ability to get onto and view birds ?
2) is the grass greener ? (and how green ?)

I have learned to adjust/ workaround, the backlash problem, and the annoyance has faded to less than fatal levels because that green grass never materialized over the ensuing decade, or wasn't green enough ......

Yes there have been some fantastic full sized developments - SV (slow velocity), HT (heavy tank), SF (slow focus and green ham view !) , NV (not viable at that weight), NL (not light), and the only on par with the Zens - MHG. None are worth the spend, given the substantial weights of the alphas, and/or the contrived ergonomics, and none have that tactile delight of the Zen's focus wheel (even if they all roundly outperform it in the backlash and precision stakes).

So for all those reading my view of the Zens as blinkered praise, think of it more as moderately damming the competition .... grass less than green (or ham in the case of the SF !)



Chosun 🙅
 

wdc

Well-known member
That's true.

Though, after the honeymoon period is over, after the analysis phase is over, and you get down purely to the just use 'em and enjoy what you are looking at phase, even things that bug us can fade into relative insignificance.

For me the standout annoyance of the Zen was it's focus wheel backlash. Used to drive me mental, and I thought it would be a fatal flaw in the Zen's longevity in the stable.

The key factor in whether a drawback continues to annoy you rests on two parameters.
1) does it seriously affect the ability to get onto and view birds ?
2) is the grass greener ? (and how green ?)

I have learned to adjust/ workaround, the backlash problem, and the annoyance has faded to less than fatal levels because that green grass never materialized over the ensuing decade, or wasn't green enough ......

Yes there have been some fantastic full sized developments - SV (slow velocity), HT (heavy tank), SF (slow focus and green ham view !) , NV (not viable at that weight), NL (not light), and the only on par with the Zens - MHG. None are worth the spend, given the substantial weights of the alphas, and/or the contrived ergonomics, and none have that tactile delight of the Zen's focus wheel (even if they all roundly outperform it in the backlash and precision stakes).

So for all those reading my view of the Zens as blinkered praise, think of it more as moderately damming the competition .... grass less than green (or ham in the case of the SF !)



Chosun 🙅
The good news is that you've saved a lot of money over the years. You clearly don't need another binocular, as you've constructed a series of subjective rationalizations that make that prospect not a practical or appealing option for you..

The bad news is that, with the performance envelope slowly increasing, and the fact your bin is no longer supported by an actual manufacturer, there is no place to go when your current bin develops more serious problems that I'm not sure anybody will fix. At that point, its either give up your hobby, or make the conscious choice to adapt to what's available.

In addition, when you label all the alphas in simplistic, derogatory terms, I have to question whether you've made any meaningful effort to try other binoculars, giving them the opportunity to prove their value in the field, over time. Its humorous to a degree, but in the end, just plain griping, based almost entirely on specs, not actual, sustained use.

I sense that only you will be able to resolve this dilemma, not the manufacturers ;-)
(Why o why do the people whose products I do not support financially, don't make a binocular that perfectly meets my needs)

Best of luck Chosun, and I hope your health improves. May your Zen Rays live long and prosper!

Regards,

Bill
 
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John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi Chosun,

In relation to your health problems, have you considered the possibility of a Finnstick to help minimise discomfort?

As per Kimmo's use with the Canon 10x42 IS binocular:
. . . What I use almost all the time is a lightweight finnstick screwed right into the tripod attachment thread under the binocular body. My present one is a Cullmann freestyler selfie stick, which is very light and has a foam-padded bottom section. This allows me to hold my hands down over my belly while viewing, greatly reducing fatigue. This way I can view for as long as I like, occasionally lifting one hand up to focus or re-activate the IS if more than five minutes have gone by since I pressed the button.
. . .

And an image with a Swarovski EL and the hands at waist level, from: Porvoo Pop in visit


John
 

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Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
The good news is that you've saved a lot of money over the years. You clearly don't need another binocular, as you've constructed a series of subjective rationalizations that make that prospect not a practical or appealing option for you..

The bad news is that, with the performance envelope slowly increasing, and the fact your bin is no longer supported by an actual manufacturer, there is no place to go when your current bin develops more serious problems that I'm not sure anybody will fix. At that point, its either give up your hobby, or make the conscious choice to adapt to what's available.

In addition, when you label all the alphas in simplistic, derogatory terms, I have to question whether you've made any meaningful effort to try other binoculars, giving them the opportunity to prove their value in the field, over time. Its humorous to a degree, but in the end, just plain griping, based almost entirely on specs, not actual, sustained use.

I sense that only you will be able to resolve this dilemma, not the manufacturers ;-)
(Why o why do the people whose products I do not support financially, don't make a binocular that perfectly meets my needs)

Best of luck Chosun, and I hope your health improves. May your Zen Rays live long and prosper!

Regards,

Bill
Well, the even better news is that so far, they've cost me less than 8c a day - and that's falling all the time 😊

If there are any dramas down the track - I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

Isn't all binocular selection and use subjective rationalization .... ? based on objective parametrics .....

Far from simplistic derogation, I have tried a plethora of high end bins (sans the two NL's and the 32 SF) over extended periods (up to weeks at a time) - my opinions remain the same of them as my initial studied analysis of each. It is interesting that when you put them down for a period, only to pick them up again, months, or years later - that those same initial druthers leap out at you.

It takes dedicated singular use for the rose coloured blinkers to descend .....

Conversely, someone like Chuck with a multitude of bins on rotation, may find that each has it's own peculiar joy. Personally, I be nagged by FOMO and constantly second guessing whether I'd brung the right one for any given moment !

I heartily concur - it is most rude of those manufacturer's not to make exactly what I want !

Thanks for the good wishes 👍



Chosun 🙅
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Hi Chosun,

In relation to your health problems, have you considered the possibility of a Finnstick to help minimise discomfort?

As per Kimmo's use with the Canon 10x42 IS binocular:


And an image with a Swarovski EL and the hands at waist level, from: Porvoo Pop in visit


John
Thanks for the suggestion John, I may give that a go when I'm back on deck and see how it compares.

The main issue atm is just walking around, being out and about for any length of time, and carrying loads.

My chiro (home of the glorious spinal decompression machine) is right on board with me looking up with bins - a lot of birds are shrub/ canopy dwellers where I go. The issue is more one of quick fatigue and pain in the lower back and/or sessions cut short by kicking a half submerged stone on a track or something .....

Slowly slowly catchy monkey 🙊😊

So many high end bins are so close, yet so far. If I look at it objectively, it really is the lovely comfortable, stable feel of the Zens along with the tactile sensation of the fast focus wheel that is hard to beat. I also have the quiet comfort of seeing the eyebrow of a head honcho at Swarovski just about leap off his head when looking through the Zens. 😊


Chosun 👧
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
What about the new Opticron Aurora ?
Looks interesting - I wonder how it compares to the Nikon MHG ? Anyone know of a direct shootout ??

It didn't inspire me to change, but if I was coming into the market brand new today, that's probably where I'd land .....

Both of those bins would be around $1400 Australian Peso propositions.



Chosun 👧
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
Bill, I appreciate the advice of the 8x25 Zeiss Victory Pocket - but I'm far from ready to go there .... maybe one long day from now when I'm wrinkled, old, and grey ! Even going to a Swaro 8x32 SV would somehow seem like 'giving up'...

In short, I can whack it up to the face (specs always on), get a good view of an off axis fleeting bird, change focus as rapidly as needed, and not be plagued by major annoyances like finicky alignment, debilitating glare or CA. In that regard it is 'good enough', and a pleasure to hold (if not cart around at the moment)...
Zenith 7x50, Gerber 7x50, Zen-Ray ED3 8x43, Zen-Ray PRIME HD 10x42, Swift Audubon ED 8.5x44

Chosun Juan, It strikes me that the set of bins that you've owned are, in my judgement, quite poor in meeting the performance standards that you've outlined in this thread and others. I think you should reconsider wdc's advice. Or maybe I should say that you should pause a second to actually consider his advice, especially the last sentence of that 2nd paragraph. Here is a quotation, for your convenience.
8x25 Zeiss Victory Pocket.

If it was the only binocular you owned, you might use it, albeit with initial reluctance. I expect that it may meet some of your needs, and perhaps fail miserably at others, as it appears all binoculars are doomed to do in some capacity, with the exception of your beloved Zen Ray. Since you've been so faithful to this one binocular, which nothing on the market can best, perhaps your search for the perfect bin has been over for some time. I get the impression that you are so used to a single optical device that everything that differs from it falls short in comparison for one reason or another. If you had to use a few different ones in rotation, you might find each has some merits, and some faults, but would be able to adapt more readily to each one in short order, like different musical instruments.

If you wear glasses, you really should give the Zeiss 8x25 Victory a try. Otherwise, when it comes to grip, I suggest a Zeiss SF model and for off-axis viewing something like the Zeiss 7x42 BGATP. As a lover off all those bins, I've found that the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL SV preFP is the best compromise one-size-fits-all birding bin for me, but I still find much use for the 8x25 Victory.

--AP
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
Try looking at what is available without any preconceived notions.

In my opinion if you set up a whole list of "requirements" there is a significant probability that you will never find anything which will make you happy. The reason being that what you have convinced yourself you must have may not exist.

Some folks'requirements even fall outside the laws of optical physics.

We have seen this happen here, and some people are just never satisfied anyway.
 

dries1

Member
Is there any thing around $1000.00 in US dollars that is sold in Australia that is better than the Zens?, it seems like the prices there are even higher than the EU, although I understand the remote location - shipping and all - I grew up on an island, plywood was always expensive.
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Is there any thing around $1000.00 in US dollars that is sold in Australia that is better than the Zens?, it seems like the prices there are even higher than the EU, although I understand the remote location - shipping and all - I grew up on an island, plywood was always expensive.
Not to my knowledge.

The Nikon MHG is about on a par (and handily ~ 100grams lighter - it's best feature). It also costs ~$1200 AUD more than I paid for the Zen !
Would I pay that to change, given the MHG's shortcomings over the Zen in some areas ? .... nup.

Would I have chosen the MHG over the Zen had it been available from the outset ? ..... absolutely.


Chosun 👸
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Try looking at what is available without any preconceived notions.

In my opinion if you set up a whole list of "requirements" there is a significant probability that you will never find anything which will make you happy. The reason being that what you have convinced yourself you must have may not exist.

Some folks'requirements even fall outside the laws of optical physics.

We have seen this happen here, and some people are just never satisfied anyway.
Isn't that what we all do though ? .... set up a list of personal requirements .... ??

Mine (like plenty of other folk) - just happen to be at the edge (or just over) of what physics can provide. It then becomes about getting the best compromise possible. The compulsion then, to fork over lots of folding, just for another lot of compromises, just isn't there.


Chosun 🙅‍♀️
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Chosun Juan, It strikes me that the set of bins that you've owned are, in my judgement, quite poor in meeting the performance standards that you've outlined in this thread and others. I think you should reconsider wdc's advice. Or maybe I should say that you should pause a second to actually consider his advice, especially the last sentence of that 2nd paragraph. Here is a quotation, for your convenience.


If you wear glasses, you really should give the Zeiss 8x25 Victory a try. Otherwise, when it comes to grip, I suggest a Zeiss SF model and for off-axis viewing something like the Zeiss 7x42 BGATP. As a lover off all those bins, I've found that the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL SV preFP is the best compromise one-size-fits-all birding bin for me, but I still find much use for the 8x25 Victory.

--AP
Well Alexis, all of those bins were at one time or another, either starters, or upgrade searches - all the later ones went back to meet their makers for one reason or another. Too much weight affecting all of them.

While no doubt I 'could' get used to rotating different bins - why would I ? None of them really float my boat, and it would seem to me to just be throwing good money after average .....

My pupils dilate to 4mm+ even in bright daylight, and I find the Swaro 8x32 SV uncomfortably small to hold - (and I've used it for weeks at a time), so it's not just a matter of getting 'used to it'. I can't even see then, how the Victory 8x25 is even a starter.

Perhaps it is just a matter of getting stronger - always preferable - but a couple of speed hump incidents in the last few days, tell me that may be a while coming.

The other option is to seriously investigate custom options - even on a small commercial scale .....

An 8x42 NL that weighs less than an MHG anyone .... ?

Chosun 🙅‍♀️
 

Gijs van Ginkel

Well-known member
Chosun,
If you are looking for a new/other binocular for a reasonable price and not so heavy the GPO Passion ED is perhaps something to consider: weight 520 g, close focus 1,7 m, FOV 139m/1000 m and very compact. Also available in attractive colors, I hope to investigate it soon. According to the company information light transmission is 90%. Price in our country is 380 euros. Could be a good alternative to your Zen.
Gijs van Ginkel
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Chosun,
If you are looking for a new/other binocular for a reasonable price and not so heavy the GPO Passion ED is perhaps something to consider: weight 520 g, close focus 1,7 m, FOV 139m/1000 m and very compact. Also available in attractive colors, I hope to investigate it soon. According to the company information light transmission is 90%. Price in our country is 380 euros. Could be a good alternative to your Zen.
Gijs van Ginkel
Gijs, that looks ok (maybe ER is a question mark?) , but it's 32mm ! .... I'm sure that when I've doubled my age a 32mm (especially one with a generous randpupille design like the Swaro SV) will suit quite nicely 🙂


Chosun 🙅‍♀️
 

paddy7

Well-known member
Well, with all the criteria as set out, and the state of optics development at this point in time, and 'ye cannae change the laws of physics, Jim..' i guess something has to give somewhere....
I suspect that the insistence on 42mm (is Australia short of light these days?) might be the dam that is preventing all the rest of it from being close to achievable....
 

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