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My review on some of the great 6-8x30's (1 Viewer)

I have posted a review of the Nikon Porro's through the years.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QJJINUPXa4

Simon,

Thanks for posting that "walk through time" Nikon 8x30 porro video.

I've tried the original E, both the 7x35 and the 10x35, and I also had a 7x35 WF and an 8x35 WF, which were similar to the E series except for having the wide focuser located between the barrel instead of narrow wheel near the EPs. The 8x35 WF's optics were quite good. 8.2* FOV, I think, and most of it sharp. Low ER like most WF bins of its time. The coatings were the last of the single blue MgF type, and the brightness and color rendition was very good, considering it wasn't MC, but the bin did suffer from flaring. The 7x35 WF sample's blue coatings are as advanced and is less neutral, a bit of yellow, but the flaring is better controlled.

Steve (mooreorless) and I compared the 8x35 WF to a 505 series 8x32 SE, and the resolution appeared very close.We didn't use a resolution chart, but we were able to read the same degree of detail on distance signs at a farmer's market across the street from the parking lot. The color rendition was not quite as "true" as the SE, but still very good.

What always impressed me about the Japanese-made Nikons was not only how "sharp" they were on-axis, but also their edge "sharpness". Even though there was some field curvature, the fall off at the edges was gradual rather than steep. Even my 8x30 EII with it's 8.8* FOV has "sharp" edges. I have to take a target to the very edge before it blurs. They achieve this without adding field flatteners. The 10x35 EII is also very good in this regard and so was the Japanese-made 8x36 Sporter I roof (though not as sharp on-axis since it lacked phase coatings).

Once I started trying various other brands including a 7x30 SLC, an 8x50 Octarem, Celestron 8x32 Ultima (Jap.) and 9.5x44 ED, and various Chinese-made bins, I wondered why they didn't make their edges sharper like the Nikons but instead had a fuzzy "ring" at the edges.

"Sharp" edges seemed to be characteristic of the "Nikon view" although I don't know if this applies to the earlier models you showed since I never tried them, but it did to the 7x35 and 8x35 WF, the 8-16x40 XL Zoom, the 10x50 Lookout II, 8x36 Sporter I, the E series, and the EIIs.

Nikon employed field flatteners with the SE, the HG, and the EDG series so they continued to emphasize "sharp" edges on their bins designed for terrestrial use long before the SV EL series.

Waterproofing isn't a high priority for me, but I as you mentioned in the video, it is for many birders, and I think that's the main reason why the SE and EII are not more widely used by birders, who instead buy roofs with similar optical quality that cost three to four times more.

You seem to be optimistic that the EII will still be around in 20 years and evolve into an "EIII". Perhaps if they make it WP. If not, it's hard to imagine the EII surviving another 20 years except in your collection and Fan Tao's Binocular Museum.

Thanks for keeping the interest in porros "alive".

Brock
 
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Thanks Brock, I had no idea the se's employed a FF lens? I am keen to bet my hands on some of the other models in the E range maybe the 10x35 but will have to start saving.
 
Thank you, Simon, for an interesting review via You Tube. Ten minutes of looking and listening well spent. I had wondered for some time what the "JB7" designation meant. I have owned a 7x35 Series A (since bought new in about 1970) which has the Nippon Kogaku and Nikon badges, but not the JB7. Some kind of transition in markings, perhaps? Mine carries the serial number, 4431XX, higher than the one you showed, and I still enjoy its pleasant view. Not up to current snuff optically, but quite sufficient for events in the Los Angeles Coliseum and most anything else under adequate illumination.

This newcomer is most grateful for the efforts you and many others put forth to share your knowledge and experience on this forum.

Ed
 
Thank you, Simon, for an interesting review via You Tube. Ten minutes of looking and listening well spent. I had wondered for some time what the "JB7" designation meant. I have owned a 7x35 Series A (since bought new in about 1970) which has the Nippon Kogaku and Nikon badges, but not the JB7. Some kind of transition in markings, perhaps? Mine carries the serial number, 4431XX, higher than the one you showed, and I still enjoy its pleasant view. Not up to current snuff optically, but quite sufficient for events in the Los Angeles Coliseum and most anything else under adequate illumination.

This newcomer is most grateful for the efforts you and many others put forth to share your knowledge and experience on this forum.

Ed
 
Good review and summary Simon. I only have 2 of the smaller Nikon's, a 7x35 E with the single coated lens. It has the 3 piece Kellner EP and a narrowish FOV at 7.3 but optically sharp. It does lack the brightness and contrast of the later Nikon's with M.C. lens. The second one is a 8x30 E 'C' [Criterion] with the later green M.C. coatings. It has a wider angle image with a 8.3 degree FOV. It has the 5 piece design. It is just a very nice binocular.
I certainly prefer the E series to the A series with the hard eye cups and limited ER as you say. The A model was introduced in 1959, the E's came out in 1978 and the new mult-coated E's in 1988. The E2s replaced the Es in 1999. Really, the earlier E series with the MC coatings are a great buy and are a cost efficient alternative to the more expensive E11's and SE's .

Chris [Charen]
 
Thanks for the review, Simon.

Since you're handy at disassembling binoculars and the E and EII objectives are interchangeable you might consider making up some models that Nikon never made. If you switch objectives between a 7x35 and 8x30 E the result is a very nice 6x30 and 9x35 E. I don't know why Nikon never made those. Instead of making a 9x35 E they went to the trouble to make a shorter focal length eyepiece for a 10x35. The 10x35 EII uses the same eyepiece as the 8x30 combined with a 35mm objective with a long enough focal length for 10x. If you combine either EII model with the shorter 35mm objective from a 7x35 E the result is a 9x35 EII.

Henry
 
Waterproofing isn't a high priority for me, but I as you mentioned in the video, it is for many birders, and I think that's the main reason why the SE and EII are not more widely used by birders, who instead buy roofs with similar optical quality that cost three to four times more.
This is something I've never quite figured out: surely the lack of waterproofing of the porros is just a marketing decision? I mean the difference between a porro and a roof is just the shape of the prism inside. How can this influence the ability to waterproof the outside?

--
Jan
 
Simon, thanks for the video. Jan, the foll. is prob. known to most who read this, but to remind: the Nikon EXs (~half-a-dozen models), some or all Swaro. Habichts, and many models of other makes are waterproof porros. In my exprnc. the wp. in the EX (two models) is fine. The foll. is from the review at optics4birding.com, in 2012, of the Kowa 6x30, ~$100 in the USA; it briefly gives info. on several aspects of this matter.

Traditionally porro-prism binoculars aren't sealed, so most are not waterproof, but the Kowa YFs are sealed and waterproof at least initially. We have no data about how long they retain that status with use and wear. It is worth noting in this context that Kowa warrants their product to be free of defects in material and workmanship for the lifetime of the product.
 
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This is something I've never quite figured out: surely the lack of waterproofing of the porros is just a marketing decision? I mean the difference between a porro and a roof is just the shape of the prism inside. How can this influence the ability to waterproof the outside?

--
Jan

Hi Jan

I am not very knowledgable about porros but I think they all focus by moving the eye pieces to and fro. It is an external focusing which means surfaces move in and out of the the binocular (this can also create a pumping and sucking of the volume inside) which can lead to water or dust getting in.

Sealing the moving surfaces is tricky and the tighter you seal these surfaces the harder it is to focus the bins.

No doubt if I have got some of this wrong one of our many porro fans will correct me.

Lee
 
The technology exists, it just requires adoption by the makers http://www.daiwa.com/reel/pop_magsealed.aspx

(it works well, in case you were wondering! ;) )

Hi Jabili

Thats really interesting, I've never seen that before although I have heard of magnetically controlled viscosity in suspension units.

I have three reservations about its application to porro bins focussing:

1 A rotating shaft can help to exclude water ingress depending on the seal lip profile

2 With the porros the 'shafts' are plunging ie moving axially which may carry adhering dust inwards

3 The plunging motion can create a suction which may affect the oil's ability to stay where you need it, as well as suck in a water/dust/oil emulsion.

Its always easier to critique a solution than come up with a solution :)

Lee
 
Thanks everyone for their replies.
Waterproofing has been done on a Porro, the Zeiss East German model I own (had) rubber bellows sealing the ocular guides to keep out dust.
It is indeed not difficult to waterproof a Porro (See Kern Focalpin http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=217623) as this uses the internal focusing system needed.
I think one of the reasons the Porro is becoming less popular apart from bulk, is for this reason. And as a result in the small sales volumes, no company will spend the resources developing it.
I am intrigued to try or buy a 10x35 E but I don't think I will be swapping parts to these lovely instruments!
 
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Focus in a porro can be changed by moving a lens/ lens assembly between the objective and the prism as in a roof. There have been several /(?)many models of porro with internal focussing, I assume all of this type(?). The Nikon WP RA II - named "Mountaineer" for the USA - reverse-porro bin focussed internally, I had one in 8x25 spec for about the last decade, and, v. strongly built, it retained its waterproofing after incredible abuse (unintentional, I plead). Seems to me if makers wish wp. as good as the best in roofs can be achieved in a porro. We might see some unfamiliar bridges, though! The focusing of the Kowa in my post above is external: the eyepiece units move. PS. Just as I'm about to post this I find the last above. Had a glance at the linked thread on the Kern - will read carefully later.
 
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Dear all,
During WW-2 many porro binoculars were produced that were 100% waterproof. Some examples: the Westinghouse 6x30 in Bausch and Lomb construction with individual eyepiece focussing. I immersed on of them 60 years after it was made in a bucket filled with water and left it there for 24 hours. Not a single molecule of water had entered. After that experiment the binocular went for six months to the tropics under very ot and huid circumstances and no water or fungi came in the instrument. Very famous absolutely waterproof Porro's were the bronze U-boat binoculars, which stayed waterproof during dives several meters under the surface of the ocean.
Gijs
 
Dear all,
During WW-2 many porro binoculars were produced that were 100% waterproof. Some examples: the Westinghouse 6x30 in Bausch and Lomb construction with individual eyepiece focussing. I immersed on of them 60 years after it was made in a bucket filled with water and left it there for 24 hours. Not a single molecule of water had entered. After that experiment the binocular went for six months to the tropics under very ot and huid circumstances and no water or fungi came in the instrument. Very famous absolutely waterproof Porro's were the bronze U-boat binoculars, which stayed waterproof during dives several meters under the surface of the ocean.
Gijs
Indeed there are many eye focusing porros that are waterproof, including the Pentax Marine and Nikon Prostar/ tropical. Central focus is however what everyone wan't in a portable binocular.
 
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