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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

New Bins advice needed (1 Viewer)

Jazzyboy

Active member
United Kingdom
Jazzboy,
If your budget is limited: look at a number op Meopta models: excellent quality for a fair price. I use the Meostar B1 8x32 with great pleasure and it performs just as well as a Leica Ultravid HD-plus 8x32 and at a much lower price while they both share a compact body.
Gijs van Ginkel
Hi, thanks for the advice but there's not many dealers to chose from here in UK and it seems many models are out of stock atm.
 

Jazzyboy

Active member
United Kingdom
Jazzyboy

Don't forget second hand from a reputable shop. 5 or 6 years ago I bought a pair of early Swaro 8.5 x 42s for about £700 from London Camera Exchange. The bins are still going strong, and, with the exception of the Canon IS bins that I now use, I've not seen anything in newer 'alpha' models that made financial sense. Yes, the new ones are a few percentage points better - although you have to look quite hard to find the improvement - but they're at least twice as expensive as buying an earlier second hand 'alpha'.

As they say across the pond, you do the math!


Jeff
Hi and thank you. I wouldn't have a problem with used binoculars but the few I have seen recently in the UK have been very near the price of new, this doesn't sit well with me as new have full warranty and used is a risk. Very few on Ebay uk and buying from another country incurs duties.
 

Jazzyboy

Active member
United Kingdom
I’d make a list of what characteristics you’re looking for. Does weight or size matter? Fov and brightness? Magnification? I’m close to your age and the 10x are getting harder to hold steady. Also my eyes aren’t quite what they used to be so the excellent medium priced binos being made these days work really well for me. For a great all around glass, I’d be looking at an 8x42 like the Nikon Monarch HG or perhaps the Trinovids or Conquests. Opticron’s new Auroras sound pretty nice and it seems there are some good deals to be found on the very nice Imagics on your side of the pond. As long as you buy from a reputable dealer with a good return policy you’ll be fine. Maybe consider a trip to an area with dealers as well. Could be fun. Good luck.
Hi and thank you.

First thing I considered was 8 or 10 mag and what I wanted. Still on the fence Mag wise but I can still hold the 10's steady tho obv the 8's would look even steadier. I'm also aware that my older pupils won't dilate as much as they used to and the difference between 8 and 10 may not be that different as regards brightness. Having said that I don't know what size my dilated pupils are so there may be a visible difference, I'll have to see. Also if I buy lower priced Bins I can almost justify 2 pairs with different mags and I can always tell the boss I'd bought one pair for her. ;)

I have watched many U tube reviews and read up all I can but I'm still no nearer to making a decision only a short list. I have a couple of online optics dealers I have used in the past that have easy returns policies so I plan to try a few out and see what i think.

The Trinovids do seem nice but I was hoping not to spend that much, my original budget was £300 and i'm over that with my shortlisted bins as it is.:ROFLMAO:
 
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Jazzyboy

Active member
United Kingdom
Does anyone have Opticon DBA VHD+ or the Aurora's, if so how are you getting along with them and what do you like or dislike about them please?
 

Jazzyboy

Active member
United Kingdom
Hi everyone, thanks for you suggestions and contributions and taking the time to help a newcomer to the forum.

I had a shortlist of bins to try with the Hawke ED X 2nd and Vortex Viper top. I ordered some Viper 10x42's from a reputable dealer with easy returns and I will try them thoroughly for a few days and test them in different lighting and settings.

I have heard and read of some of these being out of alignment so I will be checking this pretty thoroughly and running a critical eye over them. I will not hesitate to return them if they don't measure up to expectations so my hunt may not yet be over.

I will post my thoughts as i test them and report back on the verdict at the weekend. Til then thanks again and stay safe all.
 

Jazzyboy

Active member
United Kingdom
First try with the Vipers was a bit disappointing, My reference bins, the broken Pentax Porro 10x50 I have always thought pretty sharp and The Vipers aren't really any sharper. I rested my eyes for 5 minutes and looked again re adjusting the diopter. Another 5 mins rest and just a tiny touch on the diopter and they are perfectly set.

The PPP's on the other hand are a real fiddle as I have to move the left ocular back in to the tube manually as they are broken and the diopter has always needed constant tweaks as the oculars have a little play in them but a few minutes and I'm ready to compare the look at a neighbours satellite dish on the apex of the roof. This time the vortex look sharper but only very slightly.

I was expecting the vipers to be pretty much excellent on sharpness and maybe they are, maybe the PPP's are pretty sharp themselves even by today's standards. The Vipers focus knob feels perfect with no notchiness or gritty feeling just smooth, perfectly weighted at least to me and very fast. From 25 to 50 yds I barely touched it a tiny bit more and I'm out to 250 yds.

It's a grey evening and neither pair show any false colour on branches against the sky though I know the PPP's do suffer from some chromatic aberration on bright days so I will try to this test again when the sun is out.

I then checked the alignment/ collimation as I've read of problems with some but the image was identical in both eyepieces. I checked both horizontal and vertical planes and tho I'm no optical engineer they appear perfectly aligned which was a relief.

I thought I'd try the trees 50 plus yards away over the rooftops and found a very pleasing fork in a Silver birch with some mid grey mottling and patches on the silver bark. Not very contrasty at all The PPP's after a few minutes of fiddling provided a nice sharp image. The Vipers instantly snapped into focus and something was very apparent, the image was much more pleasing and detailed tho not massively sharper. The Viper's are showing a lot more contrast and somehow a much prettier image.

I then went for a look in my back garden from a bedroom window here the Vipers really impressed with lovely views of the shrubs and small fir trees presenting beautiful sharp and somehow very pleasing views. The PPP's started to look very lack lustre by comparison. I'm trying here do describe something indescribable, sure the Vipers showed a tiny amount more sharpness and a little more detail but the image was just so pleasing I felt I wanted to keep looking at it. I'm no expert on using binoculars tho I do have a fair knowledge of optics and I can say the Vipers serve up much more pleasing views than the PPP's and as the evening light began to fade they looked brighter too, this surprised me as the PPP's are 10x50 and the vipers are 10x42 so I actually expected the opposite. I guess the newer coatings do work after all! :)

I then looked at my car, it's almost black and the raindrops on the bonnet and badge were gleaming with reflections, the PPP's were very good but the Vipers just easily beat them, again the view was just more immersive. The PPP's image "appeared" flat but the Vipers looked almost 3 dimensional and just more detailed without any glare from the droplets.

Initial fairly thorough testing of the Vipers completed and though I'm not overly amazed by the improved sharpness I am quietly impressed by the gorgeous image.

That's all for now more to follow.
 
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Ratal

Well-known member
If I had known you were going to spend 500 quid I'd have told you to buy the Hawke APO. The triplet objective lens and other shenanigans make it an absolute 'must consider' bin. I field tested a pair for 2 weeks. I then purchased my own pair for myself.
 

Jazzyboy

Active member
United Kingdom
Please tell us how you are checking alignment.
Well I don't know if the method I use is a proper one as I'm no optical engineer but I figure that if the both optical paths are aligned the image position in both eyepieces should be identical or allowing for tolerances very close to identical. Your bins will need to be correctly set for each eye on the diopter and will need holding very steady on a tripod or rest of some sort.

I read about checking the horizontal by focusing on a horizontal line some distance away ( I used a roof but a power line is good too) and slowly moving your eyes back about 6 inches from the oculars whilst still looking through them. Your single image turns into a figure 8 on its side as the images separate but the horizontal line should not look like a step it should remain a continuous line running through the overlapping images. You can hand hold for this but rested definitely makes things easier.

The vertical plane is trickier to be accurate but carefully centring a small detail in the one ocular with the other objective capped or covered with the bins on a tripod then without disturbing the bins at all uncover the objective and cover the other and the detail should be centred in the second occular too. I use my hand to block off the objectives as i don't have to touch the bins! If your image edge clarity is good get something just in view near one edge at 3 or 9 o'clock as this should be a bit more accurate then if that's ok try the other edge.

I'm sure there are many more accurate ways to do this but if the bins don't pass this simple test then something ain't right and I would return them.
 

Jazzyboy

Active member
United Kingdom
If I had known you were going to spend 500 quid I'd have told you to buy the Hawke APO. The triplet objective lens and other shenanigans make it an absolute 'must consider' bin. I field tested a pair for 2 weeks. I then purchased my own pair for myself.
Ah now well I did put my thinking in the first post as below copied and pasted.

"I have been looking at the Hawke ED X and also the Vortex Viper HD as my primary interest as they both though made in China, have no quibble lifetime guarantees. This is a comfortable price point as I'm thinking that one pair of Binoculars is prob not ideal and maybe I need 2 or 3 pairs for different uses."

Having said that I've not yet decided to keep the Vipers as I haven't tried the ED Xs yet and I was actually looking last night at the ED apo's just after ordering the Vipers. :eek:
 

Ratal

Well-known member
I have the APO. I WAS saving for NL 10x from Swaro. I had the money ready. Then I thrashed these for 2 weeks around the Cairngorms - and paid up for the APO and am a contented birder.
 

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Jazzyboy

Active member
United Kingdom
I have the APO. I WAS saving for NL 10x from Swaro. I had the money ready. Then I thrashed these for 2 weeks around the Cairngorms - and paid up for the APO and am a contented birder.
Nice, you are obviously rather taken with those and compared to the Swaro's they are affordable. They may not be heirloom bin's but had you bought the Swaro's I'm guessing you would feel the need to be a lot more careful with them and maybe even not take them if you thought you might damage them?

I'm sure the Hawke Apo's make much more eonomic sense and I've never looked through Swaro's but how much better can the view be than those Apo's?.
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
Nice, you are obviously rather taken with those and compared to the Swaro's they are affordable. They may not be heirloom bin's but had you bought the Swaro's I'm guessing you would feel the need to be a lot more careful with them and maybe even not take them if you thought you might damage them?

I'm sure the Hawke Apo's make much more eonomic sense and I've never looked through Swaro's but how much better can the view be than those Apo's?.
One of the things you are buying, when you buy a top-tier binocular is quality of construction and better materials used in that construction. The probability that an alpha binocular will be damaged by any given event is lower than that of a second-tier instrument.

And I certainly disagree that one would leave the good glass at home for fear of damage. Just be careful with your expensive things.

As for "how much better" the Alpha would be, you had better not ever look through one.

It isn't all in the spec sheets, because not everything can be reduced to a number.
 
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Ratal

Well-known member
Nice, you are obviously rather taken with those and compared to the Swaro's they are affordable. They may not be heirloom bin's but had you bought the Swaro's I'm guessing you would feel the need to be a lot more careful with them and maybe even not take them if you thought you might damage them?

I'm sure the Hawke Apo's make much more eonomic sense and I've never looked through Swaro's but how much better can the view be than those Apo's?.

After putting them through rain, snow and wind swept beaches, I just looked at the 1800 price difference and just couldn't pull the trigger on the Swaro. Not after 2 weeks of the APO. Its a stellar bin, and one I'll be happy with for many, many years.
 

Jazzyboy

Active member
United Kingdom
One of the things you are buying, when you buy a top-tier binocular is quality of construction and better materials used in that construction. The probability that an alpha binocular will be damaged by any given event is lower than that of a second-tier instrument.

And I certainly disagree that one would leave the good glass at home for fear of damage. Just be careful with your expensive things.

As for "how much better" the Alpha would be, you had better not ever look through one.

It isn't all in the spec sheets, because not everything can be reduced to a number.
Thanks again for your post covering each point in turn:

I absolutely totally agree with your first point Chinese metal is very soft and liable to break or crack over time. gears wear at a high rate if the metal is soft and begin to grind.Lenses are not so much better material, though they are, as more accurately ground and finished and then those expensive coatings are applied to all surfaces which improves light transmission and gives a brighter image. All this costs more because the countries where this is done properly have higher wages plus these processes take longer to complete.

Some of the places I go I personally would definitely consider leaving expensive glass at home and taking something cheap for fear of damage. You can only be careful with your things when you are in complete control and sometimes, for example on steep wet slippery rocks, I am not.

Actually I fully intend to look through some Alphas as soon as possible but all optics are subject to the law of diminishing returns hence my question.

I'm not doubting that the view through a top pair of Swaro's will be amazing, I would expect it to be with no aberrations of any kind for that price though and I'm not sure I will see more detail, I'm not saying I won't just that I'm not sure I will.

My own eyes, which are quite good for my age, have limits of resolution and so if one optical system resolves to a higher level than my eyes and one to the same level as my eyes I won't see the difference as the limiting factor is my own eyes.
 

Jazzyboy

Active member
United Kingdom
After putting them through rain, snow and wind swept beaches, I just looked at the 1800 price difference and just couldn't pull the trigger on the Swaro. Not after 2 weeks of the APO. Its a stellar bin, and one I'll be happy with for many, many years.
That is brilliant and I'm really glad for you and again thanks for your contributions.
 

Jazzyboy

Active member
United Kingdom
Just to finish this thread I enjoyed the views so much through the Vipers that I have decided to keep them.

Second night out with them in broken sunshine proved to me that they were rather special. I was on top of a hill near to home with an almost 360 degree view out to over a mile with easy close up views too.

The focuser was lovely and smooth in both directions and very fast to focus. From 20m out to 50m is hardly any movement and from 50m out to one mile is not a lot either and they really snap into sharp focus. Most of the focus wheel travel is in the less than 20m range and the closer you get the more you need to move it As I bought these in 10x mag for longer distance use it's a feature I'm not going to use all that often.

They felt so comfortable in my hands too. As soon as I held them I was impressed but I have large hands and they did seem a bit small after my old bins anyway but after only a short time I realised I was very comfortable holding them.

The smaller exit pupil once I got used to it wasn't a problem but I did find some issues to begin with (my third try was yesterday and there is now no issue with this).

Finally on this second evening out I was stunned by the amazing views these Vipers kept serving up. Every time I looked at something they just looked so sharp and contrasty and the views just kept impressing all evening. My good lady was laughing because she said I must have said "Wow" about a hundred times that evening.

Is there any CA yes there is, it's very minor and most of the time it's not visible at all but there is a certain angle to the sun that shows it, with sheep I did notice a thin pale green outline but only at this angle to the sun turn a little and it disappeared. I tried to provoke a purple fringing by observing dark branches at a very close angle to the sun but try as I might I could detect none.

Are there reflections inside the barrels, I could say no as I didn't really detect anything in normal use but I was able to get a flare spot in the image by winding the eyecup in nearest the sun and looking at 60 degrees away from the sun so I'm guessing the light was getting past my face into the eyepiece which caused this. Eyecups back out all the way and this reflection disappeared.

I conclude that they aren't perfect but they suit me really well and for £500 with that Vortex warranty I just couldn't bear to return them.

Thanks to everyone for your contributions to this thread.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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