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Own up. Do you have a zoom bin? (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
I imagine this should be a fun thread.

I've had two, long since giveaways, an Olympus PCI 7-16x25 and an Opticron SR.GA 7-16 x 42. Both porro, the Olympus reverse

They were kind of fun and goodish at the low end of magnitude. I think another optical good intention but not one that has ever worked very well although I see they are quite often sold to the deciples of zoom, usually beginners as was my case back then.

I can't stand the narrow fov's but I see Bushnell do an xtra wide 5x or 10x dual mag with 25mm objective at about 550g which may be the closest compact style to anything remotely worth considering. http://www.microglobe.co.uk/bushnell-5-10x25-spectator-binocular-p-7323.html

Does anyone actually have a pair of compact zooms that are any good?

Or even any useful zoom bin and I don't just mean Leica and I think that even died.

I gues if you don't mind the narrow fov and usually fuzzy edges that get ever worse with a dimming view as the magnification increases and increasing difficutly in maintaining focus and steadiness then yes they are great?

It's one of those things that sounds good being able to have one bin and to change the magnification usually to zoom in on something. Works for scopes of course but bins?

Zoom monoculars seem equally as bad and yet they sell.

Why do people buy this rubbish? I think they try and convince themselves it's good when they really know it's unfortunately not.

So will anyone defend these zooms?

I can imagine the optic co's knowing they are rubbish but thinking what the heck if it sells some junk to naïve customers then give them what they want.

I can also imagine customers who are quite happy with a poor view which is probably the vast majority of people who buy bins. You only have to look at Amazon and all of the rave reviews for bins labelled as 18x21 or such!

Or is there a situation where all the negatives are actually outweighed by some advantage?
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Active member
Yes. I have a Pentax 6-15x35 that I purchased off ebay for $10.

Worst piece of trash I ever bought. Contrast is poor, drinking-straw-like 36 degree AFOV at low power, resolution atrocious, chromatic aberration worse (literally everything fringed with purple), and weighs like a brick (nearly three pounds).

But you get multiple binoculars in one! And, MADE IN JAPAN no less!


Well-known member
I think if the problem is ever to be cracked it is likely to be the Chinese.

My latest tragedy purchase is a 7x18 Sunagor roof. Thing is apart from the prisms seeming not to be the brightest and it having some glare and CA it is actually close to being very good and I assume only a matter of time until one is actually produced that would be quite impressive.

It is tiny, folds up to nothing has a good 8 deg fov (edges not to fuzzy) and pretty good eye relief and is well collimated and metal body but I have yet to see how badly it fares properly outdoors. My Carson MiniSCout 7x18 reverse porro is much clearer optically but with no eye relief and not very exacting collimation but nevertheless is actually very impressive and they do a zoom version. I don't think I would be impressed with that at present but maybe I would as I'm certainly impressed with the Carson 7x18 and 8x22 I bought although they could do with a bit of polishing up assembly wise perhaps with larger prisms and more eye relief but they are so sharp and contrasty with good brightness that there is definitely something going on back in China with development. I can even see that my Sunagor 7x18 roof and Scout 7x18 reverse porro have the same blue antireflection coatings and so it's mainly the prisms making the difference. A few BaK4's in the Sunagor would go a long way and with some dielectric coatings and possibly some ED glass that could be one super little pocket bin and the Chinese seem to be leading the way with these small bins and they seem to me have great potential so I suspect they may or will actually come up with a decent compact zoom at some stage if they haven't already.
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Well-known member
Eagleview 8/24x mag zoom.

Would absolutely cream for a pair that were done seriously, with waterproofness added in.


Well-known member
No, I don't have one and I'm not getting one either.

About 10 years ago a couple of friends of mine at my American Legion Post got an inexpensive, small 7-12 x 32 (or something like that) reverse Porro Bushnell Zoom binocular from Dick's Sporting Goods or some place like that. They had it less than a week when the zoom mechanism broke. Fortunately for them it broke at the long end so what they were left with was a half decent 7x32 (or something like that) with a relatively narrow FOV. I advised them to keep it because even if it was working it would be nearly useless at the long end. If they wanted to take it back, I advised them to get a straight Bushnell 8x32 reverse Porro.

I think they decided to keep it and he still might be using it when he goes Deer Hunting.

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Well-known member
No fear, I bought one once but only for spares, I dismantled it for the prisms, much the best use for it.

[email protected]

Well-known member
No, I don't have any ZOOM binoculars. But if there was a good one I would certainly be interested. Is there any out there worth looking at?

Steve C

Well-known member
I had a Bushnell 7-16x35 I bought when younger and more ignorant. It was OK at 7x and things went south rapidly as you went up the scale. I don't see one being done properly, that is with reliable magnification mechanism, waterproof, and with a decent fov.

As it stands they are pretty worthless. ;)


Well-known member
I might still have one. Will have to dig through the pile. It is an Galileo 10-30x70 IIRC.

[email protected]

Well-known member
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Well-known member
The name Sunagor is not for me.
The Military is the same type.
About 2% may work for a limited time.

I have several zoom binoculars, and use two or three for astronomy.

The 10x to 22x 50 Nikon. I have one new and one used. Both work well at 18x but CA is very bad at 22x. Yet it just shows Jupiter's equatorial belts. It shows the moons well.

I had three Pentax 8 to 20x 24. One is very nice for double stars. Excellent for me.

The whole point of a zoom binocular is its use at higher powers.
Normally anything beyond 3 to 1 zoom is a failure.

Also zoom binoculars provide additional eye relief.

But at the low power the AFOV is usually laughable. The widest AFOV is at the higher powers.
However, birdwatchers often use normal binoculars, some of which for me have ridiculously small AFOVs.

So we differ in what we use.

Zoom binoculars don't stand hard use, but I have no objection to them at all when they work.
I bought a Minolta Standard zoom 50mm used to complete my set and it is completely worn out. Only fit for the rubbish bin.
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Well-known member
As I have mentioned before, I bought 6pcs 8x to 24x50 cheap zooms from a newspaper ad fully guaranteed for 12 squid each. First 4 were good, then with 2 replaced 6 were good.

I gave two to the milkman and his son, who are avid horse racing fans. I keep asking if they have broken them, as the other 4 await disposal.
Unfortunately, they still work after 5 plus years.
They are left at 16x50 and used to watch the far side of the race course.

So you may well mock, but not everybody sees what you do.

Horses for courses.
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Registered User
when I got back into birding in early middle age, I bought a pair of Chinon zoom binoculars. I think they were 8-24x42 or thereabouts. I gave them away.


Well-known member
Was wondering or thinking of telephoto lenses for cameras and the cheaper ones where the lense length extends.

Maybe some bins like that. I think at the moment they just move some ocular lense element?

I told you this thread might get amusing. Imagine your bins growing like Pinocchio's nose3:)

C'mon China, you can do it.


Well-known member
There was always the Nikon XL 8-16x40mm Zoom

"the 12x50 SE shows the best contrast and least CA on stars of any binocular I've used with the possible exception of my Nikon 8-16X40 XL Zoom at 12X." - Brocknroller
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Well-known member
Yesterday I found a situation were a zoom would have been useful but probably would not justify getting a set as I think it was quite rare.

Yes a spot of sunny afternoon bat watching!

Was down by the river and looking for Kingfishers or anything else around but instead came across a bat feeding along a short stretch of river. A beautiful scene. Trees overhanging so nice and cool in the shade and the sun blazing all aound and spring finally very much in the air. It was the first day of bugs appearing in any numbers and I think that meant the bat was forced to feed at the first opportunity. No idea, first time I have ever seen this in my life so a very nice treat.

My 7x18 Sunagor that I was trying were neither wide angle or dof enough to track the little bat as my view point was to close and if I stepped back then the foliage obscurred things. I found myself wishing that had my 6x16 10deg monoc which might have done the job. The fact was I probably needed something like that Bushnell dual mag with it's 5x setting and 12 deg fov i.e. a zoom out.

So I watched this bat happily for about 15mins having given up with the bins and along came a Kingfisher and almost crashed into the bat. The Kingfisher actually chirped at it to get out of the way. Man would I have loved a photo of that. The Kingfisher then flew into the bank below me.

I moved along the river a few paces to try and get looking at the bat with the bins again at more distance and something suddenly flew about a foot past my head and it was of course the bat. It had finished feeding and it must have been very full from what I saw and I assume headed off for a hang upside down somewhere. I lost track of it so no idea where it headed but i'll definitely have to check that spot out again and see if I can get a better look maybe with the monoc or Carson 7x18. Bats just move so erratically but I would really have loved to have gotten some birding type sharp close-up view but I suppose it's a bit like trying to watch a swallow close up though harder again.

I really enjoyed that little bit of nature very much in any case.
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Registered User
I got the duovids 8+12x, and get on with them really well. They are usually set at 8x, then moving up to 12x in open habitat, or if I need a closer look at something. Surprising how much more I see at 12x. e.g. Earlier this week, on my BB survey, there were 2 or 3 chaffinches feeding around a distant pile of straw at 8x... counted 9 of them at 12x!
Often you don't realise what you are missing


Well-known member
Hi Clive P, I once had a bat (pipistrelles) roost in my roof. In theory an ideal situation for getting photographs and observing - inside they can find a way of lurking out of sight (and being protected etc) and as they emerge - well you have a brief view of a head checking where they will go and then a blur as they head for an evening meal.

I used 7x50s to see some detail and retain dof, I must admit that like you in the end I gave up and used my eyes.

If someone came up with a reasonable quality zoom I would have used it with kingfishers over rivers. It would have been far easier to acquire at wide and track them zoomed in. Not sure that I would have had enough use to fork out for the Swavs but with use you never know.

I actually thought that I had once owned some zoom bins, but on checking I cant find any evidence - so must have just borrowed some once - I can remember trying to zoom smoothly but really ended up at one end or the other.

I actually think that from using video quite a lot that trying to manually zoom something the size of binoculars is always going to be a problem (someone please disagree) and power zooming works far better. I have the uncomfortable feeling we are heading back into the realms of Canon IS etc?, or the Duovid solution.

I miss the house with the bats - you could sit in the garden and not be eaten alive in the evening as they criss crossed above your head chomping away - great creatures.
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