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Reverse Porro - Nikon/Vortex/Carson comparisons (1 Viewer)

Hawk Eye

Member
Hi - due to the current pandemic I've found myself doing a lot of hiking this year! The 8x42's are proving a little cumbersome. I'm looking to purchase some dedicated hiking binoculars and hoping to get high quality viewing from a lightweight pair of bins. I'm thinking that investing in some reverse porro bins will get me the best bang for my buck, or pound in my case :)

Is there anyone able to make real life viewing comparisons between the Vortex Vanquish 8x26 and the Nikon Travelite EX 8x25?
I'm familiar with great Nikon build quality, but no idea about Vortex?

I'm also intrigued by the Carson Falconer 7x20?
Slightly put off by the fact that this is not waterproof :-(
But some reviews rave about superior sharpness and FoV.
How does the Carson compare (sharpness, field flatness etc.) to the Nikon's or Vortex's?

Any other recommendations?

Thanks for any info or advice...

Hawk Eye
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
Hi - due to the current pandemic I've found myself doing a lot of hiking this year! The 8x42's are proving a little cumbersome. I'm looking to purchase some dedicated hiking binoculars and hoping to get high quality viewing from a lightweight pair of bins. I'm thinking that investing in some reverse porro bins will get me the best bang for my buck, or pound in my case :)

Is there anyone able to make real life viewing comparisons between the Vortex Vanquish 8x26 and the Nikon Travelite EX 8x25?
I'm familiar with great Nikon build quality, but no idea about Vortex?

I'm also intrigued by the Carson Falconer 7x20?
Slightly put off by the fact that this is not waterproof :-(
But some reviews rave about superior sharpness and FoV.
How does the Carson compare (sharpness, field flatness etc.) to the Nikon's or Vortex's?

Any other recommendations?

Thanks for any info or advice...

Hawk Eye

I've found that most reverse-porros are quite good, except they usually have limited FOV. If I were buying Nikon, I'd spend slightly more to get the 8x25 ProStaff ATB which is waterproof, has better eye-relief, and has slightly wider FOV than the Travelite. It is my go-to recommendation in reverse porros. The Vortex is attractive for its slightly wider FOV and otherwise similar spec to Nikon ProStaff but I find it bulky/clunky compared to the minimalist Nikon styling. I've used them both and slightly prefer the Nikon overall. I've no experience w/the Carson but it has very appealing spec (FOV, close focus, eye-relief). I'd love to try it.

--AP
 

Hawk Eye

Member
Thanks AP.

The 8x25 ProStaff ATB look interesting. Still only 6.3degs FoV.
I'll do some more research into this model.

Shame that there are not more 7x or 6x reverse porros...

Regards,
Hawk Eye.
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
When I worked in retailing optics I had a fondness for the Opticron Taiga 8 x 25. You've researched the Pentax Papillio II 6.5 x 21 ?
 
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NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
I agree with the Nikon models, the Prostaff or Travellite, they designed these from the start.

Vortex and Carson have not made anything at all, just copy clone and china enabled.

Jerry
 

Hawk Eye

Member
Hello PYRTLE and NDhunter,

The Opticron Taiga 8 x 25's are only 6degs FoV and not waterproof. Is there something else about this model that promotes them above the others?

The Pentax Papillio II 6.5 x 21 looks like great fun for macro viewing (as a kind of varifocal Loupe/operating glass), but how much is the normal long range binocular performance compromised by this? What would it compare to?

The review I read on the Carson Falconer compared their performance to be at least as good as the Monarch 7 8x30 and may be better, which is high praise indeed. Unfortunately, there are only a few such reviews to go on. However, this makes the Monarch 7 a good bench mark for comparing cheaper reverse porro binoculars to. The porro configuration making them comparable.

In the ideal world, I would like to compare the polychromatic MTF curves, for a range of field angles and focal distances, for all binocular models. Of course, the manufactures are not likely to reveal such information. So the next best thing is to visually compare imaging against a benchmark model. So this is why I think the review that compared the Falconer against the Monarch was very useful. It takes an experienced user to be able to make such an honest objective comparison. How do the other bins compare with the Monarch 7 8x30?

I am aware of most of the available models, but if you are able to make comparisons, mainly on the optical performance front, then that would be the most useful information I could have.

NDhunter - what are the Falconers copied from?

All the best,
Hawk Eye
 
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PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
"The review I read on the Carson Falconer compared their performance to be at least as good as the Monarch 7 8x30 and may be better, which is high praise indeed. Unfortunately, there are only a few such reviews to go on."

The Opticrons and the Nikon Travelites at that time ( for me ) were the best overall performers in the £100 and under compact class.

Depends who wrote and where you read this review. There is some fantastic marketing hype out there in addition to Jerry's comment about Chinese copies. Also no balanced review would put a 25mm reverse porro up against a 30mm roof prism.

Perhaps you're expecting too much from a £120 pair of compacts but good luck in your endeavours.
 
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Hawk Eye

Member
Thanks PYRTLE.

May be wishful thinking :)

As a matter of interest, why would you not compare a 7x20mm reverse porro to a 8x30 roof-top?
Everyone knows that, pound for pound, a porro design is better than a roof top design?
Also, given a reduced aperture and lower magnification, the 7x20 has a bit more wiggle room during lens optimisation to compete with an optically more complex 8x30 roof. For all conditions where the eye pupil is less than 3mm, i.e. most day time conditions, then I would not be surprised that the porro design gives as good or better transmission. I would be interested to understand your logic behind this comment?

Regards,
Hawk Eye.
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
I owned the Vortex Vanquish 8x26 some years ago, and it was a very good compact bino----good optics and mechanics, and very robust; also Vortex warranty policy is one of the best (lifetime etc.), which I cannot say about Nikon's.
PS. I have just remembered that I had the Travelite as well, and they're not bad but for some reason (which I cannot remember) I preferred the Vanquish.
 
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jmeister

New member
This thread is relevant to my interests as I'm also in the market for a compact lightweight pair for backpacking. The Fujinon KF 8x25 reverse porro is one I've come across in researching. You looked into these yet Hawk Eye? I'm not finding much info or reviews yet.
 

Hawk Eye

Member
Hello jmeister,

Fujinon KF 8x25 reverse porro is an interesting new one for me. Like you, can't find too much info on it.
Specs look quite good though.

On Amazon.com there is the following review comment:
"Great value. Performance is better than my Nikon Travelites. Plus they are weather resistant too."

Doesn't seem to be much availability in the UK - typical!
I hold Fulifilm companies in the highest regard.

I would be grateful if you could let me know if you find out anything more.

Regards,
Hawk Eye.
 
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chill6x6

Well-known member
Hi - due to the current pandemic I've found myself doing a lot of hiking this year! The 8x42's are proving a little cumbersome. I'm looking to purchase some dedicated hiking binoculars and hoping to get high quality viewing from a lightweight pair of bins. I'm thinking that investing in some reverse porro bins will get me the best bang for my buck, or pound in my case :)

Is there anyone able to make real life viewing comparisons between the Vortex Vanquish 8x26 and the Nikon Travelite EX 8x25?
I'm familiar with great Nikon build quality, but no idea about Vortex?

I'm also intrigued by the Carson Falconer 7x20?
Slightly put off by the fact that this is not waterproof :-(
But some reviews rave about superior sharpness and FoV.
How does the Carson compare (sharpness, field flatness etc.) to the Nikon's or Vortex's?

Any other recommendations?

Thanks for any info or advice...

Hawk Eye

Hi Hawk Eye....

I don't have experience with the exact binoculars you are looking at. I DID have a chance to use and compare a couple of reverse porros during the summer, the Pentax Papillo II 6.5X21 and the Fujinon KF 8X25(kinda looks a lot like that Vortex BTW). I'll keep it short and sweet...the Papillo II is a much nicer binocular in just about every way. The Fujinon is a serviceable binocular but suffers by comparison optically to just about every binocular I have. I was disappointed in it to be honest. No doubt in my mind the Pentax is a step up in every way optically. For $130USD or so I don't know how one could beat it. If you truly want "high quality viewing from a lightweight binocular" save up for some Zeiss Terra ED 8X25s. You won't be disappointed.
 

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iveljay

Well-known member
Just checked Fuji Germany, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and USA. Of these, only the USA and strangely New Zealand seem to formally list binoculars as a locally available product, including the Fujinon KF 8x25. Otherwise it seems pot luck what is locally available. Pity, they look interesting and are Japanese made.
 

jmeister

New member
Pity, they look interesting and are Japanese made.
Pretty sure they (KFs at least) are coming out of the same Chinese factory as all their competitors.
I'll probably roll the dice on a $100ish pair of dual hinge PC roof prism 8x25s
 
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Hawk Eye

Member
Thanks chill6x6 - that's interesting feedback on the Pentax/Fujinon comparison.

Even if the KF's are coming out of a Chinese factory, I would be surprised if Fujinon were not retaining careful 6-sigma manufacturing control. Their products do have a life-time warranty... But then again - so do Vortex... Which I agree, look similar.
 
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