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Small binoculars : Nikon M7 8*30 vs Zeiss Terra Pocket 8*25... or something else (1 Viewer)

sbb

Well-known member
Save up your money and get the Victory. Colour is great, and the design makes it super compact for travel.
 
OK thanks.

  • About Terra Pocket : When i try them in a store, what should I pay attention for , in addition to the "loose hinges" effect ? (Alexis, you told about "optical flaws", but I don't know what I should check).
  • About Bushnell Elite : the current sold binoculars seem to be not so compact, rather bigger than the Monarch 7 8x30. But I guess this from a video, and did not find its size. Has anyone got it ?

Girafenaine
 

ceasar

Well-known member
OK thanks.

  • About Terra Pocket : When i try them in a store, what should I pay attention for , in addition to the "loose hinges" effect ? (Alexis, you told about "optical flaws", but I don't know what I should check).
  • About Bushnell Elite : the current sold binoculars seem to be not so compact, rather bigger than the Monarch 7 8x30. But I guess this from a video, and did not find its size. Has anyone got it ?

Girafenaine


I measured my Bushnell 7x26 Custom which I purchased new in 12/2005 from Astronomics in Norman, Oklahoma. SN stamped on the front of the focus wheel is A0 003x. FOV, also stamped on the front of the focus wheel is 363 feet.

The literature that came with it doesn't have information about it's size or weight. My measurements were made by eye using a handheld metal ruler so they may be slightly off. Note that the oculars are wider apart than the objectives because of the reverse Porro prisms.

11cm wide--9.3cm long--4.5cm deep. Eye Relief about 16mm with Rubber eye cups extended. IPD is about 58mm to 77mm. I have nothing to weigh it on.

It focuses by moving the objective lenses. There is no protective glass covering over them which would help somewhat in keeping rain off them like there was on the old discontinued SLC Swarovski 8x30B.


Hope this helps some.

Bob

PS: I believe that the next model of the binocular had retractable eye cups.
 
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Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
OK thanks.

  • About Terra Pocket : When i try them in a store, what should I pay attention for , in addition to the "loose hinges" effect ? (Alexis, you told about "optical flaws", but I don't know what I should check).
  • About Bushnell Elite : the current sold binoculars seem to be not so compact, rather bigger than the Monarch 7 8x30. But I guess this from a video, and did not find its size. Has anyone got it ?

Girafenaine

If the 8x25 Terra is not assembled precisely, the results can be mechanical flaws such as hinges that don't hold their setting securely (e.g. Make sure that the hinges don't collapse/shift as you apply pressure when trying to turn the focus knob rapidly) or small misalignments of the optical elements that yield poor optical performance. Make sure that each side of the bin is able to provide a high resolution view in the very center of the view, and that the falloff in sharpness toward the edges of the view is even/symmetrical. Make sure that the two sides of the bin adjust focus in perfect synchrony. If they seem to deliver fine detail, snap into focus easily, and are comfortable to your eyes after extended use, they are probably fine. That said, I find even a perfectly manufactured Terra is optically, mechanically, and design/ergonomically much inferior to the 8x25 Victory. They are quite different binoculars.

The weights of my older 7x26 models are ~12 oz. Minimum IPD is 56 mm.

--AP
 
Thank you for your posts.

Ceasar, that's nice to have these measurements ! but I am not sure whether the new Elite 7x26 is the same size, as I read reports stating the new one is bigger. The FOV of the present model is the same 363 ft, but I cannot find its focus wheel's front. And as you write, the present model has got retractable eyecups. Thanks for your help.

Alexis, ok for the flaws to look for. I will try to check these points, even if I know I won't be experimented enough to find any little difference between two barrels, for example. And I will have no time for an "extended use" before I choose ! I will do my best.

I understood well that Victory Pocket are not the same quality, a big step higher... but for little binoculars you pack in your bag for a hike or travels, and use on a "unplanned" way, perhaps a "mid-price" binoculars could be more adapted. I want to try them in the store, but have to wait a week before they get the Victory Pocket.

Girafenaine
 
To keep the light side of the thing, does anybody know about the Nikon Sportstar Ex 8 x 25 ? They are cheaper (100 €/$115) than the Zeiss Terra Pocket, and have got a wider FOV (143 m/1000 m versus 119m for the Terra). Probably the brightness and sharpness are not the same, but any experience would be welcome.

Girafenaine
 

ceasar

Well-known member
To keep the light side of the thing, does anybody know about the Nikon Sportstar Ex 8 x 25 ? They are cheaper (100 €/$115) than the Zeiss Terra Pocket, and have got a wider FOV (143 m/1000 m versus 119m for the Terra). Probably the brightness and sharpness are not the same, but any experience would be welcome.

Girafenaine


The Sportstar has been discontinued for a long time. I had an 8x25 many years ago. It was pretty good even without phase coatings. I sold it to a friend who carries it around when he goes Deer Hunting. I think he still has it.

They were replaced by the Trailblazer 8x25 ATB which has a wide FOV. I expect that it is very similar. Eye Relief is real short. 10mm.

http://www.nikonsportoptics.com/en/nikon-products/binoculars/trailblazer-8x25-atb.html

Click on the 6 user reviews.

Bob
 
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bartd

Well-known member
Nikon MONARCH 7 8x30

Agree, Nikon's MONARCH 7 8x30's are great bino's for sub $400. I just bought my second pair as an early Christmas gift to my bird watching step-mother in Oregon. She used mine last year while visiting and loved em. Nikon just came out with the new 8/10x30 HG bino's that have had some excellent reviews if you want to spend nearly $1000?
I haven't seen them anywhere but would probably opt for the full size 10x42 MONARCH HG's for my uses.
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
As I understand, it's now down to 3 models.....
a. Nikon Monarch 7 - 8x30........larger exit pupil, bulkier than a compact
b. Zeiss Terra Pocket 8x25, preferred budget price, compact size
c. Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25, outside of budget, higher quality optics, compact size

Now just to compare them for personal ergonomics, practicality and performance, final decision.

Good luck, take your time and many years of enjoyment with your bins.
Pat
 
Yes Pyrtle, you're right. Thanl you for this peaceful piece of advice. I could go tomorrow in a store to see these binoculars.

Actually I could add :
d. Nikon Sportstar (as they are called in Europe)/Trailblazer 8x25, cheaper, compact size, to be compared with Terra Pocket for ease of view (only 10mm eyerelief) and optical quality (Nikon claim them to be multicoated).

I could get Sportstar 8x25 (to pack and go hiking) AND Monarch 7 8x30 (to have a short walk or for home views) for less money than the Victory Pocket 8x25, which makes me think about it...

Girafenaine
 
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Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
To keep the light side of the thing, does anybody know about the Nikon Sportstar Ex 8 x 25 ? They are cheaper (100 €/$115) than the Zeiss Terra Pocket, and have got a wider FOV (143 m/1000 m versus 119m for the Terra). Probably the brightness and sharpness are not the same, but any experience would be welcome.

Girafenaine

Ah yes, I know them well. They're, to put it politely, _crap_, even compared to the Zeiss 8x25 Terra. Eye relief is horrible, even if you don't wear glasses, unless you have very short eyelashes. Contrast is miserable. Overall, they are a small step above the absolutely worthless $25-$50 pocket roofs that come in plastic bubble packaging.

Girafenaine, please consider the following, which I say as one the very few people on BirdForum who actually likes and regularly uses tiny binoculars. The thing about small binoculars (pocket and compact models) is that they are inherently hard to use. They are almost universally harder to handle well, harder to get to the eyes and in focus rapidly, and are inherently challenged to perform well enough optically to reliably (or ever) deliver the view needed for birding. Frankly, nearly all pocket binoculars are unacceptable for birding use, and in my opinion most aren't much good for any other use either. To get a pocket roof model that really works well enough for birding requires spending on the best (or maybe, nowadays, at least as much as the Zeiss 8x25 Terra). Only then do you even begin to approach the utility of a modestly priced model in a larger format. The capability of the Leica 8x20 Ultravid (and of the old Zeiss 8x20 Victory Compact) is truly extraordinary for the format, but it is quite expensive. The capability of the Zeiss 8x25 Victory Pocket is, in my opinion, nothing short of miraculous. It is the first pocket roof that handles and optically delivers like a mid-sized bin. As a long time user of the Leica 8x20 Ultravid, the Zeiss 8x25 Victory leaves me awestruck.

Maybe you won't spend on the Victory or Ultravid. In that case, get the Terra or the 8x30 Monarch 7. Or get a quality reverse-porro compact like the Bushnell 7x26, or one of the many very decent and more widely available alternatives to it, such as the Nikon 8x25 ProStaff ATB. Don't be lured into the cesspool of lesser pocket-roof offerings such as the Nikon Sportstar/Trailblazer. They are cheap but they are worthless. Money wasted. They serve only to appeal to (but not satisfy) consumer desire for a binocular so small, light, and cheap as to not be noticed for their effect on the pocket or pocketbook. They ought to be outlawed. They serve only to extract a bit of money from the gullible, naive, or desperate. They don't serve as functional birding binoculars. Again, if you want small and cheap, get the Nikon 8x25 ProStaff ATB or something equivalent. These reverse-porros are quite good. Their only weak point is narrow FOV.

--AP
 
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james holdsworth

Consulting Biologist
Ah yes, I know them well. They're, to put it politely, _crap_, even compared to the Zeiss 8x25 Terra. Eye relief is horrible, even if you don't wear glasses, unless you have very short eyelashes. Contrast is miserable. Overall, they are a small step above the absolutely worthless $25-$50 pocket roofs that come in plastic bubble packaging.

Girafenaine, please consider the following, which I say as one the very few people on BirdForum who actually likes and regularly uses tiny binoculars. The thing about small binoculars (pocket and compact models) is that they are inherently hard to use. They are almost universally harder to handle well, harder to get to the eyes and in focus rapidly, and are inherently challenged to perform well enough optically to reliably (or ever) deliver the view needed for birding. Frankly, nearly all pocket binoculars are unacceptable for birding use, and in my opinion most aren't much good for any other use either. To get a pocket roof model that really works well enough for birding requires spending on the best (or maybe, nowadays, at least as much as the Zeiss 8x25 Terra). Only then do you even begin to approach the utility of a modestly priced model in a larger format. The capability of the Leica 8x20 Ultravid (and of the old Zeiss 8x20 Victory Compact) is truly extraordinary for the format, but it is quite expensive. The capability of the Zeiss 8x25 Victory Pocket is, in my opinion, nothing short of miraculous. It is the first pocket roof that handles and optically delivers like a mid-sized bin. As a long time user of the Leica 8x20 Ultravid, the Zeiss 8x25 Victory leaves me awestruck.

Maybe you won't spend on the Victory or Ultravid. In that case, get the Terra or the 8x30 Monarch 7. Or get a quality reverse-porro compact like the Bushnell 7x26, or one of the many very decent and more widely available alternatives to it, such as the Nikon 8x25 ProStaff ATB. Don't be lured into the cesspool of lesser pocket-roof offerings such as the Nikon Sportstar/Trailblazer. They are cheap but they are worthless. Money wasted. They serve only to appeal to (but not satisfy) consumer desire for a binocular so small, light, and cheap as to not be noticed for their effect on the pocket or pocketbook. They ought to be outlawed. They serve only to extract a bit of money from the gullible, naive, or desperate. They don't serve as functional birding binoculars. Again, if you want small and cheap, get the Nikon 8x25 ProStaff ATB or something equivalent. These reverse-porros are quite good. Their only weak point is narrow FOV.

--AP

So....you are ambivalent on the Sportstar / Trailblazer then? :-O
 
Thanks for your explanations Alexis ! I promise, I won't buy this one :) Or at least I will keep in mind your full of experience message... That sounds quite wise to my ears.

I would be very interested in the Bushnell Elite 7x26 as I like the old fashionned Porro binoculars as nice things, but I feel they are quite the same size as Nikon Monarch 7 8x30, the latter offering more brightness and sharpness, and probably ease of use (larger exit pupil). Am I right ? What is the Bushnell Elite better for - in your eyes ?

Girafenaine
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
I think you may have an issue with getting the Bushnell Elite 7 x 26 into your store so that you can handle, compare and make a judgement. AP thinks these have been discontinued, therefore your nearest retailer is unlikely to source and order in an example unless it's guaranteed a sale. Otherwise, the shop will end up with one example of an outdated binocular, difficult to sell unless at a rock bottom price - Not worth the effort. You, rather than AP has to decide what suits you. He has many, many different bins - you are just seeking one pair for your needs.
Back to square one almost.......how much do you want to spend? Maybe you need to contact them first to see if they have the Bushnell, if its still available and how much is it? Little point in considering or researching this compact if you cannot try one out.
Another option is to order one on line, try it out and return it if you do not like it. A lot of people do this nowadays.
Pat
 
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ceasar

Well-known member
Here is a listing from the Nikon website of all 16 of Nikon's compact binoculars for comparisons. Some of those listed as back-ordered (like the Aculons) may be discontinued (and those still available might be the last ones left)?

http://www.nikonsportoptics.com/en/...s/all-binoculars/index.page#!/tag:hwk:Compact

The Travelites and the Prostaff ATBs are Reverse Porro Prism binoculars. The Prostaff ATBs are waterproof. They both have usable eye relief and narrow FOVs.

It goes without saying that you get what you pay for when you purchase binoculars.

Bob
 
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paddy7

Well-known member
I'd just like to reiterate Alexis' post above. I went to BirdFair recently with the principal purpose of checking out the Victory Pocket, but also the check the other contenders (having given my M7 8x30 to my partner recently).
I would say the Pocket was head and shoulders above anything else i tried. Although above your intended budget, it would be capable of handling any future development of your binocular usage, which you say is casual only at the moment.
However, if this remains the case, the Terra would provide you with a very useful tool, and the M7 also, even though it is not as compact as the others.

There are truly dreadful compact binoculars about and going cheap should be ruled out as an option - there almost seems to be an assumption that because the usage is not 'serious' in this size, then the manufacturers (or assemblers) aren't serious about making them; either narrow field of view, poor colour reproduction, sloppy and limited dioptres, very limited eye positioning options, loose focus wheels - i've experienced all of these in the past.
The Terra is good - but the Victory Pocket is outstanding - better, i felt, than compacts much more expensive, even though it might seem expensive itself.
If you're thinking of buying once, and forever, that would be the way i'd go - in fact, i am!
 
I went to the store and was able to compare by myself the Terra Pocket 8x25, the Victory Pocket 8x25 and the Monarch 7 8x30. I could observe inside and outside (grey cloudy day - difficult conditions for the binoculars) the store that :
  • the Terra Pocket 8x25 offers a sharp and full of contrast picture. I could handle it well, but the little eyecups made me struggle a few seconds each time I want to look at something, to avoid the so-called "blackouts" that appears if the eyecup push on below my eye. I guess with some training, it can be easier to set them directly below my eye brow. There was some colored fringing by overcast wheather. Actually, I am not very pleased with the double hinges design, and the one I tried had its right hinge not tight enough, it moved when you hold and focused it with a single hand.
  • the Victory Pocket 8x25 offers an excellent picture, much sharper even for far away objects. Almost no colored fringing. I could enjoy the full picture from edge to edge. I found the handling much better thanks to the barrels your last fingers can fully hold. However, I had the same difficulties to get the binoculars quickly in its place and avoid "blackouts", because of the little eyecups. Furthermore, the eyecup is thinner than on the Terra, and after a few minutes it hurts the arch of my eyebrow. And like the Terra, you can feel you are looking through a "small thing", I was not fully "in" the picture. The picture is really outstanding, but I could not benefit that much of it. I thought it was a little frustrating, at least for the money. I guess it can be very well suited for "luxury quick views".
  • the M7 8x30 offers a very good picture. I found it brighter than both the pocket binos, but with a little less contrast, a little more "grey". Even the Terra has more "microcontrast", as if the dark areas were darker on the Terra than on the M7. That made the picture a little less appealing on the M7 than on the Terra Pocket (and of course the Victory Pocket), but on the other hand the dark areas should be easier to "use" on the M7. The sharpness seemed close to the Terra Pocket's. On the M7 I tried, there was bad color fringing against the clear, overcast sky that prevented me from enjoying the view (especially strong magenta fringing). In other conditions there is no colored fringing. The sweet spot is bright and sharp. Thanks to the larger exit pupil, you are more "taken into" the picture and can pay more attention to what appears. I forgot easier than I was using binoculars. They are quite well handled and the size is interesting. I first feared it was too big, but I now think the size is well suited for "one-day-walk", which is the most likely use of my binoculars. It is still a little too big for a week long hike, and for abroad travel - as far as I am concerned.

So I ended buying the M7 8x30 for the more immersive view, and have now a 2 weeks trying time ! I enjoy them, but I have got two difficulties :
  • Even if I have less "blackouts" than with the pocket 8x25, I have some of them. I have to set the eyecups carefully between the arch of my eyebrow and my nose, in order them not to push below my eyes. If I forget this step, small "blackouts" occurs when I move my view (by pushing below my eye). So it ended with almost the same effort than the little pocket 8x25 to have a clear view when moving my eyes. But when it's done, the view is wider and I am more "in" the picture. I will experiment a little more to decide if it is acceptable or not.
  • I bought another M7 than the one I tried for more than one hour in the store (because the one I bought seemed to have less colored fringing). With the bought one, I can see some "veil" on the bottom of the picture, rather on the left for the left eye, and on the right for the right eye. Could it be the "veiling glare" I have heard of on this forum ? Is it a flaw in all the M7 8x30, or only in some items ? It make the picture less immersive and beautiful. If I stick with M7, I will probably try to change for other ones.

Girafenaine
 
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Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
Glad you were able to try before buying! Very true that the small eyecups of pocket roofs make them harder to use without glasses. Someone ought to offer accessory flared big eyecups for these. Do you ever use glasses? If so, consider bringing them along when testing bins.

On blackouts, you might benefit from a bit more eyecup extension (by adding accessory, or a bit of bicycle innertube). Also, when using bins with small exit pupils, it is hard to move one's eyes around the view without getting blackouts. Some seem somehow to do a bit better than others, but generally, the only way to enjoy visually roaming around the view is by using a bin with a big exit pupil. This is why I prefer full-sized bins for most birding.

I think the veiling glare you've found in the M7 is inherent to that model (and many other bins), not your unit. With a large FOV, the bin may still be quite useable in glare inducing conditions, so long as the rest of the view is clean and contrasty enough. Maybe something you can live with? Cheap bins sometimes suffer loss of contast throughout the view whereas in better bins the glare occurs less frequently and is more localized.

--AP
 

paddy7

Well-known member
I've mentioned this before on another thread, and it's not for everyone but - with smaller bins, despite not wearing glasses, i use them mainly with eyecups retracted. I hold the bins in front of my eyes, and 'use my own eye relief'.
It might sound odd, but doesn't take long to master, and you get the full FoV and usually no blackouts.
It doesn't seem to be as effective or usable with 8x42s but i used it continually with the M7, and still do it with a Nikon EII.
Maybe give it a try and see if it works for you?
 

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