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What binoculars do you think have the most WOW factor! (1 Viewer)

stephen b

Well-known member
If yours has a yellow view also, I suggest to send it to DADDY because you don't know how big the difference is.

Jan

Jan,

Mine are the ones made after the "yellow view" ones. My previous ones were good to go also- no yellow view (1996, and current ones are 1999 MF date) .

Enjoy yours.

-Stephen
 

stephen b

Well-known member
All the binoculars listed "wow" me. But one that consistently amazes me is the Bushnell Rangemaster 7x35 series. This was an alpha for its time and often can be found in excellent condition. I have tried to collect the whole series and lack only the first issue, but as Fan Tao's excellent web site points out, that model used BK-7 prisms. The others have Bk-4 prisms. Some claim fully coated optics.

The build quality is superb. There is nothing cheap about anything with the Rangemasters. Sixty and fifty year old Rangemasters focus smoothly and with precision. No slop. Most of the so called European alphas have internal focusing problems due to the inherent engineering problems with sophisticated designs. Not so with the Rangemasters. The Japanese designed a binocular to last a century. I have yet to find a Rangemaster with collimation problems unless there was significant abuse. Unlike many older Zeiss porros, including their superb monoculars, there is no evidence of gasification hazing deposited on the internal surfaces of Rangemasters.

...........

One of the features about the Rangemaster construction (not the newer models) is that with the eye cups removed, the viewer with spectacles can get the full FOV, and believe me a view of 525-578 feet is a "wow".

I have found several with a minor fungus spots which affects nothing in terms of the view. Most are amazing clean inside for their age. The optics are hard coated and do not scrub off like the external surfaces of the old B&L models.

The sweet spot is huge, and the models made by Fuji Optical Company have edges that are remarkably sharp. A 7x35 has the advantage of the 5 MM exit pupil which covers a wide range of lighting conditions. Seven power has been vastly underestimate IMO for today's binoculars. Many people are surprised to find out that the el cheapo 6 x30 Leupold Yosemite has a great view, a function of coatings and low power.

It is really too bad that many birders have never latched on to a Rangemaster. If they did, they would find it has considerable use in their birding activities.

Fully agree with you John about the quality of the Bushnell glass. I have one of the Bushnell "Triple tested" Featherlight models made by FPO around same time as the Rangemasters and it is simply superb. Perfect collimation and great contrast and sharpness - esp. without all the modern bells and whistles. Mine is an IF model and the optics are crisp and sharp with even good edge performance. There is not a spec of internal "funk" with mine, and of course the IF part helps with that. Mine have the same size and prism housing as these Bushnell 7x35 Rangemasters on Fan Tao's site (Except mine has the FPO marking and Japan under it on the hinge cover plate on the objective end).:


http://web.archive.org/web/20070206190840/http://fantao.home.att.net/rangem.htm

And I also have a 6x30 IF Bushnell Featherlight that is simply fantastic- I cannot believe how good the optics are. I got it a few years in a local thrift shop and did not know much about it when I bought it- other than saying to myself when I looked at them outside the store "Wow- these are quite good". So I bought them and took them home. Did some research on them and saw the 10x50 ones on Fan Tao's website, and realized that they were a very well made binocular from the past. My Sample of 6x30 is quite beat up externally- but the inside baffling and the glass on the inside is pristine. I really think that the old IF bino's are so well sealed- that they do not allow the gunk inside that the center focus ones sometimes have. Of course this makes sense. They really made those IF bino's to withstand a lot. And the collimation I believe stays a lot better.

From strictly a detail resolution standpoint it actually is as good or better than my Leupold Yosemite 6x30. It is not quite as good as my Swift 6x30 Seahawk (that is better optically than the 6x30 Yosemite) but it (the 6x30 Featherlight) is pretty darn good.

It is identical to this 10x50 Featherlight on Fan Tao's site - My 6x30 is a USOL version that is just like the 10x50 on bottom of page:

http://web.archive.org/web/20070206190224/http://fantao.home.att.net/fpo10x50.htm

I also agree with you about lower power bino's- I love 6x and 7x galss.
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
All the binoculars listed "wow" me. But one that consistently amazes me is the Bushnell Rangemaster 7x35 series. This was an alpha for its time and often can be found in excellent condition. I have tried to collect the whole series and lack only the first issue, but as Fan Tao's excellent web site points out, that model used BK-7 prisms. The others have Bk-4 prisms. Some claim fully coated optics.

The build quality is superb. There is nothing cheap about anything with the Rangemasters. Sixty and fifty year old Rangemasters focus smoothly and with precision. No slop. Most of the so called European alphas have internal focusing problems due to the inherent engineering problems with sophisticated designs. Not so with the Rangemasters. The Japanese designed a binocular to last a century. I have yet to find a Rangemaster with collimation problems unless there was significant abuse. Unlike many older Zeiss porros, including their superb monoculars, there is no evidence of gasification hazing deposited on the internal surfaces of Rangemasters.

My latest acquisition is a Tamron built with 11 degree FOV. (approaching fifty years old) Compared to the earlier 10 degree models from Fuji, this extra 1 degree is no gain because the edges are quite soft. But the build quality is superior to any porroa I have ever seen. This comes with some heft which reeks with quality - precision glass and metal. Based on the CPI of that era, that binocular would retail for over $1,200 today.

One of the features about the Rangemaster construction (not the newer models) is that with the eye cups removed, the viewer with spectacles can get the full FOV, and believe me a view of 525-578 feet is a "wow".

I have found several with a minor fungus spots which affects nothing in terms of the view. Most are amazing clean inside for their age. The optics are hard coated and do not scrub off like the external surfaces of the old B&L models.

The sweet spot is huge, and the models made by Fuji Optical Company have edges that are remarkably sharp. A 7x35 has the advantage of the 5 MM exit pupil which covers a wide range of lighting conditions. Seven power has been vastly underestimate IMO for today's binoculars. Many people are surprised to find out that the el cheapo 6 x30 Leupold Yosemite has a great view, a function of coatings and low power.

It is really too bad that many birders have never latched on to a Rangemaster. If they did, they would find it has considerable use in their birding activities.
How tight is the focus on those older Rangemaster's? A lot of vintage binoculars I have seen have TA focusers.
 

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
Fully agree with you John about the quality of the Bushnell glass. I have one of the Bushnell "Triple tested" Featherlight models made by FPO around same time as the Rangemasters and it is simply superb. Perfect collimation and great contrast and sharpness - esp. without all the modern bells and whistles. Mine is an IF model and the optics are crisp and sharp with even good edge performance. There is not a spec of internal "funk" with mine, and of course the IF part helps with that. Mine have the same size and prism housing as these Bushnell 7x35 Rangemasters on Fan Tao's site (Except mine has the FPO marking and Japan under it on the hinge cover plate on the objective end).:


http://web.archive.org/web/20070206190840/http://fantao.home.att.net/rangem.htm

And I also have a 6x30 IF Bushnell Featherlight that is simply fantastic- I cannot believe how good the optics are. I got it a few years in a local thrift shop and did not know much about it when I bought it- other than saying to myself when I looked at them outside the store "Wow- these are quite good". So I bought them and took them home. Did some research on them and saw the 10x50 ones on Fan Tao's website, and realized that they were a very well made binocular from the past. My Sample of 6x30 is quite beat up externally- but the inside baffling and the glass on the inside is pristine. I really think that the old IF bino's are so well sealed- that they do not allow the gunk inside that the center focus ones sometimes have. Of course this makes sense. They really made those IF bino's to withstand a lot. And the collimation I believe stays a lot better.

From strictly a detail resolution standpoint it actually is as good or better than my Leupold Yosemite 6x30. It is not quite as good as my Swift 6x30 Seahawk (that is better optically than the 6x30 Yosemite) but it (the 6x30 Featherlight) is pretty darn good.

It is identical to this 10x50 Featherlight on Fan Tao's site - My 6x30 is a USOL version that is just like the 10x50 on bottom of page:

http://web.archive.org/web/20070206190224/http://fantao.home.att.net/fpo10x50.htm

I also agree with you about lower power bino's- I love 6x and 7x galss.

Stephan:

I found your post on the Bushnell's interesting, and found the older
discussion about Chandler Robbins amazing bins.
I brought it back on the thread right below this one.
Thanks, for the reminder of the old ones.

Jerry
 

Stet

Well-known member
Are those in order of favorites?

I did set the list up in order of what gives me the most wow factor. However the only bin I do not own yet is the SV. I am currently saving up for that one. I only have a couple hours of glass time with it outside and multiple times comparing it inside the store, so the wow factor is based on just initial impression which do tend to change as I put a bin more into use. The SE could be higher on the list for just pure wow factor but I have difficulty seeing the full field of view which kinda puts a damper on the wow factor for me. This was one of the main reasons I sold it to fund other bins. Kind of wishing I would have just kept it though, even though it didn't see a lot of use. Now the EII gets used all the time. Definitely one of my favorite all around bins. I just wish it handled glare as good as the SE. This would be my only quibble with it and waterproofing, but the FL's have that covered for me. The FL's and EII's see about equal amount of use depending on my mood and a lot of times I'll use both. The FL's on a harness on my chest and the EII's in the pocket of my hooded sweatshirt. Really for no practical reason other than I'm an optical nut and just love looking through both, as each one gives a slightly different experience. The Meopta's I've been comparing for some time now every time I go to Cabela's and I always am very impressed with the view. They compare very well with the Swaro's and any other alpha I've compared them too. So close it is really hard to call in the store. The Meopta's I'm talking about are the newer HD models which a significantly better than the original Meostars in my eyes. I recently found a pair for a great price in the bargain bin and had to buy them. They haven't seen significant field use yet but from what I've seen so far they are definitely keepers. Of course now I need to sell off a few of my lesser used bins to pay these off, but I think they will fit well into my current line up of most used bins.
 
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[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
I did set the list up in order of what gives me the most wow factor. However the only bin I do not own yet is the SV. I am currently saving up for that one. I only have a couple hours of glass time with it outside and multiple times comparing it inside the store, so the wow factor is based on just initial impression which do tend to change as I put a bin more into use. The SE could be higher on the list for just pure wow factor but I have difficulty seeing the full field of view which kinda puts a damper on the wow factor for me. This was one of the main reasons I sold it to fund other bins. Kind of wishing I would have just kept it though, even though it didn't see a lot of use. Now the EII gets used all the time. Definitely one of my favorite all around bins. I just wish it handled glare as good as the SE. This would be my only quibble with it and waterproofing, but the FL's have that covered for me. The FL's and EII's see about equal amount of use depending on my mood and a lot of times I'll use both. The FL's on a harness on my chest and the EII's in the pocket of my hooded sweatshirt. Really for no practical reason other than I'm an optical nut and just love looking through both, as each one gives a slightly different experience. The Meopta's I've been comparing for some time now every time I go to Cabela's and I always am very impressed with the view. They compare very well with the Swaro's and any other alpha I've compared them too. So close it is really hard to call in the store. The Meopta's I'm talking about are the newer HD models which a significantly better than the original Meostars in my eyes. I recently found a pair for a great price in the bargain bin and had to buy them. They haven't seen significant field use yet but from what I've seen so far they are definitely keepers. Of course now I need to sell off a few of my lesser used bins to pay these off, but I think they will fit well into my current line up of most used bins.
The 8x32 SV's didn't wow me as much as the 8.5x42 SV's. I think it was that extra .5x of magnification that improves the picture for me. I haven't noticed that the EII's show more glare yet than the SE's. I will have to test that. The EII's are the shapest bin I have looked through with a WIDE fov like that.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
The one current binocular that comes to mind is the 10x50 SV's! I have owned and peared through alot of glass through the years don't think i ever reacted as strongly to any other glass! If there ever was a wow, it would be it! Wow!!! Rather than that my wow's have been geared to the lesser expensive glass the last 3-5 yrs! Like, wow how much are these! Glass has improved so much in the roof's the last 20 or so years! I remember the first roof prism glass i looked through, i told myself i would never own them!!! Lol! Porro's were king, they lacked the coatings of today so they weren't as bright but, were and are pretty sharp! Bryce...
The 10x50 SV's are the best 10x roofs I have looked through. The best 10x for me is the 10x35 EII. Simply amazing for a 10x.
 
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eddy the eagle

Well-known member
Zeiss 10x42 HT,even my neighbour went WOW when he looked through them in near darkness if you havn`t tried them I suggest you do.It´s like turning the light on whenever you look through them.Was out tonight until dark and saw tawny and barn owls hunting over a meadow,fantastic. Eddy.
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
Zeiss 10x42 HT,even my neighbour went WOW when he looked through them in near darkness if you havn`t tried them I suggest you do.It´s like turning the light on whenever you look through them.Was out tonight until dark and saw tawny and barn owls hunting over a meadow,fantastic. Eddy.
Yes 10x is even better at night than 8x. I have not looked through the new Zeiss but I am sure they are bright. Are they brighter than the FL's?
 

edwincjones

Well-known member
the WOW is in the eye of the beholder
any and all can make it
also depends on object seen

a painted bunting, or bald eagle, in a $15 plastic ruby coated pair can create a WOW

edj
 

bh46118

Well-known member
I've never seen WOW thru any junk binocular. I've got one binocular that produces as much WOW as anything your gonna look through no mater what object is being viewed, and it's not one of the two that have 400'+ FOV. That being said, I'm sure those who own "Alpha" models exclusively would consider all of mine to be junk.

the WOW is in the eye of the beholder
any and all can make it
also depends on object seen

a painted bunting, or bald eagle, in a $15 plastic ruby coated pair can create a WOW

edj
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
8x30 Habicht what? Where did you get your 8x30 Habicht's? I see a a pair on E-bay but they are old and beat up. Do you like them better than your 8x32 SE's?

I normally use a porro for most of my birding and if using a 8x it's usually one of the following: 8x30 EII, 8x32 SE, 8x30 Habicht and occasionally the Opticron 8x32 SR GA.

I mentioned the Habicht as having the bigger wow factor for a couple of reasons. First and foremost is the absolutely stunning on axis resolution. Whether I'm testing resolution from the bench during the day or splitting a difficult double star at night I've found the Habicht to be about at as good as it gets a 8x.

The other thing that wows me about the Habicht is that all that optical performance is contained in such a diminutive but obviously mechanically rugged package. The little Swaro exudes quality from top to bottom and has the added bonus of being one of the few conventional center focus porros that is completely waterproof. This waterproofing does lead to the one thing some people might find problematic with the Habicht which is the amount of effort required to focus. I don't find it a problem but my wife mentioned how stiff the focus was when using the Habicht one evening.

As to your question whether or not I liked the Habicht better than the SE I would have to hedge and say it depends. The SE offer better edge performance and a little smoother focus while the Habicht offers better on axis resolution in a smaller/lighter package that is fully waterproof. I have the luxury of having several great binos on hand but for everyday birding I suspect I probably use my 8x30EII more often than not. In inclement weather the 8x30 Habicht or 7x42 EDG usually get the call although I've used the 8x30 EII tucked inside a Badlands bino case in some very rainy weather many times in the past without a hint of a problem.

The Habicht continues to impress me and I'm actually thinking about buying a 7x42 Habicht in the near future. I know it has a rather narrow fov but I really like 7x binos and the 7x42 configuration would be a great performer in low light. In regards to your other question about where I got my 8x30 Habicht I purchased it from one of our own forum members, proudpapa56. Proudpapa's store ,Honey Creek Bill & Beak, is one of the few places you can find the more exotic Swaro items like the Habicht porros and the extendable spotting scopes.

Steve
 
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