anything optics>>>

orbital

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How about a thread on anything optics related,,
from binoculars/monoculars, hunting scopes, spotting scopes & everything else.

What you have, what you are looking to get, what you used them for or adventures, reviews, general questions and tips.
~all welcome



pictures = :thumbsup:
 
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Poppy

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Around November 2019, and March 2020, I had cataract surgery.
Medicare would pay for a standard lens, where I would have to wear reading glasses, or for $7200 I could opt for a multi-focal lens, that Medicare wouldn't pay for.

I always had pretty good vision, but about 10-15 years ago I became more reliant on reading glasses.

About two years ago, I had changed my diet, and noticed that my reading vision was getting better. I thought it was diet related, but I was wrong. Apparently, as one develops cataracts, he becomes more near sighted.

Eventually, I noticed, that my distance vision was getting worse, and I had to get closer and closer to signs before I could read them clearly, at first it was 150 feet, and eventually became 30 feet. This change occurred pretty rapidly, about a year.

Glare at night also became more of a problem.

I went for the upgraded multi-focal lens.

I'm delighted that I now have 20/20 eyesight, and don't need glasses. Some patients do get a "halo" effect when looking at traffic lights in the dark, and unfortunately for me, I am among those.

Some of my earlier lights are cool white, most are neutral. My cataracts must have been getting yellow, and my perception of cool white was more yellow/neutral white. Now... they are definitely cool white.
 

DayofReckoning

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I've had my share of scopes and binoculars, but have lost a bit of interest in the hobby in recent years, and I've sold off all but the few pieces of gear that I actually use. Right now, I have

Celestron Regal M2 100mm ED Spotting Scope mounted on a Bogen/Manfrotto tripod head
Nikon Action EX 12X50 Binoculars mounted on a cheap but workable Bushnell Tripod
Minox BD 8X44BP Binoculars
 

Kestrel

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Good idea for a thread;
With a fair amount of hunting experience in Alaska, I have been an aficionado of mid-range binocs for years;
(Yes, would like a set of Swarovski 8x32's, but who wouldn't ...)

Most of my hunting has been done on foot, so I've gravitated towards the relatively uncommon 'mid-size' format.

Picture album: (please let me know if any links are not viewable)
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/0dzc4biaj89l505/AABguTo5I8Z98skLoSRKR1Gna?dl=0

-----

For the past 10-15 years, I have used Leupold Katmai ('Green Ring') 6x32's, which generally ran in the mid-$300 range during the mid-to-late 00's.
I have been quite happy with them; their size and weight has permitted them to be quite handy when out & about.
Japanese glass; here are two pictures that show them somewhat 'in action';
https://www.dropbox.com/s/hy1x2uvtxhxwqsr/01 - Leupold Katmai.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/86kggmv66dk5v44/02 - Leupold Katmai & Friends.jpg?dl=0

A few months ago, I finally splurged on the discontinued-config Vortex Viper 6x32's; with so few products in that specific market segment, they seem to had been designed to be 'Katmai-killers'; lol.
I think they ran about $550 about 6-8 yrs ago; recently found this very rare pair on eB for $350 shipped; very pleased indeed.
Japan-mfg, unlike current sourcing for the highly-regarded Vortex products :-/
https://www.dropbox.com/s/y1etgpl34go1y1v/03 - Vortex Viper 6x32.jpg?dl=0

I also just added these low-end Leupold Acadia 8x42's on a whim; they have recently been on closeout for ~$150, while I picked them up NIB from a forum for a little less than that.
They seem to be a pretty decent buy; that price point certainly requires them being China-sourced.
Heavy for field use IMO; I purchased them for 'car binocs' where it won't be the end of the world if stolen. :shrug:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/jvqwk218ezh5jac/04 - Leupold Acadia 8x42.jpg?dl=0
 
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Kestrel

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And moving more toward the collecting realm, these binocs were owned by my great grandfather, a civil engineer in England during the late 1800's.
When my grandmother found that as a teenager I was going into engineering, she gave them to me as a gift.

My recollection is that they are Zeiss 'First-Model' binoculars (of 4x magnification); the very first model series of binoculars ever produced.
IIRC Zeiss first began binocular manufacture in 1894; the very first examples having an 11mm objective lens and single-screw neckstrap lugs.
Approx a year later the first-models went to a 14mm objective lens and two-screw neckstrap lugs (my example).
The beginning of what may be considered the second model exhibits a different eyecup design, somewhere around 1896.

These particular ones are serial # 592, which might make them the last-known pair of 4x First-models - a collectors reference indicates that the last 4x first-model was # 575 IIRC.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rvhfwp1qkvql1y4/05 - Zeiss 'First Model'.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/xxhc6k0420bdahb/06 - Zeiss 'First Model'.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/4x5fuwqb3fzwptn/07%20-%20Zeiss%20%27First%20Model%27.jpg?dl=0

Enjoy, :)
 
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KITROBASKIN

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Beautiful family heirloom, and probably still a practical tool, though I would be a little wary of jostling them much. And with an original case?

Wow! Museum quality for sure, especially with well used strap and case. What a family treasure.
As far as a practical tool though, early binoculars were state of the art for the day, but pale compared to today's technology. Perhaps Kestrel will elaborate.
 

Kestrel

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Thx for the feedback; I confess to not being an expert though (or snob - for some reason optics seem to bring this behavior out in some with fat wallets);

With regards to current technology, I believe that the recent innovation of HD glass has been the substantial performance bump since all the talk about advanced coatings ~15 yrs ago or so.
But my suspicion is that even low-end optics have come to a point of diminishing returns for the average viewer - now I think things come down to the quality of manufacture of the mechanism, at least for my considerations. And I do not trust even higher-end products from China - too much QC is effectively being transferred to the end-use customer.

On the other hand; for the person who is looking through glass for many hours in the day, I can certainly understand an insistence on still using only the very best - even though midrange glass is now matching & even outperforming top-end products from only a few years ago.

-----

With my limited testing, the Vortex Vipers do outperform these new Leupold x42's despite their older tech & smaller size - they were a pretty darn good binocular for their day.

New Vipers have the HD glass, but aren't available in 6x and aren't Japan-mfg anymore, so am not really interested. I haven't tested them next to my older Leupold Katmais, but I'm certain the Katmai is now officially obsolete. Not retiring them of course - just won't spend the extra effort in keeping them as heavily secured during travel etc. Very rare in 6x magnification; most of the Katmai's relatively short production run was 8x, and I do really prefer 6x.

My mom got into birdwatching ~8 years ago; I purchased her a set of small/midsize Vortex Diamondbacks, 8x28mm IIRC ?
Philippine-mfg, and quite a good deal @ $200; she has done well with them and actually utilized them on a hike just yesterday.
 
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Kestrel

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Re: the original case; yes the workmanship back then was exemplary - I've enjoyed examining the very fine leather stitching around the buckle in particular.
 

orbital

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wow Kestrel,, just fantastic additions to this thread already!

A little over a year ago, I gave my nephew a really nice pair of binoculars,, they were a mint pair of Monarch 7 10x42.
They were mine, but I missed his high school graduation & he is just about to finish college, so I gave him a early double graduation gift (if that makes sense)
.. seems like a few years ago he was just a little kid...

He never viewed or experienced anything like them before,, he was thrilled.
I'm really happy with giving him those bins.

btw,, Vortex Headquarters is just 1.5hr southwest of me,, I haven't been to the new location, but I have been to their original location in Middleton.
 

Kestrel

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There is a new US manufacturer that not many people have heard about yet; Maven Optics

https://mavenbuilt.com/collections/binoculars

A hunting friend here is getting ready to purchase a set; when we have some hands-on experience, I will post an update.

Very attractive design & appearance, certainly designed for the US market.
They are stepping in where Leupold exited :)(), making a top-quality binocular domestically.
Unlimited lifetime warranty like Leupold; we'll just hope they end up being around for the long term of course.

The attraction to me is that they have a mid-size 30mm-objective model, including the elusive 6x magnification - like my Lp Katmai & Vortex. :thumbsup:
 
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DayofReckoning

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My personal experience, both from a buyer/owner standpoint, as well as having the privilege to have some views through others top end glass, is that good quality Porro Prism binoculars, at least optically, give so, so much more for your money. No, the ruggedness and handling cannot compete with most Roof Prism's, but the optical value per dollar cannot be ignored. They also provide superior 3D views up close, and suffer from much less light loss through the prism system (modern phase coatings have greatly helped roof prisms though).

I know firsthand the embarrassment, after spending a sizeable amount of money on a pair of roof prisms with ED glass, glowing reviews from all on Cloudynights, and an MSRP around $1000 (I didn't pay that), of having a $180 pair of Nikon's Porro Prisms, with similar mag and aperture, going toe to toe with more expensive roofs. My Minox BD 8X44 BP's also perform similar to roof's costing 3 times as much.

The problem though? The market for high quality Porro Prism's is simply not there. At this point it's relegated to the cheap Bushnell's/Tasco's, middle ground binos like Nikon Action EX and Pentax WPII, and large aperture astronomy binoculars (Oberwerk, TS Service). Old classics like the Swift Autobaun, and Doctor Nobliem's are long out of production, and can only be found used.

The good news though, is in recent years, high quality roof prisms have become much more affordable. I can remember a time 15 years ago where any roofs under $500 weren't even worth looking at. Now, that can buy you a lot of bino.
 
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hsa

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Porro prism all the way. I watched comet Neowise for almost half an hour tonight with a Nikon Action EX on a light tripod. It was beautiful.
 

DayofReckoning

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Porro prism all the way. I watched comet Neowise for almost half an hour tonight with a Nikon Action EX on a light tripod. It was beautiful.

Yes, the Action Ex's are an amazing value for the money, I own the 12X50's, which I mount on a Tripod when used (I can barely hold 8X steady.)
 

DayofReckoning

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And moving more toward the collecting realm, these binocs were owned by my great grandfather, a civil engineer in England during the late 1800's.
When my grandmother found that as a teenager I was going into engineering, she gave them to me as a gift.

My recollection is that they are Zeiss 'First-Model' binoculars (of 4x magnification); the very first model series of binoculars ever produced.
IIRC Zeiss first began binocular manufacture in 1894; the very first examples having an 11mm objective lens and single-screw neckstrap lugs.
Approx a year later the first-models went to a 14mm objective lens and two-screw neckstrap lugs (my example).
The beginning of what may be considered the second model exhibits a different eyecup design, somewhere around 1896.

These particular ones are serial # 592, which might make them the last-known pair of 4x First-models - a collectors reference indicates that the last 4x first-model was # 575 IIRC.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rvhfwp1qkvql1y4/05 - Zeiss 'First Model'.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/xxhc6k0420bdahb/06 - Zeiss 'First Model'.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/4x5fuwqb3fzwptn/07%20-%20Zeiss%20%27First%20Model%27.jpg?dl=0

Enjoy, :)

Amazing piece Kestrel. Those come from a time when things were made with pride and craftmanship, and making profit wasn't top priority. The guys on Cloudynights would love to see those!
 

orbital

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Amazing piece Kestrel. Those come from a time when things were made with pride and craftmanship, and making profit wasn't top priority. The guys on Cloudynights would love to see those!


+

For sure, sometimes you see things that leave you speechless> Again, thank you for sharing Kestrel.
.

I live in an area that quietly has a garage sale at a farm or homestead that you can find museum level things people don't realize what they have.
In a dusty box set off in the corner.
Thing is; more & more people are getting savvy to scoop such items.

For me, I have some old fishing stuff that is probably valuable from my great uncle,,, I just don't know if I can part w/ them
 

orbital

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My personal experience, both from a buyer/owner standpoint, as well as having the privilege to have some views through others top end glass, is that good quality Porro Prism binoculars, at least optically, give so, so much more for your money. No, the ruggedness and handling cannot compete with most Roof Prism's, but the optical value per dollar cannot be ignored. They also provide superior 3D views up close, and suffer from much less light loss through the prism system (modern phase coatings have greatly helped roof prisms though).

I know firsthand the embarrassment, after spending a sizeable amount of money on a pair of roof prisms with ED glass, glowing reviews from all on Cloudynights, and an MSRP around $1000 (I didn't pay that), of having a $180 pair of Nikon's Porro Prisms, with similar mag and aperture, going toe to toe with more expensive roofs. My Minox BD 8X44 BP's also perform similar to roof's costing 3 times as much.

The problem though? The market for high quality Porro Prism's is simply not there. At this point it's relegated to the cheap Bushnell's/Tasco's, middle ground binos like Nikon Action EX and Pentax WPII, and large aperture astronomy binoculars (Oberwerk, TS Service). Old classics like the Swift Autobaun, and Doctor Nobliem's are long out of production, and can only be found used.

The good news though, is in recent years, high quality roof prisms have become much more affordable. I can remember a time 15 years ago where any roofs under $500 weren't even worth looking at. Now, that can buy you a lot of bino.

Porro prism all the way. I watched comet Neowise for almost half an hour tonight with a Nikon Action EX on a light tripod. It was beautiful.

+

For the value, nothing compares to porro binoculars.

I think it simply comes down to size/weight to carry in the field or day hike, so that becomes the debate.
If using mainly on a tripod ect.. they blow anything away

My most used binoculars are my 8x30 Nikon roofs, they are small & the view is great, just joy to use.
That said, I want to give porros' another look,
,, so I put in for a 'notify' from b&h on a refurbished pair of 7x35 Action Extremes for $79

could be a really fantastic value & super wide view :)
 
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DayofReckoning

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Good roof prism's have their place. They are well built, rugged and good at holding their collimation, more waterproof because of internal focusing, and their handling is great. They just feel so much more balanced and better in the hands. Which is why they are so popular with birders and hunters.

On the flip side, there are some disadvantages as well, mainly being price, heavy light loss from the complex optical system resulting in a dimmer image, and for birders, when in close the 3D effect of Porro's is greatly superior.

The Nikon Action EX are my favorite Bino, as they offer so, so much for the money. The on axis resolution is extremely sharp (particularly the 12X50 model) and these bino's always ranked high on the optical grade list by EdZ on Cloudynights, a list populated with some of very excellent, and very expensive binos. And my favorite part is they are cheap enough to where a hard drop and break, or someone stealing them, etc, it isn't a massive financial loss, yet you are experiencing 90% optically the same as something costing hundreds more. Downsides though are only having Multi-Coatings (no Fully Multi-Coatings) and edge performance that is not very good at all.

The 7X35 is a good bino, but not one I would recommend, along with the 7X50 model. Reason being, although the FOV on paper spec is very wide, the poor edge performance of the Action Ex pretty much negates this extra FOV, as it's mostly unusable due to distortion. I would recommend the 8X40 instead. It will still give a very wide 8.2 degree FOV, the 40mm aperture will allow greater light gathering, the edge performance won't be as bad, and all that at just a small cost in size and weight.
 
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sledhead

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kestrel : Looking forward to hearing what you have to say about the Mavens. I've read some great things about them Almost went for the B2 11x45's but decided to wait till I try them. Vortex also has a new UHD line which is top notch.

I've been using a pair of Steiner's myself. Bought the ShadowQuest 8X56 Binos. They are amazing...been watching the Comet the last few nights. These things are low light monsters. The glass is clear as a bell. If anyone is interested check out BestBinocularReviews for there write up. Fantastic all around binocular.
I believe my next pair will be a 12x50 if anyone has real use experience I'd love to hear it.
 
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