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Thread: Binoculars buying - new or quality old ?

  1. #51
    You could do worse than Nikon 8x42 HG or the sublime 8x32 SE.

    Both secondhand.

    The 8x42 are waterproof and heavy but the view is fab.

    The 8x32 are light and nimble, not waterproof but the view is fab.

    I got both of mine secondhand. If you’re near Dorset come and try them both. If you want to go further down the rabbit hole check out leaded vs unleaded glass. The changeover took place around year 2000.
    Last edited by catch21; 4th April 2020 at 16:40. Reason: Nikons are HG not HD

  2. #52
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by willie_gunn View Post
    I believe the differences are down to the quality of glass, number of optical components and the coatings.

    Basically CL's are Swarovski's entry level glass, and EL's are their top end (though some still prefer the SLC's). "Entry level" is, of course, mostly relative!

    I have not looked through the CL's other than during regular daytime, so whilst the visual image was good it was not exactly testing conditions.
    I had a pair of 8x32 CLs but couldn't get on with them, too much of a compromise on quality and performance (at a high level). Exchanged for ELs and totally happy with them, definitely in a different league, albeit at a higher price point. I also have a pair of older, now obsolete, B&L 8x42 Elites which are very good for focusing right down to a couple of meters, something Els can't achieve. They are quite a bit heavier and tend to get used more in low light conditions. Both pairs cover all my needs admirably; but I can't stress highly enough, try before you buy.

  3. #53
    Grand Master mart broad's Avatar
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    Top end are great but if like me you are an occasional user then IMO totally over the top unless your funds are unlimited( i wish) i picked up SH a pair of Nikon Aculon 8x42 from Ffordes for £39.00 and for my usage very pleased.
    I FEEL LIKE I'M DIAGONALLY PARKED IN A PARALLEL UNIVERSE

  4. #54
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    I'm not saying that it can't be found at a lower price point, but what you should be getting in the "alpha" binoculars, is a perfect "singular image".

    Both tubes exactly the same focal length/magnification, and aligned perfectly. When you look through them, you will be presented with a single view, just like you get with your own eyes.

    I never saw this until around 1996, when a friend returning from rafting down the Yukon River, gave me the pair of Zeiss BGAT roof prism bins he bought in the states for the trip.
    He said nothing as he handed them to me.
    I looked through them for about two seconds.
    Jaw on the floor, I looked at him, we both said at the same time "singular image".
    Last edited by Rob (NZ); 2nd April 2020 at 09:28.

  5. #55
    Master murkeywaters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mart broad View Post
    Top end are great but if like me you are an occasional user then IMO totally over the top unless your funds are unlimited( i wish) i picked up SH a pair of Nikon Aculon 8x42 from Ffordes for £39.00 and for my usage very pleased.
    In theory your right, but I guess you don't employ that mindset with watches, after all they all tell the time!

    Also alpha bino's are cheaper than watches long term, £1500 gets you a top class pair whereas the same money gets you a nice watch to go with all the other £1500+ watches ..

  6. #56

    Binoculars buying - new or quality old ?

    The analogy between top end binos and watches is a good one.

    Personally I doubt even 5% of owners of top end binos genuinely need them.

    They own them because they like the cachet of owning them. They accept that they are over-engineered for what they actually need them for, and know in their hearts that they could really get away with a more basic pair, but they can afford them, so they buy them. Not that thereís necessarily any harm in that.

    Much like tool watches.

  7. #57
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    Most binoculars are way better than my eyes, so I need to be able to adjust them "properly"! I've tried very expensive ones and the £45 Argos specials and to be honest, my tired old eyes can't see a difference now. Horses for courses really. Go to the stores, when we can again and try a few. I remember years ago buying a pair of German (Zeiss I think) and they were fantastic. Unfortunately, they got dropped and damaged and the repair cost was more than the price of new Japanese (in vogue in the 80's) binocs.

  8. #58
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willie_gunn View Post
    The analogy between top end binos and watches is a good one.

    Personally I doubt even 5% of owners of top end binos genuinely need them.

    They own them because they like the cachet of owning them. They accept that they are over-engineered for what they actually need them for, and know in their hearts that they could really get away with a more basic pair, but they can afford them, so they buy them. Not that thereís necessarily any harm in that.

    Much like tool watches.
    Wot a load of old tosh Ö and likely a total waste of time trying to explain to you why.

    dunk
    "I know not how to abstain from reading" Ö Samuel Pepys

  9. #59

    Binoculars buying - new or quality old ?

    Quote Originally Posted by sundial View Post
    Wot a load of old tosh Ö and likely a total waste of time trying to explain to you why.

    dunk
    Having spent the last 20 years using binoculars for many hours most weeks, mostly at dawn and dusk, my comments are based on my personal practical experience.

    In my opinion many users have no need to take advantage of the specific benefits that high end binoculars provide. When light levels are good, there are many binoculars that will give a great image. Iíve got some great, cheaper, binoculars that I keep in the car that are more than adequate in the middle of the day.

    However most people use their binoculars during regular daylight, not the 30 minutes of first/last light when the quality of optics can make the difference between success and failure. Thatís when the Swaros, Zeiss and Leicas of the world really earn their money. Itís no coincidence that these brands are also the recognised leaders in hunting optics, since as a user group their requirements are far more demanding than any others, bird watchers included.

    If people want to buy expensive binoculars I can quite understand why, as using top end binoculars are one of lifeís great pleasures. I think Iíve also made that clear, if youíll excuse the pun!

    Hence why I think the analogy to tool watches is a good one.

    I have a number of tool watches, but it is highly unlikely I will ever need to take advantage of their specific features. Doesnít stop me buying and wearing them though, since I appreciate what they provide. But for their primary purpose of telling the time a £10 beater does as good a job, since itís never going to be tested in extremis.

    So by all means explain why you think my view of things is ďa load of old toshĒ. Itís only my opinion after all - and my opinions are hardly sacrosanct.

    I would certainly be interested to hear your view, not least because I appreciate and respect your knowledge on all things optical and photographic, and I enjoy your posts.

    Consider it a chat over a pint, not pistols at dawn.
    Last edited by willie_gunn; 3rd April 2020 at 05:46.

  10. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by willie_gunn View Post
    The analogy between top end binos and watches is a good one.

    Personally I doubt even 5% of owners of top end binos genuinely need them.

    They own them because they like the cachet of owning them. They accept that they are over-engineered for what they actually need them for, and know in their hearts that they could really get away with a more basic pair, but they can afford them, so they buy them. Not that thereís necessarily any harm in that.

    Much like tool watches.
    No, no and no. Thatís so wrong. For genuine wildlife enthusiasts getting out into the field is a passion. They spend hours and hours on their passion, reading, travelling, being out and about. You might not understand it, but people will get on a plane and fly hundreds of miles to see a rare bird arrival somewhere. When they get there, they arenít going to waste that opportunity by looking through £45 binoculars from Argos.

  11. #61

    Binoculars buying - new or quality old ?

    Quote Originally Posted by catch21 View Post
    No, no and no. That’s so wrong. For genuine wildlife enthusiasts getting out into the field is a passion. They spend hours and hours on their passion, reading, travelling, being out and about. You might not understand it, but people will get on a plane and fly hundreds of miles to see a rare bird arrival somewhere. When they get there, they aren’t going to waste that opportunity by looking through £45 binoculars from Argos.
    Why is it so wrong, exactly?

    How many of those enthusiasts do you realistically think there are, and would you not perceive that those type of enthusiast could form part of the 5%?

    And why do you think I don’t understand? I am out with a monocular, binoculars or a camera most days, even when just walking the dogs. I thoroughly enjoy just sitting and watching wildlife. I am lucky enough to (normally) travel the world for my job, and I’ll take my binoculars or camera with me whenever possible

    But is there some qualification I’m unaware of, which means only the true tyro can buy high end binoculars?

    And who said anything about £45 binoculars from Argos? I mentioned both Minox and Vortex, which are thoroughly respectable brands that have a great reputation. Minox HG range use Schott glass - good enough for Leica and Zeiss to source glass from them as well. There are some fantastic binoculars out there that just don't happen to cost £2,000+.

    I just happen to think there are a huge number of pairs of top end binoculars out there that do nothing more than get dragged out of the cupboard when someone happens to remember them. You and dunk see things differently. I doubt either of us can prove our respective points, though please feel free to try, but surely that's what having different opinions is all about?
    Last edited by willie_gunn; 3rd April 2020 at 08:47.

  12. #62
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willie_gunn View Post
    The analogy between top end binos and watches is a good one.

    Personally I doubt even 5% of owners of top end binos genuinely need them.

    They own them because they like the cachet of owning them. They accept that they are over-engineered for what they actually need them for, and know in their hearts that they could really get away with a more basic pair, but they can afford them, so they buy them. Not that there’s necessarily any harm in that.

    Much like tool watches.
    Quote Originally Posted by willie_gunn View Post
    Having spent the last 20 years using binoculars for many hours most weeks, mostly at dawn and dusk, my comments are based on my personal practical experience.

    In my opinion many users have no need to take advantage of the specific benefits that high end binoculars provide. When light levels are good, there are many binoculars that will give a great image. I’ve got some great, cheaper, binoculars that I keep in the car that are more than adequate in the middle of the day.

    However most people use their binoculars during regular daylight, not the 30 minutes of first/last light when the quality of optics can make the difference between success and failure. That’s when the Swaros, Zeiss and Leicas of the world really earn their money. It’s no coincidence that these brands are also the recognised leaders in hunting optics, since as a user group their requirements are far more demanding than any others, bird watchers included.

    If people want to buy expensive binoculars I can quite understand why, as using top end binoculars are one of life’s great pleasures. I think I’ve also made that clear, if you’ll excuse the pun!

    Hence why I think the analogy to tool watches is a good one.

    I have a number of tool watches, but it is highly unlikely I will ever need to take advantage of their specific features. Doesn’t stop me buying and wearing them though, since I appreciate what they provide. But for their primary purpose of telling the time a £10 beater does as good a job, since it’s never going to be tested in extremis.

    So by all means explain why you think my view of things is “a load of old tosh”. It’s only my opinion after all - and my opinions are hardly sacrosanct.

    I would certainly be interested to hear your view, not least because I appreciate and respect your knowledge on all things optical and photographic, and I enjoy your posts.

    Consider it a chat over a pint, not pistols at dawn.
    It's your rather too dogmatic assumption that only 5% of buyers really need their higher quality binoculars i.e. brands including Leica, Zeiss*, Nikon*, Swarovski, Meopta*, Fuji*, Kowa* … as if the other 95% of buyers do not appreciate their optical /ergonomic / build quality / QA strengths compared to budget & mid-end models/brands. Enthusiastic observers (especially those who understand how to set up a binocular properly) do not only observe at dusk / dawn /night … and they (the 95% who you allege do not need them) really do enjoy and appreciate the 'quality observing' factor .. and they enjoy them thoughout the day (and night). Inevitably there are some binocular buyers who treat their high end instruments as 'safe queens', but there are thousands of enthusiasts who actually use them regularly and enjoy them. Anyone doubting this enthusiasm could visit the Rutland Bird Fair, head for the optics tent, and see for themselves the enthusiasts trying e.g. the latest Swarovski and Leica instruments … and listen to their comments as they observe the surrounding terrain . Also witness the usual queue to enter the 'In Focus' tent to sample their high-end wares … both new and s/h … and further witness the s/h high-end models' cosmetic battle scars resulting from regular enthusiastic observing. Within the ranks of high end binoculars' buyers and owners there are very many satisfied users who would not be happy using the lesser brands … they're very aware of the differences and appreciate the finities of e.g. image brightness and sharpness, good eye relief, wide field of view, collimation longevity, aberration correction, waterproofing, and trade-in value. Those lesser brands / models (many identical apart from the 'badge engineering') are likely churned out in just a couple of large Chinese factories where QA is not as high on the agenda as in e.g. German, Austrian, Czech Republic and Japanese production lines.

    * excluding these manufacturers' budget price brands many of which are made in China to a lesser specification e.g. Zeiss Terra and all the cheaper Nikon low-end designs

    dunk
    Last edited by sundial; 4th April 2020 at 01:13.
    "I know not how to abstain from reading" Ö Samuel Pepys

  13. #63

    Binoculars buying - new or quality old ?

    Quote Originally Posted by sundial View Post
    It's your rather too dogmatic assumption that only 5% of buyers really need their higher quality binoculars i.e. brands including Leica, Zeiss*, Nikon*, Swarovski, Meopta*, Fuji*, Kowa* … as if the other 95% of buyers do not appreciate their optical /ergonomic / build quality / QA strengths compared to budget & mid-end models/brands. Enthusiastic observers (especially those who understand how to set up a binocular properly) do not only observe at dusk / dawn /night … and they (the 95% who you allege do not need them) really do enjoy and appreciate the 'quality observing' factor .. and they enjoy them thoughout the day (and night). Inevitably there are some binocular buyers who treat their high end instruments as 'safe queens', but there are thousands of enthusiasts who actually use them regularly and enjoy them. Anyone doubting this enthusiasm could visit the Rutland Bird Fair, head for the optics tent, and see for themselves the enthusiasts trying e.g. the latest Swarovski and Leica instruments … and listen to their comments as they observe the surrounding terrain . Also witness the usual queue to enter the 'In Focus' tent to sample their high-end wares … both new and s/h … and further witness the s/h high-end models' cosmetic battle scars resulting from regular enthusiastic observing. Within the ranks of high end binoculars' buyers and owners there are very many satisfied users who would not be happy using the lesser brands … they're very aware of the differences and appreciate the finities of e.g. image brightness and sharpness, good eye relief, wide field of view, collimation longevity, aberration correction, waterproofing, and trade-in value. Those lesser brands / models (many identical apart from the 'badge engineering') are likely churned out in just a couple of large Chinese factories where QA is not as high on the agenda as in e.g. German, Austrian, Czech Republic and Japanese production lines.

    * excluding these manufacturers' budget price brands many of which are made in China to a lesser specification e.g. Zeiss Terra and all the cheaper Nikon low-end designs

    dunk
    Dunk

    Many thanks for taking the time to reply.

    I really meant it when I said I enjoy your posts - Iíve personally learned a lot from them - so please donít take the fact we might sometimes disagree as me not appreciating your take on things. At the end of the day you are far more likely to be right than me!

    As it happens I donít disagree with much of what you posted above, and maybe in hindsight my original 5% example was overly provocative. To avoid offence it might have been better expressed as ď95% of users will never make use of the full capabilities of their high end binocularsĒ.

    I have no doubt owners of these binos appreciate all the things you mention - the optical performance, ergonomics, aesthetics, build quality, QC, value retention, etc. As I readily admit, looking through a pair of top end binoculars is, to me at least, one of lifeís great joys. Itís akin to the results I get from using a premium prime lens on my camera - a sharpness that almost takes your breath away and leaves you marvelling at the technology that makes it possible.

    However I still think the tool watch analogy is valid. I might appreciate the 4,000ft water resistance, helium escape and mm thick sapphire crystal on a top-end dive watch, but I doubt Iíll ever truly need them. Not that this stops me, or anyone, from buying and enjoying a watch with those features.

    I appreciate that most people use binoculars during regular daylight, but my point about dawn/dusk viewing is that this is when optical performance is absolutely paramount and one really sees the difference between ďgreatĒ and ďbestĒ. As Iíd hope youíd agree, in these situations one is trying to maximise light capture and transmission under the most testing of conditions. You are trying to distinguish the features of what you are looking at when all you can see is subtle shades of dark grey, not glorious technicolour. For me this is when the quality of premium glass and optical coatings really pay for themselves. I have handed over my Swaros to those alongside me at these times and they have been stunned by what a difference they make - and this is compared to other very good binoculars, not cheap Chinese copies. Put simply, they can see things that had previously been invisible to them. However this might only be true for a brief 15-20 minutes at the both extremes of the day.

    A quick warning that I am about to be provocative again - if not downright heretical.

    Personally I donít attach a huge amount of importance to the views of bird watchers on optics quality. Hence why I also might disagree when it comes to the relevance of the Rutland Bird Fair and In Focus examples you cite. Lots of punters go to the motor show and look at and appreciate top end cars, but that doesnít mean they necessarily then go ahead and buy them! This is in no way denigrating the usefulness of such events, but in the middle of the day and in good light conditions, even mediocre quality binoculars can still give good, if not excellent, results, at least IMHO.

    Iíve spent many happy hours looking through all manner and makes of binoculars, but judging their respective quality in the middle of the day is a bit like taking a Land Rover Defender out for a test drive on tarmac. Youíre just not seeing the true performance capabilities of what youíre considering under the most exacting test conditions. Just like with binos, though, that doesnít stop people buying Land Rover Defenders and then never using them off road!

    As to battle scars, dragging a pair of binos through a burn in spate or scraping them across a granite outcrop does tend to leave a blemish or two. Using them as a rifle rest is probably not 100% advisable either! Iíve seen Zeiss BGATs with one lens half full of water and Swaros worn down to the magnesium frame through use. The good news, though, is that if you send those top quality makes back to the manufacturer there is a good chance youíll get them back looking like new, and with no bill for the work done.

    Thatís clearly something that gets factored into the price when youíre dropping several thousand pounds on a new pair. Does the average punter - or even the most avid birdwatcher - need that? Highly unlikely. Mostly their binoculars are going to live a far more cosseted existence, and rightly so. However thatís exactly the type of field testing and service they end up paying a not inconsiderable premium for. If theyíre happy to do so, top marks to them.

    One point you make that I would perhaps take issue with is with regards to Chinese manufacturers. It reminds me of criticism of Japanese cars and electronics, in that we mocked their early attempts but their ability to both innovate and rapidly improve their manufacturing methods and quality control is something we ended up ignoring at our peril. I view Chinese manufacturing as little different in this respect.

    Thereís a lot of snobbery around high end binoculars - clearly me included - but letís not kid ourselves that they are faultless. From Zeiss and the well known eye cup problems on their original Conquest models, to Swarovski and their simply ludicrous objective covers on the ELís (little wonder they dish out replacements for free) no manufacturer gets it 100% right, 100% of the time.

    Maybe we can agree to disagree on some points, but also agree that top end binoculars and other optics are a thing to admire, enjoy, and take a lot of pleasure from.
    Last edited by willie_gunn; 4th April 2020 at 10:30.

  14. #64
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    No offence taken … and none intended … just surprised by the '5%' comment. And Rutland Bird Fair is not just about birds and birders … friends attend every year to weigh up the non-birding holiday travel opportunities . Other friends attend to try out e.g. the latest Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras and lenses and take advantage of the show offers … and the Zeiss and Leica service technicians are there to assist non-birder binocular owners with repairs … some offered FOC 'while you wait' . Unfortunately with current lock-down Rutland Bird Fair this year could be cancelled.

    dunk
    Last edited by sundial; 4th April 2020 at 11:18.
    "I know not how to abstain from reading" Ö Samuel Pepys

  15. #65
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    I have a pair of Leica 10x25s in the UK and a pair of Nikon 10x25s in Spain. Both were purchased in the 1990s. There is a noticeable difference in the quality of vision. Overall the Leica is sharper and much better in low light.

    I will agree that there is a cache in buying top quality but the main motivation for most people is to buy the best quality they can.

  16. #66
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    Thanks to both Dunk and Willie. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your friendly and considered debate. It is good to see that it is possible to disagree on tíinternet without the need to try to humiliate the other party at all costs.

  17. #67
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    2nd that, great discussion, views and really interesting thread

    Hoping myself to try some glasses when the corona dust settles. Pity I hadn't pulled my finger out and sorted a pair by now as the time on hands at present would have suited but guess really need to try before splashing a reasonable sum out and buying online

  18. #68
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willie_gunn View Post
    Dunk

    Many thanks for taking the time to reply.

    Ö

    Maybe we can agree to disagree on some points, but also agree that top end binoculars and other optics are a thing to admire, enjoy, and take a lot of pleasure from.
    Most certainly Ö even relatively old high-end binos are a pleasure to use. When binocular astro observing with my local group one regular observer wanting to see a wide angle view (compared to his telescope) usually asked , "May I have a look through your Zeiss Night Owl 7x45 binoculars?" Zeiss Night Owl models date from the early 1990s so are now over 25 years old Ö that's a quarter of a century Ö but their imaging characteristics are regarded by many observers as unsurpassed compared to modern Zeiss optics. They were the top end Zeiss models in their day and still command a premium price. However, they are not everyone's cuppa because of their weight .. being made with lead glass they are heavier than modern equivalents. And the whole image is much more than just sharpness:

    http://www.oregonphotos.com/Astro-bi...eviews-BJ.html Ö the last comment speaks volumes

    dunk
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  19. #69
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    Last year I traded two of my air rifles for these Zeiss Conquest 10x42 roof prism bins, The eye extension on one side was cracked and lad had tried glueing it, I couldn't put up with it and luckily the lad was a lefty and both guns were dedicated right handers with a roll over comb so we traded back!

    In all honesty, To say the Zeiss are around a grand, I couldn't see any real difference between them and my Nikon Monarch 8x42 roof prisms which are a quarter of the price- It could just be my old eyes though I suppose!!







    My Nikons..







    I recently bought a Swallow 15x80 binocular, A tad bigger than the Nikons!, There's an algal bloom starting on one of the objectives but they still give a nice clear and bright view!- Just have to get around to making a balanced parallelogram now to support the weight of them!






    I have to confess to being almost as bad with optical gear as I am with watches, I think I have around fifty bins, telescopes and spotters!

    Always loved these little Ruskie 8x30 Komz bins, Excellent quality too!



    These 'Scope Overfield' 9x35 have a crack internal but are still super clear, Can't see any hint of it when viewing with them!



    Some old 'Tecnar' by Swift




    I drove a 50 mile round trip to buy these 100mm Strathspeys, When I looked through them collimation was terrible so I left without them, The double vision gave me a headache!! I wish i'd have bought them now though as I found out that they are still trading and would have adjusted it for me!



    Here's two sets of 7x50, Dowling & Rowe autofocus on the left and Tasco on the right, I paid a fiver each for them at the bootsale!!




    Good luck with finding something suitable!


    John

  20. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by sundial View Post
    Most certainly … even relatively old high-end binos are a pleasure to use. When binocular astro observing with my local group one regular observer wanting to see a wide angle view (compared to his telescope) usually asked , "May I have a look through your Zeiss Night Owl 7x45 binoculars?" Zeiss Night Owl models date from the early 1990s so are now over 25 years old … that's a quarter of a century … but their imaging characteristics are regarded by many observers as unsurpassed compared to modern Zeiss optics. They were the top end Zeiss models in their day and still command a premium price. However, they are not everyone's cuppa because of their weight .. being made with lead glass they are heavier than modern equivalents. And the whole image is much more than just sharpness:

    http://www.oregonphotos.com/Astro-bi...eviews-BJ.html … the last comment speaks volumes

    dunk
    That's a really interesting link - thank you.

    Sadly I haven't managed to have a look yet through a set of Zeiss Night Owls, but I did recently look through a set of Swarovski 8x56 SLC's. The image was stunning, but I have to say that the weight would have been telling if carrying them around for any length of time. Heaven knows what they would have been like with leaded glass! Sadly as I've got older my ability to hold heavy glass steady has noticeably deteriorated, unless I can find something suitable to steady them against.

    I notice the author of the article talks about Optolyth binoculars. One of the sets I keep in the car is an old and very battered pair of 8x56 Royals. The rubber armouring is largely detached from the body of the binos, and the eyepieces must have been cleaned at some point with a Brillo pad, but they still provide a remarkably good image. I really ought to send them off for some refurbishment at some point.

    Your point about the quality of older glass is spot on. I can't quite match up to your 25 year old example, but the nearest I can get is the first super-telephoto lens I bought, which was a manual focus Nikon 500mm F/4.0P manufactured in the late 90's, so around 20 years old. I still have some photos from the first day I used it in the field, including this one:



    Finding I had the ability to count every hair in this roe does ears was simply a revelation, proving there is still much truth in the saying that "good glass is good glass". I took the lens to the Kruger, and it performed even better with the fantastic light of Africa.

    I eventually moved on to a more modern version of the same lens (which was the first lens I had with VR/Vibration Reduction, something I had foolishly dismissed for many years as "new fangled and unnecessary"......what a fool) but those older lenses can still very much hold their own. Your post about the 1000mm Nikon mirror lens provided another great example.

  21. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by johnbaz View Post
    I have to confess to being almost as bad with optical gear as I am with watches, I think I have around fifty bins, telescopes and spotters!

    .....


    Good luck with finding something suitable!


    John
    That's a lovely collection, and good to see there are a few others here who suffer from the same problem when it comes to picking up binos and other optics.

    I wonder if Zeiss could have fixed the eye cup issue for you, though possibly they wouldn't have been happy with the previous owners attempt to fix them?

    Did the Swallows - and the Strathspeys - have tripod mounts at all?

  22. #72
    My post wasnít intended to be antagonistic in any way, more humorous but I guess I missed the mark. Please accept my apologies for that.

  23. #73
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    This tread prompted me to call my mum and ask for the details of the Zeiss Binoculars my Grandad gave me in around 1985. I didnít take them with me when I moved out 15 years later. I remember her telling me she was using them to bird spot and seeing them out (box, case and all) when I visited. Turns out my Aunt gave her a more suitable lightweight ones, so she gave mine to the charity shop. Thanks Ma!

  24. #74
    Quote Originally Posted by catch21 View Post
    My post wasnít intended to be antagonistic in any way, more humorous but I guess I missed the mark. Please accept my apologies for that.
    My response to your post doesn't make for happy reading. No need for me to come over all Mr Sensitive.

    No apology needed or expected, certainly on your part.

  25. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by phil h View Post
    This tread prompted me to call my mum and ask for the details of the Zeiss Binoculars my Grandad gave me in around 1985. I didnít take them with me when I moved out 15 years later. I remember her telling me she was using them to bird spot and seeing them out (box, case and all) when I visited. Turns out my Aunt gave her a more suitable lightweight ones, so she gave mine to the charity shop. Thanks Ma!
    Ouch!

  26. #76
    Master johnbaz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willie_gunn View Post
    That's a lovely collection, and good to see there are a few others here who suffer from the same problem when it comes to picking up binos and other optics.

    I wonder if Zeiss could have fixed the eye cup issue for you, though possibly they wouldn't have been happy with the previous owners attempt to fix them?

    Did the Swallows - and the Strathspeys - have tripod mounts at all?

    Yes, Both can be mounted, Can't remember how the Strathspeys mounted but the Swallow have a removeable screw to mount them on the front of the focus shaft tube, They had a new shaft by the way back in 1997!!



    The Straths weighed an absolute ton!!

    I laso have some Celestron Skymasters that were cheap off facebooks marketplace, I think I paid £35, They were boxed with everything that came from new!!, They're much lighter in weight and can be hand held but are a bit jumpy due to the 25x mag!!



    I found out after we traded back that there's a repair centre here in the UK for Zeiss products!!


    John

  27. #77
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Tony Kay in Selsey is one of the most experienced binocular repairers in the UK:

    https://www.opticalrepairs.com/binoc...servicing.html Ö he's serviced / repaired several of my binoculars Ö £reasonable charges and offers postal service.

    dunk
    "I know not how to abstain from reading" Ö Samuel Pepys

  28. #78
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    Well I must say I didn’t expect this when I originally posted but utmost respect to the informed folk who have made the thread such an interesting read. I’ve made no more progress other than questioning what I really need them for and whether the minox set I have will be about as good as I need for the times and purpose I will use them.

    If nothing else I’ve identified myself as one of the 95% group, or maybe the 5% group
    Last edited by Ashtons99; 5th April 2020 at 00:31.

  29. #79

    Binoculars buying - new or quality old ?

    Quote Originally Posted by sundial View Post
    Tony Kay in Selsey is one of the most experienced binocular repairers in the UK:

    https://www.opticalrepairs.com/binoc...servicing.html Ö he's serviced / repaired several of my binoculars Ö £reasonable charges and offers postal service.

    dunk
    Dunk

    Now I am going to have to pay for at least two pairs of binoculars to be sent away for repairs and somehow sneak them back into the house past Mrs Gunn. If she ever finds out, sheís not going to be best pleased - with either me or you!

    Seriously, many thanks for posting about Tony Kay and particularly your recommendation of his services. That counts as gold in my currency.

    Sorry to use the watch analogy again, but much like independent watch repairers I wonder for how long establishments like OptRep will be available? I hope Iím wrong, but it seems that not enough youngsters are keen to learn the skills that these people have built over a lifetime. Dougie at Glasgow Binocular Repairs was for many years the name I heard mentioned, but I believe he sadly passed away a few years ago.

    Thanks again.

  30. #80
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    If nobody has mentioned them yet, vortex razor's are fantastic binos, with a no quibble lifetime guarantee. I use them as my field binos and they are super at low light conditions, bought secondhand.

  31. #81
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    The archetypal TZ thread. You read it as it's interesting and informative, and a few pages later you want to spend a lot of money! I've resisted many binocular threads with their resultant spending urges, but I fear that further resistance may be futile.

  32. #82
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Binoculars buying - new or quality old ?

    I've had my trusty Nikons for at least 30 years, my eldest is 27 and my wife got them for me as a birthday present well before he was born. Any trip I've taken they've been along, and almost daily use at home.








  33. #83
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    Iím part of the 95% - bought myself a pair of Leica 8x32 EL for my 50th recently. I compared them to the 4 or 5 pairs I already had and the increase in quality is obvious. Most of the use will be in my local bird reserve, so a cosseted life but the spoonbills and oystercatchers are even more of a pleasure to observe now.

    I have enjoyed reading this thread, thank you esp Willie and Dunc.

  34. #84
    The only binoculars I have are some old (1985) Zeiss (DDR) Jenoptem 8x30W ones that were left to me by a birdwatching friend. However, what I mostly use is an Opticon Oregon Macro 6x16 monocular. It is part of my "daily carry" when out and about (back in the old days when one could go out and about), so always at hand. It isn't particularly good or particularly powerful, but I do like having the macro feature, and the best X is the X you have with you.

    Best wishes,
    Bob
    Last edited by rfrazier; 5th April 2020 at 11:21.

  35. #85
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    Has anyone any experience or thoughts on the Swarovski Habicht 10x40 W, really like the look of them and although limited knowledge on anything binocular they look fantastic

  36. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by LRB255 View Post
    Has anyone any experience or thoughts on the Swarovski Habicht 10x40 W, really like the look of them and although limited knowledge on anything binocular they look fantastic
    Review here:

    https://www.allbinos.com/112-binocul...t_10x40_W.html

  37. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob (NZ) View Post
    Thanks for the link 👍

  38. #88
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    ^^ don't read too much into the 'cons' Ö no binocular scores 100% in the Allbinos reviews /tests Ö Porro prism models generally offer better value than roof prism and contrary to popular opinion , are not 'old fashioned'

    dunk
    "I know not how to abstain from reading" Ö Samuel Pepys

  39. #89
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Interesting history of Zeiss 10x40 roof prism models https://www.allbinos.com/169.1-artic...ry_times_.html

    … explains / documents types of coatings

    And explains the price of this 49 years young model https://www.lcegroup.co.uk/Used/Zeis...e._273559.html

    dunk
    "I know not how to abstain from reading" Ö Samuel Pepys

  40. #90
    Been following this thread closely. I canít say I know much about binoculars but il echo the above about not looking through a decent pair as it will be a slippery slope...
    This was my journey into binocular ownership going back about 5 years...

    This was my first pair of binoculars, bought via recommendation via my late uncle and what I thought was a perfectly acceptable image..

    Pentax 10x25 ucfx11 (circa £100)





    I then bought a larger pair, again via recommendation as my late uncle bought his at the same time and we bounced off of each otherís eagerness to use them recreationally etc..again nothing wrong with the image.

    Pentax 12x50 s series wp (circa £200)




    My latest pair which Have blown me away in terms of image quality weight etc are the Leicas. Blown every other binocular Iíve ever used away...simply stunning. I canít begin to imagine what a £1k plus pair are like...

    Leica 10x25 trinovid bca (circa £350)




    I honestly doubt il pick anything up other than the leicas moving forward...
    also Iím now intrigued to see the difference between these and a £1k plus pair..must be amazing...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  41. #91
    Quote Originally Posted by Yeti View Post
    Been following this thread closely. I canít say I know much about binoculars but il echo the above about not looking through a decent pair as it will be a slippery slope...
    This was my journey into binocular ownership going back about 5 years...

    This was my first pair of binoculars, bought via recommendation via my late uncle and what I thought was a perfectly acceptable image..

    Pentax 10x25 ucfx11 (circa £100)





    I then bought a larger pair, again via recommendation as my late uncle bought his at the same time and we bounced off of each otherís eagerness to use them recreationally etc..again nothing wrong with the image.

    Pentax 12x50 s series wp (circa £200)




    My latest pair which Have blown me away in terms of image quality weight etc are the Leicas. Blown every other binocular Iíve ever used away...simply stunning. I canít begin to imagine what a £1k plus pair are like...

    Leica 10x25 trinovid bca (circa £350)




    I honestly doubt il pick anything up other than the leicas moving forward...
    also Iím now intrigued to see the difference between these and a £1k plus pair..must be amazing...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Your Leicas are a cracking pair of binos. I have a much older pair of the same model that I bought back in the early 90's and I still use them today. I would imagine the view through yours is better still, as coatings have doubtless moved on considerably in the intervening years.

    If you can get to the type of events that Dunk mentioned, or if you go to events like the Game Fair, etc. then a look through the latest models from the big three is always enlightening....if potentially very damaging to the wallet!

  42. #92
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Those have been with me for some time. Nothing in the league of some of you guys, of course (if anyone has info such as date please let me know)



    Sorry for the dust...

    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  43. #93
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Those have been with me for some time. Nothing in the league of some of you guys, of course (if anyone has info such as date please let me know)

    [IMG]https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200406/026b3e23d6ef4e32960268d2825fd098.jpgd

    Sorry for the dust...

    [IMG]https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200406/5852ec791c7b6980288a6bdd59628a44.jpg[IMG]https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200406/39434c743101b0d91fbe951b1534c4a3.jpg[IMG]https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200406/6c60dd092a84f7cc6175000b90ed46b9.jpgd]
    Excellent binocular of its time with interesting history / pedigree … so good was faked but SN suggests it's genuine

    https://www.allbinos.com/index.html?...ryzmat=0&sort=

    https://webcache.googleusercontent.c...&ct=clnk&gl=us

    https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/6...30-binoculars/

    Serial number suggests 1980 vintage http://www.europa.com/~telscope/zeissbin.txt

    dunk
    Last edited by sundial; 6th April 2020 at 12:28.
    "I know not how to abstain from reading" Ö Samuel Pepys

  44. #94
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    ^^^

    Bob, Your 8x30 could also be an 8x30 Deltrintem

    Quote Originally Posted by rfrazier View Post
    The only binoculars I have are some old (1985) Zeiss (DDR) Jenoptem 8x30W ones that were left to me by a birdwatching friend. However, what I mostly use is an Opticon Oregon Macro 6x16 monocular. It is part of my "daily carry" when out and about (back in the old days when one could go out and about), so always at hand. It isn't particularly good or particularly powerful, but I do like having the macro feature, and the best X is the X you have with you.

    Best wishes,
    Bob

    dunk
    Last edited by sundial; 6th April 2020 at 12:37.
    "I know not how to abstain from reading" Ö Samuel Pepys

  45. #95
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sundial View Post
    Excellent binocular of its time with interesting history / pedigree Ö so good was faked but SN suggests it's genuine

    https://www.allbinos.com/index.html?...ryzmat=0&sort=

    https://webcache.googleusercontent.c...&ct=clnk&gl=us

    https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/6...30-binoculars/

    Serial number suggests 1980 vintage http://www.europa.com/~telscope/zeissbin.txt

    dunk
    Thank you Dunk. It ties in well with what I knew of the thing. I was also told that the "Q1" was for 1st Quality, for officers and for export...
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  46. #96
    Quote Originally Posted by sundial View Post
    ^^^

    Bob, Your 8x30 could also be an 8x30 Deltrintem




    dunk
    I suspect not, dunk. :)




    Best wishes,
    Bob

  47. #97
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    Prompted by this thread, and SJ’s pics in particular, I dug these out of the desk this afternoon.


    Passed to me by my FIL, who was big into photography.
    I may just spend a few hours this afternoon, scanning the horizon for anything of interest!



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  48. #98
    Craftsman Barry's Avatar
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    👍

    Great thread, plenty of information and some very expensive links. 😬

    Just ordered a set of Leica Trinovids.

    What a slippery slope clicking on to this page was.

    Cheers

  49. #99
    Seeing S-J's pair of binos jogged my memory.

    I forgot about these - a pair of Carl Zeiss 6x24 Binoculars (Prismatic No 3, Mark I, Acceptance Number 3677, R/N L5069/L459344) dating from 1917 and manufactured by Carl Zeiss (London) Ltd as part of a contract to the British military. The company was wound up in January 1917, in accordance with the "Trading with the Enemy Act, 1916" when manufacturing, along with the Mill Hill factory and all the machinery and fittings, was handed over to Ross, another famous optics manufacturer.

    I know the above primarily from information gleaned from the Flickr site here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/binocwpg/ which contains some other fantastic old binoculars.

    Despite being over 100 years old, and considering their military usage, this pair are still in remarkably good condition and have patina in abundance. The image remains very good, though they would undoubtedly benefit from a service.

    I am not 100% sure, but I believe I picked them up from a jumble sale in Canterbury when I was in my early teens. If my memory is correct, this would be one of the rare occasions when my magpie instincts turned up something good!








  50. #100
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    That is superb, WG.
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

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