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 ARFCOM: Tell me about binoculars
svtfast  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 5:56:31 AM
What does 8x30 or 7x30 etc mean? I am looking for a good pair on binos, such as Steiners but I need more info before I can buy.
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Mall-Ninja  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 5:57:49 AM
it's like a scope. first number is magnification, 2nd is objective lens diameter in mm.

The rest, I don't know. I have a pair of bushnells that my old man bought nearly 20 years ago
fight4yourrights  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 6:05:48 AM
Depends what you want to do with them.


I bought a pair of Steiner Predator binoculars, 8x-30mm. Good, all around size & weight


svtfast  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 6:11:25 AM

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:
Depends what you want to do with them.


I bought a pair of Steiner Predator binoculars, 8x-30mm. Good, all around size & weight


groups.msn.com/isapi/fetch.dll?action=MyPhotos_GetPubPhoto&PhotoID=nKwAAAJAODxv3KBSigj308Ich191TbrqPUllXO4!w3qSAaJ7fk43WJGQ22!o1cCSLAwi32FXYBOLtdrWR*7pUCQ



That one is just like the one I want to get, the 8x30 Military R. I want to get one for my next deployment, we got a PVS-6 in and looking through it made me realize that a pair of binos would be something that I could really use.

mattja  [Member]
2/28/2006 6:16:50 AM

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:
Depends what you want to do with them.


I bought a pair of Steiner Predator binoculars, 8x-30mm. Good, all around size & weight


groups.msn.com/isapi/fetch.dll?action=MyPhotos_GetPubPhoto&PhotoID=nKwAAAJAODxv3KBSigj308Ich191TbrqPUllXO4!w3qSAaJ7fk43WJGQ22!o1cCSLAwi32FXYBOLtdrWR*7pUCQ



I have the same pair. Got them at Sportsman's Guide for 185.00. Added a Steiner Binobag and I was all set.
mr_wilson  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 7:07:07 AM
Too Slim's trail tip:

NEVER buy an optical device like BINOCULARS with out first having held them in your hands and looking through them.

It's the only way to tell how they'll feel, the optical clarity and the contrast, all of which is which is very important, IMHO.

Mike

ps - as most "quality" optical products carry with them a hefty price, only a novice purchases these types of products without following the advice above.......

FWIW, my binocs are 10X
Londo  [Member]
2/28/2006 7:29:03 AM
Binoculars today, are way better overall than they
were even ten years ago. They are now designed by
computers and the lens coatings are much better.

You can find a high quality binocular for $200-300 dollars
now.

Check out the following wesbite: A Better View Desired.com.

Look, at very least, for multi-coated lenses. Best are fully multi-coated.
JCKnife  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 7:31:04 AM
Tagged. Good info so far and more to come I'm sure.
Sylvan  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 7:34:08 AM
Looked for a while.
Got the Nikon ATBs.
The Steiners are also nice. Check out the roof prism binos, the light weight is very nice.
Glass ain't cheap.
vito113  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 7:40:37 AM
8x30's are a nice handy size for deployment... get Zeiss, Steiner, Nikon, Leitz or one of the other genuine MilSpec makers models. You pay more but they won't break, standard 'civilian' models will. I have a pair of WWII Wehrmacht 7x50 Zeiss Binos and they still hold up great after 60+ years of use.

Steiners are widely used and have a very good reputation with the military and are not too steep on the price.

ANdy
enigma2y0u  [Member]
2/28/2006 7:41:02 AM
here is your advice. You will buy a pair of binoculars and wish you would have bought a more compact set sometimes and a bigger set sometimes.
pyro6988  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 7:41:17 AM
I bought a pair of Nikon 8 x (30 or 40) at walmart. These binoculars are one of the nicest ones I have ever looked through. Considering that I spent a lot of time using some $1,500 Leica ones that says a lot. The Leica's were just a little bit better but at that price nowhere worth it. Are you ready for the best part? The Nikons were $90.


Go to Walmart and check out for yourself. I was really amazed.


They have been getting banged around in my truck for 6 months and are still look perfect.

mr_wilson  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 7:47:47 AM

Originally Posted By Londo:
You can find a high quality binocular for $200-300 dollars
now.






Money talks, and you've obviously never compared a $1200 pair of Swarovski binocs to your cheapos as their is NO comparision to the "contrast" and optical clarity exhibited by high dollar glass.

Mike

ps - $200-300 bucks gets you a "decent" pair of Nikons or Leupold with reasonable contrast, but don't even compare them to Leica, Swarovski or Zeiss, big-buck optics, for doing so makes you resemble my sig line below.....
Londo  [Member]
2/28/2006 9:04:51 AM
Somehow, I don't think most folks are interested in paying a thousand
dollars and up for binoculars.

My comment stands; and is backed up by folks who know more than
you about quality optics.

From "A Better View desired.com" (An optics site dedicated to birdwatching).... "...There are quite a view excellent porroprism binoculars in the $200-250 range.." Brands mentioned include Leupold, Nikon, Bausch & Lomb, Celestron, Swift.

Here's a quote from Chuck Hawe's website referencing binocular quality and selection:

"In many cases, brand name is a guide to quality. Companies like Leica, Minolta, Nikon, Pentax,
Steiner, Swarovski, and Zeiss have spent decades earning a reputation for high quality optical products...." All these brands except the Leica, Swarovski, and Leica have excellent models for under $300.

My friend John Barsness has written what is certainly the definitive book on consumer sporting optics
to date, "Optics For The Hunter".

John writes the following on page 156: " As this is written in 1998, you can buy very decent porro-
prisms of this size (7X35 or 8X40) for not much more than $100, and $200 to $300 will buy optics
almost as fine as any made.

mr_wilson, you are confusing highest end optics with high quality optics. You may want a consider a refresher course in reading comprehension.
GunLvrPHD  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 10:22:20 AM
I have heard good things about Steiner Predators. I know light-gathering ability is important--I was once in the jungle in India, in twilight, a tiger was 15 feet away (I was on the back of an elephant) and my cheap Bushnell binocs could not pick the tiger out of the jungle.
Kacer  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 10:26:38 AM

Originally Posted By svtfast:
What does 8x30 or 7x30 etc mean? I am looking for a good pair on binos, such as Steiners but I need more info before I can buy.



Like others have said, depends upon WHAT you expect to use them to do.


The brilliance and sharpness of the image you see through a particular binocular or spotting scope is determined by a number of different factors, including the interaction of these factors. Magnification, optical coatings and lens diameter are just a few of the factors influencing how a binocular performs.

However, the single most important criterion in performance will always be the quality of the optics.

Magnification (Power)
Magnification is the degree to which the object being viewed is enlarged. For example, with a 7x42 binocular, the number 7 represents the "binocular power". A binocular of the power 7 magnifies an image to seven times the size it would be when viewed by the normal, unaided human eye. The level of power affects the brightness of an image, so the lower the power of a binocular, the brighter the image it delivers will be. In general, increasing power will reduce both field of view and eye relief, which are also discussed here.

Diameter
The objective lenses of binoculars are the front lenses. The diameter of one of these lenses, given in millimeters, will be the second number describing a particular binocular. Hence, a 7x42 binocular has an objective lens of 42mm. The diameter of the lens determines the light gathering ability of the instrument, with the greater light gathering ability of a larger lens translating into greater detail and image clarity. This is especially useful in low light conditions and at night.


Doubling the size of the objective lenses quadruples the light gathering ability of the binocular. For instance, a 7x50 binocular has almost twice the light gathering ability of a 7x35 binocular and four times the light gathering ability of a 7x25 binocular. This might lead you to assume that bigger is better when it comes to the diameter size of the objective lenses, but in reality the size of the lens must be considered along with exit pupil and intended usage to determine the best binocular for you.

Field of View
The size of the area that can be seen while looking through a pair of binoculars is referred to as the field of view. The angular field of view is indicated on the outside of the binocular, in degrees. The linear field of view refers to the area that can be observed at 1,000 yards, and is expressed in feet. A larger field of view translates to a larger area seen through the binocular.

Field of view is related to magnification, with greater magnification creating a smaller field of view, in general. A large field of view is especially desirable in situations where the object viewed is likely to move, or when the user is moving.

You can use angular field to calculate the linear field by multiplying the angular field by 52.5. For example, if the angular field of a particular binocular is 8° then the linear field will be 420 feet, i.e. the product of 8 x 52.5.

Exit Pupil
The diameter, in millimeters, of the beam of light that leaves the eyepiece of a pair of binoculars is the "exit pupil". The larger the exit pupil, the brighter the image obtained will be. Having a large exit pupil is advantageous under low light conditions and at night. For astronomical applications, the exit pupil of the binocular should correspond with the amount of dilation of your eye's pupil after it has adapted to the dark. This number will be between 5mm and 9mm. 9mm of dilation is the maximum amount for the human eye, and this number tends to decrease with age. (But not if you're getting your Omega 3's ) (This is typically the factor I look at MOST when purchasing binocs.)

To calculate the exit pupil, divide the size of the objective lens by the magnification of the binocular. For example, the exit pupil of 7x42 binoculars is 42 ÷ 7 = 6mm.


Eye Relief
This refers to the distance, in millimeters, that a binocular can be held from the eye and the full field of view can still be comfortably observed. Eyeglass wearers in particular benefit from longer eye relief.

Brightness
A binocular’s ability to gather and transmit enough of the available light to give a sufficiently bright and sharp image defines its brightness. The brightness of a binocular also enhances color differentiation in the image observed. R.B.I. (Relative Brightness Index), Twilight Factor and R.L.E. (Relative Light Efficiency) are common indices used in the binocular industry, but are all somewhat flawed in their design and often prove fairly meaningless. Brightness is one criteria to be considered when purchasing binoculars, but is not the most important factor. Given in order of importance to the overall brightness of a binocular, the following factors are worth investigating: objective lens diameter, magnification, the type and quality of the objective lens glass, type of lens coatings and type of prisms used. In general, large objective lenses, low magnification and fully multicoated lenses are most desirable.

Resolution
A measurement of the binocular's ability to distinguish fine detail and produce a sharp image. Better resolution also delivers more intense color. Resolution varies in relation to the size of the binocular's objective lenses. Generally, a larger objective lens will deliver more detail to the eye than a smaller objective lens, regardless of the magnification of the binocular. Actual resolution is determined by the quality of the optical components, the type and quality of the optical coatings, atmospheric conditions, collimation (i.e. proper optical alignment), and the visual acuity of the user.

Contrast
Refers to the degree to which both dim and bright objects in the image can be differentiated from each other and from the background of the image. High contrast helps in observing fainter objects and in discerning subtle visual details. High quality optical coatings provide better contrast in an image. The other factors affecting contrast are: collimation, air turbulence, and objective lens, prism and eyepiece quality.

Near Focus
The distance between the binocular and the nearest object you can focus on, while maintaining a good image and sharp focus, defines the near focus of a binocular.

Lens Coatings
The optical elements of the binocular are coated to reduce internal light loss and glare, which in turn ensures even light transmission, resulting in greater image sharpness and contrast. Choosing a binocular with good lens coatings will translate to greater satisfaction with the product you ultimately select. Lens coatings range in quality as follows: coated -- fully coated -- multicoated -- fully multicoated. Coated lenses are the lowest quality and basically will not result in a product that will satisfy you. Fully coated lenses are quite economical and can work well for you, depending on your needs. Multicoated or fully multicoated lenses are both very good choices. Fully multicoated lenses give the best light transmission and brightest images, and are therefore the most desirable.

Prisms
A binocular's prisms serve to invert the image and come in one of two basic designs: Roof or Porro prisms. By design, roof prisms are more lightweight and compact, for portability. Porro prisms are designated either BK-7 or BAK-4. Both are economical and highly effective designs. The finer glass in the BAK-4 design is of high density and virtually eliminates internal light scattering, producing sharp, well defined images.

Construction
A critical factor in the performance of any binocular is its construction. The security of the barrel alignment and proper internal mounting and alignment of the optics are crucial to producing a binocular that's mechanically reliable, smooth functioning and long-lasting.

Collimation
The alignment of the optical elements of the binocular to the mechanical axis. Good collimation prevents eyestrain, headaches, inferior and double images while improving resolution. Unfortunately, proper collimation is almost impossible to achieve in very low-priced binoculars that lack quality components and design.



Good luck.
amk5222  [Member]
2/28/2006 10:29:34 AM

Originally Posted By mr_wilson:
Too Slim's trail tip:

NEVER buy an optical device like BINOCULARS with out first having held them in your hands and looking through them.

It's the only way to tell how they'll feel, the optical clarity and the contrast, all of which is which is very important, IMHO.

Mike

ps - as most "quality" optical products carry with them a hefty price, only a novice purchases these types of products without following the advice above.......

FWIW, my binocs are 10X



Excellent advice. I would also let them sit around your neck for a good period of time. Or however you are going to carry them. Try them in every position you can imagine to make sure they are comfy.
meltdown  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 10:31:16 AM

I bought a pair of the steiner predators and have been very happy with them.
AKJD  [Member]
2/28/2006 10:45:28 AM
From my experience while searching for a pair of binoculars, as you increase the price, the amount of improvement in quality decreases. In other words there’s a lot more difference between a $75 pair of Tascos and a $350 pair of Pentax, than there is between the Pentax and $1200 Swarovski. For a hunting Binocular, it is pretty hard to beat some of the mid-prices optics made by Nikon and Pentax and a few others. I have used a pair of Pentax 8x40s for hunting here in Alaska in some pretty rough conditions for the last few years and they have worked very well. If you compare binoculars, don't do it in bright light, do it outside at dusk or dawn, thats when you will notice the most difference. As mentioned read some of Barsness's articles on optics, very informative. He posts a lot at 24hourcampfire and there are a couple articles there.
JD
mtechgunman  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 10:49:43 AM
nikon monarchs, around 250, worth every penny.

as mr_wilson was saying, look through everything before you buy.
zztoplc  [Member]
2/28/2006 11:22:49 AM
My advice go ot Cabela's. Try out differnt ones till you find a pair that works for you. I went with Nikon, they make great cameras and lenses. Thouht they would make a decent bino.i was right, they were really clear and bright compared to the Bushnells. Good Luck!
wildearp  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 11:26:28 AM

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:
Depends what you want to do with them.


I bought a pair of Steiner Predator binoculars, 8x-30mm. Good, all around size & weight


groups.msn.com/isapi/fetch.dll?action=MyPhotos_GetPubPhoto&PhotoID=nKwAAAJAODxv3KBSigj308Ich191TbrqPUllXO4!w3qSAaJ7fk43WJGQ22!o1cCSLAwi32FXYBOLtdrWR*7pUCQ



I am a gear whore like the next guy, but just haven't been able to justify a set of Steiners, even with the ability to get them wholesale. I have a set of Bushnell Armored binos with green coated lenses that are amazingly clear, costing $25. For that, I can put several sets wherever I need them. I also consider that Binos do not make a good substitute for a spotting scope. For that, Leupold is my game.

I did play with a set of Steiners and IOR side by side. Neither gave me a hard-on, but the IOR blew the Steiners away. Since I couldn't get the IOR wholesale, I just decided on no-decision that day.

I have no problem leaving a $25 set of binos in each vehicle. Folks wet the bed over having a trunk gun (another post somewhere around here), how likely are they to have a set of Steiners in the trunk when they need them. When you need to see peach fuzz on a set of titties, a set of Steiners at home on the shelf just ain't gonna get you there.
vito113  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 1:28:48 PM
Just a heads up and pointer on the cost of 1st line Binos vs standard store ones...

A very large chunk of that extra cost goes into the build quality, a $200 pair of 'waterproof' binoculars are liittle better than spash proof if continually in the field. the $1.000 pair can live all day in pouring rain without a problem. Same with shock resistance, drop your MilSpec binos and they bounce, cheap store bought ones usually don't.

Also, do not buy anything that is centre-focus, it will leak, let in dust and go out of alignment in no time. The .Mil use eye[piece focussing

A pair of binos on deployment in Iraq will live a far harder life than any pair of binos that go hunting in the woods.

ANdy

ETA: The Fujinon 6x30 FMTR-SX used to be US MilSpec issue, you can still buy them and the 8x30 version at a not too extreme price

www.cambridgeworld.com/Fujinon_Binoculars-Sport_Optics/fujinon_binoculars.htm
Cold  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 1:35:50 PM
Leica is all you need to know
ScaryGuy  [Member]
2/28/2006 1:41:24 PM
Tell you about Binoculars?

You look through them and things that are far away look closer.



Seriously, heed the advice here: Actually look through them before ou buy.

I have a pair of Nikons that have been more than adequate.

SG
jvic  [Team Member]
2/28/2006 1:51:00 PM

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:
Depends what you want to do with them.


I bought a pair of Steiner Predator binoculars, 8x-30mm. Good, all around size & weight


groups.msn.com/isapi/fetch.dll?action=MyPhotos_GetPubPhoto&PhotoID=nKwAAAJAODxv3KBSigj308Ich191TbrqPUllXO4!w3qSAaJ7fk43WJGQ22!o1cCSLAwi32FXYBOLtdrWR*7pUCQ



Had a pair of those, but they weren't wide enough for my fat head. Or my eye-spacing, anyway. I would definitely try any of them out before buying, if you can.
scrum  [Member]
2/28/2006 2:13:04 PM
Second # (objective lens) should ideally be at least 4x the first # (magnification).

One of the best values going is the Nikon Monarch ATB binocs with ecoglass. Light, bright, and clear for under $300. They do not compare to $1000+ binocs (which I have used but cannot afford), but they are a great value.
svtfast  [Team Member]
3/2/2006 11:47:37 AM

Originally Posted By enigma2y0u:
here is your advice. You will buy a pair of binoculars and wish you would have bought a more compact set sometimes and a bigger set sometimes.



Nah, I want a good long range pair. I am also looking at a compact pair.

ARCOM MOTTO: GET BOTH

ghengiskhabb  [Team Member]
3/2/2006 11:57:17 AM
Don't just look through them across the street and admire the view. Spend 10 minutes or more looking through them. If they give you a headache, chuck them.

There is alot of info out there to learn from. Spend a few hours.
www.opticstalk.com/

Also check here to see if they have a good deal
www.samplelist.com/
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