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Old 07-12-2007, 04:34 PM
watchmaker watchmaker is offline
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BINOCULARS
Hi guys,
The big brown truck and the nice man that brings goodies to the house stopped yesterday with a package from Cabela’s.
I was deprived from sleep for the five days that it took between order and delivery, but finally the Nikon Monarch ATB 8x40 binoculars are here, and I will sleep soundly tonight.

Although I have quite a few binoculars in my safe, I don’t have nearly as many of them as I do flashlights (most of you know me as the crazy guy that owns all those flashlights); but fear not, I am getting there.
So it occurred to me that I should make a post about binoculars for those that are bored of hearing about my lights.
I had owned quite a good amount of binoculars since I bought my first as a 15 year-old with an itch about optics. I even owned an expensive Zeiss when I was single and didn’t had a family to take care of.
And I am here to tell you that the quality, brightness, sharpness, and durability of the new binoculars now on the market; it is better than ever.
Not long ago, if we wanted all these features in a good binocular the choice was between spending a thousand in a Zeiss, Swarosvki, Leica or Minox or looking for good Porro prisms in the Nikon or Pentax lines.
But since a couple of years ago, the Japanese starting coating the roof prisms of their binoculars with Phase Coating, and the sharpness and definition of their roof prism binos had increased to the point to rival the European imports from the big four, and all at very modest cost.
Take, for example, the Nikon Monarch ATB (All terrain binocular) 8x42 I just received, or my Pentax DCF WP 8x42 that I bought last year.


All lenses are fully multicoated (that means all surfaces, not only the glass to air surfaces) prisms are phased-corrected and have mirror-coated lower prisms (not cheap aluminum). They have blackened tubes to avoid reflections and are waterproof and fog proof; they have a nice outer coating of rubber (silent) and very good ergonomics. I particularly like the twist eye cups for eye-glass wearers and the ample eye relief: no problem using it with my glasses and instant acquisition of the picture even with glasses on.

All that can be said for the Nikon Monarch can be said also of my Pentax DCF WP 8x42, except for the weight: the Nikon is lighter at 22 ounces but I don’t know how much my Pentax weighs until I get a new battery for my fish scale.
I like the approach of securing the objective caps to the body of the binocular that the Nikon uses as well. I had to get creative with the Pentax and cook up something home-made to hold the caps to the binocular body.
I did the usual checking for good prisms by holding the binos a few inches away and looking at the light spot in the ocular lens, nice and round without any hint of flattening, just like I was expecting. I checked collimation by holding it a few inches away and pointing them at the yellow line in the road, straight and sharp with not sign of being distorted.
To test the sharpness and resolution most people look from the inside to the outside thru an open window, and most binoculars will perform well under those conditions. I look for a dark corner in the room and try to read some labels or a newspaper print set for the occasion; that is what separates the mediocre from the good or great binoculars.
As the Nikon and the Pentax are so the same in quality I tried to spot any optical differences between them by perching one on top of the other and alternatively looking thru them. After several minutes of this I have to admit that they are both the same optical quality as far as my eyes can tell, without resorting to an optical laboratory.

I have looked thru many Swarovski and Zeiss lenses, (I hunt the stores) superb optical quality in those glasses. I can tell you for sure than the new Nikon and Pentax are almost the equal of those expensive brands; that I only paid just over $300 with shipping for such a superb glass as the Nikon still amazes me.
Kind regards,

Watchmaker
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Old 07-12-2007, 05:40 PM
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thanks for the tips researcher!!!!!
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Old 07-17-2007, 07:38 PM
watchmaker watchmaker is offline
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Hi guys,
Here are two more that I have:

BINOCULARS 8 X 56

Hi guys,
This post will be of little help to those looking to buy a binocular in the 8 x 56 size, because what I have here is a little outdated, my Tasco 8x56 is about twenty seven years old and my Pentax DCF 8x56 about six.
Still let me talk a little about them so you can see what job the monster can do.

Great improvement has been made lately, especially in the phase correction of prisms that has sharpened the image considerably.
These big and heavy binoculars together with the 7x50 are called night glasses and they have a very specialized job of taking advantage of the last available light at dusk and before dawn to see game in their habitat, they are mostly used by European hunters with their liberal shooting hours and used mostly from machans or hotchsit where the bulk and weight are of no consequence.

In the eighties I was involved in doing some research in the habits of black bear, I have seated many times at bait stations armed only with these heavy binoculars, learning the feeding peculiarities and the pecking order of the American black bear.

Although I had lusted over getting a Zeiss 8x56 I had to conform myself with the Tasco 8x56 for many years until I found a brighter binocular in the Pentax DCF.
Brightness is a function of many things (including the objective diameter) the more prominent of them is quality of glass, the better factories use heavy and expensive Bak4 glass in the prisms and extra low dispersion glass for color correction and aspherical lenses that have multicoats of anti reflection coating as much as seven times; it looks like the Pentax binocular uses several of the new techniques to be brighter and sharper than the Tasco 8x56.


Although my Pentax DCF is not corrected for phase distortion at the prisms, it is extremely sharp and bright; the new binoculars in the line of Nikon, Pentax, and others are, being made even better by the addition of phase correction in the prisms.
In my Pentax the correction for eye relief for eye glass wearers is made on the old style fold down rubber eyecups, so you get only fully retracted or fully extended eye cups. I am very impressed with the new system in the Nikon line of helical retracted eye cups and in the Pentax line with the pull up or down eyecups that have come out in the last few years.

My six years old Pentax DCF 8x56 has the objective and ocular caps not attached in any way to the body of the binocular, I had to get creative and cook something home made with a ribbon and some Velcro to have those caps at all times together with the binoculars, new binoculars in the Pentax line will be better in this regard (at least they have a solid ocular lens cover) and I am impressed with the system of retaining the covers that Nikon is using now.




I pulled both binoculars from the safe a few days ago and compared the brightness and sharpness by putting them in the tripod perched in top of each other and taking alternate peeks throughout them at a ADT sign that is in my neighbor house, located at 50 yards from the tripod (by laser rangefinder) it reads in very small letter “protected by” ADT in big letters and again in small letters “security systems”.




Both binocular let me read the sign and the small letters, but the Pentax was sharper than the Tasco and the quality of glass on the Pentax resolved much better when the light was falling down.




At dusk when other binocular have quit, the big 8x56 continues to show you a clear picture. As I see its utility is for those that are willing to carry them in a back pack to use only after the daylight binoculars carried in the neck have quit showing detail.

I don’t think many of these big 8x56 are sold, many people from hunters to bird watchers prefer top carry the compacts 8x42 that are lighter and less bulky and can show birds or game quite well until just before dusk, still I am writing this so everybody is aware that they exist and that they perform a very special function.

Kind regards
Watchmaker
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Old 07-24-2007, 06:14 AM
deercook deercook is offline
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Thanks for the information. Got anything on whether carbon suits work as good as the advertisers say they do in cold weather.
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Old 07-27-2007, 07:04 PM
watchmaker watchmaker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deercook View Post
Thanks for the information. Got anything on whether carbon suits work as good as the advertisers say they do in cold weather.

I used one from Cabela's last year, but it was not really cold in my area during hunting season, so I cannot say.

My freezer to small for a live test!

Watchmaker
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Old 07-27-2007, 11:28 PM
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live test in a freezer? thats pretty good.
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Old 10-12-2007, 04:35 PM
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I have just one set of binocs and they were fairly inexpensive. They're Bushnells an i think that they are a basic issue. They're always fogging up very easily and condensate like crazy and are hard to dry out. If you have any good references toward a certain type or brand please let me know.
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Old 12-23-2007, 03:23 PM
watchmaker watchmaker is offline
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LEUPOLD KATMAI 6X32
BINOCULARS

I must be off my rocker. I have binoculars coming out of my ears and I just went out and ordered another.

This time the culprit that captured my heart is the Leupold Wind River Katmai binoculars, a roof prism model that is quite compact and light but offers superior viewing compared to full sized premium binoculars.

I had seen them before in catalogues such as Cabela’s and Red Head, but I never got interested because I thought they were only available in 8x32.
Having recently bought the Leupold Yosemite 6x30 binoculars, I became interested in seeing what others models they offered and discovered that the Katmai were also available in 6x32.

The reason that I am particular about the six power binoculars is that they offer a perfect magnification for the kind of close woods hunting I do.
When available in the 32 mm sized objectives, I am getting a 5.33 mm of exit pupil, giving good quality optics; the right pupil opening for the low light condition that I often glass under. I never saw any reason to own them in 8x32, as I will be getting only a 4 mm of eye pupil: no doubt good for daylight, but no good for the use I put binoculars through.
If I am going to use an eight power, then it will have to have 42 mm objectives to give me 5.25 mm of eye pupil. I already have two great pairs of glasses in that size (the Pentax and the Nikon) and I use them often, but the new Leupold Katmai is going to fulfill the same task, using less bulk and weight, which is important for me in certain instances.

Here is a picture of them together so you can appreciate the size difference. From left to right: the Leupold Yosemite 6x30 Porro prisms, the Leuopold Katmai 6x32, the Nikon Monarch 8x42, and the Pentax DCF 8x42.



I am fifty miles from New York City, so it is not possible for me to go to check binoculars every time I have a whim for them (and it happens often), so I ordered the Katmai over the mail knowing that you will not always get something over the mail that will fulfill your expectations. No such problem occurred with the Katmai binoculars, though: they are great and exactly what I expected them to be for a glass of this price and more.



I performed the usual checks and was amply satisfied with the optical quality and mechanical precision of the glasses. The ergonomics are also great for a glass of this size, and I was well pleased with my purchase.
One aspect of this purchase is worth mentioning: when looking at the Katmai 8x32 that Cabela's and Red Head have in their catalogues, the price for them was hovering around $400 to $420. I bought the Katmai 6x32 over the web for $289 shipped.
Now the question is how they compare optically with the lower priced ($98) Porro prism Leupold Yosemite binoculars, and if the $200 difference is noticeable in the optical quality.
If that difference is there, I can’t notice it! Both glasses performed well in my low light test and both are sharp and with enough resolution to satisfy the most rabid birdie.
We all know that roof prisms are more expensive and difficult to make well, so part of the money goes toward that end, perhaps of influence in the price is the fact that the Katmai are made in Japan and the Yosemite in China; we know that our money buys more Yuan than Yen.



So what is going to happen to the Yosemite 6x32 now that my new love is the Katmai? No problem on that end, since my son already declared ownership of the Yosemite, as he recently took them on a trip to Florida’s Everglades, using them in the Aninha trail and in the Flamingo point.
He came back saying, “Dad, you will never these back; they are great glasses!” Now if I can just hide the Katmai from him until he goes to college in September, I will be fine.

For those that don’t understand the obsession that possesses me, I am here to tell you that there is nothing better than to look through quality glasses. I am just in a rush to finish typing this to go and sit in my patio and look for the red-tailed hawk that has been visiting us here lately.

Cheers,

Watchmaker
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:50 PM
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I own some leopolds that are 4x10 i think these are very nice I dont know what the model name is but they are camo have the twisting eye caps and these were my first real pair of binoculars and I love em
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Old 05-02-2010, 12:06 PM
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Thanks for all the info and tips. You are now THE optics guy on this site!
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