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Binocular recommendation?


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#1 Platypus

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 12:37 AM

I'm thinking about purchasing the Eagle Optics 8x42 Denali binocular. The brand was recommended to me by someone I trust and this pair seems to have very good ratings online for its price.

Obviously I'm not expecting incredible optics because my budget is <$200. I'd like to ask you all if you have any comments on these binoculars or recommendations for another pair of similar price.

Thanks in advance!

#2 cabirds

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:53 PM

Celestron is the most respected name in prosumer telescopes. They've recently come out with some inexpensive lines of binoculars, and I'm _stunned_ by the quality of the optics chain.

I have their 20x80 Skymasters, and I can't even buy a dew heater for what those binoculars cost. And they have a "No Fault Lifetime Warranty" - on fully coated optics! They're stunning - I even use them for the tough far-off birds.

I ordered a set of 10x50 Porro-prisms to loan out, because they're stupid-inexpensive, and people are always borrowing my optics. http://www.celestron...0x50-porro.html

For me, I ordered a set of their 8x42 "Nature" series. For around a hundred dollars, they're BaK4 prisms, full multi-coated, and nitrogen-purged (waterproof/fogproof).
http://www.celestron...-8x42-roof.html

[Full Disclosure: Celestron has, in the past, compensated me for astrophotography-related stuff. I've been a customer for 30 years or more across their line. I'd be partial to them regardless]
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#3 Joejr14

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:20 PM

I've got a pair of Nikon Action Zoom XL 10-22x50. They were $139 I believe at Cabela's and I can't complain at all about the quality. I also like being able to zoom in and out depending on the need.

I'd stay away from anything under $100. A lot of that stuff is junk.

#4 cabirds

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:30 PM

As I noted: The Celestron aren't, if you're looking for something you don't mind leaving in the car. With fully coated optics (not fully multi-coated), and a lifetime warranty. They're still a couple-dozen-dollars, so don't expect Monarch-quality from those $32 binoculars, but they're stunningly good for that price.

I prefer the contrast of the Celestron Nature to the Nikon Action Zoom (for about the same money) - but that may just be a function of the zoom for me with the additional optics path.
--- Jodie in Sacramento

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#5 Platypus

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:00 AM

Hey cabirds, I was hoping you would reply to this thread!

Except for the big name brands, from my research I've found that most binoculars between >$100 have BaK4 prisms and are full multi-coated, nitrogen-purged, waterproof and fogproof. For example, the pair I linked in the OP have all these specs.

The 8x42 "Nature" series you linked looks really intriguing. Do you have any experience with similarly priced items of other brands that are known to have great bang for your buck? (The reason I asked is because the brand I mentioned in the OP, Eagle Optics, was reviewed very similarly by a friend).

#6 Platypus

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:08 AM

Actually, let me rephrase that. Looking at the specifications and using your knowledge of optics, can you think of a reason for me not to buy the Celestron Nature 8x42 instead of the Eagle Optics Denali 8x42?

#7 cabirds

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:17 AM

They've been around awhile. Other than taking both of them outside on a winter's day - no. My only reason would be brand recognition. I'd probably buy both, take both pairs out, then return the pair I liked least.
--- Jodie in Sacramento

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#8 Platypus

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:16 AM

They've been around awhile. Other than taking both of them outside on a winter's day - no. My only reason would be brand recognition. I'd probably buy both, take both pairs out, then return the pair I liked least.

Okay, thanks so much for the advice Jodie! It's very much appreciated. I think I'll do exactly what you recommend.

#9 cabirds

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:37 AM

You may already know this, but just for completeness:

Since you're short on winter days, probably, if you can get a partial overcast it'll be ideal. Take them out, focus on a handful of thin branches a few hundred feet out. The ideal would be a really bright white sky with a dark branch in front of it. Pay attention to the edges of the branch and see if you can detect [probably] purple or [maybe] green or blue fringing. That's CA (Chromatic Aberration). All optics exhibit some, but the coatings are there to reduce it as much as possible. Then in bright light, look for a really high contrast situation and see if the colors are true and "pop". Do those not just in the center of the optics, but see out on the edges where they start to distort.

Another thing to look for is if you focus on something say 50-75ft away - how deep and how close do objects appear in focus without changing the point of focus? Depth of Field.

Finally, of course, is build quality and how the controls feel to you, and super-importantly, how relaxed your eyes feel in the eye-relief. Deeper is almost always better - unless you wear glasses.

Since they both only have one-eye diopter correction, you'll want to focus with your left eye and then close it and alter the diopter until your right feels sharp. Open your eye and, if you must, split the difference with the coarse focus again.

Of course, look around for other test recommendations too! Lots of good optics websites out there!
--- Jodie in Sacramento

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#10 Platypus

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:39 PM

That was fantastic advice Jodie, thank you. From looking around, I knew a couple of those tips, but in particular I would not have thought about the CA or one-eye diopter correction. I've been more of a camera guy than a binocular guy in my short birding career, so thank you very much for your help!




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