close
Long Range Hunting Online Magazine


Go Back   Long Range Hunting Online Magazine > Rifles, Reloading, Optics, Equipment > Long Range Scopes and Other Optics

Long Range Scopes and Other Optics Nightforce Optics

Reply

Bino buying - performance factors - long

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Unread 12-02-2005, 09:48 AM
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 172
Bino buying - performance factors - long

I see some recurring questions and comments especially about binos, so I offer these comments for what they are worth to help and save you some headaches (literally). After birding for 15 years, doing bird census work, competing in tournaments, and leading groups of birders of many levels with every bino and spotting scope imaginable (and some that weren’t), here are some factors you might wish to consider in buying binos and spotting scopes.

Clarity – The picture should be as clear as a glass of drinking water. Some optics will appear to have a very light “haze” or “fog” or slight (or worse) whiteness to the image. With good binos one should be able to read headlines on a newspaper at 75 - 100 yds., and with some top models even farther. Check for image quality up close within 15 yards, beyond a 1000 yards, and multiple points in between. Low light visualization is important for a quality check, but so is bright, hot and hazy. Top glass has the ability to “cut” through humidity and reflected light, especially at longer distances, and visualize images incredibly far away, just as it can “improve” low light conditions.

Sharpness & Depth – compare image in the center of the field of view with the outer portions of the field of view. They should be equal or only of a slight difference. Also, consider the depth of the image. Does the image appear to have “depth” or is it “flat” in comparison to other models under consideration.

Color – one of the more subjective components but important. Some glasses tend to have a more green and blue appearance and others have a more red and brown tone. Try focusing on something near that you can easily view with your unaided eye. Compare the image with and without the optic to check for trueness of color in the optical image. Try this test on several images of different colors.

Ease on the eye – Look at an image continuously for 3 – 5 minutes, which is not unusual for a field use when really concentrating and observing something with binos or a spotting scope. Do your eyes tire or ache, or do your eyes feel like looking through the optics is enjoyable?

Focus & Alignment – Critical, critical, critical in binos. First, focus the barrel with the fixed eyepiece (i.e. not the one with the twisty adjustment on the eyepiece) with the other barrel blocked with a bino cap. Now, WITHOUT ADJUSTING THE FOCUS WHEEL block the barrel/eye you just focused and look through the one with the twisty/adjustable eyepiece. Twist the eyepiece until the image is in focus. For both adjustments take the binos down let your eyes rest, and then double check each. Once both barrels have been adjusted for each eye, look through both barrels simultaneously. Is the image identical, sharp and crisp, or do you see a blurry or double image? Try alternating closing eyes back and forth and the image should remain stable in the field of view. If not, the barrels may not be well aligned. Do not buy a brand new pair of binos that are not well aligned. They will give you headaches and leave you feeling google-eyed. Top end binos can be realigned later in their life if they are dropped or damaged (typically by compression in luggage) but there is no reason to start off life out of alignment.

Fit – How do the binos feel in your hand after holding them for 5 – 10 minutes continuously? Binos come in many shapes, sizes and exterior finishes. Which fit your hand? Which will feel good when your hands are hot and sweaty, it’s raining, or freezing cold and you need to use gloves? As an example, the top end Leicas of 10 years ago had a notorious hard, smooth plastic exterior case which was like grease when wet. Thankfully it has been corrected. Is the position of the focus wheel in an easy to use location that feels comfortable and natural to you? Is the focus wheel wide enough that you can focus with gloves on or if your fingers are cold and wet from rain?

Speed of focus - An important, and often overlooked, quality to consider for wildlife viewing.

Weight - Less is more especially later in the day.

Waterproofness - Waterproof optics have become the standard for mid- and top-tier optics. Optics that are not waterproof will fog internally – for field use, it’s not an if, just a when. Waterproof models can fail, but your odds are dramatically improved with waterproofness.

Price – There are three rough tiers of price. 50 – 150; 300 – 400; and 800+. The 50 – 150 tier are only for the most modest of uses – little league games and the like, and almost never of sufficient quality to endure long in field use. Poor barrel alignment is a frequent problem in this category. The mid-tier actually has some very well made, high quality products, which well serve the needs of most users even in some demanding field uses. The top tier is just that and there are some whose use requirements justify the price. The top tier usually will come with a warranty for the lifetime of the original purchaser. One pair of top tier binos will serve the user faithfully for many years of hard and the most demanding field use.

Hope this helps a bit.
Reply With Quote
  •   #2  
    Unread 12-02-2005, 11:57 AM
    Platinum Member
     
    Join Date: Jun 2001
    Location: Potomac River
    Posts: 5,071
    Re: Bino buying - performance factors - long

    [ QUOTE ]
    The 50 – 150 tier are only for the most modest of uses – little league games and the like, and almost never of sufficient quality to endure long in field use. Poor barrel alignment is a frequent problem in this category.

    [/ QUOTE ]


    [ QUOTE ]
    or slight (or worse) whiteness to the image

    [/ QUOTE ]


    [ QUOTE ]
    “flat”

    [/ QUOTE ]

    [ QUOTE ]
    First, focus

    [/ QUOTE ]



    I don't beleive you missed any of the problems associated with my binoculars

    Thanks, nothing like having an expert point out your flaws and mistakes. The difference between you and the dental hygienist is I have to pay her $100 to be insulted. At least you do it for free. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
    __________________
    The Smokin Fur Rifle Club
    Reply With Quote

      #3  
    Unread 12-02-2005, 02:06 PM
    Gold Member
     
    Join Date: Jan 2003
    Location: centre,alabama
    Posts: 948
    Re: Bino buying - performance factors - long

    My 10X50's from wally world work great! <font color="red"> </font> Roll Tide!
    Reply With Quote
      #4  
    Unread 12-02-2005, 02:22 PM
    Silver Member
     
    Join Date: Oct 2005
    Posts: 172
    Re: Bino buying - performance factors - long

    Yikes! Not my intent at all. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img] Just trying to help folks here avoid the mistakes I and others have made and learned the hard (and expensive) way.

    My first pair were some all plastic Nikons. I don't know if they were out of alignment when I bought them for $49 or after they started warping on a hot afternoon.

    The most unexpected binos I've ever seen someone show up with was a field trip participant with some things reportedly used on Russian subs. They were about the size of two spotting scopes bolted together. I swear, they must have weighed almost ten pounds. The image was like looking through wax paper. The guy was shocked when I let him look through a spare set I keep on hand for just such situations. I thinked he probably took the beasts and used them to beat whoever sold them to him.
    Reply With Quote
      #5  
    Unread 12-02-2005, 05:40 PM
    Platinum Member
     
    Join Date: Jun 2001
    Location: Potomac River
    Posts: 5,071
    Re: Bino buying - performance factors - long

    Sniper2

    Looks like the Cotton Bowl vs Texas Tech.

    Jeff Bird.

    Plastic Nikons, how did you know?

    My highest compliment to someone is when I copy and paste their post into a word document and save it in my longrange hunting file on my hard drive. Not many make it there.

    Kirby, ABINOK, Darryl Cassel, Dave King and now you have made it to the hard drive.
    __________________
    The Smokin Fur Rifle Club
    Reply With Quote
      #6  
    Unread 12-02-2005, 05:59 PM
    Silver Member
     
    Join Date: Oct 2005
    Posts: 172
    Re: Bino buying - performance factors - long

    Plastic Nikons (except for the lens) - well in hindsight it was readily and painfully apparent once they sat on a hot dashboard and started warping and I looked at them very closely. For $49, I should have known better. Who knows, perhaps they were copycats. Anyway, this was 15 or 20 years ago and I would hope nothing like that is on the market now. In the last several years, Nikon has radically improved the quality of their binos as has Pentax for that matter.

    The best of the best in binos, at the moment and it changes every couple of years, are Leica, Zeiss, and Swarovski. Recently Nikon and Pentax are up there in many birders' opinion.

    Thanks for the compliment. Have a good weekend.
    Reply With Quote
      #7  
    Unread 12-02-2005, 06:57 PM
    Gold Member
     
    Join Date: Jan 2003
    Location: centre,alabama
    Posts: 948
    Re: Bino buying - performance factors - long

    It's a shame we got so many people injured, the team we stopped with is not the same team we started with! The 10X50 Nikons I purchased at wally world are good optics. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]
    Reply With Quote
    Reply

    Bookmarks

    Thread Tools
    Display Modes


    Similar Threads for: Bino buying - performance factors - long
    Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
    Long range performance of TC Venture? Hillrunner Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics 11 02-21-2012 11:49 PM
    looking at buying a long range rifle soundwaves Long Range Hunting & Shooting 1 02-07-2011 01:59 PM
    Bullet Performance at Long Range. Captn C Long Range Hunting & Shooting 23 12-17-2007 10:02 AM
    Stability factors 257speed Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics 1 03-01-2005 09:25 AM
    buying new long range rifle longrangegunner52 The Basics, Starting Out 11 05-27-2004 09:40 PM


    All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:55 PM.


    Powered by vBulletin ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
    Content Management Powered by vBadvanced CMPS
    All content ©2010-2015 Long Range Hunting, LLC