Re: Newcon LRB 7X40 3000 Pro Initial Impressions:
A standing P-dog on flat ground is about as tough as it gets for rangefinders. I would guess these are going to be as good or better (much better in most cases) than anything you'll find even close to the price range for that but I haven't tested yet. We only have a few dogs on our place but I'll try and test next month if I can find any standing around. If I can't, I'll try and simulate it with a small wooden stake or something as I'm also curious. But like I said, don't expect to range those things at 2000 with these...or anything else for that matter...but they might get you significantly farther than whatever you're currently using.
Damn DK, that's easily the best price I've seen for them lately. Wish I would have found that....
Will do Kirby. I should have mentioned in my description of how easily they were ranging the things--that was all handheld. All those ranges above were handheld first as I was zapping stuff trying to figure out what would make a good picture. Once I decided to take a picture, I did mount the unit on a tripod obviously as I'm not nearly coordinated enough to hold both it and the camera on something. But those descriptions were for hand-held, they'd probably do better on the tripod but I didn't really pay attention as I was more focused on getting the pic--but obviously had no trouble even aiming through the LCD screen of the camera.
I just stuck my digital camera up against the eyepiece with it zoomed all the way out which shouldn't have magnified anything, actually I think it's slightly wide angle at that setting. When the pics are cut to size so they look OK on a computer screen they do sort of look bigger...I could take a zoomed in pic of something if you'd like. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
Keep in mind those are pretty huge trees and being on skyline like that makes them stand out well. But yes, I'm quite happy with the optics. Come to think of it, I made no effort to focus the ocular to the camera instead of my eye...maybe I could even make them look better. But focusing through an LCD viewer on a digital camera isn't very precise either...maybe I'll try next time though.
Something else, those are taken through the right eyepiece in order to see the "stuff." Looking through the left eyepiece it's actually more clear, sharper and brighter optically since you aren't looking through the LCD screen and all the laser hardware. Not by a huge amount, but it's noticable.
This is another advantage I think the binoculars bring to the table--you don't notice the difference between the eyes when looking through both at the same time, but the brighter, sharper left side will help give you an overall better picture than if you had to only look through the right side. And of course you get the depth perception of the "stereo view" that I find so important when trying to find critters.
I haven't tested it next to the latest monoculars. Back when I was first interested in getting a range finder, I tested I think a Nikon, Leica and Bushnell (400 or 800 models back then, I can't remember) at a store and it only took me about a minute to decide they just weren't going to cut it (not even close) for glassing for game. I couldn't see crap and I'd have a headache in a few minutes. They were all piss poor, like looking through a "$20 .22 scope" I figured. So I set out trying to find a used Geovid...had no luck at anything even close to $2000 and this was years ago...so I ended up with the Newcons.
That was a while ago and I realize they're much better now, I haven't tested the latest Leica, Swaro, etc so I can't comment on how it compares to them. But that's why I went down the path I did.
I haven't compared, but I'd guess the Geovids are better optically just based upon reputation. I really do like good optics, but I just can't see spending that much for a rangefinder that's so limited. Everything's a compromise.
Man, no wonder! I don't blame you for being skeptical of Newcons at all. If my dud 7X50's were like that I would have wanted my money back and never would have bought another! That's horrible, I don't blame you.
But mine didn't have any of those problems (except being only rated "water resistant" instead of "water proof"). They just wouldn't range worth a crap.
I know what you mean about the "Russian feel," they certainly did feel like something designed a few decades ago. But I got along with them OK all except for their size and weight. That's the only reason I swapped to the 7X40, I just couldn't stand carrying the 7X50's around anymore. I think they'd be great for stand-type hunting but that's not what I do most of the time.
Anyway, in addition to the dramatic size and weight decrease, the 7X40's are much, much nicer in feel and construction. Much more modern, more rubber coating, collapsable eyepieces that are nice rubber, more ergonomic, etc. Newcon says they're waterproof. I don't plan on dunking mine in the bathtub just to make sure anytime soon just to check, but I'm not at all worried about moisture. I've used them in the rain quite a bit (both the 3000 and the old 7X40's). Also you'll be happy to know the lense covers on these are actually very nice and work very well! I ripped the useless POS things off the 7X50's and went without the whole time I hunted with them...which meant I was often scooping snow out of the objectives. But these work really well.
If you want to get a feel for the construction/quality/feel, you might try and find a store that has a Burris 1500 in stock. Same thing physically and being a bigger name you're more likely to find one in a store.
As for the optics, see my comments to Goodgrouper above. In addition to that, I really wish I had a whole inventory of everything so I could compare and rate them for people. But I don't, so much of this is just guessing and using common sense.
I have no doubt you can get a pair of binoculars for a fraction of the price that is as good or even better optically. I know these are better than any I ever had before, but those were all relatively cheap compact ones. The regular 7X40 only goes for $650 or so...and for that you're also getting a laser comparable or better than the Leica 1200. So naturally the best set of $650 binoculars will probably be better optically, especially since you aren't looking through the laser hardware. And the extra $1000 for the 3000 Pro I think pretty much all goes to the laser/detection hardware/computing power and I suppose the compass adds a bit.
Like I said, everything is a compromise. I'm much too spoiled by the LRF/Bino combo to ever go back now. If somebody comes out with a better one for something a "non-lottery winner" can afford I'll be all over it. But at this point I don't know of a better laser for anywhere near this price, much less built into a pretty decent set of binocs.
I was really hoping a couple years back that the new Geovids would have upgraded to, at the very least, a Vector 1500-level laser. But they didn't, they actually went back in some areas. The beam divergence is larger on the new ones which hampers their ability to pick up small objects and they don't range significantly farther on big objects.... Like I said, compromises--they might be great glass but there are tons of people on this sight that will be outshooting the laser in no time.
Looking at my above posts, I left a few things out I think should be added:
First, I mentioned measuring beam divergence but didn't mention what it was...oops. As well as I can measure, it's 1.8 Mils wide by about .68 Mils high. That will be plus or minus a bit as the size reference (the window in the picture) as well as the laser change size depending upon the focus of the camera and the brightness of the picture.... But that's pretty close.
I also haven't even talked about one of the reasons I thought these would provide usefulness beyond the added range--the compass! They have a mode that'll measure just azimuth. They also have a mode that'll measure both range and azimuth with a single press of the button and display both.
I see many potential uses for this. Last year I hunted elk in mountains that were completely new to me. I was using a compass, map and GPS all the time just to know where the hell I was! Working along with the added range, I think this thing will be very useful for navigating in such conditions.
Say you want to go to a clearing on the next mountain over but will be walking through timber on your way to it. Range, azimuth, put that into your GPS, mark the point and start walking.
Say you shoot something a long ways away and there's some nasty stuff between you and it, you'll lose sight of it on your way to it, it'll be dark when you get there, etc. Same thing: range, azimuth, put it in your GPS and start walking!
Much faster/more accurate/more convenient than eyeballing over a hand held compass and trying to "walk the line." Yes, you can accomplish the same thing with the "old tools" but that doesn't mean this won't be really nice to use in that way.
There is one area where this unit lags behind the performance of the 1500 yd 7X40's. That's battery life. The laser being so much brighter takes a lot more power...it has to come from somewhere. So it will go through batteries many times faster than the standard 7X40's. But the batteries basically lasted forever in those things. You could just stick a fresh one in and forget about it all season. Not these, you'll want extras.
On that note, I don't know if they'll all come with this or if it depends upon where you buy it (the instruction book says it's "optional")...but I was very suprised to see a high capacity Ni-MH battery and charger tucked into the box when I opened it. I thought that was a nice touch. In any case, it's just a regular 9 volt battery which are available anywhere you can buy gas and pretty cheap. I'll carry a couple extra for the added ranging performance. They're easy to change, no tools required. But I figured I should give a heads-up. That's the only potential downside I've noticed so far.