Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Atlas Optics Radian 10x42

From Mark P. in Monterey, CA:

5/5 Rating

I'm delighted with the Atlas Optics Radian 10x42 binoculars. From my first handling they focused easily and quickly. Within a second I was looking at a red hummingbird about 90 feet away that I didn't even know was there! I find these binoculars easy to carry and easy to adjust. The carrying case is a bit cumbersome to get the binocs out, but I don't keep them there except to stow away. I use the binoculars for checking out the surf almost a mile away (or more), and to look at birds. Today I was able to check out the surf at Andrew Molera from a mountain two miles away, and I could make out the movements of two surf buddies and even the colors of their boards.

Good buy!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85 Angled Scope

From Pete in Georgia:

Rating 5/5

Got the Razor about a week ago and wow was the shipping fast! Ordered it and the next day it was there as advertised. Kudos to Eagle Optics for living up to their word on shipping. Now the scope. Packaged very nicely and securely. I paired this scope with a Manfrotto tripod and it all went together real easy. I don't like the little booklet you get with the scope though. Not exactly chock full of pictures and clear instructions. But I did find putting the lens on the scope easy even though it took a little more force to get it to lock into place than I thought necessary.

The lens cap is tight which I like. I am no expert on optics but I know what I can see through this scope is excellent. Very clear right to the edges. I will say that I thought I would get a bit more performance in long distance magnification. I was looking at the first Blue Grosbeak of the season from quite a distance and I thought it would be a bit better picture than what I got. Not exactly a bad picture but maybe a little less than my expectations. BUT. At medium to medium-long ranges wow! I got in just a bit closer to this bird and man oh man what a picture.

Very impressive in detail and color. I could see the wind rustling his feathers real clear and the definition of the feathers was outstanding. The field of view at about 35-40x is excellent and really doesn't seem to darken at all. This scope is not lightweight. It is definitely heavier than my last scope but time to man up! I am 54 years old and if I can handle it well. Anyways, I highly recommend this scope. It is the same price as the comparable Kowa but comes with the eyepiece! Much better deal in my opinion. Hey Vortex! Get a better booklet with this thing! Other than that, great scope.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bushnell Elite 7x26 Custom Compact

From Randall M. of Cedar Falls, IA:

5/5 Rating

I purchased the first version of this binocular for my late wife in the spring of 1971. The older version was called "Custom Compact" and had a gutta-percha finish instead of the modern non-slip coating. This reverse Porro-prism design binocular is still my favorite of all the compacts I have tried, including a beautiful Swarovski. The exit pupils are large enough to keep the view from blacking out, and the eye relief is great enough for comfortable viewing through my no-line bifocals. The rendering of images is bright and sharp, and seems to give more of a three-dimensional sensation than my favorite compact roof-prism binocular. This is the binocular that seems the most favored when I take my female friends and relatives hiking or biking. It is comfortable for small hands, yet is substantial enough in size and weight for most men with large hands like mine. I often carry this optic as my first choice when I am lugging camera gear in the field. The only ways I could think to improve this model is to make it immersion proof and reduce the minimum focusing distance.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Nikon EDG 8x42 Binocular

From Larry L. in Reading, PA:

5/5 Rating

Sure they are expensive, but the clear and vibrant colors jump off the birds into your binocular. The field of view makes it just that much easier to locate that "little brown bird" for real identification. Excellent for eye glasses users under all light conditions. The glass covers are a pain in the neck and I would suggest removing them while in use. Treat yourself to excellent glass and go with Nikon EDG.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Atlas Optics Sky King 10x42 Binocular

From Thom W. in Harrisburg, PA:

5/5 Rating

I have yet to be disappointed with Atlas Optics. I have a pair of 8x42 Intrepid ED by Atlas, great clear, bright glasses. I bought a pair of 10x42 Sky King because my wife wanted more magnification. At the same time I bought a pair of 10x50 Viper Vortex (older model than their new HD). We both liked the Sky King much more than the Viper Vortex. Less chromatic aberration and just as bright. Well, as would have it, The Atlas Intrepid ED 10x42 went on sale. I returned the Viper Vortex for full refund and exchanged the Sky King for the Atlas Intrepid ED. No hassles or questions. This is a great company to do business with, their word and guarantee is good. I would have been very satisfied with the Sky King, but the Intrepids ED are a step up and I liked my 8x42 enough to by the 10x42 Intrepids ED. Take a look at the specs on the Sky King- all high end except the ED glass, even has Magnesium alloy body. The size is smaller than the Intrepids, so very easy to handle for smaller hands.Great close focus, 6 feet! I would say, IMHO, Sky King is the best buy for both price & quality for the class it is in. The case for the Sky King is nicer than the one for the Intrepid ED glasses. 5 stars for the Sky King & Eagle Optics!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Vortex Razor HD 8x42 Binocular

From Jay B.:

5/5 Rating

Well, FedEx dropped off my new Vortex Razor 8x42 HD binos a couple of day ago and I’ve been having fun since then.

I was expecting to see some nice glass and I have owned some of the original Razors, but the glass in these new HDs keeps blowing my mind every time I look through them. “Razor” is a great name because it describes what you see: razor-sharp detail and colors come through true and bright. They have a nice solid feel and the mechanics are smooth. The eye cups have nice solid stops, so they stay where you set them. The focus wheel is large and really makes focusing easy.

Yesterday I took them to my local high end optics dealer with the idea of comparing with other high end glass. My test was a shaded balcony on an apartment building a quarter mile away. The day was dark and overcast which I thought was a good thing since I wanted to see how much light these would gather in.

The first binos I asked to see was the Swarovski 8x42, but they didn’t have them, so I had to compare with the 8x32s ($1,950) instead. One thing I noticed right off the bat was a slight violet tint at the very edge of the view. The Razors had no tint whatsoever. I then looked for distortion at the edge. Again, the Razors came out on top with barely perceptible at the very edge. I also checked them for chromatic aberration (which is violet distortion around images in high contrast situations like tree leaves against the daytime sky). I could see no difference between the Swaro’s and the Razors. On the balcony was a red plant back in the shadows. Both binos were able to pick it up with the Razors definitely doing a better job. I’m going to surmise that if I’d had a pair of Swaro 8x42s, they would have done at least just as good as the Razors, maybe better ... who knows, but it would have been extremely close.

The shop owner then handed me Nikon's top-of-the-line 8x42’s ($1,400) and within seconds, it was clear they didn’t have a chance against the Razors. I could not find the red flower and the sharpness just wasn’t there. Then he had some Zeiss 8x40’s ($1,900) to try. They were better than the Nikon, but didn’t come up to the Razor or Swaro. Another thing I’ll mention is that I decided to try 8’s instead of 10’s, since these are just for target and I’m mainly out 80 yards max. There is more depth-of-field with these and I’ve never achieved such an easy time getting things perfectly focused.

So that’s it! Anyone looking for top-end glass would not be well served if they left out Vortex Razor HDs from the list. They are selling on-line for $1,180.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pentax DCF ED 8x43 Binocular

From Richard D. in Pueblo West, CO:

5/5 Rating

Upgraded to these from my 8.5 x 44 Swift Audubon roofs. I love the view through these binoculars! The colors and brightness are amazing. Even though they are only 8X, I am able to discern color markings on waterfowl at great distance. Also, little drab birds in a shady bush really stand out. Only two minor complaints: one,the eye piece covers are no good, so I replaced with one made by Vortex. Two, the hinge was loose enough that the interocular distance would not hold; solved by the Vortex Binoc-loc (great product). I don't think you'll get a better view for the money.