Thursday, June 30, 2011
From Dwight in VA:
Bottom line: This scope has most of the performance of scopes costing 10+ times as much.
Longer version: I am a physicist, but also a practicing redneck. I understand spherical and chromatic aberration, but that's not how I am rating this scope. I bought it for shooting and hunting, so that's the basis of my review.
1. Shooting scope: I can see .223 cal holes in the black part of the target at up to 130 yards (the limit of my range). Can't ask for more than that.
2. Hunting scope: I can count the tines on deer horns and estimate the size of the rack at beyond 400 yards (the limit of my rangefinder).
In short, this scope does what I need it to do and passes with flying colors.
In the 20-30X range, this scope is as clear and bright as a $3k "euro-scope." The euro is more durable, and at the very edges of the FOV you can tell a difference in clarity. But in or near the center they are very difficult to distinguish - amazing performance for a $300 scope. Between 30 and 40X, there is noticeable dimming, so if you need this kind of power in low light conditions you just might have to spend the extra bucks. In the 50-60X range, the performance really tails off - much more noticeable darkening and very difficult to get a clean focus. I don't stargaze, and rarely have the scope set above 30X, so this one works just perfectly for me. I'm happy as a clam.
In my experience, the mechanical aspects of this scope are excellent - the focus knob has just the right tension to be easy to use yet allow fine tuning. The lock ring that lets you rotate the scope for the best eye position is really handy. The lens caps are durable and easy to use. The only down side is the scope cover is kind of cheap and cheesy - but I fixed that with a $30 Cabela's scope carrier.
And the Vortex warranty and service are outstanding. I haven't "broken" this one yet, but did manage to drop my Vortex Viper binos off a rock ledge and dislodge the prism. Vortex fixed it and returned it with absolutely no problem. Great people - one of their techs called to ask me just what I had done to break the binos; I thought he was looking for a reason not to repair them under warranty. That was, to my delight, not the case - they just wanted to know what conditions caused the malfunction so they can improve later designs.
You just can't go wrong with this scope or, in my opinion, Vortex products. The fact that they are an American company is just icing on the cake.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
From Nancy in MI:
I always wanted a really good pair of optics, but could never find the extra thousands of dollars needed to buy the swarovsky class. I want you to know that since I bought the Atlas pair, I will never have a need to purchase the high-priced European style optics.
I love these. I not only use them for birding, I use them for hunting. Their light gathering ability at dusk is excellent. I have also used them now for about 6 months and I feel the quality and durability of the case is great.
I am never without them.
Friday, June 24, 2011
From a Small-mouth Fisherman in IA:
I was looking for a waterproof alternative to my all-time favorite compact binocular, the Bushnell 7x26 Elite. The Vortex Viper 8x28 is not quite as bright, but it does focus significantly closer than the Bushnell, which is a boon to folks that enjoy watching dragonflies and butterflies.
I wear the Viper when kayaking or fishing. This is a handsome looking instrument that is well built and feels good in my large hands. The 8x28 focuses very smoothly and renders a bright, clear image for such a compact design. If this was offered as a 6x28, I would buy it!
I have recommended this model to several friends, and have loaned it out to birding companions (all were favorably impressed). The only suggestion for improvement is for the addition of tethered objective covers.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
From Rod in KY:
Like most birders, I don't have an unlimited budget for optics. But like most birders, I'm willing to pay for excellence. For many of us, that often brings up the question, "If you could only have one pair of binoculars, which would it be?" With that in mind, the Zeiss Victory 7x42 T*FL LT is definitely a contender on that short list.
In general, the 7x42 sized binocular is not fully appreciated. Seven power in most situations is sufficient power to see plenty of detail, particularly in woodland environments. Combined with a 42 objective lens, you get the benefits of lots of light, a generous field of view, a nice depth of field, and fantastic eye relief. That translates into a bright, beautiful view, especially at dusk and dawn when birding in the filtered sunlight of the tree canopy. Also, the image is more 3-dimensional and life-like rather than flat. Less focusing is required to get a clear picture. The wide field of view makes it easier to find birds and stay on them in flight. All in all, a 7x42 binocular is perfectly proportioned for birding under most circumstances.
Specifically, this 7x42 by Zeiss really shines. I really appreciate the craftsmanship and attention to detail. Initially, I was concerned about the weight as it is a bit heavier than the Swarovski 8x32 binoculars I favored. The only time it has been noticeable is when I've tried birding one-handed. But honestly, how often does one do that? These feel wonderful in the hand, although not quite as comfortable as the Swarovski 8x32. Still, I appreciate the rubber armor grip, which I suspect I'll love even more when birding with gloves in the cold. The eyecups adjust to multiple positions and stay there! I cannot say the same for either pair of my Swarovskis (8x32 and 10x42). The close-focus is perfectly crisp and adequate for enjoying butterflies and dragonflies as well.
The only drawbacks I've noticed in comparison are that the Zeiss tends to shift colors to the cooler end of the spectrum. It isn't a big difference, but it is noticeable. The other is these are not as crisp edge-to-edge as my Swarovskis. The distortion at the edge isn't as large or annoying as it can be with cheaper optics. But, again, it is noticeable.
My purpose here is only to provide a brief summary of my comparison, not to rank Zeiss better than Swarovski or visa versa. Furthermore, this is only one birder's opinion. Both manufacturers make spectacular optics. For the user, it comes down to which features are most important for you. You really can't go wrong either way. My best advice is to get them in your hands and try them for yourself. If you bird in low-light conditions frequently as I do, then the Zeiss 7x42 might be the better choice. If you have small hands or weight is a primary issue for you, you might be happier with a Swarovski 8x32. It's one thing to nitpick all the merits of the technical data (power, field of view, eye relief, weight, etc.) on a chart. But using them in the field is really the only true test. Only you can decide what is best for you.
I would really like to do a side-by-side comparison of these to the Leica 7x42 and Swarosvki 8.5x42, which both seem to get consistently excellent reviews as well. But they aren't in my optics budget anytime in the near future. What I can say with certainty is that the Zeiss 7x42 is an excellent binocular in general.
Finally, I tip my hat to the good folks at Eagle Optics for their friendly, knowledgeable and excellent customer service. It is a daunting prospect to spend so much money on anything, and the staff at Eagle Optics have always gone above and beyond to make purchasing optics a good experience. Thank you.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
From Cliff in PA:
I've had a Ranger 10x42 for just about a year now, and I've been very pleased with it. The field of view is very wide and very bright, especially given that it's a 10 power bino. The eye relief is very deep, which allows me a full field of view even though I wear eyeglasses.
The neck strap is very comfortable, and the eyepiece covers are just about impossible to lose.
These are 42mm binos, so they aren't light-weight. But that's the price one pays for their terrific light-gathering power.
My only complaint is that my objective covers have a little rubber strap that became brittle and broke about 6 months after I started using the binoculars. But that's just a quibble given how terrific these binos are otherwise.
I highly recommend these binoculars for birding (especially in twilight conditions) and astronomy.
Monday, June 20, 2011
From Jay in DC:
I have carried the Nikon LX L 10x25 with me almost every day for seven years as of 2011 and have never regretted the purchase. I've used them for birds, mountaineering, checking inaccessible construction work, watching fairly close insects. identifying people at long distances, in bright direct sunlight and low light, with and without glasses in bitter cold and in sweltering heat. In versatility, they rank ahead of my Leatherman and run a close second to my smartphone.
In a perfect world, they would be lighter and cheaper, but in the real world, I cannot find any reason to complain.
I think the optics are great partly because the images look flat, are clear all the way to the edges and astonishingly bright compared to what I expect from small objective lenses, and because something about their light weight and the way they fit my eyes allows me to lock onto an image faster than with any other binoculars I've used. But mostly I think the optics are great because every time someone who really knows optics better than I do looks through them he expresses astonishment at the clarity and brightness.
I have larger more expensive instruments that I never use anymore. I like this class of miniature binocular because larger binoculars are heavy to hold, heavy to carry, take up too much room in a pack or briefcase, and the added light gathering of large $1500 binoculars isn't worth the anxiety caused by exposing such an expensive instrument to daily rough and tumble and to the lure of theft that comes with their higher price. Despite what experts say, the smaller binoculars are actually steadier for me at least after my arms get tired of supporting the heavier binoculars. And the smaller binoculars are less obtrusive for human-watching.
Speaking of anxiety, the Nikon no-fault warranty, also adds to my piece of mind. So far the durability has proven good. Alignment is still perfect. I added flip-up lens caps, but otherwise, I don't baby the binoculars. They just bang around loose in my rucksack when I climb. So I may someday need to test that no-fault warranty.
In short, I'm satisfied. Eagle Optics will be sad to learn the Nikon LX L will probably be the last binoculars I ever buy for my own use. I do recommend them to friends though.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
From Ted in UT:
I wanted a pair of binoculars for my grandchildren when they want to go "birding" with me. I bought another brand that promised to be good, but they were like looking thru the bottom of a coke bottle. My three-year-old grandson couldn't focus, or find a bird. He quit trying.
These Bushnells are the ticket. He doesn't have to focus. The image is clear and detailed. The view wide enough that he can actually find something. These binocs are just what I was hoping for. Instead of them hanging uselessly around his neck he spent most of the time looking through them. I highly recommend them.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
From Emerson in NY:
This is a new version, clear and durable.
Nikon must have redesigned the eyepieces, which other reviews have said broke easily on this model, since they seem very strong (though I didn't try to break them...)
The image is very clear. We compared them side by side with a ~$2K pair of Swarovski 10x32's, and though we thought there might be miniscule differences in chromatic fringing at edges, it was very hard to decide. The Nikons were at least as bright. The field of view is a little smaller than the Swarovskis though.
It's a good pair of binos for birds, and even though 10x, I didn't find it hard to locate a subject or hold it steady. The higher mag sure helps with identification at distance.
Monday, June 13, 2011
From Birdsmith Ecological Research in Chilliwack, BC, Canada:
Bought these Kowa's to replace a lost pair of beloved Leica Ultra 8x32 (1995; $1500 CDN). Could not justify a replacement pair of Leica's right now ($1800-2300 USD) but still required an excellent pair of binos for work and adventures. I study seabirds so waterproof housing and clear, crisp optics are needed to detect subtle plumage differences, sometimes from boats, and often in poor light.
I tested all brands in my price range $500-1200 (Nikon, Pentax, Bushnell, Vortex, Zeiss, etc.) and these Kowa's were the best 8x42's for price and craftsmanship. These Kowa's have bright, sharp optics and easy focus adjustments, even with gloves on. Accustomed to the handcrafted lenses from Leica (thus, clear focus right to the edges), the Kowa's were the only binoculars $500-800 that I tested that came close to this precision.
The Kowa's are light, and the neck strap that comes with it is very comfortable - neoprene, about 5 cm wide, with the inside as "smoothskin" so keeps a good grip on the collar. These binos come with a durable soft case, and lens caps for both top and bottom. The top lens cover is one piece and attaches to the left side through the strap. The right side has a slot but it doesn't stay on the strap very well, so I don't use attach it. The bottom ones aren't secured to the binos so I've left them in the box (they have a little slot for attaching to something). The eye cups have multiple elevations (4 stops), so good for adjustments with/without eyeglasses or sunglasses.
The only thing I miss from the Leica design is the soft case being attached to the binoculars through the neck strap, thus no chance of putting it down and leaving it behind. I highly recommend these binoculars for professional birders, and am completely happy with them. They are excellent value and top quality.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
All of the product reviews on this blog are written by actual customers of Eagle Optics. They are selected from the hundreds of reviews and comments we receive monthly via our e-commerce website.
Eagle Optics Staff
Eagle Optics Staff
Posted by Mike McDowell at 9:55 PM
Friday, June 10, 2011
From Bradley in Wisconsin:
This is as near perfect a binocular as I've seen. I don't believe you'd be able to find a significant imaging difference between the Talon and a much more expensive Swarovski. Bright, great detail, saw no chromatic aberration when using in the field (not tested scientifically).
Only issue is the supplied "attached" lens covers are useless - not enough room on the barrel for the attachment rings and the covers themselves. Remove them or the field will do it for you. Not enough of an issue to detract from the excellence of this binocular.
I've used mine for many weeks, on several trips, leading several birding walks and I just like them more each time I use them.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
From Claudia in Arkansas:
The prisms and optics on the Bushnell Elite e2 8x42 are exceptional in brightness and clarity. I was truly amazed by these binoculars. Its weight is very good as well, and it feels great in my hands.
This was a very good value as the sale price brought it into my budget. It's well worth the price, and then some. Very high quality binoculars for us to continue our birding and butterfly watching.
Monday, June 6, 2011
From Dave in Ontario:
A Minox Delight!
I purchased one of these while on vacation in the UK so its not an Eagle Optics purchase however it's the same as they retail. Not cheap but very well made, easy one handed operation, wide field of view, optics are very nice though with a touch of softness towards the edge of the field of view, comes with a drawstring pouch.
Like most pocket optics it's a compromise however if you like the best it's one of the better ones out there at this price level, compared with the Mini Quick by Zeiss it's a tad bigger but with a wider field of view and a bit more magnification,a nice object to own and use.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
From Vince in Oregon:
Nice handy binocs!
These are very nice mid sized binocs if you wear glasses and need good eye relief. I have several pairs of binoculars, some very expensive. These are very sharp in the center (less so towards the outside), focus is tight (no slop), the view is bright and they are small enough to carry easily. The eye relief is very good. They are a nice compromise between compacts and full size. Quite comfortable with glasses but not that big or heavy.
I have heard that the HD version of this binocular is sharper further out to the edges which could be nice too. I think that is all they are going to make now since this version is discontinued.
Bottom line, I really like these. I had Swarovski 7x42's and they were always too big and heavy so they stayed home. These go everywhere.