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Quest for the perfect binocular

Started by light trap, 04/23/2002 05:38AM
Posted 04/23/2002 05:38AM Opening Post
I agree with what Zaharja alluded to in the Best 7x50 thread. In this day and age, there's really no reason why binoculars haven't taken the quantum leaps forward that other optics such as telescopes have. On the one hand, we have a market that is simply flooded with cheap binoculars, but trying to find those that are a near to perfection is very difficult. There really hasn't been much by way of improvement in the mid and top end binoculars over the past 5 years. The favorites today are pretty much the same as they were 5 or more years ago. Here is what I would propose as the MINIMUM standard for premium binoculars:

1. Absolute total optical clarity with stars appearing as pinpoints right out to the very edges and NO distortion or false color even on bright objects such as Jupiter and the Moon. Paraphrasing something Barry S. once said, "The glass should get out of the way of the viewing experience." Believe it or not, this criteria alone almost rules out the vast majority of current premium binoculars. The optics and the geometry of design should be so good that there is no eyestrain at all even after extended viewing sessions both at night and in bright sunlight with no glares, flares, ghosts, etc.

2. Center focus- (sorry Fujis)

3. Complete waterproofing (sorry Nikon SEs)

4. Rugged construction capable of surviving an accidental drop or two without loss of collimation

5. Light enough weight and good enough balance to be easily used handheld or carried around the neck for extended periods (ie. not more than 32oz. and with good ergonomics)

6.Of course a tripod socket adapter is required and assumed

7. And the line should include all the popular favorite sizes like 7x50, 8x40, 10x50, 12x50

8. Finally 20mm eye relief and screw down soft eyecups

That's just the bare MINIMUM standards and yet it virtually eliminates most of the competition. That's before we even get into things like interchangeable eyepieces, integrated digicam technology, or a zoom mechanism that actually works without dimming the views beyond acceptability: all of which should be within the capability of current manufacturing technology.

Mike Swaim