Top of the Line Compacts
I have read Joannie's articles and am following her advice. I was able to audition the Steiner Wildlife, Zeiss Victory, Swarovski Pocket, and Leica Ultavids, all 10X25s. Even to a relative novice like me, the last three were demonstrably superior (this is a preference, not a statement of quality) to the Steiners. The "big three" are magnificent instruments. I would be happy with any of them (although I do have a slight preference for one). My question comes down to the Nikon Premier LX: At barely half the price of the three, are they really the same quality overall? If so, I am really interested in saving a few hundred dollars by purchasing them. I recognize that some of it is personal preference, but, as I said, when auditioning the Leica, Zeiss, and Swaros, they were all so excellent I would be happy with any,
So, should I consider the Nikons? I cannot find them locally to audition.
Secondly, as an "advanced beginner," is there any error apparent in my strategy of getting the high-end 10X25s?
If the advice here is to pass on the Nikons, any preferences among the "big three."? My concerns are brightness, sharpness, convenience/ease of use.
All the great advice and suggestions here are truly welcomed.
You did not say what you were looking at, but for general nature viewing 8x is fine. I have even backpacked with 8x32s for 2 days.
I own (and have used for many years) these compacts: the Zeiss Victory, the Leica Ultravid (and the Trinovid before it), the Swarovski Pocket and the Nikon Premier LX L. In fact, I have owned and used all of them in both the 8x20 and the 10x25 versions. I currently have 10x25s in all of them, except for my Swarovski 8x20. I generally recommend an 8x20 as a better choice for folks new to compacts, but I just like the heft and balance of these 10x25s and have used binoculars long enough to get along just fine with 10x. Okay, owning them all is a little nutty, but I love premium compact binoculars and I am a sucker for any compact that is hard to put down. Premium compact binoculars are one of the few things I tend to collect and keep. Call me crazy, but there you are.
Each of these fine compact binoculars have their good points, as well as their quirks, but they are all as good as it gets and, yes, that Nikon Premier LX L does belong in this group. It is less expensive only because it is made in Japan as opposed to Europe on the others. It is certainly right there in terms of optics. Contrast and color saturation are not quite up to the level of my beloved Leica Ultravid but resolution and edge sharpness certainly are; handling is not up to my Zeiss Victory; feel and heft don't make me drool like my Swarovski Pocket, but, when it comes the problems associated with compact binoculars, in general, namely eye fatigue and fussiness about positioning of the eyes on the eyepieces, the Nikon Premier actually gets my vote as the easiest to use. It is remarkably fatigue free for a compact binocular and much less fussy in this regard to my beloved Leica. My only negative on this bino is the fact that it is just a bit bulkier for its size than my other babies. However, you may actually like that. As ET says, try to get one in your hands and give it a try.
Here are my thoughts and intended uses. The Pentax I have are 8X25, so I thought it made sense to try a different power. There will be two main uses for the new binos. One will be general nature viewing, like looking at rock features "up close," etc. The other will be wildlife viewing. Sometimes we are viewing wildlife that is a mile away, and it seems like a little more magnification could help, although I know the optics are just as (?) important. I'll probably look at something for a minute or three and then pass them to another family member, who will use them similarly.
Doesn't going to an 8X20 result in a bit less brightness (compared with the 10X25)? As far as Nikons are concerned, I cannot find the Premier line anywhere in a store. I will just make my decision and purchase online. )
Looking forward to more feedback. In the meantime, I will check out the 8X20s, on your site, of course, but as of this moment, the wife and I are pretty sold on the 10X25s. We auditioned them (the big 3) as a store for an hour, looking at posters for binoculars on a couple far walls. Needless to say, I don't want to make a purchase mistake, though.
We had someone looking for a cheap good 10x32 a while back. There is no such thing. The binoculars of any use at 10x are in 40mm or 25mm.
There is a Leupold switch 7x to 12x, but very few have tried it.
As ET says, no difference in brightness, all else equal, between an 8x20 or 10x25. Both have an exit pupil of 2.5 mm. A 10x25, however, will have a touch better resolution and show you a touch more detail, but that extra performance, in a compact, comes at the expense of steadiness.
I would not hesitate to recommend the Premier LX compact for you.