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    Binoculars
    From: Dan Allen
    Date: 2005 Apr 5, 15:02 -0600

    On Apr 5, 2005, at 2:01 PM, Bill wrote:
    
    > I did find it interesting, and tried with my K-Mart 7X35 binoculars.
    > They
    > are adequate for football games and boating and no huge loss it they
    > get
    > banged up at a ball game or dropped in the drink. Not good enough for
    > rings
    > or moons however.
    
    Some binoculars are definitely better than others.  It is easy to spend
    a lot of money for some models.
    
    Years ago I wondered how good Leica camera optics were.  I owned both a
    Leica R3 SLR and a Leica M2 rangefinder camera for several years.  Both
    are works of art but optically they were actually not as good as my
    Canon or Nikon optics, at least in my opinion.  (I am not a pro
    photographer, but I have shot tens of thousands of Kodachrome and
    Velvia slides.)  I really enjoyed the Leicas while I had them, but I
    have stuck with Canon and Nikon cameras, and in the past few years, I
    have gone all digital.
    
    However, the story was different when I went to buy binoculars 5 years
    ago.  I have had a pair of Nikon 10x50 binoculars (about $175) which I
    had used mainly for astronomy - decent, but not exceptional, and a pair
    of Fujinon 7x50s for boat use (about the same).  I wondered if Leica
    (Leitz) binoculars were overrated as well.  I expected that they could
    not be worth the added money after my experience with their camera
    optics.
    
    I was wrong.  Leitz Trinovid binoculars are the far better than the
    Nikon and Canon binoculars I have used.  They are far better than most
    other binoculars as well, although I have not done good tests against
    all others (Zeiss and Steiner have great reputations and I haven't
    fully explored them).
    
    I bought a full-sized pair of Leitz 7x42s in marine blue rubber, and
    they are superb.  When I put them in people's hands they always
    exclaim, saying they have never used optics that are so sharp, crisp,
    contrasty, and three-dimensional, and I am not talking about
    professionals -- I am talking about people like my wife that are not
    connoisseurs of optics.  Everyone wants to know where they can buy
    them, well, until they learn the price!
    
    They cost $1,000.  Are they worth it?  Well, if you were in a storm and
    were looking for a port and they made the difference, absolutely.  Are
    they 10-20 times better than a $50-100 K-Mart special?  Probably not.
    However, they are much better than many other binoculars so they are
    worth a look if you can afford them.
    
    The big difference between normal binoculars and Leitz binoculars is
    this: average binocs have little contrast - it is like you are always
    looking through a dusky old piece of glass, or through smoggy polluted
    hot summer air.  The Leitz binoculars have got punch, color, high
    contrast, and sharpness.  They make you feel like you are right there
    at the object that you are looking at from afar.  It is like going from
    Kodak Ektachrome to Fuji Velvia or to Kodachrome 25 shot at ISO 40, if
    you are an old slide photographer like me...
    
    I have also bought a pair of small folding 8x20 Leica binoculars and
    they are very good as well, but not as exceptional as their full sized
    Trinovid line.
    
    I use Canon and Nikon cameras, but when it comes to binoculars, I
    prefer Leitz.  Sadly, Leitz is in bad financial straights right now, as
    they have really been losing out to Canon and Nikon on the pro-digital
    imaging front.
    
    Dan
    
    (I am not a shareholder in any optical companies - I just wanted to
    share my excitement about Leitz Trinovid binoculars.)
    
    
    

       
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