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Old 08-09-2005, 10:13 AM
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janoskiss (Steve H)
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comparison of two binoculars: Olympus 8x40 DPS I vs Fujinon 8x42 BFL

As some of you would know, I have recently become the proud owner of a pair of Fujinon 8x42 BLF binoculars. I also got a much cheaper pair from centre.net.au as a present for someone who wanted something light, but better than the cheapish compact roof prism binos, to take to the beach for the occasion look at seals, dolphins, birds and so on. I had two 10-15 min sessions, one during daylight hours and another at night under light polluted skies, comparing the two binoculars. This post tries to convey my impressions.

Fujinon 8x42 BFL
http://www.adorama.com/images/Product/FN1042BFL.JPG
Fujinon 8x42 BLF. Made in Japan. Price: $340 --- got mine for $300 from York Optical in Melbourne but I really was not prepared to spend more; it's probably still a good buy at $340, but to be honest I don't really know. This was my first step into big $ bino land.

The Likes (in no particular order)

Incredibly small, light and the smooth rubber exterior is very comfortable; has to be experienced to be believed; they're tiny and weigh next to nothing! and sit in your hands like you were born with them

Stars are very bright for the size of the binoculars.

Colour neutral coatings give "true" colour.

No visible chromatic aberration on bright celestial objects (Moon, Venus, Jupiter, bright stars).

Great contrast with practically no ghosting on bright targets like the Moon. (a few times there was a fairly dim reflection, but when I tried to find it disappeared.)

Large planets like Jupiter and Venus are disks and stars are sharp with no flaring (except for the diffraction from the slight intrusions at the edges of the optical pathway, see below).

Mechanically flawless: everything is very smooth and steady: focus, interpupilary distance and diopter adjustment; and despite the binos being a featherweight, every component is very solid and stays put.

The Dislikes (in order of most to least important)

Some diffraction spikes visible on brightest stars and planets. This is most likely because the prisms are only just big enough and ever so slightly intrude at the very edge of the circular cross-section of the optical path. You can see this looking down the barrels through the objective lens.

Relatively narrow apparent field of view of 52 degrees makes
..- finding things in the night sky a bit more difficult than with wide view (65deg) binoculars,
..- nature watching and stargazing less immersing (although the superior brightness and contrast more than makes up for it in the latter case).

Slight but easily visible chromatic aberration (green & violet) at the edges of dark objects (branches) in front of bright background (sky).

All the lenscaps are just a little too big. They fall off easily and it is near impossible to get the binoculars out of their pouch without at least one of the objective lens caps coming off. (I have the same problem with my TeleVue Plossl! Is this a general expensive optics thing??)

Olympus 8x40 DPS I
http://www.olympus-europa.com/consum...ax_225x166.jpg
Olympus 8x40 DPS I. Made in China. Price $102 = $90 + $12 postage from centre.net.au.

The Likes (roughly in order of most to least important)

Wide field of view (65 degree AFOV, 8.2 TFOV) really puts you inside the view during daytime, or lets you navigate unfamiliar heavenly delights with more ease at night. I was quicker to find particular stars and DSOs with these than with the Fujinon. The wide views of the sky are also impressive. M6 & M7 fit in the FOV with ample room to spare. With the Fujinon they just squeeze in. The blurry outer edge does not matter that much, because unlike with wide angle eyepieces in a telescope, my peripheral vision does not seem to care when it comes to binoculars.

Price!

Excellent "nature watching" views! It seemed to be brighter and have better contrast than the Fujinon! Eventually I realised that my brain has been fooled by the lens coatings, which give a greenish tint to the view, making the colours of all things green (leaves of trees, grass, bush) more vivid, and giving the impression of enhanced brightness and contrast. It works really well and looks very impressive but comes at a price (see below).

Stars focus fairly crisp and show no obvious flaring (bit hard to compare with the Fujinon because of the reduced brightness).

One can easily see the brigher DSOs like M22, M17, M8, M20 under light polluted skies (20km from CBD).

Lens caps are a good fit and stay put.

The Dislikes (in order of most to least important)

Internal reflections are apparent and very distracting when viewing the Moon. A number of ghost images can be seen in the FOV. (The ghosts from the left and right oculars do not merge.) Not apparent during the day or even with brighter stars at night.

Some flex in dipoter adjustment (plastic parts).

Bright stars do not appear as bright as they do with the Fujinon and faint stars are a harder to spot. This is not a huge difference, but the longer you look at large clusters and groups of fainter stars the more obvious it is. I suspect at a dark site the differences would be even more apparent.

The greenish tint in the lens coatings that give the psycho-optic colour & contrast enhancement to all things green distract from the natural colour of other targets. Looking at a brick wall, or a rusty drum hanging on a light pink painted wall, the colours were a bit off, like looking through green coloured sunnies (but a bit more sublte). At night you can't tell though and colours of brigher stars come through fairly well.

Ergonomics is not the best. Exterior does not feel all that nice to the touch. It's molded plastic with a bit of rubber mixed in and has a coarse finish. Rims of eyecups have a slightly sharp edges (like where two halves of a mold join). It is also much bulkier than the Fujinon (bigger prisms for the wide angle design).

Venus seemed less well defined than with the Fujinon, but it was hard to get a good look because of all the ghosting from the Moon right next to it. Unfortunately I did not get to look at Jupiter with this pair.

Chromatic aberrations are similar to the Fujinon's so one can't really complain.

Conclusions
The Fujinon is a very good performer for its size and I cannot imagine a more comfortable pair of binoculars for handheld use. For the price, the Olympus does a surprisingly good job, and the wider field of view is very pleasant as well as useful for star hopping. The strong glare and ghosting on the the Moon is its biggest weakness.

Last edited by janoskiss; 08-09-2005 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 08-09-2005, 10:44 AM
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ving (David)
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interesting steve. there is plus' amd minus' for both it seems. do you consider the narrower FOV to be a good trade off for true and brighter colouring?
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Old 08-09-2005, 10:56 AM
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iceman (Mike)
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Great review, can I use it on the reviews page?
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Old 08-09-2005, 11:00 AM
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janoskiss (Steve H)
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David, For astronomy, definitely so. The greater brightness and contrast, and to a lesser extent the truer colours, are definitely worth it. Faint fuzzies will be easier to spot with these. Plus build quality and comfort level is miles ahead.

But if you gave both binos to someone on the beach or in a park for a quick look, they would probably prefer the views through the cheaper pair because of the wider AFOV and the more contrasty first impression due to the slight greenish tint. The wider AFOV also makes following moving targets easier.
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Old 08-09-2005, 11:05 AM
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janoskiss (Steve H)
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Mike, yes of course you can. I'm not prepared to rewrite it at length, but if you like, I can reformat the text and add a couple of photos for side-by-side comparison.
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Old 08-09-2005, 12:02 PM
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iceman (Mike)
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Quote:
but if you like, I can reformat the text and add a couple of photos for side-by-side comparison
That'd be great, ta.
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Old 23-03-2010, 06:54 PM
nighthitcher007 (Justin smith)
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sounds good to me
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