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Thread: Low light detail? Ė Binos vs scope

  1. #1
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    Low light detail? Ė Binos vs scope

    Think is just my combo of mid-range Nikon scope and shitty unbranded binos. Have noticed in the last 30 mins before dark the detail I see in binos really falls off but it remains clear in scope until last few minutes. As expected being higher quality the scope is always clearer but difference shows much more as light level fades.
    Is low light difference caused by 35 binos vs 42 diameter scope, or is it the superior scope glass quality, or is it a combo of size and quality?
    Itís obvious regardless of scope zoom. When set at same 7x as binos the difference is really noticeable as light falls.
    Scope is Nikon Monarch 5 3-15x40 ED SF and binos are unbranded 7x35.
    Would similar value scope and binos perform similarly in low light? Or similar diameter necessary to perform similarly?

    FYI I do plan to get better binos sometime however Mrs out of work (anxiety) so budget constrained and these binos were available for the right price, free.
    If itís simply the binos quality Iíll persist as is and use scope at last light with safety on & no ammo in chamber.
    If itís bino diameter I know when I do buy some in future to get bigger diameter, like 8x42 or 10x42.

  2. #2
    Member chainsaw's Avatar
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    Aye, you simply cant get away from good quality glass - scopes or binos. And yes, the low light performance is where really you will see it most. A 40 or 42 mm objective will help over the 35 as it sucks in more light. But decent quality 8x30's would be a much better result compared to the 35's you're running at present. Go try some out some different at your local optics or gun shop.

  3. #3
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    Bigger lenses means more light gathering power. You'll really only get the benefit of big lenses as the light starts to fade. Bigger lenses also mean more distortion, blurry edges and chromatic aberration, so big, high quality lenses are a must.

  4. #4
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    If similar quality glass would 42 diameter binos give similar detail in low light to 42 diameter scope?
    Or does 2 eyes versus 1 influence our ability to see detail and hence quality 30 or 35 bino would equal 42 scope?

  5. #5
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    The bonus have two lenses, go to two eyes which subjectively to me are more than added together in my brain and my opinion is that the area of the two lenses should be added together to predict low light performance. It does also depend on your personal eyes. Mine are different and the one I use for the scope is not so good. For low light binoculars use it's important to get both sides of the binocular focused just right for your eyes. This is easiest to do in low but not extreme light conditions eg an hour before dark. In very bright light your pupils are small and focus appears much sharper despite imperfections.



    I' m fortunate to have good quality binos ( kahles 8x32) and scope (S&B 3-12◊50) and they are pretty much the same for me and both considerably better than what I can see with naked eye, which is all it has to be as I'd be reluctant to shoot at something I couldn't identify without optics.

    No I wouldn't go to 42 mm binos to get better low light performance. They all weigh twice what 8x32 does and as said above a cheaper model won't help you. It's probably not worth upgrading till you can put $1000 into a mid/ high quality 8x32. My opinion again. Be philosophical about the last 15 minutes of light. You often dont have time to stalk closer and its a real bummer searching for a probably dead deer after its dark.
    gadgetman likes this.

  6. #6
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    The binos have two lenses, go to two eyes which subjectively to me are more than added together in my brain and my opinion is that the area of the two lenses should be added together to predict low light performance. It does also depend on your personal eyes. Mine are different and the one I use for the scope is not so good. For low light binoculars use it's important to get both sides of the binocular focused just right for your eyes. This is easiest to do in low but not extreme light conditions eg an hour before dark. In very bright light your pupils are small and focus appears much sharper despite imperfections.



    I' m fortunate to have good quality binos ( kahles 8x32) and scope (S&B 3-12◊50) and they are pretty much the same for me and both considerably better than what I can see with naked eye, which is all it has to be as I'd be reluctant to shoot at something I couldn't identify without optics.

    No I wouldn't go to 42 mm binos to get better low light performance. They all weigh twice what 8x32 does and as said above a cheaper model won't help you. It's probably not worth upgrading till you can put $1000 into a mid/ high quality 8x32. My opinion again. Be philosophical about the last 15 minutes of light. You often dont have time to stalk closer and its a real bummer searching for a probably dead deer after its dark.
    uk_exile likes this.

  7. #7
    Member GravelBen's Avatar
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    Its probably more annoying when your binos are better than your scope, so you spot a deer with the binos and then can't see clearly enough through the scope to shoot it...
    keneff and uk_exile like this.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bagheera View Post
    Be philosophical about the last 15 minutes of light. You often dont have time to stalk closer and its a real bummer searching for a probably dead deer after its dark.
    Quote Originally Posted by GravelBen View Post
    Its probably more annoying when your binos are better than your scope, so you spot a deer with the binos and then can't see clearly enough through the scope to shoot it...
    Two great reasons why there's no need for me to be rushing into new binos. They're crap but most of the day acceptable given the limitations I have.

  9. #9
    Member Cordite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uk_exile View Post
    Think is just my combo of mid-range Nikon scope and shitty unbranded binos. Have noticed in the last 30 mins before dark the detail I see in binos really falls off but it remains clear in scope until last few minutes. As expected being higher quality the scope is always clearer but difference shows much more as light level fades.
    Is low light difference caused by 35 binos vs 42 diameter scope, or is it the superior scope glass quality, or is it a combo of size and quality?
    It’s obvious regardless of scope zoom. When set at same 7x as binos the difference is really noticeable as light falls.
    Scope is Nikon Monarch 5 3-15x40 ED SF and binos are unbranded 7x35.
    Would similar value scope and binos perform similarly in low light? Or similar diameter necessary to perform similarly?

    FYI I do plan to get better binos sometime however Mrs out of work (anxiety) so budget constrained and these binos were available for the right price, free.
    If it’s simply the binos quality I’ll persist as is and use scope at last light with safety on & no ammo in chamber.
    If it’s bino diameter I know when I do buy some in future to get bigger diameter, like 8x42 or 10x42.
    Higher magnification requires thicker, denser lenses, so more weight, and a bit less brightness through the thicker glass.
    Larger objective lenses mean larger lenses, so more weight.

    Question one is, how old are you? If you are 50+, chance is your pupils won't be able to dilate much above 5mm diameter and so don't bother with super bright binos with large exit pupils.

    You get the exit pupil by dividing the objective lens with the magnification. The exit pupil is the cylinder of light streaming back from the eyepiece.

    i.e. 10x40 binos has a 40/10=4mm exit pupil, not optimal at dusk for anyone, but better at all other times than dusk due to the higher magnification.
    8x40 binos have a 40/8=5mm exit pupil, optimal for a 50+ year old.
    7x35 binos have a 35/7=5mm exit pupil, optimal for a 50+ year old.
    6x30 binos have a 30/6=5mm exit pupil, optimal for a 50+ year old. Brighter image than 8x40s due to thinner glass required for 6x magnification.
    7x50 binos have a 50/7=7.14mm exit pupil. Great at dusk for a 21 year old who can dilate his/her pupils that far, but not worth the extra weight for a 50+ year old.

    Have a think what you need. If you are a dusk hunter, you are talking shorter distances anyway, so maybe bright low-magnification will be more suitable.

    But as someone (not me) on this forum said, the best binos are the ones you have on you when you need them.
    Bagheera likes this.
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  10. #10
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    Best glass quality in smaller objective size is better than larger objective size in average glass from what I’ve noticed. Years ago I used to think glass was glass until I used a mates Leica binos and a Swarovski scope, awesome low light performance.

  11. #11
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    Age? 50 and have noticed night vision isn't what it was so guess that means low light vision is also fading.

    Because current hunting area is almost exclusively the tussock of mid Canterbury high country (Hakatere conservation park https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-re...ervation-park/) it is big open country and I can be out and about any time during day. Permit doesn't allow night.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by uk_exile View Post
    Age? 50 and have noticed night vision isn't what it was so guess that means low light vision is also fading.

    Because current hunting area is almost exclusively the tussock of mid Canterbury high country (Hakatere conservation park https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-re...ervation-park/) it is big open country and I can be out and about any time during day. Permit doesn't allow night.
    There are 2 main functions which attribute to light gathering, Glass quality and exit pupil. Exit pupil is defined as obj size divided by magnification power. This is a set known quantity. At similar glass quality an 8x35(4.37mm ep) will draw less light than the 8x42 (5.25mm ep).

    Glass is the big equalizer with the higher end high density glass offering much better light transmission values than lower end glass. Resolution and contrast also pay a part in perceived brightness.

    Your binos will be on the lower end of this scale where as the Nikon scopes have excellent light transmission by any standards.
    uk_exile likes this.

  13. #13
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    I got very limited experience hence the questions. Thanks for the replies. Learning lots!

    Seems every one rates the Nikon scopes highly but they're not that popular here in NZ. Nikon cameras common though. Lack of marketing perhaps?

  14. #14
    Member Micky Duck's Avatar
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    my old and now getting buggered 10x50mm kahles binos crap all over any other glass they have been put up against they have lost the ability to stay in line but using only one eye are fine...the older nikko stirling gold crown 3x9x40mm scopes had awesome light gathering aswell as field of view...it beats a 3x9x50mm older vx11 loopy scope in low light.
    the point 8x35 binos (think they yukon and have a big Y on them) are great in low light....
    tiny 10x28 binos are shockingly bad when light starts to go.....worse than useless.
    keneff likes this.

 

 

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