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Flying Eye

Olympus 10x50 DPS I - Attempted BinocularSky test application

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Hi all,

Having just had a pair of the Olys delivered to me, I thought it would be interesting to try and run through some of the points in the evaluation test as described at BinocularSky. LINK

It's not definitive of course and I'm not connected to the site in any way aside from being a grateful reader of it.

It was just a "let's try it out" exercise, it is absolutely not meant to be a review, it is intended as just a kicking off point for some potential discussion to see if in future evaluation test reports might usefully be structured in this sort of way, or something similar at any rate. Knowing how a potential purchase manages to stack up in the face of that test seems like it could be useful additional information.

There were some bits I have yet to find a way to adequately cover. I'm thinking on it though.

I hope it's of interest as an idea.

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Point Score for Olympus 10x50 DPS I

Evaluated 2012-02-09

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In what follows, "a bit from the site" is so we know which bit I was trying to evaluate, hence the quotes in each case.

Going through the evaluation checklist at Binocular Sky I found:

"Reject zoom binoculars. A decent zoom binocular has yet to be made."

OK

"Reject any with "ruby" coated lenses. Ruby coatings are a gimmick designed to disguise poor optics."

OK (somewhere from a smokey sepia to almost amber in colour, both at objective and eyepiece ends)

"Reject quick-focus binoculars. They are also quick-defocus and are exceptionally difficult to focus properly."

OK

"Give them a good shake. Reject any that have any internal noise."

OK

"Check that the focus mechanism is smooth throughout its range, with no loose spots and no binding."

OK

"Check that the right-eyepiece dioptre adjustment is smooth throughout its range, with no loose spots and no binding."

OK

"Check that the hinge is smooth throughout its range, with no loose spots and no binding."

OK

"Check that the bridge connecting the eyepieces does not rock under light or moderate pressure."

It does rock in the example I have with just the slightest touch.

"If they are to be used with spectacles, verify that the full field of view is available with the eyecups folded down and the binocular at "spectacle distance" (about 25mm). The edge of the field of view should be a sharp black circle."

Edge seemed a sharp black circle, but I felt not quite all the FOV was visible despite this. Was certainly usable, but personally I take my specs off for using bins as it's always so much better.

"Check that your interpupillary distance (IPD) can be accomodated by the binoculars."

OK

"Hold them at arm's length and look into the eyepieces. Is there a round circle of light, or is it diamond-shaped?"

Diamond shaped

"If the latter, the prisms are under-sized (cost-cutting)."

That is the case with the example I have.

"If the cut-off bits are blue-grey, then it's full sized prisms, but they are BK7."

Does not aappear to be the case with the example I have.

"This need not be a problem for binoculars used in good light or with narrow fields of view."

I'm a birder first, I looked into some very dark and gloomy corners and could still see way more than with my Bresser travel 8x32 bins, so a welcome improvement in practical terms.

-----------

Summary

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Eyepiece bridge is plastic or a flimsy alloy, and it allows the EPs to rock - not entirely great then. -1 Point.

However, I've not yet found them to defocus in use. I'm concerned that if it is plastic then in the cold they could easily become brittle. So, quite possibly an astro use issue in the making.

Apparently an under size prism used.; -1 Point.

In use the view is still quite pleasing, just does not pass the "arms length" test. A little CA is of course present, however it's so very sharp and fine, that I found it to be much less of a problem than I ususally do.

Image seems sharp across the vast majority of the FOV, maybe something like 2-5% at edge, and even then it is pretty good. The image seems bright to me, and crisp seems a good word for the view too.

Astro view can not yet be tested, It's the UK, we always have cloud. Oh, that, and its only been day time so far!

----------------

Further notes.

----------------

All 4 protective caps are separate, and not attached in anyway to anything, so very easy to lose.; -1 Point.

Would have to come up with a plan for this. I don't see why Olympus felt they could not do that.

Neck strap appears to need a specialist tool to insert, this was not included; -1 Point.

User has to become inventive to solve it. Having the strap attached to a pair of bins that feature a strap mount point is important. It should be fitted at the very first opportunity you have. Better yet at the time they are manufactured.

Hinge cover is fiddly to remove and replace due to design choices made by Olympus.; -1 Point.

Makes using these on a tripod just a bit fiddlier than it should be.

The focus ring is a bit of a stretch, and I have larger hands than most gloves will comfortably accommodate. If you have average or small hands I'd urge you to try them before deciding if this is an issue for you or not.

So, out of a proposed ten points, they lose 5 - that's 5/10 then.

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Conclusion

------------

For me these represent a quite adequate "recession buster" binocular. Austere times demand you being especially practical about pricing. Despite their noted shortcomings they feel as if they could do a useful job of work for me.

I suspect they might just scrape by as keepers as I actually do have a need for a pair of 10x50s. They offer a pleasing view. I'm under no illusions they would definitely last any great length of time. They will need treating with very good care as they don't feel anything remotely like bullet proof. Note that they don't creak or anything, but you also know they are decidedly not military grade!

In the grander scheme of things, they do not blow me away, however for their cost price of £49 and some small change, delivered, they very nearly do! Some research I did found that in the USA these can be had for $49 and change. We have a much smaller world today thanks to the internet, and these things now matter. If that discrepancy were not there, and I'd got them for the same $49 price but simply adjusted into pounds at today's exchange rate, then these very probably would have blown me away.

My pair did not feature any Coleman branding. They were purchased DIRECTLY from Amazon EU S.a.r.L themselves via Amazon UK website, and not from one of their traders. I decided when I ordered that if they did feature Coleman branding, I would return them right away as it would very probably add a further haggling point to a prospective buyer if I was seeking to recoup any resale value they might have in times to come. And accepting that problem would just be shooting yourself in the foot.

----------------

Final thoughts:

----------------

Knowing the little that I can about them so far (3 hours maybe), would I buy them again? I think I would. We'll just have to wait and see if that view changes over time.

If Strathspey had been selling thier kit via Amazon at the same time, would I have chosen them instead? Quite probably. Amazon manages to fit my particular requirements pretty closely a lot of the time.

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Hi,

Very interesting review. I'm glad that I haven't bought a binocular yet as I've learnt more as I've had to wait since my finances disappeared before Christmas. You mention wearing glasses but not when you use your bins; I wonder if I will be able to do that? My specs are not like beer glass bottoms, I'm just long sighted.

There is a very interesting thread about when is Bak4 really Bak4. By the end of some lengthy detailed posts by Steve (Tentaterre.), it all comes down to what 'you' can see and if 'you're' satisfied. It's doing my head in being swayed from one day to the next but I'm settling on the 'Celestron Nature 10x50' as they are purported to be quite robust aswell as giving reasonable views.

Thanks for going to the effort of this thread as it has been very helpful. I'm gasping to get mine soon!

Regards,

Bill.

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Interesting, Ian -- so, do you feel the evaluation test is adequate?

You mention wearing glasses but not when you use your bins; I wonder if I will be able to do that? My specs are not like beer glass bottoms, I'm just long sighted.
Long sight is rarely a problem because you effectively have to focus the binocular "closer" and binoculars are designed to do this.

I know you didn't ask, but:

Short sightedness may be a problem, because you have to focus the binocular "beyond infinity"; most do to some extent but in some cases (e.g. the first incarnation of the Helios Stellar 15x70 - don't know about current ones) that is for minuscule values of "some", rendering them "not good" for anything other than very mild myopia. Don't rely on daylight testing for this because your eye's pupil will be small and your eye's depth of field will be greater than in the dark, when it dilates.

Astigmatism, of course, cannot be "focused out", but some people find it tolerably corrected with smaller exit pupils. with a 4mm exit pupil, I see stars as little lines (different orientation in each eye, just to make things interesting). With a 2mm exit pupil I see points.

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Interesting, Ian -- so, do you feel the evaluation test is adequate?

Hehe, now that's a big question!

Right now, because I have limited experience, it's more than adequate to be going on with. I've got my hands full checking and rechecking various aspects. It has brought some names to what were previously just "features" of binoculars I have had some "hands on" time with. Now I know they were faults and quite probably what was causing them. Obviously my view is a limited one as I said. Only time can truly tell, as I gain some more experience.

I have noticed one or two things I'd appreciate some help untangling.

First I am not sure if I am recognising the outcome of undersized prisms correctly or not. I do note in brighter light that there is a tendency for what seems like an unknown eyebrow or previously unnoticed extra fold to my (somewhat baggy or droopy) eyelids to impinge on the upper outer edges of the view, always thought it was me, but it could be the upper edges of those diamonds I must suppose. Is that roughly how one spots it in use? It is a darkening, and it makes deciding on one's correct IPD somewhat tougher than it feels it should be. I'd always thought I had not yet learned or found dead centre for each eye, but this may actually be what has been going on instead.

The other thing I am finding it hard to adjust to is this, I have 8x32 which I am pretty used to, in going up to 10x50 I find foreground out of focus objects, such at twigs and stuff are now more prominent as I peer through them while watching birds. They are much more distracting now too. I'm left wondering if perhaps the 10x is too much for birding, or maybe the 50. Could even be a mix of the two.

A thought has also crossed my mind about these bins that are punching above what one might reasonably suspect as being their weight. They present a very, very bright image indeed, this probably makes most pupils shrink down very tight and probably makes the most of whatever good crisp focus there is. It may be making one's eye work a little harder and they could be producing quite a bit of the wow factor as a result.

I have just witnessed some seriously stunning views of a close by robin (15-20 feet max), with such amazing clarity and stunning detail being present in the image, I'm guessing that is one point in favour of the 50mm. I do wish they had been on a tripod at the time, but it was pretty breathtaking in spite of being hand held and so very close. I was out hunting for edges of prism diamonds at the time and it was simply a chance encounter! And a very nice one at that.

Edited by Flying Eye
missed a bit of punctuation

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Thank you for your detailed advice, Steve. That opens up my choice which helps me to keep the price down so that I can look forward to a scope in future.

Regards,

Bill.

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Quick update;

I've had a couple of chances to very quickly try out the bins at night in fairly clear conditions. Exceeded my expectations by quite a bit (they were realistically low) Best view of Jupiter I ever had, ditto Mars, and moon. Enjoyed a few favourite bits of the sky and found quite a few bits that were new to me.

Very happy indeed in that respect.

Also, something I missed mentioning before, collimation seems more than acceptable to me. I've not done any kind of exhaustive test as I'm having trouble making Bahtinov masks at the moment, but hope to solve that in the next day or two and then see what's what.

I got a couple more days to decide if they stay or not but I suspect they will given what they do for what they cost. Replacing them at this sort of price would not be easy for a start! For something a little better at a little more cost is not that easy either. I'd probably have to spend double to get a significant improvement. I'm not certain that would be a terribly attractive proposition. If you were going to improve on them then there would be little point messing about with minor nitpicking improvements.:icon_scratch:

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