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Strathspey Marine or Williams Optics?


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Off to the west coast of the US in late October for a couple of weeks and thought I'd take some binoculars with me.

I think I've whittled it down to these two pairs now:

Strathspey Marine 10x50

Williams Optics 10x50 ED

Both seem to get very good reviews and they appear to be fairly similar in specification to this bi-novice, too.

Does anyone have any experience of both pairs, I wonder? What would justify the c£100 difference in cost?

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I don't think the ED glass really matters for 10x50. Neither Nikon Astrolux, Fujinon FMT-SX use ED in their binoculars (and they do slap a big ED label on their binoculars with ED elements).

However, the WO 10x50 ED is a top of the range Kunming United Optics BA8, which is suppose to be as good as it gets with Chinese binocular. I think Strathspey Marine is also made by KUO but they comes from a lower spec series.

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Hmm, not sure about ED glass not mattering regardless of the mag. It matters very much in the birding world so transfers nicely to the world of Astronomy. I use Hawke Frontier ED MKII 10 x 43 and would suggest the removal of almost all CA is a major plus. The views are a world away from any large bins without ED galss from what I have seen over the years. When others have tried these at the many star parties I frequented throughout 2011 it was particularly satisfying to hear the wow's in comparison with their big un's.

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Hmm, not sure about ED glass not mattering regardless of the mag. It matters very much in the birding world so transfers nicely to the world of Astronomy. I use Hawke Frontier ED MKII 10 x 43 and would suggest the removal of almost all CA is a major plus. The views are a world away from any large bins without ED galss from what I have seen over the years. When others have tried these at the many star parties I frequented throughout 2011 it was particularly satisfying to hear the wow's in comparison with their big un's.

Sorry I wasn't clear, I only meant ED didn't matter on low mag binoculars. I agree if you increase the magnification, then having ED can be a big advantage.

Personally I feel the benefit of ED is minimal on a pair of 10x binocular. IMHO, the prism quality, coating, transmission, internal stray light control and field flatness have priority over CA in a 10x binocular. However, different people have different taste and this is up to individual choice.

I'd still pick the WO 10x50 over the Strathspey but the fact the WO has ED isn't a major factor for me. I'd also recommend the Pentax 10x50 PCF WP2 for the OP if he wants something in between.

PS: I did tried a pair Hawke Frontier ED in a shop and I agree it was the best roof prism binoculars in its class.

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One thing that has come to light since I wrote my review on it, is that, as a consequence of internal vignetting, the Strathspey Marine only has an effective aperture of around 44mm (verified on mine by measuring the exit pupil). I don't know if anyone has checked the WO for this, but my experience with another Kunming BA8 (15x70) is that the effective aperture is as stated (as compared to the BA1 15x70, which has an effective aperture of about 63mm).

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