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Chiz

How to check collimation on binoculars - in a supermarket?

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First thing Monday morning I'll be joining the queue at Lidl to pick up a pair of their budget binoculars. These are widely reported as being excellent value for money, as long a you pick a pair which are properly collimated.

As a first time buyer of binoculars I have no idea how to check the collimation. What quick and simple tests can I do in the middle of Lidl to make sure I get a good pair? :eek: There must be some things that even my untrained eyes could do.

Should I just try and focus them on the till operative at the other end of the store and make sure I can get sharp, correctly merged images? Or is there some test I can do by holding them up to the light?

On a secondary note: I have a very cheap camera tripod from 7dayshop. Is this likely to be useful for the binoculars, or just too wobbly? It's ok for camera use, but might the bins be a bit too heavy? If not then do I need a large or small tripod adaptor?

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Hi

Not to sure on this but if you hold them at arms length the exit pupil you see in the eyepieces should be perfectly round. Poor collimation results in a cats eye shape or so I am led to believe<<<<Father in laws advice. That said it would still be worth a look at the checkout girl :eek:.

Brett

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That said it would still be worth a look at the checkout girl :eek:.

You've not been to my local Lidl.

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Chiz,

You will have to take them outside. Do what Brett says to check the exit pupil first. These should be round and of the same size.

Next,focus the binoculars on a object as far away as possible. Shut your right eye and useing the left eye check where the object is horizontaly and verticaly. Shut your left eye and open the right eye. Remembering your guess of vertical and horizontal view,just see if the object is in the same place. If it is the image should merge quite easily when you open both eyes. If they don't then try another pair.

I'm not sure if these binoculars have a diopter adjustment on or not.

Any tripod is better than none if you want to squeeze out the finer detail. If you hand-hold binoculars I've found that I lose about 1/2 magnitude with the shake.

Apologies for going on a bit.

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Hi Chiz

Most bins, even cheap ones, have colimation adjustment screws, usually found hiding underneath the rubber skin at the back of the prism assembly, while you are in the shop, try and peel back the rubber and see if there is a tiny grub screw, usually it will be clogged up with glue as the factory set it, but at least you will know that once you get them home, if they are poorly aligned you still have some hope of collimation

If there isnt an ajustment screw, then they probably arn't worth bothering with in the first place, remember the old saying, you get what you pay for

Edited by swashy

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Totally agree, if you can pick up a well colimated pair in the shop then bingo, but it's nice to know that if things go astray in the future, you can sort the problem with a mini screwdriver

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I presume these bins have Bak4 prisms? If not the exit pupils will be more likely to look like squares set on the diamond, I think? This was always the test for Bak4 before they become common even in cheapo bins.

Is your Lidl open at night? You could try them outside on the artiicial star test. (Shine a beam on a ballbearing stuck to a black card placed across the carpark and see if you get diffraction rings.) At twelve quid or whatever I don't think I'd bother!

Olly

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Hi

I have two pairs of these bino`s bought last year one pair was well collimated, the other wasn't. However I did phone the distributer who`s number is on a card in the box and I was sent a new pair free of charge from Bresser in Germany. These were perfectly collimated and I was told to keep the faulty pair rather than send them back. Also as Swashy has said there is a small grub screw underneath the rubber moulding which can be used for collimation.

Brett

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ps the pic on Lidls seems to suuggest they might well be Bresser. The handgrip has a slightly different pattern from mine and it also has some kind of logo on the right bino barrel as you face them. Thats not present on mine in all other respects they look identical.

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Take a look here Binocular Review - Opticron Imagic the shop checks are about halfway down the page.

Brilliant! That's exactly the sort of advice I was looking for. I'm not sure they'll let me take anything out of the shop before paying for it, but I'll be armed with a few tests before parting with my money.

I know these are only cheap, but with so many people saying how good they can be for the money I really ought to give them a try.

Many thanks to everyone for the advice.

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You will have to take them outside.

I'm NOT being funny here but you have a snowballs chance in hell of convincing the staff/security guard in most shops to let you take bins outside to test them. The security guy will stand right over you incase you decide to do a runner.

Fair enough i suppose...............IF they even let you.

I was blessed when i bought my 10x50 Bressers. I wasnt even there when they were bought. My mother picked them up for me on the other side of Dublin because my local store had sold out. They were the only set she picked up and collimation is spot on in them.

I have to say that with these bins its not a case of just the quality being as good as the price. The quality of these bins surpasses the price. They really would be worth an asking price of 50 squids. I paid 90 euro for a set of 10x50s and they are horrible compared to the Bressers.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher

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You can take them outside as long as you pass your money for them to the Checkout assistant, and tell her/him to hold it pending an out of doors test. If you do a runner, they have your money.Get a witness to this though, in case they deny you gave them the bread.:eek:

Ron.

Edited by barkis

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Well they didn't have them stacked up on the shelf - they were locked away in the store room! There are plenty more expensive & smaller items in the open shop, but I guess binoculars are seen as more valuable items and attractive to shoplifters.

Anyway, I was unable to test the bins in the shop :eek: but they did say if there was any problem then I could take them back. So I took a risk and bought a pair regardless. And to be honest in the rain / sleet / snow that was pelting down outside I probably wouldn't have been able to do much in the way of an accurate test.

If they are off kilter then I might treat it as an exercise in "how to collimate binoculars" (which probably is a good thing to learn), or discover first hand how efficient the customer service and 5 year guarantee really is (and from what I've read in SGL it should be ok).

Thanks for all the advice - it is very much appreciated.

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To check alignment of the two views, I 've found that it helps to put your eyes about 6 inches from the eyepiece and compare the views (of a distant object) by closing one eye then the other. At that distance, your eyes/brain do not work very hard to merge the images (as they do when you put your eyes very close to the eyepiece) so that discrepancies are easier to notice.

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They are definitely one of the astro-worlds bargains of the year. I bought mine to keep in the car. After all if they get nicked then losing £13 worth of binos isnt the end of the world.

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I purchased a pair of these this morning from Lidl for £13.99.

In the daylight they were crisp and clear on a pylon about 1/3rd mile away, and birds on nearby rooftops I could distinguish individual feathers. I could also pick out crisp leaf patterns on trees at the end of the garden.

I just took them outside for a try at night. Stars are pinpoint and the moon crystal clear - even the smaller craters were sharp - though there was a sliver of orangey/yellow fringing on the circumference of the moon which could be due to slight aberration. This was true left/right, up/down, uniformly across the entire fov for the moon.

Mars was sharp when focussed, and concentric when slightly defocused both ways, so I'm happy with the collimation.

M42 was fuzzy as you'd expect but I could clearly see the shape of it, and easily resolved two pinpoints of light towards the top left corner.

Didn't get chance yet to look at any doubles because the clouds are quite active at the moment.

I researched these on the net and for all but the pattern on the body (where you hold them) they are identical to the Bressers mentioned above.

I'll be taking them back tomorrow because the neckstrap is missing, hopefully to exchange for a set containing all the stated contents.

Lidl wouldn't let me step outside to test them in the car park, but they did say that if I wasn't happy with the product to return them in original nick within 30 days and they would refund my money.

All in all I'm favourably impressed. For the money they are a brilliant bargain and I recommend them as a very cheap way into the hobby for anyone on a tight budget.

More experienced folk wouldn't be dissapointed hopping around with them, and they are quite light to hold.

This is my first review so I hapilly accept any comments or corrections :eek:

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chiz, I think you can use either tripod adaptor (someone holler if I have it wrong please :eek: )?

The big one is just tougher and better all round?

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Brantuk - The neckstrap is hidden in an inner pocket of the case!! (I couldn't find it but Mrs Bizibilder did!!!) - Good value at £13.99!!

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The binos being sold at my local LIDL are branded as "rocktrail". Are these the bressers rebranded?

cheers

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I'm not sure how reliable this test is, but it seems this could possibly be another good way to check for collimation in store..

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