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I am in the process of shopping for a new set of binoculars. Over the weekend, I compared Nikon ATB against the Vortex Talon (they didn't have the Sidewinders on the shelf). Both were very clear, and did well in low light. Originally, I was looking at the 8x42's, but then the shop owner handed me a set of ATB 8x36's, and what a surprise. They were every bit as bright and clear as the 8x42's, but were 10 ounces lighter with a smaller frame. The 42's had a 6.3 degree angle of deflection, and the 36's had a 7 degree angle of deflection. At about 40 yards, the field of view was the same. The question is whether the 42's have some secret mojo sprinkles that would compensate for the $50 difference?
 

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I have the 10X42's but haven't gotten a chance to check out the 8X36's.

It may be hard to tell in a store, but the 42's should gather more light in the early morning and evening.

That would be the biggest difference that I can think of.
 

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8x36

Try looking at the Better View Desired website- reviews of optics for birders. It has a lot of information on how to evaluate binocular quality and features.
That said, 8x is a forgiving magnification to manufacture. Good manufacturers rarely have bad glass at this magnification even at much lower price points than the ATB. More importantly to you, 8x is easier to steady in a lighter bino. (Less bino shake.) I suspect that the 42 mm bino is really intended to be a 10x bino where additional weight is useful to steady bino shake. As in it's a model optimized for higher magnification but available in 8x. Vice versa for the 36.
The Nikon glass is top drawer at each price point. The difference, in fading light conditions, between a 42mm and 36 mm objective will be miniscule given equal lense quality.
Question? The weight difference seems high- is it possible that the 8X36 has the lead free eco glass and the 10X42 that you looked at does not? The eco glass is great stuff and significantly lighter.
My opinion is that there is no magic pixy dust and you would trade away nothing significant by buying the lighter binos.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
neokhunter said:
Question? The weight difference seems high- is it possible that the 8X36 has the lead free eco glass and the 10X42 that you looked at does not? The eco glass is great stuff and significantly lighter.
My opinion is that there is no magic pixy dust and you would trade away nothing significant by buying the lighter binos.
Thanks for the info. To answer your question, I am not sure if the 36's were using eco glass or not. The frame was definitely smaller, both in stature and in girth, which could account for the weight difference. I also looked on the Nikon website, and the dimensions and weight listed for the 42's did not seem like the ones I held in my hand (they must have been last years models).
 
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