Chromatic aberration in Binos: who cares?

DawnPatrol

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I see reviews of binos that say brand x controls CA better than brand y.

My question is, other than it being no kinda funny looking, what is the practical effect of
CA? Does it make it harder to find critters? Does it annoy the birders?

Thanks
 

StopMakingSense

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The ability to look through binoculars for longer periods of time because the once funny looking image through the binoculars is now gone. An analogy might be using a slightly off pair of prescription glasses. Yes they work but the world is a bit off, you will get fatigue and a headache over long periods.

It’s the sum of all the parts and CA is just one of many.
 
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AGPank

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I think it can depend on how you use binoculars and how often. Some people’s eyes aren’t as sensitive to it.

Bright conditions, snow, even those weird overcast days with strong UV I will pick up CA in some Binoculars. It happens more when the object is against the skyline. This is more steep terrain or when birding. I like birding so will try and select glass better for CA control.

I have a set of 2012-2015 Trinovids that can hold their own with any glass 9/10 times, but they can show CA in certain conditions. Best I had had for control of CA were Meopta Meostar HDs. Oddly I kept the Leicas more for sentimental value and preferred ergonomics.

I’ve owned SLCs, EL SV, SF, and now Noctivid. For my eyes I like Leica slightly over Swarovski. Zeiss third and Meopta as best value. I really enjoy my S2 spotter. It performs well above the discounted purchase price.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

MT_Wyatt

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was just glassing into some sunit areas with lots of snow this past weekend, was getting the most amount of CA I have ever seen out of binos (using a set of Mavens currently) - it really impacted ability to use the field of view, as the halos degraded the image for me. Usually not a huge deal and hard to see it, but in this particular case, it was almost blinding.
 

Browninglover1

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Northern Utah
In some situations it doesn't bother me but in most situations it's just super annoying. It's like having a bad photo edit that you're looking at.

Edges are no longer "crisp" due to the color fringing and that definitely could matter when looking for small details like an antler or an ear sticking out of a bush, but likely will never hinder you from seeing a full animal.
 

Newtosavage

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In someone's favorite spot
I see reviews of binos that say brand x controls CA better than brand y.

My question is, other than it being no kinda funny looking, what is the practical effect of
CA? Does it make it harder to find critters? Does it annoy the birders?

Thanks
It affects some people more than others. It does affect edge sharpness, or rather the appearance of edge sharpness, in certain situations. In other situations, you'll never notice it.
 

PHo

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You’ll get a lot of mixed opinions when it comes to CA because some people are more sensitive to it than others and some people don’t see it at all. For those who aren’t sensitive to it at all they have more options when buying glass because CA is for them one less thing that they have to consider when shopping. For others who are super sensitive to CA it really can effect how well you can glass up animals, therefore it’s yet an additional criteria they have to consider when shopping for glass.
 

Hoodie

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Oregon Cascades
It's no big deal for me, but I don't spend a ton of time glassing snowy areas.

I like the $1k price range in binoculars a lot. I've tried most options in that category and the best by far at controlling CA is the Meopta Meostar (I haven't looked through the Kowa Genesis, but it's another people say has great CA control).

I prefer the Maven B series and the Nikon Monarch HG to the Meopta, even though they have more CA, because they are slightly better in aspects that are more important to me. Brightness, color saturation, and ergonomics/handling (which is huge).

If someone is super CA sensitive, there are models at most price ranges that are particularly good at controlling it. If not, I'd put it pretty low on the list of things I care about.
 
OP
DawnPatrol

DawnPatrol

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Looking for a bedded mountain goat Billy on a snow blotted black rock mountainside a mile away. That's when you're happy you bought great glass with excellent CA control.
Ha, I should be so lucky! But for the most part I don’t spend a ton of time hunting in the snow. Sounds like that’s a big deal for CA?

I’m sitting at my desk glassing a snowy hillside in the sun right now and can see some purple discoloration at the top of the ridge…first time I can say I “saw” CA.

Of course, this is the whole “problem” with Rokslide—all the issues I never considered or what fancy gear I could buy to fix it. I can think of much worse “problems,” though.
 
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OP
DawnPatrol

DawnPatrol

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It's no big deal for me, but I don't spend a ton of time glassing snowy areas.

I like the $1k price range in binoculars a lot. I've tried most options in that category and the best by far at controlling CA is the Meopta Meostar (I haven't looked through the Kowa Genesis, but it's another people say has great CA control).

I prefer the Maven B series and the Nikon Monarch HG to the Meopta, even though they have more CA, because they are slightly better in aspects that are more important to me. Brightness, color saturation, and ergonomics/handling (which is huge).

If someone is super CA sensitive, there are models at most price ranges that are particularly good at controlling it. If not, I'd put it pretty low on the list of things I care about.
Thanks! The monarchs really interest me—the size/weight, FOV, and clarity all get good reviews. CA control gets brought up as a drawback, though.
 
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bmanb940

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I like the $1k price range in binoculars a lot. I've tried most options in that category and the best by far at controlling CA is the Meopta Meostar

I have the MeoStar B1 Plus binos and they far exceeded my expectations. As for brightness, I think they are amazing and more importantly for me, better in low light conditions than any other pair of binos that I have. When you look up info on Meopta's MeoStar glass, low light performance is where they shine.
 

Outwest

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Dec 30, 2013
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New Mexico
I tend to pick it up very easily. I looked through an older set of vortex razors and it was all over the place. Very distracting and enough to push me away from them.

To your original question, I think its something you can get used to, but if I'm spending any kind of money on optics, I don't want to get used to anything. The practical effect is mostly distraction IME but I could see where it could start to detract from resolution ability.
 

Xycod

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As to hunting and for mostly terrestrial use it’s a non issue for me. Unless in high contrast situations, which is often for birding, it’s hard to see unless in maybe a snow covered landscape and a dark set of antlers. Still, unless your constantly looking at the sky’s it’s not really an issue for me personally.

That said it’s definitely noticeable if you’re sensitive to it in the right situations. To this day the older Zeiss FL’s and 10x50 trinovids are some of the best I’ve ever used for ca control center field. Most today do a good job in the center field but still show it off axis, even these to an small extent, although very low.
 

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Spiral Horn

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The OP asks a fair question. What is the practical effect of CA on image quality?

Since CA refers to the visual effect created by lack of precise wavelength alignment or variations in magnification of light, depending on severity will impact perceived image quality. It is most noticeable in high-contract situations where green or purple fringing can degrade overall crispness of resolution. Many modern doublet and even triplet objective lens elements are designed at least in part to minimize or eliminate this phenomenon. The Kowa Genesis is a very good example as many attribute its crisp resolution to the triplet objective with Flourite Crystal that virtually eliminates CA. It adds some weight to the unit but is very effective. CA can also vary in different configurations of the same binocular design. For example, I see a bit of CA through a Zeiss Conquest 10x42 but little if any from the 8x32.

In the field better CA control (all else being equal) will make it easier to precisely judge fine image details at distance. Will make it a bit less likely to mistake that distant stump for an elk or deer, and a smidge easier to assess trophy quality / age.
 
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