Methods and ethics
last revision 18-12-2015
Since 2013 I have not only been using binoculars like the 25 years before but also started to compare some of the greatest. As a filmmaker I love the subtleties of optical and mechanical excellence, and usability. The artist in me is always looking for the beauty of an image.
My approach is a personal and practical one. I only review products I have used extensively, some for weeks, but usually for many months.
I do accept and apply for free loans of items by manufacturers for my research and reviews. This solves the problem of sample variation as the binos in the test and demopools are most probably cherrypicked. I only review items that interest me personally. I hope that most manufacturers appreciate well founded criticism and feedback. Everybody has to run to stay in the position he is (the chess story from "Through the looking glass" which inspired the "Red Queen principle" as a theorem in evolutionary biology).
Contrary to most other review sites on the internet I´d like to emphasize two points:
1. Like most reviewers I generally test one sample of a binocular type. My conclusions refer to this sample of type x. They should be valuable for generalization, but take it all with a grain of salt. You might get a better or worse sample than me.
2. I will not give any numerical ratings or credits for ranking, they are in my opinion complete rubbish. Firstly, they suggests scientific accuracy which cannot come from one test sample (see above). Secondly, I don´t see any meaningful way to choose or recommend a binocular without knowing requirements and priorities of its user. I´d rather describe them as well as I can and you take what you need and draw your own conclusions.
The main method really is comparison. No matter how much experience you have and how good your memory seems to be - in the end you have to directly compare binoculars side by side.
To put the binoculars on a tripod is an essential part of the evaluation and a very inspiring experience.
My Zeiss 3x12B booster is a real eyeopener which lets me zoom in to 1/9th of the image circle to confirm or disprove what was doubtful seen with the naked eye.