It would be interesting to see the results of the same tests using a Finnstick
to steady the binoculars.
> -----Original Message-----
> On Behalf Of
> Trevor Ford
> Sent: Monday, 14 March 2011 1:05 PM
> To: Birding Aus
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Stability of binoculars and
> binocular-user: "The Venezuela Test"
> There is one important aspect to consider, often overlooked, when
> selecting a pair of binoculars. See below some very
> interesting comments
> from my good friend, Ron Johns, about his observations when
> working in
> London, UK.
> "Some years ago whilst I was helping In Focus at their optics /
> book store in Piccadilly, I developed a quick and easy test to help
> people buying binoculars to demonstrate that x10 binoculars would
> not necessarily make it easier for them to see fine detail on birds.
> The Venezuela Test, as it became known, was to read the
> names of the
> authors shown in small typeface on the spine of the /Guide to
> the Birds
> of Venezuela/ - the unusual names (De Schauensee and Phelps)
> would have
> been unknown to most people, which meant that they couldn't
> easily guess.
> Even using top-rated binoculars at c20 yards in ideal
> conditions (i.e.
> very well lit and with no wind shake to contend with) more
> than 50% of
> the people couldn't read the details on the spine of the book
> with x10,
> but more often than not could with x8. I attributed this to the
> inability of the majority of people to successfully hand-hold x10
> binoculars. Some people couldn't read the detail with any
> It was also interesting that when using a newly introduced 10x50
> binocular from a leading German manufacturer none of the
> people tested
> could read the names, although many could with a cheap pair
> of Russian
> 6x30s! By this time I had rather lost faith in claims by avid
> sea-watchers to be able to see minute detail on distant
> seabirds in poor
> light and strong wind."
> Cheers - Trevor Ford.
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