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Phase Coating

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swilkens View Drop Down
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    Posted: May/23/2005 at 17:06
Is it true that the better binoculars have phase coating?  Which of the brands and models offer this?  The least expensive that I've found are the Pentax SP's, any others?
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Chris Farris View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chris Farris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/23/2005 at 18:32
All of the high end roof prism binoculars are phase coated today.  Zeiss started the trend in the late 80's, followed by Swarovski, Leica (no Leitz are phase coated), B&L, Nikon, and Pentax.  Newer offerings like Minox and Kahles are phase coated as will be any roof that wants to be taken seriously.
 
Phase correction makes a noticeable difference (about 20-30% improvement in resolution and clarity) and makes a roof perform like a porro.  A roof prism that is not phase corrected will have elliptical polarizing (not visible but causes eye stress and fatigue), this is the main reason for phase coating, the optical resolution and clarity are just fringe benefits.

Phase coating makes a big difference in the value of binoculars that were available previously without it and often times the consumer has no idea.  On the B&L Elite you have to look at the stock # for a P.  The first SLC Swarovski 7x30 and 8x30 introduced in 1987 do not have phase coatings, but the 1990 7x30 and 8x30s do and they are noted by the Mark II designation.  Visually you can tell these models because Swarovski added a non load bearing flat glass lenses to better water-proof the binocular at the objective because they use the objective lens to focus (bad design).
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