Friday, May 22, 2015

Vortex Diamondback 10x42 Binocular

From Jeff & Janet in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada:

5/5 Rating

After 3 years of use

We have other Vortex binoculars of 8x power, but we have not used them since we got this .

It's very nice to have that extra bit of reach.  We may even get higher power one the next time we visit EO for stargazing.

We use these binoculars everyday for birding and watching wild life.  They work well in heat and cold of all 4 seasons, and in any weather.

The close focus of 5' also allows us to view flowers and insects, too.  Plus, observing wild life at dawn or dusk was easy.

We are very content with the Diamondbacks.

PS:  My wife dropped her binoculars while hiking and the Vortex warranty/repair service was fantastic.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ultra-Light Binocular Harness (Black)

From Kevin in Bethel, Alaksa:

5/5 Rating

Best Piece of Birding Gear I own

This  is easily the best piece of birding gear that I own, as far as it performing the function that it was made for and far exceeding similar products by miles.

A couple years ago, I accidentally stumbled across this harness on the internet and ordered a pair straight from the guy who makes them.  I am glad to see that they have made it to the Eagle Optics website and will be more accessible to the birding community.  It is truly a product that increases the enjoyment of birding because it removes many of the frustrations that a traditional harness causes. I recommend watching the video in the media tab as it covers the function of the harness very well and accurately describes its performance.

For me, the adjustability of the harness is the key feature.  I live on a river delta in bush Alaska, so I am in and out of boats constantly when birding.  The temperature in spring can range from freezing in the morning to t-shirt and shorts weather in the afternoon.  So, I am constantly adding and removing layers of clothing and a life jacket.  No matter what clothing combination I use, I can adjust the harness to fit ...PERFECTLY...(by myself) in about a second.  Also it's important to me to have the binos snug against me, as I handle ropes and an anchor and need to have the binos out of the way.  For most harnesses to be comfortable, they have to be very loose and the binoculars end up being insecure and swing around everywhere.  This harness solves that problem and you get comfortable and snug.

In addition to the many major advantages that this harness has (that are described in the video), another small perk, that is not mentioned in the video, is that the harness takes up so little space that I can stuff it in my bino case as well.  Very convent when traveling.

   Side Note: In addition to the harness, I use harness strap connectors to connect the bino to the harness (like the Vortex harness strap connectors that Eagle Optics also sell.)  They may not be nessasary, but I am extra protective about my bino lugs.  I  recommend getting two pairs of those; one pair for the harness and an extra strap to connect the rainguard to the binoculars.

In conclusion, when I first used this harness, I knew it was the future of binocular harnesses.  I recommend them to every birder I meet. Every birder I know that has gotten this harness are so happy they have one; from friends and family to river bird guides.  It's amazing to me that something so simple and inexpensive can improve the quality of birding so much.

Out of 5 stars I give it 6.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Swarovski PA-i5 Phone Adapter Kit for ATS/STS/ATM/STM

From B.K. in Kansas City:

5/5 Rating

A great accessory for a great optic

I wanted an adapter to attach my iPhone 5s to my Swarovski spotting scope.  I found the Swarovski adapter on the website of a major outdoor retailer, and went there to purchase one. The Swarovski adapter wasn't available, so they sold me an aftermarket/generic adapter that was awful (at best)!

Then, I searched online and came up with Eagle Optics.  I ordered the Swarovski adapter from Eagle, received in just a few days, and I am over-the-top happy with this adapter.

Beautifully engineered, extremely simple to use and perfectly efficient.  Two parts only...genius!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Vortex Diamondback 8x42 Binocular

From Tommy F., Collierville, TN

5/5 Rating

Really good binoculars

I recently purchased this  after a brief survey on the internet.  I was primarily interested in binoculars for birding.

These are really good binoculars!  They have a solid and expensive feel without being overly heavy.  The optics are outstanding with a bright, sharp image and easy to manipulate focus knob.  I especially like the ability to quickly pick up a flying bird and follow it to a landing site.

If you are looking for binoculars for birding you should consider these.  I don't think you can find any of this quality at a better price.  I am thinking about getting a second pair to keep at my lake house.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Pentax Papilio II 8.5x21 Binocular

From Paul S. in Woodacre, CA:

4/5 Rating

I keep them handy always

Love these binocs!

While the  doesn't replace a hand lens for true closeup, or a pair of Zeiss or Leica for birding, they do give one a new opportunity to get quite a bit closer.

Whether a butterfly, a flower, or a critter barely in sight, they offer another dimension to ID'ing small and elusive sights, often without disturbing them. I've even been able to ID small birds nearby through thick grass or brush. And the focus is quick and smooth enough to practically jump from close-up to distant.

They are a good all-around and extremely versatile, featherweight pair of binocs. I keep them handy always.
I'm pleased with Pentax' lifetime guarantee, too, as I can be very hard on binocs.

They are well worth their price!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Eagle Optics Ranger ED 10x32 Binocular

From Floyd K. near Batavia, New York:

5/5 Rating

A genuine value

I recently retired from 35 years as a Wildlife Technician in a wetland area of New York State.

During my employment I obtained a pair of Eagle binoculars. I was so impressed with the quality that, after retirement, I purchased a pair of the   for my personal use.

The clarity and quality of this product make it an excellent choice for the professional and recreationist alike.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Swarovski CL Pocket 8x25 Green Binocular

From Scott in L.A.:

5/5 Rating

At last!

I'm amazed by these Swarovskis.  The FOV is impressive for pockets.  Its greater weight is due to its solid build quality and larger 25mm objective size, but it's still a true compact.  Diopter dial is easy and out of the way.  The optics are insanely good, and CA is not disturbing.  And the view is crystal clear.  Truly brilliant!

But these models excel for two other, far more important reasons: the added 2 or 3mm's of eye relief that these pocket Swarovskis afford over other alpha pocket models (and 4mm more than their old pocket model) may not seem like much but it has made all the difference for some eyeglass wearers like me.  Secondly, the new, lower magnification option for the 25mm model (8x) is a super smart move, and about time, too, for the alpha pocket group.  The lower power-to-objective-lens ratio means wider, brighter FOV and better eye relief with less shakiness.  I hope this becomes a trend.

For me, the 7x binocular that once ruled as the birding standard still makes the most sense and I would love to see more elite 7x models again.  Despite what people have been led to believe, the binocular's power isn't everything.  Clarity is.  Elite binoculars mean nothing if you can't see well out the other side.  Birders, especially, need to re-think their priorities in this regard, and opt for bright, clear glass over murky power.

A few petty cons: The close focus distance on the 8x25 is not great; the case, never a Swarovski strongpoint IMO, is overly fiddly and, for the money, it ought to be a hardshell case; and there really is no convincing reason not to provide a rain guard and objective lens covers for glass that costs this much; lastly, the black you see on the front of the binoculars is metal, not rubber coating or plastic, and even on a cool California morning they were quite cold to the touch.  Can't imagine what they feel like in cold weather without gloves.   But these are small concerns and don't take away at all from the overall 5-star quality.

I'm happy to say that after twenty years of making various, sometimes expensive pocket binocular purchases, I've finally found truly first-rate, really enjoyable compacts.  Such a treat!  Highly recommended.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Zeiss Terra ED 8x42 Binocular

From Bruce M. in the U.S.:

5/5 Rating

A good value

I am very pleased with my new . I graduated from a pair of Nikon Monarch 3 binos, which I was never completely satisfied with.

By comparison, these Zeiss binoculars have incredible clarity of vision throughout the field. Ergonomically, they are a bit heavier than my Nikons, but the focus wheel functions smoothly and my grip on the instrument is solid.

In my professional life as a pathologist, I used many Zeiss products and they were invariably of the highest quality, though often more expensive than competitors. These binoculars seem to be of very good quality as expected, at a very reasonable price.