Friday, September 19, 2014

Swarovski EL Swarovision 10x32 Binocular

From Ken B. in Arcata, CA:

5/5 Rating

No regrets

I ranked 120 (yes, 120) 10x binoculars on the basis of field of view, close focus, eye relief, and weight--and this (along with the Traveler version) came out miles ahead of anything else when all four specifications were combined.

I was apprehensive about a 10x binocular with only a 32mm objective lens, but so far it doesn't seem to be a handicap.  I really appreciate being able to hold and focus the binocular with one hand.  I like the four-level eye relief (the intermediate levels work well with and without glasses) and the ratcheted diopter adjustment.

I expect this to be the last binocular I ever purchase.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Swarovski CL Pocket 8x25 Traveler Binocular

From Clay P. in Montpelier, VT:

5/5 Rating


This is delightful!  Small, light, easy to carry and use-- it will focus readily, and the diopter adjustment is simple and once adjusted, remains reliably "set."

They are surprisingly bright and clear for "mini-binocs," much more so then other high end brands we have owned. The resolution is excellent--surprisingly close to EL 10x32's and 42's in a side-by-side comparison.

As to convenience, one forgets they are hanging from the neck--perfect when carrying other equipment like a scope, tripod and equipment bag. No, they do not have  a "rain guard", but can be conveniently tucked into a jacket or shirt front when raining or blowing beach sand.

I am very happy with these optics. Regrettably, I will apparently have little opportunity to use them. My spouse, an avid nature photographer, always eschewed binocs as too much hassle to carry and use with all her other "stuff." On our first field trip after receiving the little "CL's"she tried them on and fell in love. We (I) may need another pair.

Should add that the advice and service from Eagle Optics was, as always, outstanding. I am not aware of any "on-line" retailer providing better customer service and support.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Kowa Genesis 8x33 Binocular

From Richard C. in Tucson, AZ:

5/5 Rating

Excellent close focus

I had been using a Vortex Diamondback 8x42. It had good close focus (4.5'), but was noticeably dark at distance and not as precise compared to my beloved Leica 8x42's.

Tired of switching binoculars back and forth between watching butterflies and birds, I was looking for a binocular at least as good for close-up and better than the Diamondback for distance. 

The fits the bill.  It is modestly better than the Diamondback for close focus -- it will focus down to 4 feet!!.  While the Kowa is not as good as my Leica at distance, it is still much better than the Diamondback.  Just what I needed.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Eagle Optics NEW Ranger ED 8x42 Binocular

From Deb N. in Ann Arbor, MI:

5/5 Rating

Love these binoculars!!

I purchased this about a month ago, and am totally happy with it so far.  I ordered them from Eagle Optics online and received it about two days later, so very fast turn-around for shipping!
Before purchasing, I researched what type of binoculars were recommended for birding, and similar activities, and found I was quite a novice on the subject!  The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website was a great help, contained reviews with a wealth of general information, as well as breaking down the recommendations by price range - very useful overall.

For me, the standout in my price range was the Eagle Optics 8x42 Ranger, and everywhere else I researched I found positive feedback also.  The is a step up from the one I saw reviewed, and after using them for a month I am happy with my choice.

They are sharp, easy to use, very comfortable to hold, not too heavy, work well in lower light, and with my glasses.  The strap is very soft and comfortable around my neck, and I love that they come with both front and back lens covers, and a carrying case.

I believe these are binoculars I can use for a very long time without feeling I need to upgrade, and that makes me very happy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Kowa Genesis 10x33 Binocular

From Ralph in Portland, OR:

5/5 Rating

These are great binoculars!

I was searching for compact binoculars to take when traveling and these came up as one of the choices. It might be pushing it a little to call the a "compact," but they are smaller and lighter than my Nikon 8x40 and the way they fold makes them easy to pack, not taking up too much space. 

Other than that, how good are they?  They are sharp, crisp and easy to focus. The close focus is amazing.  I can sit in my easy chair and focus on my big toe, it brought it in so clear that I'll never do that again.

The depth of field at close focus is a little tight, but the focus wheel moves easily to quickly adjust. Beyond 20 feet it is much better and I expect I'll do most of my viewing beyond that range. The eyecups extend in 3 steps to adjust for glasses or just personal preference (I like the middle step best).

I'll close with what I think is the greatest feature. Since before I can remember I have had a tremor which makes holding things steady impossible. I really hesitated ordering a 10x over an 8x but I have the 8x Nikon so I took a chance. There is something about the grip or design of the Kowa, I am able to hold and view through them without any (and I mean ANY) jiggle. I've never used any power binoculars without having to brace against something to get the stability I experience with these.

The only con would be the price, it would be nice if they were $49 but the $49 binoculars are worthless.  These are worth every dollar.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Leica Ultravid 8x20 BCR Binocular (Black)

From Dan H. in Cape May, NJ:

5/5 Rating

Great travel bins!

Great for travel: compact, lightweight, with great optics.  My wife and I used this while on a trip recently; while they are no replacement for full-sized bins, they made birding easy. 

We carried them everywhere and had little trouble adjusting the ocular tubes between users.  The diopter control is fast and convenient, especially when switching from prescription sunglasses to the naked eye on the fly.  Highly recommended!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Swarovski SLC 8x42 WB Binocular

From Rick in Georgia:

5/5 Rating

An excellent binocular at a good price

After purchasing a Swarovski spotting scope a year ago to assist my aging eyes at the range, I started noticing that my eyes were getting tired when glassing the woods with my Pentax binoculars.  They aren't the top binos Pentax makes, but they are very good. 

I saw the on sale, and figured I'd try them and see if they are that much better.  Yes, they are!  I was looking at pine tree branches and I was amazed at how each pine needle stood out brilliantly. 

I have other brands of binos too, and none stand out like the .  They are incredible.  For the money, I don't know of a better value.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Vortex Viper HD 8x32 Binocular

From Phil N. in Van Nuys, CA:

5/5 Rating

Price, size and clarity make it a good value

I got these to fill in the gap in my binocular collection. I have 3 other larger pairs, but no high quality compact pair.

My first useful experience with them was at a concert at the Greek Theatre, an outdoors bowl-type location. We had nosebleed seats, and am I ever glad I brought my along. The case has very useful belt loops, so I could stash 'em there while I went down to get robbed at the beer bar.

Anyways, the clarity of these is high definition. 8x is about the maximum magnification I can hold steady, and I could almost see the nose hairs on the guitarist's face crystal clear. My buddy had some junky little binos, that looked like you were looking thru the bottom of a shot glass.

The price, compact size, and clarity make the a good value if you are looking for high quality compact glass. I imagine they would be good for bird watching too. I love 'em!