Monday, June 27, 2016

Leica Ultravid HD-PLUS 7x42 Binocular

From Steve T. in San Francisco:

5/5 Rating

Best binoculars I have ever owned


I have had a pair of the  for three or four months now. Over the years I have had all the major brands, but none compare to the brightness and the ease of use.

These binoculars are really bright--even more so than the previous model of the same brand.    They are sharp end to end and have a nice wide field of view. They are extremely well built.  My older eyes do not get fatigued when using them as they do with field-flattened lenses of the other major brands.

Yes, they are only seven power but I can honestly say the one step down in power makes no difference once you get used to them, and the wide field of view more than makes up for it. Also, 42 divided by 7 makes a 6mm exit pupil, which is great for older eyes. 

I cannot say enough good things about the , and if you purchase a pair you will not be disappointed.   Unless I lose these, it will be my last pair of binoculars.  Thanks, Leica!

Leica Ultravid HD-PLUS 7x42 Binocular

From Steve T. in San Francisco:

5/5 Rating

Best binoculars I have ever owned


I have had a pair of the  for three or four months now. Over the years I have had all the major brands, but none compare to the brightness and the ease of use.

These binoculars are really bright--even more so than the previous model of the same brand.    They are sharp end to end and have a nice wide field of view. They are extremely well built.  My older eyes do not get fatigued when using them as they do with field-flattened lenses of the other major brands.

Yes, they are only seven power but I can honestly say the one step down in power makes no difference once you get used to them, and the wide field of view more than makes up for it. Also, 42 divided by 7 makes a 6mm exit pupil, which is great for older eyes. 

I cannot say enough good things about the , and if you purchase a pair you will not be disappointed.   Unless I lose these, it will be my last pair of binoculars.  Thanks, Leica!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Kowa YF 8x30 Binocular

From Rod in Kentucky:

5/5 Rating

Great entry level binocular


I purchased the  as a gift for a 10-year-old birder. Of course, I had to try them out myself. What a pleasant surprise! 

This is my first experience with the Kowa brand. I had previously recommended the Nikon 7x35 Action as an affordable, entry level binocular to new birders and have given a few of those as gifts previously. Now that I've tried these, I will recommend these instead. 

The view is better than the Nikon with less distortion at the edges. If the FOV is less, I did not notice. The Kowa's ergonomics are better also and they are lighter weight. The focus wheel is slightly tight, but hopefully that will improve with a bit of use. It also takes about two revolutions to focus through from close up to infinity. But that is to be expected at this price point. 

The  is well-sized for a young person or someone with small hands, or if you are looking for a smaller binocular but aren't willing to sacrifice the view. While I won't be switching out my Zeiss binoculars for these, I feel confident recommending them. Of course, the Eagle Optics experience is top notch and shipping was faster than expected.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Eagle Optics Ranger ED 8x42 Binocular

From Barry B. in Fayetteville, AR:

5/5 Rating

Ranger ED 8x42: the perfect fit


I am a 53 year old beginning birder with adhesive arachnoiditis (from a painful spinal cord injury) & multiple sclerosis.  I have serious issues with fatigue & pain. I took my first birding excursion at a local park in my hometown last March. The binoculars I used were my dad's old hunting bins that he purchased for about $50 back in 1972. 

I used my dad's old hunting bins throughout the spring & summer of 2015. They were worthless in the early morning light.  Not only that, but they were also too heavy.  I was forced to quit & head home after only an hour & half because my arms & upper back were simply too weak. I started asking my birding friends for advice.

At our monthly Audubon Society outing in July, I conducted an informal poll. Two brands of binoculars tied for the top.  Then I started my own research.  I chose the  over another pair of similarly priced binoculars.

My birding immediately rose to a new level. First of all, they felt so lightweight. They seemed to float in my hands; even for a person like me, a person with some serious disabilities.  I could now stay out on longer birding excursions. The Ranger EDs were also easier to focus quickly, even when my hands are swollen & aching. Their quality, even in low light conditions was proven to me over the entire 2015 fall migration & the 2015-16 winter birding season. There were weeks during this past spring migration period when I took them out every day of the week. 

I can use my  even on my worst pain days.  Birding is my new therapy against adhesive arachnoidits & M.S. My Ranger EDs are an essential part of this therapy.

Zeiss Victory 10x32 T* FL LT Binocular (Black)

From Albert G. in West Bloomfield, MI:

5/5 Rating

Great Glass!


I ordered this   for an upcoming safari in South Africa.  I have larger optics which might be a bit too heavy for extended travel itinerary. I have previously purchased the  (which are also great glass), as well as a Zeiss scope for game spotting, target ranges and general purposes.

The  fit a great in-between niche, and offers superior optics (in my opinion), in an ideal compact package. They are a perfect size that is easy to stow in almost any carry bag, and yet, are comfortable enough for extended viewing sessions.  While not exactly shirt pocket size (like the 10x25), I would be comfortable attaching their case to a shoulder strap of a day pack, and possibly, wear the case on a belt.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pentax Papilio II 6.5x21 Binocular

From Wynn F. in CA:

5/5 Rating

Butterflies and buttercups


I was introduced to the  and the concept of dragonfly/butterfly binoculars on a muddy hike at Jasper Ridge preserve - and discovered that they are also quite fabulous for close up looks at flowers.  

Never saw the purple and white stripes on the stamens of that little purple flower before, or the bright blue heart of something else that only lives on serpentine soils  - all pointed out by docents.  The names have fled but not the beauty.   

They worked equally well looking at the petroglyphs in Renegade Canyon (in the Cerro de Coso in Southern California) from thirty feet away.  Lightweight, easy to use with or without glasses, excellent in low light conditions.

They have opened up, if not a new world, a more wonderful view of it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Celestron Hummingbird 7-22x50 ED Spotting Scope

From Doug H. in Iowa:

4/5 Rating 

Nice pocket-sized spotting scope


After seeing many recent ads for the new , I decided to purchase one, hopefully to replace a cheap, older 20x mini-scope I've had for several years.  

On first trying out the Hummingbird, I found the optics to be especially good, and having the zoom eyepiece (that my older scope does not have) makes it easier to find a bird and then zoom in for better observation.  It also works well on my hiking staff (monopod) which is equipped with a mount for a scope.

Those are the best features of this scope.  However, there are a couple of things worth mentioning to anyone thinking about purchasing this product. I found that even though this is a small scope, the angled eyepiece still makes it difficult to use on a window mount.  Celestron should consider offering a straight eyepiece version of this otherwise very nice product.  Also, the case accompanying this scope is so small and tight that it is almost impossible to close it with the zipper.  The case should be made slightly larger.

Nevertheless, this is a very high-quality, pocket-sized scope and nice for carrying with you in the field, especially for use with a monopod. I certainly do recommend it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Zeiss Terra ED 10x25 Binocular

From Dennis in Petaluma, CA:

4/5 Rating

Excellent for casual birding


I was looking for a light weight binocular to take on my daily morning walks.  The  looked like a good option.

I am happy to report that they perform as expected.  Surprisingly bright with a sharp view.  I observe some chromatic aberration against bright skies with sun straight overhead, otherwise, not a problem. The focusing knob is a bit stiff but precise.  A very short turn brings objects nicely into focus.

I am very happy with my choice.