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.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Zeiss Conquest HD 8x32 Binocular

From Hasan in the U.S.:

5/5 Rating

A best buy

After 3 months of intense research to find a binocular that would be sharp, durable and "prestigious" without breaking the bank, I chose this and I am not at all disappointed.

It is somewhat heavier, but in all other ways, I feel, it meets my needs. Could not be happier. Images are very sharp and focusing wheel is a pleasure to use. Should last a few generations! Highly recommended.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Minox BV II 10x25 BR Binocular

From Mike M. in Northern NY:

5/5 Rating

Great, compact binocular

I am very impressed and pleased with this . The clarity and brightness is far superior to the Nikon compacts I had been using.

This is a great binocular for hiking, sports viewing, the theater--wherever a small pair of bins come in handy.

Because of the quality of this Minox binocular, I'm also looking at buying a larger pair.

Monday, April 6, 2015

S4 Gear Lockdown Binocular Harness-Large (Black)

From Glen in Pensacola:

5/5 Rating

Simply the best

The has a few features that make it stand head and shoulders above all other harness systems.

First off, is fit and comfort. The wide back panel spreads the load evenly across your back and shoulders making the binocular load all but disappear. I use Theron 8x42 apochromatic triplets and they're heavier than normal with the extra glass but when in the S4 I forget they're there. There is no strap dig, no undue pressure...it's just comfortable as can be.

Secondly, the binoculars are protected very well in the cover. Most harnesses simply leave the binoculars hanging in the open, unprotected. Oh sure, you could re-cover the lenses every time...how convenient is that?

With almost every other harness system out there you get that pain-in-the-arse strap tightening as you bring the optics to eye. Yeah, I know, they tout that as a "feature." I'm not quite that stupid. The S4 uses adjustable tension bungies attached to the shoulder sections. You simply flip the cover off, pull the binos down and out, and bring them to eye. The bungies go slack at that point. No pulling under your armpits, no tight straps.

Side benefits would be great build quality and a nice price point. Overall a great product that goes above and beyond what it is designed to do.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Zeiss Terra ED 8x32 Binocular

From Scott in L.A.:

5/5 Rating

 I love these binoculars

I own the classic Zeiss Dialyt 7x42 and Leica Ultravid pocket binoculars and it's been a while since I've looked through anything touted as "entry level" binoculars, so this review may sound Homeric, but I love this

Being a long time birder, I'm used to thinking of glass at this price range as being "acceptable" at best, but these seem truly first-rate, and at any price range.  I guess binoculars have changed a lot in the last few years. 

The Terra 8x32's are a delight to look through.  ED glass, too.  And I wasn't expecting this: they are solid, well-built, bright, crisp, lightweight but not squirrely; and fun to use.  I bought them for the car and I'm happy to have them.  They're very handsome, too, with a charcoal gray body.  Clean, spartan, Germanic design.  The armoring has a slight grit to it which feels good and secure.

The deal killer for me is always eye relief since I wear glasses.  This has 16.5mm and, not surprisingly, it's JUST enough for me.  Wish it were greater, on perhaps a 6x32.  The view is wide and excellent, and not just for budget glass.  It's bright, snaps to focus with no disturbing fuzzies at the edge. 

Focus wheel isn't finicky or sloppy and doesn't lose focus. While it lacks the WOW factor of my 7x42's, CA is actually no worse!  Fit and finish are superb!  And I think that Zeiss's decision not to tart these glasses up with hefty carrying case and more solid covers is a smart idea.  All your money goes into the glass, which is important when money is tight and you're already stretched thin buying your first pair of binoculars.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8x42 Binocular

From David in Napa, CA:

5/5 Rating


I was greatly impressed by the detail achievable with my newly acquired .

I had read the reviews and chose these for their highly acclaimed quality. I was gratified on using them to discover that the reviews were not merely hype but accurate descriptions of their true performance.

Absolutely no regrets! Eagle Optics gave me a great deal and their service was first rate.