Wednesday, May 4, 2011
From Mike P. in Austin, TX:
Having successfully returned from the chase for Yellow-faced Grassquit, my wife and sister decided to follow suit two days later. I loaned my wife my Leica 8 x 42 BN and she returned realizing, in a very practicalway, that my binocular was much better than hers. We discussed the options and decided to purchase the new Atlas Optics Intrepid ED 8 x 42. She is frugal--she wanted a better binocular but did not want to invest $2,500 or more.
We received them on schedule from the always excellent staff at Eagle Optics. Out of the box, they performed as advertised: bright, sharp and much better than her previous binocular, which were not a beginner's pair. They were $250, but the Intrepid, for a bit more, were much, much better.
We were so impressed that we called other novice birders who were going to join us in High Island and encouraged them to invest in Intrepids. As a veteran birding leader, I knew that people often try birding with poor binoculars and walk away not having truly enjoyed the experience because their view was limited by inferior optics. Two of my brothers-in-law bought three pair of the Intrepids for themselves and a friend and we ventured forth to High Island to test them in the field.
They performed admirably. The quality of each of the four new pair were consistent. They are very bright, sharp, easy to operate and feel good in the hand. Whether a brilliant scarlet tanager, a sublime cerulean warbler, or a swainson's warbler hidden in the dimly lit underbrush, the Intrepid proved itself, living up to its billing. We are all extremely pleased with the purchases. If you want a binocular that provides a stellar view for a modest investment, give the Intrepid a chance to surprise you.
Other reviews have mentioned the action of the adjustable eye cups and the looseness of the rubber objective lens guards. Our experience: the rubber rings attaching the lens guards to the binocular are, indeed, too loose. If you take them into the field you will lose them. As for the eye cups, they do not have the positive feel of binoculars in much higher price ranges, but they worked fine for us.
In summary, nothing beats a great Leica, Swarovski, Zeiss or Nikon in the elite models. But, if for any reason, you want a great glass at a more modest price, you will be very pleased with the Intrepid.