Registered: February 2010
Review Date: Fri February 3, 2017
||Would you recommend the product? Yes |
Price you paid?: None indicated
| Rating: 0
Iíll be referring to this binocular the Fujinon KF8x32W, as thatís the name on moulded on the body, but I believe the company has now renamed itself Fujifilm, and that might be used by some retailers.
The headlines for this review is that this is amongst the highest resolving binoculars Iíve tested, but it does have one or two little niggles that potential owners need to look out for.
Firstly, my thanks to Monk Optics for the loan of their demo sample for two weeks for this evaluation and to Mr Monk in particular for also sharing his knowledge of the history of Fujinon and their sports optics products with me.
In the two weeks Iíve had the binocular itís accompanied me on several walks round my local fields and woods and also on visits to nearby nature reserves to give me a good idea of how it behaves in a wide range of real life condition. It has also been subjected to several backyard tests which I normally reserve for review purposes to benchmark itís performance.
What you get
The binocular arrived in just a soft, black, lightly padded cordura case with a velcro fastener. There is no separate strap or belt loop so probably intended to be left in the car. Iíve not fitted the binocular strap, but itís narrow with little padding, though probably adequate for such a lightweight binocular. The objective covers fit internally and seems to be a relatively tight, but an owner would need to devise some some sort of tethering as the protruding flanges means it likely to be easily knocked off. The rain guard is just a basic trough type design with no grip at all on the eyepieces. Awful in my opinion, but easily replaced.
In the hand
It is lightweight for an 8x32. Itís listed at 470g or 16.5oz, though not particularly compact at 137mm or 5.4Ē long and the elaborate patterning of the armour adding significantly to the girth of the barrels. The armour design is certainly distinctive, but Iíve found the grip comfortable and provides a good grippy hold. There is plenty of space to distribute my fingers, which isnít always the case with dual hinge designs. As itís a loan sample I havenít fitted a strap, and generally carried it in the hand everywhere Iíve been without problems. Some might prefer to use a wrist strap on occasions.
The tension of the hinges and dioptre adjustment are firm, resisting accidental change which I like. I find the focus nicely weighted with no slack when changing direction. Itís a fast 340į anticlockwise turn from the 2.5m close focus to infinity. About 220į from 2m to 5m and 120į from 5m to infinity. I like that I can cover all the normal birding range with one movement of the finger. There is about an extra 90į turn beyond infinity which should be useful for nearsighted users who choose not to wear their glasses. I make the interpupillary distance range to be 55mm to 75mm which is a little better than the published 58mm to 72mm.
I know some spectacle wearers will be alarmed at the listed 14.5mm eye relief. Fujinon have chosen to give the available ER. The actual ER that most companies use I estimated at 17.5mm. Iím still able to see the full field of view with the eyecup twisted out one stop, so I guess many will find it quite adequate.
Without glasses the fully extended eyecups fitted my face nicely, but I might have a preferred a softer, less angular design.
It was a bright, sunny winterís morning when the binoculars arrived, with a very slight mist softening the view of the distant trees. The first glance through them took me by surprise. The 5mm thick twigs on the skyline 200m away jumped into sharp focus was quite remarkable. I just didnít expect such detail in the hazy view. It bettered the more expensive models I own. Over the course of the two weeks Iíve had them they certainly havenít always had the upper hand in comparisons, but there have been many moments when Iíve marveled at the crispness of the detail.
The field of view is listed as a respectable 7.5į or 131.1m@1000m (393ft/1000yds). The sweet spot seems generous at first glance. However, there is a slight softening from fairly close in, but it only becomes obvious in the margins of the view. The best focus for the edges is closer than the centre which can seem to improve the depth of field. There is a hint of magnification distortion which might bother a few, but itís less than most flat field designs.
Most binoculars will shift the colour balance of the view slightly, but users seem to vary in whether they notice it or not. Even the prestige brands tailor the colour spectrum to enhance one colour contrast and suppress another. To my eyes, these Fujinons favour the red end of the spectrum, which explains the slight increase in contrast in misty conditions, but maybe decreases it a little in the warm glow of sunset compared to others I own. They do make a male Bullfinch look quite splendid, and Wigeon really gleam out on the water,on a gloomy day by the lakes which is a definitely a plus.
CA or colour fringing, is quite well controlled in this model, and has never been distracting for me in the time Iíve had it, but others may be more sensitive than I am. Itís something that varies from model to model, but I would say that the Fujinon had lower levels of CA than is typical of the cheapest models that do feature ED glass.
Late, on a sunny January afternoon I did encounter a problem with glare which really did interfere with the view for a time. A bit of home diagnostics suggested that it was most caused by an internal reflections when the sun was about 25į away from the viewing axis. As a percentage of the time Iíve used this binocular, the duration of the problem was small, but rather irritating when it happened. It looks like one of the internal components might have been more shiny than intended and might just have been a production blip.
All the lens surfaces appear fully multicoated, but the surface reflectivity seems a little high and probably contributes to occasional rear reflection when using glasses.
You often read comments about one binocular or another being sharp, but really itís quite meaningless to another user with different visual acuity, or indeed, using them in different light conditions or looking at a different target. I prefer to estimate the optical resolution which is independent of those variables. These Fujinons gave quite remarkable results that would at least match the most expensive binoculars on the market. It genuinely is a very sharp binocular that would certainly satisfy even the most demanding eyesight in optical terms. Of course those top mark binoculars do other things better as you would expect particularly in more testing light conditions.
Iím fortunate to have a choice of binoculars at my disposal, some, particularly the more expensive ones, handle the tricky light better than these, but most of the time would be more than happy to use this Fujinon in their place. Not the least because they are 350g lighter and a lot easier on the neck. Is it good value? Of course the market is price sensitive and individuals also will rank various characteristics differently than I do, but Iím a real fan of high resolution binoculars, so in that sense they might be called a bargain.
If you were to explore this forum, you would quickly find suggestions that this binocular is closely related to a number of other popular binoculars under different brand names. We know they are all produced by the same factory, but as we understand it, the different companies are able to select different options and design features as suite their markets. The Funjinon seems priced higher than most of the others in the European and American markets. Is that due to a different specification, or some other reason? I donít have that answer, but high resolution isnít cheap if it is genuinely a selected option. I donít know if my results might just be the luck of the draw with this particular sample and another might be quite different.