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Old Thursday 28th June 2012, 08:25   #1
Dronfield
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Hawke Frontier 8 x 43 or RSPB HD 8 x 36

Hi

I am new to this site / forum, having viewed the various threads for sometime have finally decided to join.

Both my wife and me currently have a pair of the RSPB HD 10 x 25 smaller bins which are great optically and very light. The concern I have is their performance in low light.

In this respect I have been looking at either a pair of Hawkes or Rspb HD bins;

The Hawkes get great reviews and are available on line at 250, whereas the rspb 8 x 36 are a new model to replace the existing 8 x 32 version, and can be bought on line for 360.

Would value peoples thoughts here - the rspb are 4cm smaller, 160g lighter but would allow a bit less light in and cost 100 more.

Has anyone tried the new rspb model? Am I best saving 100 and buying the Hawkes - they are not HD and would I notice this and therefore regret not paying extra for the rspb pair. Is the 160g extra weight of he Hawes that significant?

How do the two models compair optically - I guess the major point is whether I would notice much difference in low light between the 43 and 36 diameter?

Any help here would be most welcome, I am sure I would be very happy with either pair but thought it best to get some peoples opinions.

Thanks

Richard


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Old Thursday 28th June 2012, 09:05   #2
typo
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Hi Richard,

Welcome to the forum.

I'm presuming you mean the Hawke Frontier ED. It is a lot better than the regular Frontier in my opinion, and 250 would be a good price. Optically it takes some beating at the price point and has devoted fans on the Forum. I'll confess it's not a personal favourite, and suggest that it's a bit heavy and awkward for many ladies if your wife is going to use it as well. I've not seen the RSPB HD yet so can't help you there. It's a little smaller and lighter than the 7x36 Opticron I use, which ladies seem very comfortable using. It has a wider view as well and looks a much better candidate for a shared pair on paper. It won't have the low light performance of the Hawke though.

My personal favourite in this price range is the Opticron Countryman HD. It has a totally different type of view to the Hawke, and I really suggest that you try to check them out for yourself. The RSPB run field days and Pete Gamby posts a regular list of other events.
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=219643

Failing that, it looks like Rother Valley Optics is not far from you. They don't have a large choice in their showroom but they are very helpful in my experience and worth checking out.

David
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Old Thursday 28th June 2012, 12:01   #3
Dronfield
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Hi David

Thanks for your response and help here.

I hadn't looked at the Opticron but have phoned Sherwoods and they have these and the Hawke / Rspb models stock and so I am going there tomorrow to try them all.

The Opticron are mid priced between the Hawke and Rspb model and so do seem a good buy.

I couldn't find a review on the internet of the Countryman hd 8 x 42 model - i guess you have been very happy with them? Is the feedback from others on this site good re this model?

Thanks
Richard
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Old Thursday 28th June 2012, 12:25   #4
wingman28
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Hi Richard, I have to agree with David about checking out bins for yourself. I've just bought new myself, and after trolling the tinterweb for weeks comparing one to the other in my price bracket, I ended up paying a visit to Rother Valley Optics to check out some Opticron's. After spending some time there checking alot out, I ended up buying the Hawke Frontier ED 8x43

http://www.rothervalleyoptics.co.uk/...een_d5437.html

Comparing the Hawke Frontier ED 8x43 to the RSPB HD 8 x 36, there is about 100 difference, the Hawke been the cheaper. And if you compare both bins, I see the Hawkes are the heavier........

RSPB HD 8x36 Weight 577g Hawke Frontier ED 8x43 Weight 743g

Again Richard, it's down to preference/price and what feels right for you as you no doubt know. And as David has said, Rother Valley Optics not been too far away, I would make the trip, the staff are excellent. Good Luck and all the best.

Just to add Richard........... (In Focus) at Denby Dale is also worth checking out........ http://www.at-infocus.co.uk/index.html

Last edited by wingman28 : Thursday 28th June 2012 at 12:43.
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Old Thursday 28th June 2012, 13:09   #5
typo
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Hi Richard,

8x42 and 8x32 are probably the most popular binos for birders and I've tried quite a proportion of the models available in the UK. I've bought several pairs in the last couple of years, but neither of those yet. Keep an open mind on what works for you.

I've not seen a review on the Countryman HD either, but I think it's pretty good. The last person I'm aware of on the forum that went to Sherwoods with your kind of budget came away with the Countryman HD. His wife bought a RSPB though. See what you think.

Check out their Ex-demos as well, you might end up with a his and hers. They have some used older model Opticron Veranos (8x32 is nicer) that might be worth a look.

David

Last edited by typo : Thursday 28th June 2012 at 16:33.
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Old Thursday 28th June 2012, 13:28   #6
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Actually I'm misleading you there. There is a comparison chart... in Norwegian!! Fortunately Anders was able to translate the pertinent sections.
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=232862

It's probably the most bizarre set of results I've ever seen, but I would agree the optics are very sharp.

David
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Old Friday 29th June 2012, 08:45   #7
normjackson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by typo View Post
His wife bought a RSPB though.
The actual RSPB/Viking model was the Viking ED. Sherwoods only appear to have the Birdfair special 10x42 left though the 8x42 is still available elsewhere. Another model pushing 3x the weight of Richard's 10x25
That RSPB 8x36 HD cetrainly looks to be an interesting new model.

Wondering (not questioning) what were the reasons for the move from 10x to 8x.
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Old Friday 29th June 2012, 09:49   #8
typo
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Norm,

Thanks for sorting that out. I wasn't sure at the time (or maybe I've forgotten) if the reduced price offer binos were the full price RSPB ED or not. The new HD x36 does look interesting. Hopefully Richard will report when he gets back.

David

PS. Just checked. It was my memory....

Last edited by typo : Friday 29th June 2012 at 15:02.
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Old Saturday 30th June 2012, 09:52   #9
Dronfield
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Hi folks

Thanks for all the advice and help here.

My wife and me went to Sherwoods yesterday and tried 4 pairs - rspb HD 8 x 36,
Hawke Frontier ED 8 x 43 and the two Opticron models (Countryman and Verano 8 x 42).

We ended up buying the Hawkes, which suprised me because I did think we would probably buy the Countryman.

My wife liked the feel and weight of the rspb model best, but was comfortable using the Hawkes.

It did get to the stage where it became difficult to tell any difference between all 4, but the Hawkes did appear to be the brightest.

I did raise the issue of build quality re the Hawkes, and Sherwoods advised that they had yet to have any returned to them, plus there is a 10 year guarantee.

Weighing everything up - optics, feel and price, we decided we would be happy with the Hawkes and are hoping to get across to Dearne Valley Old Moor to test them over the weekend.

Regarding the choice between 8 and 10 times magnification, we currently have a pair of 10 times and feel that these are not great in low light - this was the thinking behind going for 8 x 42/43.

Once again, many thanks to everyone for their help here.

Richard
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Old Saturday 30th June 2012, 12:55   #10
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Richard,

Glad you had a fruitful trip. Haven't been to Derbyshire in a long while, but Old Moor looks a fine place to give the Hawkes their first outing. Enjoy!

David
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Old Sunday 1st July 2012, 18:52   #11
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Richard, I am now on my eigth pair of Frontier ED's and not one have ever produced a fault. I also know the Hawke warranty (via Deben) is outstanding. Good choice indeed.
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Old Sunday 1st July 2012, 20:18   #12
Dronfield
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Thanks Veracocha, that is a very good recommendation.

We managed to get up to Old Moor today and use them properly for the first time. They were certainly very sharp and comfortable to hold, although they didn't enable us to see the Bittern (whose chicks made their first flight today).

Richard
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Old Friday 6th July 2012, 13:20   #13
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Bit late to enter the debate now that you've chosen and purchased, but the RSPB BG PC 8x42 are 359 (290 from Sherwoods) and are as good as the Hawkes and virtually indistinguishable from the HD. Mind you performance of binoculars is more subjective than scientifically quantifiable so as long as we are all happy with what we've got...
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