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Old Tuesday 18th October 2011, 19:38   #1
FrankD
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Opticron HR WP 8x42

I recently had the opportunity to pick up one of the Opticron binocular models recently...the HR WP 8x42. This particular binocular has been on my "radar" for well over a year now for a very specific reason. It is one of only two internal focus porro prism binoculars currently available for the consumer market. I had difficulty until recently getting my hands on a pair of these simply because Opticron products were not available to those of us living on "this side of the pond".

That changed recently and Opticron is now available at three dealers/retailers here in states....

http://www.opticronusa.com/Pages/dealers.html

I have owned the two other versions of the internal focus porro prism design in the past (Leupold Cascade and Minox BD BP). All three of the models share practically identical optical performance characteristics with some differences externally especially in reference to the Minox. Let me break it down in the usual review format.....

Optical Performance:

The HR WP has many positive optical performance characteristics that users will find appealing. For one the size of the sweet spot of image in focus and free of distortions is very large. I would estimate that roughly 85-90% of the field of view is as sharp as the geometric center of the image. Chromatic aberration, color fringing on high contrast objects, is relatively well controlled within that sweet spot and only marginally noticeable in that outer 10-15%. The image also displays only a small percentage of field curvature in that outer portion of the image.

In addition, the image is bright and filled with contrast. Porro prism lovers can appreciate the wonderfully bright image that many binoculars of this design can provide. Comparing it directly to several 8x42 roof prism models that I currently have on hand reveals an image that is brighter in all lighting conditions. Color representation appears to be very neutral. I detect no bias towards either the warm or cold side of the color spectrum.

Most notably the binocular displays a very pronounced "3D effect" common with the porro prism design. The difference with this binocular though is that the effect seems more pronounced than other porro prism models I currently have on hand. I believe this to be the result of two other key optical qualities of note. For one, the previously mentioned sweet spot size. The larger than average sweet spot means that more objects are in focus and, therefore, the 3D effect is evident across a larger portion of the image. Second, and probably the only optical area where this model is lower than average, is the narrow field of view. At approximately 336 feet it is definitely on the "narrow side" of what is currently available. Five or six years ago it was common to find many 8x42 binoculars, especially roof prism models, with a field of view in this range. Since that time though I would estimate the average field of view for binoculars of this configuration, and at a similar price point, to be closer to 390 feet with some even reaching into the 420 foot plus range.

The question in my mind then is whether or not this is detrimental to the overall viewing experience provided to the user. In general I would say "no" it is not. My reasoning is fairly simple. Though the difference in field of view at 1000 yards could be as much as 90 feet the difference is not as substantial at distances that most of us tend to use the binoculars for. Using simple division the difference at 30 or so yards would only be about 9 feet. At closer distances the difference shrinks even further.

That would seem like a fairly minor difference with some notable understandings. One, with the true field of view being narrower, the apparent field of view is also on the smaller side...around 51 degrees. Second, with the narrow field of view and the porro prism design there is a bit of an issue with the close focusing distance. You can focus down to about 8 feet with this particular unit but the image overlap isn't great enough to not receive a bit of a double image with the design. Translation: If you are looking for a butterfly binocular or to examine insects at close distances then I would probably suggest a roof prism model.

Ergonomics

I have to say that I really enjoy the ergonomics of this model. Ergonomically it appears to be identical to that of the Leupold Cascade porro and I love the ergonomics of that model as well. There are three issues I want to comment on when expanding on my favorable comments with this model. One is the contouring of the housing. Unlike many porro prism models the "bend" of the housing where the base of your fingers typically fall is very curved and the rubber armor is well textured. It feels natural and relaxed to have your hands fall upon it. It is somewhat similar to the Nikon SE 8x32 in this regard.

Second, though the length of the barrels is not "long", it does appear to be the perfect length for your fingers to wrap around and still have a bit of room beyond that. Because of this you get a very firm purchase on the body of the binocular without having your last finger fall, accidentally, over the objective lens.

Third, the focusing mechanism is butter smooth. There is no "play" in the feel of it and it turns exceptionally smoothly without any bumps in either direction. Probably the only negative in this area is the fact that it is a fairly slow focus. I have to check the focusing speed but I wouldn't be surprised if it is close to two full turns from close focus to infinity. The difference with this model though is that because of the excellent depth of field and the pronounced 3D effect I don't seem to be as objectionable to the slower focus.

Fit and Finish

I have no objections to the fit and finish of this particular unit. Everything functions smoothly....diopter, focusing feel, central hinge, etc... The armoring appears to be well applied with no signs of bubbling or pealing. Speaking of the diopter though....I forgot to mention...as with the other internal focus models...the diopter adjusts the left eyepiece and not the right. I wish I had known that bit of information long ago when I first purchased the Leupold Cascade version. I cannot tell you the amount of frustration the first time that I attempted to adjust the diopter for my eyes.



Pictures to follow shortly....

Last edited by FrankD : Tuesday 18th October 2011 at 19:40.
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Old Wednesday 19th October 2011, 09:54   #2
typo
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I think the HRWP is a real gem.... apart from the FOV. At it's price point I've not found anything I like nearly as much in terms of view quality. It seems particularly good in low light and misty conditions in my opinion. (The non-waterproof short ER, SR.GA is very nice as well.)

Still not bought one though. Not quite reconciled to the the FOV.

David
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Old Wednesday 19th October 2011, 10:10   #3
mulligatawny owl
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Great review Frank. I'm a big fan of this binocular. I personally think they have a much purer and sharper image than the likes of the Zen ED2 and the Hawke frontier ED.
Hopefully the review will encourage more people to check out the HRWP as I'm sure they are completely overlooked by most in favour of rather more expensive and optically inferior roofs.

I wonder if part of the reason is that roofs often seem much more impressive when quickly comparing the view against porros in a shop or a quick glance down the street? I find it takes much longer to appreciate the advantages of a good porro.

Talking of which, ever since owning the HRWP I've been wondering how they compare to the Nikon SE 8x32. Well, I finally got some SE's last week and, while the SE is indeed better, I think in overall image quality they are remarkably similar. I haven't had the chance to compare them together properly yet but that transparent, washed clean and pristine sharp image you get with the SE's you also get with the HRWP's.
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Old Wednesday 19th October 2011, 12:42   #4
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Quote:
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...completely overlooked by most in favour of rather more expensive and optically inferior roofs.
Naughty, naughty You're not helping David (last I heard he was trying hard to reconcile himself to the idea of a good quality low power roof being the best way forward for him). Of course I'd really have liked him to have gone for the SARD 6x42 which just went on Ebay UK : long eye relief, wide field, extra wide spaced objectives, low power, individual focusing, top quality, scary looking and as heavy as a week supply of spuds Went for 442.50; seems a good price particularly when you think is a piece of binocular/American history.

Another nice review Frank; calm understated style just like we Brits aspire to Wonder if Opticron are managing to compete OK on price in the States? I guess there's generally better after sales service to compete with over there too.
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Old Wednesday 19th October 2011, 13:41   #5
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Naughty, naughty You're not helping David (last I heard he was trying hard to reconcile himself to the idea of a good quality low power roof being the best way forward for him). Of course I'd really have liked him to have gone for the SARD 6x42 which just went on Ebay UK : long eye relief, wide field, extra wide spaced objectives, low power, individual focusing, top quality, scary looking and as heavy as a week supply of spuds Went for 442.50; seems a good price particularly when you think is a piece of binocular/American history.
Nah, hopefully I have now convinced him of the need to experience the mystical powers of the Nikon SE with its amazing ability to allow one to merge and melt into the object of perception and therefore transcend ones ego and become one with the entire universe.
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Old Wednesday 19th October 2011, 14:15   #6
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Another nice review Frank; calm understated style just like we Brits aspire to Wonder if Opticron are managing to compete OK on price in the States? I guess there's generally better after sales service to compete with over there too.
Thank you Norm. I do my best to point out, what I feel, are the positives and negatives of any given binocular or spotter that I have the opportunity to try out.

Based on current exchange rates it would seem that the HR WP 8x42 should sell for around $365 US. I think that is an excellent price point for this binocular to be at for a few reasons. Most importantly, it is close to the same price that the Leupold Cascade porro originally sold for ($300) and significantly less than what the Minox BD BP porro was selling for..new ($600). The optical performance of the HR WP is certainly a step up, in terms of apparent brightness and sweet spot size, in comparison to many of the $300 roofs that have been on the market for some time. I would love to compare it with one of the Nikon Monarch models or possibly the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD (when it comes back from the repair facility).
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Old Wednesday 19th October 2011, 16:16   #7
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Owl. Norm,

Yep, the little Meopro is still just about the top on 'needs' list. (I was tempted by a PZO 7x45 (1.28kg) that was on offer though. ). The wish list is somewhat lengthy. The HRWP is on it. I think the SE has just lost it's place to the 7x42 EDG though. All a flight of fancy at the moment.

David
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Old Friday 30th December 2011, 09:25   #8
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Have you compared the Opticron HR WP either the Nikon Action EX series?
thanks.
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Old Friday 30th December 2011, 10:08   #9
typo
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Have you compared the Opticron HR WP either the Nikon Action EX series?
thanks.
I've looked at both, separately. I preferred the excellent contrast and stereo imagery of the HRWP, but the view is quite narrow, and the field curvature quite strong. The Nikon has a much wider view if that is important. I also preferred the more comfortable profile and the smooth internal focus of the HRWP.

David

P.S. If you do not wear glasses and waterproofing is not important then the Opticron SR GA is a very nice option as well.

Last edited by typo : Friday 30th December 2011 at 10:24.
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Old Friday 30th December 2011, 14:42   #10
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Thanks for your comment.
Fortunately though I do not use glasses, but instead the waterproofing and nitrogen filling is important. Perhaps another similar option is OPTICRON Imagic TGA WP.
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Old Friday 30th December 2011, 20:48   #11
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Have you compared the Opticron HR WP either the Nikon Action EX series?
thanks.
My comments tend to mirror Typos. Field of view versus edge performance is the trade off between the Action EX and the HR WP. The HR WP is also a bit brighter overall probably because of the simpler eyepiece design. If you can live with the narrower field of view then I don't see much else to fault the HR WP for.
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Old Saturday 31st December 2011, 03:26   #12
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Frank - As you already know, the Opticron HRWP 8x42 are essentially identical to the Leupold Cascade porros, which have disappeared from the Leupold listings. I concur with all your comments about the Opticron. It may be the best quality porro for the money out there, and if the buyer doesn't get carried away about the smaller FOV, it is hard to fault.

In a much earlier post I took the Leupold 8x42 Cascade model and compared it to my Nikon 8x32 SE and Zeiss 8x32 FL at dusk. I was looking at cattle in the fading light. Here in Montana hunters make a big deal about animal identification at dawn and dusk. The Leupold out performed both the Nikon and Zeiss in the near darkness comparison. Of course the extra 10 MM of objective lens made the difference, but it goes to show how good the Opticron really is for a much lower cost, and water proof to boot.

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Old Saturday 31st December 2011, 08:54   #13
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A few days ago I opened a query string for the purchase of a pair of binoculars he had great doubts. But after discovering the many advantages of porro binoculars doubts have doubled. I almost decided to buy this type of binoculars, unless you find a real bargain roof. My doubts are centered between:

KOWA 8x30 YF
NATURE 8x30 CELESTRON
IMAGIC TGA WP 8x32 Opticron.
Opticron HR WP 8x42.
Nikon Action EX 8X35
Nikon 8x32 SE (used)
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Old Saturday 31st December 2011, 10:07   #14
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One model that I have been curious about is the new(2010) Steiner Wildlife PRO 8x30...(made in Germany ?)
Another internal (and center) focussing porro to add to that very short list ..It seems to use some sort of Dual focus system,based in adjusting both oculars to infinity and the center wheel to focus near range(up to 2 m.)..basically a fine tuned regular center focus ,the way I see it..It is a good looking bino and seems very solid, plus lightweight at 570g.(20 oz)
....FOV seems good. Some sites specify 130m others 360 feet...Good for an 8x anyway..(7?)
I have seen it in the 250 euro range and available in Spain in many internet retailers,including amazon..Not many first hand reviews ,but the few comments I remember were very good..

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Old Sunday 1st January 2012, 22:34   #15
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Also found another Steiner model,the Safari 8x30 ULTRA-SHARP..Very similar specifications,same focussing system,but a bit less expensive..in the 180 Euros mark...I was always puzzled about all the Steiner individual focus models ,looking pretty much the same..now they are adding center focus versions of some of them to add some choices....
gasp...
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Old Monday 2nd January 2012, 08:50   #16
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Mayoayo Thanks for your feedback. Yesterday internet browsing also found the range kowa porro binoculars.
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Old Tuesday 3rd January 2012, 12:03   #17
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Some months ago I made a special visit to a very well known UK seller of a wide range of binoculars, and asked to try the Opticron HR WP 8x42. Instead of a pair being offered for me to try, I was offered various other types, with the salesman trying to persuade me of the benefits of the roof prism design, which I already own and am familiar with.

Eventually, the salesman admitted that they were out of stock of the 8x42 HR WP. Next time I'll phone before making the journey...
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Old Tuesday 3rd January 2012, 18:41   #18
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Malcolm Stewart

Sorry to hear that you had made an unecessary journey

The HR WP is a specialists binocular and as a result it is not stocked as widely around the country as some of the other Opticron ranges. there are stockist lists on the Opticron website that we keep up to date but it is perhaps some times best to ring the dealer concerned to ensure that they have them in stock.

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Old Tuesday 3rd January 2012, 21:49   #19
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I just bought the pc hawke 8x25 compact to carry with me always. Now try to find an offer (slowly) for Opticron HR WP. Now I will tell you as I work when they arrive.
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Old Tuesday 3rd January 2012, 22:00   #20
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I saw the 10x44 minox version of this glass ,on ebay for 250 US $..even if you have to pay 40 dollars for shipping and 40 more euros for IVA ,etc,you are in the 250 Eu price point ,ALL INCLUSIVE..Not bad at all..(and maybe you can skip the customs..always a possibility,although more and more slim these days)----
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Old Friday 6th January 2012, 18:38   #21
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A question for Chris Galvin,

How about an 8x32 version of the HR WP with some ED glass and a wide fov, now that`s a binocular I`d pay a premium for.
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Old Saturday 7th January 2012, 03:01   #22
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Heck, I would settle for any high-end performance from Opticron as long as it had an extra wide field of view...Internal focus, external focus, 8x32, 8x42, 7x35, 7x42 or 7x50.

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Old Saturday 7th January 2012, 19:54   #23
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A question for Chris Galvin,

How about an 8x32 version of the HR WP with some ED glass and a wide fov, now that`s a binocular I`d pay a premium for.
Not sure that a 32mm OG is going to benefit from ED for the cost it would add. The focal length would likely not induce CA to the extent that it would warrant the price premium.

The HR WP platform is unlikely to be an attractive option for significant development as from a commercial point of view there is a tendency towards roof prism as the "next best thing" - a trend that many on here will lament of course.

Cheers, Pete
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Old Sunday 8th January 2012, 08:03   #24
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What is your assessment of the Pentax PCF series? They seem to have a bit more field of view. And according to its specifications are internally focused.
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Old Sunday 8th January 2012, 09:41   #25
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What is your assessment of the Pentax PCF series? They seem to have a bit more field of view. And according to its specifications are internally focused.
I've not seen them myself, but Edz over on CN compared them to several other pairs and appears to have concluded that they are pretty good.
http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=1761

It's a highly technical report aimed at astronomers, but the conclusion sections towards the end might be helpful.

David
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