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Old Friday 27th April 2012, 13:16   #1
Airstreamer
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Bristol
Posts: 11
LIDL Auriol 10x50 Binoculars

I love a bargain, and have had an eye on various birding equipment forums and noted the enthusiasm that was shown by those people that had bought low cost binoculars from the UK supermarket retailer LIDL. These were variously under the brand names of Bresser, Rocktrail, and now it would seem Auriol.
I grabbed a pair of Auriol 10x50 classically shaped porro prism binoculars last week in LIDL. The box was sealed and unmarked, and our local store always seems to take care with it’s displays so, as they were priced at £16.99 I took a chance.

On opening the box, the binos were inside a canvas bag with a shoulder strap. They were wrapped in a plastic bag with dessicant, and a set of instructions were tucked in the box with a silken cleaning cloth in the pages. There was no neck strap though the box showed one.

My first impression was that they were well made. The hinge was firm, focus wheel had just the right resistance, the twist up eyecups stayed firmly in position, no loose trim, and they felt solid, though undoubtedly made of a heavy duty polymer/polycarbonate and rubber. The dioptre adjustment was fairly crudely finished (not rough, just not finished with smoothed edges as you would find on a more expensive model) the painted mark by which to set the dioptre was hastily applied. All good so far.

Firstly I tried them without my glasses….and found the problem that I have with most binoculars. My astigmatism at minus 7 in both eyes means that I can rarely find binoculars that focus to infinity for my uncorrected vision. However the eyecups fold down to accommodate my glasses, and when I use them with my contact lenses in place the eyecups do not move at all once adjusted to any point in their travel. The prisms are astonishingly Bak4 glass which is confirmed by the roundness of the view when looking through the “wrong” end. The image was pleasingly sharp and offered a fair amount of contrast with good brightness. The focus wheel needed a lot of turning to achieve perfect focus but I like this since it offers minuteness of adjustment, but it might prove more difficult following a bird in flight. Close focus is between 5&6m which is about average for 10x50, so not really suited to viewing the bird table in a small garden.

The body is easy to grip with indentation ridges on top, and dimples underneath. The centre bar has a screw out socket for a tripod adaptor on the end. They are quite lightweight, so carrying them for long periods would not cause difficulty. The canvas carry case is slightly padded, offering a little more protection, the eyepiece covers are rubber and joined together, and the objective covers though very thin, stay on tightly.

Am I impressed….yes for £16.99 I am. The build quality is very good. They are not waterproof in spite of the rubber covering, but for this price I cannot not complain. The nearest I have seen in body style to these is Stockport Telescope and Binocular Centre’s own basic model in 7x magnification only which retails at £35. A friend had some Celestron UpClose 10x50 but they were nowhere close to being as good as these and I believe he paid £30. The image is not as good in terms of contrast as my Opticron Vega II, but they normally retail for around £60 to £70. I have found that after replacing my ancient Asahi Pentax 8x30 with the 8x40 Opticron Vega that I actually like the extra reach of the 10x magnification of these Auriols…I can see why the equipment forums seem to be full of people who accumulate more and more kit!

I believe quality control has been an issue with some units having an obvious misalignment, but LIDL will replace without a quibble if you return within a few days as I found with a faulty torch.

A very good buy ….. highly recommended for general viewing, or as an inexpensive way to get older children into wildlife and birdwatching without giving them complete junk that would put them off the hobby for good.

I hope someone finds this useful …Best regards to you all.
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