Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Magnifying the passion for nature. Zeiss Victory Harpia 95. New!

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Monday 11th January 2016, 18:18   #1
Steve C
Registered User
 
Steve C's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Posts: 3,437
Review: Opticron DBA HD 10x42

The class of binoculars from about $750 on the lower end to around $1,200 on the upper end is becoming an increasingly densely populated space. Typically these binoculars will offer all the optical performance realistically required by a considerable majority of users. We see some long standing names in this arena, so even brand name aware users can likely find something they will see fit to like. In addition to established names, we are seeing a lot of new names entering the arena. Some will fail, some will have some success.

I have reached the opinion that the single most important thing to ultimate satisfaction with any binocular is the ability for the user to be able to shut off the little voice (or maybe even really big voices) present in our subconscious and just be able to go use the binocular. I think people tend to invest far too much time and energy pondering possible differences between this model vs that model of binocular. To shut these voices off, several things need to happen. First the optical quality and performance needs to be sufficient unto the task. Second, the binocular needs to fit your face and hands. Third, the cost has to be right for the user, and lastly, all of the above need to be able to let the user quite the inner voices. Some people need to spend more to do this, others less. Neither side is better than the other, they are just different.

Opticron is an established company producing a wide variety of what seem to me to be pretty respectable devices. They have entered this realm with the DBA HD model. Opticron has recently expanded their presence in the US, but they are likely to be far more familiar to users in the UK and Europe. Here they are listed by Optics Camp, Eagle Optics and Optics Planet to name three, but the DBA VHD does not appear on any site. Opticron USA has it listed at $919 for the 8x42 and $929 for the 10x42. For those familiar with Opticron models, it appears to be most similar in appearance to the Verano DBA HD.

As with any review, what you will read here is my own take on these binoculars. As with any review I ever do, I approach my time with the binocular with the question, “is this good enough I would use it as a personal use binocular?” I have had this glass for just over two months, so I have had ample time to form an opinion I hope is informed.

Physically, they are seeming dead ringers for the Leupold Mojave BX-3 series binoculars. Optically they are superior to the regular BX-3, and have field flattening technology lacking in the BX-3 Pro Guide HD. More on this a bit further on. Like the BX-3, the DBA VHD is a quite compact binocular, very small for a 42 mm full size binocular. As such it will appeal to those wanting a smaller full sized objective lens, in fact it ought to be on the short list for someone looking for a compact full size binocular in this particular price range.
According to the Opticron USA website: (emphasis mine)

“Designed around and built for the professional and enthusiast looking for 8/10x42 quality but preferring the size, weight and feel of a smaller binocular, the DBA VHD offers an unrivaled combination of performance, comfort and ergonomics for under $1000. 100% made in Japan. “


I find this to be a pretty accurate representation of this binocular. As a note to the “who makes it?” crowd, if it is indeed the same basic design as the Leupold Mojave, it is NOT Kamakura (unless Leupold has changed partners in the Mojave recently). The name is pronounced Shinsei, just like the old JB-41 source of the JTTI era. That is just how it got pronounced the one time it was mentioned and I have no idea how it is spelled and it is indeed the same source that carried forward from JTTI, or for that matter if it has any relation to Opticron’s optical partner here.

Specifications and Physical attributes:
I won’t list them all, but they are found here: http://www.opticronusa.com/Pages/dba_vhd.html.
Opticron lists a focus travel of 500*, which seems correct. This binocular close focuses to 7.5’, compared to the listed 8.2’. The focus travel is counter clockwise to infinity. It requires three finger pulls to get from the close focus distance to 100’. Another two pulls will take the focus to infinity. There several pulls left past infinity. I should note, that for me a finger pull is just about a quarter turn. Might be different for others. The focus is what I’d call medium tension as well as medium in focus travel. It is not the slide you finger over a greased glass sheet smooth, but the travel is not at all difficult to initiate, and has just enough tension to be precise. There is essentially no focus over travel. When you move the wheel, the focus changes. Overall the focus is quite well done.

This is an open frame, dual hinge design. There is more than enough room between the hinges for two fingers, but not enough for three of my fingers. The space is just shy of two inches, close to 45 mm. There is a tripod adapter on the front side of the objective end hinge.

The diopter is mounted on the center focus knob, on the outer edge. Pull it out to adjust, click it back in when you are done. This is about the only physical gripe I have with this unit. The diopter is loose and sloppy when it is pulled out. The thing will adjust the diopter setting, but it is not at all precise and does not always seem to stay put. I regard this as a not well done sample rather than an overall flaw. It is just like the setup on the Opticron HR WP (except the diopter adjusts the right eye on the DBA HD) and that one is just fine.

The stated eye relief is 17 mm, but there is just 14 mm between the outer edges of the eye cup to the ocular lens. This seems to be a widespread issue with a lot of binoculars, with the measurable available eye relief not matching the specified eye relief. This may or may not cause consternation with obligate spectacle wearers. With my over the counter 2.0 reading glasses, I have no issue with seeing almost all of the fov. If you are an eye glass wearer and a binocular user, you likely are familiar with your personal needs, so I leave the issue here.

The field of view with the 10x42 is 315’ @ 1,000 yards, or 6* and just makes to 60* afov wide angle limit for traditional afov. For the 8x42 it is 7* or 367’ which, as Frank points out, is more conservative, setting at 56* afov. This may be an issue for some regarding the 8x version, but if you are willing to accept the more conservative 8x fov, then what is there is usable and you will adapt pretty quickly. The 10x I have seems fine and not at all conservative, and I don’t think many will have issue with a conservative fov here. That being said, it is 315’, not 330-350’. This is another personal consideration I leave up to the viewer to decide.

Optical Performance:
This binocular produced very sharp, bright, clear images, which nearly anyone will find more than equal to any task normally assigned to a handheld binocular. Near or far, I never felt I had to have something “better”. Side by side there are differences to be had between nearly and two or more binoculars. But while I may rate the DBA HD ahead of some and behind others, but unless side by side, the differences are likely too slim to matter a lot.

That being said, I will give a bit of a comparative analysis of what I have on hand.

Opticron HR WP porro 10x42: This is a nice sharp and clear image. Its big weakness is a narrow fov, being only 5*. You will be able to adapt to that if used as an only binocular, but it will likely never measure up if regularly placed in contact with wider views of similar optical quality. However it is not as good an image as the DBA HD. A nice, sharp image but never the less behind the DBA by a tad bit. The main, and quite obvious difference is (what appears to be) the astoundingly wider fov with the DBA. The DBA, in spite of being a roof vs a porro, seems to me to display better 3-D image. Glare is better handled by the WP.

Leupold BX-3 Mojave: As mentioned, the two are indistinguishable from the other from the exterior, save for the Kilngonesque ridges on the Mojave and the Kryptec camo finishes of the Mojave Pro Guide HD. The accessories are even nearly identical save for the names on the case and strap. The specs and dimensions of the two are essentially identical. As far as optical performance goes, the DBA is better than the regular BX-3, which is as it should be given the price difference of the more expensive DBA. It is still more expensive than the Pro Guide HD. I will rate the image as sharper in the DBA, but is really nearly too close to call. The DBA is more color neutral, while the Pro Guide is warmer, reminiscent of the Leica color balance. CA is better controlled in the DBA compared to the regular BX-3, and both it and the Pro Guide are possessed of excellent CA suppression. I would say the DBA is brighter than the Pro Guide HD.

ZEN ED 2 10x43: This a quite a lot bigger than the DBA. While the ED 2 does lots of things well, it is less than half of the price of the DBA and in the final analysis this shows. I is obvious that while the ZEN is a very capable binocular it is aimed at a different price level. The ED 2 has weaker edges, but a wider fov, so the sweet spot is about equal between the two. The center field sharpness is a bit better with the DBA. CA control is mostly on par between the two, with a slight advantage to the DBA. Glare control is slightly better in the ED 2…maybe.

Maven B1 10x42: While the DBA is a very good glass it is not the B1. It is close, but the sharpness and contrast of the B1 are clearly superior side by side. Side by side is key. The DBA has a superb image and really leaves no important detail lacking. This will be determined by the preference of either full size of compact format on one hand or somewhat superior optical performance on the other. The price difference goes to the Maven, but within about $100.

Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42: This is only a short time observation from a couple of at the dealer comparisons. The short story is the two are quite similar in optical performance while offering differing ergonomic philosophies. The DBA, IMO, has a better edge, by some, but not a lot. The Conquest is a reasonably compact binocular and offers a different ergonomic package.

The biggest single shortcoming of the DBA is glare control. We have had a cold (down to -15*F and still below freezing highs), snowy winter and with snow on the mountains nearby and bright, blinding sunlight over the last couple of days, I have had nearly perfect conditions to examine both glare and CA. I will not claim the glare with the DBA is problematic. It is only present in the most extreme circumstance, but it is easier to make its presence known than it is with some others. While present, it is not likely to present much of a practical use issue.

CA suppression is quite good. I was never able to induce it, save for a bright violet ring around the outer edge of the fov. Then it has to be slightly out of focus, and I have to be forcing my eyes to the edge of the field. Keep in mind, while I am admittedly not very sensitive to CA, I do know how to induce it so I can see it. My impression of CA control is based on how difficult it is or is not to induce. Here, I could not make it show up outside the outer edge.

Opticron claims use of high quality ED glass. This seems pretty obvious as evidenced by the excellent CA suppression and overall high quality image. The image is bright, sharp, and has excellent contrast. the color representation is reasonably neutral.

They also state the presence of a flat field. Sorry, I don’t buy that one. The edge seems like a very well done classic edge with some curvature and distortion at the outer edge of the fov. While it may be flatter than some, it is not sharp to the edges flat. Sorry, it just is not. It has a very generous sweet spot and a superior overall image. Opticron claims multi coated oasis prism coatings. As far as I have been able to determine, these are like the Swift Cold Fusion Technology for coating prisms. The layers are deposited singly, and the process uses a cold temperature. The claim was the low temperature was easier on the coating layers than a heat use technology. I never was able to get a handle on the temperatures involved in hot vs cold. Leupold’s L coating process is also similar.

I saw no light transmission figures for the DBA, but Leupold claims the Pro Guide HD is at the 90% level, and there is no reason to think this is below that level.

So, to repeat myself, I agree with my posted Opticron quote. This is a quite compact binocular for the 42 mm objective size. It is well balanced and has excellent optics that should be sufficient to any task one would put a 10x binocular to. It did really well with raptor watching the last couple of clear days. This is a wintering area for many and they are pretty common around here. The answer to my reviewer’s question of is it good enough for me, the answer is yes it is. I do not hesitate to recommend to you. It represents a very good balance of price and performance. Both optically, ergonomically, and physically. While you can spend a lot more than the $929 for this glass, you can be assured you are going to get your money’s worth with the DBA HD.
__________________
Steve

"Do what you can, where you are, with what you have" Teddy Roosevelt.

Last edited by Steve C : Monday 11th January 2016 at 18:23.
Steve C is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2009 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Monday 11th January 2016, 18:54   #2
FrankD
Registered User
 
FrankD's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 8,365
Steve,

Nicely done as always. Though I didn't have the same group of binoculars to compare the VHD to I think we came to basically the same conclusions on the overall optical performance levels.

Just as a side note, I think the actual street price of the 10x42 VHD should be a hair over $800.
__________________
Visit our Optics Review site......
http://opticstheviewfromhere.com/
Digiscoped videos .....
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAf...1LMvsLF0DExoog
FrankD is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 11th January 2016, 23:44   #3
NDhunter
Registered User
 
NDhunter's Avatar

 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: ND
Posts: 3,597
Steve:

A very nice review and your comparisons are useful.

It seems that this class of midrange binoculars is very good, and it is
good to see that there are many options available from several sources.

And I do like the fact they are Japanese built.

Jerry
NDhunter is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 13th January 2016, 16:28   #4
typo
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Hertfordshire
Posts: 3,399
Steve,

Nice report.

I've heard the name Shinsei mentioned a few times but I was getting an injection moulding company when I searched which didn't sound right. Seems there is an binocular manufacturer by that name but I've not found much about them apart from one interesting little detail. This web site lists Leupold, Opticron and others as companies it does business with.
http://mobile.companiess.com/shinsei...fo1328349.html

David
typo is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 13th January 2016, 18:54   #5
Steve C
Registered User
 
Steve C's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Posts: 3,437
Quote:
Originally Posted by NDhunter View Post
Steve:

A very nice review and your comparisons are useful.

It seems that this class of midrange binoculars is very good, and it is
good to see that there are many options available from several sources.

And I do like the fact they are Japanese built.

Jerry
Jerry,

Glad you liked it. I will agree that for the most part Japanese manufacture is superior to other Asian sources, particularly China. However, I regard the overall diminished build quality sometimes (or often times) seen reflects nothing more than that is the level of build quality being targeted directly by the companies selling the Chinese product. In other words, they are getting exactly what they want. Decent to excellent optics for less money. You can't compete well against cheap. I think it is far more important to seriously regard the company selling the binocular and the specifications and build quality required by the seller rather than to target the name and origin of the OEM.
__________________
Steve

"Do what you can, where you are, with what you have" Teddy Roosevelt.
Steve C is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2009 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Wednesday 13th January 2016, 18:56   #6
Steve C
Registered User
 
Steve C's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Posts: 3,437
Quote:
Originally Posted by typo View Post
Steve,

Nice report.

I've heard the name Shinsei mentioned a few times but I was getting an injection moulding company when I searched which didn't sound right. Seems there is an binocular manufacturer by that name but I've not found much about them apart from one interesting little detail. This web site lists Leupold, Opticron and others as companies it does business with.
http://mobile.companiess.com/shinsei...fo1328349.html

David
Your link is dead for me. I never did find anything on Shinsei and am not familiar enough with them to say any more that I did, which was probably too much.
__________________
Steve

"Do what you can, where you are, with what you have" Teddy Roosevelt.
Steve C is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2009 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Wednesday 13th January 2016, 19:10   #7
typo
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Hertfordshire
Posts: 3,399
Sorry Steve, the page seems to have vanished. There wasn't much more
there, but Cabelas was also mentioned.

David
typo is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 13th January 2016, 19:49   #8
Steve C
Registered User
 
Steve C's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Posts: 3,437
Quote:
Originally Posted by typo View Post
Sorry Steve, the page seems to have vanished. There wasn't much more
there, but Cabelas was also mentioned.

David
Well, that fits in perfectly with my efforts, unsuccessful ones to be sure, to find anything
__________________
Steve

"Do what you can, where you are, with what you have" Teddy Roosevelt.
Steve C is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2009 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Wednesday 13th January 2016, 20:05   #9
Samandag
Scan right to left, it's slower than scanning left to right and your brain takes in more detail
 
Samandag's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: UK
Posts: 1,222
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samandag View Post
... you rather get the feeling that 'brands' are simply a comfort blanket for consumers and much that is seen as 'value' in the market place is simply 'perceived value' rather than 'real value' be it either prestige or monetary ...
Alibaba : http://www.alibaba.com/countrysearch...inoculars.html

Shinsei Co., Ltd. http://company.hellocompanies.com/en...121429547.html

Best wishes,
Samandag is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 14th January 2016, 02:13   #10
Steve C
Registered User
 
Steve C's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Posts: 3,437
Thanks for the links Samandag
__________________
Steve

"Do what you can, where you are, with what you have" Teddy Roosevelt.
Steve C is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2009 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Prime HD 10x42 review. jnielsen Zen Ray 13 Thursday 20th September 2012 19:32
nikon EDG 10x42 review arran Nikon 12 Thursday 2nd February 2012 01:55
Vanguard Venture Plus 10x42 review WiscTJK Others 2 Tuesday 22nd March 2011 13:09
Opticron 10x42 DBA review geedub Opticron 1 Friday 30th July 2004 12:33
Review of the new Docter 10x42 B/CF laika Others 1 Friday 30th January 2004 09:31

{googleads}
£100 Cashback on Opticron DBA VHD Binoculars. Click to find out more.

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.20776796 seconds with 19 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 15:55.