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Byfield Optics PTY LTD Byfield Recon 10x42 polarised binoculars
Reviews Views Date of last review
1 35112 Sat August 16, 2014
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers None indicated 8.0

Description: Many of us wear polarised sunglasses and anyone who does so will appreciate that using them transforms the view. Polarisation improves contrast, it increases visual perception and the view can seem more ‘intense’, colours are natural and definition improved. Glare, eyestrain and visual tension are removed and distraction from nearby reflective surfaces is eliminated.

By incorporating a revolutionary patent pending "integrated polarised optical array" into their range of binoculars, Byfield Optics offer users, for the first time, all the advantages of polarisation while maintaining optical clarity and depth of field throughout the entire range of focus.

The challenge with conventional binoculars is that they are often fitted with anti-glare coatings that can only filter but do not actually polarise light. Therefore, the image received via such optics can be distorted by surface reflections and environmental glare. This can result in difficult to acquire targets at distance, especially when trying resolve delicate details in fine tuning the focus.

Byfield Optics’ solution to this problem is the placement within the binocular eyepiece of an additional custom cut polarised lens array that is focally aligned in the vertical plain and provides 100% coverage across the lens assembly.

Byfield Recon 10x42 are roof prism binoculars (the eye-pieces and objective lenses are in line), of very high build quality, which offer long eye relief with multi-point twist up eye-cups. A nice stiff non-locking diopter (plus/minus eye focus) with a good tension is located under the right hand eye-cup, and they come with very well fitting attached eye-piece and objective lens covers (they are good - they fit), a branded neoprene strap, lens cloth and an immensely practical hard tool box carrycase with fitted internal firm cushioning. They have ‘hi-grade glass’, 10x magnification, a 42mm objective lens and fully-multicoated optics exhibiting a high degree of coating.

The other ergonomic and technical specs for these are published elsewhere on the net, I’m just reviewing their practical use and optical qualities.

These binoculars will add an extra dimension to your daytime viewing wherever you are but particularly where there is a high degree of environmental glare.

10x42 is a popular choice for many users as the extra magnification can be useful in making accurate determinations particularly at distance. Some people may find a 10x binocular to be a little ‘jumpy’ in viewing given the propensity for higher magnification to magnify hand tremor but the weight of the Byfield Recon 10x42 (716g with the strap and indicative of the quantity of high quality glass) combined with their carefully judged balance make quick target acquisition really straightforward. They are easily held with one hand if needs be. If your hands are not steady enough to use a very lightweight 10x then these are well worth consideration.

The Byfield Recon 10x42 offer a useful and comparatively wide field of view for a 10x binocular of 101m at 1000m. Using a 10x42 binocular essentially limits you to the 4.2mm exit pupil of the specification and younger eyes may benefit from larger exit pupil size in a non-polarised binocular for low light viewing (to obtain the exit pupil value simply divide the aperture size by the magnification), however, as the polariser reduces light transmission by about 15% we are not talking low light viewing here.

Reviews of the optical qualities of binoculars are invariably highly subjective, no two individuals will have exactly the same eyesight so your view may well be different to mine. If you are prone to making binocular comparisons it is always useful to keep in mind what you are comparing with - some mythical standard of binocular perfection, a binocular you tried in a shop somewhere and are trying to recall from memory, or your immediate direct practical requirements ?

The Byfield Recon 10x42 is designed for use in high glare environments and here the view is outstanding. Although the polariser reduces light transmission by about 15% viewing is relaxed and easy and not ‘made to make your eyes water’ as with some alpha brand über light-transmitters. I appreciate that this may not appeal to those of a firmly eurocentric or alpha-binocentric birding view but it is a big wide world out there and these are selling hand over fist to very good reviews in their primary markets. Do the math : 70% of the world’s surface is covered by ocean, deserts make up 33% of the land’s surface area, the Tropics are ‘wide’.

For me the view through these is impressive, I like the clear almost edge to edge definition and the complete absence of field curvature, sharpness is good. Lateral edge distortion is within minimal limits at about 20% although the view is not refocusable right to the edges. Depth of field is enhanced by the polariser and is exceptional. There is a real ‘stand out’ quality to the view. The colour is natural as befits the polarised view. The level of contrast is very pleasing indeed. Binocular reviews invariably mention control of chromatic aberration (colour fringing) - the reality is that we are all uniquely sensitive to the various parameters by which we judge quality (and value) ; one person may experience chromatic aberration with one binocular that another person may not with the same binocular in the same situation. Just compare your own experiences to those of published product overviews and draw your own conclusions. I’m very sensitive to chromatic aberration, which is evident to my eyes in the peripheral field of these but is easily controlled by correctly centring the view. Your view may differ.

The Byfield Recon 10x42 are easy to handle, offer quick target acquisition and the fine, firm focus with a one finger width focus wheel which turns counter-clockwise to infinity won’t slip accidentially, a pleasure to use.

Byfield polarised binoculars have very many practical uses.

The marine, cruise, yachting and sportfishing communities are already using these. They are a global standard in the making.

For wildlife watchers in the tropics here is a whole new world, a banner product for big game safari, upland wildlife surveying, relaxed viewing of branch tips in full leaf in full sun, take your pick.

Cloudwatchers will love these, yes you will.

For all you cops out there, yes you, these cut the glare off tinted car windows ; you can see the silhouettes of those sitting inside. Viewing over your solar power installation ? Here you have it.

Horse racing and falconry in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, jam hot motor sport anywhere, Oklahoma desert dayhunting, these will cut the glare.

Researchers into rising UV levels and climate change are looking into this technology with keen interest.

Snow patrol, avalanche rescue, circumpolar cruise or survey and if you live where the sun doesn’t set in the Spring and Summer these will be a no-brainer. You’ll find them useful whether you are just out fishing, really pushing the limits after Narwhal in your kayak or working tag-along in one of the ubiquitous television filming crews. I tried a domestic freezer test at -20 degrees Centigrade for these to test the functionality of lubricant, 20 minutes was OK, after 40 minutes the focus was becoming ‘firm’, and after 50 minutes it was noticeably stiff. There was no compromise in function and no internal condensation whatsoever on return to ambient tremperature. The manufacturer is currently working on a new lubricant to improve functionality in freezing environments.

Trialing by volunteer Air Search Observers during the recent Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, resulted in the following positive comments for these binoculars : high quality product, light to handle, easy to use, quick to get into sighting and focus, reduced / no glare was particularly useful at times in the conditions experienced during MH370 search operations.

The crossover value into military, surveillance, border protection and search and rescue is fairly obvious.

Closer to home I took a pair to a nature reserve for a field trip, for waterfowl down on the river they are just great to use. Here are a few independent casual handler reviews of the Byfield Recon 10x42 from people I met during the day:

“Makes layers of the landscape stand out as if painted on”.

“I like the almost 3-D effect of those”.

“Objects viewed with these really seem to pop-up”.

This technology has taken over 8 years to develop and provides the following distinct advantages over previous efforts to polarise binocular images : it improves visual acuity and safety ; reduces reflections and glare and enhances visual clarity ; provides truly realistic perception ; all one piece construction with no moving parts, no external caps, screw ins or filter wheels to lose or break, provides continuous polarised protection across the whole field of view with no distortion.

If you haven’t seen it it doesn't mean to say that it’s not true. Sometimes things just work out ; these are a great piece of kit.

Value is what you think it is. The cost for these is currently around AUD$550 including GST., and for those that view in places of high environmental glare they are a very serious addition to the binocular rack. It’s great to have a binocular to hand just for a specific job. With the sun in your face they would be hard to beat and you can never have too much practical kit.

Byfield polarised binoculars are designed and engineered in Australia and manufactured and distributed by Byfield Optics, Queensland. Two specifications are available ; the 10x42 reviewed here and the ‘big view’ Byfield Tracker 8x56. Black goes with everything ; they only come in black.

My interest is as a practical user and I would like to give a big thank you to Ian Winkworth of Byfield Optics for generously sending samples of their unique polarised binoculars from one side of the world to the other for practical review.
Keywords: Byfield Optics, Recon, 10x42, Polarised Binoculars

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Registered User

Registered: October 2013
Location: UK
Posts: 1310
Review Date: Sat August 16, 2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: These are unique, no doubt about it.
Cons: The units have no serial numbers ; a label with ‘Engineered / Designed in Australia’ and the unit serial number might be a good idea.

I've really very much enjoyed reviewing these and having handled them for only a week or so am pleased to give them a designated place in the binocular rack.

It's true ; you can never have too much practical kit.

You can find the manufacturer here :

Manufacturers with kit for appraisal can contact me via the messaging system on this forum, thanks.

PS - Share this - partial list of vertebrates known to have been killed or scavenged by free-ranging domestic cats :
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