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Old Wednesday 21st March 2018, 13:12   #1
Bob L
Registered Member

Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Gozo, Malta
Posts: 6
Opticron Discovery WP 10x42 & Hawke Sapphire ED 10x42

Think I am in the wrong area. Can anybody inform me how to move this post to a binocular forum.

Hi, I am new to the forum. I am an ex-mil optronics engineer. I am stating that so you are aware that my comments below are based on some experience of optical equipment.

I joined this forum after being severely disappointed on receipt of the Hawke Sapphire Binos from Amazon and wanted to share my experience of 'so called' mid-level bins. Also, to assist anybody in the market for binos not to make the same mistake I made.

I have the Opticron binos (169) recently bought from Amazon, which I later decided to give to my daughter and 'upgrade' to the Hawke binos.

On checking the Hawkes (410) I found:

1. When fully down, the right ocular relief barrel fouled the diopter ring, such that the ring was very difficult/impossible to rotate.
2. When slightly rotating the barrel it moved the ring, such that the focus setting was altered.
3. Slight backlash and loose movement (at this price) of the centre focus mechanism.
4. When comparing the much cheaper Opticron binos, I could not perceive any immediate and obvious improvement from the Hawke image. Colour, Brightness and Resolution appeared the same. Tested over 30 mins comparative viewing near (up to 400m) and distant (3-7km), where I live in Gozo, Malta.
No resolution chart, but if I needed a chart to see a difference then the cheaper option would win anyway.
5. Night viewing at lit areas up to 400m showed that, both binos had the same image quality, except radiant light around the source was slightly reduced by the cheaper Opticron binos.

I do not have the option of testing various 'decent' binos here in Gozo, Malta. So I researched the web (so called experts and forums) for hours. Taken in by the hype and marketing, shame on me.

I realise my test for two binos is not the 'be all and end all'. However, when a 169 pair are optically the same and better in build quality than the Hawke (410), then something is amiss.

I am not suggesting that the Opticron are the only binos to choose. It is all I had for comparison, luckily. Without the comparison I would not have noticed the optical performance for the price. However, the build quality would have been noted by me.

This is my advice to prospective purchasers, 'not familiar' with binos, who want value for money and not just the most expensive:

1. Research and get advice. Then draw up a shortlist, with prices up to your top budget.
2. If possible, take somebody with you, to a reputable shop, who knows what to look for.
3. Start at your top budget and work down, comparing the binos images outside the shop at near and far views, for Colour, Brightness and, more importantly, Resolution (Details). Compare the top price binos against the next cheaper one. If you see no immediate and obvious differences, go to the next cheaper one down and continue this until you reach the binos which give you a 'worse' image than the previous one. At that point the previous one is the best for 'your eyes' out of all the binos tested. You might not go very far down the order, but the further you go, the more money you save.
4. Always buy purged binos e.g. nitrogen. This should stop any internal fogging of the optics and save you even more money in the long run, by not having your binos optical performance gradually diminish and then having the binos stripped for cleaning.

Depending on your intended use, poor weather, heavy handling etc, build quality will enter into it. However, if you just want good quality general viewing binos and will take care of them, do not spend more just because the salesman says 'they can be thrown in the water or dropped from 'x' height without damage'.

I would like to ask the forum a question, bearing in mind I am not interested in replies about coatings, glass quality, light transmission percentages etc. I know that type of info. It clearly does not stack up from my experience with the Hawke binos, which had dielectric coatings and ED glass over the Opticron, as well as phase coated Bak4 prisms and FMC lenses same as the Opticron. Look how that turned out.

I would like, if possible, for somebody to advise me of a bino or selection of binos, which would show an 'immediate and obvious' improvement in image Resolution (especially) Colour and Brightness (dull day) over e.g. a 169 Opticron. I am aware that on a 'very bright' day, 2000 binos and much cheaper ones can seem the same for brightness.

My budget is open. However, for my 'general viewing' use, probably up to 600 would not be over the top. If more needed to see this marked improvement then please inform me. Based on your recommendations and, according to their price and value for money, I might make a purchase.

Look forward to the forum's advice and comments.


Last edited by Bob L : Wednesday 21st March 2018 at 17:51. Reason: Think i am in the wrong forum for my post, do not know how to my post to binocular area.
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