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Kite Optics Lynx HD+

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Old Thursday 30th May 2019, 14:51   #1
Boris Flaccus
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Kite Optics Lynx HD+

Kite Optics is launching a new binocular line, the Lynx HD+ in 30mm, 42mm and 50mm.

See: https://www.kiteoptics.com/en/nature...t/207/lynx-hd/
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Old Thursday 30th May 2019, 19:32   #2
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Thank you for this info and link, Boris!
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Old Sunday 2nd June 2019, 17:16   #3
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Any ideas what is supposed to be improved? Optical specs appear the same as the previous HD (looking at the 30mm models); mechanically they are 3 mm shorter and a bit heavier. Is this a re-housing of the same optics?
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Old Sunday 2nd June 2019, 18:25   #4
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Originally Posted by Mark9473 View Post
Any ideas what is supposed to be improved? Optical specs appear the same as the previous HD (looking at the 30mm models); mechanically they are 3 mm shorter and a bit heavier. Is this a re-housing of the same optics?
A seemingly simple thing like changing the eye pieces can affect the eye relief; the field of view and even the length of a binocular depending on the eye piece's design.

Bob
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Old Monday 3rd June 2019, 09:40   #5
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Originally Posted by ceasar View Post
A seemingly simple thing like changing the eye pieces can affect the eye relief; the field of view and even the length of a binocular depending on the eye piece's design.

Bob
True, but with eye relief and field of view unchanged according to the specs it looks to me that it might just be a case of shorter eyecups.
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Old Monday 3rd June 2019, 16:48   #6
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Kite apparently improved the 8x30 Lynx by changing from HD to HD+ glass. See the link in Post 1.

Leica did the same thing when they changed from HD to HD+ glass in their Ultravid binoculars but there were no physical differences between the two versions like there is with the Kite Lynx.

https://www.kiteoptics.com/en/huntin...t/144/lynx-hd/

You will probably have to examine the 2 Kite versions together. The HD+ is 3mm shorter overall than the HD which could come from "tweaking" the eyepieces and it is 34 grams lighter, possibly by making the eye cups from lighter materials, which is just speculation on my part.

Bob

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Old Monday 3rd June 2019, 19:25   #7
Mark9473
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The new one is heavier, actually. 495 vs 461 g for the 8x30.
As for the glass, they both say "HD optical system". Beyond that, you're reading between the lines.

Last edited by Mark9473 : Monday 3rd June 2019 at 21:13.
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Old Monday 3rd June 2019, 22:47   #8
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Look at the link in Post #5. The title is LYNX HD at the top of the Product page. Then look at the link in Post #1. It says LYNX HD+ at the top of the Product Page.

They are selling two different types of glass. I'm not reading between the lines.

But the weights I gave for the two binoculars were backwards. The HD+ is heavier. So that screws up my speculation. Maybe the eye cups are heavier?



Bob

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Old Monday 3rd June 2019, 23:40   #9
Mark9473
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What are you calling "different types of glass"?
Can you point me to where exactly on the Kite product pages it says the Lynx HD+ has new, better, improved or just different glass than the Lynx HD. I'm not seeing it.
There's a lot of hyperbole in the description of the Lynx HD+ but I'm failing to see any statement comparing it to the previous Lynx HD.

Last edited by Mark9473 : Monday 3rd June 2019 at 23:42.
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Old Tuesday 4th June 2019, 04:41   #10
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Hi Mark,

You may be right. I have assumed that Kite's use of the designations HD and HD+ mean the same thing as Leica's designations HD and HD-Plus and they may not.

They may not mean anything. It may be just advertising on Kite's part. (Glass formulas used in binoculars are proprietary I am told.)

Kite is introducing a new Lynx binocular as HD+ at the end of June 2019 distinguishing it from Kite's earlier Lynx HD model.

https://www.kiteoptics.com/en/nature...t/207/lynx-hd/

5 years down the line if one comes across a Kite Lynx ED one will know that it is older than the Kite Lynx ED+ assuming that the designations are printed on the binocular somewhere. Other than that it isn't much use to a purchaser.

https://www.kiteoptics.com/en/huntin...t/144/lynx-hd/

It would be helpful if a representative from Kite addressed these questions.

Bob

PS: They do look different. The new model has a red ring at the base of the left eye cup.

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Old Tuesday 11th June 2019, 13:56   #11
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I contacted Kite asking what are the differences between the Lynx HD and the new Lynx HD+, and received a reply listing the following improvements in the new model:
- 2% higher light transmission;
- more comfort for people wearing glasses - I take this to mean a higher effective eye relief (the eye relief spec, from the glass, is unchanged);
- removable eyecups with 4 positions;
- tethered objective caps.
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Old Tuesday 11th June 2019, 14:36   #12
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I did have to reread the advert blurb several times as it is so incredulous........

"beyond optical limits", like no other binocular anywhere and other claims.

Just marketing tricks and a load of mumbo jumbo to grab attention and persuade potential purchasers.

P
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Old Tuesday 11th June 2019, 21:15   #13
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Originally Posted by PYRTLE View Post
I did have to reread the advert blurb several times as it is so incredulous........

"beyond optical limits", like no other binocular anywhere and other claims.

Just marketing tricks and a load of mumbo jumbo to grab attention and persuade potential purchasers.

P
I agree, lots of unnecessary and exaggerated claims. We are used to that sort of thing from Steiner et al, but this seems new for Kite - and they dont really need that (my view as a satisfied owner of a number of Kite glasses).
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Old Saturday 13th July 2019, 16:45   #14
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I think some stores on mainland Europe have had models for a week or two and they should be arriving at selected UK dealers about now. Any one had a look yet?

Attached is the UK press release including prices.

David
Attached Files
File Type: pdf lynx hd+ press release.pdf (1.43 MB, 47 views)

Last edited by typo : Saturday 13th July 2019 at 18:29.
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Old Saturday 13th July 2019, 17:49   #15
Canip
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.....
.....
Any one had a look yet?

.....

David
I will get one (8x42) in 10 days and report back once I had a chance to review.
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Old Thursday 25th July 2019, 15:31   #16
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Kite Lynx HD+ 8x42 - A Brief Look

Among its roughly a dozen lines of binoculars, Kite Optics had for years had a compact and lightweight “Lynx HD” in two configurations on the market, 8x30 and 10x30.
This summer, Kite has added a new line of Lynx “HD+” binoculars, this time in 8x30, 10x30, 8x42, 10x42 and 10x50.
Whether the new “HD+” will replace the Lynx HD in size 8x30 and 10x30, or whether the two will be sold in parallel with their HD+ brothers, I don’t know.

Kite Optics have not been shy about the performance of their new binocular line. They are advertising the HD+ as “the world’s leading combo in optical and ergonomical performance” and go on with statements like “revolutionary optical system”, maintain that “the optical characteristics … are truly unique” and assure that “this instrument goes beyond the limits of any other binocular”.
No small claims, so I thought I should get my own impression and had a brief look at the 8x42 model.


SPECIFICATIONS

Magnification: 8x
Objective diameter: 42mm
True aperture: 42mm (measured)
Field of view: 8.6 degrees RFOV = 151m / 1000m
Close focus: 2m
Eye relief: 17mm
Effective eye relief: 13mm (measured from rim of eyecup)
IPD: 55-73mm
Weight acc. to manuf: 690g
Weight (w. strap + eyecaps): 797g (measured)
Warranty: 30 years
Price (acc. to Kite Optics): € 795


GENERAL FIRST IMPRESSION

The first impression: a compact, very well built and finished instrument; feels solid in my hands; a substantial layer of rubber armour with pleasant haptics, giving good grip both dry and wet.
The instrument appears light but not too light, well balanced, with good ergonomics, the index fingers rest easily on the focus wheel.
Diopter adjustment is on the right eyepiece.
The instrument comes with a sensible bag, neckstrap, eyepiece covers and objective covers, everything in decent quality.
There is no indication of origin, but Kite Optics have in the past always maintained that their binoculars were made in Japan.


MECHANICS

The central hinge is easy to adjust but stiff enough to keep its position.
The eyecups can be extended with 4 clickstops at “fully in”, 2 intermediate stops, and “fully out”; clickstops are a bit too soft for my taste, but do hold chosen position. The rubbery eyecups are soft and comfortable. Observation with glasses: there is just sufficient eye relief to overlook the entire field of view.
The metal focus wheel works smoothly and precisely, there is no play. 390 degrees turn from close focus to infinity, with sufficient extra travel beyond infinity (ca. 100 degrees).
Diopter adjustment: the “0” mark corresponds almost precisely to the true zero diopter adjustment. There is no lock on the adjustment, but it works sufficiently stiff to keep its position.


OPTICS IN GENERAL

Judging from the amount and brightness of reflections, coatings appear high quality.
The exit pupils appear perfectly round, the area around them shows various bright structures and reflections, but sufficiently distant from the pupils. However, what looks like a small false pupil (at 4 o’clock on the right eyepiece and at 8 o’clock on the left one) becomes visible on both sides. I found very little vignetting.
The tubes appear equipped with well structured baffles, but some metal surfaces seem not perfectly blackened.
Collimation is impeccable.
“Einblickverhalten” (ease of comfortably viewing the entire field of view): Using the 4 positions of the eyecups, and trying out different viewing positions, I could always find a comfortable placement of the eyepieces against my eye sockets, with no kidney-beaning or other disturbing effects.


IMAGE QUALITY

The very first impression when looking through the Kite Lynx HD+:
wonderfully wide field of view, a bright image, high color fidelity.
With 151m, the Lynx HD+ probably features currently the widest field of view of all 8x42s. The next widest is probably the Zeiss Victory SF 8x42 with 148m, followed by a number of others in the 135-140m range. This is a big plus for the Kite.
Looking at various objects and structured surfaces, central sharpness and contrast appear as high. The sweet spot, however, is not extremely wide, and off-axis sharpness appears form about 70% outwards from the center of the FOV. Blurring increases further out (more on that later), but stays within “usable limits”.
There is a fair amount of angular distortion, not too bad though, and on the other hand there is only very little “rolling ball” effect (which I expected to be more pronounced with such a wide field of view) when panning.
Chromatic aberration appears well controlled, almost none of it in the center of the image, a bit more further out, but overall, I was surprised not to see more, given the short build of the binocular.
Stray-light suppression: to be further tested. The only initial impression I got is that direct sunlight on the objective lenses doesn’t cause any noticeable glare. To be confirmed and more widely reviewed, together with testing for flares, spikes, ghosting etc. I anticipate completing such tests within the next two weeks.
As mentioned earlier, color fidelity is good, and the “paper test acc. to Walter Schn confirms that impression.


INITIAL COMPARISONS WITH OTHER 8X42S

Of particular interest to me was of course how the Lynx HD+ performs when compared with Kite’s current top 8x42 binocular lines, the Ibis and Bonelli 2.0, and I also briefly compared it to binos like the similarly priced Zeiss Conquest HD 8x42 or Nikon Monarch HG 8x42, which for many have sort of a reference status for the “subprime” 8x42 market, as well as to an alpha glass like the Victory SF 8x42.

The Kite Ibis ED has a field of view of 126m, the Bonelli 2.0 132m. In both, the image appears clearly less wide than in the Lynx HD+, and both exhibit a slightly warmer color tone. Central sharpness appears comparable, edge sharpness slightly better in the Ibis and the Bonelli than in the Lynx (which, of course, has the larger field). Also, the sweet spot appears wider in the Ibis and Bonelli than in the Lynx, but that needs to be further confirmed. CA appears somewhat better controlled in the Lynx HD+ than in the others.

For my eyes, the Zeiss Conquest HD beats the Lynx HD+ in central sharpness. Off-axis, the case isn’t that clear anymore, the Zeiss seems to exhibit a more “constant” pattern of increasing blurriness towards the image edge, whereas in the Lynx HD+, the “border area” of the sweet spot appears less well defined (anybody understands what I am trying to say here?). Again, the Lynx features the much wider field of view (151m) than the Conquest (128m), which needs to be taken into account. Edge sharpness is clearly better in the Monarch HG, which, with its 145m field of view, is perhaps more easily comparable with the Lynx.

Comparison with the Victory SF, which costs 3x as much as the Lynx, wasn’t fair of course. It outperformed the Lynx in most aspects, particularly in edge sharpness (with a comparable width of the FOV), but that was to be expected, and everything else would have been a total surprise.


TENTATIVE SUMMARY

Whether the Kite Lynx HD+ “… goes beyond the limits of any other binocular …”, as Kite claims, can fairly be debated. But I would agree that it is a very nice addition to the 8x42 market, which is dominated by binoculars with fields of view between 125 und 135m. The Lynx’ 151m field is really pleasant, and even if edge sharpness is not the strongest point of the Lynx, for handheld use, esp. birding, its wide field with good central sharpness is very welcome. Further strong points of the Lynx are good color rendition and brightness, a compact design, nice finish and excellent ergonomics. Kite’s 30 years warranty is also not bad.

To be followed up with results from stray-light testing etc.

fwiw Canip
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Old Thursday 25th July 2019, 19:41   #17
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Nice review!

Lee
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 07:46   #18
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Catnip,

Thanks for the report. It sounds an interesting binocular. I've been rather impressed by the Bonelli 2.0, so that comparison was particularly useful.

We know Kite and Nikon cofunded part of the development program that resulted in the original Japanese made Lynx and Monarch 7 x30s. I think most would agree the Kite was the better binocular, but with a significantly higher price tag. One of the features George De Putter was keen to emphasise was their choice was the superior 'HD' option rather than 'ED' ( but he didn't explain the difference).

It's tempting to speculate from the specification, and your description, that the extended Lynx HD+ series might still have common genetics with the Nikons. The question is, is it closer to the Monarch 7 or the HG. Any thoughts?

David
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 10:30   #19
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Catnip,

Thanks for the report. It sounds an interesting binocular. I've been rather impressed by the Bonelli 2.0, so that comparison was particularly useful.

We know Kite and Nikon cofunded part of the development program that resulted in the original Japanese made Lynx and Monarch 7 x30s. I think most would agree the Kite was the better binocular, but with a significantly higher price tag. One of the features George De Putter was keen to emphasise was their choice was the superior 'HD' option rather than 'ED' ( but he didn't explain the difference).

It's tempting to speculate from the specification, and your description, that the extended Lynx HD+ series might still have common genetics with the Nikons. The question is, is it closer to the Monarch 7 or the HG. Any thoughts?

David
Thank you, David,
If anything, it is definitely closer to the HG.

Canip
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 13:08   #20
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Thank you for the review Canip. In your photo the diopter ring jumps out to me as appearing very similar, if not identical, to the diopter on the Monarch HG. It is worth wondering how much shared DNA there might be there, particularly given the M7/Lynx 8x30 shared development.
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 17:29   #21
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The configurations that interest me are the 10x42s and, perhaps more so, the 10x50s. If the latter remain pleasant ergonomically then would they be a good alternative to 'higher quality' optics but with only a 42mm OG?
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Old Friday 26th July 2019, 21:26   #22
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......In your photo the diopter ring jumps out to me as appearing very similar, if not identical, to the diopter on the Monarch HG. .....
.....
.....
Yes, it looks a bit similar, but isnt identical, and it has no locking mechanism like on the Monarch HG.
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Old Saturday 27th July 2019, 17:31   #23
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When manufacturers make claims like...
“this instrument goes beyond the limits of any other binocular”
and...
"8x30 and 10x30 models are some of the smallest and lightest binoculars ever made"
I know that their marketing teams have been given a little too much sugar in their coffee - particularly when my Nikon Monarch 8x30s weigh a quoted 435g compared to 690g quoted for the Kite Lynx HD+ 8x30. In fact, it seems that they haven't even read their own specs for the Lynx HD, which weighs 461g.

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Old Monday 29th July 2019, 18:01   #24
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Kite Lynx HD+ 8x42: Update of Review

This is a brief update on my review (post # 16) after testing the HD+ for stray-light performance.

Findings are generally positive, suppression of stray-light in the Lynx is quite good. Panning around a very bright light source, keeping it just outside the field of view, causes only few reflections. Veiling glare does not become an issue even with direct sunlight on the front lenses. Directly observing a bright LED light in the dark produces no noticeable ghost images, but distinct spikes (reflections on the roof edge of the prisms), slightly more pronounced than e.g. in the Zeiss Conquest HD or the Monarch HG, but observation does not get significantly hindered.

Even my favorite test, standing at the bank of a river and observing in the direction of a low (20%) standing sun and over the glittery water surface, did not cause major reflections that severely affected the image.

This confirms the overall positive impression I got of the new Lynx HD+.

fwiw Canip
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Old Tuesday 30th July 2019, 21:22   #25
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Thanks Canip for the review, it looks enticing with the wide FOV and hopefully a modest cost. Just wondering if there are distributors in the US.

Andy W.
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