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RSPB 8x32 HD

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Old Wednesday 14th April 2010, 20:52   #1
MacGee
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RSPB 8x32 HD

Every time I go into Vane Farm I spend some time trying this out. My conclusion is that it's excellent. Especially for its small size, the optical quality is superb. The nice lady who works there has one and she loves it. I would have no hesitation in buying it and using it as my main bin if it wasn't for the fact that the eye relief is a bit too short for me. I always compare roof prism bins to my Yosemite 6x30 and it's amazing how often even quite expensive bins seem to lack sharpness in comparison. But the 8x32 HD is as sharp as I would ever need and then some.

I'd recommend it to anyone who doesn't need longer eye relief or whose hands are not too big for it.

Michael
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Old Monday 7th June 2010, 14:41   #2
East of Edin
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Thanks for that, Michael…

Recently my Swaro EL’s developed a fault during some rough treatment during a ‘special’ trip to Africa and needed repair. That wasn’t much fun (although my wife has some ‘baby’ Leicas I find it hard to use these) and so we resolved in future to always carry an extra pair of binos on such trips. Also I found it hard to live without my own Binos even for a few weeks! So when we visited Vane Farm recently we too tried out the RSPB 8x32 HD’s. First thing we noticed was their very light weight (less than 500g without accessories—much less than some of the alternatives—although for some unaccountable reason the RSPB don’t actually give the weight on their website). Equally impressive for me was the optical performance and the fact that despite their compact size they handled very well.

We were sufficiently impressed to buy them on the spot—(although they cost more than I had wanted to pay for what was essentially a ‘spare’ pair of bins they ‘ticked all of the boxes’ and so I felt that their performance justified it). Having now had the chance to make detailed comparisons I am still well satisfied with my purchase. While I wouldn’t pretend (like some have done!) that their optical performance is quite the equal of the Swarovskis, they are much closer than you would have a right to expect at this price. And their smaller size, lighter weight and less prohibitive replacement cost means they are more likely to accompany me on many ‘casual’ trips where I would be loth to take or risk the Swarobins.

Any downsides? There has to be something. I could point out the following:

- The supplied ‘exclusive HD case’ is a very snug fit and once you have attached the neck strap, rubber rain-guard and objective lens covers the bins don’t actually fit. (A Velcro fastener instead of a press stud might have helped!)
- Also the ’open’ design of the case means you can’t even put small items (such as the exclusive Sigma HD cleaning cloth or the exclusive HD cap-badge, also supplied) in it because they would fall out. So the supplied case is IMHO slightly less useful than the cardboard box it came in. (to be fair I reported this to the RSPB and they say they may be doing something about it...)
- The fact that they are badged ’RSPB’ might put some people off. Badge snobbery is a terrible thing, and in my view ‘birders’ are some of the worst for this. Now where can I buy a sticker which says “my other bins are ‘Leicas/Swarowskis/Zeiss(s)’ (delete as appropriate)?
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Old Wednesday 22nd June 2011, 07:51   #3
ganty
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Hello All - I am new to BirdForum, but I have a bit of useful info re. RSPB 8x32 HD. My wife has these and I have the 8x42 HD, which were both bought from RSPB shop at Sandy HQ this month, June 2011. Because the weight of the 8x32 HD is not given in the RSPB/Viking webite specs, I have weighed them on accurate digital scales without strap and they weigh 465g. Both have very sharp image across the field of view with, to my eyes, neutral colour balance, falling slightly on the warm side rather than cool. The 8x32s have negligible Cromatic Aberation/fringing and the 8x42s have proportionally more, as would be expected for the larger objective size, but is very well controlled. The overall performance is what you would expect from good ED glass.
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Old Wednesday 22nd June 2011, 11:42   #4
typo
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Ganty,

Welcome to the forum. Congratulations on your purchases and thanks for the info. I've only given them the briefest of tries and got a favourable impression, but wasn't able to do any meaningful comparisons at the time. Were you able to compare them to any others?

Best

David
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Old Wednesday 22nd June 2011, 12:37   #5
ganty
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David

Before I chose the RSPB 8x42 HDs I compared them alongside the Viking 8x42EDs. I found them to be identical in performance. I also preferred the feel and appearance of the RSPBs and the dioptre adjustment on the right eye piece is easier, for me anyway, on the RSPBs compared with the Viking EDs, but there isn't much in it and some may prefer the style of the Vikings. Both are nicely finished and feel very good in the hand. Interestingly, at dusk, when I compare our RSPB HD 8x32s and 8x42s, there is almost no difference in resolution and l said to my wife that I almost wish I had bought the 8x32s as well, as they are much lighter and £50 cheaper, but the 8x42s are a bit easier to look through, having the larger 5.2 exit pupil and they are more "transparent". I was speaking to a Viking person at Viking, Halesworth, who stated, categorically, that the Viking ED and the RSPB HD are not the same optics and are produced in entirely different factories. Nowhere on the documentation or the product/packaging states where they are manufactured, but the general opinion (not from a Viking source), on Bird Forum anyway, seems to point towards China, which is not a problem for me and is advantageous pricewise. It would be interesting to know how much the identical product would cost if manufatured in Japan or EEC, does anyone have a conversion factor for that? Also, very recently, I bought a pair of Opticron 8x42 Aurora, which I returned for a refund, from the retailer, not Opticron. This was because, although the resolution and build/handling was excellent, I could not tolerate the amount of CA across the entire field, but worse at the edges. Whilst I was at the retailer's returning them (I got a full refund), they rang Opticron and I had a discussion with a chap who, quite rightly, explained that all optics have some degree of CA. However, I found the CA to be unacceptable for the RRP of £759.00 (I paid £680.00) and I find the 8x42 RSPB HDs to be similar or sharper on resolution and better on CA. The Aurora were, however, stamped MADE IN JAPAN. I have no connection with Viking or RSPB other than me and my wife both being lifetime RSPB members. I am finding the RSPB HDs quite addictive and can't let go of them and she says the same. I don't feel that I would one day aspire to an upgrade (would it be?) and it is, I find, quite nice looking at the RSPB badge logo on the front rather than an "alpha" type, although many may disagree.

All the best, Alan (ganty).

Last edited by ganty : Wednesday 22nd June 2011 at 12:59. Reason: a typo
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Old Wednesday 22nd June 2011, 16:57   #6
typo
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Alan,

Thanks for that. The Aurora I've found to be rather nice if a bit pricey. Yes, not CA free, but not enough to trouble me. I felt it was sharper with better contrast than the cheaper EDs but would not my choice amongst similarly priced competition. Perhaps I should give the RSPB HDanother look.

Thanks again,

David
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