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First impressions of Opticron Discovery 7x42

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Old Friday 21st September 2018, 23:48   #1
marcsantacurz
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First impressions of Opticron Discovery 7x42

I see there's been a couple other threads on the 7x42 including a detailed review. Having just gotten my hands on a pair, I wanted to put out some first impressions and a non-technical experience report. It was pretty overcast today and we were just looking at trees and signs and the occasional crow. I had my swaro 8.5x42 EL FPs out to compare with. In summary, even next to the swaros, they were pleasant to use. Some bins, when compared like that, are obviously inferior, but not these, at least when looking at trees in overcast light :) We'll taken them out for a proper field trip soon.

First, they are very compact -- x32 sized. See the photos below, they are about the size of Conquest HD 8x32. They fit well in the hand and feel light for 24 oz (690 g). The photos show them on their own, then my standard "family" shot of Leica Ultravid BR 8x20s, the Opticron Discovery 8x42, and the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL FP. I also did a side-by-side with the Conquest HD 8x32.

The diopter adjustment goes in "clicks". it was very stiff to start out, but after a few uses loosened up. The clicks work very well, it is easy to adjust and stays in place well.

The focus is nice and pretty fast. Going from a near-view (10ft) to a mid-view (maybe 200 - 300 ft) took ~2 "pushes" with the index finger. The swaro 8.5x42 took 3 pushes for same distance.

The view looks sharp and there is no significant edge softening, if any. When I focus on a sign then shift it to the edge, I do need to re-focus a tiny bit, but I can get a perfectly good image on the edge. Very different than the Celestron Granite 7x33 which is super soft at the edge.

I did not notice any glare problems, but it was rather overcast with the sun only peeking out at times. I did try looking maybe 20*-30* off from the sun when it was out and didn't see anything too bad, especially for $250 US. I've seen some $400 8x32s that are worse!

Ok, now the less good.

I really notice the barrels in the image. I do not wear glasses, so have the eye relief all the way out. I tried with it set in the mid-point, but had blackouts there. I tried the "hover" technique with the eye cups all the way in and that was a bit better in terms of not seeing the barrels, but not practical. A 408' FoV is not that crazy good, but compared to the Ultravid 7x42 at 420', it's not awful either, especially at almost 1/10th the cost (or 1/5th the cost of use Ultravid HD 7x42). I will need to use them more on an open field with actual birds to decide how much of an issue it is for me.

The eye relief seems to have 3 positions (in, mid, out), but the detent in the middle is very very soft and hard to find. I saw in other posts, someone said they'd try to get o-rings for it for glass use, and I agree. If I had to use the middle position, I'd get o-rings.

Marc
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Old Saturday 22nd September 2018, 03:36   #2
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We took them out for some ducks in a lagoon and owls after sunset in a field. Overall, both my girlfriend and I were impressed with them. Comparing side-by-side with Swaro 8.5x42 EL FP, they are not as sharp, not as contrasty, and not as bright, as one would expect. But they are very good -- excellent, even, for the price.

My girlfriend, who these are for, like them quite a bit. She normally uses Nikon M5 10x42, which are not a great binocular for her as she has some shakes. She could see a lot more detail with these Opticron 7x42s. When we went for the owls, she did not use the Nikons at all.

Even though, to me, the apparent field of view looks narrow, the actual field of view is pretty good, noticeably wider than the 8.5x42s even at modest distances (say 300 - 400 ft).

While they are not as bright as the swaros, they were still usable in low light after dark, scanning for owls in a field.
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Old Saturday 22nd September 2018, 21:50   #3
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I'm glad you like them!
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Old Sunday 23rd September 2018, 21:03   #4
iveljay
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I agree blackouts with the eyecups at anything less than fully extended were very noticeable, however, they didn't cause a problem to me in that position so I discounted them.

After decades of weird camera viefinders I am aware of clutter adjacent to the image, but for me it wasn't the view of the inside of the barrels that was the problem so much as the view of their outsides, as the eyecups were too big to centre over my eyes without resting them on my brow ridge, hence the addition of long eye shields. The Nikon 7x35 Action Ex had the same problem for me and came out last - mainly because I just didn't like it (very scientific).

It should be noted that both the Opticron Imagic TGA WP 7x42 and my Zeiss 7x42 FLs are both useable by me without modification. In fact I quite like the Imagic, they are not without flaws, smaller fov and the usual resistance when focussing waterproof porros, but the bridge seemed up to the challenge on my copy.

At the end of the day, the little Imagics were my personal winners, but this was because they were instantly and reliably useable wheras the other two with their massive add-on eye shields to cut out external glare were more hassle. If the Discoveries had eye cups that fitted my face they would have probably come first of the three. The FLs are clearly in a different league and were there purely there as a baseline.

I know that many people have face geometries that suit the wider eyecups so this is very much a personal assessment, but does illustrate how issues other than optical perfection can heavily influence ones choice. I don't even notice which way they focus but they must fit my face.
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Old Monday 24th September 2018, 00:40   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcsantacurz View Post
...Even though, to me, the apparent field of view looks narrow, the actual field of view is pretty good, noticeably wider than the 8.5x42s even at modest distances (say 300 - 400 ft)...
The field of view in the 8.5x Swarovski is stated by them as 7.6 deg. Usually their FOV figures are correct or even a bit understated. It seems therefore that in the Discovery 7x it is at least the 7.8 deg. stated by Opticron.

Last edited by adhoc : Monday 24th September 2018 at 04:40.
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Old Monday 24th September 2018, 07:26   #6
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Originally Posted by adhoc View Post
The field of view in the 8.5x Swarovski is stated by them as 7.6 deg. Usually their FOV figures are correct or even a bit understated. It seems therefore that in the Discovery 7x it is at least the 7.8 deg. stated by Opticron.
Good point Adhoc. Initially Marc was talking about apparent fov and the Swaro does have a significant advantage there. Personally I would go for real fov every time

Lee
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Old Monday 24th September 2018, 19:36   #7
marcsantacurz
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Originally Posted by Troubador View Post
Good point Adhoc. Initially Marc was talking about apparent fov and the Swaro does have a significant advantage there. Personally I would go for real fov every time

Lee
Yes, I probably skipped between real fov and apparent fov a bit. So to clarify, the real fov of the opticrons is wider than the 8.5x42s and pretty usable edge-to-edge. The apparent fov is limited. I think the apparent fov is the main negative for me with this model, which really is not that awful of a negative all things considered in a new US$250 binocular with a lifetime warranty.

I'll post a bit more on my girlfriend's experience with shakes back in the 7x recommendations thread (https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=366972) a bit later. In short, she used them all day as her only binoculars for a community college ornithology class field trip. They were at a lagoon (pelicans, osprey, egrets, cormorants, gulls) and a hill (various hawks and falcons). She was very satisfied with the performance and found she could make out colors and other details others did not see right away. She was using them with glasses.

Marc
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 20:11   #8
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I thought they were absolute garbage and a waste of money.
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Old Saturday 13th October 2018, 13:35   #9
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I think that they are a fine binocular for their price.

Bob
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Old Saturday 13th October 2018, 15:43   #10
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Originally Posted by ceasar View Post
I think that they are a fine binocular for their price.

Bob
Me too Bob.

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Old Saturday 13th October 2018, 20:03   #11
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Talk about polarity....lol.
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Old Saturday 13th October 2018, 21:37   #12
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In the 7x arena, there is not much of a choice for a budget conscious buyer. I've used these Discovery and the Zeiss Dialyt 7x42bga T*P. Optically, there's no comparison, the Zeiss blows away the Discovery. But even 25 years old and used, they cost 3x - 5x as much and are not nearly as compact. Sharon can also be a bit clumsy with her gear and I think she is much more comfortable with a $250 pair of binoculars -- with an expensive pair she'd have anxiety about damaging them (she loved watching the Zeiss Conquest HD youtube trying to trash them!).

I agree with Bob, for the price I think it's a good choice for an affordable 7x and is a pretty good view in the sweet spot.

Marc
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Old Sunday 14th October 2018, 05:59   #13
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I think what's happening here is that everyone likes a 7x and there are so few around. I tried to convince myself that these were good value for money too, but in reality they are disappointing. I tried them next to a few cheaper Helios models and they weren't at all bright for a 6mm exit pupil and had a noticeable yellow cast. Very surprised to read comments praising their brightness!

I am a big fan of the Discovery range . The 8x42 and 8x50 are excellent in their price range. The 7x42 is a huge disappointment. People shouldn't be too quick to priase them just because they are the only low cost 7x42 on the market. I suspect they won't last long.
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Old Sunday 14th October 2018, 13:37   #14
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I think what's happening here is that everyone likes a 7x and there are so few around. I tried to convince myself that these were good value for money too, but in reality they are disappointing. I tried them next to a few cheaper Helios models and they weren't at all bright for a 6mm exit pupil and had a noticeable yellow cast. Very surprised to read comments praising their brightness!

I am a big fan of the Discovery range . The 8x42 and 8x50 are excellent in their price range. The 7x42 is a huge disappointment. People shouldn't be too quick to priase them just because they are the only low cost 7x42 on the market. I suspect they won't last long.
I can't understand why the 7x42 would be that much different from any of the other binoculars in Opticron's Discovery range of binoculars. They all have the same magnesium body construction and FMC optics with PC Phase Corrected Prisms and have equivalent pricing based on the size of their objectives. There is certainly no yellow cast in mine and I am familiar with that because I have an old Leitz 7x42 Trinovid BA which has a yellow cast.

https://www.opticronusa.com/Pages/discovery_wp.html

Maybe yours slipped through the Quality Control final inspection? I had to return my first 7x42 Discovery because the right eye diopter was frozen and impossible to move. Opticron USA replaced it for me promptly.

Bob
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Old Sunday 14th October 2018, 14:14   #15
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Just checked my notes from when I reviewed the Discovery and I definitely didn't see a yellow cast. I had some issues with the ER/eyecups but I know my latest spectacles are more of a challenge with binos than my previous specs and Troubadoris had no problems with them.

For under 200 and under $300 I reckon they are sound performers based on review unit. During my interview with Pete Gamby he said that Discovery 7x was selling in-line with Opticron's modest expectations and dealers were re-ordering at a steady rate.

Lee
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Old Sunday 14th October 2018, 14:30   #16
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I think that they are a fine binocular for their price.

Bob
That's the whole concept, surely. How many brand new and current 7 x 42 roof prisms are actually being offered on the market? And given that most of the much loved "alphas" in that spec. are no longer in production, $300 is not a lot for a new binocular that gives the user what they enjoy.......a reasonable image in an good and lightweight ergonomic design.
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Old Sunday 14th October 2018, 14:46   #17
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That's the whole concept, surely. How many brand new and current 7 x 42 roof prisms are actually being offered on the market? And given that most of the much loved "alphas" in that spec. are no longer in production, $300 is not a lot for a new binocular that gives the user what they enjoy.......a reasonable image in an good and lightweight ergonomic design.
Absolutely and to emphasise this here is an excerpt from my review of Discovery 7x:
Binoculars with 7x magnification are a dying breed and according to comments from several brands are normally loss-makers due to insufficient sales, so Opticron is to be commended for supporting their customer with this model. It is not entirely alone as brands such as Kite, Optolyth and Eschenbach also sell 7x roof prism models in a price band from 375 to 900, but as far as I have been able to find, Opticron are the sole brand fielding a roof prism 7x bino at or around the UK price of 189 and US price of between $249 and $285.
Looks like Opticron have found an unoccupied niche in the market.

Lee
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