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Hawke Frontier ED 8x43!

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Old Saturday 8th August 2009, 02:00   #151
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I did not think it was spongey either Kevin. Product variation?
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Old Saturday 8th August 2009, 05:16   #152
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It appears to me to be how "spongy" is percieved and defined. In this case the definition may be defined by the user on the basis of the slow rate and the seeming delay that causes in getting from one side of the focus to another. That has always been a complaint of sorts I have had with the ZEN and Promaster, but in those binoculars I have had, the focus rate and tension apparrently required to keep the focus wheel in motion has always been constant, and seems about what it should be. Certainly not what I would call spongy, but we all see/feel things differently.
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Old Saturday 8th August 2009, 07:13   #153
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Do they still have the slow, spongey focus?

Matt
Focusing remains unchanged on mine, wouldn't say spongey though; very precise in fact without any backlash in between.
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Old Saturday 8th August 2009, 08:56   #154
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Focus action is fine on mine too. A lot has been made of the slow focus but unless you constantly go from extreme close distance to medium / long distance it's not a problem. The depth of field is very good so I don't find the need to re-focus much in most situations. In fact the slow focus does seem to help attain sharp focus better than other fast focusing bins i've used in the past.

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Old Saturday 8th August 2009, 10:06   #155
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Thanks for the replies re the focus action!

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Old Thursday 17th September 2009, 20:19   #156
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Thanks to all the reviews and information on here I have just got the Black ED 8x43s brand new for 235 ! My first proper pair of bins and much better than the 20 year old opticrons I'd been struggling with... thanks to everyone for helping me narrow my search, cheers, Pitvar
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Old Friday 18th September 2009, 21:08   #157
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Glad to hear that you are happy with the new bins. The Hawke and its subsequent siblings (Promaster, Zen Ray, Atlas Optics) are truly superb performers. The fact that they are as inexpensive as they are truly is something.
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Old Friday 18th September 2009, 22:02   #158
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I tried the Hawke EDs a few month ago and thought they were excellent apart from the focusing, which I too found to be stiff, slow and spongy. It completely put me off the bins. However, I tried another pair a few days ago and couldn't find anything to complain about at all with the focusing. I don't know if they were bedded in, if there is sample variation or if I just wasn't 'tuned into them' the first time. I was very impressed indeed with the latest sample and my only complaint now is that they are slightly on the large side.

Ron
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Old Monday 19th October 2009, 15:17   #159
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Originally Posted by Pitvar View Post
Thanks to all the reviews and information on here I have just got the Black ED 8x43s brand new for 235 ! My first proper pair of bins and much better than the 20 year old opticrons I'd been struggling with... thanks to everyone for helping me narrow my search, cheers, Pitvar
Hopefully I'm not in breach of any forum protocol but, dare I ask, where?
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Old Tuesday 27th October 2009, 21:31   #160
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Hopefully I'm not in breach of any forum protocol but, dare I ask, where?
Sorry Scooby2 - only just saw this - will pm you as it probably is against etiquette!

Edit - just checked same supplier gone from 249 or make me an offer to 299 or make me an offer - guess we've been hit by an exchange rate move again in the UK ?!?

Last edited by Pitvar : Wednesday 28th October 2009 at 18:08. Reason: More info
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Old Thursday 29th October 2009, 18:32   #161
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Sorry Scooby2 - only just saw this - will pm you as it probably is against etiquette!

Edit - just checked same supplier gone from 249 or make me an offer to 299 or make me an offer - guess we've been hit by an exchange rate move again in the UK ?!?
Just recieved my Hawke 8X43 EDs'.
They are simply superb for the price....even if that means nearer 300 than 250.
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Old Thursday 29th October 2009, 22:22   #162
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Old Friday 30th October 2009, 18:40   #163
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http://opticswarehouse.co.uk/proddet..._openhinge8x43

270 cheapest I can find, can anyone find any cheaper I could do with them being 250 ish ( it's difficult explaining to the wife why the 15 pair I bought should be upgraded to a 270 pair)

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Old Saturday 21st November 2009, 20:40   #164
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I can have a Hawke frontier ed much cheaper in England or Germany than here in Denmark. How is quality control or "lemon-frequency" on these chinese binonulars?

CJ
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Old Saturday 28th November 2009, 18:57   #165
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I have just bought myself a pair of these for the amazing price of 239.00! Brand new, boxed and as someone has said, guaranteed for ten years (in Europe).

Something I learned - that the 'holster' case that many people talk of is now discontinued - apparently it was 'damaging the binoculars' (direct quote from Hawke - I e-mailed to ask why I didn't have such a case in my box). A small point, but when you try the bins out, they are absolutely amazing for the usual rrp of 300 (more often than not 340 now here in the UK), but to get them for 239 is a total steal!

AND....the company I bought them from threw in a binocular harness worth 14 too! AND it's free delivery!??

Who said Santa doesn't exist?!

Check out their website - http://www.sherwoods-photo.com/

Mac

If anyone wants more info on how to access this deal - send me an e-mail. There's nothing in it for me - I'll put you on to the website
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Old Sunday 29th November 2009, 13:40   #166
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Ah, too bad I dont have a binocular to give them, to get the 60 rebate.
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Old Tuesday 1st December 2009, 15:20   #167
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CJ,

Why not buy a "cheap" pair second hand or on ebay then trade them in - simples?

Paul
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Old Tuesday 1st December 2009, 16:10   #168
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If I lived in England I would have considered it, but I have shipping from Denmark, anyways good idea, thanks.
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Old Sunday 12th September 2010, 20:57   #169
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I found this forum while searching for information on binoculars because I wanted to buy one. The discussions here helped me a lot, so I might as well share my experiences of the last two days.

To start with the end result of the journey, I finally bought the Hawke Frontier ED 8x43 (that's why I post in this specific thread).

Originally I was thinking about buying a Nikon Monarch II (version with no dielectric coating) which was on offer for 199. This was based on the good reviews that I have read everywhere. Although I like good optics, I figured I was not in the market for something significantly more expensive because I will bring it on long (=months) trips carrying it in my backpack so it is likely to get some abuse (mechanical shocks, water, etc) and risk of theft when I leave it in my room in dodgy budget hostels.

When I tried the Monarch I immediately liked how it fitted in my hands, how light it was and how easy it focused. I was also impressed by the contrast and resolution in the centre. However what really put me off immediately was the fringing when you go out of the centre of the picture. Also the picture gets quite soft towards the edges. Although probably an excellent choice for the money, I realised that as the fringing immediately disappointed me, it would probably keep bothering me. So maybe I should aim at a bit higher price point after all.

Then I tried the Hawke ED Frontier 8x43 that was selling at 319 (In the end I haggled it down to 299). Immediately when I looked through it, what struck me was the almost complete absence of fringing and also the fact that there was much less softness towards the edges. Of course we are talking about 50% more expensive here but it is a different class. I also like the wider FOV, although I could easily have lived with the somewhat more narrow FOV of the Monarch. Furthermore I like the build quality and the look (the latter is not important to me at all but since I do like it why not mention it)

But there are some small negatives as well. First of all, I found the resolution IN THE CENTRE with the Monarch a bit better. The Monarch seem to have a little bit more contrast. This was especially obvious when looking at the dull gray plaster of a building on an overcast day. In this kind of low contrast situation the Monarch showed a bit more texture. So I can understand why the Monarchs are so popular for bird spotting because in the centre of the field you can distinguish very small details.

I also found that the Monarch gives a slightly brighter picture with more neutral colors. The Hawke is slightly yellowish. I prefer a neutral picture.

And then there is the much discussed "halo" effect. I see this too in some conditions and it does deteriorate the picture. It does matter how you look into the binocular and with your eyes close to the eyepieces the effect is reduced. It looks like it is caused by stray light reflecting inside the binocular, because I can make it disappear by placing my hand on a strategic position near the objective lens. For me it was not enough reason not to buy it but it does irritate me and if it could be dealt with in the design by for example sacrificing some FOV I would prefer that. At this moment I find this the biggest issue against the Hawke Frontier ED 8x43.

I also agree with the remarks from some people about the somewhat "spongy" feeling of the focus. It is certainly not bad, it works OK, but it does not have the quality feel that this product in general has. Anyway, no big issue for me.

When testing the Frontier ED 8x43, I also tried the Frontier ED 8x36. It gives a bit the same impression regarding my remarks about resolution/ contract and the slightly yellowish color compared to the Monarch. The ED 8x36 is also excellent with fringing and overal sharpness, is lighter and smaller than the ED 8x43 and the depth of field seems better. However, the picture is also somewhat darker and that is the main reason that I chose the ED 8x43.

I was also able to briefly compare the Hawke Frontier ED 8x43 with the 5 times more expensive Swarovski 8.5x42 New EL 42 (1545). Just curious how the Hawke ED 8x42 would hold up. I have to say that this Swarovski is indeed a very nice binocular. Looking through it, I knew were that extra money went. Handling and quality feel is excellent. I also noticed that the Swarovski has more neutral color and better contrast. No match, but of course more than 5 times the price of the Hawke. However the Swarovski also shows some softness towards the edges. This puts the comments from some people about some edge softness with the Hawke into context: there will always be some edge softness. In terms of overall sharpness and (absence of) fringing the Hawke starts to come close to much more expensive binoculars.

So to sum up my conclusions after one day

The good:
+ Fringing almost absent
+ Goods sharpness across the whole field
+ Relatively wide Field of View
+ Solid build quality

The less good
- Halo/ flare can be seen in some situations
- Contrast and sharpness in the centre not as good as some others
- Color balance not completely neutral but slightly yellowish
- Slightly spongy focus

Although I made some critical remarks here, don't forget that I left the shop as a happy man with a brand new Hawke Frontier ED 8x43 in my back. I don't think I'm going to regret this purchase. If I change my view during real life use in the future I will post it here in this thread.
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Old Monday 13th September 2010, 19:32   #170
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Thanks for the review, and welcome to the forum.
I am upgrading my bins before the VAT rise, and the Hawke EDs are very much in the running. Good to hear the pros and cons up front.
Cheers,
Jim.
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Old Wednesday 15th September 2010, 16:04   #171
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Originally Posted by YuShan View Post
...
But there are some small negatives as well. First of all, I found the resolution IN THE CENTRE with the Monarch a bit better. The Monarch seem to have a little bit more contrast. ...
...
The good:
+ Fringing almost absent
+ Goods sharpness across the whole field
+ Relatively wide Field of View
+ Solid build quality

The less good
- Halo/ flare can be seen in some situations
- Contrast and sharpness in the centre not as good as some others
- Color balance not completely neutral but slightly yellowish
- Slightly spongy focus
First of all, sorry for my english...
I am very surprised with your review. You feel less contrast with the Frontier than the Monarch. I try the Monarch one day and find the image "milky" and the contrast very poor (clarity was not very impressive...). A lot of CA (you said that too) and the eyepieces not very confortables.
I just buy a pair of Frontier ED 10X43. I hope to receive it tomorow and i will test it and compare it with Swaro 10X42 EL (not mine...) and Monarch 10X42...
I hope you aren't right because i was very disappointed by the Monarch !

Last edited by DadraFromFrance : Wednesday 15th September 2010 at 20:01.
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Old Wednesday 22nd September 2010, 20:28   #172
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First of all, sorry for my english...
I am very surprised with your review. You feel less contrast with the Frontier than the Monarch. I try the Monarch one day and find the image "milky" and the contrast very poor (clarity was not very impressive...). A lot of CA (you said that too) and the eyepieces not very confortables.
I just buy a pair of Frontier ED 10X43. I hope to receive it tomorow and i will test it and compare it with Swaro 10X42 EL (not mine...) and Monarch 10X42...
I hope you aren't right because i was very disappointed by the Monarch !
The parcell was lost ! I received yesterday my Frontier ED 10X43 and compared it between Svarowski EL 10X42 and Bushnell Elite E2 10X43 (I try also a Bushnell Legend HD wich seems similars at the Elite E2). If my english is not correct and you can't understand my words please don't hesitate to say it to me !

1. FOCUSING
The Frontier have a slow focus and the Elite E2 and the EL are really faster (and betters..) for that. For proxy focusing, it's long to have a sharp focus but it's precise and not "spongy" (in any case for me). I am photographer and always work with vintage lens (Zeiss-Contax, Takumar, Yashica and Russians' lens like Helios and Jupiter...) and the feeling is the same : slow, it's right. But this kind of ring have for me something pleasant : under the fingers it need somthing like "fingers'dexterity"... (and you see what i mean ! ). It's precise but long when you have to return to infinity after a close-focus.

2.OPTICALY
After the first viewing inside the Frontier (in front at Postal Office) I said myfelf : crisp, proper, nice ! The image is bright and edges are very goods (they could be sharper sbut it's ok). I can see a very llittle distorsion (curvature) but it's not a problem and really better than my 8X40 Perl (Porro special Baryum). Colors are nices and warm. I play at home before going tested it at my favorite shop where a nice guy also likes testing the binoculars.
After the Frontier, I try the Svarowski EL (which have the same height !). I said myself : CLEAR, CRISP, and... WOW ! They are realy more contrasted than the Frontier and clarity is also better. I have not the money for it but if i could, i will not hesitate : the Svarowski is a notch above ! The nice guy (the salersman !) tightened me a pair of Leica Ultravid 8X42 for close-focus. Great too but I prefer the Svaro (I was obliged to move back of a meter with the Leica). By pointing the bino at a poster with orange-reds tones , I was able to see the big purity of the image with Svaro : "Cristal clear"... Svaros'oculars are largers than Frontier and Elite eyepieces (5mm more approximately) and it's more confortable.
The Elite E2 seemed to me a little less sharp than Frontier at mid focus (when I tried to read bar-codes and the letters prints on a box in the shop at 4 meters). The clarity seems to me identical with the Frontier and the colour accuracy too. I prefer the Frontier for sharpness and handling.

STRAY LIGHT ?
I can't see it clearly. Under the artificial light, I noted more disturbance by indirect beam on Frontier than on Svaro. I didnt' notice anything else. If I see it later, I shall complete my review !
EDIT : A kind of "halo" can be seen at the edge with high light coming on lateral side opposite (like a sunnny window..).

3.HANDLING and CONSTRUCTION
Both Svarowski and Frontier are very confortables with a very good grip. The Elite is not so pleasant. The Svaro seems me lighter than the Frontier.
The Frontier feel solid and (but the cardbox in wich the bino are delivered made very cheap : chinese's touch.?). I prefer the rainguard of Svaro and materials make very long-lasting, more than the Frontier or the Elite. The dioptric adjustement on the Elite is precise and nice. That of Frontier work well however.
I noticed that the treatment anti-reflection is different between three binoculars. THe Frontier have a double green reflections and a little bit of pink. The Elite have also green and a little bite more pink. The Svaro have clearly triple reflections green, yellow and pink.

VERDICT
Yes it's sharp and the FOV is great. The light transmission is superior and better than the Elite E2 But a notch below Svaro. For my use, it's enough and I hope that they are as well solid as they it appear. I was amazed by the resemblance with Svaro. It is a pure copy and I regret a little this trend to the imitation.
I think that they are frankly better than Monarch but I shall try to compare them later.

Stephane

Last edited by DadraFromFrance : Thursday 23rd September 2010 at 15:09.
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Old Sunday 21st November 2010, 16:10   #173
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Thanks for your review Stephane! I agree with you that the Swaro is really a notch above the Hawke and I would love to own one some day. But of course it is 5x the price of the Hawke.

I've just come back from 2 months in Malaysia (of which >1 month in tropical rainforest) so I had the opportunity to get to know my Hawke Frontier ED 8x43 a little better. I can say that it has served me well. I largely still agree with what I wrote in my previous post, but I have a few remarks/ additions.

First of all, it survived the wet and humid tropical rainforest. But of course I expected no less.

Regarding the "spongy" focus, my Hawke has developed considerable play in the focus during 2 months of quite extensive use. So I stick to my statement that the focus is a weak point. I also prefer a somewhat faster focus, but that may be personal.

Regarding optical quality, I discovered that the way you position your eyes relative to the eyepieces is really very critical with the Hawke if you want to get the best quality. With this I mean both the distance to the eyepieces as how straight you look into them can really affect the quality of the view. This is something that you get used to after a while, you just learn how to position your eyes exactly. I found that the "halo" that I discussed before won't be a problem most of the time when you position your eyes very precisely. So I now consider this less of a problem than before, though it still cannot be avoided in some conditions so it remains a weakness.

I also found that the same applies to sharpness. There is something to gain by positioning your eyes very accurately. This is a difference with the Swaro EL, where I got incredible sharpness immediately without paying too much much attention how I'm looking through them, when I tested it outside the shop. I'm not saying the Hawke isn't sharp if you look through them casually, just that I discovered I can get additional sharpness if I position my eyes really accurately. For completeness I would like to mention that I wear toric contactlenses so that may have influence as well, but I guess the same should then apply with other binoculars.

In my previous post I mentioned contrast as one of the points of attention. I'm sticking to that statement. Especially in difficult conditions with strong backlight or a bright light source close to the object that you are observing you will clearly lose more contrast than with the Swaro.

Just wanted to post a short update after 2 months of extensive use. I posted some critical remarks here but to be clear: I'm still very happy with the purchase and would buy it again. I have really enjoyed these bins while watching crisp, fringe free, wide field of view images of wildlife like orang utangs, proboscis monkeys and many beautiful birds. And somewhat to my surprise I found myself using the bins a lot for watching insects, shy lizards and butterflies from 2-3 meter distance, which is often just enough distance not to scare them away.
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Old Monday 6th December 2010, 22:09   #174
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Thanks for your review Stephane! I agree with you that the Swaro is really a notch above the Hawke and I would love to own one some day. But of course it is 5x the price of the Hawke.

I've just come back from 2 months in Malaysia (of which >1 month in tropical rainforest) so I had the opportunity to get to know my Hawke Frontier ED 8x43 a little better. I can say that it has served me well. I largely still agree with what I wrote in my previous post, but I have a few remarks/ additions.

First of all, it survived the wet and humid tropical rainforest. But of course I expected no less.

Regarding the "spongy" focus, my Hawke has developed considerable play in the focus during 2 months of quite extensive use. So I stick to my statement that the focus is a weak point. I also prefer a somewhat faster focus, but that may be personal.

Regarding optical quality, I discovered that the way you position your eyes relative to the eyepieces is really very critical with the Hawke if you want to get the best quality. With this I mean both the distance to the eyepieces as how straight you look into them can really affect the quality of the view. This is something that you get used to after a while, you just learn how to position your eyes exactly. I found that the "halo" that I discussed before won't be a problem most of the time when you position your eyes very precisely. So I now consider this less of a problem than before, though it still cannot be avoided in some conditions so it remains a weakness.

I also found that the same applies to sharpness. There is something to gain by positioning your eyes very accurately. This is a difference with the Swaro EL, where I got incredible sharpness immediately without paying too much much attention how I'm looking through them, when I tested it outside the shop. I'm not saying the Hawke isn't sharp if you look through them casually, just that I discovered I can get additional sharpness if I position my eyes really accurately. For completeness I would like to mention that I wear toric contactlenses so that may have influence as well, but I guess the same should then apply with other binoculars.

In my previous post I mentioned contrast as one of the points of attention. I'm sticking to that statement. Especially in difficult conditions with strong backlight or a bright light source close to the object that you are observing you will clearly lose more contrast than with the Swaro.

Just wanted to post a short update after 2 months of extensive use. I posted some critical remarks here but to be clear: I'm still very happy with the purchase and would buy it again. I have really enjoyed these bins while watching crisp, fringe free, wide field of view images of wildlife like orang utangs, proboscis monkeys and many beautiful birds. And somewhat to my surprise I found myself using the bins a lot for watching insects, shy lizards and butterflies from 2-3 meter distance, which is often just enough distance not to scare them away.
Thanks YuShan for your post !
After 2 month, I could make the same report : the focuser is little spongy (I can hear a special sound when I focuse !) and it's slow (from minimum to infinity). It's also right that the Hawke need a good eyes' position : I am used to pushing a little eyes against eyepieces and this position is good for me. Stray light is a minor problem but exist.
All in all, I think that it's a good bino : sharp with naturals colors and a very good contrast. I agree : It's a very good bino for observations in nearness.
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Old Friday 20th October 2017, 19:33   #175
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I wonder how the hawke frontier ed 8x43 compare with a Tento 7x35 ( Razor sharp old porro circa 1980's... USSR) ??
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