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seeking advice on which Opticron model to choose

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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 02:25   #1
falcondog
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seeking advice on which Opticron model to choose

Newbie here looking for some advice for my first (good) pair of binoculars out of the Opticron models. I can see using them for many purposes: birding, wildlife viewing, stargazing, sporting events, concerts, etc. I realize there won't be one pair that's perfect for every use, but wondering what would be a good choice for multipurpose use and a first pair.

I've been doing some research the past week or so to learn some of the basics so I can compare specs. Initially, I was leaning toward 8x42 models, which seem to be a popular choice for general use and a first pair of binoculars. However, it occurred to me more recently that I may be better off with 8x32 for portability. I'd probably be more likely to take them with me if I can fit them in a small backpack when I'm moving around town or fit them in my camera backpack when I go hiking. Then again, maybe some of the 8x42 models aren't *that* much bigger to make a significant difference.

Other notes: I'm a guy with a medium-size face. I have glasses, but generally only wear them in low light.

Looking at the 8x32 options from Opticron, these are some of the differences I notice based mostly on specs:

Discovery - Pros: Price. Seems to be a popular model. Smallest close focus. Cons: Not made in Japan. No tripod adapter (but not sure if I really need it). Plastic body. No ED glass.
Traveller MG - Pros: Made in Japan. Smallest of the three. Cons: Smallest field of view. No ED glass.
Traveller ED - Pros: Widest field of view. ED glass. Cons: Significantly more expensive. Not made in Japan. Largest close focus. Slightly heavier than the others.

And for the 8x42 models I was considering:

Natura - Pros: New model just released. Made in Japan. ED glass. Cons: Largest close focus. Smaller field of view. Largest of the three.
Explorer - Pros: Price. ED glass. Cons: Not made in Japan.
Countryman - Pros: Made in Japan. Smallest of the three (barely). Cons: Most expensive.
Discovery - Pros: Price. Smallest close focus. Cons: Not made in Japan. No ED glass. Plastic body.

Of course, noticing all these differences "on paper" only makes it more difficult to decide which one to choose. For instance, not sure if I'll really *need* close focus in general use. Not sure if I'll really notice a difference optical quality if I get one without ED glass. Not sure if being made in Japan will mean they'll have a noticeably better build quality. And how much will the differences in field of view matter?

Will the benefits of an 8x42 pair for everyday use outweigh the negative of a slightly larger size over 8x32? Do you find 8x42 to be even that much bigger or are they still fairly portable?

Is 8x42 going to offer significantly better low light performance for using them for things like stargazing or on overcast days?

Any other thoughts either on deciding between 8x32 vs 8x42 or on other differences I should consider between the pairs I listed above. Appreciate any advice or specific model recommendations you can offer!

I'll also throw out there that the only non-Opticron model I'm considering is the new Olympus Pro 8x42, in case anyone likes that model. But the fact that it's made in China and doesn't offer the 5-year accidental damage protection like Opticron does is steering me more toward Opticron.
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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 07:53   #2
Troubador
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If you want to fit them into a backpack or camerapack then a 32mm is definitely the way to go. Unless you specialise in dawn and dusk outings a 32mm will be fine.

At the price level you are looking at, relatively modest increases in budget can be expected to bring significant improvements in bino performance and from the models you mention I would definitely choose Traveller ED.

Lee
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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 14:50   #3
falcondog
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Thanks for the response, Lee! It's good to know that 8x32 should fit my needs. I was looking at prices on B&H and see Discovery @ $229, Traveller MG @ $299, and Traveller ED @ $399. That's quite a jump in price for the ED, but I guess if I think of it as my one and only pair of binoculars that will last me for the next decade or longer, it's probably a worthwhile investment. I am a bit surprised that the higher end EDs aren't "made in Japan" like the lower priced MGs. But I guess with the long warranty Opticron provides, I shouldn't be too concerned about build quality.

As a side note, do you know if the "no fault policy" (accidental damage) applies to the Traveller ED?
https://www.opticronusa.com/Pages/warranties.htm
I don't understand what the "Premier and Premier Plus" products are that are mentioned under that policy.

I see a "Limited Lifetime Warranty" on the product page for the Traveller ED, but it doesn't specify if the "no fault policy" applies. I see "no fault warranty" mentioned on the page for the lower priced Natura model.
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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 15:38   #4
Troubador
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Falcondog

Go to https://www.opticronusa.com/PDF/Opti...Warranties.pdf
Opticron advise that Traveller ED is covered by Premier Plus.

The Opticron USA site will become more user-friendly when it migrates to the same format as the UK site in the near future.

Lee
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Old Monday 20th May 2019, 21:05   #5
jring
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Hi,

first of all, welcome to Birdforum!

Of the opticron models mentioned, I would probably choose the Traveller ED 8x32 too.

That being said, the Nikon M7 8x30 is quite similar and might be available cheaper. The main difference is a bit more eye relief on the Opticron (which might be the crucial few mm if you wear glasses while using bins) - and not sure if Nikon offers a no-fault warranty stateside - over here in EU - no such thing.

This review shows the differences: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=340808

Joachim
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Old Tuesday 28th May 2019, 17:39   #6
Andy Hall
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I've had a pair of Veranos for 15 years and they have given great service. However, I recently tried a pair of Imagic BGA VHD 8 x 42 and they are a whole step up in quality and clarity. I had to have them. Superb bins, lovely feel in the hand etc. Lack of strap on the case is a minor gripe. Will keep the Veranos as a spare.
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Old Tuesday 28th May 2019, 21:12   #7
Chris Galvin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Hall View Post
Lack of strap on the case is a minor gripe.
Hi Andy, the case that the Imagic VHD has is designed to use the lanyard/neck strap of the binocular. there are clips on the side of the case that clip on to the neck strap
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Old Wednesday 29th May 2019, 21:20   #8
Andy Hall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Galvin View Post
Hi Andy, the case that the Imagic VHD has is designed to use the lanyard/neck strap of the binocular. there are clips on the side of the case that clip on to the neck strap
Hi Chris,
there are no clips at the side of the case that came with my bins. In any case, I like my old bins strap that you put on my Veranos and am using that on my Imagics.
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Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 06:04   #9
Andy Hall
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Eventually worked out how to use the case straps, which for someone with zero DIY skills, I found counter intuitive but all sorted now.
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