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Review of Traveller 8x32

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Old Saturday 25th November 2017, 13:45   #1
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Review of Traveller 8x32

Traveller 8x32 BGA ED
The Traveller 8x32 BGA ED retails at around 309 or $430 which places it at around 50 more expensive than the Nikon M7 8x30 in the UK and in the same market, around 20 cheaper than Zeiss’s Terra 8x32. In the USA the Traveller comes in at around $55 more than the Nikon and a similar $60 more than the Terra. So in price terms the Traveller slots into the market nicely. The respected Kite Lynx falls outside this group at around 500 and Vortex doesn’t have a contender at this price.

The Traveller project took 3 years to bring to market, starting off with an 8x30 model as the base but then changing everything by upping the objective lens to 32mm, increasing the size of the prisms, re-designing the eyepiece to not only increase the eye relief from 15mm to a more user-friendly 19mm but also to maintain the field of view at a highly competitive 143 m / 429 ft, bettering Zeiss’s Terra 8x32 by 8m. If 8m doesn’t seem all that much, just reflect on the fact that this means an area of view just over 12% bigger than the Terra’s. But they didn’t stop there and modified the chassis to increase the IPD range from 55-73mm to 51-73 thus making this model more accessible especially to kids and ladies. As you can tell, this was far from a mere cloning and re-branding exercise.

The Traveller is just 119mm long which means it is only 3mm or 0.12 inch longer than the King of Compact, the Leica Ultravid HD, and its weight of 451 g / 15.9 ozs is 12% lighter than Zeiss’s Terra. All of which means it is a mighty midget that is easy to carry and great to use. Compared with my old model Terra 8x32 ED, the Traveller had a bit more contrast which made it easier to snap into focus, especially under dim skies, and the control of chromatic aberration was a little better too. It focused at about the same speed as the Terra, which means similar to an FL 8x32, faster than a Kowa Genesis and much faster than a Meopta MeoStar. This means that it would be a great performer in habitats where nearby subjects like butterflies and dragonflies are popping up as frequently as distant birds. Moreover, the low sun caused by Islay’s latitude and the time of year, never resulted in glare problems.

In terms of colour reproduction it was very neutral and accurately reproduced the tones of a Common or Harbour Seal changing from glossy black to furry brown as it dried out after hauling out onto a rock. Similarly it gave satisfying views of Red-billed Chough with glossy black plumage, red bill and red legs. Through the Travellers, Whooper Swans had dazzling white plumage with the yellow section of the bill nicely defined and the Greenland White-fronted Geese were a lesson in subtle plumage hues and details.

The big field of view came into its own when my wife whispered ‘eagle’ and pointed with an arm that waved around at least 3 points of the compass and a scan of the sky captured a Golden Eagle, an immature judging by the wing-patches. Similarly, diving seals and Otters were readily re-acquired by the wide field when they surfaced.

With every bino there some issues that can be improved and the Traveller's rainguard could be better. For folks with a narrow IPD like me (58.5mm) the rainguard is far too stiff. It is a right fiddle to get the guard to fold enough to drop onto the eyecups and in winter, wearing gloves, this is worse. What makes this more difficult is that the guard only attaches to the lanyard at one side. If it attached on both sides then sliding the guard down the straps would ‘pre-bend’ it so that it arrived at the eyecups at the right size and slip on with minimum fuss and delay. If you are caught out on the hill by rain arriving, rainguards are a vital accessory to not only keep your eyepieces clear of rain but by doing so, reduce the temptation to wipe away raindrops and possibly scratch your eye lens with dust particles that you couldn’t see due to the drops of water. One point in the rainguard’s favour is that it appears to be stiff due to being made from a plastic rather than rubber and its smooth surface didn’t capture sand particles as much as rubber rainguards did and were far easier to clean of the few particles that did attached themselves to it. The Traveller was supplied with a decent case that was easy to use although some folks that use the case in the field might frown at the noise the Velcro fastener makes when you open it. The eyecups were reliable in all positions.

Optically they performed above their price level and certainly a notch higher than my old Terras. At their price they are an attractive proposition combining low weight and small size with a big field of view and with user-friendly features such as big eye relief and wide IPD range. The Imagics certainly have better optics but you would expect this from the price difference and they have a smaller IPD range and field of view. The little Traveller would suit so many people. Carry it when loaded with photo gear, or tripod and scope. Indeed if you are considering blowing a load of cash on a top tier telescope such as the forthcoming Zeiss Harpia or Kowa’s established TSN 880 and are wondering what modestly priced binos to pair it with, then the compact but wide field of view Traveller would be a great spotter bino. Ladies and kids will appreciate the IPD range and senior citizens and tourists the light weight. Certainly if you are looking for a 32mm in this price range you should put this on your short list.

The Traveller is shown below along side a Leica Trinovid HD 8x32 for size comparison.
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Old Saturday 25th November 2017, 17:23   #2
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Thanks for posting the review of the Traveller. Nice job!

Your timing is good since the Traveller 8X32 is the only binocular that was on my Black Friday radar. Upland reported some issues the other day but it looks like they were not apparent in your sample and Joe Rawls had nice things to say about it on his store web site so I went and ordered one a bit ago.

It looks to be a good balance between the Nikon Monarch 7 8X30 and the Cabiela's Guide (Leupold Mojave BK3) that I have. It should address the touchy eye placement issues with the Monarch yet be lighter than the Guide with better optics and have a FOV close to the Nikon ( Traveller 429 ft, Nikon 435 ft).

The Cabela's Guide 8X32 weighs 19.4 oz on my postal scale and I get an IPD measurement of approximately 54mm. The Nikon Monarch 7 8X30 weighs out to 15.4 oz on the same scale and the IPD measurement is also approximately 54mm. Weights are without strap or covers. Were you able to weigh the Traveller to comfirm the spec of 15.9 oz?

Did you do much in the way of comparing the optics to the Leica? I recall that the Leica is less in FOV but I would expect more contrast in the Leica and better glare handling. Was there any difference in CA handling? Leica specs a weight of 18.9 oz and eye relief of 13.3mm so the Traveller may have appeal to some folks looking at those attributes.

The Traveller can be purchased this Black Friday weekend on this side of the pond for $335.81 and the Nikon for $330.56 at Optics Planet using checkout code BFBN13.
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Old Saturday 25th November 2017, 19:04   #3
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Thanks for posting the review of the Traveller. Nice job!

Your timing is good since the Traveller 8X32 is the only binocular that was on my Black Friday radar. Upland reported some issues the other day but it looks like they were not apparent in your sample and Joe Rawls had nice things to say about it on his store web site so I went and ordered one a bit ago.

It looks to be a good balance between the Nikon Monarch 7 8X30 and the Cabiela's Guide (Leupold Mojave BK3) that I have. It should address the touchy eye placement issues with the Monarch yet be lighter than the Guide with better optics and have a FOV close to the Nikon ( Traveller 429 ft, Nikon 435 ft).

The Cabela's Guide 8X32 weighs 19.4 oz on my postal scale and I get an IPD measurement of approximately 54mm. The Nikon Monarch 7 8X30 weighs out to 15.4 oz on the same scale and the IPD measurement is also approximately 54mm. Weights are without strap or covers. Were you able to weigh the Traveller to comfirm the spec of 15.9 oz?

Did you do much in the way of comparing the optics to the Leica? I recall that the Leica is less in FOV but I would expect more contrast in the Leica and better glare handling. Was there any difference in CA handling? Leica specs a weight of 18.9 oz and eye relief of 13.3mm so the Traveller may have appeal to some folks looking at those attributes.

The Traveller can be purchased this Black Friday weekend on this side of the pond for $335.81 and the Nikon for $330.56 at Optics Planet using checkout code BFBN13.
Sorry Bruce, I didn't compare Traveller to Trinovid but I did check the weight at 448 grams that converts to 15.8 ozs so I guess thats close enough. I will compare to the Leica sometime this coming week if the weather improves. We had snowing today!

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Old Sunday 26th November 2017, 18:01   #4
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Thanks Lee for confirming the weight of the Traveller at 15.8 oz. That is close enough to the 15.9 spec! That puts it very close to the Nikon Monarch 7 8X30 at 15.4 oz, but with the advantage of the slightly larger objective lenses.

When I mentioned the Leica above, I was thinking of the Ultravid + 8X32 and forgot about the new Trinovid that you picked up earlier this year. The Triovid would make a much better comparison to the Traveller because of the lower price of the Trinovid compared to the Ultravid. Advantages I see for the Traveller are less weight, smaller size, larger field of view and a good deal less money. So the question is, what does the new Trinovid HD 8X32 have to offer over the Traveller? Exlcuding FOV, does the Trinovid give an overall better view?

Snow is a novelty for me. Take advantage of it to do some glare testing!
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Old Sunday 26th November 2017, 18:35   #5
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Thanks Lee for confirming the weight of the Traveller at 15.8 oz. That is close enough to the 15.9 spec! That puts it very close to the Nikon Monarch 7 8X30 at 15.4 oz, but with the advantage of the slightly larger objective lenses.

When I mentioned the Leica above, I was thinking of the Ultravid + 8X32 and forgot about the new Trinovid that you picked up earlier this year. The Triovid would make a much better comparison to the Traveller because of the lower price of the Trinovid compared to the Ultravid. Advantages I see for the Traveller are less weight, smaller size, larger field of view and a good deal less money. So the question is, what does the new Trinovid HD 8X32 have to offer over the Traveller? Exlcuding FOV, does the Trinovid give an overall better view?

Snow is a novelty for me. Take advantage of it to do some glare testing!
Bruce

You will have to let me get back to you on the Trinnie vs Travvy question!
Household chores and weather are getting in the way of this interesting topic just now!

Lee
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Old Tuesday 28th November 2017, 11:27   #6
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Bruce

I have had a great opportunity to try the Trinovid HD and Traveller side by side today in very good clear dry weather if rather cold.

I can provoke glare in both of them but careful eye placement can reduce this with the Trinovid. The Traveller doesn't flare quite as much but eye placement doesn't cure it, BUT when I was using it for real nature observation on Islay which is well to the north of here, with a very low sun all day as we are now in winter, I was never troubled by flare with the Traveller.

The Trinovid beats the Traveller for perceived detail at very long distances (approx 1 mile) but this is surely what we expect from a bino more than twice the price of the Traveller and the Traveller by no means disgraced itself at these long distances. The Traveller has a tiny bit more contrast too which helps to get a good focus quickly, so for practical nature observation it is competitive.

In the hand the Traveller is very compact and while that suits me it might not suit folks with large hands, whereas they might like the Trinovid with it being one modest size larger.

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Old Tuesday 28th November 2017, 11:36   #7
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Great review Lee, you pick up on a lot of things that I didn't (and probably should have) in my review. None-the-less, I agree that they are optically very good, well worth the money and certainly one I felt Opticron really needed in their line-up!
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Old Tuesday 28th November 2017, 15:14   #8
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Great review Lee, you pick up on a lot of things that I didn't (and probably should have) in my review. None-the-less, I agree that they are optically very good, well worth the money and certainly one I felt Opticron really needed in their line-up!
HI Joe

Thanks for your kind words. I didn't read your review in order that I didn't have any pre-conceived notions about them. Certainly, using them for an extended time on Islay (along with some other models) gave them a good work out. I think they are outstanding little binos.

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Old Wednesday 29th November 2017, 11:29   #9
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The 10x32 has just received a very favourable review from BBR: https://www.bestbinocularsreviews.co...Review-203.htm
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Old Wednesday 29th November 2017, 20:03   #10
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Bruce

I have had a great opportunity to try the Trinovid HD and Traveller side by side today in very good clear dry weather if rather cold.

I can provoke glare in both of them but careful eye placement can reduce this with the Trinovid. The Traveller doesn't flare quite as much but eye placement doesn't cure it, BUT when I was using it for real nature observation on Islay which is well to the north of here, with a very low sun all day as we are now in winter, I was never troubled by flare with the Traveller.

The Trinovid beats the Traveller for perceived detail at very long distances (approx 1 mile) but this is surely what we expect from a bino more than twice the price of the Traveller and the Traveller by no means disgraced itself at these long distances. The Traveller has a tiny bit more contrast too which helps to get a good focus quickly, so for practical nature observation it is competitive.

In the hand the Traveller is very compact and while that suits me it might not suit folks with large hands, whereas they might like the Trinovid with it being one modest size larger.

Lee
Lee ..... Good to hear you were able to break away from the household chores and clear the snow for a comparision of these two binoculars.

So it looks like the Trinovid is a little bit better optically but the Traveller held its own. That sounds reasonable considering the price difference. Thanks for doing the comparison.

Joe .... That is a great avatar, very creative! Looks like you are all enjoying the view. My apologies for the miss-spelling of your name in my above post. I need to get a proof reader.

Your review is also very good and I appreciate all the effort you, Lee, Frank, Upland and others have put in to reviewing and commenting on the new Traveller. It has been very helpful.

Here is Joe's review from his store website ......

http://www.feathersoptics.co.uk/reviewTravellerED.php
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Old Thursday 30th November 2017, 02:09   #11
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So it looks like the Trinovid is a little bit better optically but the Traveller held its own. That sounds reasonable considering the price difference. Thanks for doing the comparison.
Bruce, I can see Lee's observations is potentially ambiguous. It is very unlikely that the differences in "perceived detail at very long distances" has anything to do with with being better optical resolution. The detail would be eye limited for both binoculars (unless Opticron sent Lee a particularly bad sample). I suspect the clue is the distance. At a mile, the warm transmission bias of the old Trinovid would will cut through the blue scattered light of atmospheric haze better that the cooler profile of the Traveller ED. A warmer bias can be useful at times, but generally I prefer a neutral balance for most birding.

David

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Old Thursday 30th November 2017, 07:10   #12
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Bruce, I can see Lee's observations is potentially ambiguous. It is very unlikely that the differences in "perceived detail at very long distances" has anything to do with with being better optical resolution. The detail would be eye limited for both binoculars (unless Opticron sent Lee a particularly bad sample). I suspect the clue is the distance. At a mile, the warm transmission bias of the old Trinovid would will cut through the blue scattered light of atmospheric haze better that the cooler profile of the Traveller ED. A warmer bias can be useful at times, but generally I prefer a neutral balance for most birding.

David
Thats a good point David but would it apply quite as much at this time of year with the relatively low sun making the light rather warmer than mid-year? The Trinovids are the new 32s by the way but I don't think they have changed optically from the 42s.

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Old Thursday 30th November 2017, 07:43   #13
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Lee,

The problem is the blue sky not the low sun, and yes a warmer balance still works better when there is any haze or mist.

I presumed you meant your wife's old Trinovid which gets mentioned a lot. If you mean the 8x32 that came out a couple of years ago, I'd still say it's warmer than the Traveller ED and at that range, still the most likely explaination. I'm not at all keen on that one optically at closer range. Even the fairly youthful Leica rep conceded it wasn't sharp.

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Old Thursday 30th November 2017, 07:57   #14
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Lee,

The problem is the blue sky not the low sun, and yes a warmer balance still works better when there is any haze or mist.

I presumed you meant your wife's old Trinovid which gets mentioned a lot. If you mean the 8x32 that came out a couple of years ago, I'd still say it's warmer than the Traveller ED and at that range, still the most likely explaination. I'm not at all keen on that one optically at closer range. Even the fairly youthful Leica rep conceded it wasn't sharp.

David
Aileen's old Trinnies are retired now and she has the new Trinovid 32s as back-up to her Ultravids. Thanks for clarifying regarding the blue sky. My targets were across our valley rather than against the sky itself but for sure with the weather we have been having the view has had a slight haze to it.

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Old Thursday 30th November 2017, 09:22   #15
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Lee,

Speculating any further on the contribution of Rayleigh scattering to your particular comparison results probably won't be useful. In my experience, if you can't see a resolution driven sharpness difference at twenty yards, then any difference observed at a mile will be due to some other binocular characteristic. We have a mile wide valley behind our house too.

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Old Thursday 30th November 2017, 10:49   #16
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Lee,
do you have any idea who makes the Traveller? I ask it since the body design looks as if it is copied from or inspired by the CL Companion and other designs like the ones from Kite, Nikon and Maven also could have been inspired by this binocular.
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Old Thursday 30th November 2017, 11:47   #17
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Gijs,

I guess it's quite likely that the success of the CL motivated Nikon and Kite to go with an x30, but I understood from George de Putter that the core design was an off the shelf Kamakura. I personally see no similarity at all in the optical chacteristics between the Swarovski and those two at least. The field flattening characteristics are entirely different, and both the Nikon, and particularly the Kite, have much better effective resolution and sharpness characteristics.

Being an x32, with longer ER and a wider eye lens means that the Opticron is different, but to my eyes it still shares much of the view characteristics of the Nikon and Kite. Pete Gamby has acknowledge a subcontractor was used for part of the manufacturing process, and in direct comparison with the Nikon and Kite, the colour rendition and contrast appears distinct from the other two, but the differences, with the Nikon at least, is really quite small.

From all accounts so far the new Companion is a substantial improvement over it's predecessor, which is excellent news. I heard my nearest shop has it in stock but I've not had a chance to get there yet, but hope to get an opportunity shortly.

David

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Old Wednesday 27th December 2017, 02:36   #18
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Is the eye relief spec on the 8x32 Traveller accurate? I've tried some other Opticron models and their actual eye relief felt like less than spec.

I find I need an "honest" 18mm of eye relief for comfortable use. I've sold an M7 8x30 because the eye relief was just a little too short.

Happy Holidays!
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Old Wednesday 27th December 2017, 10:13   #19
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Is the eye relief spec on the 8x32 Traveller accurate? I've tried some other Opticron models and their actual eye relief felt like less than spec.

I find I need an "honest" 18mm of eye relief for comfortable use. I've sold an M7 8x30 because the eye relief was just a little too short.

Happy Holidays!
Yes I have checked it and on the unit I tested it was correct.

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Old Wednesday 27th December 2017, 17:38   #20
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In thread 2 of "eye relief - Rule of thumb method?"
Pete Gamby said

"We measure from the outmost/top edge of the eyepiece in its lowest position (twisted down or folded down) to the point at which the exit pupil diameter is measured to be at it's maximum/optimum e.g. 5.25mm for an 8x42 binocular. This is done using a device with an extendable tube which projects the exit pupil onto a semi-translucent sheet with a scale.

HTH

Cheers, Pete"

I find this method more useful, as an eyeglass wearer, than the technically correct measure but it would also be useful to know the axial distance from the rim to the apex of the ocular.

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Old Wednesday 27th December 2017, 18:29   #21
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In thread 2 of "eye relief - Rule of thumb method?"
Pete Gamby said

"We measure from the outmost/top edge of the eyepiece in its lowest position (twisted down or folded down) to the point at which the exit pupil diameter is measured to be at it's maximum/optimum e.g. 5.25mm for an 8x42 binocular. This is done using a device with an extendable tube which projects the exit pupil onto a semi-translucent sheet with a scale.

HTH

Cheers, Pete"

I find this method more useful, as an eyeglass wearer, than the technically correct measure but it would also be useful to know the axial distance from the rim to the apex of the ocular.
I only have my BGA Classic to hand. The eye relief listed on their website is 19mm. That corresponds exactly with the lens to ER measurement. The distance from the rim of the eyecup to the ER is 16mm. I actually use an O-ring to reduce it about 13.5mm which is comfortable with my glasses. I'm pretty sure they list true ER rather than available ER for most of their models.

Of all the binoculars I've reviewed I've only found one occasion where the manufacturer used the available ER. In fact the 14.5mm listed was actually quite generous with glasses, but I'm sure it would have discouraged a number of potential buyers.

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Old Monday 1st January 2018, 16:24   #22
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Thanks for the info. Opticrons aren't seen often around here but I will have to find a way to try a pair.
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Old Monday 1st January 2018, 16:46   #23
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Thanks for the info. Opticrons aren't seen often around here but I will have to find a way to try a pair.
You may find the dealer list on the Opticron USA website useful:

http://www.opticronusa.com/Pages/dealers.html

Good luck
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Old Monday 1st January 2018, 17:45   #24
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It is very likely well worth your while to take a trip to Out of this World in Mendocino. If nothing else they look like they have one of the best natural settings too look through a bunch of binoculars in a superb natural setting. I have never been there, but have talked to them on the phone several times. Nice, knowledgeable folks.
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Old Monday 1st January 2018, 17:47   #25
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Thanks for the info. Opticrons aren't seen often around here but I will have to find a way to try a pair.
Try East Bay Nature at ........

1270 Newell Ave Ste A, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

It would be a good idea to call first to check on what they have since not all dealers carry the full line.

https://www.eastbaynature.com/ebn/EB...lic&language=0

Also keep an eye on birding festivals near you. Opticron is excellent at attending festivals around the country and they have a good part of the models on display. They will be in Chico, CA for the Snow Goose Festival at the end of January which looks to be a little north of you.

http://www.snowgoosefestival.org/

http://www.opticronusa.com/Pages/festivals.html
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