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Review: Imagic BGA VHD 8x42

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Old Sunday 31st December 2017, 19:12   #1
Steve C
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Review: Imagic BGA VHD 8x42

I have had this binocular in hand for somewhat over a month. I have used it quite a bit and now it is time for the review.

Out of the box: Initial impressions are mostly favorable. This is a solid black binocular, covered with a tactile silicone/rubber skin that has a nice, leathery texture. The downside here is a visibly distinct appearance of mold lines in the armor on the outside of the tubes. That may or may not be seen as a downside to the binocular. It is of the correct dimensions and properly applied. There are no bulges, other deformities, or loose spots present. The size is pretty typical of the average 42 mm class binocular. The instrument has a tripod adapter. The binocular comes with a ballistic nylon carrying case, neck strap, objective covers a, rain guard, and cleaning cloth. The case lacks its own strap, but there are two loops on either side of the top interior of the case that will serve for a separate strap attachment. The typical tethered objective covers are have flaps to aid in removal. They are a nice tight fit. The tethers will stay in place on the tubes and the caps are easy enough to remove and replace while in use, and will stay in place until the user moves them. The rain guard is a stiffer plastic material seen on certain types of binoculars aside from Opticron. Sometimes this style will hang onto the eye cup assembly like grim death, and simply put, represent a pain in the neck. In this case the size is perfect. They are stiff enough to handle and slide easily on and off the eye cups. There is a slight wobble to the eye cup assembly when in full extension. The Opticron USA website shows an msrp of $715.00.

Specifications: The effective aperture is 42 mm and the magnification checks out at 8x. The actual measured fov matches the stated 375 or 7.2*. It is 6.25 inches long in the fully extended position and weighs 26 oz without strap or lens covers. The IPD range on this unit is 57-74 mm. The eye relief is stated as 22 mm. That seems to match the actual measurement, as best I can measure it. The eye cup in the full down position comes within 2 mm of the lens surface. In full extension, the eye cup extends some 15 mm from the lens surface.

The focus is counter clockwise to infinity. From the close focus distance of a measured 6.5 feet, one turn of the wheel takes the focus to just about 75 feet. Another slight pull goes to infinity, leaving about one quarter turn of travel past infinity. From a distance of 15 feet to infinity the travel is just shy of one half turn. This makes relatively close in use pretty decent, and seems to closely match the Opticron claim. Total focus wheel travel is one and a quarter turns. The travel is I suppose best described ans being on the stiff side of smooth. It does not have the slick buttery focus feel, but the travel is easily accomplished and you do not have to apply enough pressure to force yourself past proper focus. It is generally stiff enough to require user interaction to move it. There is no slack in movement during change of direction. The unit has a right eye diopter adjustment which is pretty stiff and will not move after the user finishes adjustment. There is an ever so slight slack in the diopter movement. The diopter itself is a heavy, solid plastic, single piece ring.

Image performance: The binocular has what Id call a well done classical edge. There is no field flattener technology used, but the field has a flat appearance. There is a little field curvature and some edge distortion in peripheral view. However when measuring the fov where I need to look directly at the edge, the numbers on the tape are clear and quite sharp. This presents a sharp, pretty distraction free across the field view. There is a slight yellowish-greenish color tint. The image presents a color neutral tone with a natural color rendition. The contrast is very good, edges are nicely defined and feather detail of even a drab House Sparrow are pretty well defined. Id call the image sharpness very good. It fits right in with the binoculars I reviewed in the comparative review. They all seem to define the same group on a USAF chart at the same distance with equal clarity under the same lighting condition.

There has been some discussion about the relationship of the Opticron Imagic to the Tract Toric, both here in forum posts and in a couple of PM messages I have received. Here is what I can tell about the two. First the image is essentially inseparable between the two. In addition, the measured fov of the Toric is a little wider than the measured fov of the Imagic. They have the same size and focus action. Id say it is quite likely they have the same housing. The eye cup assembly is different, while sharing the same wobble at full extension. Neither have screw off eye pieces. The Opticron has a much better diopter adjustment. The Opticron has primarily violet lens coatings, the Toric, primarily green. Looking through the objective end of the instruments, the visible surfaces, angles, and curves are not the same. The analogous surface is discernible in each, but they are different location and shape. It may be that the prism group is oriented differently to the axis of each, as similarities are greater when the barrel of one is rotated 90* to the other. Take this for what it is, my observations. I am not saying they either are or not the same. It seems any two binoculars of the same dimensions, both using Schmidt-Pechan prisms perhaps necessarily have more similarities than differences.

In previous reviews, I addressed Tracts claim the Toric is the best binocular than can be had for less than $700, saying I was not going to dispute that assertion. Considering the relatively narrow price gap between this Imagic and a Toric, the Imagic needs to be included in that discussion. You loose very little and can save some money.

Overall, the Imagic is a solid, quite capable, field worthy binocular. As with any review I do, the question I ask is whether or not I would use the binocular without regrets for my own personal use. The answer is yes it is. The view is completely satisfactory and all that is needed for satisfied observation. As always, if you prefer different specifications, more expensive equipment from a company with a different history, there are certainly those options available to you. If you prefer to save some significant money, this is a very capable choice.
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Old Monday 1st January 2018, 07:24   #2
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Very nice review Steve and sums this bino up neatly. Thanks for posting.

Lee
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Old Monday 1st January 2018, 14:57   #3
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Nice review Steve!

Nice you can compare the Tract side by side to the Imagic.
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Old Monday 1st January 2018, 15:59   #4
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Sometimes you can read and edit stuff and somehow still miss something! What I missed doing in that review was a mention of the CA control, which is quite good. I suppose everybody knows I am not too sensitive to CA, but can find it with some fiddling. In this case, it can be found with what I'd call slightly above average difficulty. I did not experience any veiling glare with the binocular either.

Lee, Chuck, I'm glad you liked the review.

Next up the Opticron Traveller ED 8x32.
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Old Monday 1st January 2018, 16:08   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve C View Post
Sometimes you can read and edit stuff and somehow still miss something! What I missed doing in that review was a mention of the CA control, which is quite good. I suppose everybody knows I am not too sensitive to CA, but can find it with some fiddling. In this case, it can be found with what I'd call slightly above average difficulty. I did not experience any veiling glare with the binocular either.

Lee, Chuck, I'm glad you liked the review.

Next up the Opticron Traveller ED 8x32.
Looking forward to it Steve.

Lee
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Old Wednesday 3rd January 2018, 20:38   #6
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Model Name

Steve,

The title of this thread shows a model name of Imagic BGA WP. I just want to confirm we are talking about the model listed on the Opticron website as Imagic BGA VHD.

Your guess is as good as mine as what is the official name. The website says Imagic BGA VHD, the front of the binocular says imagic VHD and the focus knob cap says BGA WP. Maybe someone from Opticron can jump in and clarify.

Here is a YouTube video put out by Opticron that shows the use all three names .....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th4Mhl6xbV4

Opticron names have always been confusing to me but it has improved a little the last couple of years. Does anyone know the origin or any meaning behind the Imagic name? It is also used for an Opticron Porro model and I am not able to make a connection between the generations of Imagic roofs and the Porro Imagic TGA WP.

All very confusing. I think that works against Opticron because I think folks have a tendency to give up when confused.

I also have both an Imagic BGA VHD and a Tract Toric but in the 10X42. I am not seeing any differences when I shine a light down the objectives and compare the two. Maybe I am missing something or there may be something unique about the 8X.

I consider the two models in the 10X to be twins in different clothes. The major differences are the armor, the color of the lens coatings and a different feel in the focus mechanism. The Imagic focus feel is on the light side and the Toric is on the stiffer side. I suspect that is unique to each unit. The Toric looks to have an ever so slightly warmer color balance to it.

Your statement about the 8X version saying that "the image is essentially inseparable between the two" also applies to the 10X, other than the Toric having the ever so slightly warmer color balance. I was surprised the color balance was so close considering the big difference in the lens coating color. Like you mentioned about the 8X, the 10X versions also have an exceptionally large center view. These two models may not be quite at the Swaro EL, Noctivid or Zeiss SF level but that are darn good! You can easily bird all day with either one and be satisfied.

It is a coin toss as to which to get between the Toric or Imagic. It comes down to things like style, warranty, company reputation, availability and price. The street price is actually a little better on the Imagic at about $619 and it includes a basic case. Logging on to some sites can yield even better pricing.

Thanks for putting together another interesting review of a sub alpha Kamakura model. It does appear to be a hot spot in the market.
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Old Thursday 4th January 2018, 15:02   #7
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Just to clarify - Steve has the Imagic BGA VHD in his possession :-)

Imagic is a registered trademark name of ours and has been used on both roof and porro binos as well as on scopes for many, many years (there are more than 50 different models on our current stock system most of which are discontinued and there were more before computers counted stock...).

I think I mentioned this before somewhere but for completeness - B denoted on roof prism binoculars (including Opticron BGA models) means full field of view for spectacle wearers. GA means rubber cover (which I believe is from the German Gummi Abdeckung but don't hold me to that!).

WP means waterproof.

HTH

Cheers, Pete

P.S. Thanks for the review Steve - your time spent is much appreciated.
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Old Thursday 4th January 2018, 15:45   #8
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Bruce, Pete,

In my defense, the focus knob of the binocular reads BGA WP. That view was available when I typed in a title before I posted. Bruce is correct in his assessment of the naming protocol. It does have VHD on the Opticron badge on the bridge. So it is the Imagic BGA VHD. Nowhere does it indicate the full proper name of BGA VHD all in the same spot. My suggestion to Opticron is to re order the labelling and naming strategy. I was thinking about the comparison to the DBA VHD, which I reviewed after it came out. Too many VGA's here. My suggestion to myself is to look at the box or website next time. I should have gotten that point correct, my bad .
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Last edited by Steve C : Thursday 4th January 2018 at 15:49.
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Old Thursday 4th January 2018, 16:22   #9
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Steve .... No defense needed! They are all valid names since they are all used by Opticron. If you do want to change the title, I am sure one of the nice mods would do that if so requested. No one would be he wiser (except for me blabbing about it in my post LOL).

Pete ..... Thanks for jumping in with the clarification. Is there any meaning that can be attached to the Imagic name? Does it represent a special feature, attribute or maybe a specific quality level in the product line such as the Conquest name does for Zeiss?
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Old Thursday 4th January 2018, 16:58   #10
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Bruce - not really but it has been typically positioned as mid to upper price point.

The word is sort of a derivation/convolution of "Image" and "Magic" and hence we pronounce it ee-magic not i-magic.

In a new (to us) market like the US we probably now have way too many price points to quickly and easily communicate product positioning - this has been fed back to us by dealers and end customers alike and we're planning on giving some key model ranges more attention in our marketing this year to help with this.

The range has developed over time in response to a fairly complex need in the UK market (which is still our biggest). Let me try to explain in a couple sentences. Once upon a time we had maybe 1200 active dealers over here - 1200 competing in a space smaller than half of California. That would mean maybe two or three dealers in any given sizeable town and perhaps a dozen in a big city.

For a sales guy to get orders from all of them without them all having the exact same offering, we needed to offer price point "gaps" of a few tens of pounds. So Optics Dealer A takes Discovery at 150, while Photo Dealer B is happy with Trailfinder at 130 and so on.

And if you think Imagic BGA VHD is confusing, check out this for a product name - ladies and gentlemen I give the Imagic BGA PC.ASF T Oasis :-)

Cheers, Pete
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Old Thursday 4th January 2018, 18:22   #11
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I figured that the Imagic moniker was a meld of Image and Magic. However my pronunciation came out in a two syllable format as Im-agic. I would never have guessed it would be called ee-magic.

Whatever it is called, and however it is labelled, it is still a very field worthy binocular.
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Old Thursday 4th January 2018, 20:13   #12
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Pete ..... Thanks for the follow up on the Imagic name. For some reason, knowing those kinds of particulars makes it easier for me to remember distinctions between the models.

I was pronouncing it incorrectly as I Magic. Now I can smugly sit in the hide and correct other by saying, well no, it is ee-magic! And I will say it as though I knew it all along. My initial thought was it was a derivative of iPod, iPhone and iPad marketing slang. You explanation make more sense.

Also, thanks for the info on how Opticron came to have so many models. I am slowly getting to know them.

Please put me down as a pre-order for the Imagic BGA PC.ASF T Oasis, sounds perfect for me!
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Old Sunday 14th January 2018, 20:43   #13
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Steve, I'm also curious to see your Traveller BGA ED 8x32 review, if I have that name right.

And Pete, Bruce, and others, add me to the list of people who find Opticron's product offerings and naming very confusing, among the hardest to wade through, though I'm slowly getting a feel for them the more I read/see.

Cheers,
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Old Monday 15th January 2018, 16:12   #14
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That review is just about done. Today hopefully...
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Old Thursday 25th January 2018, 10:46   #15
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Quite pleased that the Imagic BGA VHD picked up "Best Birdwatching Binocular" in BBR's 2018 Awards:

https://www.bestbinocularsreviews.co...Review-177.htm
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Old Thursday 25th January 2018, 12:31   #16
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This model is great value for money and deserves to be auditioned by anyone looking for excellent performance at an affordable price.

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Old Saturday 3rd March 2018, 19:10   #17
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I couldn't agree more with Troubador - these bins are probably the best available at this price point.
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Old Sunday 4th March 2018, 12:58   #18
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I couldn't agree more with Troubador - these bins are probably the best available at this price point.
I agree with the Swarovski Man. They are great binoculars.
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