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Review: Opticron Traveller ED 8x32

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Old Saturday 20th January 2018, 21:57   #1
Steve C
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Review: Opticron Traveller ED 8x32

The second Opticron review is the Traveller ED 8x32. This is a pretty similar in appearance to most of the 30-32 mm mid price offerings out today. Like its contemporaries, it uses Schmidt-Pecan prisms. Details and specifications can be found here at the Opticron USA site. http://www.opticronusa.com/Pages/traveller_bga_ed.html Opticron lists msrp of $499 US for the 8x subject of this review. Also offered is a 10x 32 version for $509 US. However street price is likely lower as Optics Planet as one example offers the 8x for $429 and the 10x for $439. This falls within the general price range of such binoculars as the Zeiss Terra, Nikon Monarch 7, Leupold Mojave, and the Maven B3.

They come in a box with a soft pouch, strap, lens covers, and cleaning cloth. They come with the rather stiff, somewhat slick rain guard. This style of rain guard can grip the eye cups with extreme tension if not sized properly. In this instance, they are properly sized and fit quite well. The objective covers are the rather typical, tethered, slip over the objective tube style. The cover portion is sized about right, while the tether could be a little tighter. Overall there is no pick with the accessories offered, aside from the fact that the rain guard may be pretty stiff to easily place over an IPD of less than about 60 mm.

They are the typical, solid black Opticron binocular. The covering has a nice tactile feel. The one thing that may prompt some complaint is the presence of mold marks on either side of the binocular tubes. This has prompted one complaint here on BF. It also is evident from the short videos in the Opticron link posted above, so that may be a typical occurrence. The binocular is 4.25 inches long with eye cups down and 5 inches up. This one weighs the advertised 15.9 oz sans lens covers.

The specifications on this specimen match those on the site closely. I do not think the eye relief is 19 mm however. The longest I would place it is 17, and that may be a bit of a stretch. The eye cup extends upward from the ocular surface about 12 mm. When retracted, the eye cup sits about 4 mm over the lens. It does not seem to be quite the long eye relief instrument specified. Having said that, it works for me just fine with either reading or sun glasses. There are three clicks on the detentes and the eye cup assembly is apparently quite solid. I had no issues with them collapsing.

I am not an eye glass wearer. However I do use reading glasses for that purpose. I had no issues using these with either the reading glasses or with the sunglasses I use. SO your use in this regard may be different from my experience.

The eye cups are screw on style. If additional extension is needed it is pretty easy to add up to 5 mm extra extension with some O-rings. 3-4 mm rings will fit between the eye cup and the threads, and the eye cups can be removed and replaced with a proper sized O-ring under the upper edge of the cup. The eye cup will need to be re glued and it will be obvious they have been lifted.

The fov measures 430’ matching the specification sheet. Angular field is 8.2*, afov (SLOW) is 65.5*. ISO afov is 59.9. Both ways classify this as wide angle. The view is wide and bright.

They are pretty similar to many of the current mid price 30-32 mm binoculars. They have one advantage in that they have a quite narrow IPD adjustment, going down to 51 mm. This leaves just 13 mm between the eye cups. Upper end is 73 mm. The focus travel is clockwise to infinity and there is 1 1/8 turn of wheel travel. Focus is relatively quick in close. Two long pulls will go from the close focus of 6 feet to 75 feet (2-25 meters). Another short focus pull will take you to infinity from there, with about a quarter turn of travel past infinity. The diopter is a right eye adjustment. The adjust is a hard, solid ring with a protrusion easily placed for adjustment movement. It works pretty well and is solid enough that drift was not an issue. There is no side play at all in the focus of this unit. It is tensioned well enough to be easy to move and stiff enough to need user interaction to move the focus.

The image has a slight reddish bias. The image appears color neutral with very good color rendition. Contrast is also very good, edge and finer interior textures distinguished quite well. Brightness is also very good, but like any 30-32 mm it suffers a little in lower light. The image is certainly sharp enough to satisfy me. That will not be an issue unless a lot of low light viewing is on your agenda, in which case you will likely be after a bigger objective anyway.

I would call CA control very good, as I never did see it in a well focused view, and very small amounts in non focused looks. The eye cups fit me pretty well and I did not ever encounter any glare issues. There are no obvious issues with non satisfactorily blackened inner surfaces.

A note in comparison to other similar size binoculars bases solely on my personal preference goes something like this. Top preference is the Maven B3, next by a hair is the original Swarovski CL, then comes the Opticron Traveller, followed by the Leupold Mojave, the Nikon Monarch M7, then the Zeiss Terra. I have not seen the new Swarovski CL, nor do I have any experience with the Zeiss Conquest 8x32. While I will rank them as stated for myself, the truth of the matter is that if you have one of these, there is not likely any reason to switch to another one of the group. What can be satisfactorily viewed wit one can be done bay all. People will settle in on the list where their varied preferences will take them. The ergonomics of the bunch are pretty indistinguishable one from the other.

Another Opticron binocular I should add a bit of a note about here is the Opticron Discovery WP 8x32. I managed to snag one of these here in a contest several years ago. Oddly enough I do not see where I ever did a review. That puzzles me as to why, but there it is. The Discovery is an extremely compact 32 mm binocular. It is a tad bit behind the Traveller and may well bring up the tali end of my list. However it has proven to be one exceedingly useful binocular and tough as nails. I have used it as my ATV binocular for all around farm use for five years. It stayed in a fabric saddle bag style case 24/7 every year from about the first of April to the first of October. In this case it has been vibrated through about 5,000 miles. It always was put back in the saddle bag with lens covers attached, it faced wet as well as dusty and dirty times and quite a bit of temperature variation. It is in need of collimation now, but it is still tight and each telescope is still bright and sharp. I see nothing that indicated the Traveller is not a better built binocular.

These are a quite decent, very field worthy binocular. You won’t find an alpha killer style binocular, but you will find a quite well made binocular with a very good optical performance.

So yes, I would recommend this binocular, and it is certainly good enough for me to be satisfied with in my personal use scenarios. A particularly good candidate if you are looking for a binocular of this configuration for small size hands and where a narrower IPD is needed.
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 06:46   #2
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Great review Steve, thanks for all the effort put into it.

Sounds like the Discovery 8x32 was too busy getting used to be prodded and poked for review purposes, and that is a recommendation in itself.

Lee
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 08:38   #3
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Steve,

Thanks for the report.

I've played Traveller ED a few times now. I agree the listed ER is wrong, but I thought it had just a fraction more room for glasses than the M7, and a lot more than the Kite Lynx. I personally thought the colour could be more neutral as well. The false pupils that were one cause of glare in the M7 and Lynx are now well away from the exit pupil which should be good news but I haven't been able to really check that out. It's a nice little binocular.

David
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Old Monday 22nd January 2018, 13:58   #4
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Thank you for the detailed report.

I am curious if you can comment further on the eye relief. I have recently acquired a pair of the M7 8x30 which I like quite well and find very impressive and very compact, but eye relief is right on the limit for me with both my glasses and prescription sunglasses. David (typo) recommended the Traveller and I think I am going to order one to try. However I figured it would be worth asking if you have the M7 or can comment on relative eye relief between the two. I know most comments suggest the Maven and Kite versions have a hair less available eye relief than the Nikon, but I would love 1-2mm more.

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Old Monday 22nd January 2018, 15:35   #5
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I did a review on the Monarch 7 vs the Leupold Mojave. The Leupold was mine and Phil R loaned me his M 7. That was a couple of years ago, about the time Nikon introduced the M 7, and I have access to neither one of those at the moment. I do not recall if the M 7 has removable screw off eye cups. However both the Maven and Opticron do. In either case just screw off the eye cup assembly put on an O-ring, replace the eye cup and you have the extra eye relief. The same thing should apply to the M7, if it has screw off eye cups.

I preferred, ever so slightly the Mojave over the M 7. With those two if you had one, you had no need for the other. Side by side the Maven was the better glass between it and the Mojave, so eventually the Mojave got moved. Side by side the Maven is ever so slightly better than the Opticron, but again if you have one you have no need for the other. While this process of elimination and my memory places the M 7 at the bottom of this four part sample, again if you have the M7, you pretty well have an idea of what you will see with the Maven or the Opticron.

If the M7 lacks removable eye cups, Then the Opticron will allow you to get the eye cup extension with about a half minute time expenditure. The eye cup placement issue can certainly be a deal breaker. I would add the Opticron seems better for me as I use an O-ring with my Maven and don't need to with the Opticron. I also recall no personal issues with eye cup extension with either the Nikon or the Leupold. The Maven is insignificant as a thin O-ring is really more than I need.
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Old Tuesday 23rd January 2018, 15:51   #6
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Hi Steve,

The M7 eyecups do not come off. However my issue is that with my glasses or sunglasses (prescription) on, and with the M7's eyecups completely down I have to press them into my glasses in order to get the whole FOV. So I need about 1-2mm more available eye relief to get an easy / comfy view. David (typo) suggested the Traveller has a tiny bit more available eye relief than the M7. So I think I'm going to give the Travellers a whirl. I really like the M7 and the size / price is perfect for what I want it for - a small but good binocular that I can pocket in a coat pocket and that I can throw in a backpack or messenger without a case or objective covers and carry around town all day without having to baby it, and leave in the map pocket when I'm on the road and camping and the like around S America. As tempting as the new Swaro CL is, I wouldn't want to treat a $1000+ bin the same way I'm willing to treat a $200-400 bin.

In any case, thank you again for the review.

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Old Tuesday 23rd January 2018, 19:08   #7
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Well, the eye cups of the Traveller keep your glasses some 4mm above the ocular lenses. Most of that thickness, some 3 mm, is the thickness of the wrap over the top portion of the eye cup. Those eye cups can be easily removed. They are glued at the bottom with contact cement, but that is not a problem if you are careful. That leaves you with a couple of options. An O-ring of 30 mm in diameter with a 1 mm thickness will fit in the space between the exposed metal portion of the eye cup and metal ring around the ocular lens. The rubber cover you removed could be carefully trimmed to remove the wrap over the top portion. The other option is to use some self adhesive plumbers tape to cut to replace the eye cup rubber if you don't want to remove and cut the rubber cover. You might check and see if you could get a set of replacement rubber eye cup covers. The O-ring will serve as a bumper for eye glass lens protection, and will need to be carefully glued in place. A few drops of contact cement applied by the end of a toothpick should work. Edit to add, if you decide to trim the rubber cover, then it can be replaced upside down as to present a straight edge at the top. Trim irregularities will be better hidden at the bottom.

Look over your Monarch M7, perhaps something similar could be used on it. The rubber eye cup covering is the intended target here, not the whole eye cup assembly, just to be clear.

After reading your description of intended use, let me steer you toward another Opticron product. That is the Discovery WP. It is about 20% smaller than the Traveller. It has a half degree less fov, and if you look hard enough the optics are a bit behind the Traveller. However the Discovery is tough as nails and I have no personal experience that tells me there is a smaller 32 mm binocular. More to your point, the Discovery comes with eye cup assemblies that place your eye glass lenses 2 mm closer than the Traveller does straight out of the box.
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Old Friday 26th January 2018, 13:20   #8
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The term 'contact cement' isn't used over here in the UK Steve. Could you tell us what kind of glue this is?
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Old Friday 26th January 2018, 14:11   #9
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I think it's what we call Super glue. I know Opticron use it to reattach eye cups, but I don't recall the brand/type. Going through Loctite's product selector this seems to tick the boxes.
http://m.loctiteproducts.com/p/2,5,8...RA-Gel-Control
Might be OTT though.

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Old Friday 26th January 2018, 15:03   #10
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Contact Cement is a stuff I've known my whole life. It is a viscous, rubbery stuff, well I suppose, like a heavy liquid, sticky rubber. You can get it here in cans, bottles, or tubes. Sometimes referred to as contact adhesives. Since David offered a Loctite link, I'll do the same. This is just a quick google showing an outfit that sells it. Weldwood is another brand.

https://www.zoro.com/loctite-contact...iABEgIgdfD_BwE
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Old Friday 26th January 2018, 15:25   #11
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Steve,

I couldn't get that link to work.

I think I know the stuff you mean. A latex based adhesive in a volatile solvent. It's pretty much vanished here as teenagers started sniffing the stuff, and it got regulated. Confusingly a super glue is also known as a contact adhesive.

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Old Friday 26th January 2018, 16:08   #12
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Super Glue on the USA side of the pond is known as a very fast drying strong adhesive used to glue together various items such as broken toys, dishes, etc. You read about in the news every so often where some genius glues their hand or part of their body to something because it is so fast drying and they end up in the emergency room to get detached. Acetone or nail polish remover is a solvent and can save that embarrassing ER visit. The formal name is cyanoacrylate and is real popular with model builders because of the strength and fast drying. It comes in thin and gel versions. I would use only the gel version in an extremely small dap for attaching eye cup covers if the idea is to be able to remove them at some future date.

Typo's description of latex based adhesive is what I know as contact cement. The idea is to put some on each surface and give it a little time to dry. Then match the two surfaces together to have them bond. It will not be as stong of a bond as super glue and can be pulled apart. It sounds to be a better choice for attaching the outer eye cups but be sure the solvent does not have a bad reaction to the rubber like material. I used some a few years ago to glue outdoor carpet to the inside lid of a metal box.

I think this is the brand Steve mentioned .......

Click image for larger version

Name:	0-Contact Cement.jpg
Views:	38
Size:	173.3 KB
ID:	652369

I got it at a big box home improvement store and had to sign my life away. I think it would have been easier to buy dynamite.
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Old Saturday 27th January 2018, 20:05   #13
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Bruce has it right on the Weldwood. I don't know about his "sign his life away"comment as there are a couple of different contact adhesives here in every store that sells glue. I took it over the counter and had no problems. However there are lots of things that will work. We use a 3M industrial sealant to replace gaskets in irrigation lines. We always have some of that so when I need something like it, it is easy enough to go get a tube, stick a toothpick down the spout and have enough to replace a rubber eye cup cover. Silicone sealant works too, in the same stores there is usually something called Liquid Plastic which works too. Personally I have never used super glue for the purpose, and it was not super glue used on the Traveller eye cup.

Point being that with a bit of looking one can find a tube of some sort of adhesive that will work just fine.
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Old Tuesday 30th January 2018, 15:25   #14
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Many thanks for introducing us to the world of adhesives! Bruce's point about making sure an adhesive won't damage rubber is a good one. Rubber can be weird stuff and for example can soak up some oils (and go out of shape and lose properties) or can be shrunk by some oils (and go out of shape and lose properties) and certainly some adhesives can do similar damage to rubber.

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Old Tuesday 30th January 2018, 21:37   #15
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Good old Evo Stik contact adhesive would seem to be the UK equivalent.

https://www.diy.com/departments/evo-...e/36236_BQ.prd
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Old Wednesday 31st January 2018, 00:05   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dipped View Post
Good old Evo Stik contact adhesive would seem to be the UK equivalent.

https://www.diy.com/departments/evo-...e/36236_BQ.prd
Yes and you don't get a whole bunch either. That tube will last longer than I will for simple repairs like these.
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Old Wednesday 31st January 2018, 05:46   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dipped View Post
Good old Evo Stik contact adhesive would seem to be the UK equivalent.

https://www.diy.com/departments/evo-...e/36236_BQ.prd
My father always had a big tin of Evo-stik for household repairs and diy projects. I still remember the smell.

The company was bought by Bostik, and I must admit I thought the current equivalent wasn't readily available to the public anymore, though I know there are still trade suppies. That product still lists high levels of ethyl acetate and petroleum derivatives on it's material safety sheet, and shouldn't be used on some plastics. However it is not currently listed on either the Evo-stik or Bostik websites so perhaps it's been discontinued?

To repeat what I said earlier, Opticron, as advised by their manufacturer, uses a superglue, a cyanoacrylate adhesive, for attaching eyecups. I'm just not sure which one.

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Old Wednesday 31st January 2018, 15:10   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by typo View Post
My father always had a big tin of Evo-stik for household repairs and diy projects. I still remember the smell.

The company was bought by Bostik, and I must admit I thought the current equivalent wasn't readily available to the public anymore, though I know there are still trade suppies. That product still lists high levels of ethyl acetate and petroleum derivatives on it's material safety sheet, and shouldn't be used on some plastics. However it is not currently listed on either the Evo-stik or Bostik websites so perhaps it's been discontinued?

To repeat what I said earlier, Opticron, as advised by their manufacturer, uses a superglue, a cyanoacrylate adhesive, for attaching eyecups. I'm just not sure which one.

David
Not that any of this really matters a lot I suppose.... What attached the Traveller rubber eye cups was not what we call super glue over here. It was a very rubbery, contact sort of adhesive. Point being there are any number of ways to reattach the rubber eye cup covers, for all three of the users who will actually remove them. Just be careful to avoid the optical glass surfaces.
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