• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

A Review of Opticron Traveller 10x32 BGA ED (1 Viewer)

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
It is nearly 3 years since I reviewed Opticron’s Traveller 8x32 and in that time it has become a firm favourite of mine. It is neat and compact and possesses a graceful, minimalist aesthetic, combined with an excellent performance in the field. It is often on my work station, ready to grab when I spot birds flying over the valley that we overlook from halfway up our north-west facing ridge. The question to be answered here is whether the 10x32 can slip into my affections in the same way. As usual I aim to discover whether this instrument is capable of delivering enjoyable and useful nature observation experiences, in keeping with its price. My emphasis is very much on field observing but due to the Coronavirus I am still confined to our property.

I wear spectacles so the eyecups on my binoculars do not have the use of my eye sockets to guide the 3.2 mm exit pupil to my eyes, plus there is always the chance of the eyecups skidding on my spectacle lenses. All things considered, a 10x32 doesn’t promise easy viewing, but I found out this superficial impression was quite wrong when I first tried and reviewed a 10x32, a Meopta MeoStar, in late 2018. To my surprise and delight I had no problems whatsoever aligning the binos with my eyes and maintaining this, so I expect no problems with the Opticron.

The Traveller 10x32 retails at approximately £318, $449 and €449, and looking around the UK market found the following competitors: Zeiss Terra ED £349 and Hawke ED X £284. As usual we shall take a quick look at the specifications to see how they stack up.

Length and weight
Traveller, 119 mm / 4.7 in long, weight 453 g / 16 ozs
Terra, 125 mm / 4.9 in long, weight 510 g / 18 ozs
ED X 120 mm / 4.7 in long, weight 540 g / 19 ozs

Field of View and Eye Relief
Traveller 113 m / 339 ft @ 1,000 m/yds, ER 17 mm
Terra 112 m / 336 ft (Zeiss website stating 367 ft is in error), ER 16.5 mm
ED X 108 m / 324 ft, ER 15 mm

Close Focus
Traveller 1.8 m / 5.9 ft
Terra 1.6 m / 5.3 ft
ED X 3.0 m / 9.8 ft

Checking out length and weight, Traveller is the shortest and lightest, while the Hawke looks distinctly in need of a diet at 87g / 3 ozs heavier, which is an increase of almost 19%.

Traveller and Terra are neck and neck on field of view but the Hawke trails behind the Opticron by 5m / 15ft, which might not sound much but when we consider the area of view Traveller has almost 9.5% more than ED X, which is not insignificant.

Close focus distance doesn’t matter too much to folks who specialise in birding so the Hawke’s 3.0m is probably acceptable, but if you have a broader interest in the natural world then the Terra’s 1.6m is the best here, while Traveller’s 1.8 is pretty good too.

All in all, although I hear good things about Hawke’s products, ED X 10x32 looks a little uncompetitive here, despite a price advantage.

Accessories
The Traveller comes with a nice set of accessories including a well-padded case, objective covers the fit neatly and are secured by moulded rubber loops, and an ocular guard that is the right size to slip on and off. As usual, this guard only attaches to the neck strap at the right-hand side. I do wish all such guards could be attached at both sides so offering the user three attachment choices: left, right or both sides. This Traveller also came with two caps that fit the eyecups and these are useful if you decide to dedicate the bino to indoor duties for a time, such as in winter, or, if you can imagine it, such as when there is a pandemic that keeps you indoors for weeks! Having the bino with no neck strap / rain guard means it conveniently sits on desk tops and work stations without getting in the way while these two covers keep the oculars free of dust. The objectives are inset by 8mm so they don’t get too dusty. Also worth mentioning is the micro-fibre cloth that comes in a plastic wallet, which encourages you to treat the cloth carefully and keep it free of the detritus that lurks at the bottom of pockets, and which isn’t an ideal medium for cleaning lenses. Finally it is good to see that Opticron supply a shoulder strap to go with the case, as I find my normal bino neck-strap length is not comfortable or convenient as a strap for the case.

In the Hand
Compact and comfortable, with a lovely focus action that has a similar speed to a Zeiss FL 8x32 and is a gnat’s blink faster than a Trinovid HD 8x32. The eyecups are secure in their settings and the dioptre adjuster doesn’t wander once set. There is a knurled cover at the end of the hinge so it looks like Traveller will attach to a tripod adapter should you require it.

Field Observations
Checking for chromatic aberration in the usual way, using the black street lamp poles and overhead telephone cables in front of our house, demonstrated that the centre field was free and only a tiny bit of CA was apparent further out. The sweet spot is large and only a very narrow band of soft focus is visible around the edge due to field curvature. This was easily brought into focus with the merest nudge of the focus wheel.

The Traveller arrived during a series of stormy days with high winds and driving rain. Nevertheless this gave opportunities to see how some birds made use of the strong winds. Two Swifts gliding across the wind towards me both changed course into the wind while simultaneously curving the wings downwards and then soared up about 30 feet without a single wing flap. Minutes later a Kestrel glided into view and for a couple of minutes performed all manner of manoeuvres with its primaries folded back, so that its outline was that of an anchor, simply by a shrug of the wings here, or flirting of the tail there. You would need a heart of stone to fail to admire such mastery of flight.

I was entertained most days by the presence of a juvenile Robin which had ventured onto our bird feeder while I was topping it up, and whispered a soft trill before flying a short distance away to wait for me to withdraw. This enterprising young bird had a wisp of a nestling feather at the base of its tail allowing me to recognise it on subsequent days. Its plumage was a complicated pattern of spots and speckles in a ginger-brown over a slightly darker warm brown background. Despite dull, overcast weather for much of the time, the Travellers captured the overall warmth and complexity of the plumage well.

The extra magnification of 10x was useful when I saw some movement deep inside the dense crown of the 20ft-high Birch tree that we planted 35 years ago. Through the binos I could see two young Blue Tits having a dispute. Fortunately the dispute carried them into the open and I could see one of them had captured a small yellow caterpillar which was quickly consumed.

A familiar but spectacular visitor to our garden is the Bullfinch and a male is quite a sight. He looked magnificent with his salmon-pink breast and coal-black crown and nape, but what caught my eye was the stoutness of his jet-black beak. By the way if you are wondering how anything can be called ‘jet-black’, Jet Stone is a black gemstone, a type of coal actually, that was mined in my home county of Yorkshire and often made into shiny black jewellery. And this male Bullfinch looked as if he had been out and got himself a beak made out of Jet, and is big and stout enough to open coconuts. Slight exaggeration, but I wouldn’t want him nibbling my fingers with it. The 10x Traveller brought this detail to life in a way my 8x binos haven’t, even within the confines of our garden.

A couple of rainy days later and one very unpromising morning brought me a really special sighting. The bird was a male Dunnock or Hedge Sparrow, common enough its true, but normally, as suggested by its alternative name, Dunnocks spend most of their time mousing about under hedgerows and other vegetation, foraging for food or making the most of their threesome breeding season relationships. I don’t think we will go there. This male was uncharacteristically sitting on the very top of our old Hawthorn hedge, in heavy rain, pouring his heart out into his song. Through the Travellers I could almost see down his thin beak as he sang, and when he turned to serenade in the opposite direction I could see the worn tips of his tail feathers. He sang every 10 – 15 seconds and as he did so the raindrops landed on him, beaded up, and ran off, some looking like pearls, others like diamonds. Turning around again, he now faced towards me and I could not only see his beak open, but his throat feathers trembling with the effort he was putting into his song. And then he dropped out of sight, down into the hedge and back into the world of Dunnocks, Robins, Wrens and Wood Mice.

Overhead in the dark sky a Swift came arrowing towards me with its thin wings curved back like cavalry sabres, and then for no apparent reason, it did something I have never seen a Swift do before. It braked. I mean it pushed its wings forward, spreading the primaries into fans and briefly fanned its tail too. Its airspeed disappeared and it twisted and dived out of sight behind the oak trees. This was quite shocking because Swifts, even big Alpine Swifts, seem to do everything so effortlessly with imperceptible adjustments of wings and tail. Seeing one brake using wings and tail like almost any other bird was surreal.

At this point I can say I am really enjoying these Travellers. And if you want to say I have just been lucky with a few sightings, the point is, these binos took nothing away from the experiences and indeed took full advantage of them. What more do you want from binoculars?

At last some raptors. In light rain at midday, Troubadoris, pointing, shouted ‘what are they?’ Grabbing the Travellers, I could see the two birds flying in formation turned out to be a female Sparrowhawk and a Common Buzzard. If you have seen videos of RAF fighters intercepting Russian bombers over the North Sea you will know what happened next. The Sparrowhawk swooped to either side of the Buzzard, close, but not too close, and then cruised alongside its rear three-quarters until clear of its territory. Or at least it suddenly climbed, rolled and in a long, fast, shallow dive, came back to a point more or less underneath where I first saw them. There was no antagonistic sparring with each other, no showing of talons, just an escorting of one professional by another until there was no need to proceed further. I didn’t get a brilliant view of the Buzzard but the Sparrowhawk gave a great display as it came back to my locality. Excellent job by the Travellers and thank you, Troubadoris, for the heads-up.

Summing up.

Although the Travellers are not new on the market, having been around for at least 3 years, they are still competitive, feel good in the hand, have a lovely focus action and perform nicely for the eyes. Don’t overlook them if you are in the market for a 32mm bino at this price level. Give them a try and make up your own mind whether they suit your needs.

Lee
 

Attachments

  • Cropped 2 Red.jpg
    Cropped 2 Red.jpg
    131.9 KB · Views: 114
  • IMG_4483 Red.jpg
    IMG_4483 Red.jpg
    217.6 KB · Views: 99

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
Length and weight
Traveller, 119 mm / 4.7 in long, weight 453 g / 16 ozs
Terra, 125 mm / 4.9 in long, weight 510 g / 18 ozs
ED X 120 mm / 4.7 in long, weight 540 g / 19 ozs

Field of View and Eye Relief
Traveller 113 m / 339 ft @ 1,000 m/yds, ER 17 mm
Terra 112 m / 336 ft (Zeiss website stating 367 ft is in error), ER 16.5 mm
ED X 108 m / 324 ft, ER 15 mm

Close Focus
Traveller 1.8 m / 5.9 ft
Terra 1.6 m / 5.3 ft
ED X 3.0 m / 9.8 ft


Lee

Well done...I love the way you place weave in the specs and attributes while speaking of your birding adventures. It makes it more applicable to see how you went about this. Not just clinical, but in the field...well done! ....
Now...check out your figures for the Traveler. They are almost, if not...identical to the Nikon Monarch HG 8x32 I have in front of me. And to boot...take a look at the images below as they match up to your Traveler. Even the tripod mount looks the same, the objective covers, the rain guard etc.... .makes one wonder, eh? The Diopter is different though.
 

Attachments

  • 1.jpg
    1.jpg
    75 KB · Views: 66
  • 2.jpg
    2.jpg
    61.4 KB · Views: 38

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Thank you for your kind words. I don't know if the Nikon HG is related to Traveller in any way and there are a few things that argue against this.

Firstly you are comparing HG 8x32 with Traveller 10x32 and if we look at some key figures of HG 10x32 we find the following:

First of all HG is 30mm and Traveller is 32mm.
HG fov 121m, Traveller fov 113m which is a significant difference, and while the eye relief on Traveller is 17mm, on the HG it is only 15.2mm, again a significant difference. Finally the HG has field flattener optics and the Traveller does not.

Lee
 

Essex Tern

🦆🥋🏃🏻‍♂️📷🎹🎸
Supporter
Europe
I chose the 10x32 Travellers for a compact pair to shove in a bag with a little extra magnification when without a scope - I think they are a lovely little binocular.

Your Swift sounds a little like this image I caught a week or two ago.
 

Attachments

  • D7C50F3A-0CF9-41F2-BA25-7ACC6548C141.jpg
    D7C50F3A-0CF9-41F2-BA25-7ACC6548C141.jpg
    45.9 KB · Views: 28

Haydn C

Member
Great review.

I see, Troubador, that you have also reviewed the Opticron Explorer bins. I’m looking for a pair of 8x32 with a spend of approx £200 and had earmarked a few pairs.

A question, if I may: I really wanted to stick to or around my budget but would you say the extra hundred quid I’d spend on the Travellers would be money well spent? And if so where am I likely to notice this? Build quality, IQ etc.
I would go the extra but I’d like to think I’d notice it.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I chose the 10x32 Travellers for a compact pair to shove in a bag with a little extra magnification when without a scope - I think they are a lovely little binocular.

Your Swift sounds a little like this image I caught a week or two ago.

Yes, that is exactly what my Swift did. Great pic. Thanks for sharing.

Lee
 

lmans66

Out Birding....
Supporter
United States
I like the idea of the Travelers as a 'traveling' pair.... and yes, I was looking at the Nikon 8x30 comparing it to the 10x32 but visually, they look the same. That was my point.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I like the idea of the Travelers as a 'traveling' pair.... and yes, I was looking at the Nikon 8x30 comparing it to the 10x32 but visually, they look the same. That was my point.

That is true and the Kite Lynx looks very similar too.

Lee
 

ClarkWGriswold

Carpe Carpum
Staff member
Supporter
Wales
My brother and brother in law both have the 10x32’s. Both think very highly of them.

Another good review Lee. Very enjoyable to read.

Rich
 

Ries

Well-known member
I love your reviews, troubadour! They don't dwell too long on technical specs before taking the reader along in nature to experience the bins where and how it counts! They are really informative that way and a joy to read, thanks for the effort you put into them!
 
Last edited:

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Great review.

I see, Troubador, that you have also reviewed the Opticron Explorer bins. I’m looking for a pair of 8x32 with a spend of approx £200 and had earmarked a few pairs.

A question, if I may: I really wanted to stick to or around my budget but would you say the extra hundred quid I’d spend on the Travellers would be money well spent? And if so where am I likely to notice this? Build quality, IQ etc.
I would go the extra but I’d like to think I’d notice it.

Yes, Traveller is definitely worth the extra. PM on its way to you any minute now.

Lee
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I love your reviews, troubadour! They don't dwell too long on technical specs before taking the reader along in nature to experience the bins where and how it counts! They are really informative that way and a joy to read, thanks for the effort you put into them!

Thank you so much Riess.

Lee
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
Hi Lee,

Great review, very enjoyable, as usual. The only 10x32 that has worked for me is the Zeiss FL, of course the FL is in a different price range. Nice pics too---I hope the "object" behind the Traveller in the first pic is a vintage Les Paul....

Peter
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Hi Lee,

Great review, very enjoyable, as usual. The only 10x32 that has worked for me is the Zeiss FL, of course the FL is in a different price range. Nice pics too---I hope the "object" behind the Traveller in the first pic is a vintage Les Paul....

Peter

Hi Peter
Thank you for the compliment but as for the guitar..... it is a 1988 Fender USA Standard Telecaster with pickups that can speak, whisper, growl or scream. Les Paul? A mere mute plank.;) ;)

Lee
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top