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Advice first (and 'only') bino: Zeiss Victory Pocket 8x25 vs Opticron Traveller 8x32 (1 Viewer)

Canyac

Member
Denmark
Hi guys!

I've been glancing this forum for a few months, as I've been on the market for some optics! Now I hope for some input from you! :)

In short:
I want a nice, good compact binocular, for casual use. I prioritize it being 'small enough to bring along easily', and good eye relief for use with glasses.
Strolling around this forum, especially two binos stand out to me: Zeiss VP 8x25 and Opticron Traveller 8x32.

My understanding is:
The Zeiss is more compact and better image quality, while the Opticron is cheaper and more comfortable to use, especially with glasses (longer ER)

But.. how much do these points actually "weigh" against each other? Does the extra eye relief of the opticron even make a difference? For jacket pocketability, does the slightly smaller size of the Zeiss even matter, or is Opticron already nearly as small? How much more comfortable is the Opticron to view through?

Any other thoughts for a first-time bino purchaser? (And hopefully one-time purchase!)

Thanks in advance!!





Some more info, for the avid reader:
I am not a dedicated birder, at all. I just spend a lot of time in nature, especially after Corona. I recently acquired a 8x25 monocular from Hawke (endurance ED), to keep in my jacket. The new bino should complement the monocular.
I do own an old 8x42 nikon porro bino, but it is so huge that I never bring it along.

Maximum packability is not top priority (I always have the monocular in my jacket anyway), but still important. Being able to bring the bino in a jacket pocket would be a huuuge plus, if not required, and would make me use the bino lot more often.

I intially thought of a ~200€ budget.. but the more I studied, the higher my budget went! First I thought of the Opticron Savannah or Bresser Pirsch, for their nice eye reliefs - but they were quite large, compared to the Opticron Traveller, which I was aiming for afterwards. Then I stumbled upon the Zeiss VP 8x25 reviews.

If the Zeiss VP 8x25 is 'nearly' as nice to use as the Opticron Traveller.. I will go for that Zeiss. But if the Opticron basically folds to the same size in the pocket, AND is more comfortable to use.. then I'll get the Opticron!

For info, the Hawke Endurance ED 8x25 Monocular that I own, has about 13 mm eye relief.Just placing it on my glasses, I get ~80% of the full view, is a bit fiddly, and that works 'ok'. But I need to press my glasses into my face to get the best/easiest view. And that only works due it being a mono, as my glasses 'pivot' around my nose, causing my glasses to get further from the other eye.

This is going to be my "one" binocular, so I'd prefer not to feel like a compromize (though I understand everything is a compromize...)

I have been tipping towards the Zeiss VP lately, as I've been assuming the eye relief is enough, and lots of people here comment it being great with glasses, and easy to use.
But some also state that it is horrible in actual use, and that a 8x32 is much nicer - and then que me, a confused newbie!!

PS a few photos taken through the monocular yesterday on my way home from work on the bicycle - at around 100-150m distance.
In danish they are called Skarv and Vibe.

PS I have a 3D printer, so the lack of lensguards etc (for the Zeiss) would be a non-issue, as I can just print my own in a flexible material
 

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jring

Well-known member
Hi,

in your situation I would lean towards a light 8x30 and the Traveller ED 8x32 is a good and affordable choice. The rationale is that you have an ultra compact option to have on you at every time and a pair of 8x30 can be all you need for your birding. Even top level 8x25 pairs force you to make some compromises like narrower field of view and/or less eye relief than a pair of 8x30.

Joachim
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I agree with Joachim. I have both the Zeiss Victory Pocket and the Opticron Traveller and they both have their strengths. If I was walking around a new city or going shopping while on holiday I would take the Zeiss every time. For birding or nature observation out in the wild where the circumstances of observing can vary so much and be unpredictable (e.g. grabbing a quick view through trees and having to sway to each side to see the subject or leaning around a rock to observe a wary bird or animal, or needing to quickly lie down to stay out of sight while trying to get a look) I would take the Opticron.

Lee
 

leonardo_simon

Well-known member
I'd go for the Zeiss or another alpha 8x25/20.

If you get into birding big time then you'll want a bigger pair of high quality binoculars.

Then the Zeiss will still remain useful for specific purposes (e.g. wanting to be super-lightweight). Whereas with the opticrons you would want to upgrade to something similar size-ish and then the opticrons would be redundant.

i.e. the upgrade route is clearer with Zeiss

Also my preference (at a given price point) is for a better quality image & quality construction & compromise elsewhere (e.g. field of view, brightness).
 

Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
I can not make a comparison as I don't have the opticron, but I use the Zeiss Pockets with glasses and also find the handling and use simply fantastic, so perhaps this factor does not need to worry you too much in making the decision.
 

Mikewander

Active member
Scotland
I was in the same position as you, and went for the Zeiss VPs. No regrets.
I'll probably go for a pair of 10x larger binos later, so the VPs wont become redundant.
I don't wear glasses, and have to hold them slightly away from my face, but the position has become second nature with use.
 

Canyac

Member
Denmark
Thanks Joachim, valid point that a x32 supplements the x25 mono better, in terms of performance.
I wonder if I could comfortably fit it in a jacket pocket?
I've never handled a x25 or x32 bino, so I can't really compare to much.. I really do prioritize that it must fit in a jacket pocket, otherwise it will stay at home too much.

If someone has the accurate dimensions of the Traveller, I could make a mockup (go 3D printer), and test if it fits in my jacket pocket 🤔. I found numbers here and there, stating the eyecups are Ø39mm, length is 119mm, and focus wheel Ø31mm.
So, I almost just miss the diameter of the lens end of the bino, then I can make a mockup!
 

mpeace

Well-known member
Thanks Joachim, valid point that a x32 supplements the x25 mono better, in terms of performance.
I wonder if I could comfortably fit it in a jacket pocket?
I've never handled a x25 or x32 bino, so I can't really compare to much.. I really do prioritize that it must fit in a jacket pocket, otherwise it will stay at home too much.

If someone has the accurate dimensions of the Traveller, I could make a mockup (go 3D printer), and test if it fits in my jacket pocket 🤔. I found numbers here and there, stating the eyecups are Ø39mm, length is 119mm, and focus wheel Ø31mm.
So, I almost just miss the diameter of the lens end of the bino, then I can make a mockup!
Based on your priority of fitting into your pocket, the VP sounds like the best option. It's significantly more compact than the Opticron's when folded, due to the single hinge allowing the barrels to come closer together. It has a good field of view and is plenty bright enough for most situations. I have taken my VP on lots of trips and it's stayed on me all day usually in a canvas case on my belt and I've just forgotten about them until there was something to look at. The improvement in view over your monocular I imagine will be significant and you won't probably bother taking the monocular out after a while. That won't be the case with the Opticron's where you'll have to decide if you want to take them or the monocular depending on how much use you'll make of them.
 

ClarkWGriswold

Carpe Carpum
Staff member
Supporter
Wales
Hi Canyac. I’ve just bought a pair of 10x32’s and they’ll easily fit in to my jacket pocket. It depends on the size of your pockets ;)

Rich
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
It really depends here - you're going to get very valid arguments in both directions. I have a pair of Nikon Monarch HG 8x30 (basically the exact same size/weight as the Opticron Traveler), and they are so compact and so excellent that I have never been tempted by the Victory Pocket, despite it also being an excellent binocular.

If you can visit a retailer or order with right of return, I'd really recommend it. Otherwise make the choice based upon prioritizing more compact -vs- better viewing comfort. I genuinely doubt that you will be disappointed with either. It's a shame that Europe doesn't see the same sales/promotions on the Monarch HG as the US, where it is at times available for US$600 - putting it in the price range of the Victory Pocket.

Cheers and good luck!
 

mbb

Well-known member
Apart from the recurrent (and true) recommendation of trying out the binoculars before you buy if you can to, to check if the view and ergonomics suit you, I think you should also do that with regards to the compactness of the binoculars folded in comparison to the pockets of your jacket: people here seem to have very different sizes of jacket pockets 🙃
I don't have the Opticrons, but I do have the Victory Pockets 8x25 and the Kite Lynx 8x30. If I know I will observe for longer, going out to watch birds etc, the 8x30 have the significant benefit of viewing comfort due to the larger exit pupil and also the better ergonomics (size/shape/weight, larger focus know etc.). If I don't know if I will observe anything but want some binoculars just in case (e.g. going on a walk to the park, with the kid etc.), the 8x25 are great (impressive optics and great ergonomics for a 8x25, still enjoyable to use for not too long watches), however don't be too optimistic on how compact they are when folded down, especially if you add some eyepiece/objective covers or even a small pouch (e.g. if case you would also have your keys in that same jacket pocket...).
The Zeiss 8x25 have really great optics, they are really very light. When unfolded, the difference in size with the 8x30 is really of little importance. For real 'pocketability', they don't fold down as small as e.g. 8x20 binoculars, but those really start to be less enjoyable to watch through (for me personally). That might or might not matter to you, but you have to determine your 'threshold' for 'pocketability' that will make the difference for you.
(disclaimer: the Kite Lynx HD 8x30 are not heavy! Significantly lighter than most 8x32 binoculars. A Swarovski EL 8x32 is e.g. totally different...)
 

[email protected]

Well-known member
Supporter
The best thing is to try them all yourself even if you have to order them and return the ones you don't care for from a dealer that has an easy return policy. Everybody is different and what I prefer might not work for you because of facial structure and eye socket depth and so on. I just did that myself when selecting a 10x42 roof at the $1000 price point. It is the best and most sure way to decide.
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
I think you should simplify this: do you need the binoculars to fold in half of not?

If yes, get the Zeiss. They are the best handling / easiest viewing “compacts” ever. That’s because when they are unfolded, they aren’t very compact, they are basically the same size as an 8x30 (just with more slender barrels and a few ounces lighter).

If you don’t need them to fold in half, then get an 8x30/32.

There’s not that much difference in handling / viewing comfort between the Zeiss VP and the Traveler, especially if you wear glasses so the small eyecups of the Zeiss aren’t a factor. The 8x30 has a slightly larger ep but the Zeiss is SO good that it compensates. I haven’t heard anyone complain they are “horrible” to use, the only complaints I’ve seen (which I share) is that they are tricky for people without glasses because they have long eye relief and small eyecups so you have to kind of balance them on your brow away from your eyes.

Here’s the Zeiss next to the Leica Ultravid 8x32 and Vortex Diamondback HD 8x32. As you can see, once unfolded it’s no smaller than a compact 8x32. I also have the Traveler ED and it’s a touch longer than the Ultravid.

1616172708315.png

In contrast here’s the same Ultravid 8x32 next to the Ultravid 8x20, which is a true “compact”:

1616173161046.png

If you decide to go for “larger / more comfortable” and are willing to spend Zeiss VP money since this will be a long term investment, also consider the Monarch HG 8x30 and the Swarovski CL 8x30. Both very light, very good optically, with long eye relief. Although the Swaro is even longer. And none of this single central hinge 8x30/32 options will “fold up” in the way that the Zeiss will.
 

Canyac

Member
Denmark
Thanks a bunch everyone! I had not refreshed the webpage when I wrote my first reply, so I thought only one answered! Came back to be quite surprised by all your helpful replies!

I'd of course prefer to try both, but alas, that is not easy. The Opticron I can only get in a different country, so that will be troublesome!

I think I'm trending towards buying and trying the Zeiss. Main arguments being that the compactness is an advantage, and that it probably suits my purpose well. I am not a dedicated birder or hunter, and I've practically never carried a bino for everything before. The Zeiss seem to be a great entry point.

And if I find the Zeiss too fiddly/annoying, I can always return it amd try something else!

Thanks again for all your inputs. And I have enjoyed reading the 20+ pages on the Zeiss VP post, and Troubadurs excellent review on the Opticron Traveller!

I might fiddle around with making a mockup of the size of the binos, and see how I find them in a pocket, before deciding fully though 🤔

Have a nice weekend!
 

mbb

Well-known member
Thanks a bunch everyone! I had not refreshed the webpage when I wrote my first reply, so I thought only one answered! Came back to be quite surprised by all your helpful replies!

I'd of course prefer to try both, but alas, that is not easy. The Opticron I can only get in a different country, so that will be troublesome!

I think I'm trending towards buying and trying the Zeiss. Main arguments being that the compactness is an advantage, and that it probably suits my purpose well. I am not a dedicated birder or hunter, and I've practically never carried a bino for everything before. The Zeiss seem to be a great entry point.

And if I find the Zeiss too fiddly/annoying, I can always return it amd try something else!

Thanks again for all your inputs. And I have enjoyed reading the 20+ pages on the Zeiss VP post, and Troubadurs excellent review on the Opticron Traveller!

I might fiddle around with making a mockup of the size of the binos, and see how I find them in a pocket, before deciding fully though 🤔

Have a nice weekend!
As an ”entry point” to binoculars, via the 8x25 format, you might also want to consider the much cheaper but still very good Zeiss Terra 8x25. Great(er?) value for money. If it weren’t for an absurdly good deal that I had found on a Victory Pocket, I would probably have bought the Terra myself as my 8x25 ’carry anyway’ binoculars.
Some will say “cry once, buy the best”, others won’t.
It is of course all quite personal (taste, budget, preferences, sensitivity to the difference between ‘very good’ and ‘the current top’ or the will to have one or the other etc.)
 
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eitanaltman

Well-known member
I think you made a good choice. For casual use, the Zeiss will be wonderful, and being able to fold it up is a great side benefit. You might find you sell that monocular as it becomes redundant!

The concerns about ease of use / exit pupil are from the perspective of more serious usage, a hardcore birder is going to want binoculars that are comfortable enough to use for hours on end, including in challenging lighting and inclement weather. If you're just occasionally pulling them out and casually looking at stuff for a few minutes here and there, the concern is not that relevant.

Worst-case, you find yourself progressing to more serious usage, and at that point you can buy a larger binocular and the Zeiss becomes a fantastic compact backup option.
 

willisoften

Well-known member
United Kingdom
If it's your one and only binocular I'd plump for the 8x30.
I don't know the Opticron model you mention. I do know Kite Lynx already mentioned.
I also owned the Zeiss Victory 8x25 until recently. Nothing wrong with it.
Not all that compact even folded. More sort of Manbag than pocket.
General handling better than most other x25s because its bigger than them.
Handling not as good as 8x30. (Which will be a little bigger again)
Optically very nice.

Beware of fanboys bearing superlatives.
 

mwhogue

Well Known Member
Supporter
Thanks a bunch everyone! I .....

I'd of course prefer to try both, but alas, that is not easy. The Opticron I can only get in a different country, so that will be troublesome!

I think I'm trending towards buying and trying the Zeiss. Main arguments being that the compactness is an advantage, and that it probably suits my purpose well. I am not a dedicated birder or hunter, and I've practically never carried a bino for everything before. The Zeiss seem to be a great entry point.

And if I find the Zeiss too fiddly/annoying, I can always return it amd try something else!

Thanks again for all your inputs. And I have enjoyed reading the 20+ pages on the Zeiss VP post, and Troubadurs excellent review on the Opticron Traveller!

I might fiddle around with making a mockup of the size of the binos, and see how I find them in a pocket, before deciding fully though 🤔

Have a nice weekend!


It would be hard to go wrong picking any of the bins discussed (or pictured) in this thread.

Your plan to make mock ups is a good idea. One thing, since your goal is have bins you will more often take than not, weight is as important as size. So if you could accurately replicate the weight of each that might be useful in testing your preferences. IME when carried for extended periods the weight difference between an 8x25 and a compact 8x30/32 is noticeable.

The one thing you can't know until you try the Zeiss is whether the ER/eye placement will work for you. Since you intend to use with glasses your odds are better that it will.

Mike
 

Maljunulo

Well-known member
In selecting criteria for what we want in a binocular, we at the same time make decisions about what compromises we are willing to accept in order to meet those criteria.

It's interesting to see how that plays out in this forum.
 

Sprite1275

Well-known member
United Kingdom
In selecting criteria for what we want in a binocular, we at the same time make decisions about what compromises we are willing to accept in order to meet those criteria.

It's interesting to see how that plays out in this forum.
Exactly. If you want a small bino for birding then 8x32. If you want jacket pocket bino 8x25.... Maybe. If you want true pocket bino 8x20. We all know the 8x25 will out perform the 8x20 and the 8x 32 will be better than the 8x25. It's just physics.

If the binos are to be used secondary on a day out you want them to be as least noticeable as possible. That's why I have 8x20. If your going out to purposely use them then go for 8x32/42
 

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