• 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.

Bino advice (1 Viewer)

Barbican1987

Active member
If you're in the UK then Opticron should be on your radar, they are like the UK version of Vortex in a way, producing excellent "bang for the buck" glass with great optics for the price and great warranty support. If you want to go for something smaller and lighter with very good optics, your budget should allow you to track down a Traveler 8x32 BGA ED which is well reviewed and extremely light. The discontinued Countryman HD 8x32 and Verano HD 8x32 are both also excellent with some more heft (~600g instead of ~450g) if you check around the used market.

If you want something more full sized, I would bet you could find the Imagic 8x42 BGA VHD or the prior model DBA VHD in your budget if you search around for clearance sales or 2nd hand. These are EXCELLENT binoculars that are only marginally inferior to the best costing thousands.

Hawke is also a good budget brand that is well reviewed, their Frontier 8x42 ED-X is a very good mid-level binocular and within your budget on sale: https://www.harrisoncameras.co.uk/pd/hawke-8x42-frontier-ed-x-green-binoculars_38410
Thanks for your reply. Opticron have been on my radar. I have not come across some of the models to mention though, particularly Imagic, I will have a look at them, thanks for the tip. Yes Hawke seem to be a popular choice. I did come across one report of the bridge breaking open on one Hawke model, cannot remember the model number now.
 

Barbican1987

Active member
Yes, they weight over 800g. Before them I used Nikon Monarch 7 8x32 with 450g weight and I thought Vikings would be too heavy, but the weight doesn't bother me anymore. Monarch 8x32 is around 300£ or less and is also a good choice.
Interestingly I weighed my Konus 7x50 marine porro binos with compass this morning and they were about 860g. They didn't feel to bad
 

Barbican1987

Active member
Hi,

my choices for a used pair of 8x42 in the UK and between 200 and 300 quid would currently be the following Opticron DBA VHD as recommended above:


Here's the Opticron page for this model including some reviews:


or this one but a bit over budget:


and again the Opticron page:


The Made in China Zeiss Terra series was not loved a lot by reviewers except for the Made in Japan 25mm pocket models...

Joachim
Thanks Joachim for taking the time and trouble to reply. That is very helpful. I am rather mesmerized by the huge choice available now and coupled with all the latest developments a d improvement in optical quality at the lower end of the market. I feel the need to narrow down the choice. Everyone seems to recommend 8xmag not 10x , is that because of the fov reduction?
 

Jessie-66

Germany
8x vs 10x with equal objective diameter:
More comfortable ("ease of view"), lower veiling glare ("flashes") with 5mm exit pupil diameter:
Also brigter in dark forests, often longer eye relief for wearers of spectacles, lower shaking/jitters (individual different).
10x is a little bit and only a little bit better for long distance and some twilight observations. Better for long distances (and expensiver) are IS-bins and spectives.
 
Last edited:

Barbican1987

Active member
I would get the Hawk Frontier ED X 8x32 at your price point.

Hawke Frontier ED X 8x32 Binoculars Review

Top-end, mid-sized 8x32 binoculars offering an incredible performance to price ratio, these Hawke Frontier ED X binoculars are...
www.bestbinocularsreviews.com
www.bestbinocularsreviews.com
Thank-you, I have been looking at Hawke over the last few months.
 

Barbican1987

Active member

Can anyone summarise the difference in spec between the Opticron Imagic BGA VHD 10x42 and then BGA VHD version because LCE are offering the Imagic for about £200 less than the BGA VHD version. I guess the optics are better quality but is this a marginal difference or is it worth another £200;in your opinion. Would be interested in your views.
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
Opticron has an unfortunately confusing model naming nomenclature and does frequent "refreshes" as they upgrade models or swap to different production, so it can be difficult to keep up. Generally the "VHD" and "Imagic" labels are reserved for their upper crust optics which are outsourced from Japan (instead of China for the cheaper models).

As best I understand it:

  • the DBA VHD (double hinge) was their top binocular a few years ago
  • the DBA VHD+ is the same binocular but with newer, slightly upgrade coatings (so incrementally brighter)
  • the BGA VHD is the current model, and is a totally different binocular that is largely identical to the Tract Toric UHD model stateside

If you spend some time here in the Opticron subforum you can find discussion of all three. As far as I can tell they are all excellent and the minor differences between them would be irrelevant for someone in your position.... in other words, all three would be a huge upgrade over the assemblage of inexpensive bins you have now and I would just worry about which of the three you can find in budget rather than sweating any tiny differences. The ergonomics (double hinge vs single central bridge) are likely a bigger factor between the three than the optics.

Don't assume that because you find one priced higher than the other that it is much better, especially when looking at older/discontinued models. Because of discounting (or lack thereof) the sale price may not reflect the actual quality, so it's safer to google a bit and see if you can backtrack the actual full retail price which will give a better indicator of quality level.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

the Imagic BGA VHD is a current 2nd tier model on sale. LCE seems to beat the sale prices on the opticron page by 10 quid... the 8x42 is 389 with them.

The old DBA VHD was a top tier pair back then, as are the DBA VHD+ now at 599 quid. The main difference between the old DBA VHD and the Imagic BGA VHD is the fact that the old DBA VHD has field flatteners while the Imagic has not, at least per description on Opticrons page. The other stuff is very similar with the new Imagic being a tad better in most disciplines - 0.2 deg or 4m more true field at 1000m, 10g lighter, half a meter less close focus (2.5 vs 2m)...

Btw, the reason why 8x are the default for general birding is of course the smaller fov and maybe less so the lower brightness (which will only be an issue for a few minutes at dusk or dawn) - but most birders have noticed that holding a 10x pair steady for more than a few minutes is not easy... and if it starts getting shaky, you see more with an 8x pair. Stabilized pairs are of course an entirely different issue.

Joachim, who would be content with either pair but would probably get the old one due to price.
 

Barbican1987

Active member
Hi,

my choices for a used pair of 8x42 in the UK and between 200 and 300 quid would currently be the following Opticron DBA VHD as recommended above:


Here's the Opticron page for this model including some reviews:


or this one but a bit over budget:eek:


and again the Opticron page:OpOp


The Made in China Zeiss Terra series was not loved a lot by reviewers except for the Made in Japan 25mm pocket models...

Joachim
I have homed in on the Opticron Imagic DBA VHD or the Opticron DBA VHD. ICE have the Imagic DBA VHD 10x42 reduced by 20% to £399 whereas the DBA VHD 10x42 + is £579. The latter seems to offer flat vision optics for an extra £180, or have I oversimplified.

I am tending towards the Imagic as they are a lower price but I could afford the more expensive model if they are better value. I don't really know which is better value.

I am still not sure whether to go for 8 or 10 mag . I have some 8x mag already but no 10x mag. My existing 8x are older porros and lower quality roof prism models. Any thoughts?
 

Barbican1987

Active member
Opticron has an unfortunately confusing model naming nomenclature and does frequent "refreshes" as they upgrade models or swap to different production, so it can be difficult to keep up. Generally the "VHD" and "Imagic" labels are reserved for their upper crust optics which are outsourced from Japan (instead of China for the cheaper models).

As best I understand it:

  • the DBA VHD (double hinge) was their top binocular a few years ago
  • the DBA VHD+ is the same binocular but with newer, slightly upgrade coatings (so incrementally brighter)
  • the BGA VHD is the current model, and is a totally different binocular that is largely identical to the Tract Toric UHD model stateside

If you spend some time here in the Opticron subforum you can find discussion of all three. As far as I can tell they are all excellent and the minor differences between them would be irrelevant for someone in your position.... in other words, all three would be a huge upgrade over the assemblage of inexpensive bins you have now and I would just worry about which of the three you can find in budget rather than sweating any tiny differences. The ergonomics (double hinge vs single central bridge) are likely a bigger factor between the three than the optics.

Don't assume that because you find one priced higher than the other that it is much better, especially when looking at older/discontinued models. Because of discounting (or lack thereof) the sale price may not reflect the actual quality, so it's safer to google a bit and see if you can backtrack the actual full retail price which will give a better indicator of quality level.
Thank-you that is very helpful, Opticron models you mention keeps coming with good reviews from members and it will most likely be one of models you mention not sure which one yet though. I am finding this quite a minefield but your responses have been very helpful to help me through this maze of differences in quality at different prices to get the best value. Many thanks.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

you listed some 10x pocket pairs in your first post, try to keep them steady for more than a few minutes... at least I cannot do so and when the shakes start, you don't see a lot in them.

While I have a very good pair of 10x42 bins, (Nikon SE, easily the best view in my collection), it gets used only occasionally when I know that I will only watch far away birds. For general birding, an 8x or even 7x pair is much preferred. It has to be said, that I tend to have a scope with me when on a dedicated birding outing. But if you need a scope, a 10x usually won't help either.

Joachim
 

Barbican1987

Active member
Hi,

my choices for a used pair of 8x42 in the UK and between 200 and 300 quid would currently be the following Opticron DBA VHD as recommended above:


Here's the Opticron page for this model including some reviews:


or this one but a bit over budget:


and again the Opticron page:


The Made in China Zeiss Terra series was not loved a lot by reviewers except for the Made in Japan 25mm pocket models...

Joachim
https://www.opticron.co.uk/our-products/binoculars-guide I found this link very helpful. I explains the prefix used in Opticron models . I also like the explanation of exit pupil and apparent fov which I did not fully understand
 

Barbican1987

Active member
Hi,

you listed some 10x pocket pairs in your first post, try to keep them steady for more than a few minutes... at least I cannot do so and when the shakes start, you don't see a lot in them.

While I have a very good pair of 10x42 bins, (Nikon SE, easily the best view in my collection), it gets used only occasionally when I know that I will only watch far away birds. For general birding, an 8x or even 7x pair is much preferred. It has to be said, that I tend to have a scope with me when on a dedicated birding outing. But if you need a scope, a 10x usually won't help either.

Joachim
Thanks Joachim that is helpful in narrowing my choice
 

mpeace

Well-known member
Yes, they weight over 800g. Before them I used Nikon Monarch 7 8x32 with 450g weight and I thought Vikings would be too heavy, but the weight doesn't bother me anymore. Monarch 8x32 is around 300£ or less and is also a good choice.
I think the Viking models for the price are more compelling than the Opticron DBA VHD models, which have relatively narrow fields of view. Good fields of view for 8x is 8 degrees (around 140m /1000m) and for 10x is 6.5 degrees (around 110m /1000m). Wide field of view is important - you only have to consider how much people are paying for the new Swarovski NLs to get the widest possible FOV.

There's an interesting thread on BF to read about the Viking models here: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/viking-ed-pro-vs-hawke-frontier-ed-x.395237/

And Carmarthen Cameras have a 8x42 ED FF model for a good price (£200) here:


If you want to go for a 10x model the 10x42 Viking ED Pro For £196 seem an easy pick - that money for a high quality Japanese built binoculars is pretty amazing.

For £200 each either of these options are a steel and with I think would blow you away with their wide high quality views. That is unless there's a problem, but their both from stores with decent returns policies if you find they don't agree with you.
 

Barbican1987

Active member
I have to say I find all these suffixes a d prefixes very confusing.
Today I saw an Opticron model Explorer 8x42 WA ECPF GA wp pc!!!

They were advertised on Face book as brand new for £120!! I nearly fell for it when I discovered they were discontinued in 2015!! No ED glass and I am not sure if Japanese made or Chinese. New models are about £220 so it wasn't much of a bargain.
 
Last edited:

Barbican1987

Active member
I think the Viking models for the price are more compelling than the Opticron DBA VHD models, which have relatively narrow fields of view. Good fields of view for 8x is 8 degrees (around 140m /1000m) and for 10x is 6.5 degrees (around 110m /1000m). Wide field of view is important - you only have to consider how much people are paying for the new Swarovski NLs to get the widest possible FOV.

There's an interesting thread on BF to read about the Viking models here: https://www.birdforum.net/threads/viking-ed-pro-vs-hawke-frontier-ed-x.395237/

And Carmarthen Cameras have a 8x42 ED FF model for a good price (£200) here:


If you want to go for a 10x model the 10x42 Viking ED Pro For £196 seem an easy pick - that money for a high quality Japanese built binoculars is pretty amazing.

For £200 each either of these options are a steel and with I think would blow you away with their wide high quality views. That is unless there's a problem, but their both from stores with decent returns policies if you find they don't agree with you.
Thank-you mpeace for the link. The Viking model 8x42 ED FF does look good. Is this Japanese or Chinese I wonder, so many factors to consider it seems!!
 

mpeace

Well-known member
Thank-you mpeace for the link. The Viking model 8x42 ED FF does look good. Is this Japanese or Chinese I wonder, so many factors to consider it seems!!
The 8x42 ED FF is Chinese built, but in the birdforum thread I linked it discusses how it was actually their top end model (though had to be sold a bit cheaper than the ED Pro because of being built in China) and has all modern features like field flatterners (hence FF), dielectric prism coatings, water repellent lens coatings, ED glass etc and is reported as being very good. Definitely lots to consider and there's no perfect bin at any price, but if you can get a bargain it does help in ignoring the odd weakness of a bin and just enjoy using them.
 

Barbican1987

Active member
The 8x42 ED FF is Chinese built, but in the birdforum thread I linked it discusses how it was actually their top end model (though had to be sold a bit cheaper than the ED Pro because of being built in China) and has all modern features like field flatterners (hence FF), dielectric prism coatings, water repellent lens coatings, ED glass etc and is reported as being very good. Definitely lots to consider and there's no perfect bin at any price, but if you can get a bargain it does help in ignoring the odd weakness of a bin and just enjoy using them.
I bought them!!! Carmarthen Camera shop after you sent me the link. Yes the spec looked very good. Although it's a discontinued model I liked the features. I looked back at the recommended selling price originally a few years back and it was over £400. I bought them for £199 so I think they will be fine for me. Thanks for the tip off, it was the last one. There was another on Ebay but that was about £260 I think.
 

Barbican1987

Active member
I have several pairs of binos I have accumulated over several years.

8x30 Carl Zeiss Jena

Minolta Classic 7 x 35 W
Minolta pocket II 10x25
Miranda Elite 8x21
Miranda 10x25
Vortex 7.5x32 Spitfire, bought recently , I was surprised at the difference in the sharpness and optical quality of these.
7x50 Marine binos with compass for sailing.
As you can see I am a bit of a bino anorak you might say

I hanker after a better more powerful a more modern pair of 8x42 or 8x42. I have to say I am not what you may describe as a keen birder. The other day though looking out of my bedroom window in the morning I spotted no less than 6 gold finches feeding on Evening Primrose plants we had left gowing specifically for the birds. It was a real delight . I usually see a pair in the garden but never that many. The Vortex made all the difference. I have been avidly researching ED glass etx and multicoatings and wonder about splashing out on a more expensive pair of new binos as optical quality seems to have moved on. However I keep reading that porros have better optical qualities and it has made me undecided. Maybe a little advice from experienced forum members would help me choose. I not about to spend thousands on a top of the range but maybe mid range would suit. Fire away
To all who replied to my thread, I would like to say a big Thank-you. Your collective replies helped me choose from the mind boggling range of binos on the market at the moment. I have increased my knowledge of the technicalities as well. In the end, although I did look at some Opticron models, I went for Viking 8x42 ED FF £199. Although a discontinued Chinese made bino, it had a lot of good features and is half the price it was when it was first launched. It will be my 1st 8x40 much valued bino and hope to get some good use out of it.
 
Last edited:

mpeace

Well-known member
I bought them!!! Carmarthen Camera shop after you sent me the link. Yes the spec looked very good. Although it's a discontinued model I liked the features. I looked back at the recommended selling price originally a few years back and it was over £400. I bought them for £199 so I think they will be fine for me. Thanks for the tip off, it was the last one. There was another on Ebay but that was about £260 I think.
Good for you, I very much hope they work out. Let us know how you get on with them.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top