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Binocular Design: A Personal Look at Selected Kowa, Meopta and Opticron Models (1 Viewer)

Troubador

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Kowa Genesis 8x33 & BD II 6.5x32 XD
Kowa’s Genesis looks smoothly confident to me, smart and with its dark metallic focus wheel, sophisticated too. But it is not without its quirks because the dioptre adjuster is in gloss black that contrasts with the eyecup above it due to its smooth, texture-less surface, and contrasts with the optical tube below it due to its colour. This latter contrast means that the left-hand optical tube has a larger green area than the right-hand and looks longer. This gives the model a lop-sided look that is either clumsy, or quirkily attractive, depending on your point of view. On the face of it the smaller, more dumpy-looking BD II has at least learned how to dress properly with the presence of the dioptre ring softened by being the same shade of green the armour. Not only is there no lop-sided impression, but the silver-metallic focus wheel is balanced nicely by the similarly finished tripod-socket cover. All of which looks more cohesive and well-considered than the exterior of the Genesis. Except for one thing. Around the back of the little 6.5x32 are two large, square strap lugs that look robust enough to support a 56mm monster. You can just see one in the photo showing both models and they are in stark contrast to the discrete, smoothly curved components on the Genesis. Nitpicking aside these two models do complement each other and are pleasing to handle.
Gen8x33.JPG BD.JPG Both Kowas.JPG

Meopta MeoStar B1 8x42 and 8x32
Although I now look on these two models with affection, my first reaction a few years ago, was distaste at the array of spots on the upper parts of the optical tubes. At least that was my impression from photographs, but in the flesh at BirdFair, they seemed very different. The overall outlines of the two barrels seemed similar to Leica’s BA/BN, and the low-profile eyecups were quite unlike any others I have ever seen. The 42 and 32 were easy to distinguish due to the flat area adjacent to the hinge on the 42 having a downward sweeping edge at both top and bottom, whereas on the 32 the bottom of the flat area was finished with a straight edge at 90 degrees to the optical axis. Around the back, both models had discrete low-profile strap lugs, with recesses in the armour underneath them to make room for the strap. I now think they have a unique creative confidence which is refreshing.
B1 842.JPG B1832.JPG

Opticron Traveller BGA ED & Imagic BGA VHD
Opticron’s Traveller BGA ED is dressed in no-nonsense black armour, with matching rings under the eyecups that create a symmetry, so that the dioptre adjuster doesn’t offend the eye. Smoothly armoured with parallel-sided optical tubes they have an elegance I find very pleasing.
On the other hand, the Imagic BGA VHD comes with a flamboyant flourish of a crease diagonally across both optical tubes, which, on first sight I thought was something of an anomaly. Then I saw an actress called Mario Bello in an episode of NCIS and her prominent cheekbones, and the crease caused by her radiant smile, immediately reminded me of the Imagics. Clearly I need to get out more.
So now whenever I look at the Imagic I see a smile, conversely, when I now look at Mario Bello, I don’t think about binoculars. I blame it on Covid-19 isolating.
Opt Trav.JPG Opt Imag.JPG


Lee
 

yarrellii

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This is really very nice, Lee. Thank you for taking your time in putting all this into words. I think there are many around here (I include myself) who enjoy binoculars beyond its mere a simple intended purpose of making things appear closer than they are. And the design of these devices is surely one hell of a topic.

As a note regarding the 8x32 Traveller ED (just been birding with it today), it is one design I've become really fond of. At the beginning, coming from the M7 8x30 I found it quite plain, lacking, dull. But I've come to really appreciate its pure lines. It's obviously made to fit a budget, but if a little more attention to detail was used (soften the seams, get a focuser with a nicer plastic/metal and outside texture, better eyecups and things like that) I think it would not give a lot away compared to a Leica (there, I've said it): get rid of the not-so-attractive Opticron logo (sorry, Opticron), put a red dot, and nicer eyecups and I think it would be praised by many for its understated beauty and style. In particular I'd like to draw your attention to the texture of the rubber armour. As I said, I found it a bit dull (I really like the soft and grippy M7), but over time I think it's just brilliant. It probably doesn't show in pictures, but the rubber has a very fine texture that I actually prefer to the one on the Ultravid (which is basically completely smooth an even).
 

Kevin Conville

yardbirder
I admire your taste in guitars. The jury is still out regarding binoculars. ;)
So, one comes to appreciate the look of the MeoStars? They look to me like a prop in a dermatologist's office as an example of a skin disorder. And don't all those nooks and crannies caused by all those blemishes make it more difficult to keep clean? I guess that's what old tooth brushes are for.

Good photos BTW.
 
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Troubador

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I admire your taste in guitars. The jury is still out regarding binoculars. ;)
So, one comes to appreciate the look of the MeoStars? They look to me like a prop in a dermatologist's office as an example of a skin disorder. And don't all those nooks and crannies caused by all those blemishes make it more difficult to keep clean? I guess that's what old tooth brushes are for.

Good photos BTW.
LOL, yes that was my first reaction to the MeoStars but they have grown on me. And despite me lying on them in bogs to take photos of the tiny orchid Hammarbya paludosa and on piles of seaweed to photo inter-tidal marine life in rockpools and indeed on sheep and goose poo while watching otters, the MeoStars have never been problem to clean up with just wipe. Thanks for the comment about the photos.

Lee
 

Kevin Conville

yardbirder
Oh, and about seeing Maria Bello's face in a pair of Opticron bins? Whoa dude. A good long walk might do you some good, or at least lay off the 'shrooms! :oops:
 
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Troubador

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Oh, and about seeing Maria Bello's face in a pair of Opticron bins? Whoa dude. A good long walk might do you some good, or at least lay off the 'shrooms! :oops:
You could be right but there are worse things one could have delusions about so I am not too concerned. And to get technical it was the prominent cheek bones rather than the entire face. OK. You're right, a cold shower and a long walk..................

Lee
 

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