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Bird Fair 2016 Revelation Roundup (1 Viewer)

CliveP

Well-known member
Maybe a one stop thread for general posting of Bird Fair highlights this year, optics and otherwise?

Apologies if this is already intended or covered in another thread.

Anything that caught particular interest?

Maybe 2016 was the Noctovid show?
 
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Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
In alpha order:

Leica Noctivid
Nikon Monarch HG
Vanguard Endeavour IV
Zeiss Gavia Scope
Zeiss SF in black HT-like armour, with new eyecups and smoother focus

Honourable mentions for great products, in alpha order:

Kowa
Meopta
Opticron

No mention in this honourable list of any of the Big 3 and their other products as they are 'included' without mentioning.
 

Gilmore Girl

Beth
Supporter
United States
Honourable mentions for great products, in alpha order:

Kowa
Meopta
Opticron

.

Was there anything new from them besides the new Kowa compact?
Did you try the Genesis 33mm? If so, let me know how you liked it.
I've never even seen it in person and always wanted to try it.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Was there anything new from them besides the new Kowa compact?
Did you try the Genesis 33mm? If so, let me know how you liked it.
I've never even seen it in person and always wanted to try it.

I tried it briefly and enjoyed it but I then got into a discussion about possibly obtaining a review unit and then had to dash for an appointment elsewhere. So I hope to report on it in more detail in the not too distant future.

Lee
 

Gilmore Girl

Beth
Supporter
United States
I tried it briefly and enjoyed it but I then got into a discussion about possibly obtaining a review unit and then had to dash for an appointment elsewhere. So I hope to report on it in more detail in the not too distant future.

Lee

Cool looking forward to your review if you get the opportunity.

Here's how I picture you dashing to your appointment:
 

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paddy7

Well-known member
I was at BirdFair on the Friday, in poor light, rain etc. and scooted round the optics stands, some of the time in the company of Typo, who could certainly give a more precise evaluation than anything i'm going to produce.
It's not fair to be too definite or judgmental based on the tests you can make in the circumstances, particularly on the alpha stands, which tend to get all the attention, so this is very cursory in terms of impressions.
I really liked the Nikon HG 8x, which was compact, easy to handle with smooth and definite focusing and bright. A male reed bunting jumped up in front of their test area, and i got on it immediately, the resolution appearing good in increasingly poor light. I was told the EDG will continue, but there were no announced plans for an 8x32 yet. The 10x (i'm less familiar with this mag) appeared to have a little more CA, although minimal, and didn't feel (to me) to be as instinctive. Probably going to give the Conquest a chase. I thought the colours were neutral, although Typo and i did have a discussion on this!
The Kowa 22 is a cute little thing, but has not been designed for the birding market - it's a general purpose pocket optic, and is likely to come in a range of colours that perhaps birders would find a little off-putting.
Too expensive to be a 'car bin' though....Personally, i think if you're looking for birding equipment with this size of objective, you're better off with a reverse porro, even if not so compact.
Noctovid next - and again, the 8x. A family of mute swans was in sight of the Leica stand (great coffee!) and again, a buttery-smooth focus brought them into sharp resolution immediately. Bright, fairly light and with an overall quality feel about them.
I wasn't too sure about the edge of view however, when focusing on the top of a fairly distant tree; there was some form of compression of the image right at the edge in the left barrel that i couldn't reproduce in the right.
I checked for sample variation by using another one, which was similar.
However, having just had a large espresso, it could be me......
The stand was very crowded, and i wouldn't want anyone to think this was the result of any exhaustive testing - just an initial impression.
So to the Vanguard Endeavor EDIV. A different animal to the EDII, i thought, rather than a development of the same concept. The focus has been slowed down and the flat-view dispensed with. About the same weight and livery, bright and seemingly neutral (in what was by now appalling light), with no apparent CA. The EDII was famed for its edge-to-edge sharpness, and i got the impression this was slightly 'different' in the IV. It seemed slightly wider in FoV, but i haven't seen any stats to indicate that.
The overall impression i had, without any major new launches in the bins dept from Zeiss or Swaro, was that the middle ground is getting increasingly close to the performance of the Alphas, and there was plenty of competition in the £400-£800 market.
Best bang-for-the-buck that i saw was the Vanguard, i thought. I really liked the 8x HG, if only for its combination of bright view and ergonomics. Would reserve judgment on the Leica until some easier circumstances to try it occurs.
I'm not sure if the light permitted any real judgment at all on the Gavia scope, so won't give one, as the zoom was taking the EP down too far for the circumstances.
Again, i'd like to iterate that all the above is on fairly fleeting try-outs, in a crowded setting and very poor light, and so must be regarded as first impressions only.
Other headlines: the Celestron Hummingbird scopes (monopod-friendly) are going to find a BIG market (if they haven't already); looked through the Kite Bonelli, with it's outstanding resolution (but some CA) and the Lynx (which i liked, but i already have the Nikon M7 8x30, which is very similar) and found Celestron's big porros strangely easy to hand-hold.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Thanks for your report Paddy and I absolutely agree that the conditions of Friday (and also on Saturday) made it really difficult to form opinions, and especially with the Noctivids being almost but not quite to production standards.

Lee
 

paddy7

Well-known member
Two things i forgot:
Zeiss had the Victory FL 8x32 (with which i am familiar to a ridiculous extent) sitting next to 8x42 HTs and just in front of SFs, giving my first real chance to 'A-B-C' them, even if in different configurations.
I was surprised how 'related' the views seemed. I don't think i'd ever change my FLs, but i came away thinking that the HT was perhaps king-of-the-hill, particularly in those conditions. Based purely on instant liking of views rather than in-depth evaluation. I know there's endless debate on this, but there y'go....call it as you see it, i reckon.
 

paddy7

Well-known member
The other thing:
It should be mentioned how unfailingly helpful and patient almost all the stand-holders were, and i'd particularly like to pick out Opticron, Celestron, Kowa and NewPro (Vortex suppliers) for great advice, even if it didn't directly mean more money in the till for them. An increasingly rare attribute which shows proper devotion to the cause. Thanks folks!
 

PeterPS

MEMBER
Thanks for your interesting report, Paddy. Do you have any comment on the glare control of the Monarch HG? I know you did not have a lot of sun, but glare can affect the view even under cloudy skies.///Peter.
 

paddy7

Well-known member
Thanks for your interesting report, Paddy. Do you have any comment on the glare control of the Monarch HG? I know you did not have a lot of sun, but glare can affect the view even under cloudy skies.///Peter.

This was slightly beyond cloudy skies! All i can say is i didn't notice any glare at all. I haven't been following the HG threads, so i don't know if this is the hot topic (like it seemed to be with the M7 8x30)? It was a good day for noticing CA though, which again wasn't obvious in the 8x
Perhaps i should catch up on the Nikon threads - the only opinion i've heard on them so far is my own and Typo's, so i wasn't expecting anything, or checking for particular concerns.
 

CliveP

Well-known member
Thanks Paddy. Interesting stuff.

The Monarch HG sounds good. One I will look out for. I wonder if they made a smaller version like the M7 would it be any good. I suppose the M7 will be upgraded at some stage. I can't see it being discontinued considering how popular it has been.

Sounds like a bit of a cunning ploy from Leica to get everyone caffeine wired while trying their bins. They'll be offering Hookah pipes next, hopefully :storm::bounce:
 

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