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Brief comments on the Traveller 8x32 BGA ED (1 Viewer)

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
This is all just based one one sample, of course, but the copy I received from Optics Planet didn't wow. I have a Nikon M7 8x30 here for comparison and the Opticron is definitely a touch better in available eye relief, perhaps offering 1-2mm more, which was my hope and which is why I ordered it. This slight increase in available eye relief makes it much easier for me to comfortably get the whole field of view with glasses on. I didn't measure but the available eye relief appears to come largely from eye cups that when down are a touch shorter than on the Nikon. I would be surprised if there was a 4mm difference in true eye relief as specs are given.

However the bin is noticeably less sharp at the edges, and has worse chromatic aberration. Keep reading for more about this.

Something odd which I don't fully understand is that the binocular is clearly far from sharp for the upper 25% or so of the Field of View, making the sweet spot asymmetrical. This happens in both tubes though seemingly worse in the left tube. As soon as I noticed it was in both tubes I assumed it was some weird eye placement issue. However, no amount of playing around with eye placement, with or without glasses, gets me a full FOV that has a symmetrical and appealing sweet spot. When viewing the full field of view I can get the upper portion of the field into focus by focusing further to infinity. As well, if I shift my eye's alignment with the exit pupil far enough down, the upper part of the field of view does come into better focus, but only after I am no longer able to see most of the field of view. I really thought I was going crazy and it was my fault for eye placement but I am not able to reproduce anything like this with three other pairs of bins I have handy here. Careful comparison between the Opticron and the Nikon shows a larger and perfectly symmetrical sweet spot on the Nikon, and I am completely unable to reproduce the out of focal plane upper part of the FOV.

I don't understand completely what would cause this, and it seems odd that it is in both tubes, but the end result is that I can't get a nice view from the bin so I am returning it. Unfortunately Optics Planet doesn't have another copy in stock and won't get one in a short enough time to work for me, so c'est la vie on that one.

For what it is worth the package appeared previously opened when I received it - the little black dot sealing the box shut was peeled up, the strap for the case was not folded neatly, and the ocular cover was on upside down. I can't say with any authority if it was a prior return or not, but it didn't strike me as an obviously factory fresh copy. Serial number for this copy is 0013202.
 

BruceH

Avatar: Harris Hawk
pbjosh ..... Interesting post! I purchased the new 8X32 Traveller BGA ED at the end of November and had a somewhat similar experience.

I had a hard time getting a consistent sharp image. At first I thought it was a shifting diopter issue because things would be sharp and then not so much. Readjusting the diopter to a different setting took care of it, then the sharpness would go away on a subsequent view until another diopter adjustment

Ultimately I figured out that a small change in how the center view was lined up with my eye made the difference and it appeared to be some sort of asymmetry in the right barrel. I quit at that point and did not look into the issue near as much as you did. The unit was exchanged for the new version of the Opticron Natura 8X32 BGA ED which does not have any issue and I am keeping it.

I did compare the Traveller to my Nikon Monarch 7 8X30 and concluded they are basically clones other that the objective size difference. The inside construction looks about the same. I suspect the Monarch may be a little bit better optically but it was hard to tell due to the issues with the Traveller. Both had eye cups noticeably to short for the eye relief when viewing without eye glasses. The Natura is much better in that regard, but it is a little bit heavier and a smaller FOV.

The Natura 8X32 looks to be a clone of my Cabela's Guide 8X32 based on the inside construction and the Cabela's appears to be a clone of the discontinued Leopold BX-3. The Natura should be higher quality ED glass and the view is a little bit brighter with a little bit more apparent contrast. It looks like the Guide has a little wider FOV. The Natura serves my purpose of decent optics in a small light enough hiking binocular.
 

typo

Well-known member
It does sound odd that you are reporting a very similar problem. If I recall correctly Bruce returned his faulty sample to Optic Planet. Might they have sent Josh the same faulty sample?

I didn't spot asymetry in any of the 4 samples I've tried, and the other reports here seem fine.

David
 

pete_gamby

Birds? What Birds?!
The serial number for the unit matches with one shipped to OP in mid October 2017 so it seems very likely they decided not to return it to us as faulty but kept it in stock instead. Doh!

I'll advise our US office and get it pulled out once returned.

Thanks for the heads up guys.

By the way, we don't "factory seal" our carton boxes with stickers so that black sticker was probably applied by OP.

Cheers, Pete
 

henry link

Well-known member
pbjosh,

Turn the binocular upside down. Does the asymmetry invert or look the same? Look through one ocular only and rotate the barrel. Does the asymmetry rotate with the barrel or remain unchanged?

Henry
 

BruceH

Avatar: Harris Hawk
....... If I recall correctly Bruce returned his faulty sample to Optic Planet. Might they have sent Josh the same faulty sample?

David

I did not send mine back until the end of the extended holiday period via FedEx slow mail. It was received just before the end of January and then there were a few days for OP to review the return. My guess is the shipment to pbjosh took place before my return was processed. Also, I had a little higher serial number.

There was nothing about mine to indicate it had been previously opened and I do not recall any black sealing dot on the box. I just checked my Imagic box (from Eagle Optics) and Natura box (from Optics Planet) and neither have a black sealing dot.

I suspect my issue was just one of those sample variations and I would have exchanged it for another sample of the same model expect for a couple of reasons. First, the eye cups were too short for me in relation to the eye relief and a new sample would not fix that. Second, it is basically a clone of the Nikon Monarch 7 8X30 that I already have. I did not realize that they were basically the same when I ordered the Traveller. I did not see much point in having what would have been about the same model so I exchanged it for the Natura.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
pbjosh,

Turn the binocular upside down. Does the asymmetry invert or look the same? Look through one ocular only and rotate the barrel. Does the asymmetry rotate with the barrel or remain unchanged?

Henry

A very common sense thing to do and I'm ashamed I didn't think of it myself. Thank you very much for the suggestion. So I just popped the box back open and checked it out. The asymmetry does rotate with the barrels. Either eye viewing through either barrel sees the soft / front focused portion of the field of view follow the top of the barrel through any degree of rotation.

Bizarre. I guess it makes me feel a bit less unsure of my sanity, though I'm still left pondering how something like that could get manufactured. Is it more likely there is some misalignment in assembly that is caused by one piece of equipment that assembles every barrel, or is it more likely that the same error presented itself in two barrels with the same radial alignment?

Thanks all for chiming in. I should say I agree with Bruce that these are basically indistinguishable from the Monarch 7 8x30 though unlike Bruce, the available eye relief would have had me prefer the Traveller had I received a good sample.

Cheers again,
Josh
 
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