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First impresion of the operation of GPO 10x42 HD (1 Viewer)


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First impression of the operation of GPO 10x42 HD binoculars as related to Leica Ultravid 10x42, Swarovski 8.5x42 EL, Swarovski 8x30 EL, Swarovski 10x42 EL, Zeiss Conquest 10x42 and Bynolyt Tern 8x45 DCF.

As an ornithologist, when I look at comparisons between binoculars, I like to look at the following:

First: size up binoculars with similar technical characteristics (power and diameter) as well as service, that is, all binoculars have had the same use.

Second: that the analysis would be objective, that is, a machine tells me how much real light passes, a number that evaluates the sharpness of the optics, distortion, aberration, etc.

This is not what you will read here because I do not have the machinery, knowledge nor a dozen new binoculars to compare them with. In fact, if I had them, I would not even take them on a trip if my main goal was to see birds. It is also difficult to have a group of friends to get together to observe birds where each of them bring has new binoculars of different brands to be able to compare them. So, what you have next is a subjective impression of the GPO 10x42 HD binoculars after using them for a month birdwatching in Sulawesi. Watching birds all day and at night, in difficult conditions in the rain, humidity, low light etc. While lost in the jungle, slipping, falling... In short, at the end of the trip I ended up in the hospital. Precisely, taking advantage of the fact that I have to rest, I am writing this report. You should also bear in mind that I am not an expert in binoculars, although I always like to compare them.

At first glance, if we look at the price (€1.000), these binoculars should compete with the Leica Trinovid or the Zeiss Conquest.

Before I took the GPO's to Sulawesi I compared them with Leica Ultravid 10x42 (1st model, used for 12 years, recently refurbished and updated by Leica, big binoculars!!!). I did not notice a marked difference, although, in low light it seemed that the GPOs were a little brighter, but in the end it was not conclusive. One difference between the GPO HD and the Leica Ultravid is that the GPO weighs more (840 g) than the Ultravid (750 g). Ultravids are also smaller. I have found people who prefer GPO because they have a good "grip". Personally I prefer binoculars that are smaller and lighter because I travel a lot, although I assume that this is not the trend, since the Noctovid which will replace Ultravid are even heavier (860 g.). During the duration of the trip I did not see any difference between the GPO and Ultravid, which I have used for 12 years, except when I looked for owls. In the case of Ultravid, the Ledlenser M14 flashlight coupled between the two tubes directs the light exactly where the binoculars focus. In the case of HD GPO, you must tilt the M14 to match the focus of the binoculars.

At the beginning of the trip, while we waited in the Karenta Forest, somewhat bored as the birds were not around, the group compared their binoculars, mostly with GPO HD 10x42, since I wanted to know the opinion of the group about these binoculars.

These are the opinions of the different members when comparing the GPO with their binoculars:

Luis Alberto Garcia (Swarovski 8.5x42 EL) believes that the GPO are very good, but that the after-sales service of Swarovski is unbeatable. With GPO this service is unknown as the company has only been around since 2017.

Fran Trabalón (Swarovski 8x30 EL) thinks that image quality is the same, but that the Swarovski's may have more depth of field and concludes that perhaps he prefers them because he has already become accustomed to them.

Miquel Bonet (Zeiss Conquest 10x42) believes that both the GPO and Swarovski have better image quality, perhaps because he bought his binoculars four years ago.

Finally, Daniel Jiménez (Bynolyt Tern 8x45 DCF) affirms that Zeiss and the GPO are better than his and that he does not find differences between the two. The Bynolyt Tern 8x45 DCF is very inferior and he uses them mainly to find the birds that he wants to record on video.

Halfway, Scott Baker joined us and like any ornithologist would do, when he had the opportunity he wanted to sample an unknown brand of binocular: "Wow, look's good and they focus much faster than mine!" (Swarovski 10x42 EL) He exclaimed. It must be said that he is not the first user who tells me that Swarovski focus more slowly, but I think this is not true with the newer models.

During the trip, we noticed an aspect in which the GPO were much better than Zeiss Conquest, but it was a difference so great that the user of Zeiss Conquest ended up summarizing it like that: the difference between the GPO and the Zeiss is similar to the difference between Ledlenser M14 and the P7.2.

In backlit situations with the Zeiss the image looked unclear in the background, while with with the GPO and the Swarovski it looked clear. In the Zeiss, the object focused in the centre was perfectly illuminated, but the rest remained unclear.

I had never noticed this aspect of Zeiss Conquest 8x32, the binoculars my partner has. As soon as I can walk well, I will check if this feature is general or a consequence of wear.

ABSTRACT: The user of Swarovski said that with the GPO HD the image did not look better, nor worse. The user of Zeiss Conquest ended up convinced that the GPO HD were much better, in fact he decided to change them for GPO.

So, according to my experience, it could be concluded that the GPO are within the same category of top end alpha brands such as Swarovski EL / Leica Ultravid and that the Zeiss Conquest belong to a lower category.

However, it should be noted that the GPO HD was brand new and the Zeiss were 4 years old and Swarovski more than 10 years old. To make a fair comparison, all binoculars should have had the same use. Maybe the entry level Alpha brand binoculars (Zeiss Conquest, Leica Trinovid) have good optical quality when brand new but over time they loose there quality?.

I, until now, thought that my partner's Zeiss Conquest 8x32 had the same characteristics of the Ultravid for half the price. It is true that I did not use them much, but so far I found them very good quality. I am now anxious to be able to walk again to know if the difference during strong light contrastes between GPO 10x42 HD, and Zeiss Conquest 8x32 are as big as those observed while in Sulawesi.

As for the GPO HD, at first glance they seem comparable with the top end alpha brands, although I do not know what performance they will have after ten years of intense use. That is why any devil's advocate contribution will be appreciable to improve my knowledge about optics.
This is a wonderfully informative and interesting review. It’s very, very refreshing to learn the views of professional users - in the field under trying conditions for extended periods. Thank you so much for taking the time to prepare and share your report.

Very best regards and hoping For your quick recovery,
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