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Meopta Meostar B1 Plus 10x42 (1 Viewer)

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Hello gang!

I never thought I would end up a Meopta hoarder - but that seems to be the case!

For those of you that have followed the Meopta threads lately I have had some mishaps and bad luck with them Meoptas and I could not find a Meopta B1 Plus 8x32 that A) was in stock and B) was not faulty :mad: and had to be sent back.

I ended up snagging a near mint Zeiss 8x32 Victory FL instead, with some luck, timing and help from a friend. As it turns out the Zeiss is optically every bit as good as I hoped it would be - BUT - it has one single flaw for me: it gives orange/red half moons from reflections in my glasses/the back ocular. And it does it quite a lot in various lighting conditions. My Zeiss FL 10x32 never had this problem for me and I sold it just recently, expecting the 8x32 FL to behave similarly. Which it does, except for the ocular reflections. Off glasses and cups out it is a superb binocular. When the ambient light does not give my reflections from my glasses it is even better than I expected. It would be a keeper for sure for anyone not wearing glasses or having a Zeiss-incompatible skull format.

As it stands now I think it will end up with my friend who does not use glasses and is actually the one that sourced the Zeiss 8x32 for me. It fits him really well so I am giving the Meopta B1 plus 8x32 one more try. I honestly don't expect it to perform at the same level as the Zeiss 8x32 FL and it will be some time before I get my hands on the third sample - which leads me to the reason for this thread:

While waiting for the Zeiss 8x32 (which was delayed in transit) and having two faulty Meoptas in transit back to two different vendors I thought that I might as well pull the trigger on the Meopta B1 Plus 10x42 HD.

I have been interested in trying one out for some time and even had one on order - though they sent me the Meopta 8x42 instead - so the worst that could happen would be me not liking it and sending it back within the return period. Ordered from Germany on Thursday mid day and binocular arrived 26 hours later in Sweden at the DHL service point. Color me impressed!

The B1 Plus 10x42 HD is very much in the same mold as the other B1 Plus binos, a bit chunky, but not too tall and fits my small to medium hands really well. The weight does not work against it though there are substantially lighter binoculars in this class. Optically there are not that many other binoculars in this class, regardless of price!

It is very sharp with great natural contrast and has virtually zero CA. Even torture testing it it is almost impossible to provoke any CA flashes. Eye relief is good for glasses and I get to see the whole image out to the field stop. During the day it was compared to a slew of other binoculars including the Meopta 15x56 sibling, a Vortex 10x42, a Geco Gold Ring 10x42 HD (same as the GPO Passion HD as far as I know), a Swarovski CL 8x30 and the Zeiss 8x32 FL. Sightings at near and far, birds, distant details and back lit objects etc etc.

For me the obvious bench mark is the Zeiss 8x32 FL. Mostly since I know it from before and it has virtually zero CA and a "cool but seemingly accurate" rendition of colors and contrast.

Comparing the Zeiss against the Swarovski 8x30 the Zeiss tops the Swarovski on almost every point but the Swarovski is no slouch - far from it!
My take on it is that the Swarovski has a slightly unnatural rendition of some colors that some might favor and it sure makes things look "nice". Looking at back lit colourful objects the Swarovski is a bit too much for my eyes and I feel a slight strain looking against back lit or high contrast objects. The Zeiss rendition is never tiring.

In dull light the Swarovski does warm up things a bit and again I can see how some might like or prefer the Swarovski rendition. If the light is flat, the Zeiss will give you flat. The Swarovski will give you Happy flat.

The Swaro does have some light CA in the center and even more so laterally, with some CA flashes on window trim when panning across the neighbourhood at my friends place. The imaging of the Swarovski is very nice. I felt the Zeiss is sharper, especially at long distances. I almost feel like the 8x32 Zeiss is a hair sharper than I remember the 10x32 at long distances.

Field of view is similar between the two but the Swarovski has a more tube like viewing while the Zeiss is more embracing in the field of view. Again, this is with glasses and the Swaro works very well with glasses. The Zeiss is slightly better with glasses - and without.

The Vortex 10x42 (I forgot the exact model, but one of the better ones!) is very nice in handling and handles CA very well and is very sharp at long range. Lateral CA is easier to provoke but as a whole it is a very good binocular. Slightly dimmer image than all the others today but a solid pair. For me with glasses it was not the best but manageable. Without glasses it was a lot better. I consider the Vortex (will insert model here) 10x42 a mid range bench mark binocular.

The GPO / Geko Gold Ring 10x42 HD is very nice and fairly compact. Imaging is great and at first glance I thought it might give the Meopta 10x42 a serious run for the money. They are priced roughly the same though the Geko is often on sale around 40-50% off (!) and this unit was bought at almost half the price of the Meopta! For anyone seeking a binocular in that price bracket (bought at roughly 570 EUR) the Geko would be an excellent choice. Mechanically sound and works well with glasses. Sharp across the board with low CA. It is there but it betters the Vortex slightly on lateral CA. The image pops nicely into focus and it is brighter than the Vortex.
However the Geko give the very same ocular reflections with glasses as the Zeiss 8x32 FL gives me and for me that is the deal killer on the Geko. Other than that tiny bit of CA and the ocular reflections I would say it is a very fine pair of binoculars. At full price the Meopta beats it handily except for looks and weight but bought at half price the Geko is something that most people would be very pleased with and I would probably be too - if I didn't have the Meopta already.

Enter the Meopta B1 Plus 10x42 HD and it is the thickest of the lot, but not the longest. It is also by far the heaviest, by almost 200g!
Imaging is on the same level as the Zeiss - minus the ocular reflections with glasses, the Meopta has none of that in any lighting condition.
Other than that the Meopta has superb imaging at all distances, on par with the Zeiss and given the extra magnification does resolve a little more at far than the Zeiss - but not by much as the Zeiss is probably among the very best 8x I have seen at long distances in the center.

Color rendition is similar to the Zeiss but perhaps a little bit warmer. I would say in between the Swarovski and the Zeiss, with the Swaro "the warmest" but the Meopta does not have the same ability to make dull flat light look as pleasing as the Swaro. The Zeiss and the Meopta - both having Fluoride glass - are more similar than the others. I won't hesitate to say the Meopta is the sharpest of the lot. I wasn't sure I was going to keep it and wasn't sure I even wanted a 10x again but I just can't send back glass this good!

The stand out features which forgives the rest are: superb sharpness and contrast, one of the lowest CA (practically CA free) binos in the 10x42 class, great build quality, stray light handling and it works for me with glasses.

As a side note I did bring home a pair of Swarovski Pure NL 12x42 for comparison a while back and I have taken a long hard look at the Swarovski Pure 10x42 NL too. Both are excellent binoculars with a very wide field of view and very nice ergonomics - and they are some of the best for glasses wearers in my book - but considering the price tag with the Meopta B1 Plus 10x42 costing under half of the Pure NL I would never choose the Swarovski. Even at around the same price I would not say it would be an easy choice for me. I don't recall all the details from my time with the Pure NL 12x42 but if I remember right it too did have some ocular reflections with my glasses and that alone is a deal breaker for me.

EDIT: or it could also have been that the Swarovski SLC 15x56 HD was the one with disturbing ocular reflections - or both!

This afternoon I have been glassing with the Meopta 10x42 and the Zeiss 8x32 FL both free hand and on a monopod and they are more similar then different. Watching grazing deer (five of them) I was amazed at the detail the Meopta delivered but was pleasantly suprised when I switched to the Zeiss 8x32 as it did keep up delivering an equally striking image of the grazing deer, albeit at smaller magnification. The Zeiss has a very wide field of view and the Meopta is marginally on par for the course for a 10x42 so the view was very different but very familiar at the same time in terms of color rendering and contrast - they go together well as a pair. At this time the Zeiss gave me no problems with ocular reflections in (or from) my glasses and I just wish it would be like that all the time. If so, that Zeiss would be a pretty much perfect pair for me in the 8x range.

I will probably trade down (or laterally) towards a Meopta B1 plus 8x32 - if I can get my hands on one that is in working order - but will pit them head to head first. If the Meopta 8x32 is in line with the rest of my Meoptas with zero ocular reflections with glasses I will accept a slight optical inferiority but I expect the Meopta to be good enough. I don't expect the same eye relief or the same level of CA control or even the same critical sharpness at far distances but I am hoping it is close enough.

If so I will have a Meopta trifecta of 8x, 10x and 15x in the same model range.

The Meopta 10x42 is a keeper for me for sure. It made me forget about the Zeiss 10x32 FL I had, though the latter had a very small foot print and was the best binocular I have had all things considered. Glassing through both the Meopta 10x42 and 15x56 side by side I think they are both excellent performers with the 10x42 resolving so much that I think most people would not bother with the 15x. I wonder how good the Meostar 12x50 HD is!
At lower light levels (really low) the 15x56 does top thanks to greater magnification but in good light the magnification difference is not as apparent as the magnification numbers suggest. The 10x42 would be a great pairing to a spotting scope for sure!

I did contemplate ordering the MeoPro Air 10x42 instead but I honestly don't like the looks of it and prefer the rugged Meostar looks though I hope to be able to try one out one day.

I will post a few pictures later on today, if time allows.
 
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HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
As a novice birder I did spot quite a few birds I haven't seen before in the last couple of days and I am keen on finding out what they are.
I need to buy a birding book for our region of the world.
 

wsrose

Active member
United States
Awesome reviews, thanks!!!

I imagine it's got to be the Razor HD or UHD that you're talking about from Vortex. I have quite a few of their riflescopes, but the Razor glass for their binos and spotters is the only thing I really care for on that side of their business. Love the warranty, adore the service department, just not impressed with their lower end of binoculars at all.

I really liked the Meopro Air 10x42, honestly. I don't sell a lot of Meopta binos and it's a shame because I consider the quality for the price point to be among the best in the industry. I do prefer the case on the Meostar but I definitely think the Air fills a hole in their lineup.
 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Thanks for chiming in!
I checked and it was the Vortex Viper, a lower grade which in this pair punches a little above the price class. His Viper is a good binocular and is a benchmark mid tier bino with mostly good qualities. It is a fairly decent pair but does nothing exciting. It is the kind that would "wow" people who aren't that interested in optics and most of them would be ok with far less.

The Razor does seem like a step up for sure. I haven't looked through any in a while though.

My friend has returned the Geko 10x42 today and is looking at ordering the Meopta Meopro Air 10x42 HDED as it can be found at a very good price in Europe. Do you have any input on the optical quality vs the Meostar - would it be about the same as the B1 Plus 10x42 HD? Sure, it too has fluoride glass but the optical configuration can be quite different. Eye relief is improved and the close focus is slightly better.

There seems to be a typo in the specifications on the MeoPro Air as it has a rather low 83% light transmission which is 5% worse than the MeoPro and comparing to the Meostar with 88% which isn't class leading either but I have no complaints on the Meostar 10x42 HD. I don't know...
 
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eitanaltman

Well-known member
I am convinced that the 83% figure is a typo, likely the night time figure instead of the daytime. It makes no sense that the daytime transmission figure wouldn’t be in the 88% range like the other Meoptas.

All reports are that the optics are Meostar level, or close enough to be at hair splitting levels of distinction. Meopta doesn’t really make bad binoculars. The only negative I’ve seen for the Airs is that the eye relief might be TOO long for non eyeglass wearers (at least with the 8x42), with one person reporting that they wished the eyecups extend a bit farther. This is however a common complaint across many brands’ binoculars when they push the eye relief to accommodate eyeglass wearers. And obviously there will be a lot of individual variation.

It seems that the Airs are more “birder focused”, with Meopta able to maintain Meostar level optical quality but hitting a lower price point by outsourcing certain components. And in addition to saving a bit of money you get longer eye relief, better close focus, a bit of weight saving, and that trendy open bridge pizzazz. The chunky, heavy Meostars have never really caught on with birders despite being well respected optically.
 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
All good points Eitan. Hopefully my friend will sacrifice himself on the optics altar and order up a pair of the MeoPro Air 10x42 HDED. If so, stay tuned for a head to head with the B1 Plus 10x42. :)
/ Henrik
 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Ok, so the MeoPro Air 10x42 HD is on the way from the Netherlands to my friend!
We will pit the Meostar against it and I will document thoroughly. Stay tuned!
 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
We did get the MeoPro Air 10x42 HDED+ on Friday and did a brief comparison outdoors on my friends deck:


The assessment might seem "harsh" but it is really a decent pair of binos, though it is not Alpha class.

In short: it is a decent pair the MeoPro Air, very comfortable to hold.
Imaging was a mixed bag and it was a step or two beneath the Meostar in the optical department.
I had a hard time nailing focus with it and had to hunt around for focus.
Even so it never kicked in fully for me despite fiddling with the dioptre adjustment.
Imaging is good to very good, with very little CA but a little bit duller than the Meostar, not the same clarity in the image.
Central sharpness a notch down from the Meostar 10x42HD.
The focus wheel was very stiff, or rather "gummy" in feel though it was not coarse - just quite hard to turn.
On paper eye relief is better than the Meostar - in reality it is not. It gives a smaller image with glasses for me - maybe because the rubber eye cups on the ocular have a raised ridge which effectively steals away almost 2mm.

To end with some praise on the MeoPro Air 10x42HDED+ :
Sweetspot is wider than, say the Viper.
It is comfortable to hold.
Build quality is very good.
Straylight control is good.
CA is very well controlled and better than Geko Gold/GPO and some others in this price bracket.
Eye relief is good, excellent without glasses.

On a hot/cold scale this one is lukewarm. It is better than average but not really excelling in any areas.
 
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