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Meopta Meostar B1 Plus 8x32 mishaps (1 Viewer)

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Hey gang!

My thread spamming continues in the Meopta part of the forum, but it will slow down and I will run out of steam, I promise.

This is however a thread which is not exactly a very nice representation of the Meopta brand - but I feel it warrants a thread and a caution to potential buyers.

I have been very keen on getting the B1 Plus version of the 8x32 Meostar. The B1 and especially B1.1 has a very good report both here and out there. Since I have no experience with the former B1 series and only very good experiences with the B1 Plus I have been set on the B1 Plus version of the Meostar 8x32.

I am seriously starting to think Meopta dropped the ball on this one. The focusing wheel starts out "ok" but feels a bit oval and after a few minutes of use it develops a intermittent clicking/ticking which you can feel on the dioptre adjustment knob. When this occurs there is a countdown to failure as the focusing wheel gets harder and harder and then gets stuck. On the second sample it came unstuck and worked perfectly - but only focusing one side of the binocular!

After ordering not one, but TWO brand new B1 Plus 8x32's with the same focusing wheel problem you would assume I would grow wiser. Well, you would assume wrong.
I really liked the little one, it works great with glasses and it is a joy to use. Optically it definitely performs and comparing to the Zeiss 8x32FL which is my benchmark 8x32 it is not far behind. Sure, a little CA but not at point of focus and there is none of that ocular glare I unfortunately have with the Zeiss. It is a little warmer than the Zeiss wich I consider "neutral" but the imaging is top notch at near and at far.

It would be a keeper for sure and as a whole I rank it as one of the top three/four 8x32 binos regardless of price I have looked through - and in the most attractive size and handling of them all.

So I went ahead and ordered a THIRD one. The seller in Germany checked the Meostar prior to shipping and confirmed smooth action and that sealed the deal.
Paid, waited anxiously a few days and this afternoon the little brick arrived at the collection point, I was there within the hour to pick it up.

Already from the first turns I thought it was a bit stiff, and not uneven - but perhaps a little of that "oval" feeling. Gave it a few minutes - just enough to build up hope and I started to really like the little bugger. Went in and got the Zeiss 8x32FL for some side by side comparisons and even though it never would best the Zeiss the little Meopta held its own and I got to thinking that it would be a viable replacement and that I could very well live with the slight optical trade off. A happy minute later the focusing wheel started acting up, with that proverbial doomsday tick of the focusing wheel before it got stuck. I had to really restrain myself from throwing it deep into the woods in frustration and disappointment. Gently tried to work the focuser but it got worse and worse and I head back inside to calm down, notify the seller and *bay about the problem and return.

Got a swift reply that the return was "accepted" which eased my mind but still I can't help to think and wonder how THREE out of THREE brand new 8x32's can ship out from three different vendors in two different countries and with serial numbers well apart and ALL of them break down in less than five minutes!!?

I hereby solemnly pledge not to order a fourth. Ever. I have give up on this model.
There is something seriously wrong with this specific model. I did email Meopta after the first two - with serial numbers - but have not heard anything back in a month or so. Not that I expect them to reply to a consumer but they will have to react when three (and perhaps a drove of others) start trickling into the service department.

It is very bad for the Meopta reputation.
If you consider ordering a Meostar B1 Plus 8x32 manufactured from the inception date up until now - just don't.
 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
To keep things going with a more positive note I seek input from owners/users on the previous model.
I am considering a B1.1 8x32 as there are a few in stock here and there and prices are starting to drop and it seems it isn't plagued with the same problem.

I think more than one thing has changed as the B1 Plus is a bit heavier, about 10%.

As I have no experience with the B1.1 and Meopta claims optical tolerances have been improved I am afraid to order a B1.1 and feel like it is a visibly lesser performer. But the report on the B1/B1.1 seems very good to excellent.

From what I recall Lee/Troubadour has experience with the B1.1 as well as the Zeiss 8x32FL and his and other input on the little knobby one is much appreciated!

EDIT: apologies for spelling, my wacom board is touch sensitive and I rest my wrists on it when touch typing so sometimes words get garbled up or cut short.
 
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tenex

reality-based
More weight the B1+ didn't need... and this is bad news indeed about quality. I've heard that Meopta has had trouble with supply of some materials, and wonder how hard the workforce has been hit by COVID...?
 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Well, it is only speculation from my part but I think they are hit just as hard with Covid as the rest of Europe. At first they did well in Czechia and at Meopta but last couple of months have been rough for Czechia as well. Now I don't know and I can't speak about their material sourcing but since my line of work is material dependent I can say a variety of very common materials are already hard to find and shows in up in smaller batches, if at all.

When it comes to assembly lines and highly special functions at Meopta I am sure that Covid wreaks havoc with production, creating bottlenecks and delays. If so, I think they have aerospace and military application orders that have a much higher priority than binoculars for the public. I can see why they would not commit too much time to the B2 series unless they have some guys dedicated to that research and development. It's not like those guys would work in the assembly line anyway. But parts might be scarce.

I have been out in the field a couple of hours with the 10x42HD and the 15x56HD and have seen a lot of hares and ommon Buzzards. The Buzzards are roaming the fields over here and it is a windy day today so there has been a lot of aerobatics to follow through the binos - good day out and the two Meoptas are very impressive in the field.
 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Thank you, I have a B1.1 sourced up. I am warming up slightly to the looks of the knobby model though I think the B1 plus looks better.
I hope to close the search for a small bino, it is getting a bit frustrating. I can keep the Zeiss 8x32FL indefinitely but would like to have a walk around smaller bino without the ocular reflexes.

Woodpecker is going to town on a log outside of the house, less than ten metres away. Been chipping away for the last ten minutes...
The 10x42HD is really a beast and the image is fantastic with it and the Zeiss 8x32FL.
 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
DHL continues to impress and beat our local postal carrier by days. It is even more impressive considering it was ordered from Germany yesterday. All the while the local postal services take 4-5 days for delivering a parcel from about six hours drive away...

Got the B1.1 8x32 and it sure feels smaller in hand - but in a good way. It looks better than in most pictures. In this small format the pimples are kind of cool. At least it is not ugly. The weather is drab and no birds around at this hour but the bino feels good. It does surely not beat the Zeiss 8x32FL but first impressions are that it is a keeper, works well for me with glasses and I have gone a full ten minutes without the focus wheel having a seizure and me popping a vein. And that's a good start! 🤓
 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Well, I think that I am either the most unlucky customer in the world - or that Meopta does not know how to put a pair of 8x32 binoculars together.
I fell in love with the B1.1 Meostar 8x32 that arrived and optically I have no complaints.
However, the focusing was stiff from the beginning, I was hoping it would ease up at least a little bit but now after a day or so it is even worse and it has developed unacceptable play when shifting focusing direction. I am used to a slight void in the focus wheel on my other Meoptas and it is no concern to me but on this unit it is both stiff and has a large play in the mechanism so changing direction becomes very awkward when trying to snap into focus.

So 8x32 number FOUR is going back and there will be no more orders on this model. Meopta just lost a customer for sure this time.
 

dries1

Member
Wow it is like the kiss of death. Have you thought of sending them to Meopta for repair. It might be that the ones you purchased were returns also, (but 4 of them) not likely. It is odd to say the least.
 

gcole

Well-known member
I have been reading your opinions/thoughts on the B1 and of your experiences regarding your purchases of the Meopta Meostar 8x32’s from the B1 pus to the B1.1 . I have never heard of anyone having so many problems/issues regarding the purchasing of a particular brand/model of any binocular. Having said this .... I have owned the Cabelas version of the 8x32 Meostar, handled/briefly used the B1 Plus 8x32 and have/own the Meostar B1.1 8x32 and never experienced any of your issues. Most opinions of members here who have purchased the 8x32 Meostar in either versions mentioned, who felt the need to return their purchases was due to either the eye cups to small for their facial characteristics or not enough eye relief. Based on my positive experiences with Meopta and all the positive remarks I have read regarding the Meostar 8x32 line of binoculars .... I still would recommend their purchase. For one person to experience all these issues/problems with one particular model binocular is strange indeed and this is all I have to say on this topic.
 
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HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Hey all, thanks for the moral support!

I know - it is crazy, right? I have the Meostar 10x42 and 15x56 and they don't have any issues. I have handled the 8x42 which was supersmooth.
In fact me and a friend have been so impressed with the optics that a 12x50HD is on the way. It might end up with me or my friend. :)

When it comes to focusing wheels it is not even my pet peeve, I can accept a little dryness, and a little void when changing direction. I have that in the 10x42 and the 15x56. It is perfectly fine for me. But my pile of 8x32's means there is something amiss with that model.

It is not like I enjoy ordering four samples, paying three of them in advance with overseas shipping and then have to hassle with the returns...
On the first pair I had an email conversation with the Swedish agent for Meopta and he confirmed the fault and apologised. They were a bit slow in ordering up products so I started ordering from vendors who had gotten them in stock.
Since I am quite persistent I thought it was a fluke but now I am just mentally exhausted by the ordeal.

When the binos are new the return policy from Astroshop is refund only. I have not had the option to send them to Meopta for repair myself, also I don't accept new stuff breaking immediately and me having to organize a repair, I would rather exchange.

I thought of the possibility of the B1.1 being a returned product but it was too fresh out of the box, looks like New Old Stock.

The B1 plus were all three ordered in straight from Meopta to the stores and I had to wait until they got stock in all three different shops and then placed my orders when I got notified. These can surely only be new binos sent from Meopta.

I did send an email to the Global Sales Manager at Meopta (who had answered on a warranty transfer question) and we shall see if he will reply.
I included all four serial numbers in the email.

I am hoping me (EDITED) informing him might end up helping them finding a fault in the process, a faulty part or batch so that others are spared the frustration.

EDIT: worth noting is that the 8x32's were all assembled in Czechia. I don't know if the US 8x32's are assembled in the US?
Maybe they are less likely to be duds?

I might try to find a second hand B1.1 8x32 further down the road, I don't mind used binos. I just can't bare ordering a fifth new one.

On a positive note: my wife woke me up at 05.00-ish and said there is a "huge one" out in the field. I thought she meant a moose.
The Meostar 15x56 is tripod mounted and ready for action so I jumped up at and had my first sighting of a Black Boar. It was huge, and the Meopta gave an excellent image of it trotting across the field in the morning fog and drizzling rain.
 
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HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
I will start tinkering with the eye cups on my Zeiss 8x32 FL and see if I can make something to minimize the ocular glare problem. I love the view other than the ocular glare from my glasses. It is what started me down the Meopta 8x32 path in the first place.

If anyone would have a fully functioning 8x32 B1.1 to sell you can let me know. I don't know if BirdForum has any marketplace but point me in the right direction.
 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Mikewander: of course, I don't mean buggering him literally.
If he chooses to delete the message and do nothing I will not "bugger" him further. :)
If that wording sounds too harsh to you I will rephrase that. (Done).

I wrote a very polite email, explaining the problems in short form. Gave him the serial numbers on all four binos and I hope he can make good use out of that information.

I have dealt with camera repairs on "the other side of the desk" during a few years and I know about duds in the line up from all the top brands. Sometimes the sales agent has no clue about problems with certain models as they are seldom told the failure rate and sometimes they are simply not directly involved in the return process.

I have for the fourth time taken time off work to deal with the returns, now off to work to do something more constructive, I mean literally.
 
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HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
Zeiss comparison / size comparison:

The stubby 8x32FL is actually shorter than the B1.1 . I prefer, slightly, the ergonomics on the B1.1.

Though the B1.1 looks almost large next to the Zeiss it does not feel larger in use. Also the objective covers are fitted to the Meopta so it adds a mm or two.

I could not get the B1.1 to work well with my eye sockets without glasses but they worked great with glasses and that's what I need.
With glasses I get no ocular glare from the Meopta even in very tricky light.

I would not want smaller binoculars than these for my hands.




 

HenRun

Well-known member
Sweden
I found this comment while browsing the threads for Meopta info prior to my first purchase:

This comment is from fellow member lmans66 in another Meopta thread and it concerns the 8x32:

(I was going to link to it, but I can't find it just now and my missus is ringing the proverbial dinner bell...)

"One thing to take note....you have to watch the copy you purchase and don't be afraid to send it back. The first one I bought had a focus wheel clunky issue that didn't go away, while the second one is more in line with how it should be. A great bin for the money though."

I vaguely remembered this comment and I had it in the back of my mind before comitting to order number three. At least it makes me feel like I am not the only one having problems with the 8x32. I know how it may look with my four-in-a-row debacle but I have no Meopta-smearing agenda, quite the contrary, but I have to tell it like I experience it.

Regarding my last attempt it may very well be so that the B1.1 has been sitting in store for a year and a half (going by manufacture date) and have had potential walk in customers disregard it due to the coarse focusing wheel even though it hadn't seized up yet.

This comment by GCole tipped the scales in favor of ordering the B1 Plus unseen:

Post #20 From thread:


"I keep reading comments about those awful small eyecups of the little Meopta Meostar 8x32. They work for some and not for others ? I am glad they work with my eye/facial characteristics with or without my glasses. If they did not, to equal or better the Meopta I would have had to go to the Zeiss 8x32 FL’s. The cost to me would more than have doubled for what I paid for the little Meostar at the current lowest Zeiss discounted prices now being offered. So I give my condolences to all those who can not live with those awful small dreaded eye cups of the Meopta Meostar 8x32 but I am glad I got to keep more money in my pocket with my purchase."

This I agree with. Together with Lee/Troubadour who made a similar comment on the Meopta vs Zeiss price/performance is what got me into ordering my first pair of Meopta, although I started at the long end of the magnification range. :)
 
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tenex

reality-based
I am hoping me (EDITED) informing him might end up helping them finding a fault in the process, a faulty part or batch so that others are spared the frustration.
I have to assume that such consistent problems indicate temporary but serious difficulties with the workforce or obtaining the usual materials, or both. Perhaps it's just not the time to buy a Meopta. Is COVID really that much worse at the moment in Czechia than Germany or Austria?
 

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