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Not a single thread on the compacts? (1 Viewer)

Swissboy

Sempach, Switzerland
Supporter
Switzerland
Did I miss something, or is there really no thread on the compacts offered by Opticron?

There are at least the T3 Trailfinders, both as 8x25 and as 10x25 versions. And then there are the Adventurer WP DCF models with their double-hinge design. I have not checked for others in the lower price range, but at least the Trailfinder had an earlier version or two. Would be nice if we could get kind of a summary of the differences.
Opticron compacts have been dealt with in the less brand specific threads. But most often one has to search around quite a bit. An example for a thread with some info on Opticron compacts is the one I had started: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=285365

But for a quick search/info, it would be convenient to have the opinions and infos in Opticron's "own" forum.

Also, I notice that Eagle Optics in the US has a very limited selection of the Opticron compacts.
But I also notice that there seems to be a somewhat constant change of Opticron models in this field. Thus, not sure the Adventurer is still being produced. Somewhat irritating as it makes it hard to try to compare and to base one's decision to buy on some info that does not come from the company's own marketing division. :-C
 
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Hi Robert - only just seen your post - I'll put some thought into this overnight to try to give you an insight into where our compact binos business has been over these past 40 years, where it is now and what is likely to happen in future.

Cheers for now, Pete
 
Well, I did a search in the Opticron section and came up with this:

........

Looks like I was a bit exaggerating then. But the collection includes titles (like the 8x32) that I would not check when I go for compacts. And any thread not active for over two years is not very promising in a field where there is so much turnover.
 
Opticron compacts: past - present - and future

Hi Robert - only just seen your post - I'll put some thought into this overnight to try to give you an insight into where our compact binos business has been over these past 40 years, where it is now and what is likely to happen in future.

Cheers for now, Pete

Hi Pete, looks like the "overnight" is more like a full week by now. No problem as far as I'm concerned, but I think it would still be very interesting if you could provide some insights.
 
Yes - sorry for the delay - I have been dragged this way and that with other distractions at home and work.

Will get something done soon though!

Cheers, Pete
 
Many years ago, we used to sell tens of thousands of compact binoculars in the UK - not just cheap models but good numbers of products selling for $100 to $200 too.

Over time, the sales outlets that we supplied those products to have either disappeared completely (from dealing with 600+ high street photo retailers to under 200 today) or have moved away from selling optics e.g. John Lewis.

This has been compounded by the availability of exceptionally cheap 8x21 (or similar) compacts models on internet-based sales outlets. A no-name 8x21 compact in a factory standard box can be landed in the warehouse of a European dealer/wholesaler for $7 each with commitment only to a few hundred pieces. Quality is probably variable but then that can be accounted for in the selling price if the seller is prepared to accept 10% or more returns.

Perhaps rather unfortunately for us, we prefer to sell stuff that stays sold. When we bring in compact binoculars from China that cost perhaps three or four times the $7 mentioned above, we can still reject 10% to 15% on incoming quality control. Those have to be adjusted (usually for collimation and focus mechanism issues) before they can be sold and so there is an added cost for this re-work which pushes our selling price upwards. You could argue that we should send them back to the supplier but we have genuine experience of stuff being sent back to be fixed only for it to either be returned untouched and even for some to be worse than before!

With 8x21 compacts available for $10 to $15 on 'big box' web retailer sites, there's not a great attraction for us to put up with the huge return rates should we try to compete on price. As an example, even with stuff that we know is 100% working when it leaves here (such as a rainguard or dustcap), Amazon.co.uk will return about 5% due to customer rejection - imagine the return rate if 10% or more left our warehouse NOT working properly!

That perhaps accounts for a downturn in sales at the low end but what's happened with mid- to high-end compact binoculars?

Partly we are a victim of our own (and others) success with 8x32 models. Sales of that class of binocular at all price points continue to increase and naturally this eats away at some of the compact (8x25 or 8x26) business.

Reverse porros still offer excellent value for money but increasingly are perceived by potential buyers as old fashioned, especially as so few are waterproof. Sales of this type of product were strong through the high street photo retailers for holiday-makers that would buy their camera film and pick up some binos at the same time.

And what about the high end? For us, this means Japan-made optics with 30 year/lifetime warranty selling at $300 to $500. For a start, it is increasingly difficult to persuade those boutique optics suppliers to continue to develop compact binoculars (especially when they get a tiger by the tail in the 8x30/10x30 sector!). So here too, there is attrition from the 8x32/30 market where $500 gets you a very nice product indeed.

Reviewers have little/no interest in looking at models that are not truly interesting to their readership. We did get a "family" review done of the T3 models (8x25, 10x25, 8x32, 8x42 and 10x42) but that was an unusual case where we had a whole new line to promote at the same time.

What does the future hold then from our point of view? I suspect we'll see the very top models disappear in time as 8x32 sales finally kill them off. We've moved out of the very low end and see no good financial case for re-entering. And in the mid-range we'll continue to adjust the range as the market dictates. Certainly I personally cannot see any innovation coming that will spark a huge revival but sales are good enough that we can afford to continue to make incremental changes and can continue to invest in new designs every couple of years.

Hope that gives a little insight.

Cheers, Pete
 
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.............Hope that gives a little insight.

Cheers, Pete

Pete,

Thank you very much for your most interesting analysis of the situation. I'm a bit surprised to read that 8x32's are so popular these days. They used to be decades ago, and then I had the feeling they were being pushed back by the x42 types. But maybe it's like with cars, every generation comes out a bit larger. In this case here then, it's the compacts that are now being replaced by the x32's?

There is one aspect that I feel has been neglected though, the kids. It's because I am looking for models for my grandchildren that I have become interested beyond the 8x25 T3 which I like a lot. But it can't be folded enough for kids. Even my wife says she has problems with the 59mm IPD (well, maybe it's 58.5, anyway a borderline case for her). So I have been looking for double-hinged models that are not expensive, yet not cheapo either. Presently, I find the 8x25 Adventurer as a possible contender . But it seems difficult to get them at times. But most of all, the models seem to change so fast that I can't find customer reviews for many of the compacts.

Ideally, there should be a compact that is waterproof, has a decent close focus, a FOV that goes beyond a narrow tunnel vision, and sufficient eye relief for those who need to look through the binoculars with their prescription glasses on. All this is perfectly fulfilled with the Opticron 8x25 T3 Trailmaster WP. But the fifth prerequisite to make a model suitable for kids is the double hinge design, and that's where I'm stuck at this point. None of the moderately priced models that I know of (not restricting my search to Opticron) with double hinges gets close to the T3 in the other respects. So I wonder whether a model that does not cost the world could be promoted as being suitable for kids. The Adventurer fits as long as eye relief is no problem. But I get the impression it might be on its way out.

At any rate, maybe Opticron could give this "suitable for kids" line some thoughts?
 
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We have been updating some models to address the minimum IPD issue both for kids and for people that have closer-set eyes. The Savanna compact has 54mm IPD and the Savanna WP porro goes as low as 50mm.

Our recently updated Discovery range now has 52mm and 53mm minimum IPD albeit in 32mm and 42mm objective lens classes. Eye relief is 17 to 22mm depending on the model and of course the price is some way above the T3 compact:

http://www.opticron.co.uk/Pages/discovery_wp.htm

The next generation of the venerable Vega compact will also have a reduced IPD, again somewhere in that sub-54mm range. It too has 17mm eye relief so should be acceptable for most glasses wearers. Current model specs and pricing are here:

http://www.opticron.co.uk/Pages/vega_compact.htm

New version hopefully on show at Birdfair in August but don't quote me on that!

But I accept those don't tick all your boxes in terms of price, water-proofing and so on. I'll pass the request back up the supply chain and see what comes back.

Cheers, Pete
 
Swissboy,

To continue along the lines of some of Pete's comments, based on what I read of your comments on this thread I would suggest looking at the 8x32 Discovery. I have repeatedly placed the Discovery on top of several of the Opticron compact (8x20-25 mm) models and there is practically no difference in the "footprint" that they take up. They are the same length and the same width. The only difference is the flared end of the Discovery's barrels to accommodate the 32 mm objective diameter. Even the sub-14 oz weight puts them dangerously close to true compacts in this area. Not sure what they sell for on your side of the pond but here they retail for around $230. They have respectable eye relief (17 mm) a reasonably wide field of view (7.5 degrees) and the IPD goes down to 52 mm.

Just a thought.
 
..............retail for around $230. They have respectable eye relief (17 mm) a reasonably wide field of view (7.5 degrees) and the IPD goes down to 52 mm.

Just a thought.

Thanks Frank, at this price it would be out of the question to consider supplying my 6 grandchildren with binoculars, despite the fact that the expenses would not come as a bulk expense. Also, I presume, but have yet to measure, IPD to be well below 50 mm.
 
Swissboy,

To continue along the lines of some of Pete's comments, based on what I read of your comments on this thread I would suggest looking at the 8x32 Discovery. I have repeatedly placed the Discovery on top of several of the Opticron compact (8x20-25 mm) models and there is practically no difference in the "footprint" that they take up. They are the same length and the same width. The only difference is the flared end of the Discovery's barrels to accommodate the 32 mm objective diameter. Even the sub-14 oz weight puts them dangerously close to true compacts in this area. Not sure what they sell for on your side of the pond but here they retail for around $230. They have respectable eye relief (17 mm) a reasonably wide field of view (7.5 degrees) and the IPD goes down to 52 mm.

Just a thought.

Hi Frank,
I have often thought of the Opticron 8x32 Traveller BGA Mg with it being light wt. and with what looks like the focuser is located up front where it should be.;) Have you ever tried this model or compare it to the Discovery? Opticron is somewhat hard to locate in our market area. I did find one dealer in our state.
http://opticscamp.com/160-opticron-discovery-binoculars
 
double-hinged T3 8x25?

............
But I accept those don't tick all your boxes in terms of price, water-proofing and so on. I'll pass the request back up the supply chain and see what comes back.

Cheers, Pete

Pete,

I have given this some more thoughts in the meantime. My suggestion would be a double-hinged T3 8x25. Optics-wise they fit all the requirements. So if the two tubes could be put on a double-hinged frame, so to speak, the problem would be solved (in theory).

I realize there might be constraints that I can't see, and be it only a T3 manufacturer that is not equipped to produce double-hinged models.
 
Hi Frank,
I have often thought of the Opticron 8x32 Traveller BGA Mg with it being light wt. and with what looks like the focuser is located up front where it should be.;) Have you ever tried this model or compare it to the Discovery? Opticron is somewhat hard to locate in our market area. I did find one dealer in our state.
http://opticscamp.com/160-opticron-discovery-binoculars

Steve,

I have compared the two quite extensively. Will post more thoughts on the comparison tomorrow.

Of course, the Traveler is even more expensive than the Discovery so out of the original posters consideration.
 
Hi Frank,
Thanks for your reply. I had looked at the weight of the Traveler a good while ago. I like that it is light the Discovery is light as well.
 
brief comparison T3 vs Adventurer 8x25

I got my Adventurer 8x25 today, thus a double-hinged model. Here are some first comparative impressions.

Weight is 331 grams vs the 287 grams of the T3. Before I put them on the scale, I had been struck by the Adventurer's weight. I would have guessed it was even heavier. At any rate, not very child-friendly.

The close focus is considerably less than the T3 as had to be expected from the specs. I have roughly measured it at this point as being about 4.5 m and not 3 m as given in the specs (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Opticron-Adventurer-DCF-GA-Compact-Binoculars/dp/B001LZFZ5S ; scroll down). Thus, it's definitely not very suitable for birding in dense vegetation.

Eye relief, while critical for me with my spectacles, is essentially compensated for by the wider FOV.

What puzzles me more, is the fact that the two 8x25 models don't have the same magnification. The T3 has a noticeably larger exit pupil which translates into a smaller magnification given the similar sized front lenses (the adventurer's is just slightly smaller, about 0.3 mm at most).

The T3 Trailfinder provides a somewhat brighter picture that is a bit less contrasty and a bit fuzzier that the Adventurer's. Despite this, I much prefer the T3's optical performance.
 
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T3 8x25 after all

............But I accept those don't tick all your boxes in terms of price, water-proofing and so on. I'll pass the request back up the supply chain and see what comes back.

Cheers, Pete

Pete,

I'd like to draw your attention to my post in another thread:

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=285365&page=2 (post #45)

It turns out that there is another important aspect to be considered for binoculars that are suitable for kids: the focus wheel. And the T3 8x25 shines in the placement and the ease of turning!
 
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