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Opticron Traveller ED 8x32 review (1 Viewer)

FrankD

Well-known member
Opticron Traveller ED 8x32

Introduction

It has been quite some time since I posted an optic review. For that I apologize. As I am sure many of you can relate to, life can sometimes get busy and out of control. Though that hasn’t changed at this point I thought it was time to sit down and put a few reviews together. Part of the reason for this is the recent introduction of the Opticron Traveller series of binoculars. I received my review pair a week or two ago and have been using it daily since then.

To get this out of the way from the start, yes, it is very similar in design to both the Nikon Monarch 7 8x30 and the Maven B3 8x30. To say otherwise would be a bit silly on my part. As they say though, the devil is in the details and the Traveller is loaded with details.

Advertised specs and features from Opticron are listed below:

Specifications 8x32
Product Code 30648
Field (m) 143
Min Focus (m) 1.8
Eyerelief (mm) 19
IPD (mm) 51~73
HxW (mm) 119x115
Weight (g) 451
Price £ inc. VAT 309


Features include:

• Lightweight polycarbonate body protected in natural rubber armour
• Nitrogen waterproof construction (3m depth)
• ED, fully multi-coated optical system with BAK 4 phase corrected prism units and Oasis prism coating
• Wide field long eye relief eyepieces giving full field with spectacles
• 4-stage twist-type retractable eyecups
• Close focus to 1.8m
• Tripod adapter socket
• 30 year guarantee


Ergonomics

I chose to start off with this category first for a reason. At least 8 or 9 years ago there was an inexpensive 7x28 model on the market. I became aware of it only when it was discontinued and discounted significantly. The optics were so-so but the handling was close to ideal in my opinion. Just big enough to get your hands fully around and yet small enough to be considered “compact” compared to a full-sized 42 mm model.
Now you may ask why I am bringing this up? Well, in my opinion, the Traveller falls into that same category in terms of overall size and handling. It is big enough for me to really get my slightly larger-than-average-sized hands around and yet small enough and light enough to make carrying it seem almost unnoticeable.

As you can see in the attached picture, my pinky and ring fingers fit comfortably around the barrel without extending in front of the objective lens. My middle finger sits across the bridge for stability and my index finger fits perfectly over the focusing knob. There are some modest thumb indents underneath the barrel but they aren’t deep enough to really affect thumb positioning in my opinion.

Mechanics/Fit and finish

Just to set the tone for this part of the review, there isn’t anything in this category that I found wanting. The central hinge tension is a tad looser than ideal but that is an easy fix if you have the right tools plus it hasn’t been an issue in actual practice at this point.

The eyecups do have two intermediate click-stops between fully collapsed and fully extended and they do stay in place. Because of the generous eye relief and relatively narrow eyecup diameter I am forced to move the eyecups up to the first intermediate click-stop setting from fully collapsed. As I mentioned in previous reviews I do not wear glasses or contacts but have a high bridged nose and relatively close-set eyes. The result is that I often used most binoculars with the eyecups fully collapsed just as an eyeglass wearer would.

As an interesting side note, I don’t remember needing to extend the eyecups on either of the other two similarly-designed models which, to me, means that the eye relief is slightly longer on the Traveller.

The binocular is completely rubber armored and I detect no issues with the quality, feel or smell of the rubber armoring. It does its job and does not take away from the overall feel or design of the binocular.

The focusing knob is large and easy to find with either bare or gloved hands. Focusing speed is fairly fast at one full turn clockwise from a close focus of about 4 feet (for my eyes) to infinity. Focusing tension on this unit started out fairly stiff but has loosened up slightly. I actually prefer a slightly stiffer focusing tension with a binocular that has a faster focus (1 revolution or less) as it give me more control. The focusing tension does stiffen up noticeably in colder weather but is still usable because of the faster focusing speed.
I did not detect any quality control issues externally or internally as in evidence by the pictures provided.

Optics

Last but not least, optical performance. There is a great deal to like about this binocular optically. Let us start out with the obviously wide 8.2 degree field of view. That is approximately 430 feet at 1000 yards… a field of view which is slightly wider than almost all 8x32s roof prism binoculars at any price point.

The use of extra low dispersion (ED) glass in the objective design does a nice job of reducing chromatic aberration (color fringing) resulting in a clean-looking image. I would consider it very well controlled within the sweet spot and average around the perimeter of the field of view.

Speaking of the sweet spot, it is very large in my experience. I would estimate 75-80% of the field of view. The remaining 20 or so percent appears to be field curvature and only slightly so as I barely need to touch the focusing knob to get the outer edge to snap in focus.

Apparent brightness is very good. As an example, this morning before the work I was using the binocular for just general observation around my home. It was light in the sky but the sun had not yet broken the horizon. I had no problem picking out fine details on a variety of objects in the surrounding area. I usually don’t expect notable low light performance from a 32 mm binocular but the Traveller certainly delivered in this area.

Apparent contrast was certainly good and possibly slightly above average. Colors weren’t oversaturated but appeared very lifelike in representation. Apparent sharpness was above average as I never found myself wanting for more detail at any distance.

I feel the need to mention an overall impression here as I believe this binocular’s optical performance is one of those that is greater than the sum of its parts. The wide field of view, large ocular design and large sweet spot gives one a very immersive experience. The lack of CA in the image, the excellent apparent sharpness and realistic contrast provide a very natural and relaxed image.

In closing I want to say that this could very well be the ideal binocular for many individuals. It certainly has an excellent combination of size, ergonomics and optical performance. Two big thumbs up from me on this model.
 

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Racuuna

Well-known member
Thank you for a Very good review. How does it compare against the other 32 mm binoculars from opticron. The verano HD, countryman HD and imagic bga se?

Thanks
 

typo

Well-known member
Many thanks Frank. A nice write-up as usual.

I've been waiting to find out more about this one since the day the Nikon M7 was launched.;) Hopefully it will be in stores over here before too long.

It seems to have grown a bit in both objective and eyepiece diameter without bothering the weighing scale much, and the increase in ER will be welcome news for many here. Any chance of an available ER measurement? Some definite plus points there I think. With the back light on the eyepiece perhaps we wouldn't see any stray light issues in the photo, but how do you think this compares on the glare front? You mention the colours weren't oversaturated. Not sure if that's good or bad. How would you compare them to the other binoculars, particularly the Opticrons you have?

Cheers,

David
 

FrankD

Well-known member
Good questions from both of you. Thanks for the compliments.

Both of your questions focus around comparisons. I do have some other Opticron models on hand at home..Discovery, Oregon, discontinued Verano, older Traveller. I will compare them this evening and post my thoughts tomorrow. I think it would only be fair to wait until I have had them side by side.

I will also try to do some phonescoping with the the Traveller ED so you can get an idea of the optical performance.
 

BruceH

Avatar: Harris Hawk
Frank ...... Another good review! It is an appealing binocular with the wide field and light weight.

Do you know if Oasis prism coating is di-electric coating? I assume it is based on this marketing lingo from Opticron.

Oasis is a 64 layer coating process applied to the reflective surface of each roof prism. It delivers +99% light transmission over a broader spectrum at the reflective face compared to Al or Ag coatings and results in a measurable increase in brightness and clarity.

http://www.opticronusa.com/Pages/oasis_pc_coating.html
 

Binoseeker

Mostly using spectacles (myopic) with binoculars.
http://www.birdforum.net/showpost.php?p=3339120&postcount=5

"I would agree with Steve's comments. Back when I first started reviewing Opticron's products I asked them what all of the proprietary terms they used for their products would equate to in more commonly accepted terminology. I was told that the Oasis coating was basically dielectric. I think there is more to the increase in apparent brigthness than that though. They have used an Oasis coat for quite some time and I have tried other models that featured it. I don't ever remember being as impressed with the apparent brightness of those models in comparison to this one."
 

coopershawk

Well-known member
Great review Frank!

I was taking a look at some of your phone scoped pictures on flickr, then stumbled on the picture of this binocular in your hand. Wow those are small! I had to learn more about them.

The specs impressed me even more. Great FOV, and they weigh less than a pound. How did they manage to fit an 8x32 into that tiny frame?

Seeing as how many of us either own or have seen through a pair of sightrons, would you mind giving a little comparison?

Thanks!

Michael
 

FrankD

Well-known member
Bruce,

Yes.

Binoseeker,

Thank you for posting that quote. :)

Michael,

I will post all my comparisons this weekend. I have been busy during the week and just haven't had the time to sit down and compare them. Thought I might have off from work today because of the weather, as I would have had time to do it then, but it didn't turn out that way.
 

typo

Well-known member
Frank,

I managed to spend a few minutes with the Traveller ED yesterday and thought I might add a couple of notes.

Althought the weight and size are listed as pretty much the same as the competitors the extra couple of mm on the objective does make it seem a little bigger in the hand than I remember, but it's never-the-less still a pretty small binocular. It's been a while since I tried the other two but the fit finish doesn't quite the same standard as I recall. The focus on this one was definitely on the stiff side, but I suspect it would be fine once broken in. I noted there was no country of oregin marked on this sample.

The avaiable eye relief was more generous for glasses than the Nikon and definitely the Kite but perhaps not as much as I might hope for the listed 19mm.

The view from the store to the bird feeders allowed the sun to at least partially shine on the objectives. I was definitely getting a slightly reduced contrast, which increased a little as I swung round towards the sun, but nothing I'd call serious until you got pretty close. This was a rather sunny lunch time, things might be different late in the day. I was also pleased to see that the two bright false pupils I found occasionally problematic on the M7 and Lynx are now quite distant from the EP on this one.

Although there wasn't a Traveller Mg Black to hand, the Traveller ED is obviously a very different design, both physically and optically, with the latter offering a wider flatter view. I suspect most will find the much larger sweet spot rather persuasive, but I still think the original has a slightly eccentric charm about it, and a design simplicity that is rather appealing. I couldn't say yet which I'd choose.

I only had about half an hour or route to somewhere else to have a look and that included a quick glance at the BGA and DBA VHDs so hardly a studied opinion. I'm looking forward to hearing more about Frank's longer term views.

David
 
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mulligatawny owl

Well-known member
Very valuable thoughts to add to Frank's on the traveller EDs there David. I loved the M7 8x30 , found them very sharp and handy but eye relief not great for when I'm wearing glasses so traveller should be better there.
Would love to hear your thoughts on the DBA v BGA VHD .
 

The-Wanderer

Well-known member
I do not have a critical reputation to maintain, and am in no way qualified but I picked up the 8x42 Imagic BGA VHD and, very briefly, looked over an expanse of water on a sunny but cold day. I was immediately struck by glare or flare or whatever the correct term is, and put them down.

I was surprised by this because Dennis discarded his Swaro for the Tract Toric because the latter was less susceptible to glare and, apparently, shares the same chassis but not coatings etc. Am I alone in seeing this?
 
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The-Wanderer

Well-known member
I have not seen the new Traveller ED 8x, but I returned the earlier mg model because I found it difficult to find critical focus. I subsequently found that others experienced the same problem. I would be interested to learn if this was a characteristic of the new model.
 

typo

Well-known member
As I said, I was angle on to the sun when I was trying those binoculars and I saw no indication of glare in the few minutes I tried it. With the original Imagic I was once troubled with rear reflection glare when using glasses, but that was when the building immediately behind me was in full sun if I remember rightly.

Although I wasn't a huge fan of the original Traveller, I've not had any focus issues with that or the subsequent versions, other than repeatedly trying to focus with the hinge lock instead of the forward positioned focus. It no longer turns in the Mg Black if I remember rightly which is a useful reminder. :-O

David
 
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januaryabc

New member
I am seriously considering buying one but would like to know more about the focus beyond infinity. I am nearsighted to around -6diopter and there how much rooms for focus are there beyond infinity is very important for me to use binoculars without glasses. Or in not so technically, how many turns (eg. 1/4, 1/2) are there from the point of infinity to the end of adjustment?
 

oracleman

Well-known member
Hi,
I'm considering buying a countryman hd or a new traveller as a replacement for the discoveries 8x32 how did compare optically?

Thanks in advance
 

JoeRawles

Feathers Wild Bird Care
The Traveller BGA ED is a big step up compared to the Disco. Slightly chunkier handling and a little heavier (tho still small/light for a 32) but optically far superior. The Countryman is still a super binocular albeit a little dated, not sure there are any 32s left so you'd be left with a 42mm which would be much bigger and heavier. Alternatively there is the Natura BGA ED 8x32 but I'd still go for the Traveller ED.
 

oracleman

Well-known member
The Traveller BGA ED is a big step up compared to the Disco. Slightly chunkier handling and a little heavier (tho still small/light for a 32) but optically far superior. The Countryman is still a super binocular albeit a little dated, not sure there are any 32s left so you'd be left with a 42mm which would be much bigger and heavier. Alternatively there is the Natura BGA ED 8x32 but I'd still go for the Traveller ED.



Thanks a lot for the info!!!

Now I'm trying the kenko dhii 8x32 and if they are not good enough I will try to spend a little more with new travellers in a few months.



I presume that traveller performance will be better but now my budget is limited.



Thanks again

Enviado desde mTalk
 

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