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Review: GPO Passion HD 8x42 (1 Viewer)

NDhunter

Experienced observer
United States
As to my comment that I don't think it is an alpha killer.

Alpha is as much a concept or maybe a state of mind as it is of having an expensive binocular. I have said before regarding perceptions that it is not so much the binocular in front of your eyes as the perceptions between your ears. The true alpha concept needs both (with the binocular being a high end), kind of the Yin and Yang. There is always going to be a segment of users, for binoculars or anything else, who will go for the best they can get. That is just a facet of human nature, neither good nor bad, it is just the way things are. Some will always strive for the upper limit and really don't care about the cost. They may well have the income, or just be willing to work an extra shift or whatever to get it bought. When a person buys an alpha glass they have it fixed in their mind that they have spent enough, there isn't much more to be spent for improvement. So they go forth and just use the binocular. No $1,000 binocular from a new company will kill that concept, no matter how good it is.

Another reason they won't kill the alpha is the alpha segment is not the target market. That segment is too small to offer much opportunity. That segment is in all probability below 10% and Leica, Nikon, Swarovski, and Zeiss have that pretty well locked up. A new $1,000 binocular won't get into that club, so they are not trying to.

But they do represent a serious challenge to the alpha. That challenge seems to be what riles to alpha owners up. It is my opinion that on a worldwide basis, technology transfer has pretty much happened. Technologies like early phase correction that really and truly separated the likes of the Leica Trinovid BA from the rest are no longer serious technical challenges or advantages. So we have today, for less than a thousand bucks, any number of glass that offers more than 95% of the optics and build quality for maybe a third of the cost. We are getting to the point where at least some of the difference is perhaps not visible to normal eyes with no access to a lab. The next higher level is always where comparisons eventually go.

So what this GPO offers is a superb optical instrument, with very high build quality and with a goal of serious customer satisfaction. In truth, that applies to Maven, Stryka, and Tract. You will get enough quality here to satisfy anybody but those members of the committed alpha segment. If you can't spend in that level, you can go here and be happy for a lot less money. Like spending high end dollars, spending considerably less for an extremely high value ratio is also neither good nor bad. It is just the way things are

In a final side by side comparison, it is likely to find several thing that will favor the alpha glass. Your perceptions will determine how important those differences are to you personally

Steve:

Nice review and very complete. I agree with your thoughts about Alpha
optics and the second tier offerings.

It is a great time to be an optics customer. Lots of great choices out there.

Jerry
 

Steve C

Well-known member
As an edit to my alpha killer post above. I should add that there are people who do prefer the alpha class glass and can evaluate theses GPO types with an objective eye. I did not mean to say that if you are an alpha owner that you are automatically blind to attributes of less expensive glass.

I would also add that in spite of my personal opinion that the alpha glass does not live up to the hype that comes with that territory, it does not mean I am not an alpha fan. I do see superior instruments. I simply do not see that they are enough better to get me to fork over the dough. Having said that I have yet to see a Zeiss HT or an SF, let alone a Nikon EDG or a new Leica Noctovid. Maybe I will change my mind sometime, but for now my opinion stands ;)
 

typo

Well-known member
Steve,

I don't think I'm particularly susceptible to RB, solely caused by lack to pincushion distortion alone. There have been a number of occasions, particularly in an urban setting, where the lines and planes don't seem as solid, as they should be as you pan past, but it usually takes a bit more of a complex, 'moustache' distortion to get my stomach churning. It sounds like the GPO HD shouldn't be too troublesome for most users.

I understand that certain makes have become presteige brands for for very good historic reasons. Premium pricing can pay for better customer service and offers more scope for innovation in design, but I suspect there can also lead to complacency at times, and I currently feel there is now some rather interesting stuff going on in the next price level down. Personally, I didn't get excited by the second tier products from the big three. I'm sure they were never intended to challenge the top models, and for me they don't, but I definitely wouldn't tar a number of similarly priced models with the same brush.

Maybe wider/flatter is no longer seen as the only way to go. I'm now seeing fantastic resolution figures for some models that should make the big guys sit up and take notice. It's also pretty evident that there is some tailoring of the MTF profiles to improve perceptual sharpness, and transmission levels and colour spectrum have taken a worthwhile step forward as well. I personally feel the Noctivid has it's nose in front at the moment, but maybe the others probably should be feeling rather nervous, there some other runners getting in the mix these days.

Whether the the average buyer will be persuaded by these finer points of image quality over brand image remains to be seen, but I think it's great that some new, and indeed some old names, appear to be no longer be content to sit in their shadow. The reports on the GPO HD do sound encouraging and I look forward to trying it at some point.

Thanks again for your hard work.

David
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
...Snap it down and you have a soft, smooth counter clockwise to infinity movement. Focus direction is a no win situation. Either direction is wrong for somebody...If you like the buttery smooth focus, then this will suit you in that regard...
Sounds like it is going the wrong direction to win converts from Swarovski, Leica, Zeiss, and Nikon, or from anyone who focuses with their right hand and subscribes to the notion that final focus should be from near to far and that precision is more easily accomplished with a pulling motion than a pushing motion. Is there any effect of cold on focusing action?


...When I first looked at the view through the focused HD, I thought, “this has to be understated, no way is this only 375 feet”. Literally the first review parameter I checked was the fov. Well guess what that is what it is. I even double checked my measurements and repeated the measurement several times. Well, 375 it is. It still looks wider. I would nearly bet somebody the price of a new GPO HD (I said nearly OK ;)) that the first thought will not be, “Ugh, this is too restrictive of a fov”. It simply is not. I seems wider in side by side comparison to a Promaster Infinity Elite ELX 8x42 I have which is both listed and measures as 7.5* or 393 feet. You can kneel to the spec sheet. That is fine. But it is your loss...
Poppycock. FOV is about finding birds, and being _actually_ wider is what makes for superior utility. Appearing wider without actually being wider (???) is (would be?) nice psychologically, but it doesn't facilitate finding birds. These days, 375 feet is poor spec for an 8x full-sized bin.


...IPD is from 57-75 mm on this unit...
Sure wish everyone would follow Zeiss and establish 54 mm as minimum (or do better than that) for full-sized bins.

--AP
 

adhoc

Well-known member
Steve, thanks for another very informative review.

...FOV is about finding birds, and...makes for superior utility...These days, 375 feet is poor spec for an 8x full-sized bin.
Alexis, are we not a bit spoilt these days!? Please see this thread on "Chandler S. Robbins amazing bins" (recently re-active on his death). Its FOV is also 7.2 degrees. He found birds! And that binocular (in that state) is the very picture of superior utility!

That said, very few 8x42s todays have such a narrow (relatively, I remind!) FOV. Of well known makes I can find only the Leica Trinovid, Leupold Pro-Guide and Zeiss Terra with FOV of 7.0, 7.1 and 7.2 deg. respectively.

There is too little written in the Binoculars sub-forum of BirdForum on actual bird observation. It will be most useful (and interesting) to know how much 7.2 deg. hampers those used to 8.0 deg. in actually finding birds in the field, in different settings, woodland, open wetlands, etc.
 
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Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Steve, thanks for another very informative review.


Alexis, are we not a bit spoilt these days!? Please see this thread on "Chandler S. Robbins amazing bins" (recently re-active on his death). Its FOV is also 7.2 degrees. He found birds! And that binocular (in that state) is the very picture of superior utility!

That said, very few 8x42s todays have such a narrow (relatively, I remind!) FOV. Of well known makes I can find only the Leica Trinovid, Leupold Pro-Guide and Zeiss Terra with FOV of 7.0, 7.1 and 7.2 deg. respectively.

There is too little written in the Binoculars sub-forum of BirdForum on actual bird observation. It will be most useful (and interesting) to know how much 7.2 deg. hampers those used to 8.0 deg. in actually finding birds in the field, in different settings, woodland, open wetlands, etc.


The 125m FOV is restricted by comparison with some others thats for sure but as well as the models you mention, around its price level with similar FOV there is Conquest HD 128m, Kite Ibis and Minox HG at 126m, Kowa Genesis hampered by 0.5 extra mag at 122m, Vortex's Viper HD at 116m etc. I am a self-confessed FOV junkie citing the 148m as one of the main reasons I like Zeiss SF but there are plenty of reasons to like the GPO even if class-shattering FOV isn't one of them.

As for your comments about too little being written on BF about birding with bins, you can probably guess I am in broad agreement with that.

Lee
 
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henry link

Well-known member
Steve, thanks for another very informative review.


Alexis, are we not a bit spoilt these days!? Please see this thread on "Chandler S. Robbins amazing bins" (recently re-active on his death). Its FOV is also 7.2 degrees. He found birds! And that binocular (in that state) is the very picture of superior utility!

That said, very few 8x42s todays have such a narrow (relatively, I remind!) FOV. Of well known makes I can find only the Leica Trinovid, Leupold Pro-Guide and Zeiss Terra with FOV of 7.0, 7.1 and 7.2 deg. respectively.

There is too little written in the Binoculars sub-forum of BirdForum on actual bird observation. It will be most useful (and interesting) to know how much 7.2 deg. hampers those used to 8.0 deg. in actually finding birds in the field, in different settings, woodland, open wetlands, etc.

Don't forget that Chandler Robbins' bins were 10x50s. They were actually wide-angle binoculars once the 10x magnification is taken into account.

Like Alex, I wonder about Steve's report of a field that looks wider than it is. Such a thing is possible if there is a very large amount of pincushion distortion to artificially stretch objects toward the edge of the field. However, Steve reports "no pincushion distortion" in the 8x42 GPO. That would artificially compress objects toward the edge of the field and restrict the "real" apparent field of the 8x42 GPO to no more than about 54º. How could the brain be fooled into thinking that light from the binocular is covering a wider area of the retina than it is?.

Henry
 
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adhoc

Well-known member
Henry, I did note the 10x50 configuration, and that the apparent FOV is wider. But what Alexis stressed is the real FOV. I re-copy his sentence with the middle part now included: "FOV is about finding birds, and being _actually_ wider is what makes for superior utility."

I did wonder about how the field could look wider, and am waiting for someone to explain! If a model even just feels like that to most viewers that is a good thing as they will not be constantly bothered by a feeling of the view being confined.
 

jgraider

Well-known member
It is easy to trick your brain into seeing and thinking things are better/worse than they actually are. It's called preconceived notions, and it is an inarguable fact that relates to many, many products and markets.
 

henry link

Well-known member
Henry, I did note the 10x50 configuration, and that the apparent FOV is wider. But what Alexis stressed is the real FOV. I re-copy his sentence with the middle part now included: "FOV is about finding birds, and being _actually_ wider is what makes for superior utility."

I did wonder about how the field could look wider, and am waiting for someone to explain! If a model even just feels like that to most viewers that is a good thing as they will not be constantly bothered by a feeling of the view being confined.

I agree, Alexis and I are talking about different things. If ease in finding birds is the criterion then the real field is primarily what matters. Every 7.14º FOV will contain the same number of ducks in a row, whether they are larger, smaller, stretched or compressed.

Unless there is an illusion of more ducks lined up across the field than are actually there, an impression of a wider field could only mean an impression of a wider apparent field. Besides distortion, a couple of other apparent field enhancing mechanisms have been discussed here before.

One is the idea that a narrower area of black between the binocular field and the eye's peripheral vision creates an illusion of a larger apparent field. This might fit Steve's experience since he mentioned that the field seemed to expand with the eyecups down.

Another is the illusion of higher magnification and consequently a larger apparent field in binoculars with narrow objective spacing compared to wide objective spacing. This illusion is strongest at close distances and evaporates completely at very long distances. I don't think it's likely to be noticed unless an example of narrow spacing and wide spacing are directly compared.

That's all I've got. Maybe other people can think of some others.
 
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adhoc

Well-known member
Thanks, Henry. I have noted (since before) that you use 52.5 to divide the field in feet at 1000 yards to convert to degrees, but doesn't the small-angle approximation actually give us 52.4? (2.π.1000.3/360 = 52.359...) Hence my 7.2 deg. (rounded from 7.156...) and your 7.14! "Unless there is an illusion of more ducks lined up across the field than are actually there..." I hope this is humor, or patience with this intellectually challenged heckler. In my checkered optics history things have never got that bad! I too would not think that your second explanation is likely to apply, also because it seems that Steve mostly views more distant targets, on his farm and beyond.
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
I agree, Alexis and I are talking about different things...
The topics are related. Sure, since Chandler Robbins selected a 10x bin, he gave up some potential for an even wider FOV, but within that limitation imposed by choice of magnification, he picked a bin with a wide absolute field.

I'm not arguing that a bin with a 375 ft FOV is somehow unusable. I regularly bird with my Leica 8x20 Ultravids, which have a FOV of 330 ft. My first serious birding bins, which served me well for many years, have a 365 ft FOV. Still, other trade-offs aside, wider is better.

--AP
 

Steve C

Well-known member
Thanks for a nice review. How does it compare against your maven b1? It would also be interesting IF you could digiscope a picture through the GPO and the promaster with the full image circle, so we could get a sense of the fov.
Thanks

With regard to the fov. Yes at first look the GPO looks wider than it measures. However, in spite of the first impression it seemed wider than the Promaster, that impression is observably false when I get the GPO and several other 8x42, all of which are wider than it is, actually doing comparisons. However when I put the GPO back to my eyes in field usage, the impression it is wider than it measures remains. In spite of all the angst that that can't be, in my personal observations, that is the way it seems. I do not get the feeling I need to drop the GPO and run to the far wider Kruger Caldera, for instance.

So all a series of digiscoped images would show is that the GPO has less fov. I have the idea it would be hard to replicate individual impressions through the art of my photography ;)

My impression remains that if an observer has trouble finding birds with this, the problem is not with the binocular.

I get it completely that it is a simple fact most people will look at the spec sheet and take a pass. That is fine, but that does not change the impression. Nor does that transfer that impression of mine to others.

Please keep in mind I stated pretty clearly that if I had a preference it would be 420', Up to there, I'm not in need of any more. Below 375' I'd like more. The GPO put its image together in such a way that I'm fine with it, and so would a lot of people be fine too. While I'd take an 8* field over a 7* field if all others things are equal, the mere fact that it is 375' would not prevent me from choosing it over some others as well.
 

Theo98

Eurasian Goldfinch
Thanks for clarifying, Steve. Would your "AFOV" perception be due to a very large in-focus sweet spot %? Without any real noticeable edge distortions, I'd also be very comfortable with the 375ft! No doubt, anything I'd miss wouldn't be the fault of this 8x42! :-O

Ted
 

Steve C

Well-known member
Thanks for clarifying, Steve. Would your "AFOV" perception be due to a very large in-focus sweet spot %? Without any real noticeable edge distortions, I'd also be very comfortable with the 375ft! No doubt, anything I'd miss wouldn't be the fault of this 8x42! :-O

Ted

The sweet spot is pretty wide. But as to perceived fov, I am not sure that since it lilely includes individual perceptual differences it could be defined. Seems like Looksharp posted some on this a while back.
 

Theo98

Eurasian Goldfinch
The sweet spot is pretty wide. But as to perceived fov, I am not sure that since it lilely includes individual perceptual differences it could be defined. Seems like Looksharp posted some on this a while back.

Thanks Steve! :t:

Ted
 

Steve C

Well-known member
Sounds like it is going the wrong direction to win converts from Swarovski, Leica, Zeiss, and Nikon, or from anyone who focuses with their right hand and subscribes to the notion that final focus should be from near to far and that precision is more easily accomplished with a pulling motion than a pushing motion. Is there any effect of cold on focusing action?



Poppycock. FOV is about finding birds, and being _actually_ wider is what makes for superior utility. Appearing wider without actually being wider (???) is (would be?) nice psychologically, but it doesn't facilitate finding birds. These days, 375 feet is poor spec for an 8x full-sized bin.



Sure wish everyone would follow Zeiss and establish 54 mm as minimum (or do better than that) for full-sized bins.

--AP

I have zero empathy for your focus direction phobia. It seems to me I said that focus direction was a no win thing, you proved the point. I have binoculars that focus both directions. Either way seems natural enough. I really prefer a right finger pull to bring the object closer. I have no problems in getting the focus precision I need pushing to the left either. I guess I missed the part where your personal preferences have become the universal standard we all need to follow. I have no argument with your preference, just your seeming need to feel that it is best for everybody.

It seems to me that technique is a lot more important in finding birds than anything else. If you seem to feel the need for a wide fov, go for it. :eek!: However the best technique is best developed with an fov that suits the user, that fov preference seems to have some variation. Seems like I said I'd prefer 420' myself. But I guess you missed that. If you have trouble with the GPO, the problem is not with the binocular. If you enjoy the wider fov, fine, me too. I'd not like to go less than this, but it is adequate.
 

Steve C

Well-known member
The 125m FOV is restricted by comparison with some others thats for sure but as well as the models you mention, around its price level with similar FOV there is Conquest HD 128m, Kite Ibis and Minox HG at 126m, Kowa Genesis hampered by 0.5 extra mag at 122m, Vortex's Viper HD at 116m etc. I am a self-confessed FOV junkie citing the 148m as one of the main reasons I like Zeiss SF but there are plenty of reasons to like the GPO even if class-shattering FOV isn't one of them.

As for your comments about too little being written on BF about birding with bins, you can probably guess I am in broad agreement with that.

Lee

Lee,

We are in complete agreement here.
 

Steve C

Well-known member
Henry,

To me the fov looks wider than it is when just looking through it. In side by side comparisons with wider fov,s it seems like what it is. I had no intention of stating a new optical concept. What that was is a description of my impression of the fov. That impression is just that it does not look restrictive.

I don't see much in the way of distortion. If pincushion is the only thing looked for, then there is a little there, but in my estimation it is not enough to bother anybody. There certainly is not enough there to appear to stretch the field. While there is some field curvature, it is not much and can be focused out, so that is not widening the field either. This is in my opinion a well done image, while narrower than most would like it to be, does not seem restrictive.

It seems I was in error with my tongue in cheek comment, even with the smiley, that I'd almost bet people would not think the field was as narrow as it is.

As far as your ducks in a row across the fov comment. I really do get that. However if you have 420 ducks across one fov, and 375 across the other, where do you have to put an individual duck to get the necessary information for the ID?. Seems like the answer with both fov scenarios, the answer is the duck has to go pretty much in the middle, as that where ir seems to me the human eye has to be to focus on a single object. Hard to tell a Northern Shoveller from a Mallard unless you center the bird.
 

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