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Review: Opticron Discovery WA ED 8x32 (1 Viewer)

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
It hardly seems possible, but it was way back in May 2019 that I reviewed Opticron’s Discovery WP PC 8x32, and a nice little bino it was too, but here we are testing an updated version with ED glass objectives, a field of view expanded from 131m (7.5deg) to 140m (8 deg), eye relief increased by 1.0mm to 18mm, IPD maintained at a creditable 52-75mm, and the weight unchanged at 390g. For those used to imperial units the fov is now 420ft and the weight is 13.9 ozs. These useful upgrades push the UK retail price up by £50 to £199 compared with the non-ED model previously reviewed. There are so many binoculars available around this price that to pick any out for comparison would be unfair to the rest so as with the review of the non-ED model I will proceed to taking a closer look at only this one.

The Disco comes with a full set of accessories so it has a lightweight neck-strap which, although not tailored, suits the weight of the binos, plus objective covers and the usual Opticron rainguard with one complete attachment loop on the left to accommodate the neck-strap, and a split loop on the right. My preference is for full loops on both sides so allowing the user to choose between three options: left, right or both sides. The Disco also came with no less than two good quality microfibre cloths and a plastic wallet to keep them in. Don’t scoff at the wallet. Maintaining the discipline of keeping the cloths in the wallet means they aren’t gathering detritus in the bottom of a jacket or back-pack pocket, which subsequently gets rubbed onto the bino’s lenses. Lastly the Discos come with a ‘Cordura’-type case with a Velcro-closure and a shoulder-strap.

In the hand these are very compact being only 108mm (4.3”) long and are feather-light. They also have a very up-market appearance to my eyes, having a smooth area each side of the bridge, one of which features the brand and model name. By contrast the optical tubes have a lovely fine texture, rather than being totally smooth, and this is not only pleasant and practical in the hand, but also easy on the eye. Moving to the eyecups I found no blackouts viewing while wearing my spectacles, and when trying the binos without them I instinctively located the eyecups under my eyebrows, and avoided the blackouts that can be encountered if you push small eyecups like these too deep into your eye sockets. The eyecups have three positions by the way. The focus wheel is smooth and backlash free, and only requires a pleasant medium-effort to rotate it. The focus speed is quite fast requiring only 0.6 of a turn to refocus from 4km (2.5 miles) down to 2m making it similar to Opticron’s own Traveller and t Zeiss’s FL 8x32.

Picking the Discos up for a scan around our valley, they were almost immediately rewarded by a female Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus cruising along just above a line of trees, in that nonchalant flap-flap-glide, flap-flap-glide, they do. As it manoeuvred I could make out the eye stripe and some barring on the breast, but then it turned away and began cruising back towards a large wood not far away. A nice start to using the Discos, and even better was the sight of not one, but two Song Thrushes Turdus Philomeos, bathing in our rather overgrown garden pond. One of them decided that two in the same bath was a step too far and made its way to an old ceramic kitchen sink we have half-buried just a metre away. Rainwater always has this full to the brim and the Thrushes settled down to a thorough all-over maintenance job in their separate baths. Locally, we have many Blackbirds Turdus merula and the occasional Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus but for us a Song Thrush is a rare treat. The breast markings were nicely imaged even though it was late in the day and the light was failing. Lovely birds.

It seemed our pond was the centre of attraction for local birds because try as I might to get a local walk under my belt, birds kept on turning up for a bathe and drink. Picking out just two notable sightings I had a male Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula side-by-side with a Robin Erithacus rubecula. They were so close their wing-tips seemed to touch as they bathed and for sure they splashed each other with water as much as themselves, but there was no sign of any confrontation between them. Then the Bullfinch flew to the nearby Hawthorn hedge and through the Discos I saw the droplets fly in all directions as it ruffled its feathers before preening. Meanwhile a second Robin joined the first and again they bathed side-by–side giving me plenty of time to enjoy not only their famously red-breasts, but also the blue-grey surround, and the way they seem to curtsey and bob as part of their communication.

The opening up of lock-down in the UK allowed me a cautious venture to the hills nearby and a stream and pond habitat that we know well. There the Discos gave me fine views of not only a Moorhen Gallinula chloropus but also of many mating Toads Bufo bufo. This latter event was something we have never witnessed before and it was fascinating to watch at least 25 males through the Discos, crawling around seemingly on tip-toe, searching for females, in addition to 6 lucky pairs which were in cop.

Summing up, these binos would give anyone enjoyable and educational nature observations. For their price they are great value and the IPD range, and the size and weight, make them suitable for kids too.

Lee

A1 IMG_4693.JPG
 

Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
Thanks for the review Lee, a pleasure to read as always!

I recommended a pair of the WP PC 8x32's to my brother as starter bins and he is delighted with them.

Chris
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Thanks for the review Lee, a pleasure to read as always!

I recommended a pair of the WP PC 8x32's to my brother as starter bins and he is delighted with them.

Chris
Hi Chris, thank you for your kind words and I am sure your brother will get much enjoyment from the WP PC Discos.

Lee
 

A2GG

Beth
Supporter
United States
wow that really is compact and lightweight for 32mm.

Does the view seem to be a little improved with the addition of the ED lenses ?
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
wow that really is compact and lightweight for 32mm.

Does the view seem to be a little improved with the addition of the ED lenses ?
Yes, but as with most binos I have tried, CA just isn't the big problem it could be in the past. The old model Disco was quite good in this respect and the ED is incrementally better. Probably more significant is the increased fov to 8 degrees. ED + 8 degrees is pretty much a market requirement these days.

Lee
 

A2GG

Beth
Supporter
United States
Yes, but as with most binos I have tried, CA just isn't the big problem it could be in the past. The old model Disco was quite good in this respect and the ED is incrementally better. Probably more significant is the increased fov to 8 degrees. ED + 8 degrees is pretty much a market requirement these days.

Lee
Thanks !
 

Pinewood

New York correspondent
United States
Hello Lee,

Thank you for the interesting review. I am happy to read that you are still enjoying nature's wonders.

Stay safe,
Arthur
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Thank you Arthur and Tenex. We had our second vaccinations today and although this will make us feel more comfortable if we need to venture out into the city and other places, we will remain cautious.

Lee
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
Congrats on the vax!

Curious about how you find the focus knob tension? I tried one out thinking my kids could enjoy it with the small IPD and light weight, but the focus knob was very stiff and difficult to turn. I assume this is largely sample variation but since you’ve handled a couple of these (in ED and non ED form) I’m asking for more feedback haha!
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Congrats on the vax!

Curious about how you find the focus knob tension? I tried one out thinking my kids could enjoy it with the small IPD and light weight, but the focus knob was very stiff and difficult to turn. I assume this is largely sample variation but since you’ve handled a couple of these (in ED and non ED form) I’m asking for more feedback haha!
Thanks for the congrats.
The focus wheel of the ED version was very stiff when I first moved it but after focusing backwards and forwards 4-5 times it eased considerably and was absolutely fine thereafter. I am guessing that 'exercising' the focus mechanism in this way spread the the grease out more evenly. I didn't have excess stiffness with the non ED version. In short I wouldn't describe either of these models as having stiff focusers.
 

Upland

Well-known member
Thanks for the review Lee. I’m looking for an economy pair of 10x42s and these are in my price range. Have you tried either of the 42 mm models?
 

eitanaltman

Well-known member
Thanks for the congrats.
The focus wheel of the ED version was very stiff when I first moved it but after focusing backwards and forwards 4-5 times it eased considerably and was absolutely fine thereafter. I am guessing that 'exercising' the focus mechanism in this way spread the the grease out more evenly. I didn't have excess stiffness with the non ED version. In short I wouldn't describe either of these models as having stiff focusers.
Thanks, I suspected it was a bum sample since other Opticrons I’ve tried had smooth focus, the Traveler ED that I just sold was very light and smooth.

If anyone is shopping, this is the used Discovery 8x32 model listed at B&H currently. Avoid it, not a good sample.

When I had them both, I felt the Traveler ED was considerably better in all respects (and to be fair it’s about 2x the price). The quality of the exterior bits was a step up, and the Traveler seemed to have a much larger, better corrected sweet spot. In terms of brightness and on-axis sharpness the gap wasn’t huge, so at a glance they seemed similar, but actually using them in the field it was clear the Traveler is better corrected, with superior glass and refinement that yields a discernible boost in “clarity” or “transparency”. I find the cheaper glass with small sweet spots give me eye strain trying to actually bird with them, vs just quick glances in casual use.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Thanks, I suspected it was a bum sample since other Opticrons I’ve tried had smooth focus, the Traveler ED that I just sold was very light and smooth.

If anyone is shopping, this is the used Discovery 8x32 model listed at B&H currently. Avoid it, not a good sample.

When I had them both, I felt the Traveler ED was considerably better in all respects (and to be fair it’s about 2x the price). The quality of the exterior bits was a step up, and the Traveler seemed to have a much larger, better corrected sweet spot. In terms of brightness and on-axis sharpness the gap wasn’t huge, so at a glance they seemed similar, but actually using them in the field it was clear the Traveler is better corrected, with superior glass and refinement that yields a discernible boost in “clarity” or “transparency”. I find the cheaper glass with small sweet spots give me eye strain trying to actually bird with them, vs just quick glances in casual use.
Traveller ED is absolutely in a different league, and as you point out, so it should be. But I still believe Discovery ED is good value and delivers enjoyable and useful observations.

Lee
 

Petrus82

Well-known member
I had the chance to try these two days ago. I think they look better than the non-ED. I found the view better than the original. However, the eye relief was too tight for me.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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