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RSPB 8x20 HD (1 Viewer)

CliveP

Well-known member
Just bought/ordered a used demo 8x20.

Anyone any thoughts / experience of this model?

I think it has ED glass and dielectric prisms so can't be that bad. No, experience tells me differently but I live in hope yet again.

I like the look of it at least from the pics and the fov is decent/sort of standard.

At the end of the day I know it's just a tiny bin with limited use but if the view looks nice for what it is then I am sure I will be happy. Please, please be a good one this time:eek!:

Just thinking back to the Nikon HGL 8x20 I had. It was ok but to be honest I never really exactly liked it and then recently I returned a Hawke Sapphire 8x25 with beautiful optics but the usual loose hinge and some pretty uncomfortable eyecups and very exacting in the eye placement required so basically it will probably be a miracle if I like this RSPB HD and it's coming slow post so I have loads of time to think of DOOM!!!

Hey ho. I guess I may just have to do yet another return if it really sucks.
 
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dipped

Well-known member
Hi Clive
As an RSPB optics volunteer I get to use the RSPB range so can offer a few thoughts.

On the plus side the optics are pretty good for the specs they are v. small and light . However I find the eyepieces too small to fit me comfortably and the body too small to hold comfortably. Watch out for loose hinges. Not sure how they handle flare but all compacts seem particularly prone from those I've tried. The best in the RSPB range for handling flare are the Compacts (reverse porros), and I prefer the 8x25 which gives a close to full size bin experience.

Hope this helps a bit, ah re-reading your post seems you didn't like the Nikon 8x20hg's - I have a feeling you may be disappointed.
 

CliveP

Well-known member
Hi Clive
As an RSPB optics volunteer I get to use the RSPB range so can offer a few thoughts.

On the plus side the optics are pretty good for the specs they are v. small and light . However I find the eyepieces too small to fit me comfortably and the body too small to hold comfortably. Watch out for loose hinges. Not sure how they handle flare but all compacts seem particularly prone from those I've tried. The best in the RSPB range for handling flare are the Compacts (reverse porros), and I prefer the 8x25 which gives a close to full size bin experience.

Hope this helps a bit, ah re-reading your post seems you didn't like the Nikon 8x20hg's - I have a feeling you may be disappointed.

Oh dear. Thanks for the information anyhow.

You mention the reverse porro 8x25 and the reason I ordered the 8x20 is that I just returned an 8x25 Pentax UP as it just wasn't as good as my Papilio 6.5x or my Vistron 8x25 but around equal or a little better than my Bresser 8x28.

I went for the 8x20 as I just don't have a truly pocketable bin since my Hawke Frontier 8x25 broke and it could have pretty bad glare so if this little RSPB fares at least equal to how the Frontier was with a bit less glare then I think it will be good enough for me just to have around as it's not going to be a main bin for me but it is interesting that you think the RSPB reverse porro is the better option although I imagine more bulky and I noticed it had a 6.3 deg fov so pretty similar to the small feeling view from the 6.2 deg Pentax. At least the HD has 6.8 but I get the feeling it doesn't give a great impression of spaceiousness.

There was something about the Pentax regarding eye relief at any of the click stops that just didn't feel right and I guess that was part of the reason I realised I would never get on with them so I'm interested to see if the HD is better in that regard. Just relised also that the HD being a demo has no warranty so if I decide to keep it I should definitely make sure it works properly before I sign it off.

If it really doesn't work for me I can return it. Just one of those things I have to go through without any decent dealers hereabouts but I like all of my optics that I've settled on through this arduous process, even the Bresser a little (there was no option to return that), which I'm now thinking must basically be the same bin as the Vortex Diamondback? Maybe with slightly different coatings?

I'm sort of dreading this HD a bit now but I would rather know the facts so appreciate your assistance. To much glare and it's not going to be hanging around here very long and I have an instant foolproof glare test so I'm going to know pretty quickly. On the other hand it may just work for me, well I hope so and hope I'm replying in few days with a positive report.

At least I've got a good little group of smallish bins to see where it slots in. The Pentax was 3rd of 4. Where will the HD slot in? 2nd or higher and it's definitely a keeper but I'm thinking it may come a close 3rd possibly but even then if it's better than the Pentax was I still think I might keep it just due to it's pocket ability. Certainly I'm curious about it but again must wait until I actually get my hands on the thing.
 
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mfunnell

Registered Confuser
even the Bresser a little (there was no option to return that), which I'm now thinking must basically be the same bin as the Vortex Diamondback? Maybe with slightly different coatings?
Based on your Bresser thread and my experience with the 8x28 Diamondbacks I seriously doubt that. While I can make my Diamondbacks flare, I wouldn't call them especially flare-prone. Also, they seem quite solidly constructed with a well-damped hinge and general feeling of robustness. I have two pairs, one of which lives in whatever camera bag I happen to be carrying (so gets bounced around a fair bit) while the other lives in my car. While I've only had them a few months they've had a fair bit of use - mostly because they're so convenient - and are as good as the day they arrived.

...Mike
 

CliveP

Well-known member
Don't know but I thought it strange that except for the rubber they look very similar & have the same spec, (edit: sorry think the Diamondback has a wider fov 119m v 108 for the Bresser so think I would prefer the Diamondback. It's the 8x28 Viper with a similar fov to the Bresser). This latest Bresser I have doesn't close focus as well as the first, it's at least 13ft. The exit pupils are a mess neither round or oval really. CA is very evident also in harsher light unless I close the IPD down more than I would like which results in a smaller view. They might work better in OZ where there is more sun?

I can't help noticing also that this RSPB HD has some similarity to the Bushnell HD compact especially the focus wheel and it is rather ominous that Bushnell haven't bothered with an 8x20 Model but the Bushnell 10x25 does seem to receive good praise.

They are all obviously coming from a similar Chinese origin. Just mix and matched and probably Vortex have gone for better options than Bresser. My advice stick with the Diamondback if it works well enough especially if it's actually brighter than an 8x25 which my Bresser generally isn't. Wonder will this 8x20 HD be brighter also. My 6.5x21 Papilio certainly is.
 
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CliveP

Well-known member
Seems to be the same bin as this Alpen Wings 8x20 and gets the thumbs up from the Amazon reviewers with several referring to Leica as a comparison.

http://www.amazon.com/ALPEN-Wings-C...p/B004UQI6K6/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

So maybe things are looking up. The Alpen seems to be very well priced and with a lifetime warranty. Another good US deal compared with the UK.

I wonder are they exactly the same optically. Anyhow the Alpen sounds good so hopefully the RSPB HD is also.
 

CliveP

Well-known member
Good news!

I'm getting a replacement courtesy of the very helpful Niki and folks at Viking Optical Centre.

Apparently this replacement works perfectly so that will be great. I have to say from what I saw before it went haywire I really liked it a lot and no glare on top of all the other good things I mentioned in the other thread but looking forward to getting a better look with this replacement.

Took a few shots while packing the faulty one away to compare alongside my Viking Vistron 8x25.

Didn't have a chance to properly compare them with the Vistron but the HD does have very impressive optics and is certainly more compact when folded which I think the photos show well. The Vistron is great also but it would be totally amazing if it had the same quality glass as the HD. One day I hope such a bin will happen as the Vistron is so great to hold and yet still basically compact but until then this HD is the answer for me providing of course all is well with the replacement but I'm assured that it is.
 

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CliveP

Well-known member
Great news!

Thanks again to Niki. Got the replacement and it is indeed probably the most perfect twin hinge bin I've ever encountered. Both hinges pretty tight, eyecup click stops perfect on both, focuser pretty smooth but more importantly accurate and gets the sharpness out of the lenses.

Sadly I don't have another high end compact to compare this to as I think that would be the only real competition.

It's another dull winter day so I haven't really had a chance to see through it in full daylight and it isn't quite as bright as my 8x25 Vistron or the 6.5x21 Papilio as would be expected with their larger exit pupils but it is still bright and does have very good contrast so even in low light things are still discernable.

I need to have a trip out with it to see how it fares. I see it seems to show no glare at all, yes that's none whatsoever, which is brilliant after my Hawke Frontier 8x25. It means I seem to be getting the full 119m fov right to the edge and it's quite remarkable although it does seem to have a lot of eye relief and perhaps the eyecups would have been better to extend a bit further but that will be good news for wearers of glasses looking for a good compact.

I do have a feeling though that I am going to like this little bin a lot and I like it already. It looks great and just seems to work that bit better for me than the Hawke Sapphire 8x25 which I tried and returned and the optics seem more impressive also so I'm expecting to be pretty pleased when I do get to take it out for a try, of course I'm not expecting it to work as a full size bin but I'm hoping that it will impress for what it is and I'm sure it will, just a question of how much but no glare and the great sharpness & clarity is certainly a good start.

I'll give a bit more info later after a day out as there doesn't really seem to be anything much info wise about these online and I certainly think they should get some mention and credit.

I love all my compacts now. This, the Papilio and the Vistron. (The Bresser doesn't count.) Currently I think they are all kind of tied for first place but the HD obviously folds so is most compact and is waterproof and has a bigger view than the Papilio but the optics in my Papilio II are still mind boggling and then the Vistron is just like a small but proper binocular that you can just jam up against your eyes although with the least best optics and yet I still think it's great.

Anyhow those are some initial thoughts and I hope to have some more good things to say about the HD soon. I'm definitely keeping it, that's pretty certain.
 
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CliveP

Well-known member
Got a quick look outside today along by the river and flood plains.

Low sun, eyes streaming with the cold and wind but pretty bright and clear morning.

I give these HD the thumbs up basically.

There's no getting away from the fact that they are a tiny binocular but I was surprised that I actually found them good to use with my winter gloves. The actual glove padding helped to pad out the bins and I was even able to use the focus wheel without any problem at all. I am used to the far end focuser and like it in small bins such as these. I also prefer the basic diopter around the right barrel to all those fiddly little center nobs of other models.

It took me a little time to get them set and see how best to use them but after that I settled in with them very well and what stood out to me was how it seemed almost more relaxing to use them for distance viewing and the resolution is really impressive and a nice size view. Got some glare looking in the sun direction but none otherwise.

I need to get out again for another try with them but this was good enough for me now to answer my initial curiosity that being would they work at all and I'm very glad to say they do and leave me wanting to explore their ability more.

I even found the eyerelief outdoors to be spot on so very well pleased.

They wouldn't replace my 8x32 but they certainly are a great compact. Quite expensive but with a 10 year warranty I'd say they are actually good value. The best compact I have encountered in many years and I do think I prefer them to the Nikon HGL I had a few years back and all the compacts I have owned and tried in between. Not by any massive margin but these just seem to suit me best and no doubt about the ability of the optics. I never felt that they lacked any power or that 10x would be better. These are amazing over distance. Totally crisp and clear.
 

CliveP

Well-known member
Went out again today. Similar weather and similar result. These little bins are quite extraordinary for distance viewing was again my over riding impression, of course they also work well for close in viewing but it's a little harder to centre them with your eye positioning being more critical for that so this is a result I was not expecting really for a mini binocular like this.

My Papilio would probably be better for near and medium range but then it is lower mag and has a wider fov.

What was interesting was I met another birder with a huge pair of Fujinnon 10x56 and we swopped. I said nothing about the HD to let him give his own impression and he found them very good and this is coming from a guy who just had been using a massive 10x56. The impression I got from the 10x56 was that the view over distance was very similar to the minute HD. It was only when I got the HD back that I noticed the smaller view but my eyes soon adjusted back and it was great viewing again with the HD.

My 8x32 would still be my preference in these circumstances or my 8x43 or my 10x30 or possibly my 8x25 Vistron but I am sold on this 8x20. It seems to be a distance specialist so not exactly what I was imagining for use at an indoor event say but definitely superb for a small bin were distance viewing is required. Optics are a strange and amazing thing and this little bin can actually seem to be better over distance than my larger 8x bins. Eye placement needs care but it's not to bad. I found when holding the bin, my right forefinger naturally kind of rests on my forehead with the eyecups fully extended just touching my eyes and this seems to provided the required steadiness.

The mind boggles at what the 10x25 version must be like considering this little 8x20 is already a distance viewing gem?
 
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