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What's the difference between these three binoculars? (1 Viewer)

TazCaz

Member
United Kingdom
Hello, I'm new to this forum and quite new to birdwatching as an official hobby.

I'm looking to buy my first set of binoculars and think I have narrowed it down to the following three Opticron options. Aside from their price, they all look very similar and so I was wondering if anyone can tell me if there's any huge difference in quality between them.

Opticron Countryman BGA HD+ 8x42
Opticron Natura BGA ED 8x42
Opticron Imagic BGA VHD 8x42

They are very similar in size and weight. They all have single hinge, single axis, NBR full armour, PC coating, Oasis prism coating, roughy the same eye relief, and are waterproof and nitrogen gas filled. They are all made in Japan (as confirmed by the company).

The only differences I can see are:
  • The Countryman and the Imagic have a 4 stage twist eye cup, while the Natura have a 3 stage twist.
  • The Natura and Countryman have a fully multi-coated lens, while the Imagic have an S type lens coating.
  • The Natura and Countryman have BAK4 prism material, while the Imagic have PGK prism material.
  • The Natura and Countryman have [email protected]/7° field of view, while the Imagic have a [email protected]/7.2° field of view.
  • The Natura and Countryman have a 2.3/25m close focus, while the Imagic have a 2m close focus.
  • The Natura and Countryman have a 56~74/76mm IPD range, while the Imagic have 58~74mm IPD range.
  • The Natura and Countryman have an aluminium alloy, polycarbonate body material, while the Imagic have a aluminium alloy, polycarbonate, magnesium body.
(It also looks as though the 10x50 Imagics are about to be discontinued, so maybe the Imagic range is being phased out?)

...however there's a £250 price difference between them (£150 difference if you can nab the most expensive at sale price).

I can't find any information on the differences between BAK4 and PGK prisms, or multi-coated versus S type lens coating, or whether the IPD range difference is significant.

As this is my first set, I'm not experienced enough to compare the specs so relying solely on the internet and the advice of those more knowledgeable.
If anyone can provide any assistance, opinions on which stands out as the best option and why, or has experience using any of these bins, it would be most appreciated.

I would also be keen to hear of any other recommendations I might have missed in my research. Looking for non-Chinese manufactured, sub-£350, with the above (or better) specs. Am located in the UK.

Thanks in advance!
 

Steve

Surfing
Staff member
United Kingdom
Welcome to the forum, I am sure someone who knows the answer will help you shortly, I have deleted your other post, cross posting is confusing.
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

welcome to BF, first of all!

Currently they are all between 309 and 399 quid due to a sale on the Opticron page. In general Opticron has many different ranges of bins and scopes at all pricepoints and sometimes the differences are hard to see from the specs alone (and maybe even in a side by side comparison).

Joachim
 

TazCaz

Member
United Kingdom
Welcome to the forum, I am sure someone who knows the answer will help you shortly, I have deleted your other post, cross posting is confusing.
Thanks Steve and apologies - hadn't meant to cross-post but couldn't find this original post and thought there had been a glitch so reposted in the Opticron forum! Appreciate you deleting the other one. Would this be better moved over to the Opticron forum?
 

TazCaz

Member
United Kingdom
Hi,

welcome to BF, first of all!

Currently they are all between 309 and 399 quid due to a sale on the Opticron page. In general Opticron has many different ranges of bins and scopes at all pricepoints and sometimes the differences are hard to see from the specs alone (and maybe even in a side by side comparison).

Joachim
Thanks for the welcome Joachim! Realised I should have popped my head in a few months ago when I was trying to find a good bird box camera - this is a great resource. And yes, have spotted the sale on the Opticron site. I've not looked into binoculars before so was just wondering why these three all seemed very comparable, and if there was a standout. Do you have any experience with any of these bins?
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
Thanks Steve and apologies - hadn't meant to cross-post but couldn't find this original post and thought there had been a glitch so reposted in the Opticron forum! Appreciate you deleting the other one. Would this be better moved over to the Opticron forum?
Hi TazCaz and a warm welcome from me too.

I'll move your post to the Opticron Forum as requested.
 
Last edited:

pete_gamby

Birds? What Birds?!
Countryman BGA HD+ is now discontinued (we have no stock left) so any online offers will be for what we've sold at a discount so therefore should be available at a good price from our dealers.

Imagic BGA VHD is also being discontinued - same as the above regarding pricing.

Natura BGA ED is an ongoing model. It is made for us by the same sub-contractor as the Countryman and as a result shares some common features in its physical design (centre dioptre adjustment for example).

Countryman is sharper than Natura and has better light transmission so will appear brighter. The prisms in the Imagic are of a higher quality than those in the Countryman, mainly helping to improve contrast. As you've noted, the Imagic also has a wider field of view.

All three are covered by a 30 year* warranty so that gives you an indication of our confidence in the length of service these models should deliver as a minimum.

In normal times, I'd point you to a local dealer or an optics event to try before you buy. The following companies should have the items in stock:

Countryman - Focalpoint, Clifton Cameras, The Birders Store
Imagic - The Birders Store, Uttings, Cley Spy, In Focus
Natura - see stockist list - Natura BGA ED Stockists

HTH

Cheers, Pete

* legally we can't sell a product with a lifetime warranty in certain countries in Europe e.g. Germany. This is why we haven't jumped on that particular bandwagon.
 

TazCaz

Member
United Kingdom
Countryman BGA HD+ is now discontinued (we have no stock left) so any online offers will be for what we've sold at a discount so therefore should be available at a good price from our dealers.

Imagic BGA VHD is also being discontinued - same as the above regarding pricing.

Natura BGA ED is an ongoing model. It is made for us by the same sub-contractor as the Countryman and as a result shares some common features in its physical design (centre dioptre adjustment for example).

Countryman is sharper than Natura and has better light transmission so will appear brighter. The prisms in the Imagic are of a higher quality than those in the Countryman, mainly helping to improve contrast. As you've noted, the Imagic also has a wider field of view.

All three are covered by a 30 year* warranty so that gives you an indication of our confidence in the length of service these models should deliver as a minimum.

In normal times, I'd point you to a local dealer or an optics event to try before you buy. The following companies should have the items in stock:

Countryman - Focalpoint, Clifton Cameras, The Birders Store
Imagic - The Birders Store, Uttings, Cley Spy, In Focus
Natura - see stockist list - Natura BGA ED Stockists

HTH

Cheers, Pete

* legally we can't sell a product with a lifetime warranty in certain countries in Europe e.g. Germany. This is why we haven't jumped on that particular bandwagon.
Thanks for taking the time to reply @pete_gamby.

I would normally 'try before you buy' but these will be for a birthday gift for my husband (which, as it turns out, I will also be able to enjoy ;)) in March and I'm not sure we'll be back to 'normal' by then. I have been checking out most of the sites you mentioned and will also look at the others I haven't.

Is there any reason the Countryman and Imagic are being discontinued? (as in, is there an issue with them that's going to be improved on newer models?)

I'm seeing the Countryman come up around the same price as the Natura at the moment, so in that case the Countryman seems the obvious choice. However, what about the Countryman compared to the Imagics? Are the Imagics worth the extra £60? I'm not experienced enough to know whether the high quality prisms (what's the difference between BAK4 and PGK) and the wider 4m/0.2° field of view of the Imagic are worth the money.

Does the addition of magnesium to the body of the Imagic make any difference? And is there much difference in a multi-coated lens and an S type lens coating?

Not sure if it's important, but we're in Scotland - mostly birdwatching in our garden, trees and forested areas, but would like a set that are suitable for other wildlife spotting (otters on lochs, stags in glens - all the usual Scottish stuff!).

Thanks again for all your help Pete!
 

TazCaz

Member
United Kingdom
Further the the above questions @pete_gamby - would you say the Countryman at £299 or the Imagic at £359 is a better deal?

And have I overlooked any comparative bins - Opticron or otherwise? Along with the specs, being non-Chinese made is important to me.
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Personally, I wouldn't overthink it.

I would get the Imagic.

But everyone has to make their own decision.

Regards,
B.
 

matt green

Norfolkman gone walkabout
Countryman BGA HD+ is now discontinued (we have no stock left) so any online offers will be for what we've sold at a discount so therefore should be available at a good price from our dealers.

Imagic BGA VHD is also being discontinued - same as the above regarding pricing.

I'd be interested tp know if the bga vhd is going to be replaced with a new model, or just phased out?

Always admired opticron optics, my first quality bino was the bga classic..tempted to grab a bga vhd as a cost effective alternative to the big three,

Matt
 

jring

Well-known member
Hi,

one more vote for the Imagic - it used to be Opticrons second tier offering and had very good reviews, for example here:


And at 360 quid it's quite a steal. The others are certainly no bad bins but at a lower pricepoint.

Joachim
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Hi,

one more vote for the Imagic - it used to be Opticrons second tier offering and had very good reviews, for example here:


And at 360 quid it's quite a steal. The others are certainly no bad bins but at a lower pricepoint.

Joachim
I will add another vote for Imagic too. It is a really competent binocular and delightful to use.

Lee
 

MGT

Well-known member
I have the Countryman 8x32 and the Imagic 8x42. I lend my Countryman’s out to family and friends whilst I use the Imagic’s. They both impress, however, the Imagic’s are in a different league and comfortably represent the better deal.
 

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