Top positive review
77 people found this helpful
Great build, great light transmission, but some other optical concerns....
on June 8, 2012
....make me really wish I could give these 3 1/2 stars. (I'm reviewing the 10x42 version)
The build quality of these is excellent with some real (but reasonable) heft and great rubberized protection. The hinged objective caps are a great convenience, and the dangling dual-eyepiece cover offers a good balance of protection and convenience as well. The focus wheel is very smooth but easy to "land" in the sweet spot. The diopter adjustment is effective, and the long-eye-relief of the eyepieces (and the hinged body) make for great comfort and convenience for use while wearing glasses.
The dual-use strap is a clever design, but the whole idea seems a bit on the cheap side for binoculars of this caliber. Yes, it's easy to swap the strap from the case to the binoculars, but, having done so, what do you do with the case other than unhitch your belt and strap it there (or leave it behind altogether). Again, it's not a huge deal, but it's more of an annoyance than convenience for me.
Optically, the lenses are tack-sharp, and the light-gathering ability of the glass and its truly superior coatings is VERY impressive. Additionally, the colors captured by this glass are fantastic. These are WONDERFUL to use at twilight or in shade -- I've really not seen any binoculars in this price range even approach the light-gathering ability of these. They truly blew me away the first time I looked through them in the shady woods behind my house. 5 BIG stars there.
Where these fall short, though, is in the consistency of the glass from edge-to-edge. There is significant loss of detail and focus the closer one gets to the edges. About 15-20% of the glass around the edges is significantly out of focus with the center, and this is true of both lenses individually, and it's consistent around the circumferences of the lenses, so this does not appear to be a matter of just getting a bad pair, though I could be wrong about that, of course.
In addition to the de-focussing issues around the periphery, each lens has significant pincushion distortion: start looking at a thin tree along the right side of the FOV, and its top and bottom will bend to the right; moving it to the left side of the FOV, the top and bottom will bend progressively to the left. I'd say that pincushion distortion is at least moderate, and it's consistent in both lenses, so it doesn't appear that this is just an inconsistent or "bad" set.
With all that said, there is a large enough FOV on these that I don't think that for most people these optical problems outweigh the pros of the lens's light-gathering ability and vivid color. Most folks will be looking primarily at the centers of these lenses, probably training their eyeballs on no more than the center 1/3 of the image circle. However, if you're a person for whom a lack of optical precision across the glass is going to be a problem, I'd steer clear of these. For the rest who just want a really bright set of binoculars with great color and great build quality, these binoculars are quite good.