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I'm not a binocular enthusiast, neither do I even use such things fairly regularly as I'm not into sport and I'm not a twitcher - any looking at things long distance I do tends to be through my camera. That said being well versed in camera lenses does help me pick out decent optics in binoculars.
I came across these after we got them as part of a special offer so I thought it only fair to give them a try and see where that went...
The particular ones I got are the olympics 'special edition' basically they're exactly the same as the ones photographed above, but with the pick 2012 logo in one corner. Design wise they're black (although it looks more dark grey to me) with a silver mid section and the branding/model embossed in gold text. Personally I find this combination of colours does give it a bit of a cheap feel and I think it would have been better if they'd just stuck to plain old black.
On the rear of the lens columns are 2 strap lugs - I think this is quite good placement as it means they rest properly against your chest when wearing them around your neck.
The eye cups are adjustable so you can keep them down if you wear glasses or turn them up if you don't - this keeps the distance off your eye balls from the glass a consistent distance and makes for better viewing. On the right eyecup there is a diopeter adjuster (+ & -) to set appropriately for your eyesight - this is easy to move, but not so easy that you're going to accidentally knock it out of place. The central adjustment wheel also moves freely allowing for fine adjustments in focusing to be made without juddering.
Due to the bridge type format of these the hinging allows for quite a wide range of adjustment depending on how far apart (or indeed close together) your eyes are - I've been reliably informed that this is called 'interpupillary distance'.
When it comes down to looking through these I did find 3 quibbles worth mentioning:
1) I have normal eyesight, but for the sake of testing I fiddled with the right eye diopter and I can't say it made any real difference to my viewing experience where ever it was set. Not a problem for me, but not sure if this might be an issue for someone who doesn't have brilliant eye sight.
2) There is a slight coloured fringing (a pinkish purple) apparent around the edges of some subjects - this comes down to the type and quality of the glass used and is made worse depending on the lighting of the subject you're viewing.
3) The eye cups are really hard! You need to put these right up against your eye sockets if you don't wear glasses and the edges of the eye cups are really hard plastic (no metal at all), after just a few minutes of use I found that the area around my eyes (particularly by my brow) was markedly sore which definately distracted from the enjoyment of using them.
Not to be all doom and gloom, there were some good points:
1) I thought that for the price range these binoculars gave a nice sharp image, which is particularly great when you're trying to identify something in the distance
2) They could focus quite closely - I managed to get pinsharp focus on something that was approximately 2m from where I was standing
3) They're fairly compact (not pocket size though, unless you have big coat pockets).
Price wise the RRP is about £100 and these can be found for as little as £40 online (amazon market place), although I would imagine you'd pay nearer £70 for them on the highstreet.
Other (possibly) important information:
- Comes with a case and strap
- Made in China
I'm in two minds as to whether I'd recommend these or not - they're small, so great for portability, they give a nice sharp image and they're not too expensive, those things considered I could overlook most of the faults, but those eye cups are just so uncomfortable that I honestly don't think I could use them on a regular basis - a glasses wearer would of course avoid this issue though.