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Another reveiw of my binoculars (forgive me!)
Posted 24 July 2009 - 09:52 PM
Quite a while ago I posted a review of these binoculars after a few months use. After re-reading it I consider that there is more to write and as I now find myself with plenty of spare time and rather a lot of cloud I have decided to try to write a more considered and useful review.
I purchased these binoculars largely on impulse which is a very unusual occurrence for me. They were being sold in Lidl, the German supermarket for £ 79 and were simply described as ‘professional’ binoculars. After having bought and used the famous 10x50’s in lidl and found them to be optically very good if mechanically a bit fragile, I found these larger and clearly higher spec bins interesting! Lidl are also very good about returning goods so I decided to risk it and buy a pair.
After getting them home the first thing I did was unpack and thread the neck strap and eyepiece covers onto the binoculars. I then looked over the build quality. It was immediately obvious that these were not in the same class as the cheap and cheerful 10x50’s. These binoculars are much more solidly constructed. The workmanship and materials are very much in the same rank as the Helios and Opticron binoculars in the £ 100-250 pound range. The lenses are very well multi coated and it easy to see that the prisms are also multicoated with the same greenish tint as the lenses. The binoculars are sealed and nitrogen filled and I can state that they have never fogged up when in use, even in very humid conditions and when transferred from outdoors to indoors continually whilst I run in to get star charts or have a cup of tea and so on.
I then proceeded to the garden to test the optics out in daylight. The first thing to notice is that the binoculars are heavy (around 1.35 KG if my kitchen scales are to be believed!). This is fine for me but may be difficult for some as they have to be held high and for some time to observe astronomical targets. There is also the issue of a tripod adapter. Many of us use a tripod to steady up even quite small binoculars in astronomy but these Bressers have no adapter. This is because the centre focus mechanism has two focus knobs, one ate back of the central hinge as with most binoculars, and one at the front where the tripod adapter is usually located. Bresser states that this is designed to make focussing easier with gloved hands for hunters etc. I can’t say I’ve ever found too much of a problem with focusing my other binoculars so with bins this big, I personally think that a larger focus knob and a tripod adapter would be of more use.
The focus and dioptre adjustments are both smooth in use and hold their settings well when set. They are greased however with a type of grease which does loosen up a bit when left in the sun. The mechanisms have never become loose however even when left on the garden table for three hours on a very warm day. The binoculars have a nice twistup eyecup arrangement which is similar to but better quality than that found on the 10x50’s. Both eyepieces will click into place at different distances to suit different user’s needs. The eyecups hold their position well and will not move even when pushed quite hard.
The fist optical point is the long eye relief. I have never measured this but it is certainly over 15 mm and probably 20mm so glasses wearers should have no problems seeing the full field of view. For me however (I do not wear glasses) the eye cups only just twist out far enough to get my eyes in the right position and it is impossible to use the binoculars with the eyecups down. This a small point and it is a problem in virtually all binoculars made today, whatever their price, not just these Bressers.
So after all this what was the view like? It was very, very good actually!
The field of view is stated as being 101m at 1000m, which is smaller than most binoculars these days. It is however a good field of view and the clarity and sharpness are very noticeable. The best way I can describe it is top consider the famous lidl 10x50’s which so many out there have used. These give a nice bright reasonably sharp view but compared to the Diorit it’s like looking through a thin fog! The colour cast is zero and the view is very bright. At dusk I watched a bat swooping around a neighbouring roof top until it was basically dark and could still see fantastic detail.
The multicoatings show themselves in the excellent light transmission and in the absence of glare even when used in proximity to the neighbour’s security lamp which often causes the view to be wiped out in my other binoculars. The view is sharp edge to edge with almost no deterioration towards the edges. I prefer this to the modern craze for wide fields with distracting edge aberrations.
At night the bins really showed their mettle. I live in a horrible light polluted city, not too far from the centre and have long been aware that the only way to beat light pollution is use a larger aperture. These binoculars are amazing! When I look at the double cluster in Persius I see several other clusters in the field not visible in any of my 10x50 binoculars. I have seen several faintish comets and several times M33 which is not visible in any of my binoculars or telescopes from my back yard. Cassiopeia is full of clusters and the Milky Way is once again beautiful in these bins.
I have tracked the ISS and seen its’ rectangularness’ due to the lack of glare. Chromatic aberration is so small that the moon does not show it except at the final 5% of the field of view and then it is still less than the centre of field in my other bins!
I love using these binoculars at night for astronomy and at dusk to watch wild life and so on (they would be great at dawn too but I’m not going to pretend I’ve ever got up that early to test them!). They are too heavy to use as general bins though and I still have my 8x30’s for this. The long design of the binoculars is interesting as I can’t decide if I love it or hate it, but it is very comfortable to hold, so I’m not complaining.
On investigating I found that these binoculars are normally priced between £ 120 and £180 depending on retailer and I would have to say that they are consistent in quality with that price range. Thus the £79 that I paid made them a nice bargain.
As a final note when these appeared in lidl many people seem to have confused them with several other Bresser binoculars which normally retail for about £70-80. These are not the same and don’t have the same coatings or optics and are also mechanically different.
So in short, these binoculars are large and heavy and have some odd design points. But they are good quality and give wonderful views of the sky. If these ever come up cheap again I recommend you consider them. Just be careful as the standard retail price seems to vary widely.
This picture shows the binoculars with my 90mm Maksutov to show the size.
Posted 18 June 2011 - 09:07 AM
Thanks again, I'm off to Lidl!
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