Sunday, 25 January 2015

Welcome Back !

After our winter shutdown, Tartan Birder is back.  The weather in the west of Scotland hasn't been conducive to birding over the last few weeks, but I have had a few recent highlights including, a flock of 24 redwings in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, and several Buzzards spotted in Renfrewshire. 

Hopefully 2015 will be a great birding year for me and you can read regular updates, including photographs, here on the blog.  I've included below a brief list of what to expect over the coming months.

A trip to Chatelherault Park, Lanarkshire, including the AGM of the Butterfly Conservation Society.
The Tartan Birder heads south...again.  A visit to RSPB Leighton Moss.
Loch of Lowes  - Osprey Watch!
Scottish Bird Fair 2015.
Sea Watching in Cumbria - the Tartan Birder visits RSPB St. Bees.

Of course, I will include updates on my visits to local nature reserves, including RSPB Lochwinnoch, RSPB Baron's Haugh, Possil Marsh, Millichen Farm, Loch Ardinning, Hogganfield Loch and Glen Moss. 

I hope to continue reviewing binoculars, scopes and monoculars.  The following reviews will be published over the coming weeks:

Hawke Frontier ED 8x43
Viking MD 6.5x32
Viking AW 65mm Spotting Scope

Keep checking in to the most comprehensive birding and wildlife blog in Scotland for further updates.

Opticron HR WP 8x42 Review

I'll be honest - this is a binocular that has intrigued me for sometime. There are very few like it on the market today.  Japanese made, the binocular is Opticron's top of the range porro prism.  The Opticron HR WP is a porro prism binocular with a difference.  The focussing is internal, meaning  you don't see the usual up and down movement in the bridge.  As a result, it is less likely to be knocked out of collimation. It offers the added protection of being both waterproof and fogproof.

The binocular weighs in at 715g.  The ergonomics of this model are, shall we say, unique. They have a rather bulbous shape. However, they feel good in the hand and the rubber armouring is both grippy and comfortable.  The focussing wheel is rather small and placed quite high up on the binocular.  I was really impressed with the focusing - it was very light and smooth.  The dioptre adjustment is located on the end of the focussing wheel and locks in place.  It feels very good in the hand and the build quality is very impressive. 

Field of view is a rather narrow 112m at 1000m.  However, for some reason the view did not feel claustrophobic.  Other aspects of the view are so good, see my comments below, this is one compromise that is well worth making.  Eye relief is excellent with 20mm being more than enough for eye glass wearers.

Image quality is very impressive.   A very sharp and detailed image is produced.  Looking at the image when close up, the sharpness extends almost right to the edge.  However, at distance, there is a very strong field curvature which accentuates the "stereo" 3D effect a porro prism provides.   By no means is this a criticism of the binocular, quite the opposite in fact.  The depth of field is very impressive with very little focusing required.  The image was very bright and colour rendition appeared neutral.  All of these effects contribute towards producing a wonderfully sharp image that is full of life and character.    Contrast is very impressive.  Viewing a pair of magpies nesting in the trees, the black, white and green plumage really sparkled in the sunlight.  It really is one of the best images I have seen on a binocular under £500.

The Opticron HR WP really is an excellent binocular, currently retailing at £249.  It is a very interesting and unusual binocular which punches well above its weight in terms of resolution.  In fact, I would go so far as to say it is one of the best porro prism binoculars on the market.  It's ergonomics won't suit everyone and neither will its relatively narrow field of view.  However, in terms of image quality, build quality and the excellent customer service provided by Opticron (not to mention the comprehensive 30 year guarantee), it really is hard to be critical.  Well worth a look!