If you do not recognize the brand, they are the 2nd largest optics companies in England (based on sales) and have recently expanded their sales efforts to include the United States.
They are known in the U.K. for producing quality optics at a mid-level price.
We tested three different models at different price points.
Verano 8X42 BGA HD: Suggested retail of $669.00
Quality look and feel. Open bridge design.
- 7 deg. field of view on the 8x model.
- Notrogen purged and waterproof to 10 ft.
- Light weight - 26 oz.
- Supplied with a 30 year guarantee from the manufacturer.
Twist up eye cups with 3 stops. The stops seemed a little sensitive. With handling they might accidentally move down or up from one to the next but I did not personally experience this problem.
The dioptre adjustment (single eye adjustment) moves with a series of clicks - easy to adjust, very nice feel. A very good feature.
Wide, very smooth focus wheel that I liked.
Good balance and comfortable in the hand.
Good brightness and image sharpness to the edge. The manufacturer advertises 'PGK' glass prisms with PC phase correction coating and Oasis prism coating. I am not sure what that all means but I was pleased with the brightness of the image in the early evening light.
Opticron's web site says Verano 8x42s are recommended by the British Trust for Ornithology. Whose going to argue with the BTO?
Discovery WP PC: 8x42 : $275.00
- Twist up eye cups with a nice feel. Single eye focus adjustment was a little stiff but I like it that way.
- Weight: 24.8 oz.
- Field of view: 393 ft. and 1000 yard.
Like all the Opticrons we tested it had a nice feel and balance.
The focus adjustment wheel is large and has just the right amount of tension.
This model also has the click-stop dioptre adjustment (single eye adjustment) that I like.
The image was generally clear and sharp. Not as good as the Verano in the evening light but still did a good job.
I loved these binoculars. Excellent value for the price.
Opticron ED-X: $465.00
Features a narrow silver bridge bearing the model number.
- Light weight at only 22.9 oz.
- 6ft. close focal distance is very good.
- Nitrogen purged and waterproof to 3 ft.
- 10 year guarantee
Twist up eye cups with 4 stops on the 8x version, 3 on the 10X. The eye cups felt fine on my glasses.
Has a soft touch textured rubber armour coating.
The micro bridge assembly helps produce the light weight.
On our test model, the pivot point on the bridge was very, very stiff.
Good brightness and image sharpness to the edge.
There are a lot of personal preferences when it comes to picking a pair of binoculars, that's why it is best if you can try them out in person before buying. The Opticron ED-X model was the least favorite of the models tested. The bridge was so stiff they were hard to use. Hopeful production models will not suffer a similar problem. The manufacturer's specifications are quite good and they offer a 10 year warranty so Opticorn must be committed to putting quality into this model.
If the problem with the overly stiff bridge is resolved then these woould be a decent choice considering their relatively small size and low weight.
The quality built into the Veranos is pretty obvious. My non-birding wife picked the Veranos as having the best image without knowing the price, and thought they compared well against more expensive brands.
For the price, I thought the Discovery model offered excellent value. It is a good choice for the backyard birder or anyone that does not want to spend $600 or more for a pair of binoculars.
Next month we'll review the compact models we tested.
Visit the Opticron web site for additional details on these and other Opticron products for birders.