Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Meopta 8x32 Binoculars Are Top-Notch

I recently received Meostar B1 8x32 binoculars from Meopta. They are looking for feedback from birders about their new 32mm series. I used them for birding during the past two weekends which gave me a unique opportunity to put them to the test under various conditions.

When I first received the Meostars, I gave them a quick try by out in my backyard. I was amazed at how wide the field of view was. My Swift binoculars have a 341' field of view but the Meopta's offer an impressive 420 feet at 1000 yards. Not only do they have a wide field of view but the image is very flat and sharp from edge to edge.

I took them out for a field trial at Wangunk Meadows the next morning. It was a grey, overcast day and their was a light mist in the air. These are not ideal viewing conditions but the binoculars performed very well under these conditions. I watched as Song Sparrows popped up on top of some tall weeds and was impressed by the detail I could see around the edge of one Song Sparrow's eye. I was able to get very close since the close focus for the 32's is only 5.7 feet .

These binoculars have a very solid, compact design. They are only 20 ounces but the feel very balanced and they fit very comfortably in my hands. They have some raised texture and thumb indentations which improve the grip.

I found that these binoculars provided the best viewing experience when I was zeroed in on a bird that was out in the open. The wide field of view in this compact binocular made it so easy to follow a bird that was moving around in a tree or flying overhead. I also noticed nice color and contrast while viewing Mallards in the Connecticut River.
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I have heard that 32mm binoculars don't work as well in low light conditions as 42mm binoculars do but I didn't have any problems seeing when I used them at dusk.
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-I've read about chromatic aberrations and color fringing in binoculars but didn't notice anything like that. I figure why bother looking for it if it isn't a problem. I'd rather watch birds.
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The only shortcoming of these binoculars was their depth of field. When I watched birds that were set back in the woods it was noticeable. I could focus on individual birds but you didn't get that nice 3d effect that you are able to get when looking through 42mm binoculars. A few other details to add: the diopter is located near the center focus. It was easy to adjust and did not move out of focus. The eyecups are adjustable twist and click type that work well. The neck strap had extra cushion and was very comfortable. I didn't like the felt carry bag but I understand that they have already changed it to a new style.
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My final test came when I compared the Meopta 8x32 binoculars to other top brand 8x32 binoculars including Swarovski. I found the image from the Meoptas to be be just as good as the other top brands but at $800 they are about half the price.

There are a lot of excellent binoculars available these days in the $300-$1,000 dollar range. I have tried several of them and have found some that would be an upgrade from my $300 Swift Ultralite but the Meoptas are the only ones I tried in this price range that seemed to be right up there with the best of them. I am looking forward to trying the 8x42 models soon.

*Never buy binoculars based solely on someone else's opinion. Always try them yourself and form your own opinions.

4 comments:

Telescope Binoculars said...

Thanks for the details. These minute details are really great. I am basically a star gazer and use large aperture (over 70mm) binocs for the purpose.

Jochen said...

Hi!

Thanks for the head-up on these binoculars. It seems we are currently seeing an interesting development: the top brands like Zeiss, Leica and Swaro sure are still incredibly good but have to put in so much efford to remain on top that they have become almost ridiculously expensive. The other, smaller brands seem to catch up nicely in quality but retain their much lower prices.
To put it more simple:
Why bother spending $2000 for a top pair of binoculars when you can get 95% of the quality for $500? I think this is a real challenge the top brands will have to face soon.

If I had the money, of course I'd get a top pair, but if the budget is limited, I also see very interesting alternatives.
And by the way: Yes, it is true that the cheaper ones will not last as long as the more expensive ones, but if I can get 4 for the price of 1, their respective life span may well add up to exceed even the most expensive high-quality glasses.

Jayne said...

I think the asterisk at the end says it all... test them out to see what works for YOU. :c) I ended up purchasing some Viper Vortex 8 x 42's and have been very happy with them as well. I just can't see spending $1000 on binocs.

Larry said...

Jochen-Thanks for the well thought out commentary.I'm not so sure that less expensive ones won't last.I've had mine for 6 years and used them a lot.They still work fine, I'm just tired of them.-These meopta seem to be built like little tanks-of course they're not cheap-just a bargain compared to the top names.

Jayne-When I mentioned testing binoculars in that price I had the vortex in mind.I was impressed with them as they had abetter fov than the ones I currently own.