Hawke Premier 12×25 vs Visionary Wetland 8×25 binoculars review

OK, 12×25 vs 8×25 compact binoculars is not an exact like for like comparison, but for different reasons two customers on the same day picked one then the other at the Northern Optics weekend display when we was present with our weekend display at the Waters` Edge country park and visitor centre . Both were at the time of this post under £50 and £40

After trying the two sets, the 1st customer went for the Hawke Premier 12×25, simply due to the greater magnification they offered. The added bonus was that as they were the old model, they was being cleared at just £39.00. This is amazing value for a set of binoculars with multi-coated optics and Bak-4 prisms.

The second customer however chose the Visionary Wetland 8×25 binoculars. The wider field of view and slightly sharper and brighter image was a plus point. But the main selling point was the much better handling and ease of use over the Hawkes.

This just goes to show, what suits one customer does not suit the other, and it is always best to try before you buy

 

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Baader fringe killer #2458370

The Baader Planetarium fringe killer is a low cost solution for reducing colour fringing while retaining colour balance. Can be used for both Planetary and Solar use (with Baader solar filter or film)

  • Offering the brightest image of all colour correcting devices in the industry. The Fringe-Killer is a must for even the smallest of refracting  telescopes that have issues with CA.
  • Removes blue colour fringing as well as RED fringing above 656 nm!
  • `Breaks` the intensity of the frustrating false blue colour in a completely new way, never ever before manufactured as astronomical filter for telescopes.
  • Forms a `plateau` of eff. 50%transmission in the `blue` spectral region from 450nm to 480nm – being much more complex to produce than even the narrowest of all Nebula Filters.
  • Maintains the highest light transmission of all known colour correcting devices – be it filters or lenses – in all important deep sky wavelengths from 486/501 up to 656 nm. LIGHT is `the hottest commodity` for high magnification work.
  • Built-in (IR) Infrared Blocker, ranging from 656nm to 1150nm, makes it the perfect tool for CCD work, as well as afocal projection-photography with digital cameras for Moon & Planets.
  • Subtlest of colour variations remain visible in planetary surface detail, due to the excellent colour balance.
  • Combine with our 31.7mm Red RG-610 color filter, to receive an ultra narrow (70nm) wide H-alpha passband filter of unheared of 95% peak transmission at world‘s lowest price!.
  • Combine with our NEODYMIUM Moon & Skyglow Filter (with Phantom-Group-Multicoatings) for breathtaking contrast on lunar and planetary surface detail!
  • Planoptically polished, means perfect sharpness, even when mounted way in front of a binocular viewer, or during afocal projection (digital imaging).
  • No deterioration of resolution with magnification at 300 times or more – as it would happen with the usual `flame polished` (raw polished) glass, commonly used for all sorts of filters!
  • Coating: Plasma assisted, hardest, scratch proof and water impermeable dielectric coatings of almost 50 coating layers on either side, most carefully designed to extend equal tension onto either side of the substrate – in order to retain a highest quality optical figure.
  • Will make the performance of a simple f/8 economy refractor look like a classic f/15 Fraunhofer-Achromate.
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Visionary Wetland 8×25 binoculars review

For this review Northern Optics took a look at the Visionary Wetland 8×25 compact binoculars. Priced at around £50, they are aimed at the keen beginner.

The outer box is solid, with some images of wildlife and recommended uses. You then find inside a standard medium nylon neck strap and soft case with Visionary on it. First impression of the binoculars is that they are extremely solid and well built. The textured rubber body is very grippy. Eye cups are twist type, but sadly eye relief is not long enough for spectacle wearers. The body itself does not flex on the single hinge, meaning it stays in position once set. This makes for ease of handling and fast set up.

So lets check the optics. OK the colours, brightness and whiteness of the whites is not as vivid as phase coated versions. But saying that, these are £50, not £100+, so it is unfair to compare. What you do get is a very acceptable image with nice colours. On the subject of colours, there is a little purple fringing in the centre, but well within tolerances for optics in this price range. Field of view is very good as with many 8×25 binoculars.

The focus wheel moves freely with no tight spots. I did find the close focus varies from one model to the next. So best check out a set 1st. As I write this review we do have a small number for you to try at our weekend outlet at the Waters` edge visitor centre and Barton Upon Humber.

Spec. Multi-coated optics. BaK-4 prisms. Nitrogen waterproof

Summing up, the optics about par for the price. But the major plus points are the build quality, ease of use and handling, which makes them ideal as a starter set

 

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North Lincs Astro meeting 5th June 2017

Despite the weather, 16 regulars turned up for the North Lincs astro society meeting on Monday 5th June 2017.

The night kicked off with Damian giving a brief talk about the constellation Libra the scales. This included the history of the naming, and some of the stars to look out for. Then John Kindly gave us his monthly  update on the latest news from the world of astronomy and space flight. This was followed by a great talk about the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, which included an in depth description explaining about the brightness / luminosity of stars and the difference between apparent and absolute magnitude. Also there was also a practical lesson for us all, with pencils and work sheets at the ready. This was not as difficult as we feared. Even I got it right !

Thanks as always for Malcolm and Glennys for the teas and refreshments (including doggy bag for me) and the Lincolnshire wildlife trust for the use of the venue.

As always Northern Optics was in attendance with some bargains on the night

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Helios Nitrosport 10×42 long eye relief binoculars

A customer came to the Northern Optics weekend outlet at the Waters` Edge country park, Barton Upon Humber looking for a set of bird watching binoculars suitable for using with spectacles on.

After getting the low down from myself on what the numbers meant and explaining with a practical demonstration on exit pupils and their effect on low light performance, the opted for the Helios Nitropsort 10×42 binoculars.

At first the customer found them harder to hold steady than the 8x version. But after a short while felt more comfortable and went for the 10x option.  With the benefit of silver coated phase corrected BaK-4 prisms, fully multi-coated optics and nitrogen waterproofing, you do get a lot for your little money

I do actually find these binoculars more suited to spectacle wearers than none spectacle wearers due to the twist eye cup positions, but the next person along may think different.   There is a touch of colour fringing when looking at bright objects such as Swans against a dark background. But that is being really picking and hardly noticeable.

These remain one of the best value mid spec binoculars available on the market. High recommended

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Minox DTC 550 wildlife cam

The Minox DTC nature cam offers 12mp images with the option on 1080p HD video resolution. The invisible IR flash has a range of up to 15m, which is more than enough for passing wildlife in the garden or out on location.

Can shoot up to 12 consecutive images with video up to 3 minutes. Comes with a 2.4″ TFT colour display and camouflage body. Robust and splash proof.  Can run on batteries, but also has a 12v port for an external power source. Variable time lapse feature.

Have spring watch or autumn watch in the comfort of your own back garden at an affordable price

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Baader Planetarium solar viewers. Reflection free

The latest Baader Planetarium solar viewers #2459294 feature a new reflection free coating to aid solar viewing. Perfect for Solar eclipses and larger Sun spots. As always with solar glasses they should only be used on their own and not with a telescope with not solar filter attached.

This CE-certified new solar viewer does confirm and largely supersedes all eye-safety requirements of EN ISO 12312-2:2015. The dark eye-side now is utmost convenient to view through. The solar image is tack sharp and almost neutral white in colour with a tack of blue, providing more spectral information than a viewer that is blind across most of the spectrum and provides only a reddish sun.  The new Solar Viewer AstroSolar® Silver/Gold does not just block potentially harmful UV-light, but also perfectly blocks all heat-radiation (IR). This enables extreme viewing comfort without irritation from perceived heat build-up inside the eyeball during prolonged viewing.

 

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Celestron UpClose G2 8×21 binoculars review #71230

Here at Northern Optics I have had my first chance to test the Celestron UpClose G2 8×21 binoculars. With a new and more sturdy body and multi-coated objective lenses, it is a step up in quality from the old UpClose model.

So you are greeted by an attractive box showing an image of the binoculars, recommended uses and full specification. Many lower end binoculars in a similar price range do not show this. In the box is a standard compact soft case with belt loop. Although basic, it does the job.

Take the binoculars out the case, and they instantly feel more solid , yet still only weigh 227g.  The tough rubber covering makes holding them more comfortable and secure in the hands. These are classed as water resistant rather than waterproof, so I would say they are more light shower proof.

The double hinge adjustment feels quite solid and stays in place unlike many cheaper options. The strap is a basic thin un-padded one with no option for upgrades.

The price puts it between the basic end binoculars and the £50 models that come with nitrogen gas filled bodies. Prisms and BK7, but the objective lenses are multi-coated.

So what about the optics ?. As with many double hinge designs, getting the IPD just right takes a little practice, but for me it took under 10 seconds to line up with the eyes. Eye relief is slightly longer than the quoted 11mm suggests, so I found it best to not push them up close to the eyes for the best result with less internal reflection. Talking of eye relief, I found with the cups folded down I could get around 90% of the view with glasses on, meaning they will be suitable for most spectacle wearers.

Field of view is a very good 129m @ 1000m. Sharpness , brightness and colours are much better than standard budget fully coated optics. I have seen some reports of poor optics and inability to focus, so I can only assume they were either defective or the consumer needed some extra help with set up.

So in summing up, these are £25 (RRP at time of testing) binoculars, so I am not going to compare with £50 binoculars. But compared to fully coated binoculars in the £15-£25 range, they certainly give a step up in clarity. Only minor gripes are there is a little internal reflection. This is easily fixed by getting the distance from your eyes correct, and the focus wheel is a little small. But compared to the number of plus factors, including great optics and build quality for the price these are minor quibbles.  Recommended, and slightly better the 10×25 version in my opinion

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Vanguard 8×42 ED ID Endeavor binoculars

The Endeavor ED IV binoculars boasts the SK15 prism which provides stunning image quality, excellent light transmission and vivid colours for a truly stunning viewing experience. In addition to the new prism feature, Endeavor ED IV has been upgraded with advanced Multi Guard Coatings that provide even better light transmission for viewing in low light conditions such as dusk and dawn. Endeavour ED IV’s magnesium body and housing is engineered to provide perfect balance for ease of handling and robust light weight protection.  The new stylish open hinge design and oversized focus wheel provides easy handling and precise focusing in all weather conditions.

Endeavor ED IV was designed for comfort.  This binocular has a newly integrated center locking diopter that allows the user to comfortably fine tune their view settings and three stage adjustable locking eye cups for setting the perfect eye relief.  A binocular tripod adaptor is incorporated in the front hinge for those long viewing periods or for glassing at long distances.  The combination of a new and elegant design, new optical technology, perfect ergonomics, and stunning colour , detail and high contrast make the Endeavor ED IV the clear choice for master birders, avid outdoorsman or anyone serious about wanting to see and experience the word in exceptional detail.

The Endeavor ED IV is backed by an industry leading warranty to allow the user to rest assured that their investment in quality is covered.

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Visionary Mag – 3 pocket fold up magnifier #334388

The Visionary Mag-3 fold up magnifier is a popular seller at the Northern Optics weekend public outlet at the Waters` Edge visitor centre and Barton Upon Humber, North Lincs.

Magnification is not quoted, but I would estimate 3x, which is plenty for looking at varying objects such as close up wildlife , plant life of reading the small print.

The plastic built on case allows the magnifier to be folded away when not in use, to help protect it from damage. Comes packaged in a colourful retail box, making it suitable as a gift

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