Visionary Nature Scout 2 10×42 binoculars review

The Visionary Nature scout 2 10×42 binocular replaces the first version, with a new single hinge body compared to the older models open hinge design. For such a low cost set (£64.99 at the time of this blog post), the first impression is very good. Rather than a plain black box the older model came in, this version has a much more vibrant white finish with some text on it.

The nylon case is standard. But has a thick padded strap and quality lens covers. So often with budget binoculars, you instantly have an idea of their low cost when you take them out the case. This is not the case with the Visionary Nature scout 2 . They most certainly do not feel cheap . The finish for such a low cost set is excellent. At only 610g they feel light and balance well in the hands.

Controls are also better than the price suggets. The focus wheel and dioptre adjustment are both silky smooth. In fact the dioptre wheel can be easily moved using one finger with the eye cup down.  With regards close focus, many budget binoculars have close focus of 4-5 metres. But not so with these, as I found close focus to be 2.5m. The twist eye cups, again are better than expected. The older version twist eyecups were a little stiff. Not so with the latest model, as they move very freely, yet stay in place once set. Once again, they do not feel cheap. I estimated eyerelief at around 14mm, and found for non spectacle wearers the twist eye cups are best left half way out.

So with regards build quality and handling, lots of boxes ticked. So what about the optics ?. These are BK7 prisms to keep costs down. Eyepieces look to have filly coated optics, with the 42mm objectives being (in my opinion) multi-coated. Field of view is 102m @ 1000m. So looking through the eyepieces, how do they perform ?. Do not expect crytal clear view with zero chromatic aberration at this price. But what you do get is a very capable set of binoculars in this price range. The view is more than adequate, giving nice colours and average contrast. Whites are more of a creamy white, rather than a brilliant white (sounding like a paint advert I know, but sums it up). Contrast is of a level to match the price.

Even in the centre of view there is some false colour, which gets worse towards the edges. Saying that, in low contrast situations, this will be less visible. There is some pincusion distortion. But edge of field sharpness is on par , or slightly better than others I have seen in this price range.

Suming up, these are much better than expected for handling and build quality, and very acceptable for binoculars of this size in the 10x42mm category

See HERE for a short video review

 

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Hawke Frontier HDX 10×42 binoculars. Blog post October 2019

The Hawke Frontier HDX 10×42 binoculars were the clear winner when a customer came to Northern Optics at one of our Optics Weekends at Barton Upon Humber. After finding 8x was not enough for distant wildlife targets, and a spotting scope not compact enough, the Hawke Frontier HDX 10×42 binoculars were a great compromise, and had no hesitation in purchasing.

Compared to two other 10×42 binoculars, the customer was impressed not only with the brighter and sharper view, (despite one of the others tested having ED glass), but also by the handling, quality case and lifetime warranty. The buyer also made the comment that many of our customers make, regarding the fact you really need to try before you buy. Our shop window overlooking a nature reserve lake makes it the perfect spot for testing optics.

The HDX range are pretty much the same as the Frontier EDX binoculars, but without ED glass. Weight, FOV and prisms etc are equal.

 

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Hibaldstow astronomy society. Meeting 30th October 2019

Starting 7.15 on the 30th Oct 2019 at the Medodist Hall, East street Hibaldstow,  David Castledine of the Lincoln astronomical society will be giving a talk called meteor observing with a USB TV stick.

Entry for the Hibaldstow astronomy society meetings is £2 for members and £3 for guests. Weather permitting some observing will take place using the society telescopes

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Helios Mistral WP3 8×42 binoculars. Blog post October 2019

The Helios Mistral WP3 8×42 were the binoculars of choice when a customer visited the Northern Optics, Optics weekend at Barton Upon Humber. With a budget of under £100 they needed a set for bird watching and every day use. After trying a few sets, it was the multi-coated optics and BaK-4 prisms that gave them the edge over the BK7 prism options at a slightly lower price. In the customers opinion they gave the sharper image. He was also impressed with the build quality and handling with such a low priced binocular.

From our point of view, the Mistral WP3 8×42 and 10×42 have stood the test of time, and are on par or better than many modern binoculars in the same price range. To help keep costs down, the case is standard nylon. But the strap is an impressive padded version.

For low light conditions, we recommend the 8×42, with the 10x option getting the edge on longer distance observations. There is some chromatic aberration and a soft cast to the view. But remember at the time of this blog post was £79.99

To see a short video on the similar Helios Mistral WP3 10×42 binoculars, see HERE or you can purchase from Northern Optics

 

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Helios Lightwing HR 8×32 binoculars. Blog post October 2019

In what was one the the fastest decisions I have ever seen, a customer who came to the Optics weekend at Northern Optics , Barton Upon Humber looking for a set of good quality binoculars , without spending a large amount.

Keeping to budget, I let the customer look through a set of Helios Lightwing HR 8×32 binoculars. Before we could get a second ste out, he said “I,ll av em”. Guess that says it all, and gives an idea of how good they are. He could not believe how bright an image you could get from just 32mm objectives.

These are one of those binoculars that prove ED glass is not the only important factor to look out for with binoculars. High quality prisms and their coatings can out peform many similar priced ED versions with standard silver coated prisms. The only way you can see this for yourself is to try different binoculars out.

The Helios Lightwing HR come with a nice soft case, padded strap, lens covers and a 5 year warranty.

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Ostara Elinor 7×50 binoculars review

7×50 binoculars are a great choice for low light observations, such as dusk and dawn objects , plus ideal for astronomy. The low magnification makes them easy to hand hold, despite weighing 950g. In this short video, I take a closer look at them.

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Helios Lightwing HR 8×32 binoculars review

The Helios Lightwing HR 8×32 binoculars are a prime example of why in many cases, high quality dielectric prisms will out perform ED binoculars in the same price range with silver coated prisms. Although there is a little red and blue chromatic aberration, this is only visible in high contrast subjects. Brightness and contrast are as goos as they get in this price range.

Handling is very easy, with a compact body and smooth controls. Complete with soft case, padded neck strap and lens covers.

Available to purchase from Northern Optics

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Hawke Nature Trek 8×42 binoculars . Blog post September 2019

A customer came to the Northern Optics public optics weekend at the Waters` edge visitor centre Barton looking for a set of lightweight binoculars for bird watching. 8x magnification was another major factor due to the wider field of view.

After some thought, the two options were the Hawke Nature-Trek 8×32 and 8×42 binoculars. At first, the lightweight 8×32 got the nod ahead of the 42mm option due to the weight. But after a few more minutes , they decided that despite being a little heavier, the Hawke Nature trek 8×42 gave the brighter and wider view. These two reasons were why they opted for the 8×42. Compared to the more expensive Endurance, the nature trek range come with a standard soft case as opposed to the Endurance hard case. But the life time warranty remains equal across the Hawke range.

All nature trek binoculars are very user friendly, and available to purchase from Northern Optics

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North Lincs astro meeting 2nd September 2019

The North Lincolnshire astronomy society was treated to an excellent talk by Chris Roche on Galaxy classification for the September 2019 meeting at the Far Ings visitor centre at Barton. The talk on Galaxy classification came over very clear, with some practical demonstrations and stunning images . We all left, having a much better knowledge on the composition and classification of these beautiful objects.

It was good to see more new faces at the society, and seem to have settled in very well. Thank you as always to Glenys and Malcolm for the Teas, and the Lincolnshire wildlife trust for the use of the venue.

After the talk, we had a chance to discus ideas for future meetings.

For more information on the society , visit the North Lincs astro society website

Image ESA/Hubble

 

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Hawke Endurance ED 20-60×85 spotting scope. Blog post August 2019

A customer with a Hawke binoculars brochure in hand came to the Northern Optics Optics weekend at the Waters` edge visitor centre, Barton Upon Humber looking for a good quality spotting scope.

He had two in mind. The hawke Endurance 85mm or Nature Trek 80mm. Without even checking the 20-60×80 Nature-Trek, the customer was so impressed with the Endurance ED 20-60x85mm spotting scope, it was a quick decision. The quality of the image was the main reason for the purchase, but was also happy with the build quality, handling and strong stay-on-case.

With the spotting scope sorted, my customers first requirement was a monpod for use on travels. But when he tried the Fotomate VT-6006 tripod , that gave stability with a lightweight frame, it made the perfect choice to team up with the spotting scope. The Fotomate VT-6006 has a payload capacity of 6kg, yet only weighs 2.45kg. This tripod comes with a very good carry case. All in all this is a perfect low cost, great quality tripod for visual and photographic use

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