Opticron Traveller ED 8×32
It has been quite some time since I posted an optic review. For that I apologize. As I am sure many of you can relate to, life can sometimes get busy and out of control. Though that hasn’t changed at this point I thought it was time to sit down and put a few reviews together. Part of the reason for this is the recent introduction of the Opticron Traveller series of binoculars. I received my review pair a week or two ago and have been using it daily since then.
To get this out of the way from the start, yes, it is very similar in design to both the Nikon Monarch 7 8×30 and the Maven B3 8×30. To say otherwise would be a bit silly on my part. As they say though, the devil is in the details and the Traveller is loaded with details.
Advertised specs and features from Opticron are listed below:
Min Focus (m)
Price £ inc. VAT
- Lightweight polycarbonate body protected in natural rubber armour
- Nitrogen waterproof construction (3m depth)
- ED, fully multi-coated optical system with BAK 4 phase corrected prism units and Oasis prism coating
- Wide field long eye relief eyepieces giving full field with spectacles
- 4-stage twist-type retractable eyecups
- Close focus to 1.8m
- Tripod adapter socket
- 30 year guarantee
I chose to start off with this category first for a reason. At least 8 or 9 years ago there was an inexpensive 7×28 model on the market. I became aware of it only when it was discontinued and discounted significantly. The optics were so-so but the handling was close to ideal in my opinion. Just big enough to get your hands fully around and yet small enough to be considered “compact” compared to a full-sized 42 mm model.
Now you may ask why I am bringing this up? Well, in my opinion, the Traveller falls into that same category in terms of overall size and handling. It is big enough for me to really get my slightly larger-than-average-sized hands around and yet small enough and light enough to make carrying it seem almost unnoticeable.
As you can see in the attached picture, my pinky and ring fingers fit comfortably around the barrel without extending in front of the objective lens. My middle finger sits across the bridge for stability and my index finger fits perfectly over the focusing knob. There are some modest thumb indents underneath the barrel but they aren’t deep enough to really affect thumb positioning in my opinion.
Mechanics/Fit and finish
Just to set the tone for this part of the review, there isn’t anything in this category that I found wanting. The central hinge tension is a tad looser than ideal but that is an easy fix if you have the right tools plus it hasn’t been an issue in actual practice at this point.
The eyecups do have two intermediate click-stops between fully collapsed and fully extended and they do stay in place. Because of the generous eye relief and relatively narrow eyecup diameter I am forced to move the eyecups up to the first intermediate click-stop setting from fully collapsed. As I mentioned in previous reviews I do not wear glasses or contacts but have a high bridged nose and relatively close-set eyes. The result is that I often used most binoculars with the eyecups fully collapsed just as an eyeglass wearer would.
As an interesting side note, I don’t remember needing to extend the eyecups on either of the other two similarly-designed models which, to me, means that the eye relief is slightly longer on the Traveller.
The binocular is completely rubber armored and I detect no issues with the quality, feel or smell of the rubber armoring. It does its job and does not take away from the overall feel or design of the binocular.
The focusing knob is large and easy to find with either bare or gloved hands. Focusing speed is fairly fast at one full turn clockwise from a close focus of about 4 feet (for my eyes) to infinity. Focusing tension on this unit started out fairly stiff but has loosened up slightly. I actually prefer a slightly stiffer focusing tension with a binocular that has a faster focus (1 revolution or less) as it give me more control. The focusing tension does stiffen up noticeably in colder weather but is still usable because of the faster focusing speed.
I did not detect any quality control issues externally or internally as in evidence by the pictures provided.
Last but not least, optical performance. There is a great deal to like about this binocular optically. Let us start out with the obviously wide 8.2 degree field of view. That is approximately 430 feet at 1000 yards… field of view which is slightly wider than almost all 8x32s roof prism binoculars at any price point.
The use of extra low dispersion (ED) glass in the objective design does a nice job of reducing chromatic aberration (color fringing) resulting in a clean-looking image. I would consider it very well controlled within the sweet spot and average around the perimeter of the field of view.
Speaking of the sweet spot, it is very large in my experience. I would estimate 75-80% of the field of view. The remaining 20 or so percent appears to be field curvature and only slightly so as I barely need to touch the focusing knob to get the outer edge to snap in focus.
Apparent brightness is very good. As an example, this morning before the work I was using the binocular for just general observation around my home. It was light in the sky but the sun had not yet broken the horizon. I had no problem picking out fine details on a variety of objects in the surrounding area. I usually don’t expect notable low light performance from a 32 mm binocular but the Traveller certainly delivered in this area.
Apparent contrast was certainly good and possibly slightly above average. Colors weren’t oversaturated but appeared very lifelike in representation. Apparent sharpness was above average as I never found myself wanting for more detail at any distance.
I feel the need to mention an overall impression here as I believe this binocular’s optical performance is one of those that is greater than the sum of its parts. The wide field of view, large ocular design and large sweet spot gives one a very immersive experience. The lack of CA in the image, the excellent apparent sharpness and realistic contrast provide a very natural and relaxed image.
In closing I want to say that this could very well be the ideal binocular for many individuals. It certainly has an excellent combination of size, ergonomics and optical performance. Two big thumbs up from me on this model.