鹊鹞, 2023 Guantou Mountain (冠头岭) Migratory Raptor Monitor
In late October, I participated in the Guantou Mountain (冠头岭) Raptor Monitoring project organized by Guangxi Biodiversity Research and Conservation Association(BRC) in Beihai, Guangxi. As a monitor, I worked at the summit of Guantou Mountain from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM every day, observing and recording migratory raptors. This is a high-frequency use scenario for binoculars.
During the monitoring, I had the privilege of trying out an Optisan EVR 8×42 binoculars. I would like to share my experiences of the EVR during the monitor period.
First, we cannot discuss the quality without first knowing its price. The 8×42 model retails at about €550. In my opinion, the price indicates that it’s a mid-range binocular.
When picking up the EVR, the first impression is its compactness. Among the 42mm objective diameter binoculars, the body is relatively short, giving a compact and robust feel, and the small size saves a lot of luggage space.
Weight-wise, since I couldn’t measure it in the field, I can only refer to official data. The body of this binocular is made of aluminum alloy, and the weight is 745 grams, roughly equivalent to the weight of 7 to 8 bags of instant noodles.
When I hold it, it feels noticeably lighter than a similarly priced 8.5×42 binocular I used before. Talking about the grip, the rubber on the surface of the binocular is skin-friendly, with moderate softness and hardness, anti-slip surface, not easy to slip from the hand, providing a sense of security. It’s worth mentioning that there are 5 logos on the entire surface of the binocular, showing delicate craftsmanship and enhancing a sense of sophistication.
Let’s talk about the most important metric, optical performance. Under normal weather and light conditions, the imaging is very clear, with high sharpness, true color reproduction, and imperceptible chromatic aberration (such as yellow or green bias). In low-light conditions like dusk or deep in the forest, the field of view remains clear, and the image does not degrade due to decreasing light.
Under backlight conditions, there is almost no noticeable chromatic aberration or other color fringing at the edge of the field of view. Of course, I dare not say it is entirely absent, but it is definitely controlled to an extremely minimal degree. Unless deliberately scrutinizing, it’s practically negligible. Considering the price, this is a remarkably excellent performance.
Furthermore, I don’t know if this is the “flat-field” design, but when I sweep up and down or left and right, I can clearly feel that the imaging at the edge of the field of view is very stable, and it’s comfortable for the eyes. Some binoculars have stable and high-quality imaging in the central position during fixed-point observation. Still, during sweeping, there is a noticeable dynamic “bulging” or “spherical” feeling at the edge of the field of view. This dynamic visual effect can be tiring or cause dizziness because it does not match the normal dynamic visual perception of the human eye. However, the EVR has an excellent dynamic sweeping effect, without discomforting dynamic “spherical” vision. It feels comfortable to use, which is highly commendable.
Lastly, when I hold the EVR, my palm width is around 9.5 centimeters. The distance from the strap loop to the objective lens edge of this binocular is about 9 centimeters, meaning the width it provides for gripping is approximately 9 centimeters. If a user has a palm width greater than 9 centimeters, it might feel a bit cramped during holding. The strap loop area might be a little tight. When I rotate the focusing ring with my index finger, I sometimes feel the need to stretch my finger. For users with a palm width equal to or less than 9 centimeters, holding it should be more comfortable.