The editor test drives some new optics from a new importer
As a self- confessed optics fan, Phill Price enjoys discovering the Apresys range from Optical Solutions
I’ ll admit it right up front that I’m a dyed in the wool optics nerd. Whether it’s my cameras, binoculars, telescope or rifle sights, I simply love to see my objective/ target more clearly than I did before. Just after Christmas I ‘accidentally’ bought yet another lens for my camera, through no fault of my own … really, I’m the innocent party. Being able to see clearly, plus having useful data like range and elevation makes my time in the countryside more enjoyable and perhaps more productive, such as when I’m rambling through bare winter woods in pursuit of the much despised grey squirrel. Spotting them at a distance and watching their behaviour makes me much more productive, so binoculars are top on my list of tools.
Optical Solutions is a company that imports the impressive Apresys range of scopes, binoculars and rangefinders. I had a couple of items in for test and the 8 x 32 binoculars were right up my street. They’re light and compact with a clear bright image that belies their price. I don’t think that the German and Austrian manufacturers will be losing sleep over these offerings, but for you and I they’re affordable, if a touch more expensive then some more familiar brands. At £ 329 they’re not out of the reach of most people and they offer some smart features that will appeal to many of us.
They’re lightweight at just 620 grammes, so they’re not a burden on your neck, on top of which they’re supplied with a shoulder harness that spreads the weight broadly and makes the bins’ feel as light as a feather. I didn’t get on with this particular one and soon reverted to the conventional neck strap which suited my rather stocky build much better. Rubber rear lens covers are included, which I found useful on a drizzly day, but I’ve never used front lens covers to any great effect because the objective lenses tend to stay dry simply by being aimed downward.
GET THE BALANCE RIGHT
The dioptre adjustment, that allows us to correct the view to suit the difference
between our eyes, in on the right-hand barrel. This has no lock, but is stiff to turn so shouldn’t move accidentally. Above this we find the ‘ twist up and down’ eye cups that accommodate glasses wearers, like me. These are rubber coated and comfortable in use. I was pleased to see just what a nice clean and crisp image these binoculars deliver even in drab light conditions. However, I did find that the depth of field is quite shallow and a lot of refocusing was needed even when moving between objects that were quite close together. Overall, I found their performance and ergonomics good and would happily use them when out hunting.
Another product from their range that caught my eye was their lovely, neat laser rangefinder, the Apresys Mini 1600. At £ 320 it’s far from inexpensive, but it has one big advantage over cheap rangefinders and that’s the quality of the image. They must use some high- quality lenses to get such an image, which goes some way to explaining the price. It’s tiny at under 4” in length and sits inside my mediumsized hand very comfortably making it pleasant to aim and fire. Another feature that I simply loved was the button that fires the laser because it’s smooth and light to use, requiring only gentle pressure to activate. If that button needs force to fire it becomes almost impossible to hold the reticle on the precise target and this leads to all sorts of incorrect readings. That’s not the case here at all. I’m gathering data from all my winter squirrel hunting – the range and angle of every shot I fire this winter, both hits and misses – and I found this great little tool to be a real asset for that work.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
As with all rangefinders these days, the 1600 has stacks of functions, but I needed only two pieces of information, distance and elevation angle, and the black LED allowed me to read those clearly. The unit is much easier to use without eye wear, as they all are, but I was able to get along with it, glasses on. This really is a great little rangefinder and it sits in the middle price range of the market making it appealing to many, including me.
Have a look at the Optical Solutions website www.opticalsolutionsuk.uk where you’ll find much more from the Apresys range, alongside night vision, IR products, bipods and much more for those, like me, who love optics.
H3208 8 x 32 binocular £ 329 Mini 1600 £ 320 www.opticalsolutionsuk.uk
These would make a superb pairing in the hunting field
Great optics make for the clearest image quality and most accurate ranging
The Mini lives up to its name well
Light weight and good eronomics make for good field glasses
Although the chest harness carried the weight well, it didn’t suit my build