BIRD­WATCH­ING OP­TICS THROUGH THE DECADES

Bird Watching (UK) - - 30 Years Of Birdwatching -

1986: Porro prism binoc­u­lars dom­i­nated Bird Watch­ing mag­a­zine’s first is­sue, Op­tolyth Alpins be­ing par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar. Leitz Tri­novids, at £380, were pretty much the most ex­pen­sive of the new roof prisms. Plenty of fa­mil­iar names, such as Op­ti­cron and Kowa, were present, with the for­mer’s Elite binoc­u­lars and the lat­ter’s TSN-77 scope get­ting lots of plau­dits. And, with the Cold War still on, you could get high-qual­ity prod­ucts from Zeiss (West), and Carl Zeiss Jena, the East Ger­man half of the busi­ness – the lat­ter were much cheaper than their western coun­ter­parts. 1991: Bush­nell’s Space­mas­ter spot­ting scope fea­tured heav­ily in op­tics adds in the late 1980s and early 1990s, anda sur­vey in Bri­tish Birds at this time found it was used by one in eight Bri­tish bird­watch­ers.

1993: For the first time, Bird Watch­ing re­viewed Swarovski op­tics – their SLC bins im­pressed us might­ily, and al­though they’d have set you back £659, that was de­scribed as cheaper than their com­peti­tors.

1999: Swarovski’s EL binoc­u­lars were launched. Their in­no­va­tive open-hinge de­sign set a ma­jor trend in the mar­ket, al­though bird­ers still ar­gue about their pros and cons. Do they of­fer bet­ter grip and a stead­ier view?

2000: Le­ica launched its Tri­novid BN binoc­u­lars, lauded for their close fo­cus per­for­mance.

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