Bird Watching (UK) - - Bird The World -

Slong had a rep­u­ta­tion for high qual­ity at a price point some way below the ‘big three’ man­u­fac­tur­ers, so this ven­ture into the sub-£300 mar­ket is bound to at­tract plenty of in­ter­est from bird­ers. First im­pres­sions are of a bright im­age with ex­cel­lent con­trast, the lat­ter be­ing some­thing Steiner are push­ing as a ma­jor sell­ing point. The colours feel nat­u­ral, with per­haps a slightly warm, yel­low­ish cast. Against bright sun­light, I did find some colour fring­ing, es­pe­cially when scan­ning, so it’s worth test­ing for your­self – get­ting a com­fort­able eye po­si­tion helps elim­i­nate this. Over­all, the op­tics feel good, if not pack­ing quite such a wow fac­tor as some binoc­u­lars cost­ing £200-£275. The field of view feels wide, with the im­age stay­ing crisp up to the edges, and fo­cus was pre­cise and easy to find. Close fo­cus, at 2m, is good for any­one want­ing an all-round wildlife binoc­u­lar. You ex­pect ex­cel­lent build qual­ity from Steiner, and that’s largely what you get here. The fo­cus wheel is a fin­ger wide, with chunky ridg­ing for grip, and it turns smoothly and mod­er­ately stiffly, tak­ing 1.5 anti-clockwise turns from close fo­cus to in­fin­ity. The diop­tre set­ting, on the left bar­rel, is not cal­i­brated, but sets easily and is stiff enough to avoid ac­ci­den­tal move­ment. The body’s good, with chunky, heav­ily ridged ar­mour, yet a light weight that feels even less thanks to a well-bal­anced de­sign. The eye­cups were a gripe, though. They twist up and down, but had some rather in­de­ter­mi­nate in­ter­me­di­ate po­si­tions. When fully ex­tended eye re­lief was more than ad­e­quate, but the soft rub­ber eye­cups them­selves weren’t the most com­fort­able – this can de­pend on in­di­vid­u­als’ eyes, though. Ac­ces­sories in­clude an ex­cel­lent rain­guard (easy to fit, easy to take off), an ad­e­quate strap, a case, and re­mov­able, teth­ered ob­jec­tive lens cov­ers.

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