Gear Re­view


Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents -

Edi­tor Matt puts Bresser’s new Pirsch ED binoculars through their paces

So, Bresser’s Con­dors proved to be might­ily im­pres­sive con­tenders in the sub-£200 binoc­u­lar cat­e­gory. Their Pirsch ED range is aimed at the bird­watcher who wants higher-qual­ity op­tics. So, how do they mea­sure up? Well, they feel good, for starters, re­mark­ably com­pact for 10x42s, and they’re well bal­anced to boot. I liked the open-bridge de­sign, which made them easy and com­fort­able to grip even when wear­ing gloves, and the rub­ber ar­mour­ing is solid and ro­bust. I liked the bat­tle­ship-grey colour­ing, too – dis­tinc­tive but un­ob­tru­sive. The eye­cups twist up and down to three dis­tinct po­si­tions, and stayed in place well. They’re hard plas­tic, and well shaped for com­fort­able view­ing. The fo­cus wheel is re­ally wide – pretty much two fin­gers – which again is great if you’re us­ing the binoculars while wear­ing gloves, or with very cold fin­gers. If I’m be­ing fussy, I’d have liked a bit more ridg­ing or tex­ture on there. It turns very smoothly and very slightly stiffly, tak­ing two and a quar­ter anti-clock­wise turns from close fo­cus to in­fin­ity. Pre­cise fo­cus was easy to find, per­haps be­cause of that slight stiff­ness. The diop­tre ad­just­ment is on the right bar­rel. It takes a bit of shift­ing, which is a pretty good thing, re­ally, be­cause once set, it didn’t get moved by ac­ci­dent, while I was out bird­ing.

So, what about the op­tics? Well, the view is bright and very sharp, with re­ally ex­cel­lent con­trast, and with that sharp­ness ex­tend­ing right to the edges, en­sur­ing that you get the full ben­e­fit of the 109m@1,000m field of view. That’s im­por­tant, be­cause it off­sets the nar­row­ing ef­fect of the ex­tra mag­ni­fi­ca­tion nicely. The ED glass re­ally comes into its own in low-light con­di­tions. When bird­ing at dusk, and on a day of un­bro­ken over­cast and miz­zly rain, the im­age still ap­peared bright. I com­pared them to the Con­dors in such light, and the ex­tra punch pro­vided by the bet­ter qual­ity glass and coatings was ob­vi­ous. Don’t get me wrong – the Con­dors do a very fine job, but the Pirsch jus­tify their ex­tra price tag. I thought there was a very slightly ‘warm’ colour cast, but it was very hard to find any colour fring­ing, even against strong light, ex­cept on the very odd oc­ca­sion when fol­low­ing a fast­mov­ing tar­get. They close-fo­cus down to around 2m, more than enough for the needs of most bird­watch­ers and bug en­thu­si­asts – if you need more you’ll prob­a­bly look at more pur­pose-built bins any­way. One thing that did strike me – and this is a point about binoculars, gen­er­ally – is that I ac­tu­ally found it more use­ful when view­ing at short range, to pick out small de­tails, rather than when look­ing for dis­tant birds, as you might ex­pect. It comes with an ex­cel­lent, wide neo­prene strap, a rain­guard, re­mov­able, teth­ered ob­jec­tive lens cov­ers, and a good fab­ric case with its own strap. There’s also a re­ally neat lit­tle clean­ing brush, too (pic­tured) – it’s a nice touch, be­cause you’ll prob­a­bly al­ready have umpteen clean­ing cloths. There’s an ac­ci­den­tal dam­age war­ranty, so if you reg­is­ter on­line Bresser will re­pair or re­place them if you drop or dam­age them. If you don’t reg­is­ter, there’s still a 30-year man­u­fac­tur­ing fault guar­an­tee, so there’s no rea­son th­ese well-built bins shouldn’t last you a long time.

The Pirsch ED bins are com­pact, with an open bridge de­sign that re­duces weight

The fo­cus wheel is very wide, but could it be more ridged?

The eye­cups twist up and down to three po­si­tions

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