Gear Re­view


Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents -

Ed­i­tor Matt Mer­ritt tests the Bresser Pirsch 8x34 binoc­u­lars

While I’d never be with­out a pair of ‘full size’ bins (8x42 or there­abouts) for se­ri­ous, ded­i­cated bird­ing, I’ve grad­u­ally come to ap­pre­ci­ate the at­trac­tions of smaller mod­els, too. They’re great for slip­ping into a coat pocket for ca­sual bird­ing at lunchtime, say, and they’re also easy to hold steady with one hand while the other holds the leads of two ex­citable dogs who find a ten­nis ball a great deal more in­ter­est­ing than a Spot­ted Fly­catcher. While 8x32 is prob­a­bly the more com­mon smaller size, 8x34 promises just that bit more light in the image, so we took a look at this in­ter­est­ing new of­fer­ing from Bresser. Well, the first thing to say is that they sit in the hand very com­fort­ably, cour­tesy of an open-bridge de­sign that also helps re­duce weight to an out­stand­ingly low 442g. At times, I for­got I was hold­ing them (don’t worry, I had them on a strap). The rest of the de­sign is sim­i­larly straight­for­ward and un­clut­tered. The hard plas­tic eye­cups twist up and down to three dis­tinct po­si­tions, of­fer­ing a max­i­mum of a claimed 17.15mm of eye re­lief. They stay in place well, and are com­fort­able in ex­tended use.

Sharp fo­cus

The diop­tre ad­just­ment, on the right bar­rel, is not cal­i­brated but stays in place in use, and the fo­cus wheel is wide (around 1.5 fin­gers), and rea­son­ably well tex­tured for grip. It turns smoothly and very slightly stiffly, and takes 1.75 anti-clock­wise turns from close fo­cus to in­fin­ity. I found it easy to achieve re­ally sharp fo­cus, thanks to that slight stiff­ness, although close fo­cus is not all that im­pres­sive, at a quoted 4m (although it felt more like 3.5m). That might put off peo­ple who might oth­er­wise see these as a good op­tion for bug-watch­ing, but for most bird­watch­ing needs, it’s un­likely to make much dif­fer­ence. Op­ti­cally, they do a re­ally good all-round job. The image is bright, im­pres­sively so even in low light at dusk, or on a cou­ple of misty morn­ings. The colour is very nat­u­ral, too. Colour fring­ing was very hard to find, again im­pres­sive for non-ed op­tics. I did pick some up when fol­low­ing fast-mov­ing tar­gets against strong light, but as with so


many binoc­u­lars these days, you re­ally have to go look­ing for it; in nor­mal use you’re un­likely to no­tice any­thing much or find it dis­tract­ing. Field of view is 122m@1,000m, and you re­ally do feel like you’re get­ting full value here; there’s lit­tle ap­pre­cia­ble fall-off in qual­ity to­wards the edge of the image, although in­evitably there is some. Build qual­ity They come with a neo­prene strap, a rain­guard, re­mov­able teth­ered ob­jec­tive lens cov­ers, and a de­cent fab­ric case with its own strap; all pretty stan­dard these days, but well done none­the­less. Fi­nally, build qual­ity feels good by any stan­dards, let alone a pair of binoc­u­lars at this price. They feel as though they’d stand up to plenty of daily wear and tear in the field.

Above & below There’s a wide fo­cus wheel, for easy grip, and am­ple eye re­lief from twist-up eye­cups

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