GPO Passion ED
• 8x32 • $390 • Two-position eyecups
It’s hard to describe a $400 binocular as a bargain, but this 8x32 GPO actually is. Its premium extra-low-dispersion glass is a rarity at this price point, and its tight construction and precise handling make it a very useful and durable field optic. We liked its oversize focus wheel and compactness that enables one-hand operation. It tied with Swarovski’s Companion CL in low-light performance, and turned in a rich, contrasty image and the widest field of view in the compact binocular category. The shortcomings of the Gpo—the name stands for German Precision Optics, a bit of a misnomer since products are sourced from Asia—include a boxy, businesslike frame and some straying of the focus control. But the Passion’s solid construction, excellent glass, and no-questions warranty give it the value edge over optics that might cost less but won’t last as long.