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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Price:£69.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on 20 June 2010
The clarity of this product was nothing short of stunning. On 8x magnification the image was pin sharp and clear. When using 16x magnification some support is required for a steady image but this is not a negative comment. The focusing wheel is very responsive and easy to use. I would thoroughly recommend this product, especially for wildlife enthusiasts.
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on 28 February 2012
I've owned a pair of these for about 18 months and have used them thoroughly in that time. I'm a member of the RSPB, WWT and my local Wildlife Trust, and I regularly take these binoculars birdwatching. I bought them to get back into birdwatching after 20 years away from the hobby. They seemed good value for a brand I trusted and the zoom sounded like a great idea - 8x magnification for scanning around and then up to 16x for more detail was my theory. However, to be honest, I now wish I'd done a lot more research before making a purchase.

At the lower magnifications(8x to 10x) the image is bright and clear. There is also a good depth of field meaning minimal refocusing even when scanning across a lake or open field. However, the higher you go the more the performance drops off. At 16x magnification the image is noticeably darker and quite fuzzy. Also, at 16x the depth of field is extremely shallow which means it is difficult to attain perfect focus and you are constantly having to refocus if the point you wish to view changes slightly. You will also need VERY steady hands to use them at 16x - even with both elbows planted on a flat surface the image can be a bit shaky.

A minor bugbear is that when you zoom in or out on an object, it doesn't stay in focus and you need to refocus each time, so you might miss some action or lose track of a bird in the process. After a while though, you get used to how much you need to adjust focus and in which direction to minimise viewing disruption, but it will still take a couple of seconds to get sharp focus back.

At 8x the field of view is 5°, which is OK, but could be better. The field of view is basically the width of the image you see through the lenses. The greater the angle the more you can see without having to swing the binoculars left, right, up or down. 7° or more seems to be the benchmark for a reasonable pair of bins. At 16x the field of view drops to 3.4° as you'd expect with the higher magnification.

Close focus is fairly poor at 10m. Many bins will focus allow you to focus on objects as close as 2m.

These binoculars are "porro-prism" type binoculars. This refers to the configuration of lenses and prisms inside the casing that reflect the image to the eyepieces. It gives them the traditional binocular dog-leg shape. However most birders these days favour "roof-prism" type binoculars that have the objective lens in line with the eyepieces. Roof-prism bins are comparatively smaller and lighter than porro-prism equivalents. The benefit of porro-prism binoculars is that they are generally less expensve for similar optical performance.

I must say at this point I cannot fault Olympus' after sales service. The zoom mechanism on my binoculars broke recently, leaving them stuck at 16x zoom. Olympus replaced my binoculars with a brand new pair and had them back to me within 2 weeks.

So, to sum up, these binoculars are not bad at all at the lower zooms and are reasonably good value at around £50, but the zoom lever and 16x magnification in my opinion are a bit gimmicky and I rarely use the higher magnifications. In hindsight, I probably should have bought something like a pair 8x42 or 10x42, fixed zoom, roof-prism binoculars for birdwatching. And I DEFINITELY should have gone to a dealer and tested a range of different models.

Edit 31/07/12:
Just to add to my review above, I was recently caught out in a heavy rain shower while at RSPB Conwy. Unfortunately, my Olympus 8-16 x 40s proved not to be very watertight. One of the objective lenses fogged up on the inside as moisture had got into the barrel - even though I'd tried to keep the majority of the rain off the binoculars by holding them inside my jacket when not in use. This was not particularly surprising, I suppose, as they do not claim to be nitrogen filled and waterproof like more expensive pairs. And I guess the zoom mechanism makes them more vulnerable to moisture ingress. However, the fogging made them almost impossible to use. After a week in a large Klip Lock sandwich box packed with silica gel sachets and they are clear again, but I have since bought myself a new pair of RSPB branded binoculars. The Olympus binoculars have been relegated to a stand-by pair that I keep in the car.
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on 23 July 2009
I was looking for a compromise between great optics (usually found with 50 mm lenses) and small size. For me, these offer the best of both worlds - small enough to take on a hike, but with a good clear image. Even with 16x zoom, it is possible to have a steady image. I use mine on 16x zoom most of the time, so I'd be happy not to have the zoom - maybe it will come in useful one day. My only complaint (and a very small one it is) is that the lens covers are not attached to the binoculars, so one has to be careful not to loose them. Highly recommended.
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on 7 February 2013
Yes, I know, good binoculars are expensive. And I also know that designing zoom binoculars pose so many technical challenges that most top brands don’t even try.

But the good reviews of these binoculars made me decide to try them. Unfortunately I think they are not worth the (admittedly low) price.

So what’s bad? Optical quality is just average, image seems soft and aberrations, namely CA, are not particularly well avoided; The limited field of view imposed by the zoom design is really annoying (yes, I know one can read about it in the specifications but reading is one thing, seeing is another…); The bridge between the two eyepieces isn’t sturdy enough (although I’ve seen worse in this price range) allowing the eyepieces position to change when one presses the binoculars against the face causing not only defocus problems but also focus shift between the two tubes; The eyecups are not comfortable, non-adjustable and non-retractable or foldable (for use with glasses) and they don’t seem to have the right size for the eye relief value of these binoculars so they don’t do a good job of blocking extraneous light sources; The neck strap is very thin, but that’s normal at this price point; Worse of all (to me) these binoculars suffer from a strong tendency to cause “blackout” (my wife complains about the same so it’s not just a problem of my face shape), probably because of the bad design of the eyecups, making their use extremely uncomfortable except for brief periods of time.

Isn’t there anything good? Sure there is, I’m giving them two stars, not one… These binoculars are reasonably light and small for 16x40; They are inexpensive (although I’m not convinced they are worth the price); The exterior rubber like material feels good, even in cold weather; They are reasonably well balanced; Collimation seems reasonably good, particularly for zoom binoculars; The tripod connection thread looks good and the screw-on cover is well made.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 April 2011
These Binoculars are an absolute bargain at a knockdown price!
These bins came in really good time and I immediately went out for a spot of birdwatching with them,the image they give is really excellent and Though at first I did find the zoom lever a little stiff, that soon settled down( just as I was considering a little WD40) Zooming up to 16X I really could not see any huge amount of dimming and it is well possible to hold the bins steady enough for a good view.Though holding the bins steady for any length of time would be an issue and you would need some sort of prop to steady against.
Now the bad news,within two hrs a hair or something similar fell across the right lens and ruined the view through them,I cannot find the heart to remove a star for this as the binoculars are so good!I then e-mailed the brilliant return service at Amazon who e-mailed me a pre paid printable Royal Mail address form,As the company I ordered them from had none left in stock,I was forced to take a refund.
I had kept the original packaging so I packed it all away and posted it on the Tuesday,On Wednesday evening I received an e-mail saying they were in posession of the return and on Thursday morning another mail saying my money had been refunded! Brilliant service so I immediately ordered another pair from a different seller £2.70 more expensive but they are well worth the money!
I have just received my relacement bins and they are really terrific! I am so pleased with them.
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on 3 March 2010
Generally speaking variable power zoom binoculars are not as good as fixed ones as the image tends to get dimmer, the Olympus 8-16x40 provide bright images due to the large exit lens and UV protected lens. I use these for seeing wildlife up close and are the 3rd set of binoculars I've bought in my life (60 years and counting).
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on 6 November 2010
I'll keep this review short - these are excellent binos. At x8 images are crisp and clear, and obviously the further you go up the scale towards x16 the more distorted and dull things become - but images are still good. Keep them on x8 or x10 for top quality.

Needless to say the build quality is excellent as you would expect from Olympus, as is the general finish. As for the size - they are reasonably compact, though quite weighty, which is I would attribute to the quality materials used.

I recommend these binos - buy them.
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on 10 August 2011
These binoculars are a perfect compromise between full size and 'travel' size in my opinion.

The performance is stunning. They are very clear and the image is bright even on full magnification. I can't put them down - seeing wildlife in such detail is addictive!

A great price and excellent speedy delivery from Amazon as always.
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on 15 September 2011
I was sceptical that a zoom to *16 would let enough light in or would shake

not so, I did not have them out of my hands for 17 days in the Hebrides spotting otters, eagles and seals etc;

they are the best binoculars I have used and can also be zoomed down to *8 when used off a boat

a great product
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on 16 October 2011
Recently started birdwatching. Had a cheap pair of 10x25 compact bins. An expert birder suggested 8x40 would be best for my level (i.e. novice). Read the reviews and bought this item.
Must have been blurredwatching before as the difference in clarity, sharpness and brightness etc. was so pronounced (those bins costing a couple of thousand or so must do an image match and give the Latin name for the bird to be better than these).
A downside (isn't there always?) is that after some time in a bird hide a small tripod would be useful, one of which I have, - courtesy of amazon again - yet, Olympus have, in their wisdom, decided that a separate bracket is needed to fit the bins on to a tripod - not impressed! Thought with the quality and weight of these plus the zoom feature that the bracket would be included with this product.
Would have given 5 stars for the bins but 3 stars for Olympus being a bit economical with their equipment, however, with the bins being so good I have split the difference - hence the 4 stars - sad really.
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