I’m on a search for an 8×32 binocular, so I am reviewing the candidates in the field. My main comparisons are the Leica Ultravid BR 8×20 or Swarovski 8.5×42 FPro (yes, those are way more expensive than this pair).
If this review reads quite a bit like the Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×32, it is because these Traveller’s have a very similar build size to the Vanguards. They are compact for an 8×32, but offer bigger-size performance like the Minox BL 8×33 HD or Meopta Meopro HD 8×32. They fit my eyes pretty well, though not quite as well as the Minox, but definitely better than the Vanguard. One advantage they have over the Minox is that the focuser goes the right way: clockwise is out and counter-clockwise is in.
I really like the handling and size. It is nearly as compact as the Nikon Monarch 7 8×30, but in a x32 design. I think the optics are very good. If it fits your face, you probably have a winner, but for me, I need to tilt it up and away from my cheekbones, so it is not a keeper. This is, I stress, a fully subjective test and for you the design might be wonderful.
It has an impressive 5.9ft close focus distance, the same as the Vanguard, and much better than the 8.2ft of the Minox. It is not the 3.3ft of the Meopro or the Leica Trinovid HD 8×32, but it is very good.
The handling is great. There is no play in the focuser, and it turns the right way for me — clockwise is out. The diopter adjustment is pretty easy to use when you want to, but it only has a “grip” on the bottom so you are less likely to tweek it unintentionally. Although it is a single bridge, my thumb saddle was not forced up into the strap eyelets. Eye relief has 4 positions. They feel stiff and should hold position.
The barrel diameter is 41.5mm at the top of the bridge to 42mm at the tip of the objective. Compare that to the 39.8mm – 41.9mm of the Vanguard or the 46mm of the Minox. The Opticon’s feel compact, like the Vanguards.
The eye cups extend barely far enough for me, 10.8mm. It is marginal for me, but much better than the Vanguards with a paltry 8.26mm, which is even less than the tiny Leica Ultravid 8×20 BR.
The eyecup inner diameter is 27.8, compared to 31.8mm in the Minox and 30.9mm in the Meopta. Those extra few millimeters in the Minox and Meopta make a difference for me. I am never able to get them “just right” over my eyes. There is something about the Travellers that prevents my right eye from ever getting sufficiently comfortable. I can just barely get the eyecups over my eyes and resting on both my brow and cheek for an immersive feel. The Minox and Meopta are better for me.
The view looks sharp, but out in the field I have trouble keeping both eyes comfortable without tilting the binoculars away from my cheek. There is something about the design that gives my right eye problems with alignment through them. The Minox BL 8×33 HD or Meopta Meopro HD 8×32 are more comfortable and easier on my eyes.
There was a modest amount of flaring when used near the setting sun. A bit worse than the Leica Ultravid 8×20 BR, but not as bad as the Meopta Meopro. Given a choice, between these, the Ultravid, and the Meopta, I would pick the Meopta for comfort and the Ultravid for flare control. The Minox are about as comfortable as the Meopta and I think they do a better job with flare control, though still not as good as the Leica.
The case is neoprene with a velcro flap. I do not like the texture of it and the velcro is, for me, noisy.
I had originally complained about the ocular covers being individual caps without strap attachments. It turns out that in the bottom of the box is a regular rain guard with strap attachment.
- Weight: 454 (naked), 476 (with ocular and objective covers)
- Eye cup distance†: 10.8mm
- Verdict: Not a keeper. They are not comfortable over my eyes. If they fit your face, they would be a nice compact pair of binoculars.
† With the eye cup fully extended, the distance from the top of the eye cup to the ocular glass.