“Smaller, lighter, brighter, sharper” is Opticron binoculars’ mantra. It’s a fine phrase, but personally I think it would be more memorable if they made it rhyme by putting “lighter” and “brighter” in the 2nd and 4th positions. In any case, it seems that Opticron binoculars do hold true to their catch phrase.
Before I jump into a review of the Opticron binoculars lines themselves, I want to give you fair warning about the many capital letters used to designate the individual lines. Some of them don’t mean what you think they do or aren’t used by the company the way you’d expect.
As far as I know (some of which I was told by Opticron support), here’s what all those letters mean.
WP – waterproof
T – twist eye cup
PC – phase corrected (coating on the prisms)
R – roof prism
Oasis – true, not just capital letters, but it means dielectric coating, which isn’t what you would have guessed
BGA – actually, B + GA. B means full field of view. GA means rubber armoring. Used to group high-end models together
TGA – T is twist eye cup; GA is rubber armoring
WA – wide angle
ED – Extra low Dispersion glass (common among all manufacturers)
ED-R – the ED is as above; R is “R-type high light transmission multi-coating”
IC – illuminated compass
VHD – not Very High Definition; used “to identify binoculars that utilise premium optical elements including high quality ED glass.”
VHD+ – “Improving on the qualities of the VHD, the VHD+ delivers appreciably brighter images with better resolution in a similarly compact package.”
DBA – name of an actual line, no special meaning (but see below)
IS – image stabilizing
The DBA line has an interesting history, per Opticron product support. Quoting from an email…
Originally, it stood for Dog’s Bollocks because it was the best binocular in the range at the time. “It’s the dog’s bollocks” is a British-English phrase meaning the very best. The A was added because of our more general naming convention (BGA, TGA etc). DB are also the initials of the founder of the company.
We are a small family run company with a sense of humor – the SDL eyepiece was named by one of our service technicians. She called it the Super Dooper Lens. The name stuck.
- 1 Opticron Adventurer T WP Binoculars – Low-End Porro Prism
- 2 Opticron Adventurer II WP Binoculars – Low-End Roof Prism
- 3 Opticron Savannah Binoculars – Roof or Porro Prisms
- 4 Opticron Oregon 4 PC Oasis Binoculars – Standard Sizes
- 5 Imagic TGA Binoculars – Better Than Adventurer?
- 6 Opticron Discovery WP PC Binoculars – Better Than Oregon?
- 7 Opticron Marine Binculars – With or Without Compass
- 8 Opticron Imagic IS Binoculars – No Tripod Needed
- 9 Opticron Discovery WA ED Binoculars – Back Down to Earth
- 10 Opticron Explorer WA ED-R Binoculars
- 11 Traveller and Natura BGA ED Opticron Binoculars – Really the Same
- 12 Opticron Verano BGA VHD Binoculars – Better Still?
- 13 Opticron DBA VHD+ Binoculars – Plus What?
- 14 Opticron Aurora BGA VHD Binoculars – Better Than DBA?
Opticron Adventurer T WP Binoculars – Low-End Porro Prism
Opticron Adventurer T binoculars sit at the low end of all the Opticron binoculars lines. You’ll pay in the range of $75 to just over $100 for them.
It’s easier to explain what the Adventurer Ts – which come in 6.5×32, 8×32, 8×42, 10×42, 10×50, and 12×50 sizes – don’t have that makes them different from better models.
Though waterproof, there is no nitrogen in the tubes, no phase or dielectric coating on the prisms, no ED glass, and possibly no tripod adapter. So, if you’re looking for an inexpensive pair of Porro style binoculars, the Adventurer T line is a decent place to start.
Opticron Adventurer II WP Binoculars – Low-End Roof Prism
The roof style cousin to the Porros shown just above, the Adventurer II binoculars line is a step up in several ways. You do get nitrogen purged tubes and a tripod adapter. The eye relief distance (15-20mm) is generally a little better. The close focus (9.8 to 16.4 feet) is about the same, depending on which model you’re looking at.
And you only have to spend about $10 to $20 to upgrade, depending on the model size you want. The Adventurer II line has all the same sizes as the Adventurer T, except there’s no 6.5×32, which is a rather unusual size anyway.
Opticron Savannah Binoculars – Roof or Porro Prisms
Much like the Adventurer lines, there are really two separate Savannah lines of Opticron binoculars, but I’m combining them here because there are only two sizes of each (and Amazon currently shows all four on the same page).
The Savannah R PC Oasis (8×33 or 10×33) models have more features – phase and dielectric coatings – but for some reason cost less than the WP models (6×30 or 8×30). All four cost under $200 each.
I mentioned above that the “R” here may refer to a coating. It may also mean “roof” prism.
Opticron Oregon 4 PC Oasis Binoculars – Standard Sizes
The only real difference I can see between these Oregon binoculars and the Savannah R line is that the Oregons come in what I call standard sizes – 8×32, 8×42, 10×42, and 10×50.
They also have a tripod adapter, but that’s not all that important for models in this range. And no, I don’t know why there’s a “4” in the model name. Sorry.
For those few differences, you’ll pay a few dollars more for an Oregon than a Savannah.
Imagic TGA Binoculars – Better Than Adventurer?
The Imagic TGA line is the only one, other than the Marine binoculars, to offer a 7×50 model. (Opticron even mentions that you might want to use the Imagic TGA 7×50 on the water.)
I’m not including a picture of them here because they look so much like the Marine-3 below.
The 10×50 model doesn’t have much going for it compared to the Adventurer T of the same size. Presumably the “GA” means full rubber armoring, which the Adventurer doesn’t have, but other than that, I can’t see why the Imagic costs so much more.
The Imagic IS line really shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath as the Imagic TGAs, so I will leave the discussion of them till later.
Opticron Discovery WP PC Binoculars – Better Than Oregon?
The Discovery WA PC line of Opticron binoculars is another mystery. The question here is: Why do they cost more than the Oregon line?
The Oregon models have dielectric coatings, which these Discovery models apparently do not. The Discovery have a little shorter close focus distance (4.9 feet, 3.9 for the 8×32), but in all other respects they are virtually identical. It feels like the Oregons are a better binocular and therefore a better deal for the price.
Unless you really, really want a 7×42 or 8×50 size, which the Oregon line doesn’t have, I’d save some cash and go with the Oregon 4 Opticron binoculars. But it’s your call, so you can see the Discovery models at Amazon below.
Opticron Marine Binculars – With or Without Compass
There’s not much to say about the two Marine models – Marine-3 and Marine-2 IC. If you know you’re going to be using binoculars on the water, especially if it’s salt water, these are the models to look at (and possibly the Imagic 7×50 above).
As you should expect, the model with the illuminated compass costs more, but if you need it, it’s worth it.
Note: At the time of this writing, the Marine-2 was not available at Amazon. If you want that model, I suggest clicking through to the Marine-3 (below) and then searching for it to see if it has since become available.
Opticron Imagic IS Binoculars – No Tripod Needed
You may have noticed as you progress down this page that each subsequent binoculars line costs a bit more than the one preceding it. That was, of course, by design. With the Imagic IS line, I’m stepping out of that pattern briefly and jumping way up in price point to show you these image stabilizing binoculars that aren’t supposed to need a tripod to give you a steady image.
If you’re familiar with cameras that have image stabilization, you already know how nice this feature is. It does come at a cost though. To make it work, you need batteries (included). Opticron says you’ll get about 12 hours of active use from the batteries. The system will automatically shut itself down after 5 minutes of idling.
You don’t get ED glass, but you do get all the special coatings – even dielectric – that Opticron provides. This is the only line for which Opticron specifies the level of waterproofing – IPX4. The tubes are apparently not nitrogen purged however.
So, if you need a truly steady image and don’t want to lug a tripod along, the Imagic IS – 10×30, 12×30, or 14×30 – could be just the ticket. Unfortunately, you’ll have to look somewhere other than Amazon for them, as of this writing.
Opticron Discovery WA ED Binoculars – Back Down to Earth
The reason I stuck the Imagic line just above is that all the remaining lines of Opticron binoculars are very similar. They all have fully multi-coated lenses, BAK4 prisms (or better, I hope), phase and dielectric coated prisms, nitrogen purged tubes, ED glass (I think), and – with the exception of these Discovery WA ED models – a tripod adapter.
In fact, it’s the lack of tripod adapter that is the only real difference I can find between these wide angle (WA) models (8×32 and 10×32) and the next step up, the Explorer WA ED-R line. There is that mysterious “R” in the Explorers that is probably a difference too, but I can’t elaborate on it just now.
Opticron Explorer WA ED-R Binoculars
As I just hinted at, add a tripod adapter and that “R” and you’ve got the Explorer line. You do have a little wider range of options here. You can get the Explorer in 8×42 and 10×42 models, in addition to the 8×32 and 10×32 sizes already mentioned.
Not counting the Imagic IS above, the Explorer line of Opticron binoculars is the last one in this list with an MSRP of under $400. After this, we’ll be jumping over $500.
Traveller and Natura BGA ED Opticron Binoculars – Really the Same
Opticron should have made the Traveller and Natura lines all one because the only difference between them is the size of the objective lens. The Travellers come in 8×32 and 10×32. The Naturas come in 8×42 and 10×42.
That’s it. Everything else is the same. Okay, those lens changes do affect the specifications, but for all practical purposes they’re the same otherwise. Even the prices (MSRP) are the same!
Opticron Verano BGA VHD Binoculars – Better Still?
Somehow the Verano line must be even better than the Traveller / Natura line, but I’m at a loss as to what to tell you about them in that regard.
I guess it’s those unnamed “premium optical elements” (see VHD explanation above) that make the difference. I just wish I could tell you what they were. I also wish I could share a link to them on Amazon (USA), but I can’t do that right now either. Once again, you’ll have to find these 8×32, 8×42, 10×42, and 10×50 models elsewhere.
Opticron DBA VHD+ Binoculars – Plus What?
If VHD wasn’t vague enough already, now we have VHD+ which is…even…better? Yet again, it would be nice to know what we’re getting for an optical instrument that’s approaching $1000.
At this point, I’d even be happy with knowing what DBA means relative to Opticron binoculars. I seriously doubt it’s “doing business as”. At least, I hope it’s not.
Both the DBA and Aurora lines also have image flattening lenses. That must be the main reason for the ~$300 jump in cost.
The DBA line (and the final Aurora line to follow) both have, according to the Opticron website, OP6 prisms. This is getting ridiculous, but I have to say I can’t tell you what OP6 prisms are. It would seem, for the prices asked, that they’re better than BaK4, but this is the only place I have ever seen them mentioned.
The same must be said for the S-H coatings for both lines. Apparently it’s better than just standard multi-coating.
Opticron Aurora BGA VHD Binoculars – Better Than DBA?
For about $250 more, the Aurora 8×42 and 10×42 models had better have something more than the DBA models, which are the same two sizes.
Can you guess what I have to say here?
Yup. I can’t tell you what the difference is. The Auroras have a better field of view, but not $250 worth. If you can figure out the benefits of the Aurora over the DBA, let us know.
Opticron is a relatively small, British company. That explains, in part, why you can’t easily get all these Opticron binoculars – including the Auroras – at Amazon, US. Hopefully more models will be available in the future.
If you can’t find what you want at Amazon, check here for Opticron’s own where-to-buy suggestions.
If you need something similar now and didn’t find it amongst these Opticron binoculars, you might try these Athlon binoculars instead.