How much does it cost to get a significant step-up from budget binoculars? If you choose wisely, not that much, it turns out. Just two years after Opticron brought out its budget “Adventurer” model, it followed it with its higher specification “T WP” range. So what does the upgrade offer you?
Pros: Effective coatings, very light-weight.
Cons: Annoying lens covers.
The WP stands for “waterproof”. No, we don’t do astronomical observation in the rain, but those of us who live in maritime climates do suffer greatly from nocturnal dew. If you get moisture inside your binoculars, it spells trouble down the line, including fungus and/or algae on the lenses and corrosive oxidation of metal parts. This feature alone justifies the additional expense.
The most immediate difference you notice is that the T WP version is physically smaller. It’s also 3.2 ounces (90 grams) lighter, and that makes a difference for long hand-held observing sessions. It has better coatings: the lenses have anti-reflective multicoatings on all air-glass surfaces, as do the prism hypotenuses, and it also has a 6.5 percent larger free aperture, making the image noticeably brighter.
The eyepieces give you a generous 6 degree field of view, which snaps to an extremely sharp focus in the middle 50 percent, after which a bit of field curvature softens it slightly, until the outer 5 percent, which is affected by astigmatism and vignetting. Color rendition is very good, chromatic aberration is well controlled, and an internal light baffle combines with the multicoatings to make it very difficult to conjure up reflections from the Moon or Venus.
The most obvious shortcomings are the single-eyepiece caps which will inevitably get lost (you could replace them with a tethered alternative) and the plug-in objective caps which, although tethered, are difficult to use and seem to pop out.
Everything else works as it should; there was no stiction in the hinge, focuser, or right eyepiece diopter adjustment after I’d let it get cold. The good quality nylon and neoprene neck-strap is extremely comfortable. The relatively narrow eyepiece barrels mean the binoculars will suit a wide range of face sizes, and also make it easy to position your eyes correctly. There is sufficient eye relief for those who observe with eyeglasses, but focus goes beyond infinity, so people with moderate hypermetropia or presbyopia could use them without.
I liked the Opticron Adventurer T WP so much that I ended up getting twelve of them for my astronomy outreach work with youngsters.
Kicker: Lightweight binoculars with heavyweight qualities.
Original review: http://binocularsky.com/binoc_reviews.php