Monday, 10 September 2012

Eden Binoculars Review

'I don't know how many guides I've met who dressed in rags, lived on wallpaper paste and government cheese but who owned a pair of $2000 binoculars" David Petzal

There is a much held view that expensive glass, for your hands or atop a rifle, is a waste of money. That 'OK' and 'quite good' are all you need. I wasn't convinced. I used to do a spot of stalking with a chap who had a couple of pairs of mid-range binos, his pair were rubbish and the 'client' or 'sport's' pair even worse. Then last summer in the Kingdom of Fife, my pal Andy had fifteen year old Swarovski's that were a revelation to me, binos as they are on TV! You can see right into the trees! 

I've looked and looked; on eBay - they'll set you back the thick end of £500 and a new pair is £1,600+. The Zeiss and Leica alternatives aren't much cheaper. Zeiss now do an entry level range from £650, very nice, but they just dont have the bomb-proof feel that Andy's had after fifteen years of very rough treatment, guiding and keepering in all weathers. 

"Clients are too fussed about their rifles, you've got to see the animal first, with these I've guided clients to animals they couldn't even see through their Tasco scope on their custom rifle" Andy Richardson

I went to the camera store and took a look through the £150 glass. Pointless. Once you've seen through glass brightly it'd be like setting fire to the cash without the fun or Youtube hits. So there I was sitting at home, with piles of junk recovered from lofts and basements across london, hopefully cataloguing it all in preparation for a big sell-off to finance the glass, when and email came through from a chap in the knife business. 'Would I like to take a look at the glass he's now selling?'
He tells me 'Eden have teamed up with a manufacturer to bring out glass to a bird watcher's standard's of colour reproduction at a web sales only price point. '  
My first thought was, 'give them a once over and then sell them to add to the money for proper glass'. He seemed confident in the product 'write anything you like about them, or dont write about them, your choice'. 

That was three months ago. 

I've used them in every condition I can, across valleys, through hedgerows, in English woodland, in the dark recesses of the Welsh tree farms, and scanning the sides of tower blocks. Then I've been into every binocular stockist who would let me do comparison tests [and been chucked out of one that wouldn't], while I'm not saying they are exactly as good as the top-flight Austrian glass, they are very very close. I'd have them over the entry level Zeiss's which are more than twice the price. I've given them to photographers and cameramen to test: they talked gobbledygook about colour saturation and edge definition - I didn't really understand - but they seemed delighted.  If you are, as I was, about to suck-it-down and buy some posh glass, have a look at these first. You wont be the only person shocked to see how far Chinese glass has come on in recent years. 

Now, does anyone want to buy a pair of unused Campagnolo brakes from the 80's? A collection of comix? For you madam a fire surround? Sir! Perhaps a ......

More soon
PS For more thoughts about glass from a blogger who actually spends time afield Hodgeman knows


hodgeman said...

Thanks for the shout out- haven't heard of Eden on this side of the pond but lately checked out a set of $400 Vortex binos. Not quite as good as Swaros but for the $2k difference in price I can overlook the 2% difference in performance.

When it comes to glass we are living in the salad days for sure!

The Suburban Bushwacker said...


Yep its amazing 2-3% is very very little for the price difference.

I just fear this os as good as it gets and its all down hill form here on.


Redneck Blinds said...

They look great, never have used a pair of them before, always used Nikon.