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Ultraview 8x42 DH by Kenko

…value for money

I’ve just field tested some new optics supplied by Intro 2020 the optics and tripod wholesalers. Here is what they say about the range:

Kenko UltraView…. A new range of binoculars from leading optical manufacturer Kenko

Ultraview binoculars are manufactured by Kenko in Japan; one of the world’s leading manufacturers of camera and optical accessories including teleconverters, filters, telescopes, flash meters and spotting scopes.

At present the UltraView range consists of 12 models including lightweight travel compact binoculars, general purpose, long distance observation and marine binoculars. The range also includes models for birdwatching: Ultraview OP 8x32DH and 10x32 WDH and 8x42 DH and 10x42 DH models.

UltraView binoculars are manufactured using ECO glass: Optical glass manufactured without the use of arsenic, or other harmful heavy metals and carry a 10 year guarantee and come complete with case and neck strap. The majority of the models are also waterproof. [By which is meant being sprayed with water as in a rainstorm on on a boat NOT being fully immersed!]

Suggested retail prices start at £79.99 for general purpose 8x21 binoculars. The suggested retail price of the birdwatching models are as follows:

Ultraview OP 8x32 DH - £220.00
Ultraview OP 10x32 WDH - £230.00
Ultraview 8x42 DH - £259.99
Ultraview 10x42 DH £270.00FEATURES

*ULTRAVIEW 8x42 DH & 10x42 DH models
* BAK7 Roof-Prism design
* Fitted thumb grips and non-slip rubber coating
* Waterproof to JIS Class 6
* Fully Multicoated optics
* Phase-coated prism
* Large focus wheel with centre diopter control
* Close focus down to 2.5m
* Polycarbonate construction
* Eye-relief of 19mm
* Twist-up eyepieces, can be attached to a tripod via L-shaped adapter (not supplied)

ULTRAVIEW OP 8X32 DH & OP 10x32 WDH models

* Roof-Prism design with fitted thumb grips and non-slip rubber coating
* Open body design
* Waterproof (JIS Class 6)
* Multicoated optics
* Large focus wheel with lockable centre diopter control
* Close focus to 2.3m
* Quick twist-up eyepieces, can also be attached to a tripod via L-shaped adapter (not supplied).

Full details of all models can be found on our new UltraView website at: http://www.ultraview-optics.co.uk

Available through Intro 2020 Limited. Priors Way, Maidenhead. Berkshire SL6 2HR Tel: 01628 674411I always find it hard to assess binoculars in this price range as I have rarely found a huge difference in optical performance. It happens that with a wide field of relatively narrow field of view the light quality is good giving an apparently sharper image than one would expect except, of course, when one compares them with the very top of the range where one can see that they do slightly distort the image at the edges although, of their type, I did find the colour to be true to life.

It is also true to say that these are a good weight, not as light as my binoculars of choice but at around 25% of the price that’s hardly surprising. They seem well balanced and feel comfortable with little chance of slipping from one’s grip. The waterproof feature is good too although one needs to be aware that this does not mean they can be immersed in water with impunity, but they should not fog internally and will deal with rain or water spray. All this is positive and represents very good value for money.I always find it hard to assess binoculars in this price range as I have rarely found a huge difference in optical performance. It happens that with a wide field of relatively narrow field of view the light quality is good giving an apparently sharper image than one would expect except, of course, when one compares them with the very top of the range where one can see that they do slightly distort the image at the edges although, of their type, I did find the colour to be true to life.

It is also true to say that these are a good weight, not as light as my binoculars of choice but at around 25% of the price that’s hardly surprising. They seem well balanced and feel comfortable with little chance of slipping from one’s grip. The waterproof feature is good too although one needs to be aware that this does not mean they can be immersed in water with impunity, but they should not fog internally and will deal with rain or water spray. All this is positive and represents very good value for money. However, and isn’t there always a however, there are a couple of features I was less than happy with. The dioptera arrangement is novel but in this case at least, this does not mean an improvement on traditional methods. Ever since Swarovski bought in the locking dioptera on the focus wheel makers have struggled to come up with some way to copy the improvement without breaking patent law and so far none have managed. It was not as sensitive as I would have liked and I could see it regularly getting knocked out of position, in fact even more so than the traditional eyepiece adjustment.

Lastly, I really do not understand why the final touches are such poor quality. These mid-range binoculars are not a cheap purchase costing as much as a cheap laptop or flat-screen TV, so the final finishing touches let them down. A mock leather case, skinny plastic rainguard and lens caps seem really let the products down… I for one would far rather pay a few pounds more and end up with strap, case and dust covers that look as if they grace a mid-range product instead of disgrace a cheap one. In an age when cosmetics often triumph at the expense of a product being fit-for-purpose, it is odd to see a well made product let down by rather shoddy looking necessary accessories.

Having said that one would have to say that Kenko enter a very competitive market with the strengths of good product design and value for money in the Ultraview range.