Every year the most important tradeshow for ambitious bird watchers (twitchers) and nature photographers takes place in Egleton, Rutland in England: the Birdfair. This tradeshow may just be the biggest end-customer fair for followers of this hobby in Europe. More and more manufacturers use this platform to present their new products.
Here some of the highlights of this year’s fair:
ZEISS featured the new Conquest Gavia spotting scope. A completely new development with an oblique viewing position and a new wide angle eyepiece. The premium manufacturer from Wetzlar now also uses the large focus ring, as some competitors also do. At the same time ZEISS presented a range of useful accessories, for example, a new Carbon tripod set or a photo adapter for cameras with filter threads in various diameters, which are clamped by the eyepiece. And due to their cooperation with the company ExoLens, ZEISS now, for the first time, has a Smartphone digiscoping solution. It consists of a adapter ring and the so-called ExoLens Bracket (holder for the smartphone). These brackets are available for the Apple iPhone 6/6s and the Samsung Galaxy S6/S6 edge. ZEISS presented even more adapter rings, so that the ExoLens Bracket can also be used on the currently available binocular models from ZEISS.
Apart from that, ZEISS had a revised version of the Victory SF on display for examination. Here the colour of the rubber armouring was changed to black, following public requests. And also the eyepiece caps now have an additional locked position. This allows an even more individual adjustment for eye relief. The focus mechanics have also been slightly improved.
The other major manufacturer from Wetzlar, LEICA, already announced a few weeks ago, that they would present some new products during the fair. The new Leica top model of the type 42 binoculars is available under the name Noctivid. This name is derived from the Latin “Noctis”, meaning Night, and surely reminds friends of Leica photography of the fast Noctilux lenses. However, with a transmission of approx. 92% (acc. to the manufacturer), it is still no night vision equipment, but for the needs of ornithologists it is surely more than adequate.
For most nature observers it may be more important that Leica can now also compete against major competitors in the close-range area. With a close range distance of only 1.9 meters you can watch butterflies, dragonflies, spiders and other insects. Furthermore, the new Noctivid now comes with an open bridge structure, which considerably improves handling, especially when holding the binocular with one hand. Apart from that, Leica currently offers a complete combination consisting of spotting scope, camera and all necessary adapters. Optionally with angled or straight view, 82 or 65 mm lens diameter.
For twitchers no longer an insider tip: The company KOWA has expanded its Genesis model range. Besides the previous type 44 and 33, they now also offer pocket binoculars with a 22-millimetre lens diameter. This “hand full of binoculars” is available with 8-fold and 10-fold magnification. Due to the Prominar XD lenses, it can easily compete with the top-level binoculars from ZEISS, Leica or Swarovski. Unfortunately “high performance optics” cost a lot of money, the prices recommended by the manufacturers are therefore comparable with the prices of top models from Europe.
Nikon also presented new products: the new Monarch ED spotting scopes and the new Monarch HG binoculars. Both the scopes as well as the binoculars were equipped with a “Field Flattener Lens”, which reduces the field curvature and thus increases the marginal sharpness. Unfortunately Nikon only offers digiscoping solutions for their in-house system camera Nikon 1 and the compact cameras with small zoom range, which are becoming increasingly rare.
Last but not least, the new Legend E-, L- and M-Series from Bushnell are now available. These binoculars rather appeal to the ambitious novice of this hobby, who is looking for a very good pair of mid-range binoculars and for whom a ZEISS Conquest HD, Swarovski SLC or Leica Trinovid HD is simply too expensive. At this point we can offer you the predecessor Bushnell Legend Ultra HD in 10×42.