A Work Commenced July 20 2021
Product: Svbony SV202 8 x 32 ED
Place of Manufacture: Hong Kong
Field of View: 136m@1000m (7.87 angular degrees)
Eye Relief: 15.6mm
Exit Pupil: 4mm
Close Focus: 2m advertised, 1.98m measured.
Chassis Material: Rubber armoured Magnesium alloy
Coatings: Fully broadband multi-coated, dielectric coated Bak-4 prisms, phase correction coating.
Dioptre Range: +/- 3 Dioptres
Nitrogen Purged: Yes
Waterproof: Yes (1.5m for 3 minutes)
ED Glass: Yes
Warranty: 1 year International Manufacturer Warranty
Accessories: Soft padded carry bag, padded neck strap, lens cleaning cloth, rubber ocular and objective lens covers (tethered), multi-language user manual
Retail Price: £99.99(Amazon UK)
Make no mistake about it; we live in a golden age for buying binoculars. Never before has the consumer had so much choice available, thanks to incredible advances in optical technology which has given many other individuals access to very decent optics for a small financial outlay. In recent years, new coating technologies have greatly increased light transmission and image sharpness, to such an extent that even the budget models now available can and do outperform premium models offered only a few decades ago. In addition, the incorporation of extra low dispersion(ED) glass is now common even in inexpensive models, which, if executed properly, promises to cut chromatic aberration and increase image contrast still more.
As I’ve commented elsewhere, the 8 x 32 format is the new 8 x 42, as evidenced by the offering of the former by both mass market and premium binocular manufacturers alike. This is in no doubt attributed to their lower mass, improved ergonomics and very efficient light transmission, as well as their perfect suitability during bright daylight but also well into low light situations encountered at the earlier stages of dusk and dawn. Apart from the use of premium pocket glasses – my personal favourite format – the 8 x 32 format has always interested me, owing to its compactness and smaller exit pupil (4mm), which uses the best part of your eye to analyse the binocular image.
While many entry-level ED models are priced in the £250 to £300 range, I became very intrigued by a less well known manufacturer, Svbony, a Hong Kong-based optics firm that has recently marketed a compact and mid-size model – an 8 x 32 and 10 x 42 – chock full of advanced features. But what really piqued my interest was that Amazon UK were offering the 8 x 32 ED model for just £99.99, inclusive of delivery! As you can see from the specifications above, the Svbony 8 x 32 ED has a number of advanced optical features that I simply wouldn’t expect in a model at this price point, but having another binocular available – the Celestron Trailseeker 8 x 32(retail price £146 UK) – that also possesses many of the same features – I was able to conduct an in-depth study of how the Svbony ED binocular compared with it.
No doubt you’ve heard that possessing a magnesium alloy frame is a feature only common to upper-tier binocular models, I would like to take this opportunity to put this urban myth to bed, once and for all. Since both the Svbony and the Celestron Trailseeker models feature a magnesium body in this low price category, having this design feature is no longer the preserve of the best models but is now commonly available even in much more economically priced products.
The Celestron Trailseeker has a large plastic focuser that becomes very hard to move in Winter owing to the solidification of the grease used in its gearing. But in warm weather, it becomes much easier to turn. In contrast, the lower priced Svbony 8 x 32 ED has a much higher quality metal focus wheel, which is much smoother and easier to turn. Taking just one and a half revolutions to go from one extreme of its focus travel to the other, I would describe it as slow to progressive in speed, so not especially suited to either birding or hunting – more of a general purpose instrument than anything else.
Turning now to the dioptre ring located under the right ocular in both models, the Svbony’s metal dioptre ring is better designed than the plastic one found on the Trailseeker. Looking at a close up of the Svbony dioptre, you can see that the markings are easier to make out, helping the user achieve his or her optimum position better. And just like the Trailseeker, the Svbony dioptre ring is stiff and thus will not get nudged out of position so easily during field use.
Looking next at the quality of the eyecups, I was delighted to see that the Svbony had good, high quality rubber-over-metal twist up cups, pretty much identical in quality to those found on the more expensive Trailseeker. What is more, they stay rigidly locked in place when fully extended. Yet again, that the Svbony possessed such high quality eye cups was a pleasant surprise to me, as I was not expecting anything as good as that on a compact binocular costing less than £100.
The matt black armouring on the Svbony is a little bit more grippy than the Trailseeker and the ribbing at the side of the former reminds me very much of the armouring found on the Zeiss Terra ED models I’ve sampled.
The objectives on both the Svbony and the Trailseeker are equally well recessed to protect the glass from dust, rain and peripheral light. The anti-reflective coatings look to be completely different though, with the Trailseeker having a standard greenish reflection in bright daylight, as opposed to the more subdued purple hues seen on the Svbony.
Overall, the Svbony 8 x 32 ED feels slightly lighter and more comfortable to use than the Celestron Trailseeker 8 x 32, which is a bit more ‘clunky’ in comparison, at least in my medium sized hands. That, together with the noticeably better focus wheel and dioptre ring on the former means that, from a purely ergonomic perspective, the lower-priced Svbony is the clear winner.
Good ergonomics, of course, count for nothing if the optics are not up to scratch, so how well would the £99.99 Svbony 8 x 32 ED fare in comparison to the Celestron Trailseeker 8 x 32? Having reviewed the Trailseeker some time ago, I was quite impressed with how well it handled a beam of intense white light directed into it from my iphone. That’s because the same model is fully broadband multi-coated and has super-high reflectivity dielectric coatings applied to its Schmidt-Pechan roof prisms. I’ve seen similar results on dozens of high quality binoculars and so I expected the Svbony to yield good results too, if indeed it has those same coatings.
My efforts confirmed that the Svbony also passes this test with flying colours! Specifically, the image was devoid of any significant internal reflections and with no diffused light around the beam, which often betrays the use of lower quality optical components introduced into the optical train. What is more, while the Trailseeker did show a weak diffraction spike, the Svbony had none. Indeed, I would place the Svbony slightly ahead of the Trailseeker, based solely on the flashlight test. So far so very good!
But the good news only continued when I performed a daylight comparison test of both the Svbony ED 8 x 32 and the Celestron Trailseeker 8 x 32 . While both models have effectively the same field of view(7.87 degrees), I felt that the Svbony provided a slightly sharper image than the Celestron, with better contrast and improved control over veiling glare. Both instruments have a large sweet spot but edge of field performance was a little soft in both models, as was the degree of field curvature seen. Chromatic aberration, although quite low in the Trailseeker, was better handled in the Svbony under the same conditions. Whatever ED glass elements are present in the Svbony, it seemed to be doing its job well. Depth of focus in the Svbony 8 x 32ED is also good; a real plus if you’re a prospective birder. Close focus is just under two metres(1.98m measured).
Another way to ascertain whether similar coating technologies were applied to both the Svbony and the Celestron Trailseeker, is to perform a low light test by comparing the brightness of the image in both instruments at dusk. On paper, I expected both to behave rather similarly, and that is exactly the result I achieved. Both 32mm models produced a more or less equally bright image, with perhaps the nod going to the Svbony! As I have shown in many other comparisons, the ED element may have conferred a slight advantage to the Svbony in these challenging conditions but as expected, it was marginal if anything.
Note Added in Proof: If you go back and listen to the optics trade review of the GPO Passion ED 8 x 32 linked to above, the presenter informs us that GPO did not use ED glass in their largest 56mm models, citing their reasons in relation to the lack of chromatic aberration seen in low light environments. If ED glass really had a significant low light advantage, don’t you think they’d mention it or go ahead and use it? And why do so many binocular reviewers(in published magazines too) I have come across still perpetuate this myth?
Examining the 4mm diameter exit pupils on the Svbony showed nice, round pupils with no signs of truncation. There was also a nice periphery of blackness immediately around both pupils, which contributes to the high contrast images I detected during my daylight tests.
The Svbony 8 x 32 ED was a very eye-opening and pleasant experience. In terms of both optical and mechanical properties, it proved superior to the Celestron Trailseeker. Indeed, I would put the Svbony more on par with the new Celestron Trailseeker ED, though I’ve not actually tested this model. The very few realistic reviews I’ve seen of the Svbony 8 x 32 ED claim that it performs like models double or triple the price; a sentiment that I wholeheartedly agree with. And at a retail price of less than £100, there is very little in this binocular that I can find fault with.
Very highly recommended!
Neil English is the author of seven books on amateur and professional astronomy. His next book, Choosing & Using Binoculars: A Guide for Stargazers, Birders and Outdoor Enthusiasts will be published by Springer Nature in late 2023.
Post Scriptum: I performed a measurement of the field size of the Svbony 8 x 32 ED just after local midnight, July 22. Turning to the Plough (Big Dipper) asterism high in the northwest, I was just unable to fit Phecda and Merak into the field of view of the binocular. These are separated by 7o 54′ or 7.9 angular degrees, so I’m confident that the stated field size(7.87o) for this binocular is fairly accurate.
Hi Neil, based on your review of this Svbony 8×32 I couldn’t resist but to buy it from Amazon and see for myself. My first impression, I am like this build quality cannot be sub £100 very impressive indeed!!!
Today it’s totally overcast with while low clouds which is very challenging for any binoculars in my opinion. Upon looking through them my first reaction was WAW! Again pinching mylsef and looking at my Amazon order total and wondering how can this be achievable at such a low price point. Here is my take on them vs the Kestrel, sharpness is equal if not a tad better in the Svbovy, it’s 19:00 whilst testing so the brightness goes to Kestrel however the sharpness of the Svbony almost compensated for the lack of light by mot much tho! Svbony color pallet made me question the accuracy of the Kestrel which I can honestly say is more focused on letting a lot of red. The Svbony is heavily favouring green and blue which makes it incredibly contrasty and geared for hunters?! I think I prefer the Svbony bold greens glare is there but agin the sky is so white that it would be unfair to say the Svbony is worst because it’s NOT at alll. It’s somewhat the same if not a little muted. I cannot wait to test this gem under a blue sky. Now seriously thinking of getting the 10×42! To be continued
Further test conducted with the flashlight and street lamps showed that Svbony had a better control over reflection then my Kestrel 8×42 Ed. Viking Kestrel wasn’t bad at all but it did show some green small doughnut hovering around the fov. The Svbony showed a very clean image free of any reflections & glints! Simply amazing
Glad you gave the little SvBony 8x 32 ED a try. I had the same reaction as you! Bloody amazing for the price!
I actually went on to an online forum to spread the message about this binocular but while it attracted a few folk actively, the shills and the snobs were watching from the side lines and wouldn’t participate or even test the binocular. Here is a link started by yours truly:
’twas the same back in the days when I tested out telescopes. The shills and snobs turned their noses up at it and couldn’t be bothered to test those same claims I made. It’s beneath them to do any testing.
Too busy drooling over their alpha gear to care.
The little SvBony is a fantastic bargain. I gifted mine to my young niece and nephew who really enjoy it!
With best wishes,
Hi Neill, very interesting thread
I can see wha you mean by people being arrogant and and not given the item a try but they are happy to call it Chinese crap! Wrong way to go about exploring new things.
Wil you review the Svbony 10×42 Ed? It retails for just above £100
Like I said before from what I initially saw, the 8×32 was fantastic in a challenging grey day. I think in full blown sunshine this little guy is going to be a difficult to beat. Btw I do agree the sharpness does fall off pretty fast but it’s amazingly sharp in the centre which matters most
Yeah it’s a wee belter of a binocular. Excellent bang for the buck.
Re: the 10 x 42: I had thought about testing it but it may be a while before I get around to it. I’d guess it’ll be a pretty decent performer as well.
I will probably buy it and have a go at it myself. My only concern is the eye relief 15mm which can be a bit narrow but so far the 8×32 didn’t cause any serious concern.
The more I look through the Svbony and jump back to to the Kestrel I cannot help but think that the Kestrel is brighter BUT it doesn’t have the same level of contrast and cleanliness. When looking at green and brown the Kestel make them almost look washed out I am seriously contemplating returning the Kestrel and buy the 10×42 Svbony! Two binoculars for the price of one
Nothing ventured, nothing gained! I’d be keen to hear your opinions of the SvBony 10 x 42 ED. It’s been offered at a very attractive price point, especially when you consider what you’re getting inside the binocular.
How is the focus wheel on your 8x 32 ED?
The focus wheel is just brilliant it moves at the right pace, smooth as butter and has a great feel. Not like the plastic once commonly used even in a £300 Bino
Ah that’s good to know. The one I had was a wee but on the tight side but better tight than overly loose.
Slightly tight is better then not stopping at all or easily knocked in operation. Do you think the Carson RD is better then the VP?
The Carson VP is a fine all rounder. The optics are good but not outstanding. It has ergonomics that matches its optical performance. A well built binocular.
Never tried the RD unfortunately.
Did you turn the Kestrel because you couldn’t bare the glare issue?
I spoke to Viking today and they admitted that the issue is real and my complaint has been passed on to Paul head of product development. I wonder if the peregrine got around this problem?!
No I sold it on. Went quite quick as they are a popular choice in the UK.
The Peregrine is their top-tier binocular. It has a good reputation with UK birders but I have never heard of any of the reviews which test for glare.
That’s a glaring omission lol!
Having never sampled one, I have no idea whether or not the glare is any better controlled than the Kestrel or Merlin. This review from Birdwatch Magazine doesn’t mention anything about it:
You’re talking £330 for the full size Peregrine ED.
That’s funny it looks like not many cares about glare or I could put it down to people only use their binoculars is a sunny glorious spring day.
The review is very basic and didn’t scratch the surface to come close to your detailed content.
I went out again today with the Kestrel looking at the same tree at the back of my garden and by readjusting my eyes around the existe pupil I noticed that could eleminate the glare to undetectably level. This is not a natural movement and requires a specific placement of my eyes on the oculars.
Having said that I am certain now that the Svbony 8×32 is staying with me and it’s bigger brother will be joining in few days. Finger crossed the eye relief will be enough for me. The Viking faith is still in balance and tomorrow will be my last day testing them despite the grim weather.
Sounds like a plan!
I’d be very keen to see how you get on with the 8 x 32’s big brother.
Looks very nice form where I’m standing!
Good evening Neil
I will let you know as soon as I buy it.
Thank you again for your time and patience.
You’re very welcome!
Kestrel is on its way back to the supplier!
Tomorrow I am off to my local binocular store to try again couple of binos.
Opticron Oregon 4 PC Oasis 8×42
Opticron Explorer WA ED-R 8×42
Helios LightWing HR 8×42 ED
Potentially, trying the 10×42 as I am I love with my Svbony 8×32
Will also place an order tomorrow for the Svbony 10×42
Exciting week !
Great stuff! Keep me posted as to how you get on!
I hope you are well.
Quick heads up, Svbony 10×42 Ed arriving tomorrow! The clouds are lifting so it’s going to be an interesting test.
I had a good read of the forum when you mentioned Svbony 8×32 some people though they were using rubby coating
My question to you, do you not think that Svbony clocked the secret of good coating from Zeiss binoculars. I noticed that the Conquest use the same purple coating? Any thoughts on this?? Btw I think Svbony is new to binoculars world. They seem to be focused on Telescope Ep and spotting scopes?!
Good Evening Ajaja,
Sorry for the delay in getting back.
Ruby coatings are only found on extremely cheap (read junk) binoculars. You might have seen them on those el cheapo £5 binos you find in a nicknack shop.
They are usually advertised to reduce glare but because they don’t pass reddish visual wavelengths the resulting image is a garish bluish green.
Ruby coatings usually disguise very poor quality optics so they are to be avoided like the plague.
More info on ruby coatings here;
The antireflection coatings on the SVbony are absolutely fine. The image has natural colours so you know that there are no cheap tricks going on.
Hope that helps,
Hi Neil, the point I was making is that some snobs on the forum started slagging off Svbony just because they saw the purple coating. 🙂
I know exactly what cheap rubby coating is and yes In have seen it in many cheap binoculars
What I was actually hinting to is that Svbony seem to be using some great quality coating potentially similar to the one found in Zeiss conquest and other well know brands .. let’s see what the 10×42 has under its sleeve
Aah I see, I saw that comment but completely ignored it. It’s not worth addressing stupid statements like that. I bet the 10 x 42 will be very good too, so fingers crossed for good result tomorrow.
Rooting for you!
Binoculars arrived safely and in time.
Glad that weather remained very cloudy so I can do see how the image compares to the 8×32.
So, nothing has changed in build quality just fantastic! I think the barrels are actually quite long but not making the binocular unbalanced at all. They are great to handle.
I was worried about the 15mm eye relief but it works with my glasses no problem.
Image quality no surprise there the same wow factor like the 8×32, incredibly sharp and actually the x10 gives better resolution that I was missing in the x8!!
I think the x8 would be sort of birding in forests for the wider fov and the x10 cannot be beating for distant viewing and making out details in the open.
Both winners in their own right.
I will do a proper check for CA, glare, distortion, blurriness and the fov when I get a chance tomorrow. Honestly for the price these two binoculars are the bargain of the year. I recon if I didn’t tell a stranger the brand and made them look through the x10 they would think it’s a £600 pair of binoculars
Happy to share real life pics of the 10x42ed with you.
Thanks for your message.
Sounds like its a winner! Feel free to drop us some images on my email:
Looking forward to your further tests.
FYI: check out the pink coatings on these Zeiss SF 10x 32 binos lol
Haha Neil, that coating looks exactly the same as the Svbony!
Gosh the more I look through them the more finer details I am seeing. They are tack sharp with tons of contrast! Also the design is very much like the conquest HD by Zeiss!
I think you need to get these to see it for yourself
I would just like to add that the price on the Svbony is rising rapidly.
I found a 10 x 42 ED on Ebay for $209 delivered. New.
Amazon had the 8 x 32 listed at $129. I bought 2 just in case the price continues it’s skyrocket trajectory.
Just a heads up is all.
Thanks for your message.
Yeah I’m aware that their prices seem to be fluctuating. I don’t really know why.
All I know is that they are good, solid performers and I think you’ll be pleased with them.
I’d be keen to hear what you make of them once you’ve given them a test drive.
Thanks and best wishes,
Amazon 7 per cent voucher on the 8×32 09 October
Thanks Ian, good to know.
Hi Neil. juat read your review and you said 8×32 isn’t good for bird watching. would you recommend the svbony 10×42 for a newbie like me who is interested in watching small, fast moving, tree dwelling animals that blend in their environment? hope to get a hood advice from you coz im dying to get one that’s reasonably priced. I just don’t know how to choose one. thank you
Thanks for your message.
I wouldn’t say 8 x 32 is not good for birdwatching. Indeed, 8 x 32 is a great size for lots of people. It’s small and lightweight and gathers enough light to let you do all the daytime birding you want. The 8x versions have much wider fields of view than their 10x counterparts, enabling you to track birds better if that’s your thing. 8x provides more stable views as well, as you’ll notice shake less than at 10x.
When you move up to 10x 42 the binocular is noticeably heavier – typically 50 per cent more in most cases. You’ll see more details at 10x than 8x but with a narrower field of view.
The Svbony SV202 EDs offer great performance for the buck. But here’s the thing: I’ve been watching the price of the 8 x 32 ED model go up since my reviews were published last year. Indeed, the SV 202 8 x 32 ED is now £127 in the UK:
That’s a 50 per cent price hike compared with the summer of last year!
However the larger 10 x 42 ED model has stabilised at £139.99:
So, I’d say the 10 x 42 ED represents the better value for money at this point in time; so long as you’re ok with the 700g weight as opposed to ~ 500g for the 8 x 32 model.
Either one will deliver great views and if you’re not satisfied with them, just send them back to amazon for a full refund.
But if you’re after superb optics, I’d save some more and get the GPO Passion ED 8 x 32. It has amazing optics and ergonomics! I love my Passion ED 10 x 32!!
You can pick one of these up here:
Though more expensive than the Svbonys, they are truly excellent with a great 10 year warranty.
Hope that helps.
Just something to be aware of with these 8×32- Last night I couldn’t get the stars to focus properly which turned out to be a problem with the dioptre adjustment ring. After several tries to get it right I discovered it had somehow become unscrewed from its mechanism and was no longer adjusting. Once I’d realised the problem I turned the ring as far right as it was able to go and tightened it. There was no problem after that.
I really like this Svbony binocular and it is now my most used instrument for day and night. I’m looking forward to your review of the 2.1×42.
Thanks a million for your message and so very glad you solved the issue with the dioptre ring on the Svbony 8 x 32 ED. I believe someone else had the same issue as this.
Will get around to writing up the review on the 2.1 x 42 asap.
With best wishes,
I saw your review of the SVBONY 202 ED 8×32 and wanted to buy one immediately!. Since then I also bought the 10×42 ED in stride!. They are indeed great binoculars for the price. I hunt in the Cévennes in the south of France and I really did not want to bring with me alpha binoculars taking the risk of breaking them or damaging them in the rocks very present in our territory.
Indeed, I saw a slight chromatic aberration present in both models. I found the 10×42 more accurate, sharper and brighter than the 8×32. The difference in exit pupil 4.2 mm vs 4 mm does not explain everything. I was also able to check the slight defects that you had noted on the two models but that I would not have noticed by myself.
They are great binoculars with a very favorable quality/price ratio. It just remains to be seen if the quality will last in the long term because the warranty is only one year by SVBONY against 10 years or thirty years for the current models. .
Many thanks for your message and feedback on the Svbony ED binoculars.
I’m so very glad I stumbled on these binoculars. They were such a pleasant surprise when I checked them out and it seems many people are now enjoying them. They are binoculars that are affordable for many and they will get more people out engaging with nature, which is surely a good thing.
I completely understand why you would bring them over more expensive pairs, especially while engaging in rough terrain.
I did notice a small amount of CA with the 10x 42 but not so much(if at all) with the smaller 8x 32. If they arrive well collimated though, they are always sure to impress!
While we’re talking economical models, I would also recommend the Vortex Diamondback HD 10x 42. A great perforrmer for the modest price tag and you get the special VIP warranty. That should set your mind at ease over the long term.
Thanks and best wishes,
Thanks again Neil for your advices
I have a pair of all rounder 8×42 too . Kite Ursus ,economical and with a 30 years warranty . Good product I think as the diamondback HD .
Sounds like you have all options covered!
With best wishes,
Out of interest bought a 8x32ED for £99.99 on Amazon a few days ago, they have just arrived and seem as good as described here
Thanks for your message and very glad you like your new Svbony 8 x 32 ED.
I hope it gives you many years of pleasurable viewing!
With best wishes,
I just got these yesterday and noted something very interesting. In both barrels the bottom of the FOV is very blurry but the top and sides are not. Testing revealed that the bottom third of the FOV had high levels of coma and moderate astigmatism. It is the same in both barrels and I have never encountered anything like this before.
Really? I find it common to see an asymmetry in many binoculars. That is, the horizontal correction is nearly always better than the vertical correction.
Based on this review and comments by others, I ordered these binoculars yesterday. I’m in the US and had some trouble finding a place to order (Amazon doesn’t list these in the US anymore) but I did find AliExpress had them “on sale” (first time order offer?) for <$100 US with free shipping so that's what I did. It'll take a while to get to my location in Chicagoland but I can wait. These should be a nice compliment to my Orion 10×42 6.1 degree ED Shoreview that I like but they (meaning I) "shake a bit" after a bit of use. Thanks for the review.
Thanks for your message. Glad to hear you got a good price on the Svbony SV 202 ED 8x 32. I think you’ll like it!
It was a very lucky find for me! I use its bigger brother the SV 202 8x 42 ED and love it!
With best wishes,