Product Review: The Opticron Aspheric LE WP 8 x 25 Pocket Binocular.

Tiny little pocket binoculars have grown on me. They can be supremely useful to those who value or need ultra-portability, when larger binoculars simply are unworkable. Their tiny size ensures that they can be carried in a pocket or a small pouch, where they can accompnany hikers, hunters, sports enthusiasts, bird watchers and nature lovers who delight in seeing the full glory of God’s created order. Frustrated by a lack of any credible reviews of a variety of models, I began a ‘search out and test ‘ program that would teach me to select models that offered good optical and mechanical performance, as well as good value for money.  As you may appreciate, this was far easier said than done, but in the end, I did find a model that I could trust to deliver the readies; enter the Opticron Aspheric LE WP 8x 25 binocular.

Retailing for between £120 and £130 ( ~$175 US), the little Opticron pocket binocular didn’t come cheap. But good optics and mechanics are worth having, especially if the user intends to employ the instrument on a regular basis. As I explained, I chose this model based on the performance of a first generation Opticron Aspheric that I had purchased some time ago for my wife, possessing identical optical specifications to this newer model, but without having the additional advantage of being nitrogen purged, as well as being water and fog proof. In truth, I chose the original model without much in the way of research and with very little experience of what the market offered; Opticron is a good make, trusted by many enthusiasts for delivering good optical performance at a fair price.

Opticron began trading back in 1970, founded as a small British family firm, and offering binoculars, spotting scopes and other related sports optics for the nature enthusiast. Since those founding days, Opticron has continued to innovate, where it now is a major player in this competitive market, offering well made products catering for the budgets of both novices and discerning veterans alike. And while some of their less expensive models are made in China, many of their high-end products are still assembled in Japan.

What you get.

What your cash buys you: The Opticron was purchased from Tring Astronomy Centre. It arrived double-boxed and with no evidence of damage in transit. You get the binocular with both ocular and objective covers, a high quality neoprene padded case, a comprehensive instruction manual & warranty card. The details of that all-important warranty are shown below:

Details of the warranty.

After a few days of intensive testing I was satisfied that I had received a high quality instrument and so I elected to register my binocular on the Opticron website. Owners are not obligated to register the instrument in this way however, as all that is required is proof of purchase, should any issue arise with the instrument in normal use.

Binocular Mechanics: The Opticron Aspheric LE WP 8 x 25 is a classically designed pocket binocular with a double-hinge designed allowing the instrument to fold up into a very small size that can be held in the palm of your hand. The hinges have just the right amount of tension, opening up and holding their position even if held with one hand.

The focuser is slightly larger than the first-generation model, and has better grip, allowing you to use it even while wearing gloves. The barrels and bridge of the binocular are made from aluminium, overlaid with a tough, protective rubberised armouring. Compared to the first-generation model,  the new incarnation induces more friction with your fingers, an important feature if it is to be used for extended periods of time.

The New Opticron Aspheric LE is now water and fog proof.

Initially, I found that turning the focuser to be a bit on the stiff side, but after a few days of frequent use, I became used to it. Turning the focuser either clockwise or anticlockwise showed that there was no backlash, moving smoothly in either direction. The instrument has an integrated neoprene lanyard which can be wound up around the bridge while being stored in its case. I very much like this rather understated feature, as there is no need to fiddle about attaching a strap. Out of the box, it’s ready to use!

Using the Optricon Aspheric LE WP is child’s play; just twist up the eyecups and they click into place. There are no intermediate settings. If you wear glasses, leave the eyecups down.

The twist-up eyecups have a soft rubberised overcoat which are supremely comfortable on the eyes. There are just two positions; fully down or fully up. Once twisted up, the cups lock in place and rigidly stay in place with a click. Eye relief is very generous(16mm), allowing eye glass wearers to engage with the entire field. I don’t use glasses while observing through binoculars, so I always pop the eyecups up while viewing through them. Optimal eye placement is very easy to find quickly, thanks to the large field lens, with none of the annoying blackouts I experienced on a few lesser models.

The dioptre setting is located in a sensible place; right under the right eyecup. A small and very elegantly designed protruding lever on the dioptre ring makes it very easy to rotate either clockwise or anti-clockwise. It works well and stays in place even after repeatedly removing the instrument in and out of its small carry case.

An elegant design feature; a small protruding lever under the right eyecup makes it easy to adjust the dioptre setting.

I measured the IPD range to be between 32 and 75mm, ample enough to accommodate most any individual. Moreover, the well designed dual hinges on the bridge ensure that once deployed they stay in place with little or no need to micro-adjust while in use. The Opticron pocket binocular weighs in at just over 290 grams.

If the Opticron Aspheric pocket binocular were a car, it would surely be an Aston Martin.

Optical Assessment: Although this tiny binocular does not have a stalk to allow it to be mated to a monopod or tripod, I was able to assess how well collimated it was by resting the binocular on a high fence, and examining the images of a rooftop some 100 yards in the distance, checking to see that the images in the individual barrels were correlated both horizontally and vertically. This was sufficient to affirm that the binocular was indeed well collimated.

During daylight hours, the binocular delivers very bright and colour-pure images thanks to a well made optical system which includes properly applied multi-coatings on all optical surfaces, good baffling aginst stray light and silver coated prisms(boosting light transmission to 95-98 per cent). The binocular also has correctly executed phase coatings on the prisms to assure that as much light as possible reaches the eye. Sharpness is excellent across the vast majority of the field, with the aspherical optics minimising off-axis aberrations including pincushion distortion and field curvature. I wouldn’t be surprised if the overall light transmission is of the order of 80 to 85 per cent(revised in light of the tranmissitivity of the Zeiss Terra ED pocket glass with a light tranmsission of 88 per cent).

One of my pet peeves is seeing glare in the image when the binocular is pointed at a strongly backlit scene. I was delighted to see that apart from very slight crescent glare  when pointed near the Sun, the images generally remained stark and beautifully contrasted. These good impressions were also confirmed by more stringent tests conducted indoors by aiming the pocket binocular at my iphone torch set to its maximum  brightness. These tests showed that although there was some weak internal reflections  and flare, they were well within what I would consider acceptable. At night, I was able to see that when the binocular was aimed at some bright sodium street lamps, only very slight ghosting was evident. Finally, aiming the 8 x 25 at a bright full Moon revealed lovely clean images devoid of any on axis flaring and internal reflections. Placing the Moon just outside the field did show up some flaring however, but I deeemed the result perfectly acceptable. You can chalk it down that these results are excellent, especially considering the modest pricing of the instrument.

Colour correction was very well controlled in both daylight and night time tests on a bright Moon. On axis, it is very difficult to see any chromatic aberration but does become easier to see as the target is moved off axis. That said, secondary spectrum was minimal even in my most demanding tests, affirming my belief that a well-made achromatic binocular can deliver crisp, pristine images rich in contrast and resolution.


An interesting aside: My former colleague at Astronomy Now, Ade Ashford, reviewed a larger Opticron binocular- the Oregon 20 x 80 – for the October 2019 issue of the magazine. In that review, featured on pages 90 through 94, he confirmed what I had previously stated about larger binoculars with powers up to 20x or so; there is no need to use ED glass if the binocular is properly made and this goes for both daylight viewing and nightime observations. Below is Ashford’s assessment of the 20 x 80’s daylight performance:

And here are his conclusions:

Moreover, Ashford offers this sterling advice to the binocular enthusiast:

” …..don’t get hung-up on ED glass instruments. A well-engineered achromatic model will perform well, particularly if it uses Bak-4 prisms and its optical surfaces are multi-coated throughout.”

pp 91

Having ED glass counts for nothing if the binocular is not properly made. I would much rather have a well made achromatic instrument than have a poorly constructed model with super duper objective lens elements.


A fine quality pocket binocular in the palm of your hand.

My Little Aston Martin:

The little Opticron has already accompanied me on a few hill walks, a Partick Thistle FC( sad, I know!) testimonial and numerous rambles near my rural home, where it has delivered wonderful crisp images that never fail to delight. The field of view(5.2 degrees) is a little on the narrow side as pocket binoculars go, but its plenty wide enough for most applications and besides, the distortion free images nearly from edge to edge quickly override any perceived handicap of having a restricted viewing field.

Its tiny size and lack of garish colouring make it the ideal instrument to bring along to sports events, where it doesn’t attract attention from fellow crowd members. The Opticron is also a most excellent instrument to examine colourful flowers, butterflies and other marvels of nature near at hand, thanks to its excellent close focus; measured to be ~51 inches. And because its waterproof, it would also make an excellent companion while sailing or fishing.

The Opticron pocket binocular comes with a very high quality padded pouch to protect the instrument from any kind of rough handling.

Of course, the power of a small, high-quality pocket binocular quickly dwindles as the light begins to fade in the evening, or during the attenuated light before dawn, where a larger field glass really comes into its own. A little pocket binocular like this is far from the ideal instrument for viewing the night sky, but it can still be used for the odd look at the Moon, a starry skyscape or brightly lit cityscape.

I consider weatherproofing to be a sensible and worthwhile addition to any binocular and is certainly welcome on this second generation Opticron Aspheric. The instrument is purged with dry nitrogen gas at a pressure slightly higher than atmospheric pressure. This positive pressure helps to keep out dust and marauding fungi, and the sensibly inert nature of nitrogen ensures that internal components(including the silver coated prisms), will not tarnish or oxidise any time soon. This will only serve to increase the longevity and versatility of the binocular in adverse weather conditions, especially in my rather damp, humid climate. When not in use, I have taken to storing all my binoculars in a cool ( ~60 F) pantry with silica gel desiccant inside their cases. Yep, all my instruments are in it for the long haul.

Quality you can wear.

The Opticron Aspheric LE WP 8 x 25 is an excellent example of how a well made, achromatic binocular can deliver wonderful, sharp and high-contrast images. It is more expensive than many other pocket binoculars, but you most certainly get what you pay for.

 Thanks for reading!

Neil English’s new title, The ShortTube 80; A User’s Guide, will hit the bookshelves in early November 2019.


De Fideli.

12 thoughts on “Product Review: The Opticron Aspheric LE WP 8 x 25 Pocket Binocular.

  1. Many thanks for your really comprehensive reviews.

    I am in the market for a pair of compact binoculars for wildlife spotting on local walks during lockdown. Budget of around £100. I have both this Opticron and the Pentax Papilio 6.5×21 on my shortlist. I plan to order both on-line and test drive them at home to decide which one to keep.

  2. Dear Paul,

    Many thanks for your message. A good binocular is a life extender, literally, because it extends your vision immeasurably.
    Both sets of binoculars you mention are great bargains in today’s market. I tend to use the Papilio when the flowers start popping up, so are most used during Spring and Summer. The Opticrons are very well made, ultra-portable and can be carried inside a pocket, so great for walks etc. You can pick them up for about £95 from the Birder’s Store at the moment, as they are now discontinued. The 6.5 x 21 Papilio II has that great close focus of 18 inches or so and a nice wide field of 7.5 degrees( wider than the Opticrons) but are not waterproof.

    I hope you have lots of fun with your new binos, whichever model you wish to choose.

    With best wishes,


  3. Dear Neil,

    Thanks for the additional information. I’ve ordered the Opticron from the Birders Store. The Pentax may wait until the spring given the current weather conditions here in NW Kent!


    Paul Mc

  4. Congrats Paul,

    It’s a sweet little pocket glass so I think you’ll enjoy it!

    With best wishes,


  5. I am looking for the Opticron Aspheric LE, but I can’t find it anywhere in the US. I see that there is an Opticron Aspheric 3 8 x 25. Do you recommend that one? I see that the Asperic LE is available in the UK, but I’m worried about customs on it! Thank you.

  6. Hello Kim,

    Thanks for your message.

    I was under the impression that the Opticron Aspheric was discontinued but I can confirm that they are now listing the same binocular as the Aspheric 3. Looking at the specs for the 8 x 25 they seem identical to the LE WP, so I’m pretty sure it’s the same instrument. I’m guessing the 3 stands for 3rd version? I do see that the price has increased to £150 UK, though I fail to see why it’s worth more than the LE WP.

    The Birder’s Store here in the UK still has the LE WP listed for £95×25-compact-binoculars.html

    They also deliver overseas according to their delivery info:

    I checked out Opticron USA website and see that the Aspheric 3 is listed as a new product and that its RRP is $219.

    See here:

    If you click on the link of their dealers in the USA you may be able to find a dealer near you who can ship it to you;

    Here’s a map of where those dealerships are:

    If the price is acceptable to you, you can also purchase directly from Opticron USA.

    I do hope that helps with your query.

    Kind regards,


  7. Hello Neil,
    What fantástic book, your The ShortTube 80 is the perfect book for all astro amateurs.

  8. Hi Paul,

    Good to hear from you.

    Thank you for the compliment on my book.

    With best wishes,


  9. Dear Neil,

    Thank you for the detailed review I really enjoy reading it. Currently I’m using an Opticron Taiga 8×25 and it’s a very good pair of compact bino too.

    However please would you mind me asking, in regards to the Aspheric 8×25 do you find the 5.2 FoV too narrow? My Taiga 8×25 has a 6.0 FoV and personally I don’t think I would feel comfortable with anything narrower than that.

    By the way I don’t use lanyard on my Taiga but a small wrist strap. The case it comes with is same as yours but just wider in shape. This is a great case and I prefer zip to velcro and magnetic button.



  10. Dear Peter,

    Many thanks for your message.

    I’ve not tested the Taiga – sure looks like a nicely designed instrument.

    The Opticron Aspherics do indeed have a smaller field of view but it’s quite sharp from edge to edge. It’s often said that when you start looking through wide field optics you can never go back to smaller fields. For some reason, that’s not something I have experienced, as I can still enjoy small, well corrected fields. My wife is very fond of her first-generation Aspheric.
    If the small field of view bothers you but you still want a decent pocket binocular that folds like the Opticron, I would recommend the Barr & Stroud Series 5 8x 25 which has a 6.8 degree field which is considerably more expansive than your current 6 degree field and is very well built to boot.×25-compact-binoculars.html

    I did a review on this instrument a while back:

    Hope that helps!

    With best wishes,


  11. Hi Neil – a quick line to thank you for your review: I recently bought the Aspheric 3 from Tring at a great price, in part on account of your write-up of the previous version and reviews other glasses, and so far am very pleased. To date mainly used for plane spotting but hoping to get out onto the Campsie Fells with the new binoculars before the summer’s gone…

  12. Hello James,

    Thanks for your message and glad you like the little Opticron Aspheric 3.

    It’s a very nice pocket glass. My wife still uses one to watch the birdfeeders from the kitchen.

    Hope you can get out over the Campsies too, though the weather has been very unsettled all over the UK this last while.

    With best wishes,


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