August 30 2019
As you may gather, I’ve taken a keen, active interest in testing out binoculars with an aim to providing my readers with good quality products that won’t break the bank. As part of that process, I needed a few entry-level models to compare and contrast them with other products purporting to provide better optical quality. In one transaction, I purchased an Eyeskey labelled 8 x 32 roof prism binocular on August 5 2019 from eBay. It was brand new and set me back £37.79, taking about two weeks to ship directly from China to my home in Scotland.
Here is a photo of what I received:
Here is a close-up photo of the Eyeskey binocular; the reader will note the texturing of the armoring and distinctive tripod adaptor cover
Here is what it looks like from the ocular end:
And here is a photo of the tethered rubber objective lens covers as well as the thumb indentations on the underside of the binocular:
After inspecting the Eyeskey binocular and its accessories, I recalled another binocular, marketed by a company called Avalonoptics.co.uk, which I had come across in a previous internet search.
Here is Avalon’s 8 x 32 Mini HD binoculars( all images taken from their website):
Here is an image of the entire package:
Here is an image of the writing on the focusing wheel:
Note the thumb indentations on the under side of the barrels on the Avalon:
And here is an image of the tethered objective covers on the Avalon:
Next, I took a look at the specifications of both models.
You can view the Avalon specs here
And here are the Eyskey specs( source eBay):
Both claim to be fully multicoated, are nitogen filled and fog proof, but there is no mention of a phase coating on either model.
There is a few differences in the quoted specifications. The advertised field of view is 6.78 degrees for the Eyeskey and 6.9 degrees for the Avalon model; quite close. Eye relief is quoted as 18mm for the Eyeskey and 15mm for the Avalon, but these figures can often be incorrect or at least misleading(as I will explain in another up-and-coming binocular review). The Eyeskey has an advertised weight of 18.3 oz = 519 grams, whereas the Avalon has a quoted weight of 416 grams.
Weight can also be misleading though, as it can vary according to whether you include the lens covers and strap etc.
The boxes look pretty similar with just different logos on them, same goes for the neck strap and generic instruction sheet.
Now for the price comparison:
Eyeskey 8 x 32: £37.79
Avalon 8 x 32 Mini HD: £119(recently discounted 20% from £149)
Finally, have a look at this youtube presentation of the said Avalon Mini HD binocular here.
Is the Eyskey 8 x 32 model worth the £37.79?
I suppose for what you get it’s a bargain.
But what about the Avalon?
I’ll leave that up to you to decide!
Update: September 16 2020
I have been monitoring a website that sells Avalon binoculars and noted a number of irregularities that continue to concern me. If you click on this link, you’ll see a model called the Avalon Titan ED 10 x 42. If you scroll through the marketing blurb and the specifications of the binocular, its main feature is ED glass. But there is no mention of phase coatings, type of multi-coating, or dielectric coatings, the material out of which the chassis is constructed etc which I would expect given the very high price of the binocular; a whopping £1099 UK! You will also note that the packaging looks very similar to the Eyeskey model featured above, with a generic (one page) instruction sheet. To say the least, I would have expected far more technical information about such an expensive binocular, especially when it retails for more than top branded models from Zeiss and Leica, for example.
I dispatched an email to the said company a week ago, where I asked why the Titan model(weighing a whopping 1.3 kilos) was so much more expensive than their other models given the very sparse information provided on the website. I received no response. I sent another email to the company yesterday and it too has fallen on deaf ears!
The same website sells Zeiss Terra ED binoculars at greatly marked up prices. For example, the Terra ED pocket ( 8x 25) glass is on sale for £489 UK in comparison to nearly all other retailers( ~£250).
Needless to say I am deeply suspicious of this company and would continue to caution customers to tread carefully in order to avoid disappointment.
Neil English debunks many telescopic myths in his new historical work, Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy.