Keen birder and Ireland’s Wildlife contributor Colin Barton puts the Meopta MeoStar 8×32 through its paces, and is suitably impressed.
Pros: Great image quality — can rival the best optics on the market today. Very sharp and crisp, with great low light performance and a good wide field of view. Binoculars feel very sturdy and well-built. 30 year warranty among the best in Europe.
Cons: Very few. Perhaps not quite as sharp as the best of the best, but really splitting hairs. Excellent close focus, but focussing does need quite a lot of re-adjustment moving from closer objects to more distant subjects. Strap was too long for me, even at its shortest setting. Rainguard a bit fiddly and feels flimsy.
Price: RRP c. €700 (GB£595).
Rating: Highly Recommended
While Meopta don’t have an Irish distributor several reputable optics retailers in the UK stock them and ship to Ireland, including CleySpy.
Meopta Meostar B1 8×32: Full Review
I do use binoculars a lot though, at least two or three times a day, almost every day, and I’ve used quite a few different pairs over the years so I know a bit about what I like.
So, I guess the key question for a reviewer would be “would you like to keep them”? In the case of the Meopta 8×32’s my short answer is “Yes!”
After a few years of using Leica Ultravid 10×42, last year I finally got round to getting my old Leica Trinovid 8×32’s overhauled back to factory spec. I think they are the perfect pair of bins for several reasons. So it was a great surprise to me when I first picked up the Meopta 8×32’s to discover that I didn’t want to give them back!
The first thing I noticed was the size – they are really dinky, but at the same time the optics are really good! Nice and bright, with a sharp edge to the object on view. They feel solid and comfy in your hands, and look good too, thanks to the ergonomic design.
The Meoptas performed well in many different light conditions. In the “jeez, it’s almost dark” test, they were brighter than my own bins (there, I’ve said it!), but I do think my bins were ever so slightly sharper. Mind you, that could just be that my eyes are very used to my bins, and I could therefore make out more detail.
I’m splitting hairs anyway: if you arrived late at the red-flanked bluetail that was hopping about in the gloaming, you’d still be able to tick it with the Meoptas!
The Meoptas are really close focussing – Doing the kitchen stool test, I was able to focus down to the bottle of olive oil (approx. 5 feet) with the Meoptas, while my own bins could only manage the knobs on the cooker (approx. 6 feet)… that’s 20 year old technology for ya!
On distance focussing, I found that the Meoptas had quite a narrow depth of field, which meant when I switched from looking at a close object (next doors telephone pole) to one further away (some small cows in a field), I had to re-focus the bins, and then again when looking further away still (the trees in the distance). With my own bins, there was definitely less re-focussing required when moving from near to far, and vice-versa.
Not a major thing, and one that you would get used to if you were using the Meoptas regularly, but perhaps a slight annoyance if you regular use binoculars for scanning a lot.
The Meoptas are nice and light, which is unsurprising given their small size. In the kitchen scales test, the meoptas just shaded it at 675 grams including strap and rainguard, compared to my bins which weighed in at 692 grams, including strap and non-branded rainguard.
The strap was very comfy, with its spongy knobbly bits that caress your neck as you wear them! A very good design. Unfortunately, the strap felt a tad too long, even at its shortest setting. This was backed up by the “how far from the zip on my fleece” test, in which the Meoptas came in second with a whopping 4.5 inches from zip to eyepiece, compared to just 2.5 inches from zip to eyepiece on my own bins. This might sound ridiculous, but I think if I was the owner of the Meoptas I would have to get a different strap that I could adjust to be shorter – again, a personal thing that other users may not get hung up about at all.
I wasn’t particularly taken with the eyepiece rainguards. They are two caps joined by a (very) thin bit of rubber that feels like it will snap very soon. It was also a bit fiddly to put on over the eyepieces, but maybe I’d get used to it. But then again my Leica rainguard snapped years ago, (and wasn’t included in the factory rebuild), hence the unbranded rainguard on my current bins.
So, overall the Meopta 8×32’s compared very favourably to my favourite bins ever, being compact yet solid, and delivering great views of birds in a whole range of conditions. They really stood up well against one of the high-end brands, despite their much lower cost.
If I was looking for a pair of decent binoculars for regular birding use, I would have a hard job justifying the much higher cost of the high-end brands against the limited difference in optical quality compared to the Meopta 8×32 binoculars.
And if I didn’t have to give them back, I definitely wouldn’t!
Meopta MeoStar 10×42 HD Technical Specs
(from the Meopta Website)
Model: MeoStar B1 8×32
Magnification (x): 8
Objective Lens (mm): 32
Field of view at (m/1000m): 139
Field of view (°): 7.92
Eye relief (mm): 15,5
Shortest Focusing Distance (m): 1.7
Exit Pupil Diameter (mm): 4
Twilight Factor: 16
Daylight Transmission – typical (%): 88
Twilight Transmission (%): 84
Interpupillary Distance (mm): 58 – 74
Dioptric Correction (D): +/- 3 3
Height (mm): 123
Width (mm): 125
Depth (mm): 49
Weight – w/o caps & strap (g): 598
Ireland’s Wildlife would like to thank the team at Meopta Sports Optics in the Czech Republic for submitting the MeoStar 8×32 for review on the website.
NB. Ireland’s Wildlife has no specific affiliation to any optics or gear manufacturer and all reviews on the site are completely independent and objective. Reviews are carried out by a select team of experienced birders and wildlife watchers, and all gear is tested in Ireland under field conditions.
If you’re an optics or gear manufacturer and would like to submit your wildlife related product for review on the site please drop us a line using the contact form and we can take things from there.