Opticron DBA Oasis S-Coat 8x42 Binoculars Review

Opticron 8 x 42 DBA Oasis S-Coat Binoculars
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Buy & Compare Prices for the Opticron DBA Oasis S-Coat 8x42 Binoculars
Price Range: (5/6) High Value Binoculars       

Ideal Uses:

General Use Rating for General Use Binoculars
Birdwatching Rating as Birdwatching Binoculars
Outdoor Sports Rating asOutdoor Sports Binoculars
Safari & Travel Rating as Safari Binoculars
General Wildlife Rating as Wildlife Observation Binoculars
Hunting Rating as Hunting Binoculars
Marine Use Rating as Marine Binoculars

Having only tested budget Opticron binoculars in the past, I couldn't wait for the postman to arrive with a package containing a pair of their high spec Opticron Oasis binoculars for me to review. From the research that I had done before receiving them, they looked to be pretty impressive and according to Opticron are aimed at the professional or more serious birdwatcher and wildlife enthusiast. Below is my review of the Opticron DBA Oasis 8x42 S-Coat binoculars:

The Body

Build Quality
These Opticron Oasis binoculars feel and look to be well made, the body is aluminium and I have been told by Opticron that this will be upgraded on the 2012 model to magnesium to reduce weight even further. They feel very solid and robust and like most binoculars these days, they have been covered with a tough rubber armoring which will help with grip and to protect them from scratches and knocks. Unlike many binoculars that I review, they don't have thumb indents on the underside of the body, but they do have contoured ribs, located on the main points of contact with your hands to help with grip.

This rubber armouring also makes the instrument less reflective than if the bare metal was exposed and so helps prevent bright sunlight reflecting off them that could frighten away birds and other wildlife. Another benefit of the armour is that it helps to dampen any sound made from an object like a wedding ring or a watch striking against them that could also easily frighten away birds or other timid animals.

Waterproof & Fogproof
According to Opticron, these binoculars are waterproof to a depth of 5m, which to be honest I did not test, but it should mean that they will easily handle most wet weather conditions that you throw at them. An added benefit of a fully airtight binocular is that it will also prevent any small debris and dust from entering the system that could spoil the device in dry and dusty environments.

These optics have also been nitrogen purged, meaning the air inside of the binocular has been replaced with a dry nitrogen gas. This protects them from internal fogging, which can occur when you get rapid temperature changes or in places that have a high humidity levels. A secondary benefit of this is because there is no internal moisture, it protects the inner workings from corrosion.

The Eye Cups
The eyecups and diopter adjustment ring on the Opticron DBA Oasis 8x42 BinocularsThe twist-up eyecups are made from aluminium and have a thin soft rubber coating on them making them feel fairly comfortable even when pushed quite firmly against your face. The eyepieces also have a fairly large diameter of 21.6mm which also helps with viewing comfort.

The twist-up mechanism on the eyecups works well and according to Opticron they have they have four click stop stages (two intermediate), but on the pair that I tested, I could only find one intermediate stop. Even so, this will help people who wear glasses to get the right amount of eye relief so that they can see the full field of view even when looking through the optics with their glasses on. Non-eyeglass wearers will just use the eyecups in the fully extended position.

Their maximum eye-relief of 18mm is very good and they easily make it onto my list of long eye relief binoculars and so this should be more than enough for most people who wear glasses.

Focusing
Like on the body, the focussing wheel on the 8x42 Opticron Oasis also has a hard rubber coating with contoured ribs on it. The wheel itself is fairly large and turned very smoothly on the pair that I was using. It is also easily reachable from the standard grip when you hold them up to your face.

It takes a full 2 turns to go from infinity to it's minimum focusing distance of 2.2m (7.2ft) . What this means is that focusing from near to far (or vise versa) is not as quick as a binocular that takes less amount of turning (some take as little as half a turn), but this does have the advantage of making precise adjustments to your focus that much easier.

Diopter Adjustment
Located on the right barrel, between the eyecup and the barrel is the diopter adjustment ring. It is used to correctly focus the binoculars to your particular eyesight and only really needs to be set up once when you use your binoculars for the first time. The ring itself has ridges on it and the mechanism has click stops on it making it simpler to keep at your desired location. On the pair that I tested, it was tight enough to prevent it from being moved accidentally too easily, yet not too tight to make adjusting it difficult. Apart from the central (neutral) point, there are no markings on it, so if the setting for your eyesight is not neutral, I would suggest making your own mark just incase it were to accidentally move or if you needed to share your binoculars with someone else. To do this you could just make a little etch with a knife or if you don't want to mark them, you could just remember the number of clicks to the left or right.

Best Binoculars Rating for Body Construction Quality: 7/10

Weight
At 24.4oz (691g) they are not the lightest, but still pretty good for a full sized pair of 8x42 binocular. A little bit of weight is not always a bad thing as they have a certain feeling of substance to them and a very lightweight binocular can sometimes be misleading as the reason for this can sometimes be because they use cheap (often plastic) components in their construction.

Dimensions
The dimensions of the 8x42 DBA Oasis binocular are 6.0in (15.2cm) x 5.0in (12.8cm), which is also pretty good and better than average for this class. These dimensions also contribute to making them feel so nicely balanced as well as comfortable to hold in my hands. When holding them up to my eyes, I also found that the focussing wheel was easy to get to as well as adjust.

BBR Rating for Body Stats: 8/10

 

The Optics

Lens & Prism Coatings
These roof prism binoculars use what Opticron call their Oasis coatings on the prisms. This is actually a 64 layer coating process that is applied to the reflective surface of each roof prism. Opticron say that this process improves light emission to 99% over a broader spectrum at the reflective face, a big improvement when compared to the silver coating traditionally used on many high quality roof prism binoculars. This is said to result in a measurable increase in light transmission and overall image clarity. I have not been able to find out any more information on the Oasis coatings as they like to keep a few trade secrets from their competition, but my guess is that they are the same or very similar to the dielectric coatings found on high end binoculars.

Whatever the case, the fact that these Oasis binoculars have a reflectivity of 99% is impressive, as cheaper binoculars often use an aluminum mirror coating that has a reflectivity of between 87% to 93%, whilst more expensive binoculars often have a silver mirror coating and the reflectivity is increased to about 95% to 98%.

When light waves are reflected at the opposite faces of a roof prism, phase shift occurs resulting in marginal deterioration in sharpness. So as well as the Oasis coating, these Opticron's also have phase correction coatings on the prism glass, which are designed to correct this phase shift and therefore produce images that have better overall clarity, contrast and definition.

Opticron also use what they call their S-type multi-coating on all air to glass surfaces, meaning that they are fully multi-coated. These S-type coatings will include anti-reflective coatings which will help to increase light transmission, for a brighter image and therefore better low light performance. Once again I have not been able to find out much more about the S-type coating as they are trade secrets, but Opticron say that they also help with clarity & colour contrast in a variety of light conditions.

Best Binoculars Rating for Optical Components Quality: 8/10

Optical Stats

Field Of View
The field of view for these Opticron Oasis DBA 8x42 binoculars is 122m at 100m / 366ft at 1000 yards (7.0°) - which is pretty good and is better than average, but does fall a little short of the very best. For example the top of the range and many peoples perfect birding binocular, the Swarovski 8.5x42 EL Binoculars has a field of view of 399ft at 1,000 yards. But you must remember that these Swarovski binoculars cost much more than the Opticron Oasis S-Coat.

Close Focusing Distance
The minimum distance that you can focus on an object is 2.2m (7.2ft) away, which is once again pretty good but not outstanding. I consider anything under 6ft to be very good. So if you are looking for a full size binocular that is also good for viewing objects close up, things like butterflies for example then perhaps these may not be the best choice.

Eye-Relief:
Their maximum eye-relief of 18mm is very good and they easily make it onto my list of long eye relief binoculars and so this should be more than enough for most people who wear glasses.

Best Binoculars Rating for Optical Stats: 8/10

Image Quality

As I do for all my reviews, I compared the view through these Opticron 8x42 Oasis binoculars with that of my control binoculars:

Brightness & Low Light Performance
Like all 8x42 binoculars, these have an Exit Pupil of 5.25 and a Twilight Factor of 18.3, both of which indicate that they are fine for most low light conditions, just like what you find early in the morning and early evening when most birds and other wildlife is most active.

I must stress however that these figures should be just used as a guide as they do not take into account the quality of the lenses, prisms and their coatings. I have seen many cases where this can make all the difference and where a high quality binocular with small objective lenses outperforms a poor quality binocular in low light that has larger objective lenses. But as we have already mentioned these Opticron's do use pretty good quality coatings that will produce a brighter image than inferior binoculars of the same configuration.

I thought that the overall image brightness was very good and on a fairly dull and overcast day I could see a difference between these and that of my benchmark 8x42's. So as far as the brightness of the image goes, I rate them well above average. At twilight, I also thought that the image detail was good.

Color Fringing
Focusing on light coloured and white objects that contrasted greatly with dark backgrounds, I looked for any signs of color fringing (chromatic aberration) on their edges. Whilst I could see it in some instances, it was by no means bad, and only really noticeable if you are actually looking for it and no worse than I find on many other quality pairs of optics that don't use extra low dispersion glass.

I also thought that the contrast as well as colour reproduction was good and once correctly focussed on an object the image was very sharp.

Another thing I looked for was the amount of softening of the image right on the edges (periphery) of the view. Like other top quality optics there was almost none and the image was sharp right to the edge of the view. They were also much better than my control optics and so once again I rate them very highly in this area.

Best Binoculars Rating for Image Quality: 8/10

8x42 Opticron DBA Oasis Comparisons

Below is a table comparing this Opticron DBA Oasis with a selection of other full size roof prism binoculars with magnifications of around 8x. The very top of the range Swarovski 8.5x42 EL Binoculars the mid to high value Minox 8x43 HG Binoculars, Kowa 8x42 BD and the Vortex Viper HD 8x42.

  Opticron Oasis 8x42 Swarovski 8.5x42 EL Vortex Viper 8x42 HD Minox 8x43 HG Kowa 8x42 BD
Price (approx): £530 $2300 (£1600) $450 $1100 (£640) $550 (£590)
Weight: 24.4oz (691g) 28.9ozs (819g) 24.2oz (686g) 22.9ozs (649g) 25.7ozs (729g)
Length: 6.0in (15.2cm) 6.5in (16.5cm) 5.8in (14.7cm) 6.0in (15.2cm) 5.7in (14.5cm)
Width: 5.0in (12.8cm) 4.8in (12.2cm) 5.3in (13.5cm) 5.1in (13cm) 5.0in (12.7cm)
Eye Relief: 18mm 18mm 20mm 19.5mm 18.3mm
Close Focusing Distance: 7.2ft (2.2m) 8.0ft 5.1ft 8.2ft 6.5ft
Field of View at 1000yds: 366ft 399ft 347ft 379ft 330ft
ED Glass No Yes Yes No No
Phase Correction Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lens Coatings Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated
Waterproof Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fogproof Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

I think what the comparisons show above is that in terms of their main specifications and features, these Opticron's compare and compete very well in most areas with other great quality binoculars.

Included Extras & Attention to Detail:

Neck Strap
The very soft neoprene next strap for the 8x42 Oasis is excellent and the quality of it's manufacture is very high. It is wide enough and there is more than enough padding to make it very comfortable. The part of the strap that fits behind your neck is also slightly curved meaning that it just sits that little bit better making them even more comfortable to wear. I also liked the fact they come with quick release clips near to where you thread them through the body of the binocular. This enables you to quickly remove and replace the neck strap from your optics without having to un-thread it from the looped attachments which can be a little fiddly. These quick release clips also mean that you can remove the longer part of the neck strap and then click the shorter pieces that are still attached to the binocular together to create a short hand strap. This is something that I had only previously seen on Vanguard binoculars like the Vanguard 8x42 Spirit ED and was a small feature that I really liked.

Quick release clips on the Opticron DBA Oasis neck strapCarry Case
Another real feature of these Opticron DBA binoculars is the really good quality soft leather carry case which is far superior than many of the nylon ones that I often see. It is kept closed with a magnetic clip and it has two sets of metal loops to which you can attach the high quality leather shoulder strap with it's quick release clips. Whist it will protect your investment from scratches and dust, because it is only lightly padded it may not be suitable for really rough use. It is a little pity that the case does not have any pockets inside it that can be useful for keeping things like a cleaning cloth and a few personal items like keys.

Lens Covers
Rather uniquely, these Opticron DBA Oasis binoculars come with two full sets of lens caps. The first set that is attached to the eye-pieces and the objective lenses are fairly basic and comprise of 4 separate fairly soft plastic covers. These fit well over the lenses, but cannot be attached to the binocular or the neck strap and so I would suggest that they are ideal for using when storing your optics for longer periods.

The second set are designed to be used when you take your binoculars out into the field. The eye-piece cover (rainguard) is made from a fairly soft plastic and they fit very well over the eye-pieces and should not accidentally fall off, yet are not so tight as to make them difficult to remove. They have a flexible bridge between the two cups that allow for the different distances between the two eyepieces depending on your inter-pupillary adjustment. This is something that is often overlooked by manufacturers meaning that the eyepiece covers won't fit, unless the binoculars are fully open, which can be a real pain as you have to adjust them every time you use your optics and every time you put them away.

Opticron DBA Oasis objective lens capsThe soft rubber objective lens caps also fit very well into the ends of the barrels of the binocular and should not accidentally fall off. A feature that I really like is that they have are connected to each other with a flexible soft rubber cord and in the middle of this, there is a screw that you use to fix them to the binoculars, where you would normally mount a tripod adapter. This is once again fairly unique and rather innovative. I really like the way it works as it ensures that you won't easily misplace your objective lens covers and when you remove them from the lenses, they just hang down out of the way, but easily assessable for you to replace them when you move on.

Cleaning Cloth
These Opticron Oasis binoculars also come with an excellent quality ultra-fine microfibre cleaning cloth that has it's own soft case to keep it clean as well as some basic cleaning instructions. This cloth is one of, if not the best cleaning cloths that comes included with the binoculars that I have reviewed and shows some excellent attention to detail.

User Guide
A fairly comprehensive instruction booklet is also included. It contains details on the main features and specifications of the Oasis, the included accessories as well as optional ones available for purchase. The are also instructions on how to adjust the eyecups, the inter-pupillary adjustment, how to properly focus your binoculars, lens care and cleaning. An Opticron registration card is also included as well as details on the very impressive 30 year Opticron DBA binocular warranty.

Downloads:

Tripod Adaptable
There is a screw cap on the front of the central pivoting point, which on my pair was very tightly fitted and I couldn't unwind it at first, but because it has an indent, I just used a coin to screw it off with no problem. This allows you to then screw on a binocular tripod adapter (not included) that uses the standard ¼-inch threading, which you can then attach to your tripod. It is a very minor thing, but the fact that you can fasten it very tightly using a coin is great because it will ensure that it does not loosen accidentally and is not something that you find on many binoculars.

Opticron 31012 Binocular Tripod MountOptional Accessories:

31012 Binocular Tripod Mount
Opticron have their own tripod adapter that will fit these optics that costs around £22 and looks to be fairly good quality. As they use the standard ¼-inch threading, most standard adapters will also work.

Opticron 40940 2.5x Universal Tele-adapter UTA40940 2.5x Universal Tele-adapter UTA
The Opticron Universal Tele-Adapter enables you to increase the magnification of your Opticron binocular or telescope eyepiece combination by a factor of 2.5x. Easily fitted to this binocular using the 40941 connection ring, the UTA converts one half of your binocular into a higher powered long eye-relief monocular.

The 40940 2.5x body complete with lens assembly & soft case costs around £89.00 and the connector ring about £10

Elk Elk 8x Elk 20x
Naked eye 8x Binocular >8x Binocular with 2.5x UTA giving 20x magnification

Best Binoculars Rating for Extras & Attention to Detail: 9/10

Conclusion

Strong Points: I would say that one of the strongest points of these Opticron binoculars is that they don't have any major weak points and the fact that they are good to very good in pretty much every department. The quality and brightness of the image produced is excellent and I also really like the attention to detail with their quality accessories like the leather carry case, cleaning cloth and comfortable, well made neck strap.

Weak points? To be honest, there were no really weak points, but I guess if I wanted to have everything, I would have liked to have seen them use extra low dispersion glass to reduce even further what little colour fringing there was. But this of course would see the price of them increase and to be honest the amount of colour fringing was so minimal that this price increase would probably not be worth it anyway. For people interested in observing things like butterflies, the minimum close focusing distance may also be a slight issue.

Ideal Uses: Like most 8x42 binoculars, they make perfect birding binoculars as they strike a good balance between a nice wide field of view and a fairly powerful magnification. Their lenses are also large enough to take in plenty of light to make them nice and bright even at dawn or dusk, yet not so large that they are too big and heavy to carry about with you. This potential brightness is also enhanced by the use of quality prism coatings and anti-reflective coatings on the lenses to produce a brighter image.

As well as birdwatching, I would say that they will also make great wildlife observation optics, they are tough enough and their weather proofing should make them pretty good for hunting and in my opinion are adaptable enough so as to be considered as ideal general use optics.

Whilst you could take these Opticron Oasis S-Coat binoculars on a camping trip, on safari or to an outdoor sporting event, if it is going to be your main use for them, I would suggest getting a compact or mid-sized pair of binoculars that will be easier to put in your bag or luggage.

Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised by the Opticron DBA Oasis S-Coat 8x42 binoculars and would say that they perform as well and even better than many pairs of optics with a much larger price tag than these.

Opticron DBA Oasis 8x42 S-Coat binoculars with carry bag and accessories

Reviewed by

Best Binocular Reviews Ratings:

Body Construction Quality: 7/10 80%
Outstanding
Body Stats: 8/10
Optical Components Quality: 8/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 8/10
Extras & Attention to Detail: 9/10

Compare Prices & Where to Buy the Opticron Binoculars

Main Specifications & Features:

  • Size: Full Size Binoculars
  • [explain prism types]Prism Type: Roof Prism Binoculars
  • Magnification: 8x
  • [explain objective lens]Objective Lens Diameter: 42mm
  • [explain waterproofing]Waterproof: Yes
  • [about fogproofing]Fogproof: Yes

  • [explain exit pupil]Exit Pupil: 5.3
  • [explain twilight factor]Twilight Factor: 18.33
  • [explain eye relief]Eye Relief: 18mm
  • [explain IPD]IPD Max: 7.7cm
  • IPD Min: 5.7cm
  • Close Focus Distance: 7.2ft

  • Weight: 24.4ozs (692g)
  • Length: 6.0in (15.2cm)
  • Width: 5.0in (12.7cm)
  • Ocular Lens Diameter: 22mm
  • Focus from Near to Far, focus wheel rotates: 720°

  • [explain real field of view]Real field of view: 7.0°
  • [explain apparent field of view]Apparent field of view: 56.0°
  • [explain field of view]Field of View: 122m at 1,000 meters
  • [explain field of view]Field of View: 366ft at 1,000 yards

  • Chassis Material: Aluminium
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • [about Lens Coatings]Lens Coatings: Fully Multi-Coated
  • [about Phase Correction]Phase Correction Coatings: Yes
  • [about ED Glass]Extra Low Dispersion Glass: No
  • Locking Diopter: No
  • [about tripod adapters]Tripod Adaptable: Yes
  • Auto Focus: No

Opticron 8x42 DBA Oasis S-Coat Binoculars Video Review

 

More Information:



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Full Size Binoculars | Roof Prism Binoculars | General Use Binoculars | Birdwatching Binoculars | Top of the Range/High Value Binoculars


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General Price Range: (5/6) High Value Binoculars

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