Price/Availability: Currently offered at £42.99 on Amazon UK. As it was a gift I'm refraining from commenting about value for money, other than to say Luger instruments do seem to be well thought of generally.
Why Buy a Monocular?
I have to say right at the beginning of the review that this is not a product I would thought of purchasing for myself. It was a birthday gift from my darling husband. For a person who absolutely hates receiving surprises himself, it's remarkable what he manages to come up with for me - we are very different individuals - but I digress. I enjoy observing and sometimes recording the birds that visit our garden. Occasionally I use my binoculars to help with identification. Being a rather messy, disorganised person I'll admit that the binoculars often stay in the kitchen far longer than they should. This, and the fact that it's possible that some of the neighbours may be under the misapprehension that I am spying on them, may have been the inspiration for this gift. Or perhaps there was another reason ... such as desperation?!
The monocular arrived the day after my birthday, so it wasn't gift wrapped and I was presented with it in its original postal packaging. It was obvious that it had been purchased from Amazon as the receipt slip was still inside! There was a small but fairly sturdy cardboard box, in size about 13cm x 9 cm. I didn't realise what it was straight away, as apart from the brand name the only English word was 'binoculars' and the box seemed too small to contain those. On the side there was a small picture of the contents and a statement that the colours are black and green. I don't know whether this means other colour-ways are available. On the reverse there was a landscape photo with a picture of a human eye enclosed within a circle. I guess this is meant to depict the monocular. Beneath this is an explanation that, upon buying this product, I received unlimited free access to Luger Optic World which hopefully will supply some answers to the question posed under the picture, i.e. 'Do you know why you see what you see?'However it isn't written like a conventional website address. I found this on the warranty card: www.luger-optik.de and Luger Optic World is indeed part of this site. You can select English language here, but I didn't see options for French & Spanish this time. You have to type in the code on the packaging to gain access to some areas. Unfortunately the packaging doesn't tell you this, so I had to look in the box again. I couldn't find anything on the box, the paperwork or the monocular itself that looked like the code, so I may have to email them about it if I think it's worth my while. I'm undecided because they seem to focus on other instruments.
The monocular fitted quite closely inside - it came already enclosed within its black, zippered case with a light carrying strap already attached. At first I thought there were no instructions included, but they were wedged very tightly within the box, so much so that I had mistaken them for the box lining! This did mean, of course, that there was little or no room for the instrument to move around inside the box while in transit, which limited the likelihood of damage. There's a small cleaning cloth included, which comes in its own resealable bag.
Warranty and Instructions
There is a card to complete for the warranty, with 4 language options including English. Luger instruments are made by a German company, Optamit GmbH based in Kӧln. German is the first language used throughout. For the record, other than English, the warranty and instructions come in French and Spanish. The warranty lasts for 2 years and has the usual exclusions. I note that, where repairs are covered by the warranty, i.e. upon receipt of notice of defect, repair or replacement will be offered without charge for labour or parts, though of course you must provide proof of purchase. (I wonder where that's gone?!}
The instructions, such as they are, are printed on a tri- fold card, in the 4 languages already listed. I note that this leaflet covers hand-held telescopes as well as monoculars. I don't know what I was expecting, but they seem extremely brief to me. I am told to look through the eyepiece and turn it until I get a sharply focused image. I think I could have worked that out! Spectacle wearers can roll down the rubber eyecups before doing this. I have vari-focals but I don't need to wear them all the time so I can manage well enough without doing this. The other instructions relate to care and maintenance: use the cloth, moisten it for tougher stains, store the instrument in a clean, dry place, don't attempt to take it apart to clean it - ever! Oh, and don't look directly at the sun with it as you might damage your eyes. Seriously, I know they have to include these things, but it does seem a bit basic. And that's it for instructions.
So down to the nitty-gritty. I've mentioned the strap & case. The instrument itself is about 12 cm long and weighs 220g on my kitchen scales. It is pleasing in design and fits beautifully within the hand - it's comfortable to hold. The body, which I suppose is the part they describe as green, has a rubberised feel. I'm struggling to describe its shape. It's not a straight tube, but has a convex curve where your hand holds it. I hope that makes sense!
I have tried rolling back the rubber eyecup. I don't know whether it's due to the cold weather, but I haven't been able to do this as the rubber seems too inflexible. Maybe my fingers aren't strong enough or I'm not dextrous enough. However I can get quite a good focus either wearing my glasses or without them. I do notice that you have to hold it a little way from your eye to avoid getting the effect of a black ring in your vision. It's too close if you put it right to your eye.
Inscribed on the tube are a few more optical details, which as I've said mean little to me, but may be of interest to you. These are:
MD 6 x 30
I find I can almost read the writing on the sign on the lamppost across the road! That's not very far, though. I think the magnification is a bit limited, in my inexpert opinion. I can only close my left eye - the right flatly refuses - but fortunately I don't think there's much disparity between my [ageing!] vision in each. To be honest I'm not sure I find them as easy to use for spotting garden birds as when I use binoculars, although it's early days yet. The birds seem to have gone by the time I've found them. My husband finds it much easier than the binoculars. I wondered why he bought them! He's had a lot of eye trouble as a result of an auto-immune condition, & the treatment resulted in him needing cataract surgery on his good eye recently, so for him it's a bonus.
This is an interesting alternative to binoculars. It's far more portable, easy to keep to hand etc and useful if you have better vision in one eye than the other. I think it would be useful on casual day trips and especially holidays where weight allowance or space was very limited. It's well made & appears strong and robust. I don't think it would ever replace binoculars, especially for the serious observer, but has its place. I would take it if I were able to go back to Kenya & take a safari, for instance, as I wouldn't have to struggle with having both my camera & binoculars round my neck. I'm still not sure it's something I would have thought of buying myself, but as a gift I'm quite happy to own it. I might even allow him to use it occasionally!
Star Rating: 3 because I'm not yet convinced of its usefulness
Thank you for reading my review, which may be posted on other sites.
I was looking for something to assist on my wildlife photography jaunts and forays when a bird watching friend recommended to me the Luger MD range of monocular scopes, instead of the usual range of binoculars telescopes and dedicated bird scopes available on the current sub £50 market.
He had been using this brand for years and was thoroughly impressed with their overall performance over price ratio.
I settled on the 6 X 30 option as a compromise between price, carry weight and usability.
The optic gives a generous 6 x magnification, (making the image appear 6 times closer), ample for helping in most wildlife photography scenarios and general hill-walking.
Giving a field of view of 30 degrees, this works out at a width of 183 meters over a 1000m view using a 30mm diameter objective lens and a 5mm exit pupil.
What was impressive was the lightweight, easy to carry weight of just ¼ K - 250g including the supplied zipped case, which also has a handy belt loop retainer.
A good quality microfibre cleaning cloth is also supplied in the manufacturers box, as is the case and a carry strap.
The unit is well constructed and does not feel at all flimsy, plasticy or cheap, and fits snugly in the hand making it very comfortable for use, especially when using while walking.
The unit has an eye cup to make viewing even more comfortable and this retracts when not in use.
When in use the overall length of the unit is only a very compact 130mm, or 116mm when the eye cup is retracted.
As I normally wear glasses I was impressed by the ability to twist up the eye caps allowing viewing when wearing glasses, albeit at a slight distance back from the unit.
Optically, the image is very crisp for such a economical device, giving only slight distortion at the outer edges of the viewable range. Very reasonable considering the price.
Focusing is achieved by moving the focusing ring located behind the eye cup and this was found to be very smooth and reasonably accurate.
The unit has an integrated tripod mount for longer time use and that was found to be an invaluable extra when laid up by a river, watching out for some very shy otters.
The unit works well in falling light, unlike some units of a lower quality and using at dawn or dusk did not cause any undue issues.
Although not advertised as ruggerised or waterproof this monocular has had quite a rough ride from me as it is being dropped constantly and has been submerged in water, including sea water, more than once and continues to give excellent service after a quick rinse under the tap.
I am unsure as to the technical coating specifications of the lenses but they do seem to have some form of anti-scratch resilience, and with me using them they probably need this!
I am sure they will still be in service for many years to come, and offer a great viewing option for a reasonable outlay.
Much lighter and easier to use than a pair of binoculars, the Luger 6 x30 offers a great asset for any photographer, hill walker etc.