When I was 15-years-old I had a part-time job in a supermarket after school and at weekends and would cycle there and back. In the winter I would put my bike up the garden in the shed when I got home, but linger because over the back fence there was a row of houses where a certain young lady a little bit older than me had also returned home from work, but rarely closing her curtains, getting changed for all to see through the cold winter darkness. Now when your 15 that's very sexy and so its time to get a closer look, curiosity reasons of course (thin waste, big boobs!). So instead of going to a reputable camera store where binoculars tend to be sold to investigate my erotic fantasies further, the gullible like me back then immediately buy those ones advertised in the tabloids for £19.99! How were we to know at that age whether 20 x 40 is any more or less powerful over 10 x 21 binoculars! 20 x 40 just seemed more and as they were half the price and twice the size of the Dixon's one's they must be cool and powerful and were immediately purchased to spy on this gorgeous creature. They had other uses, of course, and my love of going to air shows and other outdoor events would see the most usage of them. And the girl? Well she ballooned up so I lost interest in peeping tommery in general...
Today my 'bins' are for cricket and so a lighter and less powerful pair are required. The 'Olympus Roamers' are definitely not like those old heavy ones your uncle or dad claimed he got from the war after he claimed to have stripped them from a dead German.
I write about sport for my local paper as one of my many jobs and you sometimes need to see what's going on at certain points in play on the field when their controversy, like when the bowler wants to sledge the batsmen in a particular hostile spell. My netbook and a healthy pair of binoculars can be quite heavy in the old backpack and in this gig you have to carry everything you have with you on the train or bus to the grounds and so a light pair like these is the name of the game.
The Olympus Roamers are apparently the 'Porro Prism' design, effectively a hall of mirrors in the body to bounce light around and then grow the image inside the tubes somehow. Most Early models used the Galilean method, effectively two little telescopes stuck together. This type of design is mostly used in low magnification such as opera glasses. You know, I have always wondered why anyone would pay £300 to go to opera and be handed some binoculars. What kind of seats are these pal!
- - - Product Features - - -
Anti-reflective lens coating to reduce glare
UV ray protection for care-free viewing
Convenient centre-focus knob for easy, accurate focusing
- - - Technical Details - - -
Type: Porro-prism type binoculars
Apparent field of view: 50.0°
Field of view at 1000m: 87m
Eye relief: 11mm
Closest focal point: 2.2m
Width (fully extended):107mm
Depth (fully extended):41mm
6 elements in 4 groups: Other: UV protection
Aspherical lens elements
So with the Olympus Roamers we are looking at something portable and about the size of a soft - back book and the look of Luke Skywalker's kit as he scans the desert horizon of the Planet Tatooine for stray droids, a really cool scene in the film at the time I recall. If something similar was on sale in the Daily Mirror for £19.99 in 1977 they would be gathering dust at me mums right now! The binoculars come with a nice velvet glove to protect the lens from dust and obviously not from dropping them. You also get a nice carry strap. When you clean your lens with the one of two types of cloth provided make sure you dust them with the other cloth first before you apply any cleaning fluid. Tiny dust or separate particles like sand mixing with cleaning fluid will scratch the lens with tiny nicks and so slowly wreck the vision quality. You must also keep them at room temperature to stop condensation build up inside as there's no way to get at anything inside of them out.
The biggest problem with any 'bins' is when you look through them its hard to keep them steady and focused, all that twiddling around with the eye focus and then marrying the two images always frustrating. If you hold a finger out in front of you and you should see two fingers but the wider the two digits are apart the tougher it is to get suitable tailored binoculars. Not everyone's eyes are the same. I don't think I would make a good U-Boat commander as I am forever trying to get binoculars to focus and so my torpedo would miss and the 12 inch guns on the British frigate wouldn't. The Olympus Roamers have the centre focus roller but getting the two lenses to fit neatly into your eyes is not as easy and they pinch my nose. The old fashioned chunky bins would break your conk if you got that wrong! These are about weight not quality.
Overall I would say these are ideal for someone not fussed about magnification and stability and just an average set of binoculars that are cheap and portable. Twitchers and plane spotters would probably mock them if I turned up on the Norfolk Broads or the viewing platform at Heathrow and so not for experts. 15-year-old peeping toms would be reasonably happy. At just under £40 on Amazon (and they pay the postage & packing) it may be worth a look in Dixon's or Jessops for a better deal...