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Mini-Review Sportiere 2.8x28 Sport Glasses

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#1 chgomonitor


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Posted 03 December 2008 - 09:43 AM

I had a pair of these in the 70's and found them very useful. After weeks of internet searches I finally found a pair at about 35 dollars and quickly ordered a pair.

For the uninitiated these are two gallilean telescopes, quite fast, mounted on a black plastic eye glass frame. Quite the fashion accessory at that!

My first pair had a problem with the molding process and the ear tips of the frames were literally burnt off. After trying them out I returned them for replacement. The shop I had ordered from sent me a pair of Beecher 3x25's by mistake! These are very high end long distance magnifiers manufactured for the visually impaired.

The Beechers were very impressive and obviously precision made. Lighter and more comfortable than the Sportiere's with a solid padded V style nosebridge. Very sharp focus with high contrast and good brightness at night and had precise focus adjustment. But they only had about 70 percent of the field of view offered by the Sportiere's, so I sent them back for a good pair of sports (gasp!), which I finally obtained. (The Beechers they sent advertised at $135 and you can easily spend $500 on Beechers, nothing medical insurance, LOL!).

Sadly, the shop I ordered from (The Low Vision Store in Indiana) apparently no longer carries the Sport's, so you are own your own with locating a pair if you want them - real ones can be hard to locate and beware of 10 dollar cheapie knock-offs.

The Sportiere's are/were marketed under a number of different names, including "sport glasses", "sportglasses" and "Sportiere Sportglasses". I believe they are/were made in Japan and are partially coated. Start your internet search with terms like "2.8x28", "2.8 x 28", "Sportglasses", etc.

Focus is an independent twist-adjust on each outer tube. Fully turned in they just barely reach focus on my bad left eye at about 20/400 nearsighted. I don't have contact lenses, but that might prove an interesting optical experiment with these. You certainly can't wear glasses with them.

IPD is (?) adjusted by loosening the inner ring of each telescope (carefully!) and sliding the tubes laterally inside the eye glass frame. I'm guessing no more than 3 or 4 mm of IPD adjustment and collimation errors may likely result. Happily, the IPD is okay for me as supplied.

These ride on a none too comfortable nose bridge pad assembly. For binoculars they are ultra-light, but for eyeglasses, well, they are like twenty times heavier than any pair of glasses you've ever worn. For my big head (7 5/8 hat size!) the frames are way too tight, pinch badly but do fit. The combined effect is none too comfortable. Wearing them produces a hard to describe overall pinching pain across your nose and face and ears. I find after about 45 minutes to an hour I have to take them off.

Contrast and brightness are decent to good. Focus is touchy and alignment will vary amongst various samples and would be difficult to adjust. The apparent field of view could be better, the field isn't really "immersive" and you do indeed "see the circles". But there is something hard to describe about wearing them, you quickly get used to what is being visually presented and after a short time brain and eye sort of focuses into the view and you stop noticing what isn't being presented. Vaguely hypnotic. There are some issues with inner reflections at times but very little noticeable ghosting.

But it's the true field of view that I'm really in love with. Easily encompasses the entire "W" in Cassiopea with about 10 percent of the field to spare, gorgeous. Center of field isn't tack sharp, but it's decent. Holds up well across center 40 percent or more and then starts a gradual decay in sharpness but remains somewhat usable out the last 10 percent or so of the field where it really goes to mush.

In my light polluted skies I'm easily getting a magnitude gain of at least 1.5. I'm guessing they'd give you 2 or more mags in dark skies.

I'm putting these into the same class of devices as the apparently no longer available Owl Eyes Constellation binocs, which I'd also love to try and/or own.

My Sport's shipped in a cardboard packing box containing a neat little carry case, snap-in eye goggle pieces which I seldom use, and a gold chain neck thing which I couldn't attached any too securely. You'll want a better neck strap, I think Walgreens sells one that will work.

For the optical perfectionists among us, well, these are a long ways from Fujinons, but the allure of hands free viewing is something I highly suggest you try if you haven't.

For constellation spotting and faster sky sweeps these things work like gold for me. I love my Sport Glasses! I'll have to post some pictures, you'll be the envy of your starry eyed friends wearing these!

Happy Sky Scanning! - Ted

#2 Mark9473


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Posted 03 December 2008 - 01:06 PM

I was looking at something like that on ebay yesterday, but without any reference information didn't take a second look. Did make a mental note that these could be quite a nice constellation binocular. Thanks for posting, Ted.

#3 KennyJ


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Posted 03 December 2008 - 01:10 PM

Thanks for that report Ted !

A very interesting addition ( hopefully ) to the ever expanding mini - reviews section ! :-)


#4 GlennLeDrew


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Posted 03 December 2008 - 06:04 PM

After a quick search, I found two models that appear to differ. One looked like all-plastic, available on the 'bay. The other , which looks better, is here.

#5 chgomonitor


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Posted 04 December 2008 - 12:00 AM

Yes Glenn, your link is to the real Sportiere's. I also saw the cheaper knock-offs, which I can't recommend. A while back I also saw another version of the "real thing", same specs but advertised as "fully multicoated" and for about $75.00.

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