A Brief Comparative Review of the Oberwerk 20x65 ED Deluxe
The new Oberwerk 20x65 Deluxe binocular, available since about 6 months in the US and 2 months in Europe, came into a market in which most other 20x binoculars have the configuration 20x80, surrounded by a very few others in sizes 20x70, 20x60 and 20x56.
My initial thought was to broadly compare the “Oberwerk” with those other 20x binoculars which are available to me for side-by-sides (the only way I am capable to really compare stuff). These are:
APM MS 20x80 ED APO
APM MS ED APO
Lunt Engineering MS
Pentax SP WP
Nikon Monarch 5
I even thought about adding the Nikon 18x70 IF WP WF to the list.
However, initial reviews made it quickly clear that the field was too broad for meaningful comparisons – optically, there are “worlds” between a Celestron Skymaster and an APM ED, and a smaller selection with instruments of similar performance levels seemed more appropriate.
In addition, the Nikon 18x70 is a very, very nice binocular per se, but with its price 2x as high as the APM 20x80 ED and 3x the price of the Oberwerk 20x65, I thought I could assume that the interest in the forum might be in a more “like-for-like” comparison, so I could put the very expensive (and non-ED, non-flat-field) Nikon aside.
Plus, the broader 20x80 universe had already been a subject of discussion not too long ago here, see:
Starting to review some of the same binoculars again, I realized that there was like a "gap" in optical performance between the binoculars featuring ED glass and the non-ED ones. I don’t think this can be generalized, i.e. that non-ED binos would be generally worse than the ED ones; it just seems that the ED ones in the group happen to also be the better binoculars than the others.
All of this led me to pick and compare only 3 instruments for this review (see next post). Therefore, just the following brief remarks about the other 20x binos not included in the review.
First of all, since I already got these data, a table with some relevant data on all those binos (see Appendix 1).
A note regarding the column under the heading “Prices”: for some of the binoculars, more or less similar prices can be found on many different websites, whereas for others, prices vary greatly. So I tried to pick midpoint prices that made some sense to me, and I mentioned price ranges where I could not figure out what was going on.
Celestron Skymaster / SkymasterPro, Omegon Argus, Opticron Oregon, Steiner Observer:
where they were discussed not too long ago.
Lunt MS 20x70: this is the non-ED predecessor of the APM 20x70 ED AP; optically quite similar in many respects, and still a very nice bino, but with more pronounced CA, lower contrast and a noticeable yellow tint, compared to the ED version.
Pentax 20x60: the clearly narrower FOV in the Pentax compared to the other 20x binos is striking and clear negative point in my view; central sharpness is okay, peripheral sharpness acceptable, but noticeable CA appears even slightly off-axis (I am generally not too sensitive to CA). The pro’s of the Pentax are robustness, compactness and light weight, and for certain usages the central focus.
Nikon Monarch 20x56: the smallest of all 20x binos I know, not even half the length of the Oberwerk. Optically and mechanically still quite a decent bino in my eyes, but don’t expect miracles from a 20x binocular in such a compact body. Like the Pentax, a very nice and portable “grab-and go” instrument with central focus.
Edited by Pinac, 30 March 2019 - 04:35 PM.