Traveller BGA Mg Reviews
Tim Sexton - June 2015
Traveller BGA Mg Black 8x32
Opens as a PDF file (170K)
Carrie Laben, 10,000 Birds - September 2014
Review: The Opticron Traveller BGA Mg
Links to external website
Alexander Bardua, Outdoor-Professionelle.de - May 2013
Traveller BGA Mg 6x32 and 8x32
Translated and edited from the original review published on Outdoor-Professionelle.de, May 13
"This is a class of binoculars unique to Opticron. Size- and weight-wise the Traveller sits right between a compact binocular like the company’s BGA T PC Oasis (which I also reviewed) and more regular sized 32mm models. This made me curious as to what the advantages (and disadvantages) of such a product would be.
Mechanically the Traveller gives a very good impression. It features a Magnesium housing with sandblasted and anodised surface. The middle of the body is covered with a black rubber panel covering something like a third of the surface. The grip of these binoculars is very good but you can get really cold fingers (as with a Nikon EII).
The eyecups don’t twist but instead are the pull-out type, delivering a whopping 19mm of eye-relief. They lock in three different positions. Dioptre adjustment is done by twisting the whole right eyecup. This takes a bit more time than with a separate ring, since you have to grip the eyepiece very close to your eye. But once done, it stays put and no further adjustment was needed throughout the review.
The Traveller features a focus wheel at the far end of the bridge, where it can be easily reached by the ring finger. Focussing is smooth and with just the right resistance - not as slow as with the BGA T PC Oasis and not so insanely fast as the SR.GA 8x32.
On top of the bridge is a unique feature, the "Hinge Lock" - a wheel which tightens a notched mechanism to give an inner stop to the IPD setting. Set your IPD, tighten the hinge lock knob and, hey presto, the IPD can be enlarged but not made smaller.
I usually carried the Traveller without accessories in a coat pocket. Pulling it out, the IPD sometimes had widened but with that built-in stop was quickly found again. Similarly with the pulled-out eyecups, very occasionally, one had retracted one stop and one simple move with thumb and forefinger saw to that, too.
Optically the Traveller is very close to my Opticron SR.GA 8x32. There was a small, but visible difference which shows that once again, you can’t beat a Porro for optical value for money. The difference between the BGA T PC Oasis and the Traveller was quite pronounced with the performance gap narrower between Traveller and SR.GA.
Using a distant church roof as a target, slightly less detail was visible than with the SR.GA but a better view was had than with the BGA T PC Oasis. The fine tiling of the roof was better defined.
The Traveller has very low chromatic aberration (CA), good brightness and contrast. The latter two though were not up to the performance of the SR.GA. The plaster on the church walls, which appeared washed-out in the BGA T PC Oasis, showed much more detail, indicating that the Traveller handles contrast much better.
Colours appeared slightly warmer than with the BGA T PC Oasis but were still within the neutral range. As with the BGA T PC Oasis, two deficiencies were visible, although to a much lower extent. The first is glare. When used in backlight situations I noticed veiling in the lower third of the picture. Second, when looking directly up into a tree without leaves any bird against the sky is primarily a black silhouette. With better binoculars, I can still see details of the bird but with the Traveller it proved to be more difficult.
Please bear in mind that my "normal" binocular of choice is a Kowa Genesis 8x33, which is altogether a very different class of binocular. And having the temporary use of a Swarovski EL 8x32 SV considerably raised the bar in my perception of any binoculars’ performance. These Opticron binoculars performed very well - just because I am used to ‘better’ ones doesn’t mean their performance was bad. When considering their price, the binoculars reviewed are really good.
There was one difference in handling between the two versions of the Traveller I reviewed. The focussing was a bit more difficult with the 8x32. With the 6x32, I turned the knob and found maximum sharpness instantly. With the 8x32, I had to go back and forth several times. Sharpness crept into place - it was never as instantly obvious as with the 6x32. The same goes for the diopter adjustment - it took much longer to find the perfect setting with the 8x.
Apart from this (and it may be due to the sample tested) the one thing which makes them stand apart is the field of view (FOV). Of course, miniaturisation comes with a price and in this case it is FOV. The 8x is 111m at 1000m and the 6x is 141m, the former being quite narrow, the latter generous enough.
Both Traveller models are excellent pocket-sized binoculars. Often enough I left my larger binoculars at home and took one of these. The Traveller is so much more comfortable to use than a compact model like the BGA T PC Oasis, but still saves space and weight. Despite its size, optically it holds its own against regular-sized binoculars of this lower-middle-class bracket, with the exception of FOV.
Very often, when using the Zeiss Conquest HD 10x42, I also carried the Traveller 6x32 with me. It made panning easy and when in a densely wooded area, was a better choice than any 10x with its narrow FOV for detecting birds. That’s one area where I can recommend having a Traveller 6x32 as a second binocular. Be it scopes or binoculars with high magnification, the Traveller 6x32 comes in handy for checking the wider environment with 141m FOV being a necessity and 6x magnification being plenty, too.
My clear winner of this review is the Traveller BGA Mg 6x32. It offers better optical quality than the BGA T PC Oasis and a more comfortable view due to its eyepiece size. In comparison to regular binoculars, for the reduction in size and weight, I can live with the reduction in magnification.
My recommendation is if you are in the market for a second and cheaper binocular, get a Traveller. It gives you more freedom of movement compared to a full size binocular.
If you are a scope user or can’t do with a binocular below 12x, get one for panning and scanning the landscape. A Traveller is so easy to carry.
As for buying the Traveller as your only binocular, that’s a different story. Only if you put size and weight above all other features would I recommend it instead of a regular-sized binocular of a similar price. But remember, I am a wide FOV kind of guy!"
Mary Grimwood - December 2012
The first thing to mention with this review is that it is not written by someone with any technical expertise with regards to binoculars but by someone who is lucky enough to travel to the African bush several times a year and who has two constant challenges; strict luggage limits and bad eyesight.
I received my Opticron Traveller BGA binoculars in September last year and first gave them a try out on a trip to Zambia in October. Spending two weeks on a work trip with a 15kg weight limit, inclusive of hand baggage, can be a struggle and every weight saving is a blessing. At just under 400g, and in a soft leather case at just 14 centimetres long, the Traveller binoculars were easily included into my hand luggage and are almost 300g lighter than my previous pair of Bushnell binoculars so already a winner in my book.
The compact nature of these binoculars also came into their own on safari; small enough to slip into my day pack and light enough to sling comfortably around my neck whilst out on a bush walk with the comfortable padded neck strap being an added bonus.
I have always struggled with using binoculars whilst on safari and have missed no end of reportedly wonderful sightings as I fumbled to take off glasses, put them in a safe place and then focus my binoculars. Muffled whispers of 'did you see that beautiful leopard' were usually met by my panicked reply of 'watch my glasses' or ' please don't move leopard... just hang on for me to focus!'
I have tried to use binos whilst wearing my glasses but I never felt comfortable with it and felt that I was losing too much of my field of vision. The compact Traveller binoculars however seem to have given me a solution. There are three positions to which the eye cups can be extended and for me the second setting, not entirely flush with the rim of the binoculars but still close enough to allow me to focus clearly whilst wearing glasses proved to be ideal. No longer will I need to scramble around swapping glasses for bins and missing the glorious sightings that safaris in Africa can offer.
From a more general perspective, these binoculars are very comfortable to hold and easy to keep stable for long periods of time and I found that the focusing wheel was well located at the far end of the equipment allowing for easy adjustment.
During my trip to Zambia I frequently swapped binos with other travellers for a spot of comparison and even though I used some fairly high end luxury brands, I was never left with any dissatisfaction with the Traveller binoculars. Taking into consideration the size and weight of these binoculars and combining that with the sharpness of the subject in view and the overall comfort of using them, I think that they are ideal for my needs of general game viewing on safari and it is safe to say that the Traveller BGA will remain a mainstay in my luggage.
Mary works for Safari Consultants Ltd, specialists in tailor-made travel to East and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands.
Best Binoculars & Binocular Reviews Website - August 2011
Opticron Traveller BGA Mg 10x32 Binoculars Review
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