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Binoculars review

Meopta Meostar B1 10x42 HD

Meopta Meostar B1 10x42 HD
17 September 2016
Optyczne.pl 
The B1 Meostar series produced by Czech Meopta was launched on the market in 2005. They started with the following models: 7x42, 8x42, 10x42, 7x50, 10x50 and񃹁6 and then the line-up was complemented by 8x32,10x32 and 12x50 instruments.

Since 2013 the company have been launching new Meostar B1 HD devices; the main change consisted of employing new kind of fluorite glass, new antireflection coatings and protective layers. The 10x42 model was shown as the first; in the following years the company added the 12x50 and the 15x56.

The company boasts of using special Meobright coatings, covering all air-to-glass surfaces which are supposed to ensure 99.8% of transmission on one such surface. Additionally you get MeoShield ion-assisted coating which protects external lens surfaces and delivers enhanced resistance to scratching or abrasion in extreme conditions. Of course you shouldn’t forget about phase-correction coating on Schmidt-Pechan roof prisms; unfortunately we couldn’t find any info on the producer’s site concerning the type of reflective coating on the Pechan prism.

The casing of the binoculars is made of aluminum and armoured by high quality rubber. The instrument is waterproof and nitrogen-filled. The buyers get a set of caps, a comfortable, wide neck strap, a cleaning cloth and a case included in box. The binoculars come with 30-year guarantee period of the producer.

Pictures
  • Lornetka Meopta Meostar B1 10x42 HD
  • Lornetka Meopta Meostar B1 10x42 HD
  • Lornetka Meopta Meostar B1 10x42 HD
  • Lornetka Meopta Meostar B1 10x42 HD
Manufacturer data

Manufacturer:

Meopta
web site

Distribution / Sales:

Knieja
web site

Magnification Lens diameter Angular field of view Prisms Eye relief Weight Price
10 42 110/1000(6.3o) BaK-4/roof 15 mm 896 g 3599 PLN
Results of the review
Real front lens diameter Left:   42.05+/- 0.05 mm
Right:  42.06+/- 0.05 mm
8 / 8.0 pkt
Real magnification 9.98+/- 0.1x 3/3.0
Transmission 84.5+/- 1% 11/15.0
Chromatic aberration Very low in the centre, a bit lower than medium on the edge. 7.9/10.0
Astigmatism Slight. 7/10.0
Distortion The distance of the first curved line from the field centre compared to the field of view radius: 46% ± 4% 5/10.0
Coma Starts in a distance of about 75% of the field and is medium on the very edge. 8/10.0
Blurring at the edge of the FOV Blur occurs in a distance of 90% ± 3% from the field of view centre. 8/10.0
Darkening at the edge the FOV Practically invisible. 4.7/5.0
Whiteness of the image Slight yellow-green hue. Noticeable slant of the transmission curve. 3.4/5.0
Collimation Perfect. 5/5.0
Internal reflections
Left: Right:
Meopta Meostar B1 10x42 HD - Internal reflections - Left Meopta Meostar B1 10x42 HD - Internal reflections - Right
Low.
4/5.0
Housing Solid and compact. Quite short but bulky. Green rubber armour with indents for thumbs is a bit too slippery and sticks out slightly near the objectives. The binoculars is comfortable to hold and to look through, with rubberized eyecups with smooth regulation. Produced in the Czech Republic. 7.4/8.0
Focusing Central wheel of average size with slight ribbing (full turn though an angle of 590 degrees). We wish the ribs were more pronounced – if your hands are damp the ring slides a bit. Another small wheel for dioptre correction. Nothing moves outside. 4.8/5.0
Tripod Not especially easy to access. 2.5/3.0
Interpupilary distance from 55.3 to 74.1mm 5/6.0
Closest focusing distance 2.45 meters. 1.5/2.0
Eyepieces FOV Apparent field of view of 63.2 degrees. 7/10.0
Field of view Measured by us amounted to 6.33 +/- 0.04 degrees and it was in perfect accordance with specifications. A significantly big field for this class of equipment. 6.5/8.0
Quality of the interior of the barrels Dark tube, area near prism cell is grey. Grey bottom but slightly shiny. On both prisms you can notice delicate streaks (damp patches?). In the left tube there are hardly any specks of dust, in the right one there is either a bigger speck of dust on the prisms or a splinter of glass. 1.5/5.0
Vignetting
Left: Right:
Meopta Meostar B1 10x42 HD - Vignetting - Left Meopta Meostar B1 10x42 HD - Vignetting - Right
OL: 0.26%, OR: 0.29%
6/8.0
Prisms quality Good quality BaK-4. 8/8.0
Antireflection coatings Green- blue-purple on the objectives, green-yellow on the eyepieces, greenish on the prisms. Low intensity. 5/5.0
Warranty [years] 30 5/6.0
Final result
79.5%
135.2 / 170 pkt
Econo result 0pkt.

Summary


Pros:
  • very solid casing,
  • slight astigmatism,
  • low coma,
  • good correction of chromatic aberration,
  • sharp image almost across the whole field of view,
  • low brightness loss on the edge of the field,
  • slight reflections,
  • round exit pupils,
  • good quality coatings and prisms.

Cons:
  • cleanliness of the prisms leaves a lot to be desired.


The Czech Meopta company hoped to compete with the best when they launched their Meostar B1 series on the market. In some respects they succeeded, in some – not really. The Meostars tested by us previously featured noticeably yellowish images which made us question the quality of their antireflection coatings. It is obvious that Meopta have been working on improvement of technologies used in their products and the HD mark in names of their newer models is a symbol of that. It tells you about new types of glass and coatings - what about the transmission, though? Let’s consult a graph below.


Firstly, it’s worth emphasizing that our results are practically in perfect accordance with the declarations of the producer – they state that for daylight the transmission should amount to 86% and to 82% at night. Daylight usually means the middle of the visible spectrum so close to 550 nm. For that wavelength we got 85.3% so, within the margin of error, the same result as in the official specifications. Retinal rod cells dominate nighttime observations with 500 nm as the peak of their sensitivity. For that we got a result 82.7%, once again the same as given by the producer within the margin of error.

Models marked with HD symbol seem to have a bit less slanted transmission curve than their predecessors and because of that they render colours in a more natural way. When you compare the new instruments to those tested by us several years ago you see an improvement but it had to be said that, in this category, the Meostar B1 HD still lags behind the best. However, as the best ones are 2-3 times more expensive…

Meopta Meostar B1 10x42 HD and Swarovski SLC 10x42 W B.


Optical performance is the measure of the class of a pair of binoculars and it should be said the Meopta had no slip-up whatsoever. Even the worst result concerning distortion, 5 points out of 10, is a perfect average. In all other categories the results are good or very good: you get a clear, bright image properly sharp up to the very edge, astigmatism and coma are low and the chromatic aberration is controlled in a proper way. Nice, round exit pupils situated against dark background means no contrast decrease or noticeable brightness loss.

That almost idyllic image is spoilt by the quality control – it seems the Czechs have to work on it much harder. When we glanced inside the binoculars and examined the prisms carefully we noticed strange damp patches on their edges. On the right prism there was a shiny object – a bigger speck of dust or even a glass or coating defect. If the Meopta is supposed to qualify as a top-of-the-range, premium instrument such a specimen shouldn’t have been sent to the shops at all.

To sum up: if you don’t want to or can’t spend 1000-2000 Euro on a pair of binoculars produced by Leica, Nikon, Swarovski or Zeiss, you can buy a solid Meostar for a price 2-3 times lower. It won’t be hugely different than the best devices and will give you a lot of fun.