Atlas Optics Intrepid ED 8 x 42 binocular: a great value!
Mike P. from Austin, Texas
Having successfully returned from the chase for Yellow-faced Grassquit, my wife and sister decided to follow suit two days later. I loaned my wife my Leica 8 x 42 BN and she returned realizing, in a very practicalway, that my binocular was much better than hers. We discussed the options and decided to purchase the new Atlas Optics Intrepid ED 8 x 42. She is frugal--she wanted a better binocular but did not want to invest $2,500 or more.
We received them on schedule from the always excellent staff at Eagle Optics. Out of the box, they performed as advertised: bright, sharp and much better than her previous binocular, which were not a beginner's pair. They were $250, but the Intrepid, for a bit more, were much, much better.
We were so impressed that we called other novice birders who were going to join us in High Island and encouraged them to invest in Intrepids. As a veteran birding leader, I knew that people often try birding with poor binoculars and walk away not having truly enjoyed the experience because their view was limited by inferior optics. Two of my brothers-in-law bought three pair of the Intrepids for themselves and a friend and we ventured forth to High Island to test them in the field.
They performed admirably. The quality of each of the four new pair were consistent. They are very bright, sharp, easy to operate and feel good in the hand. Whether a brilliant scarlet tanager, a sublime cerulean warbler, or a swainson's warbler hidden in the dimly lit underbrush, the Intrepid proved itself, living up to its billing. We are all extremely pleased with the purchases. If you want a binocular that provides a stellar view for a modest investment, give the Intrepid a chance to surprise you.
Other reviews have mentioned the action of the adjustable eye cups and the looseness of the rubber objective lens guards. Our experience: the rubber rings attaching the lens guards to the binocular are, indeed, too loose. If you take them into the field you will lose them. As for the eye cups, they do not have the positive feel of binoculars in much higher price ranges, but they worked fine for us.
In summary, nothing beats a great Leica, Swarovski, Zeiss or Nikon in the elite models. But, if for any reason, you want a great glass at a more modest price, you will be very pleased with the Intrepid.
Can't beat the price
Kyle W from Tennessee
I've had a pair of Pentax DCF WP 8x42 for years and the Atlas Intrepid is brighter, sharper and has a much wider field of view and closer focus. I like the twist up eyecups as well. I've compared them to some "alpha glass" and it's hard to tell the difference. I've read people complain about a stiff focus wheel that I have not noticed at all. The lense caps, neck strap and case do seem cheap but the optics are very good. For the price, these simply can't be beat.
Great Optics, Poor Package
Rick K. from New York
Previously purchased Ranger 8x42 model last year for my wife and found them very acceptable. Decided to try Atlas for myself this year for birding. Based on other reviews I read on this product I also purchased the 50mm (medium) Eagle Optics lens covers figuring I would replace the poorly rated ones that come on the binoculars. The Atlas optics are obviously superior to the Ranger model even to a somewhat novice user like myself. Clearer and brigher image as advertised and worth the extra cost. However, like also reviewed by others, the objective lens caps are much poorer than the caps on the Ranger unit. When I tried replacing them with the Eagle Optics caps I found those caps were just slightly too small to fit properly on the Atlas and had to be forced on to fit. It's too much effort to force them on each time so I have used the same trick as another reviewer and am using electrical tape on the original caps to keep them on. The case that comes with the Atlas arrived with the stiching riped for about one inch on one side. I've repaired the riped section with fishing line so I hope it holds now. Don't understand why such a great optical unit comes with such poor cap and case protection. Even given the packaging shortcomings I would still rate the Atlas very highly.
A Quality and Value Binocular
Thom W. from Harrisburg, PA
Here is a quality binocular at a good price. Very comfortable to hold and work with. The focus wheel is a little long, but not too much so that it is an obstacle. The only problems I have with this binocular package, are the objective lens covers and the case is very mediocre. I believe that the Eagle Optics lens covers will solve your problem and at a small price you will come out way ahead in value for a bright and clear binocular. I am a bit geeky and "taped my glasses"; that is, I took some black electrical tape to the rings that hold the objective lens on. A clean job and it's hardly noticeable, but like I said, for the price of new lens covers, it's no big deal. These are bright, clear binocs and with the extra-low dispersion glass and all the other high quality specs, it puts the Intrepid in a class with the high end binoculars. The extras should be as nice as the Eagle Optics package, but you do get their most excellent warranty. This package is like putting the Prom Queen in a potato sack, so who's looking at the dress?! Highly recommended, great value for a high end binocular.
Atlas for birding
Margaret from Poway, CA
I am a new birder and after using several other binoculars and reading many reviews, I took a chance and purchased the Intrepit. They have lived up to the reviews that I read and have improved my enjoyment of birding greatly and was within my budget. I highly recommend them.
Ted from Virginia
For the money I could not have done better, and I have to thank the staff at Eagle for recommending this purchase. I read complaints on the focus wheel being to slow, for me it is precise since I can read serial numbers on nameplates at a safe distance, say nothing of my fascination with birds. Every detail is clear from edge to edge, an old pair of 10x25 are permanently assigned to be battered up on a four wheeler. I have used them in foul weather with no adverse effects. Buy a pair even if you can afford the alpha glass, these will be the ones that you won't worry about damaging.
Em from NC
I love the binocs! I haven't had any more expensive then them before but I know that they have everything I need to do some good birding. They're super sharp, have a quick focus and work for a person with a small face.
Outstanding optics with minor construction issues
David from San Francisco
These are the first pair I ever bought, though I have used several other older and newer binocs. As I say, the optics are as brilliant as I have ever used, inlcuding Leica, EO Ranger, and Nikons. My wonderfully smart and brilliantly lovely girlfriend has the Eagle Optics Ranger 8x42 and the optics seem a little brighter on the Atlas, but it is difficult to really tell. I am not a pro and do not have a trained eye. I really like the feel of the open bridge design. The price break brought the Atlas very close to the Ranger, hence a much bigger % discount, so I went for it. I have glasses and the Eye relief adjustment allows perfect setting with no vignetting.
As for the manufacturing issues, there are three. The first, as noted else where are the front lense covers. COMPLETELY USELESS. PERIOD. They fall off when a butterfly flutters by. Also the Eye relief rotating cup thing-a-me's are very loose, so while intensely birding, they move. not good. Lastly, it is noticeably heavier than the Ranger. A harness would help out a lot.
Very good product
GWK from Lancaster, PA
Have had these binocs for 3 weeks and am enjoying them a lot. The optics are excellent - edge to edge clarity and brightness are way above anything else I have tried in this price range. The only negative I have is the focus knob which has more play than most others and which has a slight bit of stickiness when the binocs have not been used for a day or so. However, the optical qualities more than make up for this issue.
Norm from Yosemite
These new Atlas binocs are the best and most expensive, I have ever owned. Other than a little play in the focus knob, I would give them an excellent plus rating.
All the good reviews are right on!
Mary Lou from Harwich, MA
I am notorious for only buying brand name equipment. So it was amazing that I ordered the Atlas Optics Intrepid. After receiving an email from Eagle Optics about how popular this set of binoculars was, I read all of the (many) reviews. They were so overwhelmingly positive that I took a chance, and I am so glad I did. These are by far the best binoculars I have ever had, worth twice the price. They put my former Pentax and Nikon binocs (bought at approximately the same price) to shame. I can't say enough about the light and field of vision. I don't find the focusing speed a problem at all (I'm a birder). I highly recommend these binoculars!!
Atlas Optics 8x42 Intrepid
Chuck from Birmingham Al
Bought these to replace some 10x42's. They more than exceeded my expectations. Great field of view, fantastic color and comfortable. Many reviews point out that these are slower to
focus than liked. Agree, they are ! However, there is no overshooting. If you are pretty much in range, it does not present a problem. For the price, they can't be beat!
Acquired 10x and 8x and 7X bins in this line; they are amazing....good
whitneymuse from San Diego, CA
The only caution is that the above 8X require a very steady hand a Zen master's concentration holding them to your eyes; that's why the 7X are my favorite; they don't have the power but it's amazing how much you see with these. They are the best aids to sight I have ever used. Have the very popular Nikon Monarch 8X42 6.3 deg (that are in a lower class) and these EDs are an order of magnitude above them, it's a subjective order, admittedly, but it's real. A you have to "see" it to believe it. I believe the Jen-Ray is the same bin as these.
Rudy Kobosky from Pittsburgh, PA
The quality of the optics of these binos are incredible. Factor in the reasonableness of the price and purchase is a no-brainer. View is bright, color is amazing. Focus is a bit slow, but I rather like it. It's easier for a novice birder like me to get to a good focus - not a lot of playing around trying to get it "right". Construction appears good - no problems in the few weeks that I have had them. The only qualm I have is are the accessories - I have had trouble keeping the objective lens covers on (the fit is not tight enough on the lens) and the bag is, well, nothing special. However, neither of these two things take away from the beauty when looking through the binos. Besides, with the money I saved when compared to bigger named binos, I'll just buy new covers and a new bag...and I'll still be WAY ahead. HIGHLY recommended.
Best Glass for the Money
Kevin Barnes from Birmingham, AL
There's alot of debate about these being alpha level glass. In my opinion, they're not quite to that level but they are close and are the best glass I have seen for the money.
Atlas Optics Intrepid ED 8 x 42
Michael from Marietta, Ga
I have never had a pair of binoculars I liked more than the Atlas Optics Intrepid ED 8 x 42. I use them for birding and I get an excellent view. I am so very happy with these and I highly recommend them.
Kenneth S. Perlman from Chicago
As others have commented extensively about its performance, I'll confine myself to other aspects. I bought this 8x42 for my wife since I just bought a Zen Ray ED2 8x43 for myself. (at a higher price). They are supposedly built in the same Chinese factory and share many of the same features. The primary difference is that the Atlas Intrepid is silver prism and the ED2 is dielectric. I was surprised, however, that the Intrepids seem more comfortable to hold and use. They spec at 1/2 ounce lighter, but they feel lighter than that. Also, I seem to prefer the smooth rubber armoring over the Zen Ray raised dots on the side. While the Zen Rays have a more tapered eye piece, I also seem to like the Intrepid better. Also, one of the big features on the Zen Ray is supposed to be a faster focusing knob. Maybe, but there is a bit of wiggle in it and I again seem to prefer the Intrepid. I must say that the external markings, diopter markings and case, as well as the box itself seems classier for the Zens. All in all, at this price point, the Intrepids are quite a terrific buy.
Much better than Monarch 10x42 for birding
Diane L from Harrisonburg, VA
Ordered these to try after reading the recommendation on Mike's Digiscoping website. So far really like them and am amazed at value for the cost. A pair of Monarch 10x42 has served me well for my first year-plus of serious birding BUT left me wishing for a wider field of view, especially for warbler migration season. The Atlas 8x42, while a bit heavier, actually feel lighter than the Monarchs thanks to the supplied neoprene strap. They feel solid and are much brighter and sharper than the Monarchs. I wear glasses and have found the eye relief adequate -- more so than the Monarchs. The focus is, as noted in other reviews, a little slow and with a little roughness in places. But I've not yet found it cumbersome and only a couple of times have been annoyed by any significant delay (that when changing from REALLY close to distant focus or the reverse. On sale when I bought them, this may have been my best $310 bucks spent in quite some time!
Nothing better for the price--maybe twice the price!
Mark from PA
I bought a pair of these for a Christmas gift and checked them out before presenting them. All I can do is agree with previous reviews. These are amazing for the price. The focus is quite slow, especially at close distances, so they might be difficult to use for butterflies. But the color, contrast, brightness, and sharpness have to be seen to be believed.
Huge Bargain for the Buck
Brian Davis from Norman, OK
The Atlas Optics Intrepids blow everything in their price range out of the water- hands down. I had my sights on a new pair of Eagle Optics Rangers (as I had used an older pair for some time), but I ordered these too when I learned about them. The ED glass in the Intrepids is in a different class than the Rangers or any other binoc outside of the alpha-class. The image is extremely bright and sharp throughout, and field of view is expansive (one-third wider than the Rangers in the comparable 8x magnification). One will notice these are heavier than the Rangers, but fall neatly in the size range of top-dollar ED binocs. The only drawback is the relatively slow focusing speed, but this is only a minor issue when moving from very close targets to rather distant ones (the excellent depth of focus makes this moot for average birding distances). For the money, the Atlas Optics Intrepids absolutely cannot be beat. In fact, you aren't likely to find comparable glasses unless you triple or quadruple your budget.
Excellent Value Binoculars
Kate Templeton, MD from Madison, Wisconsin
I have had my Atlas Intrepid ED 8x42 binocuulars for about 2 months now and am very happy with them. I have used them for bird watching, astronomy and other nature observation. The images are very crisp and bright. The mechanics of the binocular are very good. I have used them side by side with some of the "alpha" binoculars and they turn in a very respectable performance. I own a 5" Astrophysics refractor, a 100mm binocular telescope and the Atlas binoculars. The instrument that I use the most? The Atlas binoculars!
Binocular Review of Atlas Intrepid October 2009
Greg from CA
I was the winner of the monthly Eagle Optics Newsletter contest.
I have used this binocular for:
My background is:
-stargazing – expert (I have seen all the Messier and Herschel I objects with binoculars)
-birding – just above beginner
-amateur telescope designer
The Atlas Intrepid 8x42 binoculars are very nice lightweight binoculars for birding and nature walks. They are a bit too light and have too small an aperture for optimal astronomy usage.
-Clean lightweight design
-Fits nicely in your hands
-Good near focus
-Nice design for rear lens protectors (variable width for people whose pupils are spaced differently, good breakaway design for one strap and solid fit on the other
-Too light for stargazing (not enough inertia to prevent wobble and aperture too small for younger dark adapted eyes)
-Front lens protectors fell off and got lost on first walk (no problems with rear ones)
-There is enough eye relief for eyeglass wearers, but barely. You can see to the edge, but you may have to work a bit to get both eyes lined up. More of a problem in dim light than in bright light.
-The pair I had seemed to have different polarizations for each eyepiece. When I looked at a wave washed rock the color was different for each side.
I DO like these binoculars! I plan to use them a lot.
In conclusion, be sure to sign up for legitimate contests. You might win!
A Remarkable Binocular
Dan Lawrence from Rapid City, SD
I was hesitant to try these binoculars even thought they were receiving good reviews and the staff at Eagle Optics recommended them. I was concerned that they couldn’t be as good as reported, especially at $359. After having trouble with a rather expensive pair of binoculars, which I ultimately returned (not eagle optics), I ordered these.
Fit and Finish:
Rubber armor is nicely fitted. Split hinge is firm yet not difficult to adjust. Eye cups are three position without grease and have a quality feel. Strap attachment brackets do not intrude into the hand hold area.
The focus wheel is smooth although there are a couple locations in the rotation a scraping sound is heard and felt. By moving my finger closer to the eyepiece side of the rather large focus knob, the rubbing isn’t as noticeable. This doesn’t really bother me. I suppose it might go away with use. Depth of field is very good. Rotations from near to infinity seem to be more than on some yet this doesn’t bother me either.
Diopter adjustment is below the right eyecup. Doesn’t lock yet has enough resistance to stay in place.
The provided objective tethered lens covers are on the loose side. If I lose them, I will order an aftermarket pair. No complaints about the rain cover. I haven’t attached the neck strap yet it appears to be standard issue.
I believe the specs say these are around 27 ounces. They feel lighter. They are comfortable to hold.
Image is very sharp with softness occurring in the outer 10%, I would say. Color is without any warm or cool bias. I compared these to a pair of original Pentax DCF WP 8x42 during low light. I have always thought highly of this Pentax binocular. The Atlas simply provided an undeniably brighter and sharper image. I am impressed. Many are concerned with chromatic aberration. My eyes don’t detect CA so I cannot comment on it.
I wear glasses and eye relief is on the marginal side. I find myself pressing my glasses in to gain a full image especially during low light conditions. I would like to have a little more eye relief. The lenses are located a fair amount below the eyecup plane in the fully seated position and some of the 17mm of stated relief is lost there. Eye relief often is a problem for me since my eyes are somewhat deep set. I suspect this wouldn’t be an issue for many eyeglass wearers.
Overall, these are outstanding binoculars and would be at a twice the price. With the excellent warranty Eagle Optics provides and the $359 price tag I would certainly recommend them.
OPTICS TO DIE FOR
Ken Kramer from Cincinnati, OH
I first tried the Ranger 8x42 and found them to be better than anything I had ever used before, but I wanted a wider field of view. A Sales Associate at EO suggested I try the Atlas Intrepid. Upon arrival I noticed that the case and the rubber lens caps seemed cheap but when I put the binoculars up to my eyes-WOW! The optics are incredible. I am not a pro but to my eyes the detail was crystal clear, the objects were brighter even in low light and the colors seemed more vivid and saturated. I was so impressed that I quickly ordered another pair for my wife and sent the Rangers back.