Alpen Wings ED Compact Binocular
by Diane Porter
Sometimes you want an extra binocular that you can just have along for emergencies, when you wouldn't have brought your main binocular.
Something small and lightweight.
With good optical quality.
And not too expensive. Under $200.
The Alpen Wings ED has a lot going for it. It's tiny, only 3.8 inches long. At 8 ounces, you won't mind adding it to your pocket or purse. And it won't break the bank.
An unusual feature of the Alpen Wings ED is the focus knob at the far end of the bridge. You may find you turn it with a finger other than your index finger.
Although the focus knob seems a bit stiffer than I like, it doesn't have any slop or backlash, so it's easy to get a precise focus.
Eyecups and eye relief
The Alpen Wings ED has 16mm of eye relief, which is enough that it works both for peope who wear glasses and those who do not. The eyecups turn twist up very neatly and smoothly, with an indent in case you need a position halfway up.
The two hinges allow you to fold up the binocular into a compact position, so it would fit in a men's shirt pocket. An advantage of the two hinges is that no one will ever find it difficult to see through both barrels at the same time.
That can be a great problem for a person with close-set eyes, and it can make most binoculars unusable by small children. But this is a binocular you could share with your kids, or even give one to a child who is mature enough to treat it with the respect that good optics deserve.
Although this is an inexpensive pocket binocular, it has a well-engineered and well-made diopter adjustment. It's at the base of the right eyepiece. It has a scale so help you replace the adjustment to your liking if someone accidentally turns it for you. A red dot makes it easy to identify the center position.
I found the image quality quite acceptable. The binocular has fully multi-coated lenses, phase coatings, and silver metallic coatings on the prisms, to enhance brightness.
The Alpen Wings ED is waterproof, sealed, and nitrogen filled, to prevent internal fogging. The rubber armoring makes the binocular comfortable to hold and protects it against shocks.
It is not tripod adaptable, but at 8 ounces it probably doesn't need much support!
You are protected by Alpen's No-Fault, No-Problem Lifetime Warranty.
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Copyright 2015 Michael and Diane Porter