Williams Optics 10x50ED review
Sunday, 24 November 2013 | Ian
The Williams Optics 10x50EDs are quite something! I knew from what I had read, and the fact they weigh a 1.6Kg, that they were big, but I was still surprised at their size. For 10x50s they are huge! The prism housings (and one assumes the prisms) are huge as are the eyepieces. They exude a build quality and sturdiness that makes my old 12x60s look very “iffy”. The all important coatings look very good. The specification on web sites states "6.6 degrees" but on the binos themselves it says "6.3 degree" and I'm inclined to believe this as against a couple of marker stars they are not much over 6 degrees.
Despite their size and weight they are good to hold - because they fill the hands you get a good solid grip and the weight I've found steadies the shakes - at least for a while. Put them on a monopod or a tripod, however, and they are better again - which applies to just about any 10x50 + bino. Incidentally the WOs come packaged with their own sturdy tripod adaptor - this you could argue saves you at least £12- £15 and makes their real price nearer to a £190. Objective covers sit inside the optic tubes and neatly pop out but don’t get lost because they are attached. Similarly the eyepiece/rainguards covers are attached. Everything is brown rubber armoured - like they have been dipped in chocolate. The colour isn’t what I would have chosen (prefer green) but its what you get, its easy to live with, and its slowly growing on me.
Using them is very different from anything else I've used. The solid build extends to IPD adjustment and focussing. I have an IPD of about 65mm - you set them up and thats where they stay - similarly the eyepieces are focussed individually - and that where they stay - this is so good for astronomical purposes because once adjusted - you just take them out and you are using them immediately. Not so good for some terrestial pursuits though - for bird watching, anything quick moving will have long gone by the time you are focussed! The rubber eye cups were initially a bit of a disappointment, they looked a bit small but in reality work very well. The eyepiece lens is recessed well in so the eye relief is actually longer than it looks and for me using spectacles with the cup back they are OK, however the big plus for me is that I prefer to view without specs and so with the individual eyepieces focussed accordingly and eyecups up - they are really good. This is a very individual eyesight thing - so this may not be true for everybody.
Optically in my humble non technical opinion they are very good indeed. For some nights the moon made any reasonable assessment difficult - although I can say that there was some CA on the moon rim it was very minimal. Jupiter presented as a very obviously round object with maybe just a tiny amount of flare and three Galilean moons were clear specs. Later non-moonlit nights recently showed the Pleiades sisters set in a field of beautifully spec sharp minor stars - just stunning. The star field around Mirphak in Perseus similarly beautiful and sigma Persei shows up as a lovely orangey colour - in fact the colours shown through the binos is one of the very impressive things about them. M31 is an easy find, its nebulosity and bright centre standing out well. Similarly the whole sword of orion is an impressive sight with some quite clear nebulosity in M42 - of couse not the coloured picture most people imagine - but there none the less. These binoculars are quite the business and just great to use.
So - do I like them? You bet I do ! When I bought them - I thought £200 could buy me 6" Dob, or 102mm achro refractor, but you do indeed get what you pay for. Do I regret spending it on these humble binoculars. Nope - not for one minute.