Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Review: T3 Trailerfinder Binoculars

Using a blind for cover

So it's a wet and dull Tuesday morning at Skylarks Nature Reserve in Nottinghamshire and I'm testing out two products: the T3 Trailfinder and Macwet Gloves - however I've put them into separate posts, so if you're interested in seeing the gloves review click here. In a way the wet weather was good as it meant I could really test out the gear and see how it handles a wet day.

Striking my best 'pretend to be looking at something' pose 

Primarily I'm a photographer so, when spotting wildlife, it's normally through a lens rather than bins but the camera is put aside for my guiding and photography workshops. As a rule, I tend not to use my camera on them (unless something amazing happens, then it's out of the bag in seconds) as it's my job to get the client the images they are happy with, whether it's getting off auto or looking for kingfishers and water voles.

Now my 'Oh I've seen something' pose 

The T3 is lightweight at 742g, which means it's no bother to carry around my neck, in its bag (which can fit into pockets nicely) or fixed on to a belt. I've gone for the 8x42 model as it offers a wide enough view to spot wildlife while I can still hold it steady and direct clients to point their camera in the direction of said critter. It also comes in 10x42 and the more compact 8x25 & 10x25 models.

Adjusting the bins

Despite the day's dull, wet weather, it coped well with the rain and low light levels still giving me an excellent and sharp viewpoint of the rather soggy wildlife. Though the wildlife was a fair way off on this day, the bins can focus up to 1.5m close in, ideal if you were after species like dragonflies or butterflies.

Hanging down, the low weight is a advantage

 The eye-pieces are adjustable, as is the focus, but this is stiff enough so that it's unlikely to be knocked and come out of place easily. They come in very natural colours and don't cost an arm and leg at £139.00 from the Opticron website they are on more of the budget end for decent binoculars.

The new blue steel?  

Opticron are, as you may have guessed, an optical company so they don't specialise in photographic gear. However there's no reason why it can't be applied to cameras. The mounts are designed for scopes but I tested out a couple of their mounts with a camera in mind, namely the universal mount which as well as fences and gates can more or less be attached to anything it fits on, like trees or rock edges.

The grip was excellent even with the rain 

It saves carrying a tripod around, though of course there are limitations in that you need something nearby to fix it to so I would use this on more of a pre-planned shoot where I know there's something nearby to fix it to and is perfect for remotely triggered photography or trail cameras.

The rain was relentless so retreating to the car provided some cover

The other mount I tried out was the car window mount. Now a long lens would have been better to test this out but (rather ironically for the day's weather) I mostly do underwater photography, which doesn't merit a 500mm, so for the sake of testing I was stuck with a kit lens but 300mm + would be better in car hide situations. I was quite surprised how sturdy they are and its being on a ball head made it easy to adjust positions.

Using a QR plate as well meant it could be detached easily

I can see multiple uses for it including elderly or disabled photographers, or people with mobility issues who can still get great images from the comfort of a (mostly) dry car. Many car parks in nature reserves have lots of wildlife. Loch Garten, for example, in the Cairngorms has crested tits right in the car park!

Overall I would recommend any of the equipment I tested out as it worked well in the wet weather and is simple to use at a reasonable cost. For more equipment visit the Opticron website

Jack Perks

Facebook: Jack Perks Photography


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