It was with this in mind that I decided to purchase a cheap pair of bins to keep under the driver's seat for emergencies. Having spent a bit of time researching what was out there I decided to take a chance on a pair of Tom Lock 2 8x42's priced at an incredible £99.00....yes, that's right...£99.00! I'd read some very good reviews about them and just had to see what the fuss was about. I also happened to have a £20 Amazon gift voucher to sweeten the deal even more so for just £79.00 I secured a pair and tried them recently at the Pallas's Warbler gig at Brean. Well, to say I was surprised was an understatement. I've never been able to afford top brand optics, with a young family to think about (and fund) they are way out of my range and let's face it, we've all met birders with £2000.00 bins dangling round their necks who couldn't tell a coal tit from capercaillie - it's certainly not the rule that expensive optics are going to improve your fieldcraft or ID skills! So anyway, here they are:
|Very average looking but punch |
well above their weight.
|Tom Lock 2 bins. A steal at £99 and|
worth a punt.
I won't waffle about how sharp the image is or how decent the contrast is or how light they are in the hands and fully waterproof etc. That's all been said here. No, they're not perfect and if you were to compare them side-by-side with a pair of Swaros, Leicas or Zeiss of course you'll notice a difference but I don't think you will see £1800 worth of difference! Believe me for £99.00 you can't go wrong, these are nearly 'chuck away' bins - if you drop them you won't spend too long crying about it. But they will bring a smile to your face and you'll be just under £2000 better off t'boot. In fact I'm so impressed that they've become my main pair, relegating my Bushnell Legend HD's to the 'under driver seat' position. Now I'm just waiting for them to bring out spotting scopes.
Note: I have heard the Tom Lock 2 10x42's don't have a great field of view compared to more expensive models but the 8x42's are great. The above ramblings are based entirely on the 8x42's.