Back in 2017, I reviewed a fantastic pair of binoculars from Kite Optics, and have been using them for spotting and watching wildlife ever since. They were the Lynx HD 8x30, and have proved to be essential kit for me, coping with the demands of wildlife photography, in all weather conditions from roasting hot days in the summer, with dust and sand blowing in the breeze, through windy and very wet sessions around the west coast of Scotland, bouncing off rocks and being dragged through seaweed as I have crawled closer to otters, or caked in snow, as I have photographed mountain hares in the Scottish Highlands.
In September this year (2019) I got my hands on the new version of these binoculars, the Kite Lynx HD+ 8x30 and have been using them as much as possible since. I wanted to see if Kite could improve on a pair of binoculars that I rate so highly already.
Optically I believe nothing much has changed from the non-plus versions, though the coating applied to the glass lenses has been updated, so is now using something called MHR Advance + coating, which is the best multi-coating available from Kite, as is the coating applied to the prism (Bak-4, dielectric, phase corrected) within the binoculars.
According to Kite, there is a marginal transmission increase. Perhaps it was the rose-tinted spectacles I was wearing when I tested the new pair against the old, but I thought the new ones were slightly sharper too, especially towards the edge of the view.
These bins still offer close focusing that has been wonderful when watching insects during the summer months with the older pair. And features a remarkably wide field of view, ideal for scanning large areas, such as lochs when looking for otters.
The new ones have a redesigned eyecup which has three stages raising up from being completely down, and as they click into place, seem less inclined to roll back down. And the material used is different too. It's still rubbery, so comfortable to press against your eye-sockets, but sturdier feeling than the old pair.
I have found that I actually like using the bins with the eyecups on the first click up, as it provides an incredibly wide field of view, that is bright and sharp. With the old pair, to have this view I would have had to hold the bins slightly away from my eyes, which isn't always easy to do in blustery conditions.
The material used for the focus wheel is also, in my opinion, better. The previous model was quite slippery at times to turn in inclement conditions, and occasionally I found the rubber snagged on the binocular body, so resisted turning. The + model has a plastic focusing wheel, and has been perfect in all weathers thus far.
While the eyecup covers and the strap are pretty much the same as the older pair, the overall feel of the binoculars has improved. They have the feel of the sort of upmarket material found in high-end cars on the dashboards, that hard-wearing, textured, grippy material, that just seems to ooze quality. And I even like the red metallic ring around the one barrel, underlining the KITE OPTICS brand.
So Kite have taken an already superb pair of binoculars, and improved them in all the right areas, to produce what must be one of the very best pairs out there in the market today. Everything that was good in the original pair has been either carried through to this pair, or improved upon.
At the time of writing this review, the Birder's Store have these wonderful binoculars at just over £500 with a free harness. Anyone considering investing in a pair of top quality binoculars should have a look through these first.
Hat's off to Kite, they've managed to improve what I considered to be an almost perfect pair of bins, with the new Lynx HD+ 8x30.