Whenever I go to a concert with my friends, I take an extra pair of binoculars for them to get a better view and share the excitement that I experience.
Sometimes, when I’d ask my friends if they want to use my binoculars, they’d say, “No, thanks.” They think they can get a better view with their naked eyes.
I think the reason they think binoculars don’t work well is that they’ve never used a good pair.
Many binoculars are bought for sports or concerts, not for birding or stargazing. People use them because they can get a great view of the players or musicians without shelling out big bucks for expensive seats.
Unfortunately, many choose cheap binoculars because they don’t know what to look for or how to compare models and often end up with an inferior pair. This can lead to a frustrating experience at any type of event. To make matters worse, they might assume that all binoculars make for a frustrating experience.
In most cases, using cheap, inferior binoculars is worse than using nothing at all.
That’s why one might hear, “No, thanks.”
If you give these folks a quality pair of binoculars and let them experience a brilliant view, they may be in for a major paradigm shift.
When I suggest that my friends try my binoculars, they seem reluctant at first. However, after looking through my good binoculars, they’re surprised by the clear view. Now I just need to convince them to give them back to me!
The concept of Hinode A-series
About a decade ago, the market was full of inferior compact binoculars such as 20×20 or even 100×20 (this magnification was way too high).
You may think that magnification is the most important factor when choosing binoculars for concerts and sports events: the higher the magnification, the better; right?
Your desire to get a better view of your favorite musician or athlete is understandable. However, you need to learn the downsides of high magnification.
Generally speaking, high magnification causes a darker, blurry image with a narrow field of view.
Add to that, the difficulty in keeping the binoculars steady will be accentuated. This can be especially annoying.
The most popular configuration of compact binoculars is 8×20, which I think is still a little too high.
To solve these problems, you’ll need to find some nice low-powered compact binoculars.
Low magnification binoculars can produce a bright, crisp image with a wide field of view. This makes tracking an object or people a snap, even if it’s your first time using binoculars.
Low magnification also reduces the achromatic aberration that causes color fringes and reduces resolution.
Even though your image is smaller, low magnification has many advantages.
Hinode’s great achievement
Some retailers take advantage of consumers’ ignorance.
Hinode Optics, however, launched its first low-powered compact binoculars, 5×20-A1, about ten years ago, while at the same time educating people about the advantages of low powered binoculars.
Since then, more and more people in Japan have learned what good quality compact binoculars are like.
You may think 5× is too low, but 5× really is high enough for sports events and concerts.
This picture was taken through the Hinode 5×21 at a football stadium. I could clearly recognize each player.
As consumers get wiser, toy binoculars have gradually been driven out of the market, which I believe is one of Hinode’s great achievements.
Hinode has launched their 5th generation of A-series, 5×21-A5. They have made progress not only in optical design but also in user-friendliness.
Hinode 5×21-A5: it’s time to see low-powered compact binoculars in a new light.
Hinode successfully reduced the weight.
Compared with the previous version, the A4, Hinode has successfully reduced the weight by 50g. As a result, the A5 weighs 215g, which is light even for a compact pair.
There is appropriate friction on all movable parts.
There is a white dot in the zero position of the diopter ring so it is visible in the dark.
Isn’t it annoying to put a string of the strap through the hole?
It takes much less time to put the strap through the holes of the body. You can also attach the ocular lens cover to the strap so you don’t lose it.
When you read the specifications of binoculars, you should remember that most of the figures are theoretical, not by actual measurement.
In other words, really crappy binoculars might have the same specifications as flagship models of top brands, such as Zeiss.
However, the difference in quality between inferior pairs and superb ones is stunning.
Hinode has paid special attention to details that are not seen in the specifications.
- The high-quality Porro prisms can produce a bright image.
With compact binoculars, the Mini Porro Prism design has several advantages over Roof Prisms. Mini Porro binoculars are already compact and light, and they are much less expensive than the Roof Prism design.
As is widely known, Porro Prisms can produce a bright image as the light is reflected by ‘total reflection,’ which means no loss in light transmittance.
- The generous eyepoint
The eyepoint of the A5 is so generous that anyone can easily get a full field of view. No matter how good the optical design is, if the eyepoint is short, you’d need to keep your eyes plastered to the eyepieces and in the perfect position. No thanks!
Even children who haven’t used binoculars can easily get a full field of view.
- Low-magnification gives you a wide field of view.
The A5 has 55 degrees in apparent field of view and as wide as 11 degrees in the real field of view. If you stretch your arm out and make a fist, the image circle is about the same diameter as your fist (see below).
This wide field of view enables anyone to instantly track an object.
- The long eye-relief enables eyeglass wearers to get a full view.
The eye-relief of the A5 is 16mm, which is plenty for eyeglass wearers to get a full field of view.
Also, those who use the A5 without glasses can quickly adjust the height of the eyecups to comfortably suit them.
This user-friendliness is not in the specifications, but it’s very important.
Why shouldn’t you buy the A5
I haven’t found any major drawbacks to the A5 except that they are not water-proof.
For me, I don’t want water-proof binoculars for sports or concerts because waterproofing would make them much heavier. Being lightweight is a great feature that I wouldn’t want to give up.
Hinode Optics, listening to the feedback from customers, has been making incremental changes since they first launched the A1. As a result, the A5 has become so sophisticated that there is very little to complain about.
I want to recommend the A5 to those who go to concerts or sporting events. Even if you can’t get a seat close to the stage, you’ll still have an excellent view.
There are two color variations: white and brown.
The A5 enhances your vision in a way that will let you experience events like never before.
Also, children who are interested in birds or astronomy would love to receive the A5 as a present.
If you’re a binocular enthusiast, I suggest that you check out the ED version of the A5 (5×21-A+), for an image that is almost completely free of achromatic aberration (see below)!
For further information, please read this: Hinode 5×21-A+: flagship low-powered compact binoculars with ED glass
Should you wait for an updated model?
You might think that it’s not a good time to get the A5 in case a newer version is launched.
But, the A5 has already gotten to the point where not only novices but also most enthusiasts are satisfied with its quality.
For great low-powered compact binoculars, now is a good time to get your hands on the A5!