The Olympus 10×50 DPS II is a porro prism budget pair of Binoculars. Its low cost and easy availability have made it a popular choice among birders. I have had mine for nearly 3 years now and have used it in almost every type of birding situation. Read on to find out if this pair of bins if for you!
Build Quality and Handling: The Olympus 10X50 sits in the heavyweight category among binoculars, weighing in at nearly 900g. However, it feels quite solid in hand and mine has survived more than a few bumps and falls!
The fairly large physical size is a plus point for me as I have large hands. However, those with smaller hands may find it difficult to hold the bins steadily or access the focusing wheel. Holding it steady by the way, is easier said than done. Though the magnification of 10X has been helpful in picking out birds in the field, it does tend to cause shake and jitter. This happens especially so when there is a rarity in the distance and my hands are shaking with excitement!
Performance in the Field: Having taken these binoculars through the vast grasslands of Kaziranga, the hill forests of Shillong, the reedbeds around the Yamuna, the wetlands at Sultanpur and Basai I can say that its performance has been quite impressive. There are countless birds that I would have missed had I been using more generic 8X binoculars.
On the other hand, there are a few shortcomings. Optical quality is not great off center. In fact it is quite blurry around the edges. The high magnification makes it hard to catch fast moving subjects like Swallows in flight. The minimum focusing distance is about 18 feet…though it’s not much of an issue for me as I’d rather have my camera out for such close birds. Another drawback of a high magnification is the effort required to obtain sharp focus. It does take a while to rotate the wheel from one extreme to the other.
These binoculars really shine when used for a distant, stationary subject in most lighting conditions. The porro prism design gives it a fairly wide field of view and the subject is very sharp indeed when placed at the center.
Verdict: The Olympus 10X50 is a highly affordable pairs of bins that give you a real bang for the buck. Go for it if:
1.) You bird mostly in wetlands, grasslands, open forest and want to use it for distant subjects
2.) Have large hands and don’t mind the weight
However, do consider other binoculars if you want good views of relatively close and fast moving warblers, birds in flight or fidgety birds of dense forest.