Arnhem AEB413

18 October 2014, Meijendel, Wassenaar, the Netherlands

© 2018 by Vincent van der Spek

EDEN XP 10x42

- Optically surprisingly good
- Sweet price range

Since I'm in the fortunate position to save a little bit of money every now and then, I've used upmarket bins for ages. I was therefore curious to test a more affordable pair: the Eden XP 10x42 (prize: € 279). I never heard of Eden before, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I received these made in China bins. To cut it short: I'm really surprised by its performance.

First surprise, when I open the package: these bins look smart and well-built. They are a bit smaller than my own  pair, and with 653 grams they weigh a little less. They fit well into the hand. The neck strap - though a bit short - is comfortable: it's broad and it stretches. These bins feel like they can survive a clumsy birder like me. If they perform less well mechanically over the years I don't know (some say they do, others say they don't), but according to this Dutch forum thread the only supplier in the Netherlands (Knives and Tools) provides excellent service. Combined with a 25 year warranty that's a comforting thought.

I couldn't resist to have a look through them while I was still at home. Second surprise. I can get a sharp image of my own two feet. Hence, the close focus is comparable to my good 'ol top notch bins. This makes the Eden useful for both bird and insect watching.

Third surprise: they are waterproof. I was hesitant to test this on bins in this price range, but I did anyway. Well, they passed the test! According to the specifications these bins are filled with nitrogen, which prevent them from steaming up in harsh conditions.

I tested the optical performance on five occasions, during several types of winter weather: sunny, cloudy and rainy, and both on an unusually warm day and on a day with temperatures below zero.

Fourth surprise: the angle is nearly as wide as on my own bins. Especially for a vis migger like me that really is important.

Fifth surprise: the clarity is way beyond expectation. And I don't mean "for bins in this price category" - no, they are seriously bright. It's not the ED glass of the high end market brands of course, but the colours looked good in all weather types. The contrast also approaches that of more expensive bins. Only in extreme light conditions, like at dusk, or with birds in the middle of a bush on the forest floor on a very dark day, or with backlight the difference in contrast and colour with high end market bins is evident. But in the most common light conditions these bins perform very well.


 

The sharpness is also good, though in distant birds it looses some of it. The edges are a bit less sharp than I'm used to, which, especially after a full morning, causes a bit of a "restless" image, but in general they are pleasant to use. My biggest comment would be the depth of field. Focussing is really sensitive. When I scan through a flock of gulls, I have to refocus nearly every new bird I check. The same applies for birds in flight: I constantly move the focussing wheel to keep a sharp image, which is a bit distracting when I try to establish the tail pattern of a putative 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull that passes me (and refuses to land). But in all, during the days I tested these bins, I was really happy to use them. I always carried a small and older model of a well-known brand in my work bag, my "just in case" bins so to speak (that I need surprisingly often). But since the Eden has a wider angle and is actually brighter, I've now swapped them: that's how much I like these bins.

Conclusions
For those in need of an extra pair of bins (for on the window pane, in the car, at work etc), or for those on a smaller budget looking for best value for money: Eden bins are a very good choice. They perform surprisingly well. And not with "
given the price" added, no they are good bins on their own, for a sweet prize.

Ordering and specifications

Knives and Tools are the supplier. For the Netherlands, see here. Outside the Netherlands, see here.