Opticron MM4 Travel Scope – Review

Opticron MM4 Travel Scope - Review
Opticron MM4 Travel Scope – Review
As regular readers here will know, I suffer with back issues, so for me being able to travel light is important, so when Opticron asked if I would review their MM4 50 ED/45 travel scope, and the SDL v2 Zoom and HDF T zoom eyepieces, I thought it would be a great opportunity to see if a light weight scope would be a useful addition to my gear list.

 

Opticron MM4 Travel Scope – Review

 

When the huge box arrived, I was a little taken aback, but opening it the scope itself was packaged in a small cardboard box and I instantly wondered how it would cope in a real field test, taking it out of the box the thing was tiny! How could something this small really compete with their larger competitors? – Actually I’m not sure it is meant to really, it is meant to be small and useful for travel etc.

Specifications

 

Taken direct from the Opticron website.

Opticron MM4 Travel Scope:

Specifications50 ED50 ED/4560 ED60 ED/45
Product Code41225412264122741228
OG dia
(mm)
50506060
Min
Focus (m)
2.52.53.53.5
Length
(mm)
205205260260
Weight
(g)
615619720729
Price £ inc. VAT£329£329£429£429
  • Super-compact ED “extra low dispersion glass” objective
  • High contrast FMC optical system
  • Close focus to 2.5m (50mm), 3.5m (60mm)
  • Removable rubber objective lens cover
  • Telephotoadapter option
  • 30 year guarantee

 

SDL v2 Zoom Eyepiece:

5-group, 8-element ‘super’ zoom, the SDLv2 offers superior cross-field definition with exceptional viewing comfort. Waterproof and fitted with a rotating eyecup. Supplied in soft padded case. 10 year guarantee.

Eyepiece
Code
40936M
Magnification (50)12-36x
Magnification
(60)
15-45x
Price £ inc. VAT£299

HDF T Zoom Eyepiece:

High definition eyepieces with long eye relief. Fixed magnification models are wide angle (except 40861). Models marked (*) feature alloy twist type retractable eyecup. 10 year guarantee.

Eyepiece
Code
40862M*
Magnification (50)12-36x
Magnification
(60)
15-45x
Price £ inc. VAT£199

 

Opticron Eyepieces side by side SDL v2 (left) HDF T (right)
Opticron Eyepieces side by side SDL v2 (left) HDF T (right)

In Use

 

Actually using the scope out in the field is the real test though isn’t it, they can look great on paper but how do they measure up when that distant wader is pecking away on the far bank of a reservoir or that distant raptor circling high in the clouds. Well in the few weeks I have had access to the MM4 I’ve been pretty impressed.First off the added weight in my backpack is minimal, I’ve not really noticed it really, I guess the extra 619 grams of the scope and extra weight of the eyepieces doesn’t add much, and certainly not enough to push my back to its, admittedly low, limits,useful when on one of my many Milton Keynes Walks or beyond.

More importantly the scope and eyepieces work really well, the zoom facilities of both are of course extremely useful, although as with all zooms you do lose quite a bit of light at the highest magnifications, and you certainly need a stable tripod to use them. But I have been able to pick out the subtle eye ring of a winter plumage Little Ringed plover at distance.

How does it compare to the bigger scopes out there, well, as you’d imagine the light gathering in a small scope like this is never going to match that of larger aperture scopes, but as with most modern optics there isn’t much to fault. At low zooms the light is perfect, the higher you zoom the less light you have but it is still excellent quality.

I didn’t notice any fringing, but then unless it is extreme I usually don’t. And both eyepieces felt comfortable, with decent eye relief.

 

Opticron MM4 Travel Scope with SDL v2 Zoom Eyepiece

Design of the Opticron MM4 Travel Scope

 

I like the looks and feel of the scope, the black rubber armour feels tough, and makes hand holding possible (when you combine with the light weight), but my one gripe is when you add eye pieces the shape really changes and the scope becomes a little top heavy. It also means having the lens attached while carrying in a bag is a little awkward. Perhaps a straight through scope would have been easier than a 45 degree one, but I’m used to the angled scopes.
This doesn’t in anyway distract from the use of the scope mind you it is purely a practical, carrying, issue. Of course I could have carried with the eye piece off and attached in the field, which might have been easier.
Opticron MM4 with HDF T Zoom Eyepiece
Opticron MM4 with HDF T Zoom Eyepiece

 

Comparing Eyepieces

Having had the opportunity to use and compare two different eye pieces was great, but I can honestly say I struggled to see any noticeable difference between the two lenses optically, and with a £100 difference, I do have to wonder why. I know the SDL v2 is waterproof, and I guess that means different sealing but in terms of visual performance I could see no noticeable difference.The SDL v2 is heavier, and larger, but is waterproof and comes with a nice padded case, the HDF fits better and is lighter, but no mention of waterproofing. The eye relief on the SDL v2 is longer, and there is a larger opening in the end you are looking through, but unless comparing directly you are unlikely to notice.

I actually think the HDF looks better on the scope, it seems to fit tighter having a narrower base, but looks should never be the deciding factor. My advice would be to choose the eyepiece that suits you better.

Opticron SDL v2 (left) and Opticron HDF T (right) opening apertures

Price

 

When you think, you can have the MM4 and the HDF for a combined price of £528 (£628 with the SDL v2) this is hard to beat.

 

Conclusion

 

Is the Opticron MM4 Travel Scope going to compete with the big boys of Swaro or Leica? Well no, but not much does, and anyway those things cost well over £2K, no what this is a scope designed for travel or those like me who are looking to have a scope but not carry one (if that makes sense). The light weight nature and small size are ideal to throw in a suitcase if you are off on holiday or sit easily in a backpack but not take up large amounts of room.

The optics are brilliant for something so small and I now have to convince Zoe that buying one would be a good idea, for my back you know!

 

You can find more wildlife and outdoor related reviews on my Reviews page.

 

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2 Replies to “Opticron MM4 Travel Scope – Review

  1. This sounds like a good bit of kit for hiking long distances and going on holiday, like you say. And the price makes it a good buy for someone just starting out #triedtested

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