Alpen WINGS Field Test with Tom Hallett

Editor’s Note: Tom Hallett of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the field naturalist for Alpen Optics, the makers of fine spotting scopes and binoculars.

On a recent trip I had a chance to field test a pair of new Alpen binoculars. This is always great fun, especially when they exceed my expectations like the new WINGS ED did. I selected the 8x42 #592 model.

The first thing I noticed even before I looked through them was the very light 21-ounce weight. This is due in part to the design, referred to as an Open-Hinge design which means that the two barrels of the binoculars are attached at each end and not in the middle. Some may be familiar with this design as used by Swarovski.

WINGS review

My excitement only grew as I started to look through the WINGS. The ED glass lived up to its reputation of being very bright and clear, with exceptional edge to edge resolution. The color fidelity was right on. They are fully multi-coated and PXA phase correction coated, all adding to the outstanding view.

ED stands for “extra low dispersion” glass. In the making of the glass, fluorite is added creating the best in color fidelity and contrast in all lighting conditions. WINGS has everything you would expect from the highest quality binoculars…long eye relief, twist up eye piece, waterproof sealed and nitrogen filled, rubber armoring, deluxe travel case, wide neck strap, and of course, the Alpen lifetime warranty.

I think this binocular should be considered a quality birding binocular for any level of expertise from a casual backyard birder to a serious lister. At a price of around $400 this is one of the best values in ED binoculars on the market. The WINGS design also comes in non-ED glass, but we’ll save that for another day.