I'll most likely spread things over a couple of posts.
First, the binoculars.
Hawke Optics Sapphire ED 10x42. Like these:
I'm very happy with them. I can't really do a proper review, as they are the first set of binoculars I've looked through since being a kid.
What I can say is that when I look through them, I see a big, bright image, in which I can (personally) detect no distortion, and no chromatic aberration. Well, no CA at focus. A white bird on black water shows some delightful extra colour when out of focus, but this disappears entirely when in focus.
They are around £400, so maybe if I looked through some 'alpha' bins, I'd see the difference, and come back to these a little deflated. But without that comparison to be made, I can't fins any fault with these at all.
Also, they feel very robust in the hand. A good weight to give some confidence in qu…