Eschenbach Glamour 3x25 opera glasses review

Is this ultra-portable, retro-styled German-made viewing aid suitable for the theatre, concerts, and sporting events worth further investigation?

5 Star Rating
Eschenbach Glamour 3x25
(Image: © Gavin Stoker /.Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Classic-in-appearance German-made binoculars/opera glasses marrying a fairly modest 3x magnification with a usefully bright 25mm objective lens. While they may look a bit flashy for a trip to the pantomime, those who like getting dressed up to the nines for a trip to the theatre have found a reasonably priced yet premium-feel viewing accessory. Though personally a little fussy looking for our tastes, we were impressed by the metal build and operation of the device, and, from a position in the stalls, arguably a 3x magnification is all we need to be able to clearly pick up the facial expression of performers and get marginally closer than the budget for our actual seats may afford.

Pros

  • +

    Small and compact

  • +

    Classic retro-styled design

  • +

    Premium feel, metal build quality

  • +

    Inter-pupillary distance is adjustable

Cons

  • -

    3x magnification feels a little modest

  • -

    Unabashedly old-fashioned design is love it or hate it

  • -

    Premium-priced compared to more plastic-y alternatives

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Buying theatre or gig tickets – never mind the opera – is expensive enough. So here’s a thought; opt for the cheaper seats and, if you do feel you’re too far way from the action on stage, make use of a pair of opera glasses, or theatre binoculars. Enter the classic-looking, roof prism-style Eschenbach Glamour 3x25. 

Resembling a more elaborate and dare we suggest ‘posh’ version of the basic fixed focus opera glasses that we can sometimes find attached to the back of the seat in front of us when on a trip to the theatre, this aluminum construction viewing aid initially feels both solid and premium, as well as looking elegant. But is its own performance anything to ‘sing’ about? Read on to find out…

Specifications

(Image credit: Gavin Stoker /.Digital Camera World)

Magnification: 3x

Objective lens diameter: 25mm

Field of view at 1000m: 140m approx

Closest focusing distance: Not given 

Eye relief: 11mm

Weight: 154g

Dimensions: 92 x 52 x 29mm

Key features

(Image credit: Gavin Stoker /.Digital Camera World)

Compared to Chinese-made, ultra-compact plastic-y alternatives such as the lower-priced Carson OV-410, the aluminium zinc alloy construction of the Eschenbach Glamour 3x25 is a noticeable step up in terms of quality. Build quality that is. Although some may describe the gold and black livery of our review sample as somewhat gaudy, others will find it eye-catchingly pretty, and, despite the small size, the metal framework ensures it feels like a device of substance – 154g to be exact – when resting in the palm. Like other ultra-compact rivals, the Eschenbach Glamour 3x25 is roughly the width and length of a packet of playing cards, which means it will slip easily into a jacket pocket or ladies clutch bag; it’s convenient as well as classy, then.

Accessories include a soft black velvet feel carry pouch, rather than the faux leather pouch referred to in its online listing, a lens cloth plus a woven gold and black metal chain that arrives already attached to the binoculars. Though curiously its manufacturer’s description suggests it’s not detachable, it can in fact be detached via its key-ring style loop if we wish to avoid looking like a 1920s dame, or a top-hatted toff at the races. Or we might be quite happy to let the binocular/opera glasses dangle about our neck and keep our hands free to munch popcorn or ice cream in the stalls.

Build and handling

(Image credit: Gavin Stoker /.Digital Camera World)

Described by its manufacturer as a ‘decorative companion’ for a trip to view the arts, we can tell the accent is as much on appearance as performance. A relatively modest 3x magnification married to its 25mm objective lens is supposed to enable a relatively wide field of view, allowing us to bring performers closer from our seated position while affording us with the ability to follow the wider action on stage. Of course, a more powerful magnification than is provided here would introduce the possibility of a shaky image and, true enough, we were able to hold the Eschenbach Glamour 3x25 nice and steady, while the view provided is impressively clear. The relatively modest spec here has also enabled the compact build, which is also essential as we’re aiming to be able to use these unobtrusively indoors, without elbowing or distracting the person sat next to us during the show.

Though the action here is quite stiff and the travel somewhat limited, the Eschenbach Glamour 3x25 does actually feature a central folding mechanism, so the distance between the eyepieces can be adjusted to better match our own eyes.

Versus

The Eschenbach Glamour 3x25 binocular is slightly heavier than more affordable examples including the modernistic and minimalistic Carson 4x10 Operaview binocular. What one sacrifices in terms of magnification it makes up for in brighter objective lens size. Whereas the Carson alternative is plastic-y and lightweight in feel, these have a bit more to them at 154g in weight, while not being prohibitively weighty by any means. We also preferred the smooth focus wheel on the Eschenbach binocular, as opposed to the stiff focus on the Carson rival. That said the Carson is typically less expensive overall as well as being less ostentatious, so there will be some who prefer an altogether less fussy approach, while saving themselves money better spent on drinks in the interval into the bargain.

Performance

Eschenbach Glamour 3x25

(Image credit: Gavin Stoker /.Digital Camera World)

The Eschenbach Glamour 3x25 certainly looks the part for a trip to the West End and the provided neck strap as opposed to side handle at least means these opera glasses / binocular can be used hands-free. Unusually there’s no rubber surround to the eyepieces here, which means we’re forced to have the cold metal pressed against our eyelids during the show, not that this is a deal breaker. While some other reviewers have been disappointed with the quality for the price, we actually came away impressed by the viewing quality, even in the dim. Granted, a 3x magnification doesn’t actually get us a massive amount closer to the action than we already are, but from the perspective of the cheap seats, anything is better than nothing.

Verdict

Eschenbach Glamour 3x25

(Image credit: Gavin Stoker /.Digital Camera World)

Looking and feeling like a premium albeit ultra-compact viewing device thanks to its lightweight yet solid aluminum alloy construction, the Eschenbach Glamour 3x25 is the ideal accessory for those who want a glitzy accouterment to match their own black tie theatre or opera-going outfit. For watching sports or a gig it feels a little ostentatious, but then there will be others that love it for that self-same fact. Sure there are cheaper alternatives that will better suit those on a budget, but the Eschenbach Glamour 3x25 has more obvious gifting potential – perhaps for the theater goer who already has everything.

Check out our guide to the best opera glasses. Also, see our other binocular guides:
Best budget binoculars
Best binoculars for kids
Best binoculars
Best night vision binoculars

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Gavin Stoker

Gavin has over 30 years’ experience of writing about photography and television. He is currently the editor of British Photographic Industry News, and previously served as editor of Which Digital Camera and deputy editor of Total Digital Photography


He has also written for a wide range of publications including T3, BBC Focus, Empire, NME, Radio Times, MacWorld, Computer Active, What Digital Camera and the Rough Guide books.


With his wealth of knowledge, Gavin is well placed to recognize great camera deals and recommend the best products in Digital Camera World’s buying guides. He also writes on a number of specialist subjects including binoculars and monoculars, spotting scopes, microscopes, trail cameras, action cameras, body cameras, filters and cameras straps.