Some thoughts on the 2nd Pannonian Bird Experience

It was the second time I made a visit to the Pannonian Bird Experience held three weeks ago in Illmitz at the Information Center of the Nationalpark Neusiedlersee Seewinkel. It was a great opportunity for all those who couldn’t afford a visit to the very well known and recognized British Birdwatching Fair held every year in England. 

I was also excited, especially, by the new optics I have never ever tested or tried. Zeiss, KOWA and Swarovski was displaying their excellent products but Nikon and Leica and Minox didn’t thought worth to promote their optical solutions for birdwatchers and nature lovers of Central Europe. I was more than disappointed by this which was probably due to the low number of visitors compared to BBF(?). Anyway it was a shame in my honest opinion.


Of course not only optical products but artists and NGOs were exhibiting their portfolio. © György Szimuly

Another disappointment was clearly an organisational mistake. Testing or trying an optical product, especially a spotting scope, is quite impossible indoor. Last year many kind of spotting scopes were set on the “balcony” of the hall and on the observation tower which made us, visitors, possible to spot on birds or whatever we wanted to see. This year almost every scopes were placed indoor and we had to find a very narrow tunnel through the door to see something (mainly the blue sky).

Opticron was a new exhibitor with a wide range of their products. The guys at the Opticron box were quite helpful and proactive. On the balcony only Swarovski were actively present. KOWA with the Meopta (by the same reseller) left some binoculars on a table without any supporting background. The superior KOWA scopes were not displayed outdoor. I wanted to share the excellence of birdwatching through these perfect products with my kids, like the KOWA Prominar and Swarovski spotting scopes. Unfortunately only Swarovski could think as being a curious visitor.


The Opticron stand with helpful experts. © György Szimuly

Regarding the products, Zeiss and KOWA didn’t display any new binoculars or spotting scopes. From my side the most “wanted” product was the recently unveiled EL 10x and 12×50 SwaroVision. They were displayed both in- and outdoor. The new x50 binoculars are made by perfection. The lightness and balance of these ‘thought-to-be-heavy’ binoculars has impressed the whole world so did me as well. I felt comfortable holding it steady on the way I hold the binos. Of course when wearing the little bit less than 1kg heavy binocular around my neck on a birding trip during the whole day, it could be painful but holding it for watching birds was really cool. Sharpness and clarity was stunning. I could not try them in low light conditions but I know how perfectly the EL 10×42 SwaroVision is working in a challenging environment. These new products could work even better.


The brand new EL 10×50 SwaroVision powerful binocular. © György Szimuly

KOWA displayed a new telephoto lens for photographers. The Telephoto Lens/Scope PROMINAR 500mm F5.6 FL was made by the famous and successful Prominar technology making it a promising alternative to the killer priced Canon or Nikon telephoto lenses with the same focal length. With a special adapter it can be switched back into a weird looking spotting scope. I could not try it but could look through of it.


KOWA Prominar Telephoto lens. © György Szimuly

Dani, my son, liked the small KOWA Genesis Prominar 10×33 binocular which fit his hands well and its image was crystal clear to him (I agreed). I loved how they enjoyed testing. It seemed Sandra was addicted to the powerful Victory FL 10×56 T* binocular.


My kids were testing the complete product line of Swarovski. © György Szimuly

Overall it was a nice day with an extension excursion to the Alps. The fair itself was okay but there is room for improvement (especially from marketing and practical point of view). I would have liked to visit a bird book seller’s stand. The staff obviously did a hard job in guiding the visitors. Again: I am not working for any of the above mentioned manufacturers…


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