This kickstarter is for the series M, they're Opus' version of the short bristle brushes; equivalent to a series 7 miniature, or a rosemary and co 323 spotter. The short length makes them stiffer than a 'regular' length brush, but the trade off is less body so they will need refilling more. The differences do narrow once you get down to the sub 0 sizes, standard 000 brushes are pretty short too! Some painters prefer that style, and they do have their uses for freehanding etc if your hands are rock steady! For most painters though, the existing series S is closer to what you're used to. Obvs not much in the way of reviews for the M series yet.
The existing range, the opus series S, is the one that's been reviewed a fair amount. General consensus is they're very nice brushes. I haven't bought any opus yet, but I am very tempted - I do have series 7, 8404, reserva 1212, plus various rosemary & co and a couple of broken toad cat's tongue brushes.
From reviews, the series S is similar in shape to a w&n series 7, but has a bit more snap than the series 7, so slightly stiffer bristles, and a tad longer. The handles are a little bit fatter than the series 7, so supposedly easier to grip, but not a massive difference. Holds the sharp point very well if cared for, as you'd expect from a quality kolinsky. Interestingly, the size 1 and 2 are very similar in length, but the 2 has a fuller body for more paint. The markings are higher up the body, so apparently don't rub off which is a nice touch. They also come in a quality box if you buy the set. Individually, they're around the price of a series 7. They were out of stock when I was last brush shopping, but I will be trying them myself in the near future.
Obviously, I'm no pro painter, but this has been my experience of the alternatives.
Obvs the raphael 8404 is a bit of a different style to either; the bristles are significantly longer and with more body at a given size, so I usually drop a size (e.g. use a raphael 8404 size 0 as equivalent to a series 7 size 1). The 8404 has less snap, ie a bit more floppy, but still holds its sharp point which is every bit as good as a series 7. I do like my 8404's a lot and use them as my primary brushes (they're also always glorious blending brushes) but for edge painting something a bit stiffer is arguably more useful. They are a bit cheaper than a series 7.
Personally speaking, I've not been wowed by the escoda reserva, though I only have a couple. They did seem to lose their point quicker than a good series 7 to which it seemed pretty similar, plus it's not that easy to find in the UK. They just didn't quite do it for me, but brushes can be such a personal thing depending upon your style of painting, and I know some painters love em to bits.
I do like rosemary & co series 33 a lot. The downside is the point does fade quicker than say an 8404 or series 7, and I have had one fishtail relatively early on in life. The main downside is the markings rub off them *really* quickly, so I end up having to label them myself so I can quickly tell em apart! They are however less than half the price of a series 7 or an 8404, so for that I can forgive a lot. If I was younger and more budget constrained, I'd happily stick to these alone. I do use their cheap series 401 sable blend a surprising amount, they're ideal where you don't need a spectacular point or body and don't want to risk your nicest brushes - individual area washes, stippling, lightly drybrushing small metallic gubbins, that sort of thing.
The brokentoad speartip aka cat's tongue are nice enough, but I believe they've stopped making brushes now; they're going to be selling raphael 8404's in future according to facebook.
Lastly the famous series 7. They are great, great brushes and deservedly the benchmark by which others are judged. A good quality series 7 will last ages. And that's the rub for me - I had a couple of bad series 7's a few years ago, so switched to raphael 8404's and found the softer bristle suited my style nicely. I did need something stiffer after struggling through edge highlighting somewhat, and picked up a small discounted series 7 set for xmas from ken bromley to give it another go (deeply rural area, so online only for me). The size 1 has already started to split on me, and I've barely used it a half dozen times. They all start great, which is why it's so frustrating, they pass initial use just fine. I've yet to have a bad 8404 and they last literally years, and even my one iffy rosemary & co lasted for months. I look after my brushes carefully, and I'm definitely not the only one that's had issues with variable quality from series 7. The ones that are still holding together are brilliant, but it's too much of a lottery for me personally at the price. If the reviews are accurate, I think the Opus S will be my drop-in replacement for a series 7.
Edited by Arkhanist, 09 March 2019 - 12:03 AM.