Telescopes

Review of 8×42 Binoculars

Review of 8×42 Binoculars

We’ve had few loyal customers visiting us recently who helped us to test few 8×42 binoculars, so I could rely on  their judgement and visual experience, not just on my own.

Konus Titanium 8 x 42 Binocular

Konus Titanium 8 x 42 Binocular

We were comparing three binoculars, a Konus Titanium 8×42, a Celestron Outland X 8×42 and a Barr and Stroud Savannah 8×42 binocular.

Although not exactly the same, but I mentioned it in another article (about 10×42 binoculars) that we’ve been using two different sizes of a Celestron Outland LX binoculars in our family for general landscape and birdwatching for many years.
Despite of our history with the above binoculars I’ll try to be as objective as possible.

Please find below a list of the three binoculars that we were testing (in order of increasing price).

We’ve included the main features here for close comparison. The price is correct as of 14 June 2014. (FOV stands for Field of View, MC=multi coated, FMC=fully multi coated, WP=waterproof)

Konus Titanium 8×42   MC WP                 | Linear FOV: 315 ft at 1000 yards | Close focus: appr. 6 m | Eye relief: appr. 20 mm | Weight:626 g | Price £48.00 (reduced for stock reduction)
Celestron Outland X 8×42 MC WP           | Linear FOV: 356 ft at 1000 yards | Close focus: 3.96 m      | Eye relief: 18.0 mm        | Weight: 624 g | Price £59.40
Barr & Stroud Savannah 8×42 FMC WP | Linear FOV: 430 ft at 1000 yards | Close focus: 2 m            | Eye relief: 18 mm            | Weight: 819 g | Price £106.00

Celestron Outland X 8x42 Roof Prism Waterproof Binocular

Celestron Outland X 8×42 Roof Prism Waterproof Binocular

All binoculars feature roof prism construction and these are all waterproof too, but only the Barr & Stroud Savannah features FMC optics plus phase coated prisms, so as you will see, optically there are lots of differences between these binoculars.

All above binoculars come with a case, but only the more expensive Savannah 8×42 come with a high quality semi-hard case, whilst the cheaper Titanium 8×42 and Outland X 8×42 include a soft case only.

All tested binoculars feature a central focusing knob, twist-up eyecups and diopter adjustment, although the latter is done on the right hand eyepiece in the case of the Celestron Outland X and Konus Titanium, however in the case of the Savannah, this is being adjusted by a ring behind the central focusing knob. Although it’ll still adjust the right hand eyepiece, it’s more comfortable to handle as it is next to the focusing knob, so you just move your finger few millimeters and you can adjust the diopter for your right eye…

It will depend on your personal taste whether you like the dark green of the Savannah 8×42 or prefer the matte black rubber of the Konus Titanium  or the also black Celestron Outland X.
The Konus Titanium features these futuristic looking “ergonomic” lines of shape that is again, a question of personal taste and usability will depend on how you used to hold a binocular.

We should mention that the original specification on the Konus website suggests that the Konus Titanium provides 114m (410ft) linear field of view, however the 315 ft printed on the central focusing knob of the Titanium sounds to be a more realistic figure. In our experience, the view through the Konus Titanium is somewhat narrow, slightly more difficult to keep the eye in center and the chromatic aberration is visible up to 30% from the edge of the field of view. On the other hand this binocular feels in hand very well built and we’ve never had any bad feedback from customers, so we could say that it is a reliable binocular and to be consider as a budget alternative. We found no information about whether the optics come with FMC or just MC optics, so we’ve just guessed from the price range it belongs to and from the reflections on the objective that it comes with multi coated optics.

The Celestron Outland X 8×42 provides the second widest field of view, more comfortable viewing than with the Konus Titanium and with less chromatic aberration. There is practically no difference in weight between them, so both binoculars feel very similar in hand, neither too light, nor too heavy.

Not a surprise that the most expensive Savannah provides the widest and most comfortable linear field of view, 430 feet at 1000 yards and it does it without loss of quality of view. It is also not a surprise that the very well corrected, extremely low level of chromatic aberration, brightest and sharpest image comes at a cost of the heaviest body at 820 g.

Barr and Stroud Savannah 8x42 Super Wide Angle Binocular

Barr and Stroud Savannah 8×42 Super Wide Angle Binocular

THE WINNER

There is no question that the winner from these three binoculars would be the Barr & Stroud Savanna 8×42 that gives an incredible viewing experience with its very wide field of view, so we believe that although it’s twice the cost of the other two binoculars, but it is worth every penny and just above £100 it is not even considered to be a very expensive binocular.

THE BEST VALUE
Whilst the Konus is extremely good value at its current £48 price, we would recommend to go for it only if you are on a tight budget, but if you can spend a little extra, we would say that the winner in best value category would be the Celestron Outland X 8×42.

Article by Zoltan Trenovszki

www.365Astronomy.com

(Thanks go to Attila Kelemen and Yusuf Ismail for their contributions.)

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Posted on June 14th, 2014.