Review of 10×42 Binoculars

Review of 10×42 Binoculars

Celestron Outland LX 10x42 - Roof Binocular

Celestron Outland LX 10×42 – Roof Binocular

We’ve had an elderly couple visiting us who wanted to try out few 10×42 binoculars before they commit to buy one or the other… and I decided to take notes about this testing, so that I can write up an article to share the results with others.

We were comparing four binoculars, one Celestron Outland LX and three Barr and Stroud binoculars.

The Outland LX series has been my favorite for many years, simply because we’ve been using two different sizes in our family for general landscape and birdwatching.
We’ve been using a 8×32 and a 10×42 Outland LX. The 8×32 is practically pocket sized, although you need a large pocket for that one…but lets return to the original subject of this article.
Despite of our history with the above binoculars I’ll try to be as objective as possible.

First of all here is a list of the four 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)

Barr & Stroud Sahara 10×42 FMC WP        | Linear FOV: 304 ft at 1000 yards | Close focus: 2 m   | Eye relief: 14.0 mm | Weight: 673 g | Price £69.60
Celestron Outland LX 10×42 FMC WP       | Linear FOV: 340 ft at 1000 yards | Close focus: 1.5 m | Eye relief: 15.0 mm | Weight: 652 g | Price £72
Barr & Stroud Series 4 10×42 FMC WP      | Linear FOV: 282 ft at 1000 yards | Close focus: 4.5 m | Eye relief: 15.2 mm | Weight: 650 g | Price £92
Barr & Stroud Savannah 10×42 FMC WP  | Linear FOV: 341 ft at 1000 yards | Close focus: 2 m     | Eye relief: 15.5 mm |  Weight: 774 g | Price £103.80

Barr and Stroud Sahara 10×42 Binocular

Barr and Stroud Sahara 10×42 Binocular

All binoculars feature roof prism construction, fully multi coated optics and waterproof body, so there is not much difference between them in this respect, although there most likely is a difference in the quality of the optical coating and the overall  quality of the optical parts.

All above binoculars come with a case, but the more expensive Series 4 10×42 and Savannah 10×42 both come with a high quality semi-hard case, whilst the cheaper Sahara 10×42 and Outland LX 10×42 inc

lude a soft case only.

All tested binoculars feature a central focusing knob and diopter adjustment, although this is done on the right hand eyepiece one all binoculars except the Savannah, where it is adjusted on a ring behind the central focusing knob.

The body shape is similar and to be honest all these binoculars look beautiful to me, question of taste really, although the Series 4 offers the most comfortable open bridge design that is also the less vulnerable if you happen to drop your binocular onto a hard surface.

Interestingly, the cheapest Outland LX and the most expensive Savannah provides the widest and most comfortable linear field of view, approximately 340 feet at 1000 yards, however the quality of view is slightly different. Image blurring and visible chromatic aberration is visible at about 15-20% from the edge of view in the case of the Celestron Outland LX 10×42 and this is very similar to what we saw through the Barr & Stroud Sahara 10×42.
The image is very sharp nearly to the edge in the case of the Barr & Stroud Savannah and it is very similar to the Series 4 in this respect. Chromatic aberration is also very well managed in both the Savannah and Series 4 binoculars, possibly even slightly better in the case of the Series 4, although on the other hand, the Savannah seemed to be sharper to the edge of field of view, whilst the view through the Series 4 was a little fuzzy at the very edge.

Barr and Stroud Savannah 10x42 Binocular

Barr and Stroud Savannah 10×42 Binocular

If we had to choose a winner, it would of course be the Barr & Stroud Savanna 10×42, based on its excellent optical performance, although one should consider that this very good optical performance comes at a price of a 20% heavier body weight.

Barr and Stroud Series 4 10x42 Binocular

Barr and Stroud Series 4 10×42 Binocular

THE SECOND BEST would be the Barr and Stroud Series 4 10×42 due to its optical performance being very close to that of the Savannah. The only drawback is the comparatively long  “Close Focus” distance at 3.5m that might make it not the best choice if you wanted to see closeup action with birds and bugs in your back garden, although it still could be used for that if you have got a large enough garden, so please don’t think of it as a full drawback as in most cases you’ll be further away from your objects.

If you go for a safari and need a comparatively lightweight binocular, the Series 4 is certainly one of the best choices.

Due to the very similar optical performance and features, it would be up to personal taste whether you choose the Celestron Outland LX 10×42 or  the Barr & Stroud Sahara 10×42. In their respective price range these both perform very well and as I already mentioned above we’ve been using a Outland LX 10×42 for few years and I can warmly recommend it. Other than the visual appearance, there a difference in the front lens cover as the Celestron Outland LX comes with a plug-in type cover that is easier to remove or  easier to loose, depending on your point of view, so this could be a benefit or a drawback. The Barr & Stroud Sahara comes with a front lens cover that can just flip down or you might also remove it (that will take probably 3 seconds longer), but it is less likely that you’ll loose it.

I should also mention that at the time when I was writing this article, there has been an ongoing offer for the Celestron Outland LX 8×32 and Outland LX 10×42 binoculars. When you buy any Celestron telescope, we can offer you the above Celestron Outland LX binoculars at a very special discounted price (subject to availability). Please contact us for details via our website or call us on 02033 845 187!

Article by Zoltan Trenovszki

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Posted on June 12th, 2014.