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AllBinos.com

Binoculars reviews

Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars

30 April 2013
Arkadiusz Olech

23. Final results and summary


Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars - Final results and summary


The chart below presents the final results of our endurance test. If two binoculars got the same number of points we would place the cheaper device higher than the more expensive one. Apart from the points we also included percentage results, prices, links to optical tests and specifications of particular models.

The final results of the endurance test


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Binocular
Result
Result [%]
Price [PLN]
1 Carl Zeiss Victory 8×42 T* FL
47.0
94.0
5900
Test
Spec
2 Alpen Optics-Rainier HD ED 8×42
45.0
90.0
3949
Test
Spec
3 Steiner Ranger Pro 8×42
44.5
89.0
1950
Test
Spec
4 Swarovski EL 8.5×42 Swarovision
44.0
88.0
9699
Test
Spec
5 Nikon HG 8×42 DCF
43.0
86.0
4299
Test
Spec
6 Nikon EDG 8×42
43.0
86.0
8199
Test
Spec
7 Kowa BD42–8 8×42
41.0
82.0
2197
Test
Spec
8 Pentax ED 8×42 DCF
40.0
80.0
3489
Test
Spec
9 Bushnell Elite 8×42 ED
39.0
78.0
1999
Test
Spec
10 Leica Geovid 8×42 HD-M
39.0
78.0
8400
Test
Spec
11 Delta Optical Forest II 8×42
38.0
76.0
449
Test
Spec
12 Leica Ultravid 8×42 HD
34.5
69.0
7900
Test
Spec
13 Olympus EXPS I 8×42
33.5
67.0
697
Test
Spec
14 Fujinon 8×42 MF
33.0
66.0
1499
Test
Spec
15 Opticron Countryman 8×42 BGA T
32.0
64.0
1170
Test
Spec
16 Docter 8×42 ED
32.0
64.0
3700
Test
Spec
17 Zen Ray ED2 8×43
31.5
63.0
1799
Test
Spec
18 Delta Optical Titanium 8×42
27.0
54.0
479
Test
Spec
19 Vixen New Foresta HR 8×42
21.5
43.0
899
Test
Spec
20 Tasco Essentials 8×42
19.0
38.0
299
Test
Spec


Let’s start our summary with the biggest fails. In the case of this test I don’t have any problem with the choice – it is undoubtedly the complete lack of declared waterproof qualities of both Leica binoculars. The slip-up is especially painful because it affected those devices in more than one way. First of all you can’t be talking about one faulty specimen here because both Leicas failed in the same category. Secondly the scale of the problem is painful indeed. The Leicas are supposed to be waterproof up to a depth of 5 meters and they didn’t manage to withstand a pressure of knee-deep water. The third issue is the comparison to their rivals. The same testing conditions weren’t problematic for the Pentax, and the producers of that instrument don’t declare any waterproof qualities at all, it is supposed to be just splash-proof. As if it wasn’t painful enough, also the Delta Optical Forest II survived the submersion without any problems – let’s remind you here that it is produced in China and costs 450 PLN (almost 20 times cheaper than the Leica!). Waste of breath…

Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars - Final results and summary

The last thing, very important to me, is the downfall of the Leica legend before my very eyes. As somebody who was brought up on the analogue photography I couldn’t help holding such a company as Leitz/Leica in high esteem – and I guess I don’t have to explain why. Add to it a sentiment from my younger years, when, living on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, I was doomed to deal only with binoculars produced in the former USRR or the former DDR at best; I admit I perused wistfully the catalogues of such renowned companies as Leica or Zeiss. I used to dream of owning such instruments and at that time I was sure those dreams couldn’t be fulfilled.

The times changed and I still believed that buying one of Leica devices you spend a lot of money but you also get a lot in return – the legendary attention to detail, the meticulous quality control. It seems I was very naïve; I admit it hurts a lot.

The Docter company had a similar slip-up as the Leica; similar but probably not as spectacular. First we don’t deal with such a great tradition and such a brand reputation. Secondly the Docters, although not exactly cheap, are still placed in a different price range. Thirdly the Docter binoculars were supposed to be waterproof up to a depth of 1 meter, not five like in the case of the Leicas.

One more sad thing – all three pairs of binoculars which failed so painfully the waterproofness test (so two Leicas and one Docter) were delivered by the same Hubertus Pro Hunting shop. Personally I consider it to be a very bad piece of news. Our contacts have been exemplary for over 10 years - every inquiry, every product request for our tests has been immediately answered and granted. I don’t hesitate to say that they have been one of our most reliable and competent collaborators. They really didn’t deserve the bad performance of the binoculars they had sent us.

The worst result in the endurance test got the Tasco Essentials 8×42, a cheap roof prism pair of binoculars. Nobody expected miracles here but its performance was really bad, practically in every testing category. The frost almost blocked the focusing wheel, high temperature caused a serious grease leakage in one of the tubes, the water drenched both tubes completely and a fall left the binoculars decolimated, with one eyecup broken. The Delta Optical Forest II showed that even a cheap device can endure a lot ; compared to that the result of the Tasco is weak indeed.

For a change the second Delta binoculars (from the Titanium series) had a very weak result. Although they have ‘waterproof’ figuring in their specifications the water managed to get inside them easily, as if they were an empty bottle – add to that problems with wheels in low temperatures and grease leakages under heat and you get a really bad performance.

The endurance test of the Vixen New Foresta HR 8×42 ended in a huge disappointment. That model made us very hopeful with its very good result in optical categories; unfortunately when it comes to the mechanics and build quality it failed completely. As you see there are no miracles – if your budget is low, you have to save on something. The company decided to take care of he optics first, leaving the mechanics neglected. In my opinion it was a mistake. Even if an improved, more durable binoculars cost 1000-1200 PLN on the Polish market, it would still be a bestseller.

Let’s pass to more pleasant things and outline shortly the winners of our test. The success of the Carl Zeiss Victory 8×42 T* FL binoculars is especially worth emphasizing because, as the only instrument produced by one of the ‘big trio’ companies, it managed to climb the podium. What’s more, it was significantly better than its most expensive and most reputable rivals. We can only hope that the successive series, Victory HT, is as mechanically good as this one. If you don’t care so much about the newest HT models I think you can still find a lot of older FL ones on the market and for bargain prices to boot. Apart from that only 42 mm models are disappearing from the shelves; those with 32 mm and 56 mm objective lenses can still be bought and their build quality is the same.

Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars - Final results and summary


I think the Alpen deserves to be praised the most. When it comes to the optics and the mechanics, that pair of binoculars showed clearly that it is able to catch up with the top instruments. In fact there were no serious slip-ups and, after the whole endurance test, the device looked as well as over a year ago, when we take it, brand-new, out of its box. I think we would be able to sell it now pretending it is a completely unused specimen. If not for a small glitch, connected to the central focusing wheel, the Alpen would even stand a chance to win our test. A round of applause!

Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars - Final results and summary

The Steiner Ranger Pro 8×42 won the third place on the podium. Although it is the cheapest device among the top instruments of our ranking, its excellent result in the endurance test doesn’t surprise me at all. Steiner has proven time and again that a great build quality and weather resistance is one of its biggest assets. After all those are the features you expect from the products of a company which equips armies and police forces around the world. Congratulations!

Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars - Final results and summary

The fourth place, right outside the podium, went to the Swarovski EL 8.5×42 Swarovision. I guess it is a kind of disappointment – you would expect an instrument which was considered optically the best in our test and which is also the most expensive one should have won the first or the second place at the very least. It is very significant that the Swarovski was defeated by the Steiner, a pair of binoculars four times cheaper.

Next two places, and I meanl very good places, are taken by the Nikons. As the result of the HG model is undoubtedly a success, a bit weaker performance of the EDG series, compared to that of its most serious competitors, can be viewed as a slight failure. The performance of the focusing system in low temperatures is to be blamed – its construction makes it not an especially ergonomic solution.

Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars - Final results and summary

The Delta Optical company can celebrate its success – its Forest II series proved that you can construct a cheap, roof prism instrument; the fact that it still could win the waterproofness test with the Leicas and the Docter is, I suppose, the best Forest recommendation.

Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars - Final results and summary


The test results of such pairs of binoculars as the Kowa BD42–8 8×42, the Pentax ED 8×42 DCF or the Bushnell Elite 8×42 ED didn’t let them reach the podium but still they confirmed their high position on the market. Buying such instruments you don’t risk anything as all those models represent a high level of optics and mechanics quality.

To sum up the badge for a well-deserved victory in our tests goes to the Carl Zeiss Victory 8×42 T* FL binoculars.

Carl Zeiss Victory 8×42 T* FL
Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars - Final results and summary


The badge „The Choice of Optyczne.pl” we decided to give also to the Alpen Rainier HD ED 8x42. Being noticeably cheaper than the Zeiss, it got a score only slightly lower so, in our opinion, it deserves the badge as well.

Alpen Rainier HD ED 8x42
Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars - Final results and summary


The „Good Buy” badge, for an excellent quality/price ratio, goes to two pairs of binoculars: the Steiner Ranger Pro 8×42 and the Delta Optical Forest II 8×42.

Steiner Ranger Pro 8×42
Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars - Final results and summary

Delta Optical Forest II 8×42
Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars - Final results and summary


We congratulate all the winners, we wish the rest better luck next time and we would like to thank our patient Readers who waited so long for the results of this test and managed to read this long text till the very end.



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