Binoculars reviews

Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars

30 April 2013
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Alpen Optics Rainier 8x42 HD ED

Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars - Alpen Optics Rainier 8x42 HD ED

The Alpen Optics Rainier 8x42 HD ED in the current form was launched in 2011. So far the series has consisted of two models: the 8x42 and the 10x42. Its score in our standard optics test was impressing because the binoculars managed to gather 140.6 points, being only slightly worse than the Zeiss Victory FL 8x42 T* and defeating such power players as the Leica Ultravid 8x42 HD or the Nikon HG 8x42 L DCF. Does an excellent result concerning optics and simple mechanics mean the device will perform well in an endurance test? Let’s find out!

Low temperature

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After a day and a night spent in the temperature of -22 deg C the Alpen didn’t have any problems with correct functioning. The central focusing wheel moved smoothly and evenly – exactly like in the room temperature. The same can be said about the click-stop system for individual focusing (dioptre regulation). You could change the position of eyecups and screw off the tripod mounting point blockade. The only symptom that the device was left in low temperature were noticeable difficulties with the change of the gauge of the tubes – the resistance was much greater than in the room temperature.

An additional, small problem was the fact that our bare fingers tended to freeze to metal elements of the central focusing wheel. If the wheel was covered completely by rubber ribbing and plastics the issue would be non-existent. Fortunately hardly anybody keeps a pair of binoculars in gloveless hands when there is -20 deg C outside.

High temperature

What’s interesting, compared to the previous part of the test, the temperature increased by over 80 degrees Centigrade and most of the binoculars’ mechanisms performed in the same way. The focusing wheels, the tripod adapter mounting blockade and eyecups worked exactly as smoothly as previously. The only change we noticed was slight squelching of grease from the central wheel. Of course the tubes gauge regulation returned to normal. It is also important that the binoculars didn’t change its smell – the high temperature didn’t trigger the release any noxious substances. Inside the tubes we haven’t noticed any leakages or traces of grease.

Waterproof qualities

No reservations whatsoever – the binoculars survived one hour in the water without any problems.


Two falls from different heights didn’t cause any harm. The binoculars still remained perfectly collimated and the eyecups weren’t damaged. The test didn’t leave any traces on the casing.

Optics cleaning

Fingerprints on front elements of the objective lenses aren’t very distinct and they can be removed using even a dry cloth. The water residue, dried up in high temperature, didn’t stick to elements at all and was easy to clean. Drops of rain dribble down without any problems. A big grease stain on the element of the objective didn’t change after a long time but it could be removed with several swipes of a dry cloth, without the necessity of using a special optics cleaner.


All kinds of endurance tests the binoculars were subjected to revealed just one small defect: the focusing wheel’s performance can be problematic at random. It can change its position spontaneously so instead of setting the focus we change the dioptre values. After a while the binoculars work as they should and then it can become difficult again. You can learn how to live with it – the trick is to press the wheel towards the objectives during focusing – but it is not comfortable.

Endurance test of 8x42 binoculars - Alpen Optics Rainier 8x42 HD ED


The chart below shows the results the tested pair of binoculars got in particular categories:

Low temperature:
High temperature:
Waterproof quality:
Optics cleaning:

We can boldly state that the Alpen Optics Rainier 8x42 HD ED repeated in our endurance test the same excellent result it got in the optical test. The binoculars, after more than a year of usage and several extreme testing procedures, still is in prime condition. It could be sold as an ex-demonstration specimen and a not very inquisitive customer wouldn’t even distinguish it from a completely new pair, straight from the box. That’s how the Alpen Rainier HD series becomes one of the most interesting options on the market. Their optical properties are so good that they are comparable to even the most renowned products of very reputable manufacturers. The endurance test it passed very well showing that good optics is combined with high quality workmanship. You should also remember that the price of the Rainiers is even two times lower than the price of the most expensive Leica, Nikon, Swarovski or Zeiss models. A round of applause of Alpen!