Binoculars review

Nikon HG 8x42 L DCF

Nikon HG 8x42 L DCF
23 February 2012
The HG L series includes ones of the most expensive, top-of-the-range Nikon binoculars; the producer ensures that they used „everything the best” while producing them. It consists of roof prism models with the following parameters: 8x20, 10x25, 8x32, 10x32, 8x42 and 10x42. Because of additional eyepiece lenses which flatten the field of view the image is supposed to be sharp to the very edge. Original anfireflection multicoatings are to ensure perfect transmission in the whole range of visibility, damp down unwanted flares and render natural colours of subjects in view. Nikon, as one of few producers, honestly shows you the transmission curve of its instruments which, for blue light (420 nm) amounts to about 70%, increasing very swiftly and reaching its maximum on the level noticeably above 90% in a very wide range from about 550 to 680 nm; then it decreases for red light to about 87%. Schmidt- Pechan prisms are phase correction coated and their reflective surface is coated by a layer of silver. All HG series binoculars are waterproof up to a depth of 2 or 3 meters for 5 minutes and fog-proof due to O-rings and nitrogen filling.

In the case of 42 mm class models you can also find a detailed section of the binoculars in the Nikon catalogue which indicates using a 3-element objective (in two groups), an additional mobile focusing element, roof prisms and a 6-element eyepiece (4 groups).

  • Lornetka Nikon HG 8x42 L DCF
  • Lornetka Nikon HG 8x42 L DCF
  • Lornetka Nikon HG 8x42 L DCF
  • Lornetka Nikon HG 8x42 L DCF
Manufacturer data


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Distribution / Sales:

Nikon Polska
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Magnification Lens diameter Angular field of view Prisms Eye relief Weight Price
8 42 122/1000(7o) BaK-4/roof 20 mm 795 g 4199 PLN
Results of the review
Real front lens diameter Left:   42+/- 0.05 mm
Right:  42+/- 0.05 mm
8 / 8.0 pkt
Real magnification 7.97+/- 0.05x 3/3.0
Transmission 87.1+/- 1.5% 15/25.0
Chromatic aberration Low in the centre, significant on the edge. 6/10.0
Astigmatism Very low. 8.5/10.0
Distortion The distance of the first curved line from the field centre compared to the field of vision radius: 69% +\- 3% 8/10.0
Coma Appears in the distance of about 70% from the centre and is medium at most on the edge. 7/10.0
Blurring at the edge of the FOV Very sharp image to the very egde of the field of view. 10/10.0
Darkening at the edge the FOV Slight. 4.1/5.0
Whiteness of the image Very slight yellow. The transmission curve is a bit slanted with a growth tendency toward red light. 4.4/5.0
Collimation Perfect. 5/5.0
Internal reflections
Left: Right:
Nikon HG 8x42 L DCF - Internal reflections - Left Nikon HG 8x42 L DCF - Internal reflections - Right
Housing Significant for this class of equippment but very solid. Because of a profiled widening of the casing it is very comfortable to hold. Plastic eyecups with four detented stops. Good quality rubber on the padding, porous so ensuring a firm hold. Near objective lenses and the central shaft it sticks out slightly. A bit of grease on the bridge. 7/8.0
Focusing Very comfortable central wheel which moves smoothly but is a bit too loose (a full turn of 370 degrees). A big and handy ring on the right eyepiece for individual focusing. It moves the element up and down but it doesn’t turn it around. 4.2/5.0
Tripod You can buy an optional adapter. 2/3.0
Interpupilary distance from 55.2 to 76.8mm 5/6.0
Closest focusing distance 2.3 m 1.5/2.0
Eyepieces FOV Apparent field of view of 56.2 deg (according to simple formula) and 52.4 deg (according to tangent formula). 8/20.0
Field of view Measured by us amounted to 7.06 +\- 0.03 degrees and it was slightly wider than that stated in the specifications. A typical field for this class of equipment. 5.5/8.0
Quality of the interior of the barrels Everything matt and darkened beautifully. Quite a lot small specks of dust. 3.9/5.0
Left: Right:
Nikon HG 8x42 L DCF - Vignetting - Left Nikon HG 8x42 L DCF - Vignetting - Right
OL: 0.38%, OR: 0.23%
Prisms quality Good quality BaK-4. 8/8.0
Antireflection coatings Greenish- dark blue on objectives. Green-yellow on prisms. Green-yellow-pink on eyepieces. Low intensity. 5/5.0
Warranty [years] 10 4.5/6.0
Final result
144.4 / 190 pkt
Econo result 0pkt.


  • very solid casing,
  • good transmission,
  • perfectly sharp image across the whole field of view,
  • low chromatic aberration in the centre of the field of view,
  • very low astigmatism,
  • quite well corrected coma,
  • low brightness loss on the edge of the field,
  • low distortion,
  • very good whiteness rendering,
  • very wide gauge of eyepieces,
  • circular exit pupils,
  • high quality prism and anti-reflective coatings,
  • excellent darkening inside the binoculars.

  • a bit too high chromatic aberration on the edge of the field of view.

Like the Nikon HG 10x42, which fared very well in our big test of the 10x42 class, the 8x42 model impressed us as well. First of all its perfectly corrected, flat field of view, sharp to the very edge, caught our attention; what’s more, its distortion is low, the coma – moderate and the brightness loss – slight. A bit too high chromatic aberration on the border of that sharp field is the only reservation you can have here.

The transmission, as you can see on a graph below, is perhaps not perfect but, for a roof prism instrument which has been present on the market for a decade, it is hardly a reason to complain. In the red part of the spectrum these binoculars provide over 90% of light to your eye, in the centre of the visible spectrum – about 85% and additionally they keep a flat graph up to the blue part, even for 420 nm wavelength, reaching a result of 80%. Overall the colour rendering is very good and natural.

Taking into account the result in our test, the price of this pair of binoculars and the fact that it was produced in Japan by a very well-known, experienced and respected optics manufacturer, it would be difficult not to recommend the Nikon HG 8x42 DCF. We do so with a clear conscience.