In this article, we will present the top 10 middle-class binoculars with the 8×42 configuration.
When talking about binoculars of the middle-class in Europe, there are some features that are common to all of them;
as for the price, it is around 1000 Eur for this type, which is at the same time the entry-level price of binoculars by premium manufacturers. They are mostly manufactured in Europe or Japan. There are currently no Chinese products in this class that are cheaper. These binoculars already have a sufficiently wide field of view and the vast majority of them have a central bridge design (open bridge design is a rarity).
The warranty period of these binoculars is usually 10 years; only a few manufacturers offer more than that.
1. Zeiss Conquest HD 8×42
Conquest HD by Zeiss is one of the best versatile binoculars available. It is lightweight, small and has excellent optical properties, especially edge sharpness. The field of view of these binoculars is average but still generous enough and suitable for scanning smaller, fast-moving objects. A minor disadvantage of this model would be its eye-pieces. For some, the eyecups of the binoculars do not pull out enough, which means worse eye-relief. Later they were improved and redesigned by production. Special eyecups with additional extension are available too.
Zeiss offers 10 year warranty period for this particular model. It is well-built and made of high-quality materials, which is common to all Zeiss products. Zeiss is considered one of the world’s best optical devices manufacturers and is therefore known to anyone who knows at least a little about binoculars. Conquest HD is (as well as all other models) made in Germany.
2. Leica Trinovid 8×42 HD
If we continue with German brands, we need to mention Trinovid HD by Leica. Leica is considered to be the most well-known and established optical device manufacturer, not only in Europe but also around the world. Interestingly, these binoculars are made in Portugal, where Leica has its new factory, but they are of excellent quality, offering amazing optical performance. Its eye-piece is well-made and solid, with many positions available (click-stops) for a proper eye-relief. The focusing system is also extremely good- precise and reliable. The whole structure is robust and durable. The binoculars are also small and light-weight. Its field of view is average and so is, unfortunately, its sharpness. Trinovid HD is not famous for the same (excellent) sharpness as other Leica binoculars. However, it has excellent build quality and sharpness.
When buying binoculars, a neoprene bag is also included, which can be worn in three different ways. Some buyers like it and find it very useful, others say it is stylishly incomplete and impractical.
Leica offers 10-year warranty period for the Trinovid HD.
3. Nikon Monarch HG 8×42
If you are looking for binoculars not produced by premium European manufacturers but nevertheless optically excellent and offering everything you need, Nikon Monarch HG is the right choice. Its optical performance is extremely good, as it offers a superior wide field of view. It is also very light and well built- the exterior is durable and nicely designed. Like most of these binoculars, Monarch HG also has a central bridge design.
Unlike European brands, Nikon offers a slightly worse service and a shorter warranty period for these binoculars than EU based brands. When claiming a warranty, it is sometimes necessary to send the device to Japan, which usually takes longer and causes additional costs. Being a little “snobbish”, they are made by less “prestigious” name than the European competition, however, this should not be a criterion, because, for the price you pay, you get a pair of excellent binoculars.
4. Noblex 8×42 ED
Most of the 20th century, the company was known under the term Carl Zeiss Jena, and later, when the owner changed, it became known as Docter. Only recently, Docter was bought by Noblex and as a result, the name was renewed in 2018. It is a company that has a rich history in the production of binoculars and other optical devices.
Noblex is offering an open bridge design, excellent quality and affordable price for its 8×42 ED model. Its warranty period is 30 years, and the company also offers a first-class service for it. This model only has a slightly worse field of view and a little unappealing design, which is kind of old-fashioned.
5. Kahles Helia 8×42
If you are looking for binoculars, which are extremely aesthetic, appealing and at the same time offering superb optical performance, go for Kahles Helia! These binoculars also have an open bridge design and are available with magnificent, hand-made Waldkauz® accessories (made of leather and wool felt). They are well built and made of quality materials. The binoculars are not manufactured in Austria anymore but in Japan. The only disadvantage the binoculars have is a somewhat noticeable chromatic aberration (not high but significant on the edge). Kahles offers 11-year warranty period for these binoculars.
6. Vortex Razor HD 8×42
These binoculars are a balanced package of impressive features in a compact body. Optical properties with an exceptional field of view are at the same level as with the best binoculars in this price range and sometimes even with more expensive ones. The armoring quality is also excellent. Vortex is known for its unlimited warranty which is an important point when it comes to making a purchase of their optical device.
Razor HD is a “new player in the market”, which will definitely change the various lists and compete with the best 8×42 binoculars. The only weakness is that the company Vortex is still not among the most prestigious ones (like most other European brands).
7. Meopta MeoStar B1 8×42
Meostar B1 is, according to the price, well made from high-quality materials and gives a very good optical performance. It has a very special design, which looks slightly futuristic, and stands out from the others. As far as the optical properties are concerned, the binoculars are very fine and offer a wide field of view. What is worth mentioning, is the warranty period of 30 years and easy-to-access service if you, of course, live in Europe.
As with any binoculars so far, unfortunately, this one also has few disadvantages. The biggest one would be the chromatic aberration, which is quite noticeable. In the shadow of previously mentioned premium European manufacturers, Meopta is considered to be a less prestigious brand.
8. Steiner Ranger Xtreme 8×42
These binoculars are especially popular among hunters due to their robust design and armoring in beautiful hunting-green (also available in dark blue) color. It has the Makrolon® material used in its NBR-Longlife thick rubber armoring, which is very durable, long-lasting and solid. Its design is very impressive but its optical performance is, however, more or less average. The field of view is not excessively wide but as for the other optical properties, the binoculars are nevertheless decent. If we consider the price paid for them, the purchase is more than fair and good. Their warranty period is 10 years.
9. Vortex Viper HD 8×42
These are versatile binoculars that are distinguished by Japanese quality, compact structure, low mass, small size and good optical properties. Viper HD represents the entrance step into the class of binoculars, offering most of the world’s best-known cutting-edge technologies for the production of sports optics. They are a rational purchase due to the favorable price in terms of quality since they are also competitive with more expensive binoculars. The warranty is, as mentioned before, unlimited. The Vortex Viper HD binoculars are a perfect choice for those who are willing to take small compromises compared to Vortex Razor HD but pay a much better price. Their optical properties are good with an average field of view and the design is beautiful and ergonomic.
10. Meopta MeoPro 8×42 HD
MeoPro binoculars are the entry rank of European optics, also made in EU. Their design is very modern and slim. Nevertheless, they are one of the largest and heaviest among binoculars with 8×42 configuration. They are very well-made, offering good optical properties. The eye-relief distance is larger than usual, which makes the binoculars very comfortable to use. The field of view is a bit narrow. Their price is good and “fair” for what you get, also, these binoculars are a very good first step in serious observations. Their warranty period is 10 years.
This review is not sponsored and it’s completely unbiased. It is made simply out of our own interest in the optics and provides an objective opinion of tested binoculars. Big thanks to Optics Trade who kindly offered us their products to review and test.