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10x42 VS 10x32 Binoculars | Optics Trade Debates

Hello, and welcome to another Optics Trade debate. Today, we are going to discuss the differences between compact binoculars in the 10x32 configuration and the full-size 10x42 binoculars, which is an extremely common question we get asked. We also have a buying guide for compact binoculars, as well as for 42 mm binoculars.

Let us begin by comparing some general features of these two types of binoculars. It can easily be seen that 10x32 binoculars are much smaller than 10x42 binoculars. They are also more lightweight than full-size 42 mm binoculars, on average, 30%. Their housing can be from plastic (on cheaper models), aluminum, or magnesium (on more expensive models). Regarding the construction itself, there are two types: single-bridge and open bridge designs. These two types are available on both configurations.

The prism types are mostly Schmidt–Pechan prisms which have a straight design. There are also designed with a Porro prism, but mostly the 10x42 configurations. We have some Porro prisms in the category of compact binoculars like Swarovski and Nikon. There are no 10x32 models that have the Abbe–Koenig prism, but there are some in 10x42 models – Zeiss, Vortex Razor HD.

Regarding suitability, which are the general users of the 10x42 binoculars? This magnification is recommended for more experienced users because the image can be quite shaky. We would generally recommend 10x42 models for hunters who stalk, and for birdwatchers. The majority of hunters still buy 8x42 models because of low-light capabilities, but those who stalk, wish to have 10x magnification.

If we take a look at the optical differences, the field of view is almost the same on the two models – there is not much difference. No 10x magnification binocular will ever perform in low light situations like 8x or 7x do. Still, comparing those two, the 10x42 will outperform the 10x32 because the exit pupil is much bigger – 4 mm on 10x32 and 3 mm on 10x42.

Regarding comfort, bigger binoculars are more comfortable to look through because the exit pupil is bigger, so they are not as sensitive to the eye position. They are also more comfortable to hold and for those who wear glasses because of the longer eye relief. But when it comes to the comfort of carrying them, either around your neck or your backpack, then 10x32 would be much better. They are also more suitable for children. Regarding the price, the difference between the two configurations is about 10%.

Thank you for watching. If you have any additional questions please use the comments below, and we will try to get back to you as soon as possible. Do check out our other videos, especially our buying guides. Normally, if you like our channel, please subscribe.


Products mentioned in the 10x42 VS 10x32 Binoculars debate:

10×42 binoculars:×42-binoculars.html

10×32 binoculars:


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