10×42 VS 10×50 Binoculars | Optics Trade Debates

Steiner Ranger Xtreme 10x42

Hello and welcome to a new Optics Trade debate. Today, we are going to compare the 10×50 with 10×42 binoculars. We receive a lot of questions concerning which to choose, so we decided to create this comparison

Let us begin with general features that can be applied to both. Both 10×42 and 10×50 are usually of the roof prism design. Some of them are also of the Porro prism design, but they are getting rarer each year. They are a bit bulkier and even though they are optically great, they are going out of fashion. Typically, they have plastic eyepieces that can be set to multiple positions – almost no binoculars in this category have foldable rubberized eyepieces. Almost all come with a central focusing mechanism – it is difficult to find 10×42 or 10×50 binoculars with individual focusing.

They can either have a single hinge or open bridge design, 10x magnification can be applied to both of them and with both categories, there is a price range from 100 €-3000 . Also, the materials used depend on the price. The binoculars with the lowest prices have plastic housings, more expensive ones have aluminum housings, and the most expensive ones, magnesium housings. All of them are also waterproof and filled with gasses like nitrogen and argon, so there is no internal fogging at low temperatures.

Now, let us move on to suitability. 10×42 can be used for almost anything, but most of them can be used mostly for bird watching and stalking in the mountains. For the hunters who wish to observe all the details, 10×42 is also recommended. 10×50 however, has a much wider field of view. It is too heavy for birders, as well as mountain hunters. Who does go for the 10×50 mm objective lens? Those who hunt animals with trophies – roe deer, red deer, and similar – and want to gain a bit of low-light performance, but not losing the details that 10x magnification gives.

Basically, 10×50 is a perfect choice for someone who would prefer 8×42 binoculars because of the low-light use but wishes to have all the details that 10x magnification gives. 10×50 magnification is also more suitable for stationary types of hunts, as in dynamic types of hunts, one would prefer a more lightweight binocular.

Let us go through the differences. First, let us cover the light transmission rate. If we take a look at the exit pupil of the 10×42, it is narrower. That is the reason these binoculars as not as great at twilight as 10×50. So, if you are more into twilight hunting, then 10×50 is a better choice. 10×42 are smaller, more lightweight (200 g on average), and more compact. On average, the field of view is usually wider on 10×42 than it is on 10×50, although there is a really small difference.

If we take a look at the same series and compare the two configurations, the 10×50 model is usually more expensive by up to 10%. Regarding the comfort of use, the 10×50 might be the better choice, because they give a slightly bigger eye relief – 1-2 mm, which makes it easier to use with glasses as well. That does not mean that 10×42 is not comfortable to use — they are more lightweight.

We hope we covered most of their common characteristics, as well as differences. If we forgot something, please use the comment section below. If you like our videos please subscribe to our YouTube channel, and we will see you next time. Goodbye.


Products mentioned in the 10×42 VS 10×50 Binoculars debate:

10×42 binoculars: https://www.optics-trade.eu/si/binoculars/10×42-binoculars.html

10×50 binoculars: https://www.optics-trade.eu/en/binoculars.html?fix_magnification_slider=10-10&lens_diameter_slider=50-50


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