Hello and welcome to another episode of Optics Trade Debates. Today, we are going to compare two very similar configurations of binoculars, namely 10×42 and 12×42.
Let us begin with the general features of the 10×42 configuration. The 10×42 is the second most popular configuration of binoculars, right behind 8×42. They have a roof prism design (as the Porro prism design is quite rare). When it comes to fields of use, there are basically no limits – if you are a hunter, hiker, or simply a nature enthusiast, the 10×42 is a wise choice.
What are the differences between the 10x and 12x magnification? The 10x magnification features a wider field of view, a bigger exit pupil and even though they are not designed for low-light use, they can also be used in such situations. With a 10x magnification, the image will be less shaky than the 12x magnification.
Let us move on to the 12×42 configuration, which is quite rare, as it is designed for a much more specific taste. The target audience is the same as for the 10×42 configuration, so hunters, bird watchers, adventurers, etc. They also use roof prisms.
12×42 binos have a narrower field of view, a more detailed image because of the higher magnification, a smaller exit pupil (3.4 mm), so in comparison to the 10×42 binos, these do not perform as good in low light.
Also, when comparing two pairs of binoculars from the same series, the 12x model is usually more expensive – however, it is a small price difference. When would you choose which pair? The 10×42 configuration is a much more common choice because it is much more universal. It can be used in all kinds of situations, and it is great for beginners.
The 12×42 configuration has the same fields of use as the 10x, but the user needs to have more knowledge on how to get the most out of them. The handshaking can be minimized with, for example, a forehead rest, but if you do not have such an accessory for additional support, you will not be able to benefit from the extra details provided by the 12x magnification.
Products mentioned in the 10×42 Vs. 12×42 Binoculars debate:
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