Welcome to another episode of Optics Trade debates. Today, we are going to be comparing two different configurations of binoculars, namely 7x42 and 8x42. At first sight, these appear extremely similar – their difference is in magnification. Since people oftentimes cannot decide between the two, we are here to help.
7x42 are quite rare on the market today, as they are used only by hunters. Typically, they are Porro prism binoculars, so they sport a traditional look. What do we gain with the 7x magnification? With 7x magnification, we gain a wider field of view – at least when we compare two binoculars from the same price class.
These binoculars provide a 6 mm exit pupil, whereas the 8x42 provides a 5.25 mm one, which is smaller. We also have to keep in mind that the brightness of the image does not depend only on the exit pupil, but also on other factors, like the coatings. The handshaking is also less noticeable on the 7x42 pair, but the difference is minimal.
What about the 8x42? These binoculars are meant for all kinds of observations, so we call the all-round binoculars. Almost every optics manufacturer has at least one 8x42 binocular in their offer. Here, we mostly find roof prisms.
We also have a buying guide on 8x42 binoculars. In comparison to the 7x42 configuration, these provide a narrower field of view, but we gain a more detailed image. The handshaking is also a bit more noticeable on the 8x42 configuration, but it is easy to stabilize it.
As for the fields of use, 7x42 binos are for hunters who like a traditional style when it comes to the aesthetics of the binoculars because they are mostly available with Porro prisms. If you want to do any other kinds of observing, such as birdwatching, when traveling, etc., go for 8x42. When deciding between the two, about 95% of our customers would go for the 8x42.
Products mentioned in the 7x42 Vs. 8x42 Binoculars debate:
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