Hello and welcome to another episode of Optics Trade debates. Today, we are going to be discussing the differences between two popular binocular configurations, that is 8x42 and 10x50. We already have a buying guide for the 8x42 binoculars, so you can check those out as well.
Now, what are some general features if we compare the two configurations side by side? First, we have to point out the most common question, especially by hunters: which configuration should I opt for? For a short rundown, most of 10x50 binoculars have a roof-prism design, but some also have a Porro prism design. Each year, they are getting more rare – fewer and fewer manufacturers are producing 10x50 with Porro prisms, but some are still on the market.
Both of these configurations have twist-up plastic eyepieces with multiple positions. This normally depends on the price range, but none of them have folding eye-cups made out of rubber. There is almost no model without a central focusing system and price-wise, they begin at 100 € and go all the way up to 3000 €. They are all waterproof, and you can get models with an open bridge design, or a single hinge design. In terms of materials used, the cheapest models have plastic housing, the mid-range ones have aluminum housing, and top-class models have magnesium housing.
Now, to suitability. If we take a look at the 8x42 configuration first, this is the most universal category of binoculars – it can be used for almost anything – hunting, birdwatching, traveling, and all sorts of other activities that are connected to the outdoors. With 10x50, it is a bit different. These models are mostly used for hunting, especially for trophy hunting, as they have a high magnification, a high light-transmission rate; and both of these features are great for observing details. People go for this configuration when they think that the light-transmission rate is more important than weight – these are, after all, heavy binoculars.
With 10x50, you do not gain much in optics, compared to 8x42. You gain low-light performance, but lose about 200 g of weight. In terms of suitability, you can technically use the 10x50 model for everything, but it makes no sense to use them, for example, for birdwatching, as they are too heavy. They are also too heavy for stalking, mountain hunting, and hiking – there are always better options for these. But, if you are hunting deer, and want to observe all the little details, while not wanting to sacrifice low light performance, then this is the choice for you.
There is a big difference when it comes to the field of view: 10x50 usually gives you 110 m / 1000 m of field of view, and with 8x42, they have fields of view starting at 130 m / 1000 m to 160 m / 1000 m. So, you gain a lot of field of view with 8x42. The exit pupil is approximately 10% bigger on 10x50 than on 8x42, which will still have a small edge in low-light performance. In terms of comfort, 8x42 is better regarding the size and weight – on average, there is about 200 g of difference. When you use them with glasses, 10x50 usually has a longer eye relief – 1 mm to 2 mm on average.
We hope we covered everything, if we forgot something use the comments below, send us an e-mail, or call us. If you like our videos please subscribe and check individual reviews of 10x50 and 8x42 configurations. See you next time, bye.
Products mentioned in the 8x42 VS 10x50 Binoculars debate:
8x42 binoculars: https://www.optics-trade.eu/en/binoculars/8x42-binoculars.html
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