Nikon is better known for the high-performance EDG binoculars and the lower priced Monarch series, but the Premier delivers tremendous image at this price point. It’s the heaviest binocular in this review, but I found the weight improved my stability while hand holding. The field of view is a little narrow, but the depth of field is outstanding. For the hunter not intending to use tripod, the Premier would be an excellent choice. During low light testing, the image quality delivered by the Premier was regarded as the best.
Nikon Premier 10x42
Cons: No center-post tripod adapter; carrying case not exceptional.
Pros: Locking collar diopter adjustment; rubber armoring has excellent texture; focus wheel is silky smooth; strongest low light performer in the group; tremendous warranty.
Model: Premier 10x42
FOV (ft@1000ft): 314'
Length (in): 6.10
Weight (ozs): 28.20
Eye Relief: 18.5 mm
Minox HG 10x43
Every time Minox introduces a product, there’s one or two qualities that make me say “wow”. The HG 10x43 is a durable binocular that weighs under 23 ozs. The sleek, rubber-armored HG’s are built around optical glass from Schott AG, top glass producer in Europe. With 21 separate lens coatings and a silver-based prism coating, the HG delivers excellent transmission, with tremendous image rendition. The HG can accept a center-post tripod adapter and has a locking diopter adjustment ring. The focus wheel rotates smoothly with the perfect amount of resistance. If you’re a backcountry hunter is counting ounces, then the Minox HG should be a strong consideration.
Minox HG 10x43
Cons: The strap and case are a little meager; the housing could use some type of texture to help your hands find a similar position each time.
Pros: Knurled aluminum focus wheel is silky smooth; locking collar-style diopter adjustment; center tripod adapter.
The BL might fall at the very bottom price point of all the binoculars in this review, but don’t let that sway your opinion. The Minox BL line has fully multi-coated optics and are phase corrected, offering an image quality that is exceptional at this price. The open bridge design is extremely functional and easy to control with only one hand, a situation a bowhunter can appreciate.
Minox BL 10x44
Cons: Lots of square edges gives a boxy look and feel. Compared to more expensive competition, the low light performance was not strong; doesn’t have a locking diopter adjustment; without thumb grooves, the housing is a little slick in dry hands.
Pros: Price; image quality was good to very good in better light; center tripod adapter; dual-hinge design.
You may not be familiar with Meopta, but they’ve been building high-performance optics for decades. In fact, they’ve produced finished products for some of the biggest names in the optics industry. Meopta headquarters are in the Czech Republic, and like many companies in former Eastern Bloc countries, they developed products and technologies in relative obscurity for more than 50 years. As communism crumbled, Meopta worked its way into the western optical market. The MeoStar HD binoculars are the culmination of their efforts in the sporting market. It’s the most complete hunting glass in this lineup. As the name implies, the MeoStar HD incorporates an extralow dispersion fluoride HD objective lens. It’s threaded for a center-post tripod adapter, enabling you to take full advantage of the excellent edge-to-edge clarity and ample field of view. Meopta makes a great camera adapter for an iPhone that allows you to quickly attach the phone to the binocular and start taking pictures.
Meopta MeoStar HD 10x42
Cons: The diopter adjustment doesn’t lock; on the heavy side for a 10x42.
Pros: Comes with a very comfortable strap; easily tripod adaptable; excellent clarity, field of view.
For the past three years, the Genesis 8x33 was my first choice during archery elk hunts. I found the combination of its size, weight, and optical performance to be just about perfect when I needed to move fast, often with only one hand free. The focus wheel is easy to find and manipulate and it delivered all the light I needed, even in the gray light of morning. Though I don’t typically use a binocular in this size range with a tripod, it can be done.
Kowa Genesis 8x33 or 10x33
Cons: No center-post tripod adapter; housing could use thumb grooves or indexing marks of some kind.
Pros: Very comfortable eyecups; excellent light transmission for a 33mm objective lens; fits well in larger hands considering the smaller size.
This article originally appeared in Western Hunter Magazine and appears courtesy of Western Hunter Magazine. Western Hunter Magazine is your best resource for hunting information for all western species. Whether you are interested in elk, deer, antelope, bighorn sheep or moose we will bring the adventure to your mailbox! Our subtitle is Gear - Tactics - Information - Adventure and we take each of these seriously. We only feature the finest hunting gear available from the finest makers in the world. If you are looking for information or looking to buy, we will steer you in the right direction. In each issue you will learn tips and tactics from the most experienced hunters in the west. With articles on field judging trophies, glassing techniques and calling strategies, we guarantee you will learn something new in every issue, and will continue to become more knowledgeable and skilled Western Hunter.
Join the discussion of this article HERE at the Article Discussion Forum.