Friday, 15 June 2012

Review: Eden Quality XP 8x42 Binoculars


The first item of outdoor gear I really wanted wasn’t a tent or a sleeping bag or hiking boots. It was a pair of binoculars. I was around ten years old and very keen on wandering round the countryside and coast of west Lancashire watching birds and animals. I didn’t have conscious feelings about landscape or wild places. I just liked being in the outdoors. Clothing and footwear was whatever my parents provided. I had no interest in them. If my clothes got wet because it rained or I fell in a pond or investigated a ditch that was just something that happened. My first piece of outdoor equipment was probably a fishing net so I could catch pond life. These were cheap though and easily purchased with pocket money. Binoculars were expensive and unobtainable and thus lusted after. Eventually, when they accepted that my passion for nature appeared to be more than passing phase, my parents bought me a pair of 8x25 binoculars. With them I felt like a real naturalist, a real explorer.

Those binoculars are long gone but I’ve owned a pair ever since and taken some on every walk, however long. I like watching wildlife, examining possible routes or campsites, studying cliffs and other features and looking at the stars and planets through binoculars. I can observe animals and birds without disturbing them – or endangering myself when it’s a bear – and look for details in the landscape. I wouldn’t be without binoculars.

For well over a decade – long enough that I can’t remember when I bought either of them – I’ve had two pairs. A tiny 8x21 pair that aren’t very bright but which weigh only 149 grams are the ones I take on backpacking trips and long day walks. For shorter walks and around home I have a pair of 8x42s that are much brighter but which weigh 822 grams. They’re also very bulky and I’m always aware of their presence hanging round my neck. I wouldn’t want to walk a long distance with them. Both pairs look pretty battered and have been repaired. Neither is waterproof so in rain they have to go in the pack.

Given my love of binoculars I was delighted recently when I was offered a pair of Eden 8x42 XP Binoculars to test. I was even more delighted to discover that they are waterproof and quite compact for 8x42s – far more compact than my old pair in fact. They weigh noticeably less at 660 grams too (712 grams with padded neck strap). Even better is the performance as they are brighter and sharper than my old pair whilst having the same magnification and wide field of view. The reduction in weight and bulk is enough that they don’t feel that noticeable after several hours slung round my neck. And they take up less room in the pack when I need to store them – for scrambling say but not, as with my other binoculars, for rain. I will certainly be taking these hillwalking and on short backpacking trips. Indeed, I can see that it will be difficult to leave them behind even on long trips.

The binoculars look and feel high quality and should last a long time (they come with a 25 year guarantee). There are many details I like apart from the optical quality and the reasonable weight and bulk. In particular the dioptre control is very firm and stays in position – it slips easily on both my old pairs so I constantly have to adjust it. The extendable eye cups for use with and without glasses are good too. Being fairly narrow the XPs are easier and more comfortable to hold for long periods than my wide 8x42s. There are indentations to stop the fingers slipping too.

The cost is £245, which for good binoculars isn’t that expensive. On my usage so far I can certainly recommend them. More details here.

12 comments:

  1. They look like good, slim, sturdy binos and a good price too.

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  2. Chris, I also shed some binocular weight recently, buying a pair of Opticron 8x42 BGA Mg (Magnesium) travellers. The difference, by the end of a long day, is noticeable (I tend to have them around my neck all the time). They're in a similar price band to the Eden ones.

    I think there's a definite law of diminishing returns when it comes to binocular prices. Some of the top-end brands at £1,000 and more are undoubtedly good but it's unlikely they're four or five times as good.

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  3. To save weight I carry an Opticron BGA 8 x 42 Monocular. I wonder why monoculars aren't more popular?

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  4. Ady, I tried a monocular many years ago because of the low weight. I didn't get on with it though and found it slower and more awkward to use than binoculars. Maybe it just requires practice.

    Byeways, I agree on the prices. I've tried some of the really expensive ones at RSPB open days and other events and whilst they are superb I can't see a justification for the price. The best value seems to be in the Eden 8x42 price range.

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  5. My 8*21 Ultravids are 253g plus 45g case. I'm sure a saving can be made there. Not a bad weight. Might add them to my list for the odd walk. Note to self. Must use more.
    Great review and info.
    Tony

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  6. Eden Quality XP 8x42 Binoculars is really super handy and there are not any doubts about the vitality of in such binocular and I'm quire sure that everyone will like in such binocular for its specific features. So keep up the good work with posting more information about it. Thanks :)

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  7. Chris, I've been on the lookout for different brands of binoculars, and those Edens look pretty solid. I see this review is over a year old now, how have they held up over that time?

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    1. Cliff, they've held up fine. I expect them to last many more years.

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  8. Still i don't know which company create the best hunting binoculars. But personally i like Nikon brand because they have lots of different binoculars. I like Bushnell too but i use Nikon. For hunting purpose i recommend Nikon.

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  9. Good article Chris Townsend!How much for Eden Quality XP 8x42 Binoculars

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  10. That is a good solid review Chris. Optics and Binoculars are coming on in leaps and bounds these days with all the technology that is improving. There is some pretty amazing products on the market now.

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