Thursday, February 9, 2012

New birder's questions on 8x42 binoculars

Eagle Optics,

I am new to birding (just starting) and looking for a decent binocular. I am tempted by the Nikon Monarch ATB and would consider that my top end. I am really thinking more about spending around $120. I do want to go with 42mm objective lenses and believe I want 8x power (possibly 10 power). Is there anything that would help me understand the difference between the following 8x42 optics:

Bushnell H2O
Atlas Radian
Eagle Optics Denali
Eagle Optics Ranger
Nikon Monarch ATB

I believe I have narrowed it down to the Radian or Denali. I think I want to stay with your brand for warranty, but it looks like Atlas also has a “no fault” warranty. (Do I deal directly with Atlas on a warranty claim?) Any help with this would be great!

Also, one other question. Many specs include a twilight factor” calculated as the square root of the magnification times objective size. This make since for higher twilight factor for larger objective, but does not make since to me when comparing an 8x42 and a 10x42. The 10x42 has a higher twilight factor, but the 8x42 is usually considered “brighter” than a 10x42 and better for low light.(due to exit pupil diameter?). I seem to be getting something wrong here…

Thanks for your help,


Thanks for your interest in Eagle Optics. You’ve selected binoculars that are all generally in the same class, though I’d agree that you should stick with the Radian or Denali for price and overall build quality/warranty.

Atlas is one of our house brands, so just like the Denali, it would come here to us for service.

We don’t really use twilight factor to talk about brightness of a binocular, because you can basically get the same answers by looking at the magnification, field of view, and front lens size. I’m not sure where you’re seeing the difference in twilight factor numbers, but the lower the magnification (and hence wider field of view between an 8x and 10x of the same model) and bigger the front lens size, the brighter your image will be in low light.

If you want a good all-around binocular that will work well in all light situations and be easy to hold steady for long periods of time, I’d suggest an 8x42.

If you have any further questions, we’re happy to help.

Eagle Optics

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