The 10x42mm and 8x42mm are arguably the standard measurements if you want to get the best (overall) views when using binoculars. There are larger and smaller binoculars, which can be ideal for some situations, but the 10×42’s and 8×42’s are among the most popular and common among manufacturers.
So, what exactly makes these two sets of binos dissimilar and similar? You may not see the difference among them with your first look. For instance, they are extremely similar in their design, that’s unless we include the Wide-Angle binos altogether. However, we’ll look at this later.
For beginners, measurements may be unclear to them, so it’s important we clear some things up. In an 8x42mm device, the 8 means the level of the zoom that your binos can reach. The 10mm means to the objective lenses’ diameter within the binoculars.
If the objective lenses’ diameter is wider, the binos will gather more light, ensuring you get a brighter overall image. The larger zoom, the closer you can focus in on a particular object, and it is possible to even use your binoculars to view the moon in greater detail.
Large vs Small Binos
With the above information, it’s important to realize that a binoculars with the largest measurements is not necessarily going to be the best one in the market. That’s because different measurements are ideal for different situations.
The difference between these two may seem quite small at first. However, once you get a feel for the different detail that both of them provide, you’ll realize what we mean.
Let’s have look at them individually.
When it comes to binoculars, the 8x42mm is pretty much the average size, the result being that they are among the best all-around binos you can find in the market. Despite their similar measurements, not all the 8x42mm brands are exactly the same. Some manufacturers use specific techniques when making these devices to enable the tiniest bit of additional light to pass through the device’s lenses.
8×42 models offer ample field of view (FOV) along with zoom for users without trying to add much flare. Among the conditions that the 8x42mm models are ideal for include:
Hunting: For the best target acquisition in ideal conditions, usually short range.
Stadium events: One may not need to view high-speed objects, but you can see many things simultaneously.
Opera: You get a smaller FOV (field of view)
8×42’s also provide you with a slightly larger FOV, eye reliefs and exit pupils, which makes them more suitable for low light conditions. They are therefore the best for viewing the moon or stars at night. Of course you will not get an image that rivals that of a telescope.
The 10x42mm models provide you with a similar or same level of light transmission as the 8x42mm counterparts, but with a small increase in the zoom feature. A powerful zoom enables you to get clearer images, meaning you can identify animals and objects at long range.
Among the situations, which the 10x42mm models are ideal for, include:
Hunting: For target acquisition of hunts in the distance, in most cases at maximum range.
Birding: For animals that are fast moving
Twilight factor: While the 8×42’s model can get targets in low light conditions, it’s the resolution and clarity of the animal or object that matters, and its where the 10×42’s work best.
Wide Angled Binos
Wide Angled Binos provide you with a much larger field of view FOV using the same measurements. They are the preferred choices for activities such as birding that require fast movement and a wide FOV along with the best detail acquisition. Depending on the environment you’re glassing, you may prefer one model over another, for example, when birding.
As mentioned above, these optics come in the same 10×42 and 8×42 models, but their design is visibly different.
If Unsure, Go For 8×42 Binoculars
8×42 models are usually more stable than the 10×42’s, which means you get a more stable image when viewing distant images. However, we cannot totally disregard the 10×42’s because viewing an object or animal in the distance doesn’t always mean that you’ll get an unstable image. The 10×42’s will pick up more detail every time you glass a specific area, and if you put it on a stand, you won’t have to worry about image instability.
Both models of these binos have their advantages and downsides. It means you should ensure you do your research carefully and plan the situations you want to use your pair of binoculars for before purchasing them.