8×42 vs 10×42 Binoculars: Which one to choose?

Binoculars are mainly used to see detailed views of objects that are almost impossible by the naked eye. There are so many varieties of models and features of binoculars, so it is tough to choose the right one. The most common specifications for binoculars are 8×42 and 10×42. When you go to buy a binocular, you will find these types of specifications. But what do they mean by these numbers? Well, the 8×42 defines this binocular’s magnification power as 8x and the diameter of the objective lens is 42mm. Similarly, the 10×42 indicates the 10 times magnification power and 42mm diameter objective lens of the binoculars. Now the crucial factor is which one is best for you. And this article is all about 8×42 vs 10×42 binoculars. Here we are going to discuss the features and functionalities of both specifications. That will help you to choose the right one!

8×42 vs 10×42 Binoculars: Which is best?

8x42 vs 10x42 binoculars: which is best?

In short: Between 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars, you need to choose the one based on the using purposes.

8×42 binoculars: 8×42 binoculars provide a wider view and work best for short and mid-distant objects. This type will be good for bird watching, fishing, and watching shows in the theater.

10×42 binoculars: 10×42 binoculars provide a close view of mid to long-distance objects. It perfectly goes for hunting, sports, and wildlife-seeing purposes.

In-depth: Besides purposes, magnification, and objective lens diameter, there are several distinct differences found for 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars. Have a look to fissure out the key differences between them.

Physical Differences: The size of both types of binoculars is almost the same. The 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars are usually compact and lightweight. The 10×42 binoculars are sometimes a little heavier than the 8×42 binoculars for the slightly thicker glass. So far, the size and weight don’t matter much to choosing any of them. You should consider the following differences before choosing any of them.

1. Magnification power

The main purpose of using binoculars is to see the target object which is far away from you. The magnification power of binoculars provides a detailed view of distant objects. Having more magnification power ensures a better and more detailed view. In this circumstance, the 8×42 binoculars will provide 8 times magnification of distant objects whereas 10×42 provides 10 times magnification of the objects. Based on your purposes, you can go for any of them. So far, choosing 10×42 specification binoculars will be a wise decision for you if you are using them for hunting, wildlife, and sports.

2. Image Shake

When you move with binoculars, it will affect the magnification as well. If you move and shake your hands you won’t see the objects perfectly. In this case, you can go for 10×42 binoculars if you use tripod-attached binoculars or you can keep your hand steady. On the other hand, if your binoculars don’t have a tripod attachment system and you can’t hold them stable, then choose 8×42 binoculars. That will be better for you as each movement is multiplied by the magnification and you will get more shakes in images.

3. Light Gathering

The ability of light-gathering mainly depends on the diameter of the objective lens. Here for both specifications, the diameter of the objective lens is 42mm. That means the 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars are engineered with the same light-gathering ability, same types of glass, and same quality coating. Moreover, the 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars can capture detailed and high-resolution bright images even in low light conditions.

4. Glass Thickness and Transmittance

The glass thickness is dependent on the magnification power of the binoculars. The glass of 10×42 binoculars is thicker than the 8×42 binoculars. The transmittance rate is almost equal for both types of binoculars. In extreme low light conditions, the 10×42 lens will work better than the 8×42 binoculars lens.

5. Exit Pupil Size

You will see a bright circle at the center of each binocular eyepiece, that is the exit pupil. The diameter of the exit pupil varies from binoculars to binoculars. By exit pupil size, you can differentiate the 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars. Now the question is how to determine the exit pupil of binoculars. It’s so simple to calculate. You need to divide the diameter of the binoculars by the magnification power. Then you will get the size of the exit pupil of your selected binoculars.

  • For 8×42 binoculars, the size of the exit pupil will be 42/8 = 5.25mm
  • For 10×42 binoculars, the size of the exit pupil will be 42/10 = 4.2mm

In good light conditions, at least 4 mm is required. Both 8×42 and 10×42 create more than 4mm exit pupils, so they will work well to deliver a bright image. In low light conditions, 8×42 can produce comparatively clear and bright images for its large exit pupil. On the other hand, 10×42 produces more detailed images than 8×42 binoculars in low light conditions. So choosing the one also depends on in which light condition you used it.

6. Field of View

When the factor is the field of view, it is really important to consider it before choosing binoculars. The higher magnification power of binoculars creates more zoom-in images and that may create a problem by reducing the field of view. For very long-distance objects, it will not bother you much, but for smaller distant objects you will face the problem of cutting off the full frame you wanted to see. In this case, 10×42 binoculars provide less field of view than the 8×42 specification. If you want to see the mid to long distant objects, you should go for the 10×42 specifications. Otherwise choosing 8×42 binoculars will be helpful to see detailed and full-frame images of your targeted objects.

7. Ease of use

Both binoculars are lightweight and compact. You can choose any of them based on the other specifications and purposes.

8. Price range

Considering price range is a vital factor before choosing any product. The 8×42 and 10×42 are quite similar, and if you want to use them for mid-range objects, you can go for any of them. The price range is slightly different. For the same brand, the price range of the 8×42 specification might be more expensive than the 8×42 binoculars. Though it also varies from brand to brand. After these discussions, it would be more helpful if we provide a comparison scenario between the 2 specifications. So we have picked 2 different binoculars of 8×42 and 10×42 specifications. The features and functionalities are depicted below-

Example of 8×42 specification:

Celestron – Nature DX 8×42 Binoculars

Key features:

  • 8x Magnification power
  • The diameter of the objective lens is 42mm
  • Made by Synthetic materials
  • Multi-coated lenses
  • Phase-coated BaK-4 prisms attachment
  • 5 feet close focus system
  • Rubber-armored included
  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • 25mm exit pupil distance
  • Twist-up eyecups with multi-stop function
  • The price range is affordable

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  • Best for short to the mid distant object
  • Wider field of view to see full view
  • Larger exit pupil distance
  • Perform well in low light condition
  • Provides larger eye relief
  • Price range won’t cut your pocket
  • Can’t see long distant objects
  • Perhaps could not deliver enough detailed view

Example of 10×42 specification:

Vortex Optics Diamondback 10×42 Binoculars

Key features:

  • Comes with a 10x magnification system
  • 42mm diameter of the objective lens
  • The construction material is Aluminum
  • Designed with multi-coated lenses
  • Features multi-coated BaK-4 prisms
  • The eye relief is 15mm
  • Have center focus wheel adjustment
  • Rubber-armored system
  • O-ring seals and Argon purging
  • Water-resistant and fog proof
  • Exit pupil distance is 4.2mm
  • Armortek coating protection
  • The price range is higher than 8×42 binoculars

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  • More magnification power
  • Can focus on mid and long distant objects
  • Provides a more detailed view
  • Deliver better quality images
  • Work well in good or low light conditions
  • Provide shorter exit pupil and eye relief
  • Not suitable to locate a small subject

Final verdict

Which one to choose between 8×42 or 10×42 Binoculars? What do you think after these in-depth discussions? Well, we recommend choosing any of them based on your preferences, purposes, and budgets. Here both binoculars will provide a great and detailed view. Considering other properties, if you want a binocular for long distant object viewing you should go for the 10×42 binoculars. For low-distant objects, you should choose 8×42 specifications. Again for seeing mid-distant detailed objects, you can choose either the 8×42 or 10×42 binoculars. These both will provide detailed and bright images of mid-distant objects. Hopefully, this article will help you to choose the right one between 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars specifications.

About Nathan Mattingly

My name is Nathan Mattingly, and I specialize in writing about optics, including binoculars, spotting scopes, monoculars, and rifle scopes. With a passion for the outdoors, I have developed a deep understanding of these products and their technical aspects. I excel at explaining complex concepts in a way that is easy for readers of all levels of experience to understand. Trust me to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information available to help you make informed decisions.

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