In the $400+ 8×42 binoculars price range (capped at $600.00) the binoculars are all of excellent quality, so in the end your final choice will probably a matter of personal taste. The Steiners are now entering the frame and they have a long tradition of top quality instruments.
1. Steiner Merlin 8×42 Binoculars
2. Steiner 8×42 Predator Binocular
3. Leupold Pinnacles 8X42Mm Binocular 54504
4. Bushnell Elite E2 8 x 42 Binocular
5. Kowa BD42-8GR High Performance 8x42mm Binoculars
In the following table some technical features are compared. Due to the fact that the objective lens diameter and the magnification are the same, some other features are the same as well: In all the cases the exit pupil is 5.25, twilight factor 18.33, and Relative brightness index 27.56. All of these binoculars are also fully water- and fogproof (nitrogen purged).
$401 - $600
|MODEL||Leupold Pinnacles 8x42||Bushnell Elite e2 8x42||Steiner 8x42 Merlin||Steiner 8x42 Predator||Kowa 8x42 BD42-8|
|LINEAR FOV: FT/1000 YARDS||341.25||330.75||341.25||367.5||330.75|
|EYE RELIEF: MM||17.8||19.5||19||23||18.3|
|CLOSE FOCUS||2 m/6.56 ft||2.4 m/7.87 ft||2.1m/6.9 ft||1.68 m/5.5 ft||2m/6.56 ft|
|WEIGHT||652 gm/22.05 oz||728 gm/24.62 oz||737 gm/26 oz||709 gm/24 oz||730 gm/24.68 oz|
Quality-wise you can buy any of these fine instruments; they won’t let you down and will give you hours of viewing pleasure. Their optics are all of the highest standards, with optical surfaces all fully multi-coated and phase-corrected. Some have more optical coating layers than others, but the detail is not available.
However, the table reveals some interesting facts. Some models do have the edge on the others in certain areas. The Steiner 8×42 Predator has the widest FOV as well as an exceptional long eye relief (23 mm.), making it an excellent choice for people wearing eyeglasses. (It has to be said that the eye relief of the others are quite sufficient as well.) As is the case with all Steiner binoculars, it is covered by a warranty of 30 years . The Steiner 8×42 Predator also has the closest close focus ability of 5.5 ft. The Leupold Pinnacles 8×42, on the other hand, is the lightest of the five.