Leupold & Stevens is a family owned business (5th generation) which has been in the USA for more than 100 years. The company entered the riflescope market in 1947 and has since then dominated that market. In 1992 they started manufacturing binoculars, their Leupold Golden Ring® binoculars, tapping into their decades of experience in the field of optics. So, even though they haven’t been in the binocular market that long, they have been in the optics for more than 60 years. The other day I heard someone (a USA citizen) say: “I bought a Leupold simply because it’s a Leupold.” This might be because it’s an all-American product, but most probably he was referring to the excellent optics Leupold has been renowned for. All Leupold binoculars are covered by a limited lifetime warranty and each and every one is fully weatherproof (water- and fogproof).
A wide variety of Leupold binoculars is available, but only the following 8×42’s will be reviewed:
$150 – $260:
Rogue 8×42, Acadia 8×42, Cascades 8×42
$260 – $450:
Olympic 8×42, Mojave 8×42, Pinnacles 8×42
Since they are all 8×42’s, their light gathering ability is the same as far aperture, exit pupil and magnification are concerned: Twilight factor (sq. root of magnification x aperture): 18.33 and relative brightness index: 27.56 (aperture/magnification x aperture/magnification). However, this does not mean that the image arriving at the viewer’s eyes is the same.
Two factors make all the difference: 1. Quality of optical glass used in lenses and prisms; 2. Coatings on lenses and prisms. The better these are, the brighter, sharper and true to color the images. However, quality of glass and coatings come at a price. Better optical glass and better coatings simply cost more and that is the main reason why the Acadia 8×42 costs $150 and the Pinnacles 8×42 $420+.