Equinox HP 8x42 Audubon Binoculars.
I was leant these binoculars to review before Christmas so they have now been on a number of outings and allowed a full review. However, most of what I am about to say is second-hand, because my wife became chief reviewer after grabbing the bins to check out a bird on one of our close feeders – she liked the look and feel of the bins and was impressed by the close focus.
I have to say I am not in the least upset as we had only a choice of 10 x 42 and 8 x 30 binoculars before and this leaves me to used these alternatives whenever I want rather than the 8 x 42’s.
Maggie is happy too as she has decided that she wants to go on using the bins which is, in itself, quite a compliment to the product and its makers – behind the Audubon branding is the top US retailer Eagle Optics. My wife may not be an expert but she knows what she wants which is a light-filled binocular which gives a clear image and is versatile enough for most birding use.
The specifications of the binoculars are as follows:
Magnification: 8 times
Eye Relief: 19.5 mm
Field of view: 336 ft at 1000 yards
Close Focus: 5.0ft
Weight: 23.6oz [That’s around 670 grams]
Dimensions: 5.75” x 5.1”
I address some of the features below:
This is the cruncher for any optics and for their price these binoculars are impressive. The image is clear, bright with no noticeable distortion in normal use. OK If you try hard you can detect both a little image and colour distortion at the very edge of the lens but as this really is at the edge it is neither intrusive or greatly important.
The Equinox HP has large eye-cups of semi-soft rubber which twist up through a click-stop mechanism to reach its full extension, marked by another click-stop and it has an intermediate position halfway out, permitting flexibility of use. They are tapered on the end, so they fit comfortably, deep into the eye socket of the user.
The non-slip textured surface gives a comfortable and secure grip and they feel well balanced. Whilst not lightweight they are not so heavy as to cause strain with prolonged use. It also comes with a good wide strap making the middling weight even less of a problem. The rainguard etc. are adequate and the the fact that they are nitrogen filled and waterproof is a comfort. In an English winter they fogged up on the outside in a hide sheltering from the cold but this cleared quickly and was all external.
The normal focus wheel is comfortable and easy even in gloves with a sensible ratio making it easy to use in the field. However, the diopter adjustment mechanism on the right eyepiece has a simple twist ring with high resistance keeping it from slipping easily but making it hard to use quickly – nor is it easy to judge the setting once you feel comfortable so adjusting it for different eyes is not easy.
I came across a review on the net on the ‘Optics4birding’ website http://www.optics4birding.com which says: “So here’s the summary. You’re relatively new to birding and not sure you want to spend $800+ on a fine binocular. You’re looking for a decent roof-prism with good optical performance that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. You want something light-weight, durable and comfortable. We recommend you to take a close look at the Audubon Equinox HP.”
In the UK you will have to pay around £200. This is a good price for your first birding binoculars and I wholeheartedly agree with the reviewer above – you are getting great value for money.
Created: 02nd Feb 2006