I was delighted when Eden got in touch about taking a pair of their binoculars on test, regular clothing or camping gear helps with the mechanics of a hill trip but this was something that I thought might add an extra dimension and really enhance the experience of sitting at camp on along summer’s evening.
Eden suggested a few models and the XP 8×42’s looked like a good balance between size, weight and magnification. At 752g (complete without case as seen above) you could say it’s weight you don’t need to carry, but I say if you’ve spent time, effort and money making your kit smaller and lighter, you’ve made capacity in your rucksack for extra fun, so I’m as happy packing these as I am a bag of donuts and a mini bottle of Irn Bru.
I’ve carried mini binoculars and a monocular into the hills, but I can tell these are going to be a world away from that. From my often-featured living room window I can see for miles across the river, over woodland and to the hills. The Eden’s bring the far side of the river into sharp detail, I can read the expressions on the faces of people walking their dogs, as I look farther away I can see detail that I never knew was there.
The quality through the lenses is outstanding, no distortion across the field of view and it’s super sharp when dialled in. The right lens is adjustable to compensate for differences between your eyes and it doesn’t adjust by itself either, the adjustment ring being bound with a very tenacious grease. The centre focus adjustment is still quite stiff, but adjustable by a fingertip which is perfect for me as I can glide it into focus smoothly and not have to go backwards and forwards to get it just-right. The soft rubber-ringed eye-pieces screw in and out so you can keep your glasses on if you want to. I’ve tried in with and without and it’s fine, but it’s always going to be better with the eye-pieces out and glasses off to seal out unwanted light.
The 8×42 magnification is fine, I can watch stuff a mile away and hand shake is bearable when standing up, with elbows resting on something it’s like looking just outside over the road.
The Eden’s come as a complete package, there’s a neck strap, lens caps for both ends and a carry case with a lens cleaner cloth and user manual.
I really like the idea of carrying these to camp, I have visions of me lying on the summit peering into the coire watching rutting stags with a cuppa beside me, grinning away to myself.
I’ll have field reports on how well they pack and they perform coming up soon.