Eden Quality 8x42 HD binocular

OUR VERDICT: A solid binocular with a generally bright and sharp image, the Quality 8x42 is terrific value for money.

If you are birding on a budget and looking for binoculars with a high performance-to-cost ratio, it’s likely that your expectations will be met by the Eden Quality HD 8x42. The model combines value with a high level of optical effectiveness, and is available online for just £129.

Eden, seeking to improve its standing in the birding optics market, has been ploughing its own furrow by direct selling over the internet, cutting out distributors and minimising overheads. The Chinese-manufactured optics have been pushing the quality envelope at the budget end of the market and will no doubt continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

The HD 8x42 is the entry-level 42 mm roof-prism binocular. It appears enormously solid and gives the impression it will withstand anything you might wish to throw at it. This effect is carried through to the weight. Even though it weighs no more than the most expensive models at the very top of the optics tree, it just ‘feels’ heavy – something brought about, perhaps, by the combination of compactness with a heavy-duty appearance. Moving away from the current aluminium body to carbon fibre or magnesium would help to lighten the load, but it would also increase the production cost of this model.

The binocular is well balanced and comfortable to hold, with ‘islands’ of stippled rubber on the outer body sides aligned with the palms of your hand and a raised rubber ridge along the top of each barrel serving to increase grip as it sits within your fingers.

The twist-out eyecups have a thin skin of rubber and they loose-lock in four positions, three of which (above the fully retracted base-stop) are etched with a visible scale of 7.5 mm, 11 mm and 14.5 mm above the eyepiece. This enables you to quickly revert to a desired setting in the event of accidental displacement, which is likely to occur when removing the articulated rainguard supplied with the binocular. (Continues after the image.)

Eden Quality HD 8x42 binocular
The binocular is lightweight and solid and with a great width of field for a low-priced model.

The focusing mechanics are very smooth, with just over one anti-clockwise turn of the central wheel from close focus to infinity – impressively fast. Eden’s avowal on the close-focus distance appears somewhat ambitious, but the approximately 1.35 m I measured is still highly respectable and beats the vast majority of other models on the market.

Adjustment of the single-eye focus is performed via a no frills, broadly milled ring at the base of the right ocular, which offers enough turning resistance to prevent accidental movement from the desired setting.

With a field of view of 129 m at 1,000 m, this binocular is one of a handful of low-cost 8x magnification models which delivers a more than acceptable width of field. There is some detectable softness in a significant part of the periphery of the image, but apart from this, it is generally sharp. The image is bright under normal daylight conditions, and it performs quite acceptably in low light.

The colours tend to be a little darker in tone than in real life, but you wouldn’t notice this to any great degree; the overall colour tone is on the warm side of neutral. The level of chromatic aberration is perhaps best described as average and compares favourably with some models with a much higher price tag.

For me, all this adds up to a binocular which I thought was terrific value for money, as well as serving to underline Eden’s position as a serious player at the lower end of the optics market. In addition to the accessories referred to above, the HD 8x42 comes with a soft carry case, padded neckstrap and optional tethered objective lens covers. For £129 and with a 25-year warranty, you can’t go wrong!


Tech spec

Price: £129
Size: 145x120 mm
Weight: 760 g
Field of view: 129 m at 1,000 m
Close focus: 1.2 m
Gas-filled: yes
Waterproof: yes
Guarantee: 25 years