Viking 8x42 ED Pro

OUR VERDICT: I enjoyed using this binocular and was impressed with the strong, bright, natural colours, the level of contrast and the overall brightness of the image.

Some two years after the launch of its first ED glass, open-bridge binoculars, Viking Optical has come up with a completely new model, the ED Pro, which underpins the company’s commitment to broadening its range and extending further into the higher end of the optics market.

Click here to jump to a video about the ED Pro.

This new binocular, manufactured in Japan, bears no resemblance to the existing ED model, which will continue to be available. Its broad, full-bodied, almost conical appearance immediately put me in mind of Zeiss’s T*FL Victory range, and its length – being shorter by only a few millimetres – is similar, too.

Tough, ultra-grippy rubber armour over a magnesium alloy body inspires user confidence. This binocular exudes strength and durability, suggesting it will stand up to some rough treatment. I resisted the temptation to throw it around, however, and took it into the field for the first time at a rather windswept and overcast Portland in late October.

Despite the slightly higher than average weight, the open-bridge design makes it easy to hold. I did feel, however, that the broad cutaway areas in the body are too shallow to make any significant contribution to handling and operation.

The eyecups are thinly wrapped in soft rubber and they twist out and lock very securely and positively in two positions above the base setting. I found them comfortable against the eye and, more importantly, I could still see the full field of view when they were fully extended.

Incorporating the dioptre adjustment mechanism, the rubber-covered, closely milled focusing wheel turns smoothly with approximately one and two thirds anti-clockwise turns between close focus and infinity. While it is broad enough to accommodate two fingers, I found it rather stiff, offering just a little too much resistance on occasions when fast focusing was called for. Pulling out the wheel gives access to the single-eye focus, which has an exposed incremental scale. It quietly clicks, almost as if it’s on a ratchet, when turning, but it operates perfectly well.

I got the close focus down to 1.6 m, but I did not need to run to this to appreciate my subject material, Portland’s stejnegeri Siberian Stonechat, the peachy tones of which were brought out and delivered wonderfully well by this binocular.

From the outset I was impressed with the strong, bright, natural colours, the level of contrast and the overall brightness of the image under dull, overcast conditions. The colour rendition was perhaps on the slightly cold side of neutral and the degree of chromatic aberration was pleasingly low. I did detect some slight image softness in the periphery, along with a noticeable curvature of field, but otherwise the image was crisp and pin sharp. It’s worth pointing out that the lenses of the ED Pro models – the range also includes a 10x42 version – have an ‘oilphobic’ coating, which repels water and dirt and makes them easy to clean.

This is a binocular I enjoyed using in a variety of habitats and it should assure Viking of a place on the ‘must-see’ list of prospective buyers who are looking for high-quality optics at affordable prices. Accessories include a soft case, articulated rainguard and a broad, padded neck-strap.

Tech spec

Price: £799
Size: 153x135 mm
Weight: 845 g
Field of view: 131 m at 1,000 m
Close focus: 2 m
Gas-filled: yes
Waterproof: yes
Guarantee: 10 years