Viking Azura 8x42 binocular


Originally launched in 2018, the Viking Azura series was upgraded in February 2023 with the aim of enhancing handling and user experience. Remodelled eyecups and a redesigned, slimmed down chassis were key features of the upgrade.

The series comprises three models – 8x32, 8x42 and 10x42 – so I opted for the birders' orthodox choice of 8x42. Standard range, charcoal-grey armour covers the chassis, with a slightly raised swathe of finely textured rubber sweeping along the entire length of the outer half of each barrel to improve traction in the area in contact with your hands. The trademark blue Viking logo is inset on the hinge and a blue feather 'WP' epithet, signifying that the binocular is waterproof, sits below the left ocular – both adding visual interest.

I found the hinge a little stiff, but this is no bad thing as it means there is far less chance of accidental movement away from the preferred interpupillary distance once set. This also conveys a tough and sturdy feel to the binocular, which is well-balanced and reasonably light.

The eyecups, too, are quite robust, shrouded in the same smooth rubber as the inner halves of the barrels and, despite being flat-rimmed, I found them comfortable when in contact with the areas around my eyes. They can be twist-locked in three different positions above the base point and they hold their settings well. A long eye relief of 20.4 mm delivered the full field of view at all times, irrespective of the extension of the eyecups – a big plus as this is far from the case in many binoculars.

Located below the right ocular, the dioptre ring is a heavily textured alloy, which turns freely but does not depart from its setting during field use. There is a simple 'spot and point' system against which to record its relative positioning.

The same textured alloy is mirrored by the central focusing wheel, which is ergonomically positioned as completely offset from the strap lugs which, in short, means you can keep your finger relaxed and comfortably straight when focusing. Offering little resistance, the wheel turns smoothly, with just over 1.5 anticlockwise rotations taking the image from close focus to infinity. A full rotation takes the image in focus from its closest point to approximately 500 m, so it's not overly fast.

Drilling down into focusing, I was not able to reach the manufacturer's close-focus figure of 4.5 m and the best I could achieve was 5.7 m on the model I received for testing.

With 110 m at 1,000 m, the field of view is rather narrower than I would have expected for an 8x42 binocular and there is some curvature and softness at its edges. However, the image holds good in terms of its delivery of colour, contrast and level of brightness – the last of these appearing surprisingly high considering the light transmission figure of only 70%. The overall colour rendition appears to be neutral. Chromatic aberration – a given in all binoculars – is evident but the middle third of the image sports the lowest degree and it is not at a level which would normally be of too much concern.

The new Azura comes with a soft carry case, a comfortably padded lanyard, and a very soft and flexible articulated rainguard, which fits firmly over the eyecups without changing their positional settings during its removal. Also supplied are standard, slip-on, looped objective covers which, as a result of their relative looseness, I did not use in the field. They are best retained for transport and storage.


Further info

  • Price: £179.95
  • Size: 150 x 130 mm
  • Weight: 625 g
  • Field of view: 110 m at 1,000 m
  • Light transmission: 70%
  • Close focus: 4.5 m
  • Gas-filled: yes
  • Waterproof: yes
  • Guarantee: 5 years


+ Robust, tough feel to build
+ Good image with neutral colours
- Field of view is quite narrow

Written by: Mike Alibone

Mike Alibone is Birdwatch's Optics Editor and a keen Northamptonshire birder, where he previously served as County Recorder. He has been testing binoculars and scopes for 15 years. Follow him on Twitter: @bonxie