Kite Ursus 8x42 binocular
Following its launch of the upgraded Lynx binocular range in autumn 2019, Kite has added a smart new series of entry-level models to its optics portfolio, just in time for spring. The Ursus group comprises four models: 8x32, 8x42, 10x42 and 10x50.
Ursus is the generic name for bear, and as the name implies, these models constitute a tough, robust, no-frills family. The range has been designed to get the job done when it comes to providing an acceptable image at an attractive price point. Upholding its new 'design language', the manufacturer has carried forward the combination of a slim, metallic-red band underlining the brand name on the left ocular, instantly lending brand identity.
Despite feeling a little heavy, the 8x42, reviewed here, is a nicely balanced piece of kit. The chassis is wrapped in soft-touch rubber armour, which is textured to provide maximum grip in the areas in contact with the palms of the user's hands. This texturing neatly extends to the thumb-rests, which are cut away into an otherwise smooth underbody. The instrument as a whole is sleek and comfortable to hold.
I found the central hinge to be a little stiff. This is in no way detrimental, however, as it contributes strongly to maintaining the desired interpupillary distance once set by the user. The central focusing wheel is deep enough for the operating finger to be kept almost straight while avoiding the strap-lugs. So far, so good – the model measures up on the ergonomics front.
One characteristic of that focusing wheel that struck me immediately, though, was the absence of any rubber covering, which led my finger to slip frequently while operating it. If the wheel had offered a little less turning resistance, this would have not been an issue. Approximately one and two-thirds of a turn, anticlockwise, takes the focusing distance from 2.4 m to infinity, although short range to long distance can be achieved in little more than a quarter of a turn. Short range to the closest-focus distance does, however, require three times this amount of turning.
The twist-out eyecups click-stop at three levels above the base setting and they are topped with a flat 90-degrees rubber covering, which perhaps could have been arced or bevelled to increase the comfort factor. Nevertheless, I was still able to see the full field of view, irrespective of the degree of extension – something which I find is rarely achievable in most binoculars.
In order to enhance the image, Kite has used its own 'MHR' coating on all lens surfaces, as well as a high reflective coating on the prisms. In the field, this translates to a clear, sharp and relatively bright image, which returns a very 'warm' colour rendition to the observer. The image contrast runs at a reasonably high level, but the sharpness does not fully extend to the edges of the ample 132-m field, including the top and bottom periphery. Chromatic aberration is almost absent from the centre of the image.
In summary, I found the Ursus easy and pleasant to use in the field and the results it delivered were consistent with the £229 price tag, but I think all models would likely benefit from a rubber-covered focusing wheel to reduce finger slippage.
This binocular comes with a soft and very flexible articulated rainguard, removable tethered objective lens caps, a comfortable padded lanyard and a soft carry case. More models are planned to be launched later this year.
- Price: £229
- Size: 158x130 mm
- Weight: 760 g
- Field of view: 132 m at 1,000 m
- Light transmission: 82%
- Close focus: 2.4 m
- Gas filled: yes
- Waterproof: yes
- Guarantee: 30 years
- Image is clear, sharp and relatively bright
- Full field of view available at all eyecup settings
- Focusing wheel not rubber covered