Eagle Optics Ranger 8x42

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Eagle Optics Ranger 8x42
For a birder, there is a lot to like about the Eagle Optics Rangers. One year ago (mid 2004) i bought my wife a pair of the 8x42's. Coming from years of amateur astronomy I had little regard for roof-prism binoculars, regarding them as little more than an expensive affectation for yuppie birders - this opinion has been strengthened over the years, after asking various birders why they chose roofies, and getting a gaping mouth for an answer.

Anyway, these are roofies, and they rock! Strong points are

* rugged, rubber-clad
* sharp bright images on center
* accurate fast-focus
* incredible close-focus of about 5 feet - we can easily focus on nesting robins in the rafters on our verandah
* waterproof and fogproof
* captive lens caps at each end
* and did i mention rugged...

My wife sits her 8x42's on the dashboard of our van, while we hack up back-country fire roads in the Washington Cascades - occasionally there is a thud as they land on the floor. I have done this with other binocs and had to have them re-collimated. not so with the Rangers. They are frequently used in the rain, or left out at night on a campsite table where they are subject to heavy mountain dew, campfire ash, spilt beer etc - they have never yet leaked water or fogged up. If they get too dirty you can wash em without a worry. And i love the focus mechanism. It is so fast and slop-free you can capture your target in a second, just what is needed for birding at close range. The Rangers simply get out of the way and let you do your birding thing.

Optically i have noticed some minor imperfections. There is some pincushion effect - if you get sea-sick do not pan too fast! Also the sharpness of view starts to deteriorate slightly at about 70degrees off center - this is largely irrelevant for birding as you always keep the image in the center. And there is slight colour fringing on very bright objects. This all sounds worse than it is, possibly artifacts of the roof-prism design. Anyway they have no effect on the instrument's suitability for birding - i simply point these things out because i have noticed them.
I was so impressed with my wife's 8x42's that when it came time to replace my own birding binocs i chose the Ranger 10X42's - these look like another winner, with very similar characteristics to the 8x42's.
In summary, although i would probably not use these for astronomy, because that is not their purpose, they excell for birding - i believe you would have to spend 2 to 3-times the money to get anything noticeably better.
Bob Bennett
Maple Valley, WA

05/01/06:- A follow-up to the above comments... my wife and i finally had two pairs of Rangers, one for each of us, both used for birding. Sadly, my own pair, 10x42's (v.similar to the 8x42's) grew legs. I assume they were stolen, from my workplace - lesson: dont take good stuff to work. So... lacking the funds to replace them, i decided to order a pair of cheap 10x42's ($77, chinese, will not mention the brand) as a temporary replacement for the Rangers. It is unfair to heap dirt on cheap optics, after all "'ya gets what ya pays for", but i add the following to emphasize what the Rangers give you for your money.
1 - the Rangers make it easy to get a fast and dead-accurate focus. The cheapies take so long to focus that any healthy bird can be a mile away before i get both eyes focussed.
2 - the Rangers are sharp across most of the field. The cheapies are sharp across about 30%, the rest is dismal.
3 - the Rangers have excellent coatings. when looking at the field lenses in sunlight, i can see the reflection of a dim sun in a dark background. In the cheapies i can LOTS of bright suns in a bright background.

So... am hoping for another nice bonus check, for ta-da, another pair of Rangers.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:8 Value:9
Weight: 17 (Trustworthy Vote)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=442164

Eagle Optics Ranger 8x42
Great value. Warranty is tops-$10 replacement or repair;even if it's your fault!

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:9 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=574318

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