Likely the Best Binoculars You Can Afford: Hawke Sapphire ED 8 x 42
The Hawke Sapphire ED 8 x 42 binoculars, HA3767 (green), is not the most expensive set of binoculars that I own, much less that I've evaluated over th years. Nevertheless, they are a decidedly upscale set of binoculars that are best of breed, and human eyes could not tell the difference between these binoculars and a $2000 set. My eyes cannot.
They are shipped
beautifully presented, in a hard leather case. Compared to very good more
standard binoculars, the Sapphire ED set improves upon image brightness,
contrast, and color fidelity though the use of extra-low dispersion glass
(ED), combined with an advanced dielectric prism coating. On the strength
side, they have stronger and costlier magnesium alloy frames as compared
to aluminum alloy.
The Sapphires are reasonably lightweight at 25.7 oz., have 18mm of eye relief, and have a very good 426 foot field of view at 1000 yards. The lens covers are outstandingly good, integral with the body, well-fitted, and they stay on when you want them to. Birdwatchers tend to be a bit more fussy than hunters, as far as I'm concerned. Birdwatch Magazine has already called these Hawke's Best, and Best Binoculars & Binocular Reviews gave this set their Best Birding Binocular 2013 Award. They rated it as outstanding for body stats, optical stats, and image quality. These aren't the cheapest binoculars you can find, for those come in bubble packs with with plastic bodies. But, at $459, they are a fraction of what you'd pay for the similarly performing Zeiss Victory and Leica Ultravid sets that both go for around $2200. That's why these Hawkes have been referred to as Alpha Beaters, for those that don't want to pay through the nose for lifestyle branding.
The set of binoculars that I used the most in the field, in 2013, was the Hawke Endurance #HA3944 8 x 42 roof prism binocular set. At the very appealing $210 or so price point, they are remarkably good with fully multi-coated lenses, phase corrected prisms, and BAK4 prisms. Yet, the Sapphires are clearly a cut-above with ED glass, the dielectric coating, better lens caps, the water-repellent objective lens coating, and the magnesium chassis. You sure don't have to spend $2000 to live large with a truly outstandingly good set of binoculars, and the Sapphire ED binoculars, at $420 or so street price rank as the most for the least in an upscale set of field binoculars.
Copyright 2014 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.