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Celestron Granite ED Binoculars

Audubon 8x42 and 10x42 Equinox Binoculars

These two roof-prism binoculars are made for the National Audubon Society by Sheltered Wings, USA. Priced at an MSRP of just $240 ($260 for the 10x42s), they are a worthy alternative in the higher priced roof-prism binocular market and offer good optical performance for the price. Equinox binoculars are fully waterproof, even submersible! Compact in design, lightweight and comfortable in the hands, the Equinox binoculars will appeal to many a birder.

Optically, the Equinox binoculars are fairly bright, and maintain sharp focus out to the edge of the field. The prisms are BAK-4, fully phase-coated, and they deliver colors that are bright and true. There is a very slight edge effect: both binoculars show a tendency for straight lines to bow inward at the very edge of the field. This is minor however, and you have to really look hard to see it. The 10x42s feature a modest 315-foot field of view at 1000 yards, while the 8s have a 336-foot field. Both close focus to an impressive 5 feet. However, both binoculars were less sharp at the field edges when focused up close, and at extreme close focus, the 10X had difficulty maintaining a single field between the two oculars. These difficulties disappeared when the focal distance increased to 8 feet; and both binoculars were well behaved at this distance.

Important for eyeglass wearers, the 10x42 Equinox has eye relief of 16 mm, and the 8x42s are even better at 19.5 mm. Both models feature twist and lock eyecups that lock in the fully closed and fully extended position. The eyecup mechanism is quite loose however, and the eyecups collapse easily at in-between positions. This is significant because with the 10X, the eyecups extended too far, and better performance was observed with an in-between position. To be fair, eyecup problems are a complaint with even some of the most expensive binoculars we have reviewed. The Equinox eyecups are made of soft rubber and are comfortable against the face.

The focus knob is large, well positioned and coated with the same textured armor so it doesn’t slip against the finger. The mechanism is facile, and the knob turns easily. Focusing requires 2¼ turns to go from close focus to infinity, which is very slow; a rapidly moving bird like a hummingbird is difficult to keep in focus. The diopter adjustment is simple and straightforward: a notched hard plastic ring on the right barrel that twists to adjust the right ocular focus point. The ring moves perhaps, too easily, raising the possibility that it may drift away from a set position during use. A click-stop or locking mechanism would have been better.

At just 5.75 inches tall and 5.1 inches wide, and weighing just 23.4 oz., the Equinox binoculars are a few ounces lighter than most in this size range and won’t exhaust anyone during use. The compact chassis is coated in a pliant, textured black armoring for a secure, comfortable grip. The underside of the barrels features just a slight thumb groove for hand positioning ergonomics. Additionally, the strap attachment is on a raised flange that protrudes from the barrels. This keeps the strap attachment point out from under the hands and distributes some of the weight to the web between thumb and forefinger, making the binocular more comfortable to hold.

The rain guard is a pair of rubber cups connected by a flexible bridge. The cups are deep, and fit easily over the oculars; though the fit is loose enough that they fall away when the binocular is inverted. The strap attachment bracket is gapped on the left side so it can be detached easily; the strap is threaded through the right side. The objective lens caps fit very snugly over the armoring of the barrels – these will not dislodge accidentally in the field. The strap itself is a rather rudimentary nylon one that widens to barely an inch with no extra padding around the neck. Were the binoculars not so lightweight, this would be a cause to substitute a new strap or harness. The padded cordura case is large enough to easily fit the binocular, and features a second compartment separated by a net divider. An additional carrying loop strap extends from beneath the Velcro-closing flap. The case has a wide belt-attachment loop on the back.

Overall, the Equinox binoculars are easy and comfortable to use. The optical performance is solid, and at this cost, the Equinox is a great value.

Find the specifications for the Audubon Equinox Binoculars Here..