Kenko 8x32 ultraVIEW EX Binoculars
a Japanese optics company that makes a full line of photographic equipment, but
also manufactures a large number of binoculars and spotting scopes. This is not
a new company, having been around since 1957, but Kenko is unknown to most people
except optics business insiders. Kenko has manufactured optics for other companies
to rebrand and market, including some big name companies. However, until recently,
they had no distributors in the U.S for selling their own brand. Obviously that
has changed and it gave us something nice to write about: the ultraVIEW EX binoculars.
The ultraVIEW EX line is comprised of 6 different binoculars, all of which are roof
prism designs. There are two 50-mm binoculars at 10x and 12x magnification, standard
full-sized 8x42 and 10x42 models, and two mid-sized versions at 8x32 and 10x32.
We happen to be big fans of the 8x32 ultraVIEW EX, which offers a great combination
of brilliant optics, low weight and other features at the very affordable price
$239.00, and is the
subject of this review.
As roof prism binoculars, the 8x32 ultraVIEWs are fully sealed and nitrogen-purged
to be waterproof, dust-proof and internally fog-proof. Additionally, the 8x32 ultraVIEWs
have an open bridge design, with space between the hinges for 2-3 fingers, providing
a stable, comfortable grip. The Kenko ultraVIEW 8x32 is about average sized at 5.8
inches tall (5.4 inches with eyecups down) and 5.75 inches wide with the hinges
fully open. Despite that, they are feather light at exactly 16 oz., due to their
fiberglass-reinforced polycarbonate frame.
One question we get asked a lot about 32-mm binoculars is, are they as bright as
full-sized 42-mm binoculars? It’s actually a surprisingly difficult question. With
less surface area, a 32-mm lens has less light-gathering capacity, plain and simple,
but that isn’t the whole story. The question is: how much of the light that the
lens gathers is actually transmitted to your eyes? This becomes a question of efficiency
of the optical design, and it’s where really good binoculars excel and poorer ones
fall down. A well-designed 32-mm binocular can be brighter than a low-quality 42-mm
binocular. Kenko ultraVIEW EX binoculars are definitely a case of a well-designed
binocular. They have fully multi-coated lenses for maximum light transmission and
brightness. They are phase-coated for greater image sharpness and more vibrant color.
For those of you to whom it matters, the 8x32 ultraVIEWs are made with lead- and
arsenic-free Eco-friendly glass.
The focus knob is unusually large and turns with great ease. The 8x32 EX binocular
has a minimum close focus (MCF) of 8.8 feet which they achieve without field collapse.
The 8x32 ultraVIEWs go from MCF to infinity in a zippy 1.25 turns of the knob, meaning
you won’t have any trouble keeping moving targets in focus. The field of view at
1000 yards is a huge 420 feet, well above average for an 8x32 design. We noticed
that the ultraVIEWs have very little chromatic aberration of any kind at any point
in the field, resulting in particularly clean and sharp images.
The 8x32 ultraVIEWs have 17.5 mm of eye relief, more than enough to accommodate
most eyeglass wearers. The interpupillary distance range on these binoculars is
56-76 mm, which means you won’t have difficulty finding a comfortable setting to
fit your face. The eyecups adjust with a helical twist mechanism with three detents
between fully-in and fully-out, so again, finding a comfortable setting is easily
achieved. The diopter adjustment is a very simple twist ring on the upper right
The rainguard is a single hard plastic piece that fits semi-loosely over the ocular
lenses; it has a bracket for fitting the strap through to prevent loss when carrying
it into the field. The objective lens covers are a one-piece design, fitting directly
into the ends of the barrels and linked by a flexible bridge between them. The case
is a waterproof nylon-cordura affair with a Velcro closure on the flap. The unpadded
nylon strap is plenty comfortable enough on a binocular this light.
Summing up, we feel there are a lot of very strong features to the Kenko 8x32 ultraVIEW
EX binoculars. The image quality is bright and sharp, there is that huge field of
view and the ergonomics of the design are excellent. You get all that in a super
light little package that is very durable and costs you less than $250. We expect
this little binocular to be very popular once the word starts to get out about them.
Kenko ultraView EX Binoculars
- current price and availability