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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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..