Opticron Aurora 8x42 BGA

  • 42s that handle like 32s! Very lightweight
  • Simple, unfussy design makes for great comfort
  • Sharp, bright image, even in low light
  • No sign of any chromatic aberration
  • Very generous eye relief

Opticron’s binocular range has something to suit most pockets, from models costing less than £100, to their top end offerings – the Auroras. There are two Auroras – an 8x42 and a 10x42, both with an RRP of £739. I tested the 8x42. At this price you should expect a lot of binocular…

For a 42mm binocular, this is a wonderfully lightweight product. At 654g their weight is more like that of an 8x32, and they’re not that much bigger than some 8x32s either. The alloy body is covered in lightly-stippled rubber, nitrogen-filled and waterproof to five metres. The design is simple and unfussy – their size, shape and weight, the armouring and the rubber-covered eyecups all play a part in making a binocular that I found easy and comfortable to handle.

The view is good too – sharp and bright. It’s a bit behind some top-end optics but still pretty impressive. There is a little edge softness and a slight yellow colour cast but nothing problematic. Contrast was good and they performed well in low light. Chromatic aberration (or colour-fringing) seems very well corrected. I looked, but couldn’t really find any during the time I had them on test. Close-focus is good too, with the quoted 1.8m being pretty accurate for my middle-aged eyes.

At 20mm, eye-relief is generous and should work well for those who need to wear glasses when they’re looking through binoculars. Strap attachment is through simple lugs, and the binoculars hang nicely flat against the body. The one finger wide focus wheel moves smoothly, with moderate resistance. The eyecups twist up and down and have four positions. They worked well for me, providing a comfortable view without any searching for the best viewing position.


FACTFILE

  • Dimensions: (height x width x depth): 140x126x55mm approx
  • Weight: 654g
  • Close focus: 1.8m
  • Field of view: 7.2 degrees. 126m at 1,000m
  • Warranty: 30 years
  • Also included: Soft leather case, rainguard, neoprene strap; tethered objective covers
  • Distributed by: Opticron, PO Box 370, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU4 8YR. Tel: 01582 726522. Fax: 01582 723559
  • e-mail: sales@opticron.co.uk
  • website: www.opticron.co.uk

There were some less positive aspects. The dioptre adjusts via a click-stopped ring under the right eyepiece. I found this very stiff and difficult to adjust. One of the eyecups on the review sample was a bit stiff, but this did seem to improve with use. Focussing works in the opposite direction to most – anti-clockwise to go towards infinity. This doesn’t really matter and, with time, you get used to it. There’s a lot of focus movement too – over two turns of the wheel are possible, though most of the time you won’t need to move it more than about 90 degrees. The strap lugs are positioned a bit too low for my liking – they sometimes got in the way of my hands. When I first looked through these binoculars, the view felt a little ‘tunnelled’. I’m not sure why - the reality is that at 7.2°, the field of view is pretty good. With use, this wasn’t a major issue. And, as is so often the case, the rainguard was far too tight a fit, but you can get a different one.

If you want a good quality, really lightweight, compact 42mm binocular try these. They are good to handle and perform well optically. If you don’t want them in black, you can opt for green, or black and gunmetal instead! I did think they were a bit pricey though.

REVIEWED BY DAVID CHANDLER