Sightron SIII LR 8x42

  • Very solidly built
  • Easy on the eye, natural image
  • Excellent precise focusing
  • Close focus caters for all needs
  • Excellent accessories

Sightron is another optics brand coming from an American hunting background, and perhaps the particular requirements of that market have had a lot to do with the design.

So, they’re chunky, very solidly put-together binoculars, and feel quite large. They’re probably a bit on the heavy side compared to many other 8x42s, too, but their open bridge design and good balance means that it’s not really a problem, and they really feel good in the hand.

I’m also always dubious about how much you notice a bit of extra weight in the field provided you use a decent strap, and there’s an excellent one provided here, which more than takes the strain.

Extensive rubber armouring means you need have no fears about them taking a knock or two, and the build quality is good across the board. Hunters, it would seem, need their optics to be able to stand up to some rough handling.

Optically, I could find little to fault and much to praise, with good natural colour in a bright, sharp image that loses very little towards the edges. There was a bit of colour fringing against strong sunlight, but it really was very little, and you have to go looking for it (not something most birders do in the field).

Field of view is impressive, too – there are wider 8x42s out there, but you wouldn’t be in the least disappointed by these.


Factfile

  • Exit pupil diameter: 5.25mm
  • Eye relief: 18.4mm
  • Field of view: 131m @ 1,000m
  • Close focus: 2.5m
  • Dimensions: 166 x 145 x 65 mm
  • Weight: 893g
  • Price: £463
  • Contact: AIM Field Sports, 144 Grange Lane, Winsford, Cheshire CW7 2QX, tel: 01606 860 678; email: sales@aimfieldsports.com

Focusing is very precise, and although I found myself having to adjust it a lot (perhaps indicating a shallow depth of field), it was always easy to find. The focus wheel (ridged, and almost two fingers wide, making it easy to use when wearing gloves) travels smoothly and not too stiffly, taking 1.5 anti-clockwise turns from close focus to infinity. Close focus is 2m-2.5m, I reckon, more than adequate for most needs.

The dioptre adjustment, a pull-out ring on the right barrel, is easy to set and most importantly stays put, but I did have one or two gripes about some other aspects of the design.

The eyecups twist up and down, and effectively have only two positions, but there’s plenty of eye relief offered and, initially, I had no problems. After a few hours of use, though, I did find them a bit of a strain, perhaps because the edges of the eyecups aren’t as rounded as they could be.

That’s very much a personal factor, though – the shape of your face and eye sockets makes a huge difference, so it’s a good example of why you always need to try a pair of binoculars yourself.

The other small criticism is the way the barrels flare out around the strap lugs – I found it made the binoculars slightly more awkward to handle.

The accessories are excellent – rainguard, a similarly styled one-piece objective lens cover, and a really good case – roomy and made of padded fabric.

While they don’t fit into the ‘budget’ category, they’ve recently come down in price to a very appealing £463, making them real contenders if you’re looking for a good all-round pair of binoculars capable of standing up to everyday use. Try them for yourself.