Eden ED 8x42 binoculars

REVIEWED: AUGUST 2011

  • Compact and light, but solid
  • Full value for an already wide image
  • Bright and sharp to the edges
  • Fast, precise focusing
  • Superb price – change from £250

You’re probably tired of hearing me tell you how advances in optical technology mean that even budget binoculars can now boast performance that a decade ago would have been the preserve of top-of-the-range products.

It’s true, though, so I was intrigued to see how Eden’s ED bins (they also do a cheaper HD model) would perform.

They’re compact and reasonably light, thanks to a magnesium body, but the rubber armouring is impressively solid. A nice touch is the extra-wide armour around the objective lenses – not only does it obviously help protect the objectives, but it also means the bins are very stable when you stand them upright (good if you’re the type of birder, like me, who can be guaranteed to clumsily barge into the table in some café and knock his bins over into his spaghetti bolognaise). The eyecups, which twist up and down to three positions, were comfortable in extended use. I did have some initial concern that they were a little loose, but in fact they maintained their position very well in the field.

The dioptre adjustment is a ring located just in front of the focus wheel, which sets easily but which does feel a little loose and got dislodged once or twice. However, the manufacturers do say that the grease used to lubricate it will gradually harden, making it much harder to accidentally move it. So far, so good. But what about the optics?

Well, the image produced is very natural-looking, and stays sharp very close to the edge. That ensures that what’s already a more than respectable field of view (142m @ 1,000m) feels wider still. I did notice a slight ‘halo’ effect at times, but never when using my preferred eye position, so I suspect it’s simply a case of finding what suits you best.

I did notice a little bit of colour-fringing when viewing against very strong sunshine, but it was never enough to be distracting.

The focus wheel did seem to travel rather loosely to start with, but in fact focusing is both fast and impressively precise.


FACTFILE

  • Exit pupil diameter: 5.2mm
  • Eye relief: 17.2mm
  • Field of view: 142m @ 1,000m
  • Close focus: 3.5m
  • Dimensions: 140 x 110 x 70 mm
  • Weight: 680 g
  • Price: £245
  • Contact: KATO Internet Sales Ltd, Office 404, 4th Floor, Albany House, 324-326 Regent Street, London, W1B3HH
    Order online

The wheel, which is somewhere between one and one-and-a-half fingers wide, takes just over one full anti-clockwise turn from close focus to infinity, and talking of close focus, it clocked in at a very decent 1.5-2m for me, despite the manufacturer’s more cautious figure of 3.5m.

There are good, snap-on objective lens covers, a straightforward but very user-friendly rainguard, a cleaning cloth, and a fabric case. The strap provided could do with being a bit wider, but many birders tend to swap to an old favourite when they buy new bins anyway.

It all adds up to a more than competent pair of ED bins (ED standing for Extra-low Dispersion glass, which provides a sharper image), but it’s the price tag that makes them even more appealing.

At £245, they’re cheap enough to cause you some initial suspicion, or at least disbelief, which is exactly why you should go out and try a pair yourself. I suspect that, like me, you’ll quickly find yourself considering these as real contenders in the sub-£400 price bracket.