Binoculars 10×50 vs 8×42: A full comparison

Binoculars 10×50 vs 8×42 are two common binoculars that many people like due to their easy adaptability to general use. In this article, I will compare these two types based on important features and applications.

What are 10×50 and 8×42 binoculars?

The first number indicates the magnification. When using binoculars, the magnification simply indicates how much closer to you the object or your goal is than with only your naked eye. The second number means the diameter of the objective lens or the size of the lens. According to the figure, the 10×50 binocular has a magnification of 10x and the size of the lens is 50 millimeters.

Similarly, the 8×42 binocular shows 8x magnification and a 42-millimeter diameter of the objective lens. There are some famous 8×42 and 10×50 binoculars on sale now such as Athlon Optics Midas G2 8×42 UHD Binoculars, Leupold BX-5 Santiam HD 8x42mm, Maven C.3 10x50mm. 

Binoculars 10x50 vs 8x42

Which is better 8×42 or 10×50 binoculars?

Prior to going deeper into each aspect, I’ll first provide a broad comparison of these two categories of binoculars. Finally, I contrast the general-purpose performance of 8×42 and 10×50 binoculars.

8×42 binoculars 10×50 binoculars
Size and weight More lightweight, smaller and handy Heavier and bigger
Viewing distance Not so good viewing distance Fairly good viewing distance
Image stability High image stability Average image stability
Field of view 412 to 450 ft 330 to 360 ft
Image brightness & Low light performance Less notable light-gathering ability Produce brighter images and better at performing under low light conditions
Exit pupil EP = 5.25 mm EP = 5 mm

Size and weight

Based on smaller magnification and smaller size of the lens, 8×42 binoculars are more comfortable in terms of size and weight. On average, there is a difference of roughly 200 g. 

Binocular size and weight are influenced by the type of prism in addition to the lens size and magnification factors. Prisms come in two different varieties termed Roof and Porro. Roof prisms are a more recent choice, while Porro prisms are more conventional and are seen in older, zig-zag-shaped binoculars. Since Porro prisms lose less light, the images are clear and have a nice contrast, but they are heavier. On the other hand, they are more compact and lighter than Porro prisms. The binoculars are lighter and easier to carry as a result.

In a nutshell, most 10×50 binoculars are made with roof prisms, while some are also made with Porro prisms but they are becoming more and more difficult to find each year.  

Viewing distance

The magnification of a pair of binoculars determines the viewing distance. The magnification number does not directly relate to the exact viewing distance, however, the higher the magnification number, the farther the view distance. 

Therefore, 10×50 binoculars with 10x magnification show a better viewing distance than 8×42 ones.  

Image stability

The ability of a pair of binoculars to maintain a high-quality image is impacted by magnification. With more magnification, the image becomes less stable. You must maintain the optics steady in order to discern details. Increased magnification causes the view to appear to move more.

8×42 binoculars have 8x magnification, which is small, thus, indicating relatively high image stability. 10×50 binoculars have a bigger magnification so they don’t have as good image stability as 8×42 pairs. 

However, 10×50 binoculars still produce average image stability, quite better than large magnification binoculars such as 12x or 15x. 

Field of view (FOV)

Every pair of binoculars has a field of view that is either stated as an angle (7°) or as the width of the image at 1000 yards in feet (368 ft).

Simply multiply the angular field by 52.5 to determine the linear field of view from the angular field. The area within your binoculars’ field of view is where you can see the complete image.

The design of the eyepiece determines the field of view. The field of view gets smaller as power increases. A wide field of view is particularly advantageous while seeing moving objects, such as birds in flight while driving or on a boat.

The 8X42 binocular will offer a greater field of view than the 10X50 binocular when comparing identical brand, series, and model binoculars. op quality 10x binos offer FOV from 330 (typically) to 360 ft, from which one would predict 412 to 450 ft at 8x. 

Image brightness and low-light performance

The brightness of the image is influenced by the lens’s size. A greater lens size increases visual brightness. A bigger objective lens will provide brighter, better-quality photographs because it is more efficient at capturing light. 

Thus, 10×50 shows better low-light performance than 8×42. However, both 42 and 50 mm are large diameters of objective lenses so both binoculars have fairly good image brightness. The 50mm size of the lens represents one of the best performances in low-light of binoculars in the market now. 

Source: Amazon

Exit pupil (EP)

The other thing you need to understand is the exit pupil. The human eye pupil typically opens to a maximum average diameter of about 5 mm while your eye is attempting to adapt to progressively darker situations, therefore the size of your optics’ exit pupil is crucial (varies from person to person).

Older adults frequently have poorer night vision because of their smaller maximum pupils as they age. Younger persons may require an exit pupil of 4 to 9 mm in complete darkness.

The less light that reaches your eye through your optics’ exit pupil, the worse the image will be, and vice versa. Exit Pupil is calculated by dividing the optical power by the objective diameter.

According to the formula, 10×50 binoculars have an EP of 5mm while the EP of 8×42 binoculars is 5,25mm. Therefore, 8×42 binoculars produce more available light for your eyes to use when compared to 10×50 ones. 

When to use 8×42 vs 10×50 binoculars?


Because of the far distance between our location to the stars, high magnification is suggested. For this purpose, 10×50 binoculars are more suitable. However, I still recommend choosing 12x or 15x binoculars to gain the best images of stargazing. When using too big binoculars, you can use them with a tripod. 


The choice will depend on the type of hunting you are embarking on – whether it is rifle or bow hunting. 

For bow hunting, every hunter is aware that an arrow cannot travel as far as a bullet. Because of this, bowhunters are aware that it is essential to hunt covertly in order to avoid scaring off their prey.

So they need a pair of binoculars with a high enough magnification to see their target without being seen or heard. Bowhunting may also require you to use tree blinds or engage in wooded stalking when the added reach of a 10X binocular is of little use. The best binocular would therefore be 8×42 binoculars. 

For rifle hunting, it is always better to go for one that would give you maximum reach. Anything 10x or greater makes sense because it will aid in locating your target or obtaining more information from it. The field of view or brightness may suffer a little bit, but details spotting will benefit. Therefore, 10x or greater magnification is preferred.


The optimal magnification range for binoculars for bird watching, according to experts, is between 7x and 10x. with 8x being the ideal.

This is because the larger exit pupil and a wider field of view make it easier to see fast-flying and camouflaged birds than when using 10X50 binoculars.

You wouldn’t need all that extra field of view, though, if you had to choose between the 8x and 10x for slower-moving birds like shorebirds, as details and identification might be more significant to you. The 10×50 binoculars would be more appropriate in that situation.


Animals like hippos, lions, tigers, zebras, and the like are not ones you want to be right under your nose, whether you are on vacation in the coldest tundras of the North or touring African plains. because they are dangerous and uncontrolled.

Therefore, it’s important to identify them from a safe distance. Therefore, having binoculars that will enable you to view more details while remaining at a safe distance and avoiding harm to yourself is necessary.

Therefore, 10×50 is the finest option for a safari and animals.

Concerts/ Events

Sports and concerts can assist our worn-out bodies to relax and relieve tension. But straining your neck to see what is going on on stage or in the field is the most tiresome and frustrating thing there is. It is vital to have binoculars that will enable you to view more details because of this. Because of this, an 8×42 binocular will be best for events. Besides, binoculars with a magnification of 4x to 7x are a wise choice for events due to their lightweight and flexibility. 


Binoculars 10×50 vs 8×42 have their own advantages and disadvantages, serving different demands. If you’re planning on scanning and following fast-moving and small targets, 8X42 binoculars are for you. You’ll need low-lighting performance and a wider field of view in areas where visitors and open spaces aren’t a major concern. Otherwise, you will need a 10×50 if you require more detail, greater reach, or you are in an open place with a long distance and decent lighting.