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Meopta 7x42 mini review (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
After very good experiences with Meopta Meostar binos I did happen to find a second hand Meostar 7x42 for 699 Euro, shipped from Germany.
After reading Lee/Troubadours praise of the 7x42 I wanted to try one for myself. They don't surface very often and even though I really don't need another bino I felt like I had to at least give it a try.

Arrived almost a week ago and turned out to be in very good condition. Some light wear but overall very good condition. Optics are clean and the focuser is the best I have come across sofar on Meopta binos.

It is a "dense" bino. Weighing it at 900 grams it is an old school bino, reassuringly heavy. This one was made during the last year, 2016 and the latest (at the time) coatings. It has that spotted pattern grip - which I think looks great - and a thumb recess at the back. Even though my hands are medium to small I find it very comfortable to hold.

Eye relief is stated as 20mm I believe. And it is very generous. The view through the bino feels very open and overall the view reminds me a little bit of previous Swarovski binoculars. The image through the Meopta 7x42 is very "calm" and the panning is among the best I have seen. It handles everything great, back lit, harsh light and drab light. As with other Meostars the 7x42 is very resilient to glare. Overall I would say the binocular performs very well. It is a pleasure to use and look through.

So, any negatives? A few, but not much really. It is not often I happen to find a binocular that does nothing wrong even though it isn't necessarily best in class. After a few days out with the Meopta and no comparisons it is by all means a great binocular. And very utilitarian in its style. I dig the looks.

Color (as I perceive it) in the 7x42 is warm. Not yellow, but more a tint of amber/orange. Overall it is very pleasing and gives life to a dull morning or overcast day. Only at the last golden hour around sunset does it go "over the top" and compared to other binos it glows a bit much.

The other binos at home to compare with are the Zeiss 8x32 FL and the SFL 8x40.

Build quality of the Meopta feels like it surpasses both Zeiss binos. Everything from the armor to the focuser and the "dense" brick feel of the Meopta speaks of longevity. But it does come at a price: the 900g as compared to the 550g FL 8x32 is a substantial difference. The FL feels flimsy in comparison and in my hands the featherweight does not always make it the steadiest bino. The SFL 8x40 is 645g on the same scale and the SFL is the steadiest of the three thanks to the superior balance.

Meopta image: sharp enough. Slightly less contrast than the other two, mostly visible in backlit conditions. The slight disadvantage is the 7x magnification. Details on deer at far or field hares are there for sure. But with the FL and the SFL the extra contrast makes the small details pop a little more - and that 8x magnification makes a difference. If I did not compare directly I would say the Meopta performs excellent already, it is just when I switch to the SFL that I go "shut up" and think the SFL does really take it to the next level.

Colorwise the Meopta 7x42 and the Zeiss 8x32 FL are quite different and it is obvious to me going back and forth. The Meopta is slightly warm to my eyes and the FL is slightly cool/green. The FL does also produce a little better separation in the smaller details than the Meopta and the added contrast in the FL helps with that, along with the magnification difference of course. For color I prefer the Meopta.

Compared to the SFL the Meopta is slightly warmer. I have no clear preference as I like them both but the SFL feels more neutral. The difference is not as obvious as going between the FL and the Meostar. For a rainy/overcast day and finding birds in the shade the Meopta will give the most pleasing image to me out of the three.

CA control is very good to excellent and better than expected. As with Lee I kind of forgot to check for it as it was simply not an issue to me. It pops up a little every once in a while but overall I would say the CA control is so good it is simply not a problem and with careful eye placement it is minimal in the center of the image. I expected more CA and was pleasantly surprised.

Overall the Meopta is a pleasure to use. For the most part I forget it is as heavy as it is. But when I switch to the FL/SFL there is a noticeable difference. As for just putting the bino up to my eyes and pan and scan the Meopta is the easiest of the three. Optically it is great. What it lacks in comparison with the FL/SFL is a little contrast/punch in the blacks in some lighting conditions. But, overall the Meopta is worth the admission by far.

What does it not do as well as the two Zeiss binos? Birds in flight. It is very good with the Meopta but the generous depth of field makes for a slight lack of focus "snap" and I feel I nail focus a bit better with the Zeiss binos. The upside is that the Meopta is more forgiving for scanning and panning as the generous depth of field means less refocusing.

Will I keep it? I am honestly not sure, I have satisfied my curiosity and given the cost I could justify it as a "pleasure bino" but I still have the FL 8x32 around and as long as it is not sold I feel like I have no use for three great binos. Two is enough. And I still have the Meopta 8x32 floating around and hanging out with a friend so I have four binos in this class, though arguably the 7x42 is the odd one out.

Part of me would like to keep it for the "coolness" factor of the Meopta and the fact it is a solid bino in every sense. I have a few days to decide on sending it back for a refund. If anyone is looking for a solid 7x42 I could hold on to it and pass it along to a forum member instead of it going back to the shop. I know how easily I turn into a hoarder of optical instruments so for the sake of self preservation I think I will send it back.

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I did also bring it to my friend who has the carrot Swaro Pure NL.
The Meopta stood is ground quite well and surprised the both of us with the solid performance. Expected to see the Meopta take a solid beating from the Swarovski but I would say the surprise lies in how close it was. The Swarovski has a wider field, higher contrast, even less CA and has a resolution advantage at far with the 8x over the 7x but the take away was that the Meopta is a pleasure to look through!

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Henrik, thank you for this very interesting comprehensive -not so mini;)- review.

I really hope you will keep this beautiful Meopta and buy even more binoculars because then i feel more comfortable with my growing collection :ROFLMAO:. But seriously, i find the 7x format a real joy to use for it’s calm view. I think everybody should have one in his collection. This one also looks cool and the price is friendly. But you are right, how many binoculars do you need. For more then 20 years i had two binoculars and it worked just fine. Now I own more then 10 but it gives me great pleasures and i use them all. Good luck with the decission.
Very interesting mini-review, I think I concur with a lot of the above. I also got a 7x42 Meostar having other "top guns", in my case an Swarovski 8x32 EL SV, which is my main non-IS binocular. In a way, there are many things about the view of the 7x42 Meostar that I prefer over my EL. Well, being a fan of 7x, I prefer the depth that the Meostar offers, and this paired with the generous FOV makes for a really sweet view. Although these two binoculars come from distinctly opposite concepts: flat-as-can-be field and compact format with open bridge, relatively light at 580 g... and classic curved field, with single bridge (and a lot of "real estate" to rest your hands) I find both offer a comparatively pleasurable view. In fact, if I could "encapsule" the view of the B1 in the body of the EL that would be amazing (always wished there was a 8,5º FOV 7x32 EL).

In my case, I have an "issue" with the 7x42 Meostar, and it's the fight of two of my preferences:
I love 7x
I dislike heavy binoculars (well, simply because, at the end of the day, I tend to leave them home and go with a lighter option).

So far, my dislike for heavy binoculars is winning the game, which saddens me every single time I use the B1, since both the view and the way they feel is just ace.

And then I've always had a similar idea regarding having a "top binocular" but not using it much. I always feel that the money could be spent somewhere else. I mean, I don't mind spending a relatively large amount of money in optics (like the EL) as long as I use it enough to justify the cost (this is, quite a lot). So I guess we are both torn in a similar dilemma.

As a background, I really like the Meostars. The 7x42 is the fourth I've had. I think the 7x42 is the sweetspot, the 8x32 had too narrow eyecups for me, the 8x56 was nice, and the 7x50 was really very nice, but obviously these last two were a little to large for everyday use. One thing I like about the 7x42 B1 is that it's basically the same "height" as the 8x32 EL SV, quite compact for a 7x42, but oh my is the thing dense.


So, just like @HenRun I'm still deciding what to do with the lovely Czech 7x42.
The Meopta 7x42 is really, really nice. In look, feel and optical quality. I am glad I got to try one out, but I sent it back.
A little too heavy for me and trying to be pragmatic I feel I need to settle for a smaller/lighter or totally different bino as the second pair in the 7/8X segment.

Canip: I will miss it. But I will not regret it.

I used to like to hold on to things I like, even if there was no actual need. I do feel I need an extra pair to complement the SFL 8x40 but there are so many options for ”second place” that I will keep to the smaller/lighter binos.

My Meopta 8x32 B1.1 is perhaps finding its way back home after being with a friend for some time. I like it, not as much as the 7x42 but perhaps it fills the role of second pair to the SFL better.
The Meopta 7x42 is really, really nice. In look, feel and optical quality. I am glad I got to try one out, but I sent it back.
A little too heavy for me and trying to be pragmatic I feel I need to settle for a smaller/lighter or totally different bino as the second pair in the 7/8X segment.
Henrik, if you can find a good Leica Trinovid 7x35 it might be an option as a small 7x.
I bought one a month ago for 300 euro and it’s a wonderful little binocular. 40 years old but still going strong.
There is a big open space on the bino shelf now: the Meopta 7x42 sent back, the Zeiss FL 8x32 sold and picked up yesterday and a local forum member snagged the Meopta B1.1 8x32 today.

Thotmosis: Yes, I have been looking at 7x options. Might be one surfacing in the near future. :)

I really enjoy Meopta as a brand and it feels a little ”empty” to not have one Meopta in the stable. But for now I will go minimalistic and try to decide if I really need anything on top of what I currently use.

The BTX is sadly not seeing as much use as I mostly do spontaneous local birding and often head out with very little notice but I will dedicate this summer to bringing out the big gun more often and see what interesting coastal areas are around here. :)

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