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Rough and dirty Hawke 8x42 APO review (1 Viewer)

Ratal

Well-known member
Right. First let us get the bad out of the way.

The objective covers are okay for protecting in transit. They have internal plugs so yeah, they work. In the field with any wind you will curse their name and salt their fields.

Eyepiece rain guard. Works. For transportation. In the field they are too tight to remove quickly and worse, too flexible to remove at all in a hurry. You will curse their name and salt their fields.

Travel pouch. Nice magnetic closure flap over the zip. But. And this is a huge but - the pouch is so soft it won't protect the bin from anything bar scratches. Totally crushable and an absolute no from me.

Now - that's the bad. Let us get to the good. First off the view.

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?!

I have a cherry Opticron MM4 50ed with SDL V2 zoom. At 13x mag, pointing at the same tree in good sunlight, the Hawke APO made me pause. I went back to the scope, re-checked , and as luck had it, a buzzard was alighting. So scope to the buzzard. Looked terrific. Went back to the APO and again I was blown away. The 13x mag was outclassed in every aspect. Contrast, colours, it wasn't even a contest. I then got out my Hawke 85ED. Bang to rights. Outgunned.

*Let me be clear - the Opticron is a complete cherry. I have had it on the beach and even seasoned Swaro users who I bird with have remarked that the image is stellar. It isn't a dud. The APO from Hawke are just outlandishly good. Blown away time.

So I took them down to the shore and for the first time in years, I just sat and drank in the day. I didn't think about the bin in my hand at all. The silky smooth focus wheel, the view, just had the bins melt away and leave me to watch the sea. After a couple of hours, I was joined by a Swaro die hard I bird with (Scope, 115 with bino adapter, the whole nine yards.) So I handed him them for a look.

*[email protected]!#[email protected] mate! What are they?

And that's the view. The triplet objectives absolutely nail a zero CA scene. Gulls, crows, Cormorants, all in stark relief and zero CA. Try as hard as I could I just couldn't get the dreaded purple fringe to appear. Power lines in the distance are black lines. Fences, trees against the grey skies... I just could not get it to appear. It is intoxicating. The colours are absolutely what you see with the naked eye - there are no false enhanced colours, no popping reds or greens, just a crisp, vibrant, bright staggeringly sharp view. And after 2 weeks? I phoned the company who lent them me, thanked them profusely and paid them the money. I will not ever sell this bino. Ever. It is an absolute keeper and even as madly in love with my Sightron Blue Sky 8x32 as I am, I have a new bin that I will cherish for a very very long time. And it isnt the Swaro NL I was saving for.

Focus wheel. Silk. No play no give. Equal pressure both ways. Excellent. Focus is anti clockwise to infinity.

Centre hinge. Set and forget. It isnt going anywhere unless you make it.

Diopter. Right eye, twist to set. Set and forget. You couldn't budge this by accident. No way. Set and forget. I thrashed it around the Cairngorms for 2 weeks and it never budged once.

Freezer test was stellar. Overnight 9 hours in the home freezer. Took them out and all was very smooth still. Very smooth.

And here we get to the eye cups. They are smooth, twist out, three settings and they are big. If you have a big face with deep set eyes? You are going to love these. They are like a well worn pair of slippers. You just slide into them and sigh with contentment. Pete wears glasses and he got a full view no worries, no kidney bean no trouble. It is a set and forget bin.

My final thoughts? Hawke nailed that triplet objective. Absolutely nailed it. The image produced is a phenomenal testament to how far optics have come. You truly have to try these to understand the leaps and bounds of lower tier bins - and this is from me, a person who was putting away money for the NL 10x.

Instead, I am now a proud owner of Hawke APO, and here I will stay. Yes the Swaro are better in the field of view stakes, but I saved 1700 £ and got 90% of the performance and lost nothing in the centre resolution wise - and I humbly had to admit that the rest of what the NL delivered wasn't a price I was going to pay having looked through the Hawkes.

So, here they are. My thoughts on thrashing the Hawke APO. It truly has to be experienced - and if you are in the market for a 500 £ bin you truly owe it yourself to get hands on and get out and about with a pair. You wont regret it.
 

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Ratal

Well-known member
Your making me wish I stumped up the extra 220 quid over my frontier ED X now. Although I am totally happy with them.

The ED-X are phenomenal - They are miles better than the original ED 10x43s, and those were stellar. Just goes to show how far they have come. As for the APO? Well, I just brought a whole raft of camera kit with the near 2 grand I spared. And I regret nothing.
 

Swift802

Member
Ireland
Hi Ratal,
Thats a great overview of the APO that you did. Far better than any advertising that Hawke could attempt because it’s real experience with the instrument.
After reading your report I want to go out and buy one. You’ve got the knack of writing it up so well that you entice people into purchasing. I love reading real life reports of the equipment.
Its also a great looking binocular, at least to my eyes. That helps!
Brilliant that you said you had the money all saved up for the Swarovski NL but this made you do a u-turn on that purchase.
The only factor that would deter me to be honest is the anti-clockwise focus to infinity. I much prefer the clockwise approach.
Thanks for your write up on this.
John.
 

Ratal

Well-known member
Hi Ratal,
Thats a great overview of the APO that you did. Far better than any advertising that Hawke could attempt because it’s real experience with the instrument.
After reading your report I want to go out and buy one. You’ve got the knack of writing it up so well that you entice people into purchasing. I love reading real life reports of the equipment.
Its also a great looking binocular, at least to my eyes. That helps!
Brilliant that you said you had the money all saved up for the Swarovski NL but this made you do a u-turn on that purchase.
The only factor that would deter me to be honest is the anti-clockwise focus to infinity. I much prefer the clockwise approach.
Thanks for your write up on this.
John.
John, the anti clockwise may be a pause for thought, but after nailing some really tricky ID in early morning mist and gloom, along with a dazzling day time view of Black Throated Divers, I can say hand on heart that I have zero regrets. In fact, rather than zero regrets, I am absolutely thrilled beyond words with my purchase.
 

Swift802

Member
Ireland
Thanks again. They obviously must be superb if they swayed you from the NL purchase. Every now and again you find something that, for the price paid, well and truly punches above its weight and it looks as if you found yours! I also wish that Hawke would consider bringing out this model in a 32mm format as I was recently looking at purchasing a Meopta Meostar 10x32. A 32mm Hawke APO would be a great alternative to this.
I believe that Hawke are not all that enthusiastic about releasing 32mm versions of their binoculars recently. A bit of a shame but I will continue researching the APO 10x42. I’m in no hurry and half the fun is the research and reading up on various reviews and user experiences. The Hawke does seem to have a wide FOV in the 10x42 format. Very appealing! As I stated previously, it’s a great looking binocular too and I know it shouldn’t matter but it definitely helps!
Take care and stay well. Thanks again for your write up.
John.
 

Ratal

Well-known member
Thanks again. They obviously must be superb if they swayed you from the NL purchase. Every now and again you find something that, for the price paid, well and truly punches above its weight and it looks as if you found yours! I also wish that Hawke would consider bringing out this model in a 32mm format as I was recently looking at purchasing a Meopta Meostar 10x32. A 32mm Hawke APO would be a great alternative to this.
I believe that Hawke are not all that enthusiastic about releasing 32mm versions of their binoculars recently. A bit of a shame but I will continue researching the APO 10x42. I’m in no hurry and half the fun is the research and reading up on various reviews and user experiences. The Hawke does seem to have a wide FOV in the 10x42 format. Very appealing! As I stated previously, it’s a great looking binocular too and I know it shouldn’t matter but it definitely helps!
Take care and stay well. Thanks again for your write up.
John.
If they did an 8x32 APO? I'd buy it in a heartbeat. Without pause. As for the 8x APO... Just blows me away every time I glass something
 

dingbat29

New member
Hi Ratal,
Yours is the first readable review of the Frontier APOs I have come across. I've been looking at these bins since last year, hoping to find some reviews somewhere, but virtually nothing. Not even from Best Binocular Reviews. I don't understand. Is it something to do with COVID? The internet seems to be void of any useful info, apart from the usual waffle from retailers.

I am extremely interested in the Frontier APO. I currently have the Frontier ED-X, which I love, but the Frontier APOs just sound like a good progression without having to rob a bank.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the lack of info/reviews on them, and if you can suggest any further reading.

Thanks for your review
 
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Eyepiece rain guard. Works. For transportation. In the field they are too tight to remove quickly and worse, too flexible to remove at all in a hurry. You will curse their name and salt their fields.
Hi Ratal,

Thanks for an excellent review. Would love to try a pair out someday.

I have Hawke Sapphire ED 10 x 42 and had the same issue with the rainguard.
A suitable replacement was hard to find, but I eventually found the Opticron 45.5mm BGA Rainguard fits perfectly.
Hopefully it will fit the bill for the APO too, should someone want to replace the one supplied.

Cheers.
Sp1970
 

planetx

Active member
I am about to trade my 8x42 FL in for a set of these, again blown away by the colour fidelity. AB comparisons and my FL have a colourcast that I never thought was there. Simply stellar set of glasses.
 

planetx

Active member
all change, I had the APO's delivered in store felt they were awful compared to the ED X. They had a green cast, and the rolling ball had me wanting to vomit! I took the ED X and a hefty cash top up for the Zeiss FL. These little 8 x42 ED X feel better all round than anything 3 x the price.
 

A2GG

Beth
Supporter
United States
all change, I had the APO's delivered in store felt they were awful compared to the ED X. They had a green cast, and the rolling ball had me wanting to vomit! I took the ED X and a hefty cash top up for the Zeiss FL. These little 8 x42 ED X feel better all round than anything 3 x the price.
What do you like better about the ED X compared to the FL ? I’m guessing ergonomics would be better. I really like the aesthetic design of the Hawke every time I’ve looked at photos online. I was also intrigued by the APO but if it has an obvious green bias and noticeable rolling ball I could not be interested. Thanks for your report.
 

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