10X42 vs 10X50 Binoculars – which one is better for you?

By Richard

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Are you looking to buy a good pair of binoculars but are confused due to the never-ending varieties of binoculars on the market? Don’t worry anymore! It’s not you alone who gets confused when choosing the best binoculars for hunting. Selecting a specific optical brand is not a big deal. The brands that are already in marketing are producing fantastic products. But people get stuck about which type of binoculars are suitable for their needs. People usually ask a common question: 10X42 vs 10X50 binoculars: which one is better?

10×50 binoculars are better in many ways. Their ideal field of view, exit pupil, and useability in low light conditions are more useful in outdoor activities. Due to the increased diameter of their objective lens, 10×50 binoculars give a brighter and sharper image. 10X42 binoculars are not too far behind and can be a good choice for low-budget individuals

Above is a brief answer for those who are in a hurry. However, this article is going to explain all the differences between 10X42 and 10X50 binoculars and let you know which one is best for outdoor activities like hunting, birding, etc.  So, stay with us as we will give you complete knowledge which will help you understand the basic differences between the above-mentioned binos.

Related Article: Are 10X42 Binoculars Good for Bird Watching?

Basics difference between 10X42 and 10X50 binoculars

What are 10X42 binoculars?

These binoculars come with 10x magnification power. The diameter of the objective lens is about 42mm. 10x magnification means that a person who uses them will see the targeted object ten times bigger than the original size. 

What are 10X50 binoculars?

These binoculars have similar magnification power as 10X42 binoculars, but the difference lies in diameter. In 10X50 binoculars, the objective lens diameter is 50 mm, which is 8 mm bigger than in 10X42 binoculars. In this guide. we will explain the advantage of having a bigger diameter of the objective lens

In-depth Comparison of Binoculars 10X42 vs 10X50

The comparison between 10X42 and 10X50 binoculars is not an easy task. We tested them extensively to get the best information and know which performs better than others. Keep in mind that our requirements, preferences, and choices vary. We hope to give you all the information that will help you make your decision according to your requirements. 

Objective lens

In binoculars, objective lenses are glass elements present in front of binoculars. This objective lens varies in size and is measured in millimeters. Bigger objective lenses have more ability to capture the light, whereas the smaller objective lens has little capability of capturing the light.

The manufacturers use a more significant-sized objective lens to increase the light-capturing ability. When the binoculars capture more light, they give a brighter image and can be used in low-light conditions.

The objective lens in 10X50 binoculars is bigger and better than in 10X42 binoculars. The difference of 8mm has a significant impact. Due to the ideal size of the objective lens, 10X50 binoculars can be used in low-light conditions, especially when clouds are around the corner. 

In 10X42 binoculars, the objective lens is smaller, and that can’t be used in cloudy weather when light is not good. So 10X50 binoculars go a step ahead of 10X42 due to their low light usability.


As mentioned above, 10X50 binoculars have a bigger diameter than the objective lens. A bigger objective lens means more glass has been used to build them. The size of barrels also increases. Due to the usage of more glass elements, these binoculars become heavier. 

In 10X42 binoculars, the objective lens is smaller, and less glass material is used to make them, so they are comparatively heavier than 10X50 binoculars. So they have an edge over 10X50 due to less weight.

Exit pupil

The exit pupil is a small aperture on the eyepiece where light rays leave binoculars and enter the eyes. A better exit pupil means a more clear, sharper, and brighter image. It is calculated by dividing the diameter of the objective lens by the magnification power. An ideal exit pupil is 5 mm.

In 10X50 binoculars, the size of the exit pupil is 5mm, which is perfect for every age person. Whereas in 10X42 binoculars, the size is about 4.2 mm, which is not bad. But in comparison with 10X50 binoculars, this is far behind. So, 10X50 binoculars give a sharper and better image with solid clarity.


After reading the above given objective lens section, we are confident that you don’t need a size differences comparison. However, If that’s not the case, let’s dig more into the 10×42 or 10×50 binoculars debate and know about size differences.

10X50 binoculars have a long barrel to accommodate the larger objective lens. The counterpart has smaller barrels or tubes due to their small-sized objective lens. The size of the objective lens directly impacts the size of the whole binoculars. So 10X50 binoculars have bigger sizes, whereas 10X42 binoculars have smaller sizes and are compact in shape. We recommend choosing compact binoculars as they are easy to carry in the field. So, 10X42 binoculars go one step ahead.

Low light Usability

The objective lens in binoculars acts like a window of a room. The bigger the window, the more light will come through them, and vice versa. The same is the case with the objective lens. The bigger-sized objective lens means more and more light will pass through them. Due to more light, the image will look sharper, brighter, and more evident in low-light conditions.

But the objective lens of 10X42 binoculars is smaller. The passage of light is not as good as in 10X50 binoculars. They can’t be used in low-light conditions. So 10X50 binoculars win the race in case of Useability in low light.

Construction and built quality

Usually, both binoculars fulfill all the basic requirements as they are water/ fog and shockproof. Their bodies consist of rubber armor and hard plastic, making them robust and vigorous. Nitrogen purging and o ring sealing are also stocked in both 10X42 and 10X50 binoculars. The overall built quality is optimal, and we didn’t find any flaw in their quality. So in the case of built quality, the race results in a draw.

Field of view

The field of view is noteworthy if you aim to buy binoculars for hunting. It is the area through which a user can see through binoculars without moving them. We have already made a complete guide to the field of view. In case you’re confused, we suggest switching to that article.

Well, the field of view of 10X42 binoculars is better than 10X50 binoculars ranging from 300 to 400 feet, whereas the field of view of 10X50 binoculars is about 250 to 280 feet.

Keep in mind that FOV is only essential if you’re looking to buy binoculars for hunting. Apart from hunting, it is not a point to consider. So, when it comes to 10×42 vs 10×50 for hunting – I will definitely go with 10×42 binoculars due to their better field of view.


The overall optical performance is paramount to consider in the 10X42 vs 10X50 binoculars comparison. 10X50 binoculars have a bigger-sized objective lens, so the light-capturing ability of these binoculars is also up to the mark. It means more and more light gets captured, giving a sharper and brighter image in low-light conditions.  

The ideal size of the exit pupil and low light Useability put 10X50 binoculars far ahead of the competitor. These binoculars are perfect for all outdoor activities. Even in dim light, your adventures won’t get intercepted. 

Pricing and affordability

Not all of us have the same financial means to invest in outdoor gear. It’s vital to draw a line between these binoculars based on their pricing. 

10X50 binoculars are more expensive than 10X42 binoculars. If you have a tight budget, we recommend you buy 10X42 binoculars. Why is it so? 10X42 binoculars do a decent job in outdoor activities. There are some limitations as you can’t use them in low light conditions. But the overall performance of 10X42 binoculars is reasonable. Don’t put pressure on your pocket if you don’t afford 10X50 binoculars. 

Are you one of those who love spending on the equipment to get the ultimate outdoor activities experience? We recommend you buy 10X50 binoculars. 

When should you buy 10X50 binoculars?

When you have a handsome budget and frequent use, you should get 10X50 binoculars if you use binoculars regardless of whether it is a brilliantly sunny day or an overcast day; then 10X50 binoculars are the way to go. We’ve made it simple for you by presenting our favorite 10X50 binoculars that will never let you down.

When should you buy 10X42 binoculars?

If you have a tight budget but want decent binoculars, 10X42 is made for you. When you compromise on price, you will limit quality and features. But these features are not as important as one may think for hunting or other outdoor activities. With 10X42 binoculars, you can have a flawless outdoor outing. Here are our favorite 10X42 binoculars that will perform outstandingly as our binoculars are doing.

10X42 or 10X50, Which is the Best?

After intense usage of these binoculars in all outdoor environments, we are in a position of announcing the winner. Trust us; it’s tough to announce one as a winner. Both 10X42 and 10X50 binoculars are made so well that one must think twice before announcing the winner. 

Due to better eye relief, exit pupil, and low light performance, we believe that 10X50 binoculars deserve to be announced as the winner. No doubt 10X42 binoculars are as good as 10X50 binoculars are. It’s just a matter of a few slight differences that put 10X50 binoculars one step ahead. If you are still confused, here is the video covering the topic of 10X42 or 10X50, Which is the Best?

Frequently Asked Questions

What are 10X50 binoculars good for?

10X50 binoculars are suitable for low-light usage. Due to their ideal exit pupil and increased diameter of the objective lens, these binoculars give a brighter image in every condition.

Are 10X50 binoculars good for hunting?

Yes! These Binoculars can be used for hunting. But we always recommend 10X42 binoculars due to their lightweight. 10X42 are easy to carry in the hunting field

10X42 vs 10X50 binoculars – which are the best?

After all the testing, we found that 10X50 binoculars are suitable for all outdoor activities except hunting. We recommend 10X42 binoculars for hunting.

Are 10X42 binoculars good?

These binoculars are suitable for viewing distant objects. They have a good field of view that gives good space to find the target. Magnification power is also up to the mark. It is fair to say that these binoculars are best for hunting and long-range viewing.

What is the difference between 10X42 and 10X50 binoculars?

The significant difference lies in the diameter of the objective lens. In 10X50, the diameter of the objective lens is 50 mm. Due to increased diameter, these binoculars capture more light and give a vibrant, sharp, and bright image even in low light conditions

Is 10X42 better than 10X50 binoculars?

10X50 binoculars have more power and are better for all outdoor activities except hunting. In hunting, you need more field view, and 10X42 binoculars increase the field of view by around 400 feet. It is fair to say that 10X42 binoculars are better than 10X50 binoculars just for hunting.


Earlier in this article, we made it clear that the person’s preferences and requirements vary from person to person. Your usage can be different from our use. We did announce 10X50 as the winner, but it doesn’t mean that you should choose 10X50 and reject 10×40 binoculars. Both binoculars are outstanding in their performances. 

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