What does 8X42 mean in binoculars? (Answered)

By Richard

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In the previous guide, we talked about the binoculars’ numbers and what they actually mean. But many people took that guide as general information and kept asking about specific models and their numbers. Most of the time, we were questioned What does 8X42 binoculars mean?

Every time we heard the question it felt like ahhh! Dude, we have already explained it in detail. However, people did not understand and confusion was still in their minds. So, we are writing this guide about specific models of 8×42 binoculars and their specifications. So hold tight and keep on reading the complete.

Related Article: What Does 10X42 Binoculars Mean?

What do 8X42 binoculars actually mean? Detailed Answer

In 8X42, two numbers are associated with the alphabet X.  The numbers which are present on the right and left represent the specification of binoculars. 

  • 8 which is present on the left of X represents the magnification power of binoculars
  • 42 that is present on the right side of X represents the objective lens size 

However, the alphabet X is associated with the magnification power and it says that this specific model will give you 8 times more magnified images of the actual object. 

The objective lens size is measured in millimeters and it functions to capture the outside light. Better objective lens size ensures that your binoculars will be giving you a brighter and sharper image.

It is important to note that those binoculars which have compromised objective lens size don’t give you good visual quality. In fact, the low light usability of binoculars is also estimated by the size of their objective lens

One more interesting fact, a bigger-sized objective lens means that your binoculars will be heavier and bulkier. So, it becomes very important to choose optics with a decent objective lens so that you get a brighter image and the weight of binoculars also does not increase too much. 

How far can 8×42 binoculars see?

8x magnification power means that you will be able to see an eight times bigger image than the actual size. In other words, if your target is 800 feet away from you then with 8×42 binoculars, you will be able to see if it is just 100 feet away from you.

However, according to users and our own experiments, 8×42 binoculars give you a clear image of up to 1000 meters. Keep in mind that some factors like clouds, weather conditions, and light conditions affect the range of binoculars. 

The range through which you can see everything also varies from brand to brand. Those companies which do not compromise on the quality of the lens give you better clarity to see the distant objects and vice versa.

What are 8×42 binoculars good for?

Look, hunting is something where you want to get maximum stability of image along with a wider field of view. With binoculars having higher magnification power like 12x, you will never get a stable image as those optics are very sensitive to small movements of hands. It is a fact that all of us have hands with slight involuntary movement which may not be observed with eyes, but it certainly affects when it comes to getting a stable image.

Moreover, with higher magnification binoculars, you will get a narrower field of view which is another bad aspect of choosing higher magnification power. So, these 8×42 binoculars are perfect for hunting. Apart from that, you will get good results if you use them for

Are 8X42 binoculars good for low-light usability?

No! The answer might look a bit harsh or bitter, but that’s the reality. You will need a bigger-sized objective lens so that your binoculars capture more light to give you a decent, brighter, and sharper view of the target objects. We don’t think 42 mm in size is going to be good enough to give you better visuals in low-light conditions. 

Weight and Size of 8×42 Binoculars

This is interesting, because if you are compromising on low-light usability, then you will get a better viewing experience. Due to small objective lenses, their weight is not really heavy and you will feel pretty comfortable while carrying them for an extended duration. Both weight and size will be ideal for carrying in your pocket.

Should you buy 8×42 binoculars?

It depends on different factors and your needs are the top priority. If you’re going hunting, these 8×42 binoculars can be your perfect match. But you should not consider them in case your outdoor activity requires more magnification power.  In short, you should choose them if you need lightweight and compact binoculars with a wider field of view. 


 We hope this guide will broaden your level of thinking and you will be able to decide about the specification of binoculars. In fact, we did mention the specification in the previous guide, but many of you guys have been still questioning the 8×42 binoculars. So, we have written this guide on specific specifications of 8×42 binoculars.

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