Hawke Sapphire ED 8x42mm Binocular
The Hawke Sapphire ED 8x42mm binocular, HA3767 (green), is not the most expensive binocular I own, much less that I've evaluated over the years. Nevertheless, it is a decidedly upscale binocular and my eyes could not tell the difference between this binocular and a $2000 model.
They are shipped nicely packaged in a hard leather case. Compared to standard binoculars, the Sapphire ED improves upon image brightness, contrast and color fidelity though the use of extra-low dispersion (ED) glass, combined with an advanced dielectric prism coating. On the strength side, they have stronger and costlier magnesium alloy frames, as compared to the usual aluminum alloy.
The Sapphires are reasonably lightweight at 25.7 ounces, have 18mm of eye relief and a very good 426 foot field of view at 1000 yards. The lens covers are excellent, integral with the body, well-fitted and secure. Birdwatch Magazine has called these “Hawke's Best” and Best Binoculars & Binocular Reviews gave this set their “Best Birding Binocular 2013 Award.” They rated it as outstanding for body stats, optical stats and image quality. These aren't the cheapest binoculars you can find, for those come in bubble packs with with plastic bodies. However, at $459, they are a fraction of what you'd pay for Zeiss Victory or Leica Ultravid binoculars that sell for around $2200. That's why these Hawkes have been referred to as “Alpha Beaters.”
The set of binoculars that I used the most in the field in 2013 was the Hawke Endurance #HA3944 8x42mm roof prism binocular. At a very appealing $210 or so discount retail price, they are remarkably good with fully multi-coated lenses and phase corrected BAK4 prisms. However, the Sapphires are clearly a cut-above with ED glass, dielectric coating, better lens caps, water-repellent objective lens coating and a magnesium chassis. You don't have to spend big bucks to own an outstanding binocular. The Hawke Sapphire ED binocular, at about $420 discount retail price, ranks as the most for the least I have reviewed in an upscale field binocular.
Copyright 2014 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.