The Hawke Frontier APO 8×42 binoculars were introduced, not to replace the EDx, but as an addition to the Frontier family. The key word that gets the attention of discerning users is Apo or Apochromatic . This triplet lens configuration with regards the objective lens is in many cases the design that many top premium brands use as standard. Though they also may use fluorite glass, which takes things to another level.
When you first take them out the box, you get same the case as the EDx and HDx, other than a slight variation on finish. Strap is a very good padded version, with drop down objective lens covers. The finish looks and feels quite different to the EDx 8×42. So it was not simply a case of changing the optics and leaving everything else as it was. Gone is the almost tacky feeling of the EDx, and in comes a much smoother body. But due to well positioned textured grip, they remain well supported in the hands, balance nicely and stay in place. I found the design of the strap connectors on the body do not protrude as much as the EDx, making them dig less into your hands, which is a good thing.
Field of view and eye relief remain the same as the EDx at 142m @ 1000m and 18mm. Though I personally found focus to be less than the quoted 2m at around 1.6m. This is great news if you like to look at miniature nature up close.
So what about the view through the eyepiece. At first glance you may not notice a difference, depending on how trained your eyes are and experience of many binoculars over the years. Brightness is very similar (in my opinion) to the EDx . But one of our customers who visited our optics weekend said straight away that the APOs were brighter than his own EDx 8×42. Which goes to prove that regards all binoculars, what one person sees the next will not, and visa versa.
The Frontier EDx 8×42 were renowned for their lack of chromatic aberration. Though those with experienced eyes will see some levels of this in challenging high contrast subjects. But any traces of CA seen with the EDx is completely vanished with the APOs. This will make a difference when identifying heavily back lit birds in trees as one example. Also the lack of CA definitely gives you sharper edges to whatever you are looking at.
Other advantages of the APOs is that any pincushion distortion seen with the other models has gone, with nice straight lines throughout the field. Also edge of field quality has improved to enhance the whole image. I personally found that after a good few minutes looking through them, there was no eye strain / correction when you take them away from your eyes.
So am I impressed with the Hawke Frontier APOs. That`s an easy yes. Compared to the price of the £1000+ top brands, you really are getting a good deal, and backed up with a life time warranty.
Any issues ?. Not really, as I will need to do some serious scrapping of the barrel to find anything. Maybe the twist eye cups (for me) come out a couple of mm to far. But maybe that`s just me. try them for yourselves.
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