Praktica Marquis 8x42 binoculars
Available from around £240
Guest Reviewer Laura Elliott
I bought a pair of PRAKTICA Marquis 8x42 binoculars with the intention of using them for birdwatching and was extremely impressed with the quality of both the optics and the thoughtfully designed housing and accessories they came with.
To start, the Marquis 8x42's boast Fully Multi-Coated optics and ED glass which impressively (and to my surprise) eliminated any possibility of chromatic aberration, colour fringing and distortion. Low light often accentuates imperfections, but this was certainly not the case here. The result is an image that bears(?) excellent sharpness and contrast as well as even light transmission. The wide angular field of view (a wildly impressive 7.8°) is exactly what you need in a pair of birdwatching binoculars; I can keep up with fast moving birds!
The fact that they are also waterproof (up to 1m for 5 minutes), fogproof and O-ring sealed just adds to their performance and the objective lenses have a water repellant coating. As a result, they are a very versatile pair of binoculars for use in all weathers! The lightweight magnesium alloy body allows for extended use out in the field, and when researching which binoculars to buy I actually found the Marquis to be amongst the lightest, full sized 8x42 binoculars on the market. Even if you were to find them a little on the weighty side, they're tripod adaptable; I really liked the look of the tripod thread too.
Generally, I found the binoculars and accessories to be carefully designed. The rubberised armour sports indents for your thumbs, textured sections on the sides to improve grip and a textured focus wheel and diopter ring allowing me to easily turn them when my hands were cold/wet or I had gloves on. The twist-up eyecups are smooth and have a two-step mechanism allowing for easy level adjustment and the diopter ring has a good level of friction so it cannot be accidentally adjusted. The binoculars came with a branded hard case (which was a lovely touch), a quick release strap for the case, eyepiece caps, objective lens caps and a padded strap. When I first saw the the objective lens caps I thought one side of the loop was actually broken, but after a quick call to their customer services department (who were nothing but lovely and couldn't do enough to help me) I realised it was a split loop so you can attach them to the neck strap so they're accessible while in use!
When I was doing research, I saw that they were compared to the Leica 8x42 Trinovid binoculars which retail at £749 and I was a little sceptical but overall, I have found my 8x42 Marquis binoculars to be perfect for birdwatching and I couldn't fault them. I would definitely recommend them to any avid birdwatcher that doesn't want to spend more than roughly £250.
27th January 2018