Kowa SV II 8×42 Binoculars: Our Evaluate

A superb, crisp picture however with narrower area of view and fewer shut focus than rivals. We rated them as a Center Floor selection.

At A Look

Kowa SV II 8x42 binoculars
Kowa SV II 8×42 binoculars. Picture by Hugh Powell.


  • Very crisp, clear picture
  • Good efficiency even in backlit situations
  • Good neck strap


  • Stiff focus wheel
  • Considerably longer physique than most different binoculars
  • Slender area of view


  • Worth: $259 MSRP at press time. Costs typically fluctuate, so examine with retailers
  • Shut focus: Listed as 13.1 toes (399 cm). In checks, we might focus these a bit nearer, to about 10 toes (305 cm)
  • Discipline of view: 6.3° (331 toes at 1,000 yards). Extra about area of view 
  • Weight: 24.4 oz (691 g)—that’s about 1.1 oz (38 g) lighter than the typical for 8×42 binoculars in our evaluation
  • Eye aid: 19.5 mm

Viewing Expertise: These binoculars are brilliantly crisp, though they’re hampered considerably by a slim area of view and fewer than perfect shut focus. Trying throughout a area at a feeder greater than 150 yards away, we made out a chickadee’s black bib and the pink blush of a male Home Finch in situations the place many binoculars would present solely grey, grainy blobs. And in a harshly lit treetop at nearer vary, a Downy Woodpecker was a crisp mixture of sharp black and white contrasts because it curled its physique round a twig, tiny invoice stating like a thorn. A close-by titmouse’s massive black eye stood out from its grey face, regardless of the backlight. The slim area of view is offset considerably by the standard of the picture you do see.

Really feel and Construct: These binoculars have a classy look with olive-green armoring and lengthy, gracefully flared barrels. A sculpted ridge swoops down the size of the barrels providing a spot to grip together with your thumbs. The lengthy barrels (a stable inch or 25 mm longer than most different 8×42 fashions) imply these binoculars take up more room and may really feel much less nicely balanced. The eyecups click on firmly by way of 4 preset positions, however on our demo mannequin one of many eyecups appeared fragile and have become very unfastened. The target lens caps would not have tethers—a function that has change into widespread lately—so that you’ll have to hold them in your pockets when you’re out birding.

Feedback From Testers: 

  • Very crisp picture however slim area of view
  • Very sharp picture all the best way to the sting of the sphere
  • Focus knob was troublesome to show
  • Binoculars are very lengthy/tall
  • Sluggish, stiff focus
  • Good agency motion to eyecups, however extraordinarily stiff focus wheel
  • Match fingers nicely, not slippery, preferred the feel
  • Love the colour
  • Lens covers don’t connect

This text is one in a collection of mini-reviews. To see how these binoculars examine to others we’ve examined, see our full evaluation of inexpensive 8×42 binoculars.  

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