With optics, it is all about compromises (as indeed it is with many things in life) and there is no such thing as the perfect binocular, instead it is about getting the balance right for your particular requirements.
So for example many novices assume that the higher the magnification, the better the binocular, but they usually don't realize that by increasing the power, you are reducing the width of the view and increasing the chance of image shake.
With the size of objective lenses you also have to choose what is right for you and your intended uses, so compact bins with small 28mm lenses can make ideal travel companions, but will never perform as well in low light as an equal quality binocular with much larger lenses.
Snypex Knight ED 8x50 Binoculars
So with these Snypex 8x50 Knight ED binoculars, you have lenses that are quite a lot larger than the "standard" 42mm ones, which in theory means a brighter image in bad light, but on the flip side you potentially have a larger and heavier instrument.
Thus from the outside, these look like they would be ideal for those who's main concern is image quality and brightness and are willing to sacrifice a little on weight and size. But to see in detail if Snypex Optics have got this balance completely right, please take some time to go over my full Snypex Knight ED 8x50 binoculars review below:
Please Note: This review is actually the third one I have written on the Snypex Knight ED range, so as not to repeat everything when describing the components and specifications that are the same as the others, I will refer you to those sections on the other reviews. Whilst in this review, I will mainly focus on their main differences and the unique properties of this 8x50 binocular.
All the binoculars in the Knight ED series from Snypex use roof prisms and so the open bridge body design is very much like the 8x42 model and almost identical to the 10x50 model that I have already reviewed.
To read more about the shape of the body, the general benefits of the open bridge design and the external rubber armour covering, please take a look at the body section of the Knight ED 8x42 Review here.
Where these 8x50mm Snypex Knight ED binoculars do differ to most 8x42mm binoculars is that whilst for the most part the body is the same size, to accommodate the larger lenses, the ends of the barrels flare out a lot more (see the photo below).
Whilst Snypex Optics do not advertise it, I was able to find out from them that they use a combination of aluminium and magnesium as the materials for the chassis. Because of their strength and low weight, both materials are usually considered to be better than the other commonly used chassis made from plastic/polycarbonate.
Fog & Waterproof
The main body of the Snypex Knight ED 8x50 is fully sealed and then filled with nitrogen during manufacture, which means that the are both water and fogproof.
On the pair I tested the twist-up and down mechanism was smooth and there was no free play that you can sometimes get.
This combined with the two intermediate click-stops means that those who wear glasses should be able to keep them on whilst glassing and also have the flexibility to position their eyes at the right distance away from the ocular lens to get a full view of the image.
Focus Wheel & Focusing
The focusing mechanism on the model that I tested was nice and smooth with just the right amount of resistance to movement to prevent accidental turning and like the eyecups, there was no unwanted free play.
As for the design of the focus wheel and the way it works, it is exactly the same as that on the 10x50 model, so please read that section of the Knight ED 10x50 Review here.
Whilst on some bins, this ring can be locked in place, but this still works well as it helps to stop it from being moved accidentally as unless you are sharing you binoculars, you only really need to calibrate your bins once.
Where I feel it is lacking is that there are very few markings or a scale that make it much easier to remember and return it to your exact setting should it move by accident or if you need to move it when sharing your optics.
Rating for Body Construction Quality: 8/10
At 880g (31.04oz), they are fractionally heavier than the 10x50 Knight ED, but still only 120 grams more than the 42mm Snypex Knight ED's. Which if you take a look at the table below, compared to a number of other bins that I have reviewed with 43, 44 and 45mm objectives their weight is still fairly competitive and don't forget that these have much larger 50mm lenses, which I think is pretty good.
|Minox HG 8x43||22.9ozs (649g)||6.0in (15.2cm)||5.1in (13cm)||2.0in (5.1cm)|
|Pentax DCF ED 8x43 Binoculars||25.2ozs (714g)||5.7in (14.5cm)||5.0in (12.7cm)||2.1in (5.3cm)|
|Nikon 8.5x45 Monarch X||25.4ozs (720g)||6.1in (15.5cm)||5.5in (14cm)||2.2in (5.6cm)|
|Snypex Knight ED 8x42||26.8ozs (760g)||5.5in (14cm)||5.2in (13.2cm)||2in (5.1cm)|
|Vanguard 8.5x45 Endeavor ED||27.2ozs (771g)||5.1in (13cm)||6.3in (16cm)||?|
|Snypex Knight ED 8x50||31.04ozs (880g)||6.1in (15.5cm)||5.31in (13.5cm)||2.32in (5.9cm)|
|Kowa 10.5x44 Genesis XD||34ozs (964g)||6.5in (16.5cm)||5.4in (13.7cm)||2.5in (6.4cm)|
As I have mentioned and because of the larger 50mm lenses, they do have a slightly different shape, with their flared barrels. But if you compare their main measurements to other full sized bins in the table above, you can see that size wise they are not far off many others that have smaller objectives and they really are not that much larger than many 42mm binoculars (see image below).
This is impressive as you get a binocular that is pretty much standard in size (and weight), yet with a much improved potential for gathering light.
By opening and closing the central hinges, you can change the distance between the ocular lenses to match that of your eyes.
These 8x50's have a maximum Inter-Pupillary Distance (IPD) of 7.7cm, which is pretty wide compared to most other full sized bins that I have tested and therefore would be a good choice for those with wide set eyes or larger faces.
I measured the minimum IPD on these at 6.3cm, which is a little wider than some, but should still allow for most people, but just check if you have especially narrow set eyes.
Because of the slightly different than "normal" 8x50 configuration, it is quite difficult for me to score these Knight ED's on their body stats, because all my scores are relative and used to compare other similar binoculars within the same size class. However even with the larger lenses, they are still essentially full-sized bins and whilst I was impressed that they were close to most 42mm bins, I had to compare and rate them against the best in this size class, hence the slightly lower score:
BBR Rating for Body Stats: 7/10
Apart from the 8mm larger objective lenses, these Snypex Knight ED 8x50 binoculars feature the same optical components and coatings as the 8x42 Knight ED:
To read about all the details including each of their respective strengths and weaknesses on each of these components and coatings listed above, please take a look at the optics section of the 8x42 Knight ED Review here.
Optical Components Quality Rating: 8/10
The 8x magnification, combined with their large 50mm objective lenses mean that these and indeed all others with the same setup deliver an large exit pupil of about 6.25mm in diameter (50÷8).
If you compare this to the commonly used 8x42 configuration and their 1mm smaller (5.25mm) you can see if you take a look at this article on exit pupil and image brightness why these potentially have the ability to perform so much much better in low light conditions.
The Field Of View (FOV)
With a viewing angle of 6.9°, the width of the view at a distance of 1000 yards away is 362ft wide (121m @ 1000m). This as you can see the FOV on these is not class leading, but is still pretty good and is up there, with some of those with wider views.
|FOV at 1000yds||Near Focus||Eye-Relief|
|Hawke Frontier ED 8x43||426ft||6.6ft||18mm|
|Minox 8x43 HG||379ft||8.2ft||19.5mm|
|Snypex Knight ED 8x50||362ft||4.92ft||20.3mm|
|Vanguard 8.5x45 Endeavor ED||340ft||8.2ft||20mm|
|Pentax DCF ED 8x43||330ft||6.6ft||22mm|
|Nikon 8.5x45 Monarch X||330ft||9.8ft||20.6mm|
|Barr & Stroud 8x56 Savannah||320ft||9.8ft||23mm|
|Snypex Knight ED 10x50||309ft||4.9ft||20mm|
At only 4.9ft the minimum focus advertised by Snypex Optics is exceptional and way less than the 6ft mark that I consider to be excellent, which for those who view things like butterflies, other insects, flowers and even birds from close range is great news.
However even more impressive than the advertised minimum focus distance, I actually measured the close focus to an even closer 90cm (3ft) on the pair I was testing!
The 20.3mm of eye-relief is also excellent and ranks them up there with the best, which you can see on my page containing long eye-relief binoculars - very important for those who wear glasses.
Optical Stats Rating: 8/10
As I do not have a benchmark 8x50 binocular, I compared the view through these with my standard 8x42 benchmarks as well as with the 10x50 and 8x42 Knight ED as I thought this may also give an insight into just how these all compare:
If you opt for a 50mm bin over a more commonly used 42mm one, you are sacrificing a little on size and weight for the potential of improved image brightness and thus a better low light performance:
The perceived image brightness is affected by the size of the objective lens, the magnification as well as the quality of the glass and the coatings used.
However your pupils are probably only between 2 and 4mm wide during the day when the light is good, so whilst the larger exit pupil does make it that bit easier to line your eyes up with the shaft of light exiting the ocular lens, both are providing them more than enough light and so I was not surprised to find that during this time, I really was not able to notice any difference in brightness between any of the bins.
It was only in very poor light where I was able to detect a that the image was very slightly brighter with these compared to my 8x42 benchmark and the 8x42 Knight ED.
Even though they have a smaller exit pupil, I could not detect any difference between these and the 10x50's and can only assume that both were supplying my eyes with enough light.
Colour Reproduction & Image Contrast
As with all the other Snypex Knight ED binoculars that I have tested, the colors of the image look vibrant, but still normal and without any artificial tints that I sometimes see.
Even though the image is bright, it is not washed out and they have a good contrast between dark and light even in very bright light, which helps add depth to the view.
Once again, and as with the other models in this series, I thought that the amount of color fringing on these was very minimal and you can only really see it when trying hard to find some by looking along the edges of a dark object with a very bright background.
Color fringing is the thin coloured line that you sometimes see around the edge of an object and it is caused by chromatic aberrations.
The soft ring (blurring) right on the edge of the view on these is extremely minimal and matches that of the best in this class.
Image Quality Rating: 8/10
These Snypex Knight ED 8x50 binoculars use exactly the same excellently designed rigid case (box) that as that used on the other versions, so as not to repeat myself, you can read all the details about it on the Accessories section of the 8x42 Knight ED Review here.
A small point to add is that the box is slightly larger to enable the 50mm models to fit.
The bins themselves lay snugly inside which prevents them from moving about, but not so tightly that it makes replacing them difficult. However if you replace them with the eyecups twisted out and the lens caps and rainguard on, they do fit, but it is tight.
Also included is a neck strap, lens covers, instructions and a lens cleaning cloth that are also exactly the same as that used on the 10x50 and 8x42 Knight ED's, so please read all about them on the on the Accessories section of that review here.
As with all Knight Series ED binoculars, you get a 5 year limited warranty included with these. Full information on this and the registration warranty card is included within the box.
Extras & Attention to Detail Rating: 8/10
In the table below, I have compared these bins with a range of similar high end optics, which also includes the 10x50 Knight ED, which are very similar but clearly demonstrates that the lower power gives you a wider field of view. If you also compare them to the 8x42 Knight ED, you can see how the larger lenses affect the size and weight of the device:
|Snypex Knight ED 8x50||Snypex Knight ED 10x50||Snypex Knight ED 8x42||Hawke 8x42 Sapphire ED||Pentax 8x43 DCF ED||Vanguard Endeavor ED 8.5x45|
|Approx Price:||$570||$600||$480||$450 / £340||$850 / £770||$399 / £300|
|Weight:||31.04ozs (880g)||30.68ozs (870g)||26.8ozs (760g)||25.7oz (730g)||25.2oz (715g)||27.2ozs (771g)|
|Length:||6.1in (15.5cm)||6.1in (15.5cm)||5.5in (14cm)||5.5in (14cm)||5.7in (14.6cm)||6.3in (16cm)|
|Width:||5.31in (13.5cm)||5.31in (13.5cm)||5.2in (13.2cm)||5.1in (13cm)||5.0in (12.6cm)||5.1in (13cm)|
|Min Focusing Dist:||4.9ft||4.9ft||6.6ft||6.6ft||6.6ft||8.2ft|
|FOV at 1000yds:||362ft||309ft||393ft||426ft||330ft||340ft|
|High Reflective Prism Coatings||Silver||Silver||Silver||Dielectric||Full reflection coating?||Silver|
|Lens Coatings||Fully Multi-Coated||Fully Multi-Coated||Fully Multi-Coated||Fully Multi-Coated||Fully Multi-Coated||Fully Multi-Coated|
Strong Points: Just like the 10x50 Knight ED, the standout feature of these 8x50's is their large 50mm objective lenses. But with their lower 8x magnification, you now get a binocular that produces a very large exit pupil. Combine this with their excellent quality glass and coatings and it translates into a very bright image being produced helping them excel in poor and very bad light.
What is also very impressive to me is that not only is the build quality high, but Snypex Optics have been able to keep both the weight and size down on these pack these, which means that you get all the benefits of the larger lenses, but with only a minimal trade off in terms of their dimensions and weight.
Their close minimum focus distance and their massive 20mm of eye-relief are both excellent.
The very protective carry case that you get with these optics is also in my opinion very good, they look great, stand out from the crowd, but most importantly they do a great job of protecting the instrument inside.
Even though their silver mirror coated prisms are very good, possibly even excellent, I have to mention that you can occasionally find other bins within this price level that use dielectric coated prisms, which can transmit even more of the light.
Whilst the metal eye-piece housings and diopter ring on the body are excellent and add to the overall quality of the product, I was a little disappointed to see that these Knight ED's have a plastic focus wheel and whilst it works perfectly well, it does not add to the overall feeling of a high quality instrument.
The same could be said for the neck-strap. Whilst it performs as it should and is indeed very comfortable, it just falls short of the high standards set by the carry case and indeed the binoculars themselves.
Overall - These Snypex 8x50 Knight ED binoculars are a high spec and very good quality larger objective binocular that compete and in many areas beat many within this price level.
So if you are after a full sized bin that performs very well (especially in low light), then these 8x50 Knight ED's are well worth having a serious look at.
Ideal Uses: Like an 8x42 and because they are only marginally larger and heavier, these make an ideal all-round, general use binocular.
However due to the image quality and brightness, as well as a more than decent width of view, they will perform particularly well as a birdwatching or general wid life observation binocular, especially when used either in thickly forested, wooded or even jungle locations, or at sunrise or sunset where the light can often be poor.
Add the tough, for & waterproof body into the mix and you now also have an excellent binocular for hunting. Once again this would be especially true in thick forest areas where bad light is an issue.
The 8x magnification and wide field of view will be a benefit in all the scenarios above as it makes finding and tracking birds and larger wildlife much easier at closer distances.
Their close minimum focus will also appeal and benefit those who occasionally like to observe things from close range, for example butterflies, other insects, flowers as well as some birds.
BBR - Genuine & Honest Reviews
Unlike some review sites, I am not asked to write it in a particular way or with some sort of bias. This review and my opinions of this Snypex Knight ED 8x50 binoculars is 100% my own and honest opinion of the instrument (as indeed are all the others on the BBR website).
I also take great care to ensure that all the details are correct to the best of my knowledge, however I sometimes do make mistakes, or am suppled with incorrect details. If you do spot any, please feel free to contact me so I can correct them.
Reviewed by Jason Whitehead
Main Specifications & Features:
Below are similar pairs of Binoculars that you may also want to have a look at:
Large 45mm objective lenses, extra-low dispersion (ED) glass and waterproof: Ideal Wildlife and Birding Binoculars.
General Price Range: (5/6) High Value Binoculars
Below is a link that will take you to a page with online retailers in both the US and UK that sell Snypex 8x50 Knight ED Binoculars this page makes it easy to compare prices and then to buy from your preferred option:
Buy & Compare Prices for the Snypex 8x50 Knight ED Binoculars
I would love to get your comments and well as your opinions on these optics. Do you want to or do you already own one of these Knight ED Binoculars? If so please let us know what you think of them giving both the good and the bad points:
The best Christmas deals and offers as well as recommendations for the birder, wildlife guru, sports nut or traveller. No matter what your budget, there is the perfect gift for you. Includes binoculars, spotting scopes, night vision and accessories >> BBR Christmas Guide.