Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 Binoculars Review

Bresser 8 x 42 Pirsch ED Binoculars
Best Binoculars 2024 (Under $400 / £400 /€)
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Price Range: (4/6) Mid-High Value Binoculars       

Ideal Uses:

General Use Rating for General Use Binoculars
Birdwatching Rating as Birdwatching Binoculars
Outdoor Sports Rating asOutdoor Sports Binoculars
Safari & Travel Rating as Safari Binoculars
General Wildlife Rating as Wildlife Observation Binoculars
Hunting Rating as Hunting Binoculars
Marine Use Rating as Marine Binoculars
Astronomy Rating as Binoculars for Astronomy
Long Distance Rating as Long Distance Viewing Binoculars

Awards: Best Binoculars 2024 (Under $400 / £400 /€)

The 8x42 configuration is almost certainly the most popular for general use and especially for uses like birdwatching and with good reason as this particular combination of an 8x magnification and 42mm objective lenses has the potential to deliver a relatively small and easy to carry instrument with a decent level of image detail, wide field of view, good image quality, and low light performance.

However, when I wrote my review of the award winning 8x56 version of the Bresser Pirsch ED binoculars some time back, I wondered if the 8x56 configuration was the new 8x42 and if by sacrificing a little on the size and weight, the extra low light performance you get from the larger 56mm lenses was worth it.

Now that I have this 8x42 model with me, I have the chance to compare them side-by-side and take this thought process a little further and perhaps come to a conclusion.

So as I have already reviewed the 8x56 model, I will not be repeating myself and going over all that is the same between them, rather for this Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 binocular review I will instead be focusing more on their differences and will often refer you back to the original 8x56 review for certain details.

Bresser Pirsch ED Binoculars

Positioned just under their flagship Montana series, Pirsch ED binoculars from the German brand Bresser possess an impressive array of components, features, and stats. Currently, the Pirsch ED series consists of five models, all of which have ED glass lens elements and an open bridge roof prism design and range in size from 34mm to these 42mm ones and onto the large 56mm model.

Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 Binocular Review


  • Mid-High End Binoculars - approx $320 / £290 / €300
  • Body:
    • Open Bridge Body Design
    • Waterproof & Fogproof Chassis
    • Metal Focus Wheel & Eyepieces
    • Dimensions: 5.7in (14.5cm) x 4.8in (12.2cm) x 2.0in (5.1cm)
    • Weight: 34.6ozs (981g)
  • Optics:
    • 42mm Objective Lenses
    • ED (Extra Low Dispersion) Glass
    • BAK-4 Roof Prisms
    • Dielectric & Phase Corrected
    • Fully Multi-Coated
  • Optical Stats
    • Field of View: 375ft at 1,000 yards
    • Minimum Focal Distance: 6.6ft
    • Eye Relief: 17.11mm
  • Image Quality
  • Accessories
  • Conclusions

The Body

In terms of things like the materials used, water and fog proofing, etc. these are exactly the same as that of the 8x56 model, so I will as you to refer back to the body section of that review for those details.

Here I would like to focus on how the overall shape and feel of them in your hands differ between the two:

Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 Binoculars

When placing them side-by-side, the first aspect you notice is that these Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 binoculars are actually quite a bit shorter than the 56mm option and is actually a little more than what I had expected when scanning over the specifications (I am more of a visual person and often the differences in numbers do not mean a whole lot to me).

Like the 56mm version, these also sport an open bridge design, but what is interesting here is the fact that the distance between the two bridges is about the same on both (5cm) which means that even though the 56 is longer, you don't get any more room for your fingers to fit in-between this gap.

As you would expect due to their smaller lenses, the barrels on the 8x42 Bresser Pirsch ED are thinner than those of the 56 and don't flare out anywhere near as much towards the end.

Putting aside the differences in weight, this does actually make a difference to how each of these instruments feels in the hands and I would say this is certainly something to consider should you have smaller hands as I found this 8x42 model a little easier to hold and focus especially when doing it one-handed.

Holding the Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 Binoculars

Tripod adaptable Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 BinocularsTripod Adaptable
Whilst both the 8x56 and these 8x42 Bresser Pirsch ED binoculars are tripod adaptable, with the 56 version you have to be careful to choose an adapter that will fit in between the much narrower gap between the thicker and longer barrels (see the image on the right).

With the 42, there is no such issue and just about any standard tripod adapter should work just fine.

Eyepiece Housings & Eyecups
In terms of the design and materials used, they are the same, so for details, please refer back to the other review.

Eyecups on the Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 BinocularsHowever, where I did notice a difference was in the action. On the 8x56 review, I noted that whilst very smooth, the twist-up/down action was a little light and you needed to be careful not to push the binoculars too firmly against your face otherwise they will just twist downwards.

With my sample of the 8x42 Pirsch ED, whilst still very smooth, there is far more resistance to movement and thus as well as the fixed click stops, you can even position the cups at any point between fully extended and retracted and they will remain there so long as you don't push too firmly against your face. I like this a lot better as it gives you much greater flexibility when choosing the right amount of eye-relief, which is also more than the 8x56, but I will get onto that a little later in the review.

Interpupillary Distance (IPD)
The distances between the two eye-pieces and the amount that it can be adjusted is another area where these Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 binoculars differ from the larger 8x56 model:

By closing the hinges, the minimum IPD on the 8x42 is a very small 5.7cm, whereas it is 6.5cm on the 8x56.

After fully opening the hinges, I found the maximum on this 42mm and 56mm models to be exactly the same at 8cm (officially it is 7.6mm in Bresser's stats).

Focus Wheel on the Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 Binoculars

Focus Wheel & Focusing
In terms of the design, it looks to me as though Bresser uses exactly the same focus wheels on both models, which makes perfect sense.

In terms of the action, I found the 8x42 to be a fraction lighter and thus easier to turn than my sample 8x56, however, both were perfectly smooth, but this, along with the smaller barrels and more lightweight body may once again be something to keep in mind if you have smaller hands.

The gearing is also very similar, with both models taking just over two full turns 720°) to move from minimum focal distance to infinity.

Focus Wheel on the Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 Binoculars

Diopter Adjustment
No notable differences

Rating for Body Construction Quality: 8/10

With smaller lenses and more compact body (see below), this is understandably one area where these Bresser 8x42 Pirsch ED binoculars differ from the 8x56:

At 22.4ozs (635g) these compare well against other 42mm binoculars (especially mid-to-high end ones) and you can immediately notice the difference when you also pick up the 8x56 Pirsh ED which weighs in at 34.6ozs (981g).

If you are a smaller person with a lighter build or specifically need a lightweight binocular that can perform well in low light (so not a compact), then this will certainly be a factor to keep in mind.

Along with the weight, this is probably the definitive area that most people will look to when making the choice between the 8x56 Bresser Pirsch ED and this 8x42 version.

As I stated in that review, for a 56mm binocular, the Bresser Pirsch ED binoculars are about as "compact" as it gets.

However, the 42mm version also compares well against other 42mm binoculars, and thus whilst not supermassive, you can certainly see and feel in the hands that they are smaller and more compact than the 8x56.

For many users, this may not be a big deal, but if you have smaller hands, carry other gear or for whatever other reason, this may be a factor to keep in mind, and perhaps for you, sacrificing a little on low light performance is worth it for an easier to carry and use instrument.

Size Comparison: Bresser Pirsch ED 8x56 vs 8x42 Binoculars

BBR Body Stats Score (compared to Standard Sized Bins): 9/10

Objective Lenses on the Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 Binoculars

The Optics

Deeply inset 52mm Objective lens on the Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 BinocularsAs far as I know and what I have been able to find out, apart from the different sizes, there is no difference to the glass used on all lens elements (including the extra-low dispersion / ED ones) and coatings applied to them on both the objective and ocular lenses.

The same goes for the Schmidt-Pechan roof prisms which are all fashioned from high-quality BaK-4 (Barium-Kron) glass and which are both dielectrically coated and phase-corrected which is excellent and what we want to hear.

Indeed these are amongst the most important features of what to look for when buying binoculars and they make a huge difference to the brightness and quality of the view. You can also read more on Anti-Reflection Lens Coatings here.

But for a full and detailed rundown of all the different aspects of the optical system and their coatings, please refer to the optics section on my Bresser Pirsch ED 8x56 Binoculars Review.

Coating Comparisons

As you can see from the comparison table below, these Bresser binoculars compare very well against other instruments in their price range in terms of the optical components used and their coatings:

Optical Components Quality Rating: 8/10

Optical Stats

Whilst the size and weight are the most obvious differences between the 8x56 and these Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 binoculars, for me, it is the difference in their optical stats and how it relates to the final image you see that is the most interesting:

Field Of View (FOV)
The 8x56 Pirsch ED delivers a view that is 114 m wide when measured at a distance of 1000 meters from you (approx 378ft at 1,000 yards). This translates to a 6.51° angle of view.

As I noted in my review of them, this is not bad but is a little less than what you get on many 8x42 binoculars, which is interesting as they obviously bot have the same 8x magnification.

Going with form, these 8x42 Bresser Pirsch ED binoculars do have a wider view: 125m at 1,000 meters (375ft at 1,000 yards), which translates to a 7.1° angle of view.

Because the FOV on the 8x56 is not bad, you don't feel the view is in any way particularly narrow when looking through it and if I gave you one to look through and then a few minutes later swapped it with the other, you would most likely not notice any difference.

However, comparing them sid-by-side, if you look carefully you will begin to appreciate the slightly wider view that you get from this 8x42 version.

If you are a wildlife observer or birder that often views small, fast, erratic moving birds at closer ranges, then this is definitely a reason to opt for the 8x42 Pirsch ED over the 8x56.

Comparing them against other 8x42's, these do perfectly fine but are not what I would describe as being a wide-angle binocular:

Close Focus
The 8x56 has an advertised minimum focus distance of 3.5 meters (11.5ft), but I was able to focus on objects from 2.65 meters (8.7ft) away.

On the other hand, these Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 Binoculars have an official close focus distance of 2 meters (6.6ft), but I found that I was able to get objects sharp at about 1.85 meters (6.1ft).

I consider anything at or 6ft as being excellent, so these come close, and certainly, the better option should you occasionally like to view things like flowers, butterflies, and other insects from a very close range.

In terms of the optical stats, the amount of eye-relief is one area where the 8x56 beats the 8x42 Pirsch ED:

With the 8x56, you get a massive 19.67mm of eye-relief which is certainly more than enough for most users and makes those binoculars an excellent choice for eyeglass wearers.

The eye-relief on these 8x42 Pirsch ED's is still very good at 17.11mm and should still be enough for most eyeglass users, but should you wear particularly thick-framed glasses you could play it safe with the 8x56 which gives you a few more millimeters to make sure you get the full view without black rings on the edges. For more see my complete guide on how to use binoculars with glasses.

Optical Stats Rating (compared to 8x Bins): 8/10

Image Quality

For this review, I compared the view between these Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 Binoculars against my benchmark 8x42 binoculars and then to continue on with the theme of this review, also against the 8x56 version and below is what I observed:

Color Reproduction & Contrast
In this area, both the 8x56 and 8x42 Bresser Pirsch ED binoculars were very similar, and as hard or as carefully as I looked, I really could notice any difference between the two:

So as I wrote in the 8x56 review, I would describe the view in both as being vibrant, but still "true to life" when it comes to the colors and contrast levels that you see.

Image Brightness
Due to the different sized lenses and resulting exit pupil size difference, this is one area where I was expecting and indeed able to differentiate the view between the two:

In moderate to good light conditions, the image brightness of the 8x42 and 8x56 binoculars looked to me to be identical.

Then somewhat fortuitously, later on in the day, we had a huge thunderstorm and the sky went very dark and I obviously took the opportunity to compare the views through all the binoculars once again.

In these relatively poor light conditions, I could notice that the image through the 8x56 was a little brighter than this Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 binocular and brighter than my mid-level and alpha level 8x42 benchmarks, but the difference was small and I had to check back and forth a number of times just to be certain.

Then lastly in very low light conditions still later on in the day when the storm had cleared, but the sun had dipped below the horizon, once again and as expected, the 8x56 configuration performed better than the 8x42's. Here the difference was probably a little easier to see, but even so, I would still say that a good quality 8x42 like this Bresser Pirsch ED can hold it's own in very low light.

All these observations were to be expected as both Prisch ED binoculars use the same level of optics and so the only difference is in the larger 56mm lenses being able to firstly collect more light and then secondly because the 8x56 has a larger 7mm exit pupil, compared to the 8x42 which is 5.25mm wide.

For more on why this is important for low light performance, take a look at my complete guide to the exit pupil.

Color Fringing & Image Flatness & Softening
In all these areas, both binoculars performed equally well and that is to say excellently. For more details and specifics, please refer to the Image Quality section of the Bresser Pirsch ED 8x56 Binocular Review.

Image Quality Rating: 8/10

Accessories for the Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 Binoculars

Included Accessories:

Apart from the slightly smaller carry case, the included accessories and how they function is exactly the same as that of the 8x56 Pirsch ED Binoculars and so I once again ask you to rever to my 8x56 review for details: Accessories for the Bresser Pirsch ED Binoculars.

Carry Case for the Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 BinocularsLens Covers on the Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 Binoculars


Neck Strap for the Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 Binoculars

Cleaning Cloth, Instructions & Warranty for the Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 BinocularsCleaning Pen & Cloth
Worth noting here is that as well as a good quality microfiber cleaning cloth, Bresser also includes an excellent cleaning pen that is very similar to the Carson Optical C6 Lens Cleaners that I use on all my optics which saves you from needing to get an extra lens cleaning kit.

In Europe, these and indeed all Pirsch ED binoculars come with Bresser's "2-year guarantee" supplied as standard. However, if you register the binocular with them online, they then upgrade it to their Premium guarantee that grants you an unlimited warranty and a full repair warranty for life which I am sure you will agree is impressive.

I am not sure what warranty you get in the USA.

Extras Rating: 8/10

Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 Binocular Comparisons

You can compare some of the details of this binocular against a small selection of other Mid to High Priced 8x42 binoculars in the BBR database.
Open table in full screen mode to view the full results.

Review Conclusions:

As with the 56mm version, I think these Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 binoculars are an outstanding pair of optics and because they cost less than the larger set, I feel they have an excellent performance to price ratio.

Having now compared these 8x42's directly against the 8x56's, I would say that which one you get is certainly not clear cut and rather will depend on your needs and circumstances:

Choose the 8x56 for an improved low light performance but at the cost of a larger heavier device that has a slightly narrower field of view and longer minimum focus. Thus will suit those who are often out in very low light conditions or thick woodland or jungles, but who perhaps view larger slower-moving objects or animals. It is also slightly better for eyeglass wearers.

This 8x42 Bresser Pirsch ED binocular on the other hand is genuinely a fantastic all-rounder, sure it may not match the 8x56 in very low light, but thanks to quality optics and coatings, it is no slouch either and performs very well against its direct 8x42 competition.


  • Very good quality of the view with good color reproduction and contrast levels, very low levels of color fringing, hardly any image softening at the edges of the view, and no other visible distortions.
  • All metal focus wheel with a smooth mechanism for fast accurate focal adjustments.
  • Metal and Polycarbonate chassis that is lightweight yet robust.
  • Metal eye-piece housings and eyecups that are tough with an excellent twist up/down mechanism and more than 17mm of eye-relief.
  • The build quality and function of the neck strap and carry case are both excellent and I also really appreciate the fact that these high-end optics come with a good cleaning kit that includes cloth and optical cleaning pen. This is something that almost every other manufacturer forgets.


  • For my money, there is certainly no deal-breaking weakness on this instrument, but perhaps Bresser could include a toughened, oil/water phobic coating to the outer lens surfaces, or if they do, they should tell us about it!
  • Whilst I have no complaints with the actual function, when compared to the level of the other accessories that come included with these Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 binoculars, the lens covers are not quite a match.

Bresser Pirsch ED 8x42 Binoculars and accessories plus packaging

100% Genuine Review

As with every other review I write, the thoughts and opinions expressed on this page are completely my own. I am not paid by Bresser or any other supplier, nor am I obliged to write about their or any other products in any sort of way or with any sort of bias.

Reviewed by Jason Whitehead for Best Binocular Reviews

Best Binocular Reviews Ratings:

Body Construction Quality: 8/10 83%
Body Stats: 9/10
Optical Components Quality: 8/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 9/10
Extras & Attention to Detail: 8/10

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Best Binoculars 2024 (Under $400 / £400 /€)

Main Specifications & Features:

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General Price Range: (4/6) Mid-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 Bresser 8x42 Pirsch ED Binoculars this page makes it easy to compare prices and then to buy from your preferred option:

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