Colour Fringing on Hawke Binoculars

Hi Jason,

I have been using your website while looking for a new pair of binoculars, and of course, I noticed the section about the Patreon offer to help with finding a pair of binoculars. Now I am unsure how much background I should give – so hopefully what I say will explain what I am looking for (and possibly why I am looking for it). Also, I am a fellow South African, though I am living in the UK now.


I am a computer programmer, developing apps for mobile phones. I am mentioning this for 2 reasons – I need to go through code very quickly in order to spot things that stand out (I think this also helps me when I am on Safari as I am typically very fast at spotting creatures). The other side to this is that I like very sharp imagery.

I also used to be into photography, where I used to use higher-quality lenses to avoid fringing and chromatic aberrations. As an aside, I say used to because I recently sold my equipment due to having young children with me when travelling. I will be getting back into this when they are a bit older.

Why I want binoculars:

When I first got binoculars these were for when travelling, and also looking at the sky at night. This is partly why I sold my camera equipment, as I was spending more time taking photos of the night sky than anything else. I have since bought a telescope for fainter objects.

Recently I moved into a new house that has a lot of birds visiting, and I want to be able to see them, which has got me looking for a new pair of binoculars.

So my primary uses are:
Birds, astronomy and then travel – such as going on safari. But just to add, what I am looking for does not need to be the best binoculars for astronomy, due to also having a telescope.

And a final point to make is that my partner will also be using these, and let us just say I don’t think she would take as good care of the binoculars as I would.


I don’t mind paying more for quality, having been into photography I have spent a lot on lenses. However, this does not mean I just want to spend money for the sake of it. I tend to want to spend money more on things I use the most, and less on items used infrequently.

What I have used:

Now I am just looking through my purchase history on Amazon at previous binoculars I have owned:

Nikon Monarch 5 8x42 – I really liked these, however, I returned them when I discovered a hair in the left eyepiece.

Hawke Endurance ED 10x50 – I used these for a while and eventually returned them. This was due to the weight which meant it was difficult to get the best out of the 10x. They were good for looking at the night sky though.

Canon 15x50 – these were brilliant for astronomy when viewing planets – but not great for anything else. Too difficult to locate wildlife.

Nikon Action EX 7x50 – I found these to be a good all-rounder, but heavy. Good for the night sky, but also decent for other uses.

Vanguard Endeavor ED IV 8x42 – to be honest, I cannot remember why I returned these.

Celestron Outland X 10x50 – while good for the night sky, they were heavy and difficult to hold still enough to get a good image.

Finally, I am almost at the end – my partner said the Nikon EX 7x50 was too heavy and she wanted something smaller with more zoom, so I bought both of these Hawke Binoculars:

Hawke Frontier ED X 8x32 and the 10x42. She found that the 10x was great, but difficult to hold still, while the 8x32 was very nice, she just thought the size of the 10x42 was better. I returned both of these.

Hawke Frontier ED X 8x42. I have decided that 8x is what I need, and the size is good. They arrived a few days ago. My partner really likes them, and I can see why they are so well-rated. However, my problem is that while they are very good most of the time, I can spot purple and green fringing, and as mentioned in my Background – I am very quick to notice this – and then that’s all I notice! This is most apparent in leaves.

My question is:

Have you used the Frontier APO version? I wonder if this is what I need to reduce this problem. Or perhaps you have a different suggestion for what I should try. And again, I may have provided more information than you need, but hopefully explains what I am looking for.


As you may already know from some previous posts, I do currently have a pair of Hawke Frontier APO binoculars in my office, waiting for me to review.

My sample is the 10x42 version, so something to keep in mind is that magnification amplifies the colour fringing, so whatever level my 10x version exhibits, it is possible that the 8x version that you are interested in could or should, in theory, show less, this is assuming that the level of optics and the design of the optical pathway is of the same level.

As I write this, I have not fully tested my sample yet as I am working on other binoculars at the moment, so I can, unfortunately, share with you a link to the full review (I will add this here in the future) but for your question, I took them out this afternoon, examined the view, and compared it to my benchmark binoculars as well as a few others, paying particular attention to the level of colour fringing and what follows are my thoughts:

Black Telephone Line Test

As usual, my first test for colour fringing is to focus on the black telephone line that runs along the road out the back of my house. Here I carefully look along both edges of it with the bright sky in the background.

This highly contrasting view makes even the smallest level of colour fringing along the edges of the dark line easy to notice and because I have now done this exact same test with more than 200 sets of binoculars, I think I have a very good feel for what is a lot or indeed a little colour fringing in relative terms.

Looking through the Hawke Frontier APO 10x42 binoculars that I have, I could see an extremely thin line of colour fringing – blue/purple on the top and green/yellow underneath which is normally what I see.

What was not normal is the amount or thickness of these lines, which was very minimal and what I describe as being excellent or about as little as you could ever hope for – no matter how much you spend.

So compared to my “standard” mid-range 8x42 benchmark that I use on all my 8x42 binocular reviews, the 10x42 Frontier APO (remember the higher power also magnifies colour fringing) definitely showed less fringing and the difference was quite obvious.

Against my high-end, Alpha 8x42 that I also use in all my 8x42 reviews, the difference was far less obvious, indeed I had to check a number of times just to be sure, but I would say that the Hawke Frontier APO just edged it.

This is very impressive and based on these two comparisons, I would rank them amongst the best I have used in this area.

Then as a final test, I also happen to have the Swarovski NL Pure 8x32 binoculars in for testing and comparing them, the lines of fringing looked about equal to me. This once again confirms just how good the Hawke Frontier APO is in this area.

Normal Usage

As well as this telephone line test, I also used and compare the binoculars in a more normal/natural way by looking into the foliage/leaves of trees and shrubs as well as birds.

As usual, I could notice colour fringing when looking at the edges of an object that contrasts with the background. So for example leaves against the sky or the edge of a white wall in front of some thick shrubs. Once again, the amount was very minimal, matched the very high-end instruments I have already mentioned and beat the mid-level ones.

So how does this compare to the Hawke Frontier ED X?

Unfortunately, I don’t still have the Hawke Frontier ED X 8x42 Binoculars with me, so I can’t compare them directly, but this is what I said in my review of them in regard to the observable colour fringing in the view:

Another definite highlight of these Hawke Frontier binoculars is the extremely low level of colour fringing that I observed.

Even when trying my utmost, by focusing on a dark telephone cable against a very brightly lit sky in the background, the thin line of fringing along the edge was very minimal and easily a match for my alpha 8x42.

So as you can see, I thought that the ED X was very good, if not excellent in this area.

Based on the tests I have done today and looking back on my comments on the 8x42 ED X, I would say that yes, the Hawke Frontier APO 10x42 binoculars will show less colour fringing, but the difference will be minimal and difficult to notice unless you are really looking for it – like doing my telephone line test.

Thus I am surprised this has been an issue for you and your pair. I would also be extremely surprised to hear that they were worse than all the other binoculars you have used because based on the pair that I tested, I would say that they perform as well as or indeed better than most instruments at the mid-to-high level range.

So if this is the case, then perhaps the pair that you have is slightly defective and it may be worth contacting Hawke to see if they can be returned for repair or replaced.

I hope this helps somewhat – please let me know how you thought the ED X compared to other binoculars you may still have and the ones you have used in the past.

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