For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to binoculars. Being a visual person, I’ll often find my self picking up my binoculars just for the pleasure of looking through them. Like most folks, my first pair of binoculars were whatever was cheap, looked OK, and available. I think I bought my first pair for $ 20.00 and they served me well. That is, until I looked through some really nice binoculars.

My current pair are Nikon Prostaff 7S 10×42 ‘s that I have carried through about 4 years of hunting, backpacking, and casual bird watching while on vacation. They are the first pair of high-quality binoculars I have used and I thought that they were all I would need until recently. I have been looking for a pair of lightweight 8 power binoculars with 2 objectives in mind. 1, to cut the weight of my hunting kit, and 2, to have a more steady image while viewing hand-held. During extended viewing sessions, I have often found my self looking for a surface to support my binoculars on to steady them.

Early on a recent morning I compared my my faithful Nikons and the Athlon Midas 8×42 at a local marsh on San Francisco Bay. Viewing conditions were ideal. A cold, clear morning of brilliant sun from a sky washed clean by several days of rain.

Here are some impressions of the Athlon Midas:

Optical quality is excellent. With the sun at my back, I was able to see fine detail in distant ducks even with the modest 8x magnification.

Turning towards the sun, the contrast and clarity of the image was not noticably impacted. The optics have outstanding interior glare control and anti reflective coatings on the lenses.

A small detail that means a lot for serious viewing is how much diopter correction needs to be made for the differences between the 2 objectives. You know, the thing that corrects the focus when you look through one eye, then the other of the binoculars. The Midas needed no correction for my eyes.

The eye relief is generous, I was able to see almost the entire field of view wearing glasses. My Nikons only allow a for around 50% of the full field of view in a side by side comparison.

Weight: My Nikons weigh 23 ounces, the Midas 25 ounces. The form factor of the Midas is nicely compact, but I’ll not be able to shed any grams from my kit in the field with this unit. Given how important a good pair of binoculars are to spotting game when hunting, I think carrying a heavier optic with better quality is a reasonable trade off.

The price point of these optics are definitely mid range, but unless you already own Leitz, Zeiss, or Swarowski binoculars, you may not notice the difference. I have found that better quality optics are well worth the money spent, particularly for older eyes. The Midas 8×42 binoculars tested have an MSRP of $349.99, Street price on 2AOS.com is $289.99. Keep in mind that you can also knock an extra 10% off by using the LGC Member Discount code that you got in your inbox.  If you can’t find it, send us a message with your membership number and we’ll kick it back over to you again, and all purchases between now and December 31 give the LGC 15% of the total sales of Athlon over at 2AOS.com.

If you have an outdoors person in your life and they are still using Grandpa’s Bushnells from the 50’s, buying them a pair of excellent binoculars will be a gift they will always use and remember.