The first time I looked through a set of Hawke Sport Optics was during my 2013 Elk hunt. Rudy with Huntography.com let me use his set while we scanned the mountain side for elk movement. I was impressed!
I need to first tell you, that while I understand the importance of having a good set of binoculars out in the field, especially for scanning the mountain-side to figure out where the animals are located, I'm usually the one who either opts to forgo bringing them along, or has them buried at the bottom of my pack. My old binos are heavy and clunky. I hate having the extra weight around my neck and feel like there is something in the way when drawing my bow back. This means that when everyone is scanning the next ridge and oohing and awing over the elk they spotted, I'm left waiting my turn for a peek through my husband's lenses. He'll then have to unclasp his binos just so I can have a look. I usually get "the look" followed up by, "where's your binos, Emily?"
When recently given the opportunity to review a set of Hawke binoculars, I jumped on it. I already knew after using Rudy's optics that Hawke is a quality product. I was excited to have my own set that I could be proud of, put to good use, and also quit bugging my husband to "borrow" his.
I opted for the Endurance Phase Corrected (PC) 10x42. While I'm confident that you'd love any of the versions Hawke offers, here are the factors that helped me in choosing the Endurance PC.
The first thing I looked for is which versions are waterproof. A few Hawke optics are available in water-resistant versions, which are fine for some, but I'm tough on my equipment and knew that I needed something completely waterproof. I didn't want to have to worry about dropping them in the snow, or keeping safe during unexpected mountain thunderstorms.
Size and Weight
Weighing in at 25 oz, the Endurance 10x42 aren't the lightest binos Hawke offers, but they aren't the heaviest either.
I knew that the Frontier ED weighing in at 26.2 was probably a bit much for me ~ while that is light for the size and quality offered, I didn't need that much of a binocular. Rudy let us borrow his set of Frontier ED binos, and they are AMAZING, but I wanted something a little smaller.
Some of the lighter side binos that Hawke offers includes Frontier Compact and the new Endurance Compact (available soon - watch for it in 2014!), but they were a little too compact for me. I wanted something that I could easily hold and balance in my hand, but yet wouldn't weigh me down. It was beginning to look like the Endurance was more and more the binos made just for me.
Endurance PC: features fully multi-coated lenses providing crisp, clear
and bright viewing with high light transmission, ideal in low light conditions.
Exit Pupil Factor - 10x32 vs 10x42
Now that I decided on the Endurance, I needed to decide between model 10x32 or 10x42. I was leaning towards the 10x32 simply because it was slightly lighter and more compact. Both have a Field of View (FOV) ft. @ 100 yards of 340, so there couldn't be that much of a difference, right? I was curious what exactly was the difference, so I figured it would be best to ask the experts...
Trent with Hawke Optics explained the advantages of the 10x42 and urged me to consider exit pupil & low light performance, especially if hunting at first light and last light were important to me.
When choosing between a 32 and a 42, there are two major factors that work against each other ~ size vs. optical performance. The image quality or clarity won't vary greatly (within the same bino family) since they are built with the same optical system; however, as your objective diameter shrinks (e.g., smaller bino size), your exit pupil shrinks as well. If low light performance is important when choosing a binocular set, then you MUST consider exit pupil. All the extra things like coatings, glass, etc., is a distant second if you don't give yourself adequate exit pupil size, which then means low light performance will suffer. Here is a breakdown of how it works..
Exit pupil is determined by dividing your objective lens (32 vs 42) by your magnification (10). So, the 10x32 will be 3.2 mm exit pupil, while the 10x42 will be 4.2 mm. While this doesn't seem like much of a difference, Trent explained to me that keeping your exit pupil above 4 mm is the general threshold for low light performance. Depending on your vision, you may be able to go lower, but generally 4 mm is the goal. Keep in mind this really only is a factor if you plan on doing a lot of glassing at first and last light. If you plan on glassing during hours where there is more available light, then the 10x32 might be a better fit.
That was a good enough explanation for me. Since I would often be hunting in low light conditions, I opted for the 10x42.
Extras - Grip, Lens Covers, etc.
Here are some of the extra features the Endurance 10x42 includes...
Phase Corrected Optics - Helps with impressive image resolution
Fully Multi-Coated Lenses - This feature helps provide crisp, clear and bright viewing, with excellent light transmission
Textured 'high grip' - I LOVE this feature because it makes my binos very comfortable to hold!
Close Focus - I'm going to be honest with you ~ I have a hard time finding my subject when trying to use a set of binos. Using the focus feature has always been a struggle for me. However, I was able to easily adjust the focus to bring things into view. Often, I'm the last one looking at a subject on the opposite side of a ridge, but this time I found myself pointing things out to everyone else. That was fun! Plus, if you are wanting to bring something into view, that is up close and personal... no problem! I had my binos in my tree stand last month and enjoyed watching the woods awaken around me through the lens of my Endurance binoculars.
Padded Neck Strap - Awww! I was in heaven. I really like the strap that comes with the binos. Now, I know there a lot of options available these days for after-market bino straps / holders, but I honestly struggle with some of these. Yes, there are convenient for carrying around your binoculars and help with keeping the weight off your neck, but when it comes down to trying to raise your binos up to your field of view, I always struggle. I like the option of being able to sling my binos across my off-shoulder and having a little more range of motion. Having the padded strap was an extra bonus for me.
Stay-On Lens Covers - When they say, "stay-on" they aren't lying. I loose things ~ a lot. I never had a problem, hiking all over the mountains, in and out of a tree stand. My lens covers never went missing. Often, I'd find the lens cover hanging open when I forgot to tap it on tightly, but the rubber loop attaching it to the lens held it on safely. I was impressed!
Nitrogen Purged Fog Proofing - While fog proof doesn't prevent the physics reality of external lenses collecting condensation during temperature changes, or even breathing directly on the lens; however, the internal portion of the binos are nitrogen purged which prevents the condensation from occurring on the inside of the lens. It works ~ because I never had an issue with moisture / fog building up on the inside of my binos.
As mentioned previously, I was fortunate to have my Endurance binoculars up in the tree stand this Fall during my Kansas whitetail hunt. They played an important role in my hunt and I'm happy to say that I arrowed my biggest whitetail to date.
If you are in the market for a new set of optics, I would highly recommend Hawke Sport Optics. Visit their website, www.HawkeOptics.com or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know they would be happy to answer any questions you have on their products. They are extremely knowledgeable and helpful.
Thanks, Hawke Optics!
Disclaimer: The reviews on FromtheDraw.com are solely the honest opinions of Troy & Emily. The Endurance PC binoculars reviewed were provided by Hawke Optics for the purpose of this review. FromtheDraw.com received no monetary compensation in exchange for this review.
From the Draw
A website devoted to sharing bowhunting stories. From the draw in the mountains to the draw on paper, the moments live on.