Fujinon Delivers Quality with Premium Hyper Clarity Binoculars

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Are you feeling the seismic waves of Fujinon’s first entry into the premium roof prism birding and hunting binocular market? Well, not only do these new Fujinon Hyper Clarity 8x42 and 10x42 binoculars from FUJIFILM look great, their performance matches their looks. Let’s dive deeper into these new Fujinon roof prism binoculars.

A Bit of Background

Fujinon has been creating world-renowned optics for 80 years. While making glass for all kinds of cameras and other devices, its niche in the world of binoculars has been established in the large porro prism segment of the market. Fujinon’s 7x50 FMTRC-SX Polaris binoculars are known by many as the gold standard for 7x50 marine binoculars. The company’s 16x70 FMT Polaris glasses are favorites among many astronomers—Fujinon binoculars have been credited with the discovery of 15 new comets in the night sky. Fujinon’s porro prism prowess extends to its remarkable line of image-stabilized binoculars, including the newly redesigned 14x40 TSX1440 Techno-Stabi and 12x28 TS1228 Techno-Stabi pairs that are reviewed here. Fujinon even has its own “big eyes” binoculars (as they are referred to on Navy ships): the Fujinon 25x150 MT-SX and Fujinon 15x80 MT.

In the recent past, Fujinon has marketed some roof prism binoculars, including the large HB 12x60 glasses and the more recent (currently being discontinued) KF series of binoculars targeted at the birding, hunting, travel, and general-use markets. The KF binoculars were Fujinon’s first “mainstream” roof prism binoculars and, by many accounts, represented very good performance for their price in the mid-range binocular segment.

This brings us to the new Hyper Clarity binoculars as Fujinon stakes its flag in the upper end of the binocular range—offering premium performance in line with the top offerings from brands like Nikon, Vortex, Kowa, and others at a competitive price. The arrival of these new Fujinon Hyper Clarity binoculars is exciting news for the world’s birders and hunters, who make up a large portion of the binocular-using population. And, with the 8x42 and 10x42 optics, these Hyper Clarity binoculars will also appeal to general and all-purpose binocular users.

The Outside

If you could judge a pair of binoculars by their looks alone, the new Fujinon Hyper Clarity 8x42 and 10x42 binoculars would be at the top of your wish list. It’s obvious that Fujinon spent some time in the design room with the Hyper Clarity binos in what looks like an effort to break free of the traditional cookie-cutter roof prism binocular mold.

Most roof prism binoculars look almost identical. Of course, there are subtle details for design and ergonomics that set apart pairs from different brands or lines of binoculars. The Hyper Clarity models from Fujinon stand out with their brushed-metal-looking eyecups and focus wheel, along with a striking combination of round barrels connected by a substantial bridge with modern sharp lines and form.

Curiously, most manufacturers of upper-echelon binoculars of this magnification and size range seem to be doing everything possible to minimize the bridge size or split the bridge into two or three sections for an open bridge experience. The Fujinon Hyper Clarity design’s bridge runs almost the full length of the barrels, from the focus wheel to the tripod adapter at the front that is just recessed from the edges of the objective lenses. It would be safe to assume that this large bridge gives the binoculars exceptional stability and collimation, while likely adding a few ounces of weight when compared to the slimmer-bridged competition.

The Fujinon Hyper Clarity binoculars were awarded the Good Design Award Best 100 for 2020 by the Japanese Institute of Design Promotion.

Hands-On and Eyes Through

Inside of the gorgeous outer body, Fujinon has packed the Hyper Clarity with premium optical technology. The binoculars feature FUJIFILM’s SUPER EBC FUJINON multi-coating, prism coatings, and extra-low dispersion lanthanum lenses. The HC 8x42 binoculars focus down to 6.6' and have a very respectable field of view of 409.6' @ 1000 yards. The HC 10x42 has the same minimum focus distance and a FOV of 343.4' @ 1000 yards. The binoculars feature a magnesium chassis for weight savings and are nitrogen filled, waterproof, and fog proof. Somewhat rare in the world of binoculars, the objective lens housings are threaded to allow filters to be added to the Hyper Clarity binoculars.

The view through both the 8x42 and 10x42 binoculars is fantastic—bright and clear. I couldn’t detect much in the way of color fringing or a degradation in sharpness, even at the extreme edges of the view. These binoculars offer an exceptional viewing experience.

I used the binoculars extensively, not only during daylight hours, but also for some backyard stargazing at night. They are fantastically sharp and clear, and I enjoyed looking through them.

Ergonomically, the binoculars took a bit of getting used to. At first, I was not enamored with the feel of the pair in my hands. Because of their sharp looks, I really wanted to love the tactile experience. The sharp and cutting-edge design means that the barrels are barely tapered and do not have any type of curvature for your fingers to discover a spot to naturally rest. My other-brand workhorse 8x42 pair has tapered barrels and a nice curve for the thumbs. At first, I missed this feel, but got used to the Fujinons after a few days of use and they began to feel better and better.

The binocular barrels are very smooth, without a noticeable texture that many binoculars have to improve grip. However, even though they look smooth to the eye, the elastomeric armoring was perfectly sticky, and I have no doubt that it is sufficient to keep them in hand in all weather conditions—I used them in sub-freezing temperatures in a snowstorm without issue. I prefer that there are no ridges and knobby outcroppings here—the smooth texture feels great in the hands.

The focus wheel and diopter adjustment (right barrel only) both have beautifully knurled textures that provide a sure grip. The diopter does not lock, but the rotational movement is firm enough to prevent accidental adjustment. The focus wheel is, for me, on the stiff side. I found myself using two fingers, one from each hand, to adjust focus. Maybe I need to do more finger weights at the gym, but this was a negative for me on the ergonomic front. Both the 8x42 and 10x42 had identical focus feel, so I assume this was by design. I also wish the focus gear ratio was a bit more aggressive to change focus more rapidly from near objects to far.

The eyecup rubber feels a bit stiffer than the elastomeric armoring that surrounds the barrels. I mention this because it has a bit less “give” than the rubberized eye cups on other binoculars. They aren’t uncomfortable, but it’s another change I noticed when switching between the Fujinons and my trusty workhorse 8x42s. The metallic look of the Fujinon eyecups is definitely a step above the sunscreen, face-oil-tarnished rubber eyecups of my other binoculars. My guess is that the Fujinon eyecups will have increased durability and resistance to stains.

Ergonomics are, of course, a matter of opinion, so don’t let my experience deter you from trying these Hyper Clarity binoculars out—the optics are superb, and your hands might find them perfectly suitable.

The 8x or 10x Dilemma

If you are thinking about adding these Hyper Clarity binoculars, or a similar pair of birding or hunting binoculars, to your home, you will usually be faced with the decision between the 8x and 10x versions for most brands/models.

(For those new to binoculars, the “8” or “10” are the magnification of the binoculars. The second number is the diameter of the objective lenses.)

It is easy to think quickly that more magnification is better for your binoculars. Isn’t getting closer to your subject the whole idea? Well, yes, but there are three drawbacks to more magnification:

  1. The greater the magnification, the greater the magnification of vibration and shake from your hands. You might think your hands are steady, but look at a greatly magnified view of the world and you will notice that you aren’t as steady as you thought. When compared to 10x binoculars, 8x binoculars will display less shake.
  2. The field of view of a pair of 8x binoculars will be wider than the 10x binoculars of the same model. This wider field of view will make it easier to acquire your subject and, if it is moving, make it easier to track it.
  3. The exit pupil size (basically the size of the image you are viewing) is calculated by the simple math of dividing the objective lens by the binocular magnification. 10x42 binoculars have an exit pupil of 4.2mm. 8x42 binoculars have an exit pupil of 5.25mm. That means that an 8x42 pair of binoculars will present a virtually larger image for your viewing.

Which do I prefer? 8x binoculars win for me every time due to the larger exit pupil and steadier view. However, there are legions of professional birders and hunters who will swear by the 10x binoculars. This decision becomes a personal one, and preference is a matter of opinion, but I wanted to share the facts here to help a purchase decision.

Final Thoughts

The Hyper Clarity binoculars from Fujinon represent the company’s first serious entry into the roof prism birding, hunting, and general-purpose binocular world, and Fujinon has arrived with a pair of binoculars that feature a design with stunning good looks and remarkable optical performance at a very attractive price.

It will be interesting to see how they are received by the masses and whether Fujinon will become a prominent attendee at gatherings of binocular users.

Do you have questions about the Hyper Clarity binoculars, or have you gotten a pair and want to share your thoughts? Please leave a question or comment below!

3 Comments

Hello

How about rectilinear distortions ? Have you noticed any ?

You did mention colour fringing.I could not figur out from your description if it was noticed.

very interesting review.

I consider to purchase the 8x42 and waiting for more reviews.

My main use for the binoculars would be for astronomy.

thank you.

As mentioned by the author, they did not detect much in the way of color fringing or degradation in the sharpness even at the extreme edges of the view. However, if you wanted to stay within the same price range and do not want color fringing, the Zeiss 10 x 42 Conquest HD Binoculars, BH # ZE10X42C would be another great option.

http://bhpho.to/3oHr9YS

Hi sam,

Thanks for the note! I did some stargazing with these FUJINON binoculars and was impressed by the sharpness throughout the image. I do not recall seeing any fringing or distortions.

Thanks for stopping by!

Best,

Todd

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