Kowa SV II 8×42 Binoculars: Our Assessment

A very good, crisp picture however with narrower subject of view and fewer shut focus than opponents. We rated them as a Center Floor alternative.

At A Look

Kowa SV II 8x42 binoculars
Kowa SV II 8×42 binoculars. Picture by Hugh Powell.


  • Very crisp, clear picture
  • Good efficiency even in backlit situations
  • Good neck strap


  • Stiff focus wheel
  • Considerably longer physique than most different binoculars
  • Slim subject of view


  • Worth: $259 MSRP at press time. Costs typically fluctuate, so verify with retailers
  • Shut focus: Listed as 13.1 ft (399 cm). In assessments, we may focus these a bit nearer, to about 10 ft (305 cm)
  • Discipline of view: 6.3° (331 ft at 1,000 yards). Extra about subject of view 
  • Weight: 24.4 oz (691 g)—that’s about 1.1 oz (38 g) lighter than the typical for 8×42 binoculars in our assessment
  • Eye reduction: 19.5 mm

Viewing Expertise: These binoculars are brilliantly crisp, though they’re hampered considerably by a slim subject of view and fewer than superb shut focus. Wanting throughout a subject at a feeder greater than 150 yards away, we made out a chickadee’s black bib and the pink blush of a male Home Finch in situations the place many binoculars would present solely grey, grainy blobs. And in a harshly lit treetop at nearer vary, a Downy Woodpecker was a crisp mixture of sharp black and white contrasts because it curled its physique round a twig, tiny invoice stating like a thorn. A close-by titmouse’s massive black eye stood out from its grey face, regardless of the backlight. The slim subject of view is offset considerably by the standard of the picture you do see.

Really feel and Construct: These binoculars have a trendy look with olive-green armoring and lengthy, gracefully flared barrels. A sculpted ridge swoops down the size of the barrels providing a spot to grip together with your thumbs. The lengthy barrels (a strong inch or 25 mm longer than most different 8×42 fashions) imply these binoculars take up extra space and might really feel much less nicely balanced. The eyecups click on firmly by way of 4 preset positions, however on our demo mannequin one of many eyecups appeared fragile and have become very unfastened. The target lens caps would not have tethers—a function that has turn into widespread in recent times—so that you’ll must hold them in your pockets when you’re out birding.

Feedback From Testers: 

  • Very crisp picture however slim subject of view
  • Very sharp picture all the way in which to the sting of the sphere
  • Focus knob was tough to show
  • Binoculars are very lengthy/tall
  • Gradual, stiff focus
  • Good agency motion to eyecups, however extraordinarily stiff focus wheel
  • Match fingers nicely, not slippery, appreciated the feel
  • Love the colour
  • Lens covers don’t connect

This text is one in a sequence of mini-reviews. To see how these binoculars evaluate to others we’ve examined, see our full assessment of inexpensive 8×42 binoculars.  

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