Meopta binos put Thomas Tabor in the picture
If you’re not familiar with Meopta the name may sound a bit strange but it’s actually a prolific high-quality European optics manufacturer which has been in production for almost 90 years. While the company make high quality sporting optics they also develop and manufacture a wide variety of other precision products like electro/optical systems which are used in the semi-conductor, medical, aerospace and military industries worldwide.
One of their most recent products is the Gen 2 MeoPro HD Plus binoculars which are currently available in two sizes of 10×42 and 8×56. These upgraded mid-priced binos feature sharper and brighter views through the lens with better contrast than their predecessors offered, making them a great choice for hunting, wildlife watching or close-up viewing of sporting events.
This improved design includes a re-engineered focus wheel for smoother, faster and more precise adjustments while heavy emphasis has been given to making them both rugged and durable, their magnesium alloy body covered with a rubber armour coating to protect from the rigours of outdoor use. Twist-up eyecups are made of metal rather than plastic and come with soft rubber exteriors to make long viewing sessions a bit more comfortable. Game is often most active during the early morning and evening hours when ambient light is at a premium and Meopta’s advanced lens coatings and new optical system both work to draw in light during these times.
While there are various characteristics which affect how an optical product performs under poor light situations, particularly influencing its light-gathering abilities, the exit pupil value of that device is a key element. In many cases the manufacturer provides that value but it can also be easily determined by taking the objective diameter of the lens (in millimetres) and dividing that number by the magnification of the optic. Once that exit pupil value has been calculated a comparison is made between it and the user’s own eye pupil size and the closer these two values are to one another the better the optic’s light-gathering ability should be.
A person’s pupil size will vary but generally speaking younger people through their teenage years can have larger pupils than some adults. Nevertheless a fair representative of most adults would generally be about 5mm so that size is often used for comparison purposes with the optic value. In this case the MeoPro HD Plus 10×42’s exit pupil would be 4.2mm and while not necessarily a perfect match to that 5mm standard, it’s fairly close and as such it’s assumed it should perform fairly well when ambient light is starting to wane.
But while theory’s always a good place to start when evaluating most products, sometimes you simply have to rely on real-world exposure and experience. In order to do so I headed outback to see how the MeoPro Plus would perform during the evening hours around my home where the terrain consists of hillsides, dark canyon bottoms and ridge tops, which I thought would provide a diverse environment for judging their ability to penetrate those dwindling light areas.
From the outset I realised in order to properly evaluate the MeoPro’s light-gathering abilities I needed something to compare their performance against so I also took along my Nikon 10×50 and Leupold 10×42 HD binos, the former being about 12 or 13 years old the Nikons about 25.
Off and on for 45 minutes I compared the three until darkness fell and over that time the MeoPro Plus clearly and unequivocally outperformed both its rivals and even though the Nikon’s exit pupil perfectly matched the target value of 5.0, their age likely hampered performance. In recent years great inroads have been made in the area of lens treatments which also improve an optics ability to draw in light. When I bought my Leupold 10-42s they were at or near the top of the Leupold line of binoculars and came highly recommended by company officials but a little over a decade later they too seemed to pale in their light-gathering abilities against the MeoPros. It would be impossible to provide an accurate quantitative comparison assessment for each of these binoculars when it comes to light-gathering abilities but in the test circumstances the MeoPro HD Plus were a clear winner.
Like the vast majority of binoculars today the MeoPro HD Plus come with only one barrel (the right) fitted with a diopter adjustment dial. The focus wheel sits between the barrels and is heavily grooved to be non-slip and quick-focusing. Lens caps are included for all four lenses, the eyepiece/ocular lens cap being a combined single unit which can be attached to the comfortable carrying strap. The flexible rubber objective lens caps are separate and include a band which fits around each barrel which means they remain attached to the binos at all times. Sometimes the ability to focus on a close object can be beneficial and that distance can vary considerably from one optic to another and the MeoPro 10x42s gave crystal clear focus as close as 2.5m.
The way I see it
This is the first Meopta product I’ve reviewed and I came away quite impressed as the MeoPro HD Plus 10x42s performed well in all aspect of testing. Not only did I find them clear and high quality I found their light-gathering ability superb and those same qualities should be what everyone looks for in binoculars, particularly hunters. Weighting 0.65kg (22.9oz) some may consider them a tad heavy but I view an optic with a bit of heft as an indicator of quality, as too light and I start to question the type of material used.
My only concern in the construction of the MeoPro HD Plus is their rubber armour coating which seems to have been wrapped around and bonded to the barrels. Obviously this was done to not only protect the binoculars from potential damage but to provide a soft non-slip surface and in this case I wonder if that bonding will hold up when exposed to heavy usage. I hope it will but only time will tell if this minor concern will prove valid.
Manufacturer: Meopta Sport Optics
Model: MeoPro HD Plus 10×42 (8×56 also available)
Objective lens diameter: 42mm
Field of view at 1000yds: 99m (325ft)
Eye relief: 15mm (0.59”)
Close focus: 3m (9.9ft)
Exit pupil diameter: 4.2mm
Dioptric Comp: +/- 4.0
Length: 13.8cm (5.42”)
Depth: 4.9cm (1.92”)
Width: 12.7cm (5”)
RRP: About $965