Kahles 8X32 binocular
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- Last updated: 13/12/2016
I’d been wanting a really “good” pair of binoculars for years, a pair with real quality and preferably European made. Visiting the IWA Shooting/Sporting trade show in Nuremberg Germany this year gave me the perfect excuse to finally compare every conceivable make of really good binoculars at the same time. The IWA show is held over five days, that meant everyday I could try all the different makes of Binos I wanted, as they were all there under one big roof. I had heard of Kahles before - I almost bought a hunting scope of theirs in the 1980’s but I could not afford it back then. The firm started making optical devices in 1898, based in Vienna, Austria, they have built up an impressive list of technical achievements since that time, quite a number of firsts in the scope world.
Narrowing The Choice
Over the five days of testing I kept coming back to a pair of 8X32 Cammo Kahles binoculars. The ergonomics, build quality and - above all - the optical quality impressed me every single time I picked them up. After three days I had narrowed it down to the Kahles pair, a set of Leica’s and a pair of Zeiss binoculars. The remaining two days saw me making the final choice between the three, and the clear winner was the Kahles Cammo 8X32’s. I must have spent hours looking through all of them, but really that it is the only way to do it, to compare at the same time. I purposely did not look or ask how much any of them cost as that was not an issue, I just wanted the best I could find that suited me. They had to last me a lifetime and the Kahles where the ones I kept coming back to.
BWM Arms Limited is the distributor of Kahles products in the UK (and has been for five years) and a call to them had a pair on the way to me. It’s true they did not arrive straight away, because as stock would come in to fill shops orders it was of course sent to them not to a sponging journalist. That was a really a good sign to me as it proved we British hunters know a thing or two about quality as they are selling very well.
Keep It Camo
They duly arrived and the packaging was impressive. I had chosen the same camo 8X32’s I had picked in Nuremberg, because they were working/hunting/shooting binos after all… well they look cool too. They came with a durable camo padded carry case, a partially neoprene neck strap, lens cloths and lens covers. The eye piece covers attach on the neck strap and slide up and down to ensure the lenses can be protected when you are stalking /walking about. They simply slide up the strap out of the way when you want to look thorough the binos. The front lenses have rubber caps which are held on the body by circular bands. These can be quickly popped off with the little fingers and hang down still attached to the body with the rubber ring around the body.
Another deciding factor on what binoculars I actually chose is that I am a spectacle wearer too. Admittedly I mainly wear contact lenses when shooting, but the binos I needed had to cater for when I was wearing my specs as well as when I was not. The Kahles pair has for me the most sturdy and functionally well designed system of retracting eye cups of all the different makes I tested - and I tested them all! A twist of the cup either extends or retracts them to cater for the wearing of either my spectacles or contact lenses. They go into either position with a satisfyingly firm and well engineered stop. Their eye cup adjustment is way ahead of the rest of the pack in my book.
The rubber armoured body had been dipped in Bill Jordan’s Advantage Timber camouflage pattern, the pattern is carried on in the fabric/neoprene of the comfortable neck strap and the padded carry case. They are of course fully waterproof and have a removable cap protected threaded hole at the front of the hinge to allow the binoculars to be attached to a tripod or stand.
Optically First Class
The optical quality of the Austrian lenses is in a word superb, as you would expect from a firm that started making fine optical instruments in 1898. The glass used is phase corrected to enhance colour and contrast quality as well as reducing reflected light. The optical axes are aligned by lasers to super tight tolerances. The Kahles AMV coatings (Achromatic Multi Coatings) optimised for maximum light transmission between 500 and 540 nanometre wave lengths of light for ultimate low light performance. I also like the ECF or Extreme Close Focus ability down to 1.5m (4.9 ft). I can use that close focus range for checking zero cards when I am testing open sighted air rifles and low mag scopes, as well as using them for wind reading and spotting at my full-bore range.
In use they are very ergonomic, i.e. the controls fall under the fingers perfectly. The focus wheel has a rubber covered surface and the rotation is smooth as silk. The weight and balance is superb too. The right eye lens has the normal fine focus system with a - / + sign to allow the user to fine tune the binos to their individual eye strength, this too has been well designed as it is placed under the rear right lens with the adjustment button falling perfectly under the thumb when holding the binoculars normally.
I have already used them for checking targets in an HFT (Hunter Field Target) course I was setting out in dark woodland and observing the wind at a 200-300 yard tactical shoot. I cannot praise these binoculars enough, they have lived up to my expectations and I recommend anyone in the market for a top notch set of optics, to look at or indeed, look through a set of Kahles - you will not be disappointed.