Kahles Helia Waldkauz 8x42 Binoculars
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- Last updated: 19/05/2017
I own many a Kahles rifle scope and rate them, so their new Helia 8x42mm and 10x42mm binoculars really excited me. These are a new departure, with an open bridge design, instead of the central hinge of previous models. Since 1898, Kahles having been providing superb optics to the shooting community and these new Helias are the pinnacle of that concept. Most striking is their brown coloured rubber armour that seems to be less conspicuous, and coupled with the natural materials in the strap and lens covers, you have a more earthy and distinct design.
Available in 8x42mm and 10x42mm only, Kahles have kept it simple, as these are the most popular specifications for light gathering and power for woodland or hill work. I usually like a larger mag for spotting distant roe and to check their antler size but I have the 8x42mm and after this test prefer them. The 8x power is not too much for woodland use and still gives enough field of view to spot deer or game; whilst allowing fine detail and movement to be distinguished easily, even in the woods!
Couple this to the 42mm objective lens size and you have a good blend of light gathering without too much bulk. In fact the dimensions at 15 x 12.7 x 5.1cm feel a lot smaller in the hand and the weight is well distributed. A small point you may think but comfortable binoculars mean non-stressed viewing for longer periods; remember, they are in the hand more than the rifle! You have twin thumb rests on each barrel underneath for support and on top a raised ridge is all that is needed to give infinite grip alteration. The bridge-type connection allows your fingers to grip between the barrels easily.
This new bridge system is popular these days and allows the extra strength offered to be used to full advantage! The front section or lower part has a screw off cap for a tripod fitment and the top section houses the large rubberised focus wheel. Most striking is the new colour to the overall rubber armoured finish. Usually binoculars are green or black and occasionally camo-finished. Kahles have gone for a more earthy, natural tone with dark brown, which complements the ethos of the design. The strap is fashioned from leather and Loden and you have a choice between typical rubber lens covers or the new Loden covers.
These covers and straps are part of the Waldkauz edition and brown might not be everyone’s choice; I have to say I like it! The strap is comfortable and silent and the Loden lens covers are soft weatherproof and silent in use and are attached to the strap, so are not lost and easily removed for a quick viewing.
Kahles optics are among the best in the world and I rate them very highly, as that’s why I buy their rifles scopes. They offer a really crisp, bright and authentic looking image that really make the subject you are viewing pop from the background. There is a crystal clear and heightened definition and the colours are rendered extremely well. With the 8x42mm platform you have a blend of 5mm exit pupil for light to the eye, field of view of 126m at 1000m and of course a good twilight factor of 119.
The lenses have the Kahles proprietary multi coating that maximises light transmission and performance in darker conditions. You also have a short focus distance of 2.1 metres, so wildlife users can view butterflies etc with incredible detail up close.
Adjustment is the usual; focus the left eye using the central thumb wheel and then adjust the right eye with the dioptric correction rubberised ring below the right-hand eye piece. Now you are a best adjusted for your eyesight; then it’s just the case of using the main centrewheel to adjust for distance. The eye cups are adjustable too, so spectacle wearers can use the Helia to best advantage with three distinct settings or levels.
That’s all the tech stuff but how do they fare out in the real world? I took the Kahles to Scotland over Christmas and used them for deer stalking, spotting seals in the loch side, spotting shots at distant long range silhouette shooting targets. I also had the local birdwatchers over, well mum did and every one said ‘wow’ and were genuinely amazed at the clarity of the image these Helia binoculars produced.
It was cold, wet and very windy, so a proper test for the Kahles 8x42mm but they performed without fault. The Waldkauz Loden covers shrugged off the weather; the leather strap was broad and sat easily over the neck area. Even at first light, and in the dark canopy of the forest, those lenses really show what you are paying for; bright images and total clarity allowing you to spot any movement or slightest difference in the terrain that might conceal a deer.
We spotted a very slight movement over a ridge under a fallen conifer and there was a Roe Buck, in velvet and Roe Doe bedded down. In normal circumstances, we would have walked straight into them but the Kahles saved the day. A slow stalk into position and close observation spotted a younger doe feeding and after clarity/confirmation of the anal tush of a doe from the Helia, a shot was sent from the Tikka .308 and we all had venison for the New Year’s Day celebrations, perfect.
Love them, in a word; well, two words. I get to test many binoculars and these are the ones I want to buy for myself. Very comfortable to hold, hunting-proof in all weathers, unbelievable clarity, image contrast and low light capabilities make the new Helia Waldkauz a winner in my view and all at a very good price.
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