Eagle Optics Shrike 10x42 Review
Cons: Not very bright, clarity falls behind competitors
Manufacturer: Eagle Optics
Our Analysis and Test Results
An inexpensive pair of binoculars, the Eagle Shrike is a great first pair. Though the lack of ED glass reduces the clarity and they are not very bright, the 10x magnification helps to pull in those distant objects and they perform well for the price.
The lack of ED glass on the Shrike 10x42 is noticeable when compared to our top ranking binoculars. In our clarity test ISO 12233 was clear up to zone 8 with noticeable defocusing around the edges. We did have to stand 5 feet further back than with the other pairs of binoculars we tested because of the close focusing. We also noticed purple fringe around the edges. Around the center of the glass everything looked good, but the quality did degrade toward the edges.
The brightness on the Shrike 10x42 was towards the bottom of the rankings. The lenses are multi-coated but the prisms are not coated. The Eagle Shrike contains BaK4 prisms, which do help, but compared to our top ranking binoculars you can notice the lack of brightness when side-by-side.
Ease of Adjustment
The central focusing knob on the Eagle Shrike started out stiff but eased up with use and broke-in. The location of the central focusing knob was easy to get to. The diopter is located on the right eyepiece and was easy to use but did not have a locking mechanism.
Field of View and Close Focus Range
The Eagle Shrike 10x42 scored in the middle of the pack for field of view, though it did have the smallest field of view compared to the other 10x42 binoculars. The close focusing ability, at 13.2 feet, was towards the far end, earning it a lower score.
The rugged rubberized coating on the outside of the Eagle Shrike makes these binoculars easy to hold onto. The interpupillary distance adjusted nicely around the ridge of your nose. The eyecups were made of a soft, comfortable rubber. The light weight makes them easy to hold for extended periods of time, but we did feel like we had a little more shake than with the heavy binoculars.
We noticed no misalignments with the glass. The hinges looked good and moved easily. Once everything got broken in the movements were smooth and easy, so we feel that the quality in this pair is good. Eagle backs the Shrike 10x42 with the company's Platinum Protection unlimited, unconditional lifetime warranty. Eagle does have a good reputation on the internet for customer service, so we feel that this warranty carries some weight.
The Eagle Shrike would make a really good first pair of binoculars or a general pair that you knock around or stash in your car just in case. At around a $110, they do everything, just not exceptionally well. We would however, stay away from low light applications with this pair since they are not very bright.
The value that you get for these binoculars is huge. Though they score toward the bottom of the list in our comparison, it's not because they are bad, it's just that the other competitors were that much better. To get to that higher level of performance you have to pay around $500 dollars. The ability to manufacture good lenses at a low cost has changed so much in the past few years, and it is evident in the Eagle Shrike 10x42. For this price, this is a very decent pair of binoculars. We do give the higher scoring Vortex Diamondback 8x28 our Best Buy award for a good pair of binoculars at a great price, but that pair costs around $30 more than this pair. For that extra $30 the Diamondback gives you much better clarity and brightness.
If we gave someone one of the top scoring pairs of binoculars before handing them the Eagle Shrike 10x42 they were disappointed. If we reversed that order and gave them the Eagle Shrike first, they would talk about how great they were. Again, the low-end in this market has made leaps and bounds in quality. A pair of cheap binoculars 10 years ago could easily be replaced by a new pair now that is overall a much better product. If you have a cheap pair of binoculars that you want to replace or you just don't want to spend much on a pair of binoculars (or how about a pair for the kids?) we would recommend the Eagle Shrike 10x42 as good quality for the price and with a good warranty.
— Max Mutter and Michael Payne