Review of the Parks Optical Wave 8x42 Binoculars Review
by Dillon Flynn
The outdoor companion
Bird watchers, boaters, and budding astronomers interested in mid-size binoculars must consider the 8x42 Wave binoculars by Parks Optical. It is a lightweight yet sturdy binocular with excellent optics and a number of extra features not usually found on a model of its size. Advancements in lens technology have allowed engineers to re-examine binocular design, and many of these advancements are present in the Wave. The pair has been developed by Parks Optical, which has been active in this industry for more than fifty years. The 8x42 is currently in use by military, law enforcement and rescue operations, and also sold for sport and recreational use.
Oftentimes, a high functioning pair of binoculars comes at the cost of unwieldy size and clunky design. We were pleased to find that this was not the case with the Wave. At a relatively light 24 ounces, the 8x42 model was easy to lift and hold. The pair still offers a lot of durability, with a rubber outer-armor and a shock-resistant body that did not show so much as a scuff after repeated drops. Of particular note is the product’s ergonomically friendly design.
Holding the pair for long stretches of time was comfortable on the fingers and wrists and the grips felt very natural. The binoculars are nitrogen-filled which helps them weather some pretty harsh conditions. They are water, fog and fungus proof so there is no concern when bringing them along on any kind of outing: swampy, rainy or otherwise.
We were especially impressed by the Wave’s sleek design. The casing is jet-black, smooth and curvy, which helps with grip but also makes the unit look pretty modern. Two key criteria on binocular design for which we evaluate are ruggedness and aesthetics, and the Wave delivers on both.
The key feature in any pair binoculars is the quality of the image, and Parks certainly does not disappoint. The lenses on the Wave are constructed from BAK-4 glass, the highest quality optical material currently available, and it shows. We found the view through the 8x42 to be extremely sharp with accurate color that stayed surprisingly vibrant in low light. Dynamic color-correction in some other binoculars is a feature that sometimes mucks things up a bit and can make everything appear slightly green. We tried the Wave in a variety of lighting conditions and found that the color stayed pretty faithful. Parks achieves this with a feature they call "maximum light transmittance". Basically, the lenses are fully multi-coated in a way that diffuses and enhances light waves as they reach the user's eyes. All jargon aside, we could definitely see the difference. The Wave does not require much light to be of use.
The field of view ("FOV") on the 8x42 model is suitably broad. At 1000 yards, the binoculars give you a 342-foot wide FOV of the scenery, and we found it helpful when surveying an open area not having to adjust constantly our frame. Focusing the lenses was generally easy, with the “fast focus mechanism” basically living up to its name.
The close focus feature is unusual and interesting. It allows the user to focus on objects in the 10-foot range. We assumed that this would be something of a tacked-on feature with little use, but this view provides a lot of detail and we found ourselves playing around with it quite a bit. Fortunately, the eyepieces themselves roll up and are very comfortable, and the long eye relief can help offset the fogging, blurring and headaches common for binocular users with eyeglasses. The interpupilary adjustment is markedly wide, from 57 to 74 millimeters, so the Wave should not have problems fitting many different head shapes.
The Wave 8x42 arrives with a kit of extras that range in usefulness. We were pleased to see that the lens caps attach to the binoculars themselves, so loss is not a factor. A rain guard is included for soggy weather. The binos come with a soft neck strap, and since the Wave is so lightweight, we experienced no discomfort wearing it around our necks for hours at a time. Parks also includes a tough, protective case with a shoulder strap, all of which is also waterproof to help the Wave travel easy. And last, a microfiber cleaning cloth is included which, of course, is a necessity for the sensitive lens glass.
We found the Wave to be a joy to use. Its grip and eyepiece were very comfortable, and the user-friendly focusing really made it stand-out from other models in its class. Even some novice birders and boaters to whom we showed the Wave 8x42 quickly took to the model’s different features in a few minutes, and had a tough time putting them down. We loved the design for being round and modest, not awkward or boxy. For birders, sailors, backpackers viewing the night sky, travelers and campers who are looking to buy a mid-sized pair of high-functioning binoculars, we stand behind the Parks 8x42 Wave as a first-rate choice.
• Rain Guard
• Lens Caps
• Soft Neck Strap
• Protective Case with Shoulder Strap
• Cleaning Cloth
• Limited Lifetime Warranty
• Razor Sharp Images in All Lighting Conditions
• Maximum Light Transmittance achieved with Fully Multi-Coated Optics
• Highest Grade Optical Material Available for Maximum Color Correction - BAK-4 Prism Glass
• Close Focus Feature
• Ultra Wide Field - 354' at 1000yards / 6.8 deg (8 x 42 Model)
• Comfortable Viewing with Long Eye Relief
• Rugged Rubber Armor
• Shock Resistant Ergonomic Body
• Waterproof - Fogproof - Nitrogen Filled Body
• "Never-Lose" Objective Lens Protective Caps
• Roll-up Eye Cups
• Extra Smooth and Fast Focus Mechanism
• 57-74mm Interpupillary Distance Adjustment
• Light Weight Construction - 24.0 oz (8 x 42 Model)
Parks Optical has been offering telescopes, microscopes, binoculars and sports optics since 1954.