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In reviewing Upland Optics’ Perception 10×42 binoculars set, we asked ourselves what kind of images it produces, whether it’s rugged enough to withstand the rigors of heavy outdoor use, and whether these features come at a price that makes it a worthwhile purchase.
The Perception 10×42 is a middle-ground set of binoculars in just about every sense of the word. It’s best used as mid-distance binoculars. Depending on the time of day and ambient humidity, you can use it to pick out detailed images out to maybe 1,000 or 1,500 yards. Out to 1,000 yards, the field of vision — the amount of horizontal space you can take in — is listed as 339 feet. That makes it suitable for every outdoor activity, including birding.
It’s a bit on the heavy side, but we frankly didn’t mind. The weight doesn’t feel empty, but rather like these binoculars are solidly built.
When it comes to price, it’s also middle-of-the-road. You can find mid-range binoculars for much less with fewer features and duller images. You can also buy much more expensive binoculars loaded with extras.
Our first impressions of the Perception 10×42 prior to testing weren’t too terrible, but not that mind-blowing either. They came across as the epitome of average in a market that’s filled with superstar binoculars. But sometimes looks can be deceiving. So, we put this set to the test to see what they really had to offer. First, we examined just how robust the Perception 10×42 bino set actually is.
The immediate thought we had when holding the Upland Optics Perception HD 10×42 Binoculars was just how heavy they are. Normally, we’d dock points for heavier binoculars but not for these. The weight doesn’t feel empty, but rather like these binoculars are solidly built — which is why we had some confidence heading into our stress tests.
Our tests consisted of two drop tests because that’s the most likely scenario when actually using binoculars. We dropped our Perception 10x42s off a six-foot ladder twice, once onto the bare ground and once into a bucket of water.
And while we were tempted to drop them off a tall building for a much more dramatic test, we felt these simulated what is most likely to happen out in the field: a clumsy hunter dropping them out of a tree blind or into a creek.
However, after each drop was conducted, the outcome was clear.
They passed both tests. Not only were they not damaged in both falls, but they weren’t knocked out of adjustment. They also maintained their watertight integrity despite being left in the water for about a minute. These weren’t the most extreme tests possible, and we’re not sure at what point the structural integrity would be compromised, but the rugged construction gives us a lot of confidence that these binoculars can withstand routine wear and tear. It also ought to be noted that they weren’t slippery when pulled out of the water.
When it comes to image quality, this is where the Perception 10×42 really stood out.
It’s not “pick out the color of the gnat’s eye at two miles” clear, but at 50 feet we were able to spot a grasshopper that would have otherwise been camouflaged to the naked eye. At 500 feet, we were able to make out contours and shadows on a fire detector sitting on the neighbor’s porch. At 1,200 feet, we were able to identify a maple tree in a local park by the shape and color of the leaves.
And depending on the time of day and ambient humidity, you can use it to isolate detailed images out to maybe 1,000 or 1,500 yards. Out to 1,000 yards, the field of vision — the amount of horizontal space you can take in — is listed as 330 feet, making it suitable for just about every outdoor activity.
The Perception 10×42 produces some of the clearest, sharpest images of binoculars in its class and competes favorably with pricier models from better-known brands.
Although the binos are rugged, robust, and produce superior quality imagery, we feel that the extra features fell a bit short.
First, the adjustment knobs are a bit difficult to move. This may seem like a blessing by keeping your adjustment in place, but not every object you’ll examine will be at the same distance — which means you’ll have to do some minute adjustments. And if you’re too busy trying to fidget around with your adjustment knobs, there’s no guarantee that the Oriole you been chasing all day is going to stay in view long enough for you to adjust.
Also, while the provided neck strap is comfortable enough, we just can’t see carrying around this set from our neck all day. After all, the binos are on the heavy side. We’d recommend swapping these out for another more appropriate shoulder carry strap.
We also didn’t like the fold-down lens covers. But we haven’t come across any lens caps that we’ve ever liked and prefer to not use them when out in the field.
Another thing to note is that the central pivot rod is covered, so mounting it to some tripod systems is either impossible or pretty difficult. That’s not a big deal for a mid-range set of binoculars, but it might be helpful to know.
When we get right down to the basics, Upland Optics’ Perception HD 10×42 delivers. It’s a solidly constructed mid-range set of binoculars that creates crisp images and allows you to pick important details out to 1,500 yards. It’s made for hunters, so its design and construction allow it to withstand the wear and tear of a day spent outside. It’s perfect for putting in a kit bag and pulling out right when you need it.
And for general use, this set really can’t be beaten. They’re great to tote around for just about any other occasion. Sure, they’re not the best available for every individual situation, but the versatility on the Perception 10×42 is pretty solid.
The biggest flaws are its adjustment knobs and “extra features”. However, those are things that you can get past easily enough when stacked up against the performance of these binoculars — especially when you consider the price. These are actually relatively cost-efficient when compared to other bino sets of its class.
Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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