Stop any hunter or guide who knows what they're talking about and ask them where the best optics come from. Most will say Europe; a handful will say the Orient; and those wishing to demonstrate complete ignorance of the subject will mention a very large discount store chain. Unfortunately, the finest European optical products often carry a price tag that's beyond the budget of the average hunter like me. That's why I was pleasantly surprised by both the performance and the price of Cabela's Euro™ Binoculars.
The pros at Cabela's have long understood the dilemma facing many outdoor adventurers who really appreciate the fine performance and craftsmanship of Old World optics but don't think they can ever afford to own a pair. So Cabela's went to work on the problem and recently teamed up with a major manufacturer in Europe to develop binoculars capable of giving high-end European models a run for their money, while saving the purchaser a whole lot of theirs. The result is the Cabela's Euro, and I recently put a pair to the test on a deer hunt in northwest South Dakota.
The overall exterior design of the Euro is sleek, ergonomic, lightweight and geared toward simplicity of operation. That's an important consideration, because when you're glassing for game, you don't want to have to constantly be lowering the binoculars to fiddle with assorted knobs and focus rings to get the picture you want. The Euro is equipped with a large central focus wheel that is easily operated with a single finger while looking through the binoculars. At the rear of the focus wheel (facing the user) is a click-adjustable diopter that you just set and forget. The eyecups twist out or in, depending on user preferences or the presence of prescription eyewear. My Euros came with removable rubber caps to protect the front lenses, and a soft carry case, though I opted to use a Cabela's binocular harness in the field.
Euro Binoculars feature layered construction with a rugged layer of rubber armor wrapped around a solid aluminum-alloy body. I hunted hard with them on my chest for two days, which included walking, crawling, sliding down banks and tumbling through heavy cover along a river bottom, but you'd never know it to look at them. Thumbs fit naturally into recessed areas in the armor on either side, which aids in maintaining a secure and consistent grip. The Euro is nitrogen purged and sealed for a lifetime of fogproof and waterproof service. The first day I hunted it was sunny and nearly 60 degrees, while the second day brought dropping temperatures, a rain/snow mix and howling wind. There was never a hint of fog on the lenses in spite of rapidly changing conditions.
Image quality delivered by my 10x42 Euros was superb. The entire field of view was crystal clear from edge to edge; the color definition and contrast were both excellent. All air-to-glass surfaces on the Euro are fully multicoated. What really amazed me was the image clarity in low-light conditions. I was glassing with my Euros 35 minutes after sunset just to see how well they would work. Security lights from farmhouses dotted the landscape, distant vehicles had long since turned on their headlights and my Euros were still picking out details along a tree line 900 yards away with ease. This is due to the superior light-transmitting ability of the Euro afforded by phase-corrective coating of the half-pentagonal and Schmidt design roof prisms, which also enhances edge-to-edge clarity.
Just how good are Euro Binoculars? Let me put it this way. A month before my Euro experience I field-tested a pair of binoculars made by a well-known, high-quality European manufacturer that is legendary for the performance of the optics they produce. That pair of binoculars retailed for around $1,500. The Euros I tested delivered performance every bit as good as that $1,500 pair, if not just a touch better under low-light conditions, and the retail price of a pair of Euro Binoculars is less than $800. I can say without reservation that I have yet to look through binoculars that represent a better value for my dollar than the Cabela's Euro, and that the Euro outperforms some binoculars that cost much more. For guides and other professionals who earn a living outside, and for the outdoor enthusiast who demands top-notch performance, I recommend saving dollars by buying Euros.
Click here to purchase Cabela's Euro™ Binoculars