Sky Rover 8×42 “APO”

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Objective diameter:  42 mm
Free aperture (estimate): 41.4 mm
Magnification (according to spec. and measured):  8 x
Exit pupil (according to spec.): 5.25 mm
Exit pupil (measured): 5.17 mm
Technical eye relief (according to specs): 18 mm
Usable eye relief (measured from rim of eyecup in fully-in position): 14 mm
IPD: 56  – 74 mm
RFOV (according to spec.):  9.1  degrees = 159 m
RFOV (measured): 9.0 degrees = 157.5  m
AFOV (according to spec.):  70 degrees
AFOV (measured): 67.5  degrees
Minimum focus distance (according to specs): 2 m
Minimum focus distance (measured):  2 m
Focus type:  CF (direction of rotation from close to infinity: anticlockwise)
Range of diopter adjustment (acc. to specs): +4 / -4  dpt
Rotation of focus wheel from 3m to infinity: 275 degrees
Extra travel of focus wheel beyond infinity (according to specs): > 5 dpt
Extra travel of focus wheel beyond infinity (estimate):  8 dpt
Prism system:  Schmidt-Pechan
Waterproof: yes
Weight (without accessories, according to specs):  880 g
Weight (measured, with eyecaps, objective cover and strap): 973 g
Made in: China






“Sky Rover Banner Cloud APO”: a name that for some opens a new era in the binocular world – the writing on the wall that binocular making in Europe and Japan is doomed. Others are either less concerned or less excited.  Sky Rover, a division of KUO (Kunming United Optics), recently launched a new binocular line with models 8×42 and 10×42 already on the market, and models 10×50 and 12×50 in the making. All feature ED glass, large eyepieces, very wide FOVs and ambitious specifications (see above) and are offered at prices well below 700 $. The 8×42 / 10×42 models appear to mimic the optical performance of  Swarovski’s same size NL Pure models. Early reviews on the internet were extremely positive – “NL killer” was just one term that was used to express the excitement caused by the new binocular line. One author even presented the Sky Rover as (quote) “an instrument that, I believe, completes that evolutionary journey: enter the SkyRover Banner Cloud series of high-performance roof prism binoculars which are every bit as good as the current crop of so-called ‘alpha’ binoculars made by Zeiss, Swarovski and Leica, but without their enormous price tags” (end of quote, emphasis by BT). Other authers, including renowned optics experts such as Holger Merlitz, remained more realistic, but also testified that the model they had inspected exhibited very good optical performance indeed, especially given the price range at which the Sky Rover is being sold. BINOCULARS TODAY shares the view that the optics of the 8×42 model presented here are of a very high standard, higher than usually expected even from upper end Chinese binoculars that had been on the market so far. The image appears well corrected in all relevant respects with no major aberrations becoming apparent, the field of view is really wide, edge sharpness is good, the optical components are of high quality (no spikes on bright light sources prove high manufacturing quality of the prisms). Our own experience with the quality of the manufacturing process and inspection quality (see×42-apo-banner-cloud-91°-fov/?p=13425881) was spoiled by a splash of oily drops visible on an internal optical surface and a blocked diopter in the sample we obtained (we had ordered through optics house McGill in Singapore who were extremely responsive to our warranty claim). Such annoying quality issues aside, the Sky Rover is a pleasure to use; the focuser is one of the smoothest we have seen (others have been reporting a different experience), the eyecups work well, ergonomics are not as good as with the NL but still quite good. So once the manufacturer gets his process and inspection quality straight, this will become a very welcome newcomer on the binocular market.



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