Since years Iíve been looking for an alternative for the high end German/Austrian optics. One doesnít mind spending good money on good products but I donít like spending only for the names sake. Since a few years Iíve been looking at the products of a small German company that are mainly involved in the manufacture of medical microscopes. Since many years they quietly manufacture very good rifle scopes as a side line business. I visit their exhibition booth every year when Iím at the IWA in Germany. This year Kaps had introduced a new range of binoculars 8x32, 8x42 and 10x42 with multi and phase coated lenses. One good thing about the IWA exhibition is, that most optical exhibitors are in one hall and one can nicely compare products. We could compare the new binoís to products from Swarovski, Bushnell, Nikon, Minox and Leica . I wanted to order a set of 8x42 Kaps right away but was told that the few binoculars on the stand were only prototypes and that the production was about to start. I recently found out that the Kaps binoculars are on the shelf and I ordered a set in 8x42. This is possibly the best size for stalking in Ireland, 8x32 might be ok for daylight but not as good in low light conditions, 10x42 might be a bit wobbly if used single handed. In the meantime I have handed around the binoculars to experienced stalkers and received very positive response.
We compared Kaps 8x42 to Leica Ultravid 7x42, Vortex Razor 8x42, Swarovski SLCís 7x50. The Japanese Vortex Razor which Retail at around 600 Euro are very easy to handle but are not quite as bright as the European glass. The lightest and smallest of the four sets are the Kaps weighing 650 grams. Field of view is very good at 126m or 7.2 deg angle.
It is very difficult to judge high end optics and for myself, all of these four sets have a wow effect when one looks through. Without knowing prices I would choose between the Leicaís and the Kaps because these win on best performance vs weight and size. Looking at prices.... the Kaps 8x42 costs only a fraction of the Leicaís. Retail prices of Kaps Binoculars are hopefully not only introduction prices. Retail prices are roughly 409,- Euro for the 8x32, 429,- Euro for the 8x42 and 449,- for the 10x42.
Left to right: Kaps 8x42, Leica Ultravid 7x42, Vortex Razor 8x42, Swarovski 7x50 SLC ( eye cups fully extended on all sets)