Live Science Verdict
The Olympus 8x25 WP II offer solid build quality and high quality optics in a waterproof shell that makes them ideal for taking out and about. They might not have the magnification for some users, but as an ultra portable option, they're great.
Compact and portable
Better than expected image quality
Easy to use from the off
The small untethered lens caps provided are easy to lose
Small objective lens
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Portability is the name of the game with the Olympus 8x25 WP II, but how do they stack up against the competition?
Objective diameter: 25mm
Field of view at 1000m: 108 metres
Closest focusing distance: 1.5 meters
Eye relief: 15mm
Weight: 0.63 lbs / 285g
Dimensions: 4.49 x 4.53 x 1.77" / 115x114x45mm
Compact binoculars are incredibly popular, despite the fact that they usually don’t have the high magnification power that you’d usually expect in the best binoculars. The advantages are obvious though. A smaller size means we can hand them to younger members of the family, and they’re easy to pack when you’re out on long hikes too. Additionally, those heading abroad on a budget airline with restricted luggage allowances will also desire something as lightweight as it is portable.
Broadly speaking, smaller binos are better suited to ramblers or sightseers rather than nature watchers who want to zero in on specific details, while an objective lens size of 25mm, as the Olympus 8x25 WP II binoculars provide, on paper looks better suited to daytime use than at night. The general rule of thumb is that the bigger the lens, the more light gets in, so the clearer and brighter the image, with the same applying in reverse.
Olympus 8x25 WP II: Features
Running through the specifications here, we get an 8x magnification married to a 25mm diameter objective lens, while the ‘WP’ suffix indicates that the Olympus 8x25 WP binocular is waterproof. Nitrogen filled housing further ensures that it is fog-proof while it’s claimed to be dirt-proof with it, a combination making it perfectly suited for use in the great outdoors, whatever the weather.
But what’s really worth talking about here is the high image quality and performance these binos are capable of delivering in spite of the small size – they literally fit in the palm of our hand. They only weigh 0.63lbs, which in real world terms is less than a small plastic water bottle.
While it may be small, the standard roof prism construction device fortunately doesn’t skimp on the sort of useful features to be found on larger alternatives. Welcome inclusions here include class leading BaK-4 porro prisms utilized in the construction, as well as fully multi coated optics to maximize light transmission and overall sharpness. Closest focusing distance is 1.5 meters, which is pretty standard for a compact device.
Olympus 8x25 WP II: Design and handling
The Olympus 8x25 WP II binocular might be compact – it’ll comfortably rest in the palm of our hand – but it’s incredibly well built. The velvet-y feel exterior is rubber coated to aid grip and ensure a steady hold. We never felt like they were going to slip out of our hands during use.
Despite the small size, the handling here is very similar to a larger device in terms of operability. The eye relief is manually adjustable and extendable via an anti clockwise twist. A familiar ridged focusing knob is sunk between the eyepieces where it falls readily to hand when in use; its operation not-too-stiff and not too loose. Amazingly we also find room for a dioptric control ring to further fine tune focus, which here encircles the right hand eyepiece.
Given the premium feel build, we think that pricing here is very reasonable. The central folding mechanism is a little stiff, but for us it offers just the right amount of resistance, avoiding the product feeling too loose in the hands or the user jogging the set up once they’ve adjusted the inter-pupillary distance to get the view perfect for their own eyes.
Olympus 8x25 WP II: Performance
While the objective lens in use here may be small when compared with, say, a typical 8x42 binocular, Olympus does have fully multi-coated lenses along with top tier BaK-4 porro prims to both boost light transmission and ensure a sharp image from edge to edge. While this won’t be the best option for low light observation, for general-purpose duty and daytime use, the Olympus 8x25 WP II impressed us. If you need something for lower light conditions, check out our guide to the best binoculars for stargazing.
Despite the lightweight build we were also able to hold the binoculars surprisingly steady and avoid any juddering or shaky view. During our testing we found these binoculars offered smooth performance, with sharpness visibly maintained into the edges of our frame.
Fuss free, easy to use, very portable and priced reasonably, what’s not to like here? If we’ve one grumble it’s that the small eyecup covers provided are easy to misplace, due to the fact they’re of the slip-on variety without any lugs via which to tether them to the provided strap. But this is only a minor gripe with a product that delivers a bigger performance than expected.
Should you buy the Olympus 8x25 WP II?
We love the look, feel and handling of this diminutive product, while the pricing feels very reasonable for what comes across as a well constructed, well performing device.
The Olympus 8x25 WP II is therefore deserving of being high on the list of those seeking a compact pocket-able pair of binoculars for general purpose daytime use. Compact and capable of delivering a sharp result, there is very little if anything to grumble about here.
If this product isn’t for you
The 8x25 combination being offered here can be easily found on rival compact binoculars, including the Celestron 8x25 Outland X and/or Bushnell H20 8x25, which like these Olympus 8x25 WP II binos are conveniently waterproofed.
Olympus itself also offers an alternative pair of foldable roof prism style binoculars in the Olympus 8x21 RC II WP, another waterproofed pair, albeit one with a smaller objective lens. But if portability is paramount, the latter, weighing in at just 0.47lbs (215g) compared with 0.63lbs (285g) for Olympus 8x25 WP II, could be another option. Overall though, we feel that if it’s a compact pair of binos you’re after, it’s hard to go wrong with exactly what’s on the table here.
Gavin has over 30 year experience of writing about photography and television. He is currently the editor of British Photographic Industry News, and previously served as editor of Which Digital Camera and deputy editor of Total Digital Photography.
He has also written for a wide range of publications including T3, BBC Focus, Empire, NME, Radio Times, MacWorld, Computer Active, What Digital Camera and Rough Guide books.
He also writes on a number of specialist subjects including binoculars and monoculars, spotting scopes, microscopes, trail cameras, action cameras, body cameras, filters, cameras straps and more.