Optikotechna (now Meopta) was founded in Czechoslovakia in 1933. The company, which specialized in producing high-quality optical lenses, quickly expanded into producing high-quality binoculars, cameras, and projectors. They were a thriving company and the emerging German Wehrmacht tapped them to make their riflescopes and other optics.
While Swarovski, Zeiss, and Leica were fortunate to fall under U.S. occupation after the war ended, Meopta was locked into Communist Soviet occupation. There, because of their ongoing ability to produce great optics, they became the key supplier to the Soviet Army for periscopes, riflescopes, night vision devices, and anything optical.
With the fall of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union, the company was finally free to develop and market their products without political domination. In 1992, Czech descendents of the original company returned to their homeland in the hope that they might be able to buy Meopta. The Rausnitz brothers, who had immigrated to the United States in 1946, were able to do just that, and in 1992, they purchased the company. With a considerable investment in facilities and R&D, Meopta expanded very rapidly to become a major supplier of optics to most of Europe’s leading brands.
In 1994, Reinhard Seipp, an optical engineer from Wetzlar, Germany, joined Meopta as General Manager. By now, Meopta had established a facility in the United States and was producing riflescopes for a leading European brand. If you had not heard of Meopta prior to reading this article, you undoubtedly have used their products, without knowing, because a lot of major players in this country use Meopta optics in their products or put their name on Meopta-made products.
We apologize for not being able to share those names; however, with a few notable exceptions, if you purchased high-quality optics in the last twenty years that were made in the U.S. or CZ, regardless of the brand, it might have been a Meopta. In fact, in the past ten years, Meopta has produced well over 300,000 riflescopes which were sold in the U.S. and most did not have their name on it.
In 2006, Reinhard Seipp took over distribution of the Meopta brand for the U.S. market and the U.S. company changed its name to Meopta, U.S.A. This, of course, created a problem... you don't want to kill a good thing all at once. Reinhard decided to keep marketing of the Meopta brand low-key, to give their partners an opportunity to either continue the relationship or seek other sources. He maintained this position for six years, during which time Meopta kept their main focus on product development.
In 2013, they were ready and launched a complete line of very high-quality binoculars, riflescopes, and spotting scopes... all under the Meopta brand. At this point, we would like to point out that Meopta, USA is strictly focused on the American market. They are NOT a European company with an American branch. They are strictly American and their products have been developed to meet the wide range of unique American needs and wants.
While most global brands design their binoculars for birdwatchers and then sell them to hunters, Meopta is hunting focused in design and application. Superior low-light performance and great resolution are a result of understanding the needs of the American hunter.
The low-key marketing approach is also low cost and the savings are passed on to the customer, making the Meopta brand products a screaming bargain.
NOW, before you start telling us why you don't need to spend a lot of money on a pair of binoculars, hear us out.
As hunters, we spend upwards of $1,000 or more on a rifle and often, just as much on the scope... add that to the cost of the other rifles and scopes that we have in our inventory and you are looking at an investment of several thousand dollars. Why then do so many hunters balk at spending the money to buy a single pair of high-quality binocs that will last a lifetime? Probably because most people don't really think about how important they are in the field.
When you are out hunting, what is the best way to scan an area for your quarry? Binoculars! How much time during a hunt do you spend looking through those binoculars versus looking through your riflescope to take a shot? From our own experience, whether in Texas, New Mexico, or Colorado, we spend an incredible amount of time with the binoculars and only enough time with the riflescope to take our shot.
Cheap binoculars are just that... cheap! Oh, they looked good in the store and even seemed acceptable when we got them home. BUT, out in the field, they are not as crisp or clear as they seemed in the store, you can't make out the details of objects at a distance and they are hard on the eyes. We have been there... more times than we care to admit. As such, it was time to follow our own advice and find something better.
We wanted to test a pair of 10x42, but Meopta advised us to buck the trend and get 8x42 instead. Their explanation made us realize that they are an optical company with great understanding of the product and its application.
Most hunting happens in low light and the 10x with a 42mm objective will allow for a 4.2mm light beam to reach the hunters eye. The hunter’s pupil is 5 mm. An 8x with a 42mm objective will allow for a 5mm light beam (42/8=5) which perfectly floods the eye with light.
In the case of Meopta, this would be high-quality light because of the European made optics and coatings.
The loss of magnification is almost insignificant. At a viewing distance of 100 yards, an object viewed at 10X appears 10 yards away (100/10). At the same distance, when viewed with an 8X, the object appears 12.5 yards away.
That seems a fair tradeoff to us, which is why we selected the MeoPro HD 8x42 for our field tests during our Texas deer/hog hunt.
Normally, when we do a product review, we start with an introduction, go into how we tested it, provide the specifications, and then give our conclusion and opinions on the item at the end. After ten years of testing over 300 products from around the world, we are deviating from our normal protocol.
The MeoPro HD 8x42 binoculars are absolutely, without any doubt, the finest, clearest, and best constructed binoculars that we have ever seen, used, or tested... Period. And, for the record, we have used just about everything on the market from Swarovski and Zeiss to some fine Leopolds and Nikons. You can pay more and you can pay less, but you can't get any better than these.
Mary and I could not believe how incredible these binoculars were. We used them on our recent hunt in south Texas, scanning the landscape for hours at a time, and our eyes were not watery or strained. We were able to pick out fine details at a distance with no difficulty and were even able to use them with our glasses on. With all that being said, it is time to fill in the technical details on what makes these binoculars so superior.
Special Features of the Meopta HD binoculars:
MeoBrightTM - A proprietary ion-assisted lens multi-coating (developed by Meopta) is applied to all air-to-glass optical surfaces. The ion-assisted multi- coatings eliminate glare and reflections and delivers a 99.7% light transmission per lens surface (the highest in the industry).
MeoShieldTM - The external lenses of MeoPro HD are also treated with Meopta’s proprietary abrasion-resistant coating which meets military specifications for durability and surface hardness. Jim appreciates that because if something can be scratched, he winds up scratching it... his glasses are a mess and you wouldn't believe his cell phone... cracked and scratched.
HD Lens Elements - High-definition, extra-low dispersion, fluoride objective lens elements eliminate chromatic aberration (CA) or color fringing in low light conditions or during adverse weather. We experienced this first hand in the field on our hunt and noticed the superior contrast and enhanced color fidelity. The resolution was incredible. We were able to count the points on our bucks antlers at 150 yards.
Focus and Diopter Control - Oversized central focus wheel delivers precise, accurate focus acquisition with no backlash. Right side diopter ring control is easy to adjust and accommodates +/- 3 D.
Chassis Construction - Magnesium alloy chassis is lightweight and durable, as proved when Jim dropped them several times... once from the blind to the ground, 10 feet below. No external or internal damage.
Waterproof - 100% guaranteed waterproof, submersible, and fully protected against humidity, rain, and snow.
Fog-proof - These binoculars are purged and sealed with inert Nitrogen gas to provide 100% guaranteed fog-proof performance.
Eyepieces - The eyepiece design reduces distortion and delivers a wide, sharp field of view. Multi-position twist-up eyecups made it easy for Mary and me to trade-off in the field, as she wears her glasses when using binoculars and I do not.
Protective Armor Design - The sculpted rubber armor is comfortable to hold for extended periods and protects internal components from shock (per Jim dropping them from his blind).
Lifetime Warranty - They carry Meopta’s North American Lifetime Transferable Warranty. Not that you would ever want to sell them, but if you did, the warranty transfers to the new owner. Not many companies have that much confidence in their product to offer that.
Specifications of the HD 8x42 binoculars:
Objective Lens (mm): 42 mm
FOV ft./1000 yds. 384 ft.
Eye Relief (mm): 22 mm
Close Focus (ft): 4.92 ft.
Exit Pupil (mm): 5.3 mm
Twilight Factor: 18.3
Dioptric Correction (D) +/-3
Height (in): 6.1 in.
Width (in): 5.2 in. .
Weight (oz): 24.6 oz
Lens Coatings: MeoBright, MeoShield
Nitrogen Purged: yes
Built in the USA - A major plus for us.
The 2016 MSRP is $977.49, but we found them discounted on the internet at $699. Are they a bit pricey? Yes... but, are they worth it? Absolutely... they are worth every penny.
If you buy a pair of MeoPro binoculars, they will be the last pair you will ever buy or need, as they will last you a lifetime.