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Athlon Optics may not be the first company name you think of when it comes to binoculars, spotting scopes, or riflescopes, but they do deserve to be considered. In this review, I’ll take a look at Athlon Midas line of binoculars to show you how they are similar or different from other big name brands.
(Note that this Athlon, as far as I can tell, is not the same Athlon as the microprocessor manufacturer.)
Note that, as of this writing, those Midas instruments that are offered on Amazon are for models that Athon Optics has discontinued. The company offers a virtually identical line of Midas binoculars that are tagged “G2”. I assume this means “Generation 2”; at least, that would make sense.
If you’re in a hurry and just want to check the pricing and availability of the Midas 8×42 (and other sizes) binoculars at Amazon, you can click (or tap) the link below.
Athlon Midas Has Standard Features and Specs
What I’m about to describe for you is nothing special, and yet it is special because these features are often only included in binoculars that cost much more than those from Athlon Optics. This then is their biggest advantage – all the features for a lower price.
All of these features apply to all of the Midas models that you’ll see on the Amazon sales page – 8×42, 10×42, 10×50, and 12×50 sizes.
Athlon refers to the ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass in their binos as UHD, but they never spell out what UHD means. As far as I can tell, it can only mean Ultra High Definition. That term does make sense when speaking of ED glass, but it would be nice if Athlon would come out and say so directly. It’s ED glass that helps get rid of chromatic aberration – that funny coloring around the edges of what you’re looking at through the binoculars.
The lenses have “Advanced FMC”. This simply means they are fully multi-coated to let as much light pass through as possible. This is a fairly standard feature for lenses these days. I wouldn’t buy a pair of binoculars that didn’t have this level of coating.
On the prisms inside these roof prism binos, you get ESP dielectric coating. ESP stands for Enhanced Spectral Prism. I’m not sure that that means anything extra-special. It may simply be Athlon trying to distinguish itself from the competition. In any case, dielectric coating on the prisms helps light to pass through them so you get a brighter picture at the eyepiece end. That’s always a good thing with optics.
These BaK4 prisms also have phase correction applied to them. Again, the purpose is to give you a brighter, clearer picture with better color reproduction. In other words, what you see through the lenses really does look like that in real life without the aid of these optics.
The chassis that holds all this glass together is made of magnesium, which is a lightweight, sturdy metal. You get a lot of strength without a lot of weight. This is important to protect the insides and at the same time not weary your hands and arms too quickly.
The outside of the chassis has XPL Coating. Yet another (probably unneeded) acronym here means you get Xtra Protective Layer coating that guards again dirt, oil, and scratches. Personally, I think they should have called it EPL so they could spell Extra correctly when explaining this feature.
Using the Athlon Optics Midas Binos
One of the most important specifications for a pair of binoculars can be the eye relief. Depending on what you use your binoculars for, you may not always want them pressed up against your face. You can keep these Midas binos about half an inch (17.2mm) away from your eyes and still see through them properly. This also matters if you like to keep your eyeglasses on your face while using them.
It almost goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: The Midas 8×42 binoculars magnify objects 8 times (8x) their real life size. The objective lens is 42mm in diameter. This then is where the 8×42 designation comes from. Change these figures accordingly if you’re looking at the other three Midas models.
Especially if you intend to you the Midas binoculars for looking at objects at close range – perhaps butterflies and other insects – you want to know what the close focus range is. For the 8×42 model, this is 6 ½ feet. That is a respectable distance for binoculars of this power.
The Midas binos have twist up eyecups that you can adjust to a convenient setting depending on your preferences when it comes to how close to your face you want to hold them. (See eye relief above.)
Try not to drop your binoculars. Accidents will happen though, so it’s good to know that these are filled with argon and sealed tight to make them waterproof. If you happen to drop them in a little water briefly, it won’t ruin them.
You can adjust the interpupillary distance between the two tubes from 57 to 74 millimeters. Not everyone’s eyes have the same distance between them. Not all binoculars allow you to make this adjustment.
Differences among the Models
The only differences I can see between the original and the G2 Midas models is in the overall styling (see the pictures) and in the weight. The G2 binos apparently weight about an ounce less than their predecessors. My guess is that a little less metal is used in the chassis.
If you compare the different sizes of Midas binoculars, you will see several changes (besides the price), and this is something you should expect. The table below points out these differences.
|FOV (ft. @ 1000 yds.)||426||341||341||281|
|Eye Relief (mm)||17.2||15.2||16.9||15.0|
|Close Focus (ft.)||6.5||8.2||9.84||11.48|
|Dimensions (L x W in inches)||5.7 x 5.2||5.7 x 5.2||6.7 x 5.4||6.7 x 5.4|
The field of view (FOV) is how much territory (think, horizontally) your eyes can take in when looking through the lenses. A wider FOV is better for birdwatching, for example.
Assessment of the Athlon Optics Midas Binoculars
I think you will really like what you see in a pair of Midas binoculars – both inside and out. The quality appears high, on a level with binos that tend to cost a lot more from other manufacturers.
They’re not perfect, but no binoculars are. One owner, quoted below, had a little trouble with them under some very specific conditions. Most of you are never going to be using your binoculars in these circumstances, so you won’t experience the difficulties he had.
“My only complaint about the Midas 8×42 binos is the main focus wheel – specifically in cold temperatures. The focus wheel can be very difficult to operate when out hunting in <15F temperatures and wearing heavy winter gloves. The grease inside the moving parts gets noticeably more viscous as the temperature drops, and the knurling on the wheel can be inadequate for operation with thick gloves.
“In addition, the focus assembly is geared such that it’s necessary to turn the wheel a large amount to achieve a small focus distance change. This isn’t necessarily a problem, as it’s nice to have a finer focus adjustment, but it does get annoying when combined with the stiffness of the movement and slickness of the wheel. It’s almost impossible to rapidly change focus distances when holding my rifle in one hand and trying to glass with the other.”
Again, this isn’t likely to be a problem for you. You should enjoy using your Midas binoculars, no matter which size you decide to get.
If the Athlon series doesn’t seem to be what you’re looking for, maybe try Swarovski, Vortex, or Nikon instead.