Model: Droptine 10X42
Objection Lens Diameter: 42mm
Eye Relief: 16.5 mm
Exit Pupil: 4.2mm
Field of View: 300 feet/1000 yards
Close Focus Distance: 7 feet
Interpupillary Distance: 58-72mm
Height/Width: 5.6/4.8 Inches
Weight: 20.1 ounces
Price Range: $200-$300
Burris Droptine 10X42 Binoculars Field Test
When I first started checking out what Burris had to offer a few years ago, I wondered why they didn’t have any binoculars in the market. Burris had dropped their line of observational optics, and they left the binocular responsibility to their sibling company, Steiner. So, when I found out that Burris came out with five, new binoculars in 2017 to please both the tactical and hunting communities, you know I had to get my sticky mitts on one. Here’s what I found out!
New to 2017 Burris Binoculars
This year, Burris released two lines of binoculars: Droptines and Signature HD. The Droptines are available in the 8X42 and 10X42 models. The Signature HD models are available in 8X42, 10X42, and 12X50.
What are the main differences between the two?
The Signature HD is the more expensive and premium series. It features an open bridge design with phase-corrected BaK4 prisms that the Droptine lacks. There’s a difference of approximately $150-$200 between the two series. However, Burris sent the Droptine 10X42 binos to review, and so out for a field test I went.
Just as you should expect for a $300 binocular, it came very well packaged and secured. The package was appropriately sealed with a brand-new, very attractive Burris-designed optics box inside. For a packaging box, the design is brilliant to get you all excited about opening your new toy and tool.
The only other item in the box that was loose from the main package was the included Burris neck relief binocular strap – a harness! With the packaging simple but well-done, the binoculars arrived without the slightest possibility of accidental damage. The shipping guy could fastball that box into the truck and it wouldn’t do a darn thing to the binoculars. Enough said.
What’s In The Box?
Obviously, the first thing I saw was the included harness strap. It was in its own package, and it was a delightful surprise since I wasn’t expecting it at all. Upon opening the Burris box, I found the Droptine 10×42 binoculars, a durable buckle-style carrying case, and a neoprene neck strap, all of which were wrapped in their own plastic bags. The box also contained a lens cleaning cloth and a very easy-to-read User Guide.
The case can be used in a variety of ways. It can be looped through a belt to be attached to your hip, or you can even clip it to the included shoulder case strap (not the harness) on the sides. It has a buckle-style close system that might be a bit noisy in the hunt when added with the zipper mesh pocket on the inside of the flap. Despite that, I like the simple design, and it fits the entire 5.6 inches of the binocular perfectly.
The neck strap has a very nice-sized neoprene layer for that cushioned comfort on your neck. You won’t know how much you appreciate it until you’ve got a sunburn right there and you’re hiking for hours – trust me, I know.
But, I have a thing for shoulder harness straps – they’re sexy. But, despite my preferences, the Burris ones got me all excited. The leather stay was attractive, but it was the quick release system that caught my eye. Once I had gotten the ring around the attachments on the binocular, it was incredibly convenient and fast to use them.
I love the buckle-style release system because it’s so easy. However, despite its convenience, I found that I ended up just using and carrying the binoculars by hand. I thought the closed bridge design might make it annoying, but the size is so compact and lightweight that it didn’t bother me at all. This surprised me since I’m usually all about maximizing a strap.
At first glance, the binoculars looked bulky to me. The closed bridge design certainly made it look heavier than it actually is. However, upon handling, they were pleasantly lighter weight and more compact than I thought. It’s a convenient size with the entire bino spanning the length from the tip of my thumb to the very base of my palm.
The rubber body armor has an awesome diamond texture that’s very grippy, and believe it or not, it’s scratch-proof. I dropped this baby several times on purpose out in the field, and I even scratched at it with my fingernails and not a mark has been left! Everything but the eyecups have a gnurly texture, and the overall, simple aesthetics of the binoculars are something I find pleasing to the eye. The two, small Burris logos on the face of the bino are a nice touch since they don’t overwhelm the look.
The binocular has two-position twist-up eyecups. They don’t lock into place, but you can literally twist ’em up or down to find the most comfortable eye relief for you and they’ll stay there. No amount of pressure I could put on the eyecups with my hands would push them down and out of place. They were very secure, and you have to be deliberate about the twist function in order to move them. So, could you accidentally push them out of place with the sockets of your eyeballs? Out of the question – not going to happen!
The one-piece eyecup covers are easy to put on and a little tough to come off which is great! You might feel like they could suction out the eyecups when you take them off (that’s happened to me before), but they won’t budge. In fact, I had to deliberately peel the eyecup off the metal housing with my fingernails to see how well they would stay put. Let me just say, I broke a fingernail, didn’t get it all the way off, and I don’t recommend peeling your brand new bino apart unless you’re, well, me.
I’ve seen some crappy objective lens covers before, but the ones on these Droptines were awesome. They’re rubber, simple, and they work. They’re not going to accidentally come off or get lost in the field. Where the ring is attached to the binos on the objective bell, there’s an indent that keeps the ring in place. Keep the ring in place, you keep the caps in place and secure. The ring sort of “snaps” into position, and it would take a deliberate removal of the caps to come off.
For the “entry-level” series of binoculars from Burris, they’re fully waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof – not something you always see in the inferior line, but these Burris binos are far from inferior, aren’t they? To give it a bit of a test run in this arena, I did what many glassers often do – left them in the car.
So, I left the Droptine overnight in my truck where it got down to about 25 degrees Fahrenheit with no caps on and out of the bag. I turned the truck on in the morning when it’s 38 degrees outside, blasted the heaters, and examined the binoculars. I spotted some slight condensation from the temperature change in the spot between the eyecups (being all the way out) and the diopter. The ocular lenses did fog up, but that’s not of concern. With a simple wipe, I got to glassing the sunrise from the comfort of my truck.
I don’t know why, but I was surprised to find that the Droptine 10×42 binoculars were a breeze to focus. Finding my IPD range was as expected, no problems. While I don’t know the exact specs for the IPD, I’m guessing from experience that it’s pretty standard – 58-72 mm.
I pulled the eyecups all the way out, losing what looks like about 7-8 mm of eye relief from 16.5 mm. Focusing the center wheel for my left eye was fast and easily done. My right eye was also easy to focus with the gnurly and textured diopter that had nice friction without being obnoxiously stiff. Listening carefully, I could hear very faint positive clicks as I rotated it into place. I liked that. Something about audible feedback gives me instant gratification that cogs and gears are working as they should.
The first thing I noticed when I focused the binos was the slight, but noticeable color loss at the bottom of the field of view. I wasn’t sure if it was due to the binos or my inability to really get comfortable with the short eye relief. So, I decided it was time to head out for the field review.
The binoculars were more than adequate to get some great glassing in, however, the camera on my phone produced images with vignetting and color loss. This is due to attempting to align the exit pupil with the lens on my camera with perfect exactness and maximum light transmission. With moving targets, it also resulted in resolution loss. Of course, doing all of this freehand proved to be difficult.
In defense of the binoculars, I didn’t experience resolution loss or vignetting while out in the field. Minimal color loss through the binoculars was experienced with having inadequate ambient light available. Any of these issues you see in the following pictures is the result of a poor camera from an out-dated phone – just so you know.
Fortunately for me, I live out in the country, and you know you live rural when you see horses at the gas station, which is exactly what I saw on my way out. Because of my ideal location, I decided to explore my own backyard and local hot spots. I’ll take you through wooded areas, fowl-rich lakes, and bear country through the looking glass of the Droptine 10×42 binoculars.
I wanted to head out early to see if the binoculars could hold up for the hunter who needs to be in place at sunrise. It was cold at 45 degrees outside, and it felt even colder thanks to the blowing wind speeds of 21 mph. There was also some very heavy cloud cover, so it felt much earlier in the morning than it actually was. Nevertheless, I put my on my RealTree long-sleeved shirt, cozy Carhartt hooded jacket, thick wool socks, my broken-in Ariat all-terrain boots, and the shoulder harness and headed out the door.
Before I left my drive-way, I glassed the sunrise through a gap in the mountains more than a few miles away. Little light was available due to the cloud cover.
Photo Explanation: The first photo of the sunrise was taken with very little light available. The second photo is the same sunrise, in the same spot but with more light available as the sun rose higher.
A little ways down my dirt road, I spotted some ducks in the cattle’s drinking pond, and even with little light, I did see some color fringing, although it was minimal at this point. As you can see, brightness was scarce before the sun has risen.
Photo Explanation: The first photo is the pond without any magnification (using a camera phone). The second photo is of the top right section of the same pond. Ducks are visible but there is not yet enough light for pristine clarity.
It’s not uncommon to see a majestic bald eagle out my ways, and I was hoping there would be one on this random dead tree off the highway. Unfortunately, no eagles in sight. But, for the birder, you can clearly see how convenient these binoculars would be to check out the fascinating details of photo-worthy birds that could be sitting on this very branch.
The tree was alluring in the kind of way that I could imagine a flock of crows perched on it like something out of an episode from the Game of Thrones when white walkers are nearby – it gives me the chills. But, even when I did spot a crow, it spotted me first. The thing about birds? They don’t sit still for pictures!
Photo Explanation: The first photo is of the dead tree with a little magnification on my camera phone. The second image is the top of the same tree as seen through the binoculars.
Moving on, I found some grazing cows and horses. Okay, so the horses belong to someone. If they’re not wild and I caught them through the binoculars, does it still count? I say it does! Seeing them eat broadside makes me think of the perfect position for use with a laser rangefinder, but the economical Droptine binos doesn’t have the rangefinder technology built in like the Burris Eliminator III LaserScope does. But, that didn’t stop me from trying to glass out across wide open areas.
The first lake I hit had no wildlife worth glassing. But, the stop at the lake wasn’t a waste of time since I got to see how far out I could glass with usable detail. I don’t know how far the other side of the lake was, but it was far. Looking through the 10×42 binos was enough to spot any potential game grazing or drinking on the other side.
I headed to a thick timber area, and for a moment I thought maybe they were too high-powered for such a terrain. I was proved wrong when I spotted through the glasses interesting topiary features. Glassing the area, I found a Douglas fir and an alligator juniper growing side-by-side – two different trees with extremely different climate requirements.
Another tree also had metastasized limbs with dead branches – the perfect place squirrels love to climb in and out of and in-between. While a 10X binocular in the woods might be overkill, it provided the clarity and details I would need if I didn’t want to get too close before popping off a shot or to observe silently.
Besides, in a timbered area, there’s often a lot of clearings that give way for a magnificent view like this one. You can also glass down into the timber to spot trails, tracks, and possibly grazing or bedded deer.
By this time, the sun was up hours ago and so I went to check out another lake. I was luckier there with quacking ducks and sleeping swans. They didn’t like me getting too close. Good thing for me, I had a pair of 10×42 binos on hand. The close-up pics are taken right by the water’s edge, and the other ones are from the comfort of my truck. At this time of day, it didn’t matter if I was on the front line or hiding behind the glass of a window, I had perfect clarity with no apparent color loss, color fringing, or lack of resolution.
I even saw a deer and a bear! Well, not really, but like the horses, they still count!
Since I’m a penny-pincher, one of the first things I did was check out the warranty. This binocular, as are all five Burris binos, are covered under their Forever No Questions Asked Warranty. You don’t need your receipt, warranty card, and you won’t be asked any questions. You don’t even have to pay for a repair or replacement charge, they’ll just take care of you.
I don’t know if this will apply to me since I’ve laid down some intentional abuse, but good thing for me, no damage occurred. I guess that’s the point. Burris builds an exceptional optic and backs it with their Forever Warranty, but it’s not like you should ever really need it, right? Still, for a $300 (approx.) binocular, I like what I see. The warranty is a nice way to cover your keister if you’re an aggressive clutz. Take it from me, you’re really going to have to beat this thing up to have to take advantage of the warranty.
The Droptine 10X42 binoculars performed better than I had expected in every way possible. Here I was thinking they’ll be “just okay.” However, I found them to be the complete opposite. Very comfortable to handle, easy to use, fast to focus, and so lightweight that I carried this baby around everywhere!
Its optical prowess is above par. Granted, I needed as much available light as I could get to achieve pristine clarity. But, for the optical quality I saw with my own eyes without the phase-correction coatings that the Signature HD binos have, I was truly impressed. I’m not privy to Burris’ proprietary formulas, but whatever they’re doing, they need to keep it up. I for one am ecstatic that they’ve come out with their own line of binoculars. The Burris binocular band wagon is back in town! Why not get on it?
Many thanks to Burris Optics for sending us these binoculars to field test. Please note, even though this product was provided by the manufacturer all of the opinions expressed here are our own and are not in any way influenced by any manufacturers.