This review of the well-regarded Alpen Shasta Ridge 10×42 Binoculars must begin on a down note.
These affordable field binos have earned an appreciative fanbase for their high-grade optics … but their original manufacturer has closed its operations.
The company fell victim to retail consolidation: Alpen is no more.
For consolation, the closure wasn’t the fault of their products, and the Shasta Ridge brand is still being sold by Explore Scientific.
Stock is still available — and demand exists. Let’s take a look at why these binoculars remain popular, and who they best serve.
Alpen Shasta Ridge 10×42 Review
These versatile, full-size binoculars provide high optical performance for an affordable price. They use efficient optical coatings and modern design methods to offer clear, high-precision views.
The Alpen Shasta Ridge 10×42 is a step down from their premium Apex line, but they are superior to most binoculars in their price range. While there are higher-grade optics available, and some quibbles can be made, it hold their own against much more expensive bins.
Magnification with Roof Prism Configuration
10x magnification makes these Alpen Shasta Ridge binos useful for birdwatching and light astronomical use, but they were created to meet the demands of hunters. They can sweep across the landscape and highlight targets with a crystal-clear, bright image.
These bins use a compact roof prism design, an unusual choice for cost-conscious optics. The space-saving configuration is highly technical and hard to get right, so most roof prism binoculars are priced accordingly — or else they sacrifice quality for the label.
Alpen’s mission was to produce budget-friendly, high-performance optical gear: the fact they pulled off an economical roof prism with good optics is just part of the legend now.
Superior Image Quality
The Alpen Shasta Ridge 10×42’s image is crisp and well-lit, with vivid, accurate color rendering. One of the main comments about these binoculars is how well its image compares with top-grade, expensive makes.
The basics are good. Alpen uses high-density BAK4 lenses, the standard glass for quality optics, along with cutting-edge multilayered coatings that maximize light transmission.
If there is an optical weakness, it’s that the image can show degradation toward the edges. A common fault with economical makes, this minor aberration doesn’t normally affect working performance.
Field of View (FOV)
Alpen uses a generous 4.2mm exit pupil to boost performance in low light, making these bins useful in early dawn and late dusk. This is what you want in hunting binoculars, because many animals are most active in these marginal light periods.
The eye relief is long at 16mm, so you can use them easily while wearing eyeglasses. The 330/1000-ft FOV lets you sweep the landscape and see detail. The near focus range is just 7′, a boon for wildlife viewers watching critters close by.
Comfort and Handling
These full-size binos weigh a pound and half, which is a bit heavy for backpacking in search of birds. It’s a perfect size for hunting with a mount, however.
Of course, these bins can be used freehand for short intervals. But even if 1.5 pounds doesn’t seem like much, involuntary shaking and fine motor strain will tire your shoulders and eyes quickly if you survey too long without a mount.
A few minutes of handheld viewing of the scenery is fine, but you’ll need to mount the bins for stability during longer sessions.
Ample eye relief and a bright image make viewing straightforward. The 3-stop twist-up eyecups are comfortable and uncomplicated.
Some users have had issues with loose or “soft” focusing controls and lost settings. This seems to be an isolated problem of age that doesn’t greatly affect usage, but remember to check the focus mechanism when looking to buy, just to be sure.
Durable, Weatherproof Construction
Another reason these binoculars from the defunct Alpen brand are relevant is that they will be around for a while. They are ruggedly made to be water- and fog-proof and take the rigors of hunting in stride. Alpen has a lot of old binos on the market: that’s a good sign.
Accessories and Service
The Alpen Shasta Ridge 10×42’s new package accessories are straightforward and made with an eye to convenience and quality. A comfortable neck strap and nylon carrying bag with an attachment loop are included.
The snug lens covers are tethered by a rubber cord, so you can flick off the caps as you lift the binoculars and they will safely fall away without blocking your vision or getting lost.
The original Alpen offered a Lifetime Warranty, one of the best on the budget-binocular market. This guarantee and their responsive service was a big reason Alpen gained so many loyal customers.
There seems to be a question whether a “lifetime” guarantee is for the life of the owner, the product, or the manufacturer, and time will tell how it plays out. There haven’t been complaints, though.
Alpen Shasta Ridge waterproof BINOCULAR unboxing review and DEMO:
The Alpen Shasta Ridge 10×42 binoculars are durable and have surprisingly good optics for a mass-market bin. Their unconventional roof prism design uses BAK4 glass with cutting-edge optical coatings for heightened light-transmission and color faithfulness.
Weatherproof and able to perform in low-light conditions, these binoculars are great for hunting and observing wildlife. The generous FOV is able to sweep the horizon and focus in with precision.
- Superior optics for the price
- Wide FOV
- Good low-light performance
- Durable and weatherproof
- Minor image deterioration toward edges
- Loose focus mechanism on some units
Though its original manufacturer has ceased production, these well-made binoculars provide affordable high-quality optics and are still in demand. These aren’t high-end binoculars, but they can produce an image comparable to one.
The construction is quite durable, and the phase-corrected roof prism makes room for efficient light transmission without going overboard on weight. They are not perfect: the focus can feel soft to some users, and the FOV degrades a bit toward the edges.
If you can look past these tradeoffs, the Alpen Shasta Ridge 10×42’s binoculars are a great hunting tool to pair with a high-mag glass. They hold up in the field and deliver in all weather. You can find better … but probably not at this price.