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German Precision Optics (GPO) Passion HD 10×42 Binocular Review

Pros: Premium quality build and high-end features combined with outstanding optics at a lower price point than most top binocular brands. Image is pin sharp and contrasty across the wide field of view, and colours pop, yet still appear natural and neutral, with no obvious colour cast.

Cons: Feels a little on the large/long side for a x42 binocular. When set for my eyes, the width of the barrels meant there simply wasn’t space between them for my fingers to get a true wrap-around grip (this won’t be an issue if you have a wider IPD (inter-pupillary distance) setting). In some situations the image seemed a little too contrasty to my eyes, feeling a little unnatural.

Price: €1,084.00

Rating: Highly Recommended

Check out the Passion HD 10×42 on the German Precision Optics website.

GPO was established in 2015 with one goal: to create a range of premium, German designed optics that could rival the best on the market, but at a significantly lower price point. With their flagship Passion HD they come extraordinarily close to achieving that. If the current posse of top-tier instruments from Swarovski, Leica and Zeiss has an edge, it really is a very narrow one. When you consider you can get your hands on a pair of Passion HD for about a third of the price of one of those Alpha flagships, that’s a truly compelling proposition.

Check out the Passion HD on the GPO Website

Buy the GPO Passion HD on Amazon:

GPO Passion HD 10×42 Full Review

GPO Passion HD 10x42 binocular review by Ireland's Wildlife

I first heard of German Precision Optics (GPO) some five or six years ago, when a former contact at Meopta went to work with them. Set up by the former CEO of Zeiss, who recruited a team of executives from other leading European optics manufacturers, the goal was simple: to develop a range of professional level optics that would match the capabilities of the market leaders, but at a more affordable price point, essentially offering consumers value, without compromise.

The Passion HD is the culmination of that mission. Designed in Germany, and manufactured to exacting standards in Japan, every pair of Passion HD binoculars return to Germany for stringent quality checks before shipping to retailers and/or customers. They promise a lot, so I was delighted to put a pair through its paces here on Ireland’s South Coast.

First Impressions

The GPO Passion HD comes in a very sleek matt black box with gold logo and lettering, echoing the branding on the binocular it contains. The packaging is elegant, understated, and hints at the premium nature of what’s inside.

When you first pick up the GPO Passion HD there’s no getting around the fact that this is a substantial binocular. It feels big in the hand, and while not overly heavy for a 10×42 premium binocular, it has the heft of a quality instrument to it. Like mobile phones, high end optics today seem to be getting longer with each iteration. The Passion HD, like the Leica Noctivid, Zeiss Victory and Swarovski NL, follows that design trend.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and the Passion HD feels comfortable and well balanced, but as someone who tends to prefer more compact binoculars, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it seems a bit on the big side.

Balance, Handling and Build Quality

GPO Passion HD 10x42 Binocular Review balance, handling and build quality.

Although undoubtedly a large binocular, the Passion HD 10×42 feels comfortable in the hand, and not at all cumbersome to carry or, crucially, to look through for extended periods in the field. That’s largely down to excellent balance and weight distribution, and the superb padded neoprene neck-strap included in the box helps.

A neat, narrow hinge set high on the binocular leaves a healthy portion of the elongated barrels exposed for you to hold on to. One thing worth noting here though: depending on your interpupillary distance (the gap between your eyes) and the size of your fingers, there may not be room between the barrels to afford the full wrap-around grip you might expect.

For me, with the barrels set the correct distance apart for my eyes, my fingers couldn’t wrap around the barrels comfortably. I ended up with either a semi-wrap grip, or, more often, with my fingers spanning the gap between the barrels rather than wrapping around them. It’s not really an issue, and doesn’t affect use of the binocular, but is something you may want to be aware of.

Build quality on the Passion HD is top drawer. The magnesium alloy housing is covered in a hard rubber armour that manages to be both smooth yet grippy at the same time (a clever trick). Well positioned thumb indents on the underside help guide your hands to the right position, and subtle texturing on outer edges of the armour helps further with the grip, making it unlikely you’ll accidentally drop the binocular. And even if you did, the Passion HD feels so solid and reassuringly robust that it would likely come through the ordeal unscathed.

Mechanically everything from the smooth resistance of the central hinge, to the precision movement of the focusing wheel and integrated dioptre adjustment, to the satisfying clunk of the twist up eyecups is testament to the quality and attention to detail that’s gone into the manufacturing process.

The Passion HD is as well made as any binocular I’ve ever picked up.

Focus & Dioptre Adjustment

GPO Passion HD 10x42 Review Focussing and Dioptre Adjustment

The metal central focusing wheel on the GPO Passion HD is located in the usual spot just above the narrow central hinge. It is large and well positioned, so your index finger naturally rests on it when you hold the binocular. It is also covered with a knurled rubber coating — giving plenty of grip. The size and grip of the focusing wheel means it would be easy to use even when wearing thick gloves, which is always a plus. The action is relatively stiff, but very smooth, with no play, taking you from a close focus of just over 2m to infininity in around one-and-a-half anticlockwise turns. In the field finding focus is quick and easy, and the image snaps satisfyingly into pin-sharp focus without the need to dial the focus knob back and forth to fine tune things.

Like some top-tier binocular brands, the locking dioptre adjustment on the Passion HD is integrated into the central focusing wheel. You simply pull out the wheel to reveal the diopter scale, and turn to adjust via individual click stops. When it’s set, you pop the focus wheel back again and your setting is locked in.

Eye Cups and Eye Relief

The twist up eyecups on the Passion HD are metal, and offer three positions — fully down, fully up and one intermediate position. The top of the eyecups is coated in a similar rubber to the armour, which, while it is quite hard, proves quite comfortable when you hold the binocular up to your eyes.

As far as I could tell (and I wasn’t about to force the sample I had on loan) the eyecups don’t seem to screw off, which has become something of a standard with high end contemporary binoculars. That’s a shame, as the vast majority of warranty claims and service requests for binoculars relate to broken eyecups. Being able to unscrew and replace one yourself, rather than having to send the whole instrument back to the repair centre, is a real boon. However, the eyecups on the GPO Passion HD are extremely well made, and twist up and down into each position with a satisfying clunk. They don’t feel like they’d be prone to failure.

Specified eye relief is 17mm which is good for a 10x binocular, and should afford most spectacle-wearers the full field of view when using the binocular with their glasses on.


It almost goes without saying that any binocular at this level is going to be fully sealed and weatherproof, and purged with inert gas to prevent internal fogging and condensation. Of course, the Passion HD is no exception, and will prove impervious to the worst the Irish weather can throw at it, as well as preventing the ingress of dust or any other small particles into the optical system.

Optical Performance

GPO Passion HD 10x42 Binocular Review by Ireland's Wildlife: Optical Performance

Now down to the real crux of this review. With a stated aim of taking on the acknowledged Alpha brands, could the GPO Passion HD deliver where it really mattered: the view through them.

Image Quality and Field of View

I was fully expecting the view through the Passion HD to be good. I wasn’t quite expecting it to be up there with some of the best binoculars I’ve ever looked through. And yet, that’s where I found myself when I first raised the binocular to my eyes. Everything just pops with detail, and there’s a depth to the image that gives it a 3D feel reminiscent of high-quality porro-prisms.

The image is bright, vivid and contrasty with natural, neutral colours. It is tack sharp from the centre, and I struggled to see any softening all the way out to the edge of the respectable 112m/1000m field of view. Perhaps a smidgin, right out at the edge. That field of view isn’t quite class-leading: it’s eclipsed by the likes of Swarovski’s 10×42 NL Pure, or the 10×42 Zeiss Victory SF‘s 120m/1000m — but is still plenty wide for a 10×42 binocular.

Occasionally i found myself wondering if GPO had over-egged the contrast. Every now and then, it just felt like there was too much contrast in the image, making it feel a little unnatural. It wasn’t always apparent, and I couldn’t even say I always noticed it in certain lighting or particular environmental conditions. Just that sometimes it’s there.

All in all, though, the GPO Passion HD delivers an image that can rival some of the best binoculars out there.

Colour Fidelity, Contrast and Chromatic Aberration

Colour is always subjective, but I found the Passion HD delivered vibrant, natural looking colours without any discernable colour cast. The quality of the optical components, the coatings and the use of HD lens elements in the optical design practically eliminate colour fringing (chromatic aberration) in the Passion HD. I struggled to induce any colour fringing even when viewing really high-contrast subjects (silhouetted starlings o telephone wires against a bright overcast sky, for example). In the centre of the field, it was impossible to induce any, regardless of how hard I tried. By putting the subject right at the periphery of the field in very challenging light, you can make out the faintest hint of colour fringing, but it was still minimal, never encroached on the quality of the image during normal field use.

Suffice it to say that the GPO Passion HD controls chromatic aberration as well as or better than any binocular I’ve tested.

Low Light Performance and Coatings

All air to glass surfaces on the GPO Passion HD are fully-multi-coated with the company’s proprietary suite of high-transmission, anti-reflective coatings to maximise light transmission through the instrument, prevent stray light and glare and deliver the highest quality image to the end user. They also feature a protective hydrophobic coating on the outer lens surface (dubbed PASSIONDrop by the manufacturer) which repels water and dirt, protecting the delicate coatings beneath. These tough protective outer coatings are becoming standard on higher-end binoculars, and mean you typically need to clean your lenses less often, and they require much less effort to clean when you do.

Sporting a light transmission rating in daylight of 92%, according to manufacturer figures, the image delivered remains bright well into twilight, pulling plenty of detail out of the shadows as the light fades. It’s not quite the brightest 10×42 binocular I’ve used, but it comes remarkably close, and is an excellent all-round performer in low-light situations.

According to GPO their “state-of-the-art multi-layer coatings creates optical excellence in transmission, field of view, edge-to-edge sharpness, close focus and color reproduction”. Based on a significant amount of time using the binocular, it’s hard to argue with anything in that statement.


GPO Passion HD 10x42 Binocular Review by Ireland's Wildlife: Accessories

The Passion HD comes with the usual assortment of accessories you’d expect with a premium optical instrument.

In the box you’ll find a high-quality semi-hard case (which, like all binocular cases that cross my path, remains unused and still in the box. Why would you put binoculars in a case that gets in the way and means you miss what you want to look at more often than not?). It’s a lovely case though, to be fair.

The included neoprene neck-strap is wide, well padded and extremely comfortably — it’s one of the best quality straps I’ve seen, and does a superb job of making the quite bulky Passion HD comfortable to carry in the field. As you’d expect, there are also the usual lens covers: a rain-guard that you can attach to the strap to protect the eyepieces from rain, food crumbs and other debris (an essential bit of kit), and objective lens covers. Unlike most tethered objective covers, which attach individually to the end of each barell, GPO have gone for a single cover, hinged in the middle, that covers both objectives which can be tethered to the strap attachment lugs with the included lanyard. However, I suspect having this cover swinging loose beneath your binoculars would be quite irritating in the field.

It’s irrelevant anyway, as when I get a pair of binoculars, I remove the objective covers, throw them into the case and promptly forget about them. They may have some merit if you’re planning to store your binoculars for long periods. If you’re using your binoculars regularly though, objective covers just get in the way.

Also worth a mention is the included microfibre cleaning cloth. It’s a premium quality cloth and comes sewn in to its own little neoprene case with a lanyard and clip. It’s a novel approach to always having a cleaning cloth with you, however, again, I’d be reluctant to attach it to the binocular or strap as having peripherals swinging in the wind is the last thing you want when you’re watching wildlife.


GPO provide a 10-year warranty with the Passion HD — which is good, and on a par or better than the top-tier binocular brands, but falls short of the impressive lifetime unlimited warranties offered by up-and-coming brands like Hawke, Vortex and others.

Full details of the warranty on the GPO Website here.


The GPO Passion HD is a very accomplished binocular that can, in many areas, match the best binoculars from widely acknowledged market leaders. That’s quite an accolade for a company that was only established in 2015. What’s even more remarkable is that they manage to do so at a price point that is two-and-a-half to three times cheaper than the top-brand’s flagship offerings.

Are they as good as those flagship models? That’s a subjective question, but based on what I’ve seen the answer is yes, in some areas, certainly, in others perhaps not quite — but on balance they are definitely up there.

If you want the kudos and pedigree some associate with the top-tier brands, and are prepared to pay for that prestige, that might sway your decision. However, if you’re looking for exceptional performance and value, with little if any compromise, the Passion HD from German Precision Optics will tick a lot of the right boxes for you.

Check out the Passion HD on the GPO Website

Buy the GPO Passion HD on Amazon:

Technical Specifications

Taken from the GPO website:

Prism type.Schmidt-Pechan
Field of view (FOV) at 1.000y.336
Field of view (FOV) at 1.000m.112
Objective diameter (mm)Effective diameter42
Ocular diameter (mm)Effective diameter24,2
Exit pupil diameter (mm)Measurement of the pupilary ocular beam4,2
Eye Relief (inches)From the last optical surface0,67
Eye Relief (mm)From the last optical surface17
HousingMain body and hingemagnesium
Close focus (feet)Shortest focal distance6,5
Close focus (meters)Shortest focal distance2
Inter pupilary distance (IPD)Center pupil to center pupil measurement57 – 75
Dioptric compensation range.-2,5/+2,5
Transmission DaylightISO 14490-5:200592%
Height (inches)Without covers2,2
Height (mm)Without covers56
Weight (ounces)Without covers30,3
Weight (grams)Without covers860
Lentgh (inches)At outside diameter6,1
Lentgh (mm)At outside diameter156
Width (inches)Fully extended5,1
Width (mm)Fully extended130
Accessories included with the purchase.instruction manual, cleaning cloth, hard
case, neoprene neck strap, hard case
strap, objective covers, ocular covers


I’d like to thank German Precision Optics for providing the Passion HD 10×42 for review on Ireland’s Wildlife.

NB. Ireland’s Wildlife has no specific affiliation to any optics or gear manufacturer, and all reviews on the site are completely independent and objective. If you’re an optics or gear manufacturer and would like to submit your product for review on the site, please drop us a line using the contact form and we can take things from there.

1 comment

  • Ken Haguenoer

    Thank you for this nice review.
    According to your experience, between the GPO Passion HD 10×42 and the Hawke Frontier APO 10×42, which one have the better image quality ?

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