GPO Passion ED 8x42 Binoculars Review

GPO Passion ED binoculars on forest ground

The GPO Passion ED are a premium pair of mid-to-high end binoculars designed with serious enthusiasts looking for top quality on a tighter budget. GPO are a relative newcomer in the world of optics but are starting to gain a reputation for high-quality at a more affordable price. Boasting fully multi-coated optics and Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Lenses they compared well with more expensive models on paper so we were keen to put them to the test. The Passion ED are available in 8x32, 10x32, 8x42 and 10x42 variants with a range of colours to choose from.

Related: Top 10 Best Binoculars

Design & build

Out the box (itself a cut above the packaging of other optics brands) the GPO Passion ED look and feel like a premium pair of optics. Very similar in style to GPO’s flagship and more expensive Passion HD; they boast a top-hinge design and are constructed from a lightweight and robust magnesium. The minimal footprint of the bridge, which GPO brand their “micro-bridge” helps to keep the weight of the binoculars down whilst also offering a comfortable grip on the barrel. And despite the relatively small contact point between the barrels they feel solidly built and it would take some serious doing to result in any misaligning.

There is a hard rubberised armour coating the body of the binoculars, which can offer less cushioning against impacts than softer rubber coatings however, in our experience they tend to be not as hard wearing. As mentioned already, the chassis beneath the armouring is a magnesium alloy frame, which is more expensive due to its lightweight and robust properties. Even at this price bracket it is not uncommon to find polycarbonate or aluminium, which helps manufacturers costs down so it’s nice to see GPO haven’t gone down this route.

The twist-up eyecups on the Passion ED are excellent with a solid mechanism that locks into place. There are four stops, which click into place allowing you up to 18mm of eye-relief. I do wear glasses but tend to remove them when using binoculars, however, I found these comfortable to use with them on so would have no qualms about recommending to other eyeglass wearers.

When it comes to the focus wheel, I can’t fault it for performance; centrally located and easy to adjust. It has a very smooth action and takes just over one full turn to adjust from one extreme to the other, which makes it quick and easy to focus quickly. My only gripe is the focus wheel plate, which is fairly basic and doesn’t seem in keeping with the rest of the premium aesthetics. The diopter adjustment is located on the right eye-piece and works whilst not lockable is very secure and unlikely to be twisted accidentally.

Included with the binoculars is a hard carry case, which offers a bit more protection than the soft pouches included by most other manufacturers. There’s also a decent strap and cleaning cloth as well.

Quality of optics

This is where the GPO Passion ED seriously impressed us with an incredible viewing experience. Equipped with high quality ED lenses which means within each objective lens is a fluorite containing Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass, which are better at preventing chromatic aberrations. The main difference between this and GPO’s Passion HD is the HD version uses two higher-grade fluorite containing ED glass elements.

Furthermore, the GPO Passion ED are “Fully Multi-Coated”, which means that every air-to-glass surface has been coated with multiple layers of a special anti-reflection material to improve light transmission. The prisms are also dialectrically coated and GPO have used phase correction coatings on this model also, which makes them comparable to the treatment of far more expensive optics.


In terms of overall performance, the GPO Passion ED are one of the best pair of binoculars we’ve tested yet. They produce an incredibly bright image superior to numerous other reference optics we used, which was evident in daylight but much more impressive in the lower light conditions when the sun was setting.

We were further impressed with the colour reproduction and contrast, which were very natural and true to life. There was minimal chromatic aberrations on these; I struggled to pick up any when I was actively trying to look for it and in normal viewing isn’t perceptible at all. Our testing model was the 8x42, which afforded a fairly wide field of view and a particular strength of this binocular for birdwatching and general usage.

GPO Passion ED: The Verdict

Without a doubt these are one of the very best binoculars that we have ever used, tested, or reviewed. From the top-hinge magnesium frame to the incredible ED Lens along with fully multi-coated optics almost every single component used in the Passion ED is of a comparable quality to binoculars that are double the price. The sharpness, clarity and true to life colour offered by these are our gold standard now and whilst they may be expensive the Passion ED would be our top pick over comparable spec binoculars in the £500-£1,000 bracket.