The world of binoculars is vast and constantly evolving. No matter what you’re using them for—from a night at the opera to hunting on the tundra to comet watching—there is something for everyone at every price. This article has offered a basic introduction to the terms and technologies that will affect your buying decision and the overall performance of the optic. After making your selection, don’t forget about the accessories that can enhance your viewing experience and turn a good view into a great view.
Recently, there was a post published on this site that covers the best binoculars in the market for hunters (at an affordable price) as well as how you should go about picking the one that suits you most. No doubt, it’s highly informational and if you are planning to get a binocular, I highly recommend you to take a look at that post first. And you probably realized, it didn’t cover the rangefinder aspect extensively.
The ultimate in efficiency, the Fusion melds the best of Bushnell binoculars with world-leading laser range finding capabilities. Every detail is magnified with rich contrast and stunning clarity from edge to edge using premium fully multi-coated optics and BaK-4 prisms. At the push of a button, it displays exact distance to your target from 10 to 1,760 yards.
Rangefinders are an important part of your hunting or sporting routine. It is a device which allows you to measure the distance between you and the target. On the other hand, binoculars are the device which is used to observe objects which are further away from us. When these devices were combined to make a binocular which can also show the range between you and the object, it resulted in the manufacture of rangefinder binoculars. Rangefinder binoculars are extremely handy because of the ease of use and the features it has.
On the back of binoculars, you will see some numbers like 8×40 or 10×50. The first number is the magnification power of the lenses. The bigger the number, the larger objects will appear through them. Higher is not always best as the image you see may be blurry and dim. The lens quality and other factors should be considered, too. There is not a lot of difference between a 7x or a 10x except in the price.
The clear majority of binoculars use a center focus system. The main focus wheel is set on the bridge between the two oculars and moves them symmetrically. With center focusing, many manufacturers will have a dioptric adjustment dial on one of the eyepieces to fine-tune the focus to match individual optical prescriptions. The dioptric correction amount is decided by each manufacturer, usually by model, and can be on the left or right eye, or both. Certain models have the dioptric correction integrated into the center focusing mechanism.
Birding can be a casual activity or it can be exacting scientific field work. Because of this, optical quality in binoculars should be of great importance to you. Premium optics will allow you to discern subtle color patterns on the breast and mantle and examine plumage on the wing bars. If accurate identification is your mission, you will want the best view you possible.

For four generations, we’ve relied on family-centric values and the examples of character Vernon Kinsey, our founder, gave us. When life challenged Vernon, leaving him paralyzed below the waist, he turned his passion for archery into a profession. He persevered, built a successful business, treated everyone with respect and never let challenges hold him back. Today, Kinsey’s Outdoors honors Vernon’s legacy as we continuously strive to spread and support a love of the outdoors, spending time hunting and fishing with family and friends. 

Another consideration are fixed focus binoculars (sometimes mistakenly referred to as auto focus binoculars, or sometimes slightly more accurately described as focus free or always in focus binoculars) These have a very large depth of view and once you have adjusted them to your eyesight, which only needs to be done once, they will be permanently in focus from a given distance to infinity. The obvious advantage of this is that you never have to change focus, which in terms of speed can't be beaten. On the down side,depending on the distance of the bird from your position, you won't always get the sharpest of images. If you want to learn more read my article on self focusing binoculars.

There are still other denizens of the solar system you can capture through binocs. Look for the occasional comet, which appears as a fuzzy blob of light. Then there are the asteroids – fully 12 of them can be followed with binoculars when they are at their brightest. Because an asteroid looks star-like, the secret to confirming its presence is to sketch a star field through which it’s passing. Do this over subsequent nights; the star that changes position relative to the others is our solar system interloper.

Recommendation: unless you’re looking to use your binoculars for a particular specialist task choose something in the 8x to 10x range for general bird watching and wildlife observation. Try out different magnifications to see which suits you better. Generally if you’re doing a lot of long distance observation (like scanning wading birds on estuaries or lagoons, for example) you may appreciate the higher magnification of a 10x. If you do a lot of wildlife watching at close quarters, or in enclosed places like woodlands trying to track small, fast-moving subjects, then the wider field of view of an 8x may suit you better.

The term “roof prism” was originally applied to the Abbe-Koenig (AK) prism design that corrected an image horizontally and vertically while maintaining a straight line from the point at which the light enters the prism and exits it. While the AK prism configuration is the most common, there are others that are variations on the original AK design, such as the Amici and Schmidt-Pechan (SP). While they accomplish the same basic function, the optical paths take different routes to correct the image orientation. The main advantage of the SP design is that it is more compact than both the Amici and AK prisms, resulting in thinner optical tubes that tend to be more comfortable to hold—especially during long glassing sessions. Zeiss is known for using SP prisms.


I am shopping for a pair of good binoculars for my husband for Christmas.  We attend all of the UGA games, so this pair would be used for viewing sporting events.  Our daughter is in the marching band there, so we will also use them to follow her on the field.  I have read about the image stabilization of the Canon produts, but I am not sure if we need it?  Do you have a great pair that you would recommend for my gift?  Also, my husband wear glasses
Thanks to vivid colors, contrast that doesn’t sacrifice sharpness at the peripheries, extremely smooth focusing and rugged, streamlined, compact build, the Diamondback has earned favorable comparisons to the Nikon Monarch 5, though it’s nearly half the price. And the finish feels nicer to me, less like a tennis grip and more like the Space Shuttle joystick, I imagine.
For most binoculars with 80mm or 100mm objective lenses, however, a tripod as typically used for light cameras for instance, will not be strong enough to hold a binocular weighing between 5 and 10 or more pounds (2.25 to 4.5+ kg). We're the kind of folks who figure we're likely to get an even heavier instrument later on, so we'll get a good, heavy-duty tripod to start with. That's just us, though, and you certainly don't NEED to get anything above and beyond what will serve your immediate needs! Just be sure the tripod you use for your giant astronomy binoculars won't collapse with resultant damage to your instrument!
For many people the ideal compromise will be a mid sized binocular which have objective lenses of around 32mm. These are becoming increasingly popular, and there are many good arguments in their favor. Whilst it is true that larger objectives can theoretically deliver brighter, higher resolution images, with magnifications of around 8x, it is actually quite hard to detect a qualitative difference between 42mm and 32mm objectives. In my opinion, at 8x or 10x, the quality of the optics and their coatings is far more important than the size of the lenses.
Going back to marine laser rangefinder binoculars, we have the Aomekie 7×50. This is a pair that’s truly made for the marine life. Seven times magnification is actually amazing, you won’t feel the need for anything more. The 50 mm lens, and a 24 mm eye relief, you can be sure that your eyes are protected, regardless of what’s going on. And a great thing about them is that even if you’re wearing spectacle glasses, using this pair of rangefinder binoculars won’t be an issue for you due to the way they’re made. All in all, they’re a great pair of binoculars. Let’s take a look at some of the details.
Binocular stargazing is an immensely pleasurable and fascinating activity. And Orion Telescopes & Binoculars has been the leading name in astronomy binoculars for three decades. Browse this section for Orion's all-star lineup of big-aperture astronomy binoculars. Any one of them can reveal countless treasures of the night sky. Two-eyed touring with astronomy binoculars is not only comfortable, but provides a more 3D-like depth of field than you get with a telescope, and can be done spur of the moment.
Here again, both of our Best Buy winners impressed, earning scores of 7 out of 10 for brightness. Both the Vortex Diamondback 8x28 and the Celestra Nature DX 8x42 produced exceptionally bright images when we used them midday in good light. Both models did struggle a bit in low-light situations, however. Many early morning birds lacked some color and looked more like silhouettes until the sun got a bit higher.
Colour fidelity: its important that wildlife and birding binoculars reproduce colours and tones accurately. For birding in particular correct identification can depend on differentiating between subtle variations in hue. Many binoculars have a subtle colour cast. The view through them is either slightly cool (bluish) or slightly warm (yellowish) compared to the view through the naked eye. This isn’t necessarily a problem as long as it’s not pronounced — but look for a binocular that’s as close to neutral colour reproduction as you can get.
When looking at spec sheets on binoculars, birders may notice that they have two standard types of prisms. Chris’s article gets deeper into this, but we will discuss it briefly here. The BAK4 prism provides a more circular field of view and is considered superior to the BK7 prism’s rectangular field of view, as the BK7 may cause vignetting of the image. There are wonderful binoculars with the BK7 prisms, so do not discount the variation; it is just something to be conscious of when comparing binoculars.

On the other hand, if you are happy to keep your binoculars fixed in one location and used mainly for astronomy and long distance viewing then go with a larger and more powerful model. Remember that the larger the lenses are, the better your binoculars will be for astronomy – as simple as that! It is no surprise that most astronomy binoculars are also referred to as “Giant Binoculars.” Big lenses mean brighter images.
Hopefully you found the information included above to be useful. You can use all of the information to streamline your decision-making process as to whether or not you want to purchase rangefinder binoculars, and also use it to better educate yourself about this technology – as well as others. They are definitely incredible tools, but may or may not be useful in your specific circumstance or situation.
At just under $120, any serious birder, hunter, or outdoorsman will tell you that the Nikon Prostaff S3 8x42 bins are quite affordable for what you’re getting. And while you can buy cheaper binoculars with more magnification power (I own such a pair and keep them bouncing around in my glove compartment), their quality — of both the lenses and the body — won’t match that of the Nikons. The low cost of these binoculars makes them a great choice for a first-time bino buyer, as does their large focus ring and easy-to-adjust eyecups. They also have a long eye relief, which is the distance away from the eyes that the binoculars can be held while still rendering a full field of view — making them great for people who are wearing glasses or sunglasses.
These binoculars features a large field of view with a 25mm objective lens and 10x magnification. The binos even feature a low light level night vision mode that can capture brilliant images at more than 1,000 yards away without giving up detail or clarity during the day or night. At a very inexpensive price point, you really can’t go wrong with this pick.
The good news is we really didn't run into any binoculars that were uncomfortable to hold. No matter what model you buy you'll likely be able to use them for hours on end without any nagging discomforts. However, small touches like the nice thumb indents on the Vortex Viper makes the bins feel a bit more ergonomic and comfortable. Likewise, the tacky rubber coating of the Nikon Monarch models lends a solid feeling grip whether you're fondling the barrels like you're double fisting beer cans, or using a dainty fingertip grip as if you're sipping tea at a fancy party.
If you want to explore the great outdoors with your kids, then the Educational Insights GeoSafari binoculars are the best pair to get them started. The pair of kid-friendly binoculars feature soft-grip handles for smaller hands, while kids can explore nature in-depth with their 30mm glass lenses and 4x magnification. There's also a trusty compass attached for some light orienteering. Moms and dads will love that these binoculars can help their kiddos get into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning. 
I am shopping for a pair of good binoculars for my husband for Christmas.  We attend all of the UGA games, so this pair would be used for viewing sporting events.  Our daughter is in the marching band there, so we will also use them to follow her on the field.  I have read about the image stabilization of the Canon produts, but I am not sure if we need it?  Do you have a great pair that you would recommend for my gift?  Also, my husband wear glasses
This term refers to the widest dimensions you can see through the lenses. It is measured in feet at 1000 yards.  So, FOV 1 is 52.2 feet by 1000 yards. The FOV is on the focus of the binoculars and to determine it multiply the degrees by 52.2 ( FOV is 5:  5 X 52.2 is 262.5 feet of viewing). You want a good FOV, but without sacrificing magnification so this is a matter of personal choice and testing different models to see what looks best to you. The Orion UltraView Wide-Angle binocular offer an exceptionally wide-angle view with minimal distortion, something important to consider when choosing binoculars for astronomy.
We are also big fans of the unique "Uni-body" design. The dual lenses are locked in a single housing with the eyepiece built for synchronizing movement. Just because they're small though doesn't mean you have to sacrifice quality or durability. These binoculars can still take in breathtaking images with their 21mm lens and 8.5x magnification that boasts exceptional edge-to-edge sharpness.
This term refers to the widest dimensions you can see through the lenses. It is measured in feet at 1000 yards.  So, FOV 1 is 52.2 feet by 1000 yards. The FOV is on the focus of the binoculars and to determine it multiply the degrees by 52.2 ( FOV is 5:  5 X 52.2 is 262.5 feet of viewing). You want a good FOV, but without sacrificing magnification so this is a matter of personal choice and testing different models to see what looks best to you. The Orion UltraView Wide-Angle binocular offer an exceptionally wide-angle view with minimal distortion, something important to consider when choosing binoculars for astronomy.
High quality optics and long-distance ranging capability come together in our all-new Fury™ HD 10x42 Laser Rangefinding Binocular. Convenience, speed, efficiency, and valuable dual-purpose functionality—all the advantages of a high-definition binocular perfectly paired with an angle compensated rangefinder. Right side controls are simple to use and easily manipulated with a single hand – leaving your other hand free to hold your bow, rifle, or other important piece of equipment.
Best Mid-Range: In The Genius of Birds, Jennifer Ackerman describes the sophisticated neural architecture of songbirds, a kind of ornithological ESP that may allow them to know what other birds are thinking. Some birds can do arithmetic, while others are “born Euclideans, capable of using geometric clues and landmarks to orient themselves in three-dimensional space, navigate through unknown territory, and locate hidden treasures.” That seems a good description of the Ranger EDs.
It is more comfortable to view the stars while lying flat in a sleeping bag on the ground or sitting in a chair. When lying on the ground in winter, you can protect yourself from the cold by spreading cardboard or a thermal insulating sheet for camping on the ground, thus preventing the coldness of the ground from reaching you. If you have a reclining chair, you can view the stars in a more comfortable position.
Inside a regular pair of binoculars, there are many glass surfaces from the objective lens to the eyepiece. If these are untreated, a small amount of light is lost at every glass surface. By the time light reaches your pupil, there is much less of it that started down at the objective lens, which dims the image you see and lowers the quality of your astronomy.
It seems like today manufacturers are putting cameras in or on just about anything – and binoculars are no exception. This growing class of binoculars feature integrated cameras, up to 13MP, with color display screen and a memory card slot. A simple user interface allows you to capture HD video or still images and either use the memory card to upload them to a computer or plug a cable into the two and transfer that way. For many people, if there isn’t a picture then it didn’t happen, so with this kind of binocular when you see that rare bird during the Spring Migration you can now quickly grab video of it and prove that you saw it.

Originally, they were used by military organizations. They wanted their soldiers to have as much real-time mission data as possible, and this technology let them have just that in specific situations. That technology later on trickled down, and we now have it available in the hunting and commercial enterprise world. They’re so common, actually, that people who use a pair of binoculars on a daily basis won’t even take a look at anything else but binoculars with rangefinders for hunting, or for anything else for that matter.


Each month, as the moon goes through its regular phases, you can see the line of sunrise and sunset on the moon progress across the moon’s face. That’s just the line between light and dark on the moon. This line between the day and night sides of the moon is called the terminator line.  The best place to look at the moon from Earth – using your binoculars – is along the terminator line. The sun angle is very low in this twilight zone, just as the sun is low in our sky around earthly twilight.  So, along the terminator on the moon, lunar features cast long shadows in sharp relief.
Whilst both telescopes and astro binoculars are designed to give you a better view of the heavens at night, they both have their unique advantages and disadvantages and thus the best option will vary depending on your requirements at that moment. It is because of this, most people that a very interested in astronomy and practice it a lot, will posses at least one telescope AND a pair of bins.
On the other hand, if you are happy to keep your binoculars fixed in one location and used mainly for astronomy and long distance viewing then go with a larger and more powerful model. Remember that the larger the lenses are, the better your binoculars will be for astronomy – as simple as that! It is no surprise that most astronomy binoculars are also referred to as “Giant Binoculars.” Big lenses mean brighter images.
Best Compact: The Cadillac Fleetwood of birding binoculars, this new iteration of the Leica Ultravid 8x32s is unquestionably worth the price tag, if you can afford it. Lightweight, exquisitely balanced, great in smoldering sun, easy to focus, with a wide field of view and surgical sharpness that stays undiminished in low light, and they just about squeeze into the front pocket of my J.Crew chinos (regular fit).
Nikon offers a 25 year limited warranty with these binoculars.  For added peace of mind, the Monarchs also come with a no-fault repair/replace guarantee. There are some exceptions-read the warranty info before you buy. Coupled with excellent customer service, the Nikon 7295 Monarch ATBs is a wise choice for birdwatchers looking for lightweight bins.

I read your article and was interested in finding out more about the Digiscoping.  When I clicked on the link, which took me to see what products B&H was selling, I became very confused as to what I would actually need, since it showed "adapter rings", "holders", "SnapZoom adapters", etc.  We will soon be leaving for a South African (photo) Safari.  I have an Iphone 6 & my husband has an Iphone 7.  We also have some older binoculars (but I spent several hours researching the best options for possibly purchasing a new pair).  Since this is a one time trip, I do not want to invest a fortune (maybe $150 - $300), but I want to be able to get good views of the animals and possibly take some decent pictures of them, as well.  Can you please make some appropriate suggestions.  Also, are these new gadgits user friendly and will any of them work with older binoculars (Bushnell Citation, 7x35 or Bushnell Imageview 11-1025,10x25)? (The Bushnell Imageview 11-1025 has a built in camera, but drivers are no longers availble to download the pictures from it).  Any & all information would be greatly appreciated.

Welcome to Optics4Birding, the birding experts’ choice since 1992. We’re passionate about birding, and we’ve hand-selected a range of birding optics and accessories that are perfect for getting the most out of this engaging pastime. Optics4Birding has optics for any budget, from beginners to serious enthusiasts, researchers, and birding tour operators. Of course, we carry brands that are well-respected in the optics industry - brands like Zeiss, Leica, Nikon, Swarovski, Vortex, and many more. We are authorized dealers for every manufacturer we sell.


Another metal alloy, magnesium, is used because of its high strength-to-weight ratio. All things being equal on two identical binoculars, except that one has an aluminum chassis and the other magnesium, the magnesium will be several ounces lighter. Why does this matter? If you’re planning on holding them up to your eyes for long periods of time, a lighter optic will cause less fatigue. Magnesium is very strong so it will hold up to abuse, and has the benefit of being corrosion-resistant.
"I bought these binoculars for an upcoming trip to Alaska. I was a little nervous about getting binoculars from a company I had never heard of... All the other binoculars in this price range would have involved some kind of compromise, either a narrow field of view or a of lack of ED glass or a long minimum focusing distance. These binoculars ticked all the boxes for me, and I stayed within my budget (although it was the high end of my budget)."
Obviously, early technology was nowhere near as accurate as modern day technology is (is likely that technology will continue to advance in the future), but you should still be able to get a fantastically accurate reading every single time you bring a pair of rangefinders up to your eyes. There are definitely some limitations to this technology, however.

Our runner-up, the Celestron TrailSeeker 8x42s, have rugged, armored construction and were among the lightest binoculars we tested, at 23 ounces (the Athlons weigh two ounces more). Celestron has been making high-quality consumer telescopes since the 1960s, but also offers a huge line of binoculars (over 14 lines, and more than 30 different models).
Going back to marine laser rangefinder binoculars, we have the Aomekie 7×50. This is a pair that’s truly made for the marine life. Seven times magnification is actually amazing, you won’t feel the need for anything more. The 50 mm lens, and a 24 mm eye relief, you can be sure that your eyes are protected, regardless of what’s going on. And a great thing about them is that even if you’re wearing spectacle glasses, using this pair of rangefinder binoculars won’t be an issue for you due to the way they’re made. All in all, they’re a great pair of binoculars. Let’s take a look at some of the details.
There are still other denizens of the solar system you can capture through binocs. Look for the occasional comet, which appears as a fuzzy blob of light. Then there are the asteroids – fully 12 of them can be followed with binoculars when they are at their brightest. Because an asteroid looks star-like, the secret to confirming its presence is to sketch a star field through which it’s passing. Do this over subsequent nights; the star that changes position relative to the others is our solar system interloper.
Keep 'em dry! The most common binocular problem, aside from getting knocked out of alignment, is moisture-related stains (often fungus) forming on the internal prisms and lenses. So be sure to let yours dry thoroughly after stargazing on a dewy night, or after bringing them into a humid house from the outdoor cold. If you expect dew and humidity to be a problem, consider sealed, waterproof binoculars such as these.
×