In autumn, don't miss the Great Andromeda Galaxy, which looks like a dimly glowing little oval cloud. Contrast its smoothness with the delicate sparkle of the Double Cluster in Perseus. Winter's crisp skies are great for scanning the Hyades and Pleiades star clusters, then sweeping down to gaze at the Great Orion Nebula in Orion's Sword. Spring brings the unique Beehive star cluster in the constellation Cancer.
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.

How much did the binoculars help? Probably not too much. That’s why to really test the quality and effectiveness of the equipment, you need to start with the unfamiliar, such as, say, a set of birds that you don’t see too often. Seeing unfamiliar birds requires the assimilation of a large number of unfamiliar marks all at once, preferably under physically demanding, or at least very different, circumstances.
"Great binoculars. I have used these binoculars on my last vacation to Florida. I could not put them down. The 20 magnification allowed me to view the birds,dolphins and some other sea creatures from the balcony of my condo. It is like being in the ocean with the dolphins. The fact they are also waterproof was very handy since i dropped them in the ocean. I panicked,but they were just fine."

Bill Stewart says that he has seen many beginning birders make the mistake of buying binoculars based on a brand or recommendation and then finding themselves disappointed with the feel or view they experience in the field. He also has seen birders “buy down instead of up” to save some money initially. They often end up spending more the second time around when they feel that they need to upgrade to a better pair, he says.


I reviewed 10 pairs of compact binoculars from widely available brands before choosing the Pentax AD as our compact pick. The optics on all the compact binoculars I tested are good (even great) quality; all have retractable eyecups that sort of spin down to be flush with the lenses if you wear glasses; most are armored/rubberized, which means you can bump them around a bit, and (probably) even drop them, and they won’t be knocked out of alignment. Still, when all the compact models rode around in my back seat, I just kept reaching for the Pentax AD rather than the others.
The low-cost Pentax AD 8 x 25 WP are ideal for day hikes or airplane travel, where you want good-quality optics in a small package. Everything worked—the eyecups felt solid and comfortable, the hinges weren’t too loose, and focusing was quick and surprisingly accurate at any distance. Of course, this is not the pair for serious birding, stargazing, or anything requiring exceptional detail. But if you want inexpensive, very compact binoculars, this is the pair for you.

For 80mm binoculars, look for a tripod that lists a capacity of at least 12lb and 15lb or more is better. Another thing to check is the actual weight of the tripod, light tripods will struggle when loaded with a binocular of equal weight or more. Generally because portability is rarely an issue when it comes to tripods for astronomical binoculars, bigger is better. Quick release plates are a convenient feature, to look for, but check to see if they fit very tightly, if they fit loosely in the tripod head, you will get some unwanted sag.


"These binoculars provide a clear view of wildlife in my backyard or while on a nature walk. I agree they are built like a tank, but not the weight. I was looking at other brands and decided on the Carson's VP series. I made my decision from reading the reviews and watching the Carson provided product videos. I can't wait to view more wildlife with them."

If you're brand new to optics in general, including astronomy optics, you'll also want to stop by our page about How to Buy Binoculars which walks a person through various criteria in choosing a binocular (this link takes you directly to the criteria). The various items, such as field of view, what kind of prism glass, the importance of coatings, objective sizes, how exit pupils and eye relief affect your experience, and so on there will be just as important to your enjoyment of the heavens as what you'll find here. Others have said they found the most benefit by using these two pages together.
"It's hard to know where to begin, when you decide you want to get more involved in stargazing. The Celestron SkyMaster Binoculars are a fantastic entrance into the world of stargazing, for a low price point! If you're unsure if you'd like to take stargazing up as a professional hobby, these are a fantastic buy, to help you see the stars and to see if you'd like to further explore astronomy!"

However instead of just doing what most other guides and review sites do and just list a bunch of instruments for you to choose from, claiming that they are all the best, in this guide I will go over in detail what you need to look for and how you can go about choosing the best pair for your particular needs and budget as well as offer some recommendations based on the binos that I have actually fully tested and reviewed.


It was during my training into becoming a field guide (safari guide) that I learnt in any detail some of the southern hemisphere's star constellations, it was also the first time that I had ever really looked at the stars through binoculars. Even though I was only using my compact Steiner 10.5x28 Wildlife Pro's which are far more suited to looking at wildlife than the stars, I was amazed at just how many more stars you can see through binoculars than you can with the naked eye, so much so that it became difficult to pick out the constellations because of all the "new" stars that I could now see.
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.
At Optics4Birding, we’re serious about this hobby, and we’re committed to providing our customers with the best equipment at competitive prices. We’ve built our reputation on our outstanding customer service, and we stand behind every product we sell with a no-hassle return policy and easy online ordering options. We are happy to offer a rock-solid Price Guarantee to our customers, too: We will meet or beat any advertised price from an authorized dealer on the same item. And, most orders ship free!

The “42” in our 10x42 binocular refers to the diameter of the objective (front) lens in millimeters. Since the objectives will often be the largest portion of the optic, it will affect the overall size and weight of the binocular, and how much light it can gather. In basic terms: larger objectives allow more light to pass through them than smaller lenses, which means images will appear brighter, sharper, and clearer. However, the larger objectives will also add bulk and weight, and that is where certain tradeoffs and compromises need to be considered when deciding if certain models will be convenient to carry, pack, hold, and use comfortably.


Most standard tripods can be used, but because you are looking upwards, it does mean that the eyepieces will be in an awkward position. The best way to get around this is to use a chair and position yourself almost under the tripod. With traditional tripods this can be a little awkward as the legs often get in the way. I recently tested a Vanguard Alta Pro tripod that has an adjustable central column that you can effectively use to position your binoculars away from the center of the tripod (see image below) so you can more easily position yourself under your optics, which I found worked really well for astronomy. For more read my review of the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT Tripod.
Stars in a cluster all formed from the same gas cloud. You can also see what the Pleiades might have like in a primordial state, by shifting your gaze to the prominent constellation Orion the Hunter. Look for Orion’s sword stars, just below his prominent belt stars. If the night is crisp and clear, and you’re away from urban streetlight glare, unaided eyes will show that the sword isn’t entirely composed of stars. Binoculars show a steady patch of glowing gas where, right at this moment, a star cluster is being born. It’s called the Orion Nebula. A summertime counterpart is the Lagoon Nebula, in Sagittarius the Archer.
The angle of view and field of view are basically the same. It is the measure of scenery which you can while looking through a rangefinder binocular. The angle of view is expressed in degrees. It can also be expressed in the form of Apparent Angle of View (AAOV). It can be measured by multiplying the magnification of the binocular with the Angle of view. The magnified field you see while looking through a binocular is the AAOV. So the field of view would be wider with an increase in AAOV. THE AAOV is considered to be wide if the angle is more than 60 to 65 degrees.
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Ever since ancient times, mankind has gazed up at the skies in wonder. Some of our most profound discoveries came from people who had little more than their eyes and their wits to consider the cosmos. But these astronomy binoculars give modern-day stargazers capabilities the geniuses of old could only have dreamt of, bringing the mysteries of space closer than ever before. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best astronomy binocular on Amazon.
Putting a binocular on a tripod or mount pushes the binocular into the telescope realm as far as operation goes, but it is the only way to handle magnifications over 15-20x effectively. A dedicated and specifically designed astronomy binocular with magnifications of 15x to 30x will show more detail and resolve more stars, though it still won't turn your binocular into a telescope. Still, there is nothing like the view in a 25x100mm binocular to take your breath away on a dark, clear night.
In a hunting situation, the Fusion’s ranging capabilities will be enough for all but the longest range hunters. One area some may be disappointed in is glass quality. I’d say glass is about on par with a pair of Vortex Viper HD’s. Definitely good enough for most but will leave some wanting more if spending a lot of time glassing. Another thing to note is the Fusions have a distinguishable blue tint to their glass. It is fairly minor but there is no doubt that it is there.

Given the extreme similarity of design across makes and models, minor details of construction and performance can take on outsize importance. If you’re a long-time binoculars user, the most surprising difference will be that most models now focus in reverse direction compared with your old pair, meaning now you crank right for closer-in objects. In a couple of models (e.g., Opticron Oregon 4 LE WP), the strap hooks were located exactly where I’d rest my thumbs when looking through binoculars; maybe it’s just me, but I couldn’t get used to that. In one of the Opticron models, the black paint was chipping off the strap rivets as I pulled them out of the box, and the ring around one of the eyecups had become loose and was freely spinning by the time I attached the neck strap. In the Nikon Prostaff 7S model, the rubberized coating is so tacky that it kept pulling back on my fingertips (under the fingernail) as I was working the focus knob. It wasn’t exactly painful, but it wasn’t comfortable either. Obviously, these are personal annoyances, and none was enough to knock any particular model out of consideration for top pick. But it is worth noting that the Athlon Optics Midas ED didn’t present any of these issues.
Recently back from birding in France where I got to try Swarovskis, and realized the difference between binos and Oh My God binos.  I'm looking to buy new birding binos, and am concerned about weight, but definitely want the best clarity.  I'm planning to come into your store in 2 weeks.  Any thoughts as to what I should be looking at?  (And yes, my budget will include Swaros, it's time to spoil myself!)  Note:  I do want to be able to view fairly closely as well.

For a pair of high powered rangefinder binoculars, they do give you a state-of-the-art view. You’ll want to take them outside and use them for a while if you want to see just how good the view is. The fact that they have very few aberrations means that you’ll be able to see every imperfection in a window. In both barrels, the optics are very sharp. Focus snap, as mentioned, is extremely precise, which is a sign of high quality optics. All in all, they’re among the best rangefinder binoculars for hunting or wildlife observation that you will come across.


With the list and buying guide above, you should be on your way towards making an informed buying decision. The binoculars that we wrote about above are some of the best rangefinder binoculars you can get today, and there are both budget options, and premium ones, depending on your budget, as well as your level of expertise. What can be said about all of them is that you really can’t go wrong with any one pair, regardless of whether it’s the Bushnell Fusion 1-Mile ARC, the Nikon LaserForce, or the Aomekie 7×50. Just take a look at your budget, then take a look at your needs, then make your choice!
When shopping for binoculars, there is a lot to consider: magnification versus mass, field of view, prism type, optical quality ("sharpness"), light transmission, age of the user (to match "exit pupil" size, which changes as we grow older), shock resistance, waterproofing and more. To choose the right binoculars for yourself, check out our Buyer's Guide: How to Choose Binoculars for Stargazing. 
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