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.
Note that most 15x, 20x or 25x binoculars can still be used without a tripod for short periods of time. A tripod is recommended if you want to use them for longer periods of time or if you choose to buy the larger and heavier models. Remember that high magnification will allow you to see further and in more detail. The downside is that with higher magnification usually comes a narrower field of view and a less stable image.
Look for bright, crisp, true color. Image quality has an overriding importance. How bright are the bins? How sharp? How true are the colors? How well do they resolve details in a backlit image? Most optics stores are better lit than your average forest—find somewhere dark to compare low-light performance. In our ratings, pay special attention to the Clarity/Crispness score to decide on image quality. Note that because of poor image quality, we don’t recommend any compact-style binoculars with objective lenses smaller than about 30 mm.

Beginning each autumn and into the spring, look for a tiny dipper-like cluster of stars called the Pleiades.  The cluster – sometimes also called the Seven Sisters – is noticeable for being small yet distinctively dipper-like. While most people say they see only six stars here with the unaided eye, binoculars reveal many more stars, plus a dainty chain of stars extending off to one side. The Pleiades star cluster is looks big and distinctive because it’s relatively close – about 400 light years from Earth. This dipper-shaped cluster is a true cluster of stars in space.  Its members were born around the same time and are still bound by gravity.  These stars are very young, on the order of 20 million years old, in contrast to the roughly five billion years for our sun.
Combining excellent optical performance with ruggedness, portability, and comfort, the 10x50 Diamondback Binocular from Vortex Optics (B&H # VODB10X50) is ideal to take along on your hiking trips, camping, traveling, or just in case. The specially designed optics feature improved transmission, contrast, and true color using fully multi-coated lenses and phase-corrected roof prisms. With the improved close focus of 7' you will get plenty of focusing range and a sharp focus on faraway scenery as well as close-ups of nearby street signs, monuments' details, or wildlife. The combination of 10x magnification and the 50mm objectives, which are ideal for low-light conditions and even star-gazing, offers you a generous 6° angle of view that gives you complete images of targets.
You’ll want to start your moon-gazing when the moon is just past new – and visible as a waxing crescent in the western sky after sunset. At such times, you’ll have a beautiful view of earthshine on the moon.  This eerie glow on the moon’s darkened portion is really light reflected from Earth onto the moon’s surface.  Be sure to turn your binoculars on the moon at these times to enhance the view. 

For exquisite ergonomics and handling ability, the Carl Zeiss Victory RF Binoculars offer great rangefinding ability coupled with advanced optics. Featuring a built-in calculator that allows you to compute ballistic trajectories with ease, the laser rangefinder can take accurate measurements almost instantly up to 1,300 yards. The lenses are multi-coated and work exceptionally well in low-light conditions thanks to the 45mm diameter.

I am shopping for a pair of binoculars for my husband and I to use on an expedition to Antarctica next year. Then, the following year, I would like to use the same binoculars for a safari, possibly buying a second pair by then. I'm having analysis paralysis trying to decide betwenn 8x and 10x and also 32 or 42. Several seem like good choices: Zeiss, 8x32 Terre ED, Hawke Sport Optics 8x42, Vortex Diamondback 10x42 and Nikon 10x42 ProStaff 3S. My husband will probably use them more than I will since I will be the one behind the camera but I definitely want to be able to share them. You can tell my price range from the models listed. Advice is appreicated. Thank you.
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.
I took my initial 17 models to a few of my favorite local Southern California beaches, mountains, and deserts for a couple weeks to get a feel for their handling characteristics and durability, and to get a rough feel for their images’ quality. But I couldn’t get an accurate handle on what actually looked better in such a familiar setting. My brain and its stored knowledge of overfamiliar birds take over, and binoculars are a lot harder to evaluate. That’s because with familiar objects, you know what you’re going to see even before you lift the binoculars.
Also concerning zoom binoculars stay away from them. Zoom binoculars show up in greater numbers for repairs than any other design. They were originally developed as a “gimmick” to encourage sales simulating the success of sales of zoom camera lenses.U.S. military specification design is still the best design for binoculars, although not as popular as the center focus design. If someone is advertising their binoculars as “military design binoculars, just make sure they are U.S. military design and not someone else’s military. U.S. military specification design means that each eyepiece has to be focused for each eye, that the barrels of the binocular are sealed or water proofed, and filled with nitrogen, prisms are Bak-4, and the lens are fully multi-coated.Center focus binoculars are not usually water proofed and filled with nitrogen. You achieve focus with a center focus wheel and the right eye piece for the right eye. For a good center focus binocular make sure the prisms are Bak-4 and the lens are fully multicoated.
The quality of the glass or prism used in the rangefinder binocular makes a great difference in measuring the range. Using a generic glass or prism can dent the quality of the image given by the binocular. A slight bend in the glass or prism would result in making the colors look off and give an odd projection of the target. Glasses which are low or extra low dispersed glasses are ideal to give you non-distorted image quality. These glasses are also called specialized glasses. It transmits the light without bending it, giving you crystal clear images without any colors looking oddly off. So, do get to know the type of glass or prism which is used by the manufacturers for the rangefinder binocular.
Harnesses For most of us, the neck strap that comes with most binoculars is fine. For those who require more, there are numerous options for you. Some are designed to redistribute the weight of the binocular from the neck to the back and shoulders. Others provide a stabilizing function to allow you to hold the optic in your hand while virtually eliminating hand shake or other movements. For those who do activities and want to keep their optic at the ready, some harnesses hold the binocular close to the body and greatly reduce swinging or swaying while running, climbing, or skiing.
If this japanese-made binocular looks European, that’s entirely intentional. It’s the first full-size bino from a new brand that hopes to marry European style and optical performance with retail prices achievable from the lower production costs of Asian partners. The Passion looks, feels, and performs like a higher-end European binocular. The machined aluminum eyecups are first-rate and the controls are tight and precise. The glass is excellent. The price is a bargain for an optic of this quality, especially considering the fully transferrable lifetime warranty.
Nikon has also entered the market with its Stabil-Eyes image stabilized binocular. While the body of the instrument is similar to the Fujinon Techno Stabi, Nikon has indicated that there are differences in its stabilization technology. Although we've not had opportunity to use Stabil-Eyes binoculars, we understand they have settings for both "Land" and "Sea" (not offered with Techno Stabis) and have heard reports that they do well with hand movements and tremors. We look forward to reviewing the Stabil-Eyes.
Most people have two eyes. Humans evolved to use them together (not all animals do). People create a continuous, stereoscopic panorama movie of the world within in their minds. With your two eyes tilted upward on a clear night, there's nothing standing between you and the universe. The easiest way to enhance your enjoyment of the night sky is to paint your brain with two channels of stronger starlight using a pair of binoculars. Even if you live in, or near, a large, light-polluted city, you may be surprised at how much astronomical detail you'll see through the right binoculars!
×