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
Your binoculars represent a significant investment — and you want a pair that is going to serve you well for many years. One useful guide to the longevity of a pair of binoculars is the type of warranty offered by the manufacturer. While not infallible, this at least gives you a steer on the manufacturer’s confidence in the quality of their product.
The 10×50 magnification will enable you to see the moon in more detail and many more stars in the night sky, however these are not specialist astronomy binoculars and you won’t be spotting planets or deep-sky objects like galaxies. Think more of a low-cost all-rounder that you might like to have around the house and take on trips rather than a serious piece of astronomy equipment.
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.
I’ve owned and used a pair of Bushnell bins for many years, and these are a hell of a lot cheaper than mine were a number of years back, yet they have the same decent 8x magnification power and a large 42mm diameter lens that soaks in plenty of light. Distant objects are bright and easy to see even in dim light when I have this pair of Bushnells raised to my eyes. The locking system also helps keep the ideal focal settings in place even when I jostle the hardware around, making the Legend L-Series great all-purpose binoculars for hunters, hikers, birders, and more.

To find a manageable group of testing finalists, we first eliminated companies that make only one model and that don’t exist outside of their Amazon presence. We also ruled out companies with just one model in our target price range, based on the logic that those binoculars are less likely to be widely available in the future, particularly if they get damaged and you need to return them. This left us with 17 models of 8×42 binoculars, priced mostly under $350:

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Best Deal: I beat the living shit out of these poor things on a five-day camping trip in western North Dakota (inadvertently, of course). To start, I nearly dropped them in a prairie-dog burrow. Then they went straight into the Little Missouri River and came out as good as new (like most binoculars these days, the Monarch’s multi-coated lenses are impervious to water and fog). At a low point, I considered using them to prop up my shaky camp stove, but thought again. I could’ve done slightly better on size and weight with the Leicas or Mavens, but on durability? I doubt it.
Binoculars are not required for birding, of course. Audubon’s Eric Lind recommends going out with a group of birders and trying their binoculars before you make a purchasing decision. The social aspects of birding, the sharing a sense of wonder and discovery, and the life-long learning experience is what makes birding so popular. There is no better way to cultivate that aspect of birding than through sharing the view of a bird through a friend’s binoculars or by handing your favorite pair to a family member to let them share in the experience.

If you want a pair of binoculars for traveling or for the convenience of having a pair you can slip into your pocket, then a compact pair is for you. However, for distant subjects, or viewing in dim light (like, under the canopy of the rainforest), or for quickly finding fast-moving birds in dense vegetation, you’ll probably want to buy full-size binoculars rather than compacts.


Basically, a rangefinder binocular is a combined device of both a binocular and a rangefinder. The binocular will provide clear, distant vision while the rangefinder will calculate and show you the approximate distance of a targeted object from the point you are viewing. Due to the fact that both of these devices complement each other to provide a better hunting experience, rangefinder binoculars have been getting serious attention among the hunting tribes.
Hunting binoculars make it easy to spot prey at long distances so you can clearly detect and perfect your shot. We feature binoculars with 12x and higher magnifications for long-range viewing and hunting purposes, as well as options with scratch-resistant coatings, secure lenses and comfortable eyecups for long periods of use. Choose between our different durable and reliable roof prism binoculars and porro prism binoculars to find the best match for your specific hunting needs. Just remember that while you're on the hunt, be sure you're carrying the best binoculars that Academy can offer.
Here it's the little things that count. The Swarovski bins are the only of the three that put thumb indents at the bottom of the barrels, and it makes a world of difference. The Swarovskis feel so much better in hand than the other models. The slightly narrower base of the Zeiss barrels made for a more comfortable hold than the Leics bins, but neither held a candle to the Swarovskis.
Any good designed binocular, whether the U.S. specification design or the center focus design, will have Bak-4 prisms, fully multi-coated lens, air-spaced objectives, and nitrogen filled tubes sealed with o-rings to water proof the binocular.Bak-4 prisms, fully multi-coated optics, and air-spaced objectives allow for better light transmission, and therefore, a better view. Air-spaced objectives allow for better resolution. The nitrogen filled tubes sealed with o-rings keeps water, whether of the liquid variety or the vapor variety, from entering the binoculars system and causing mold or mildew to grow.

***Important Note: Most companies don’t reveal much detail when it comes to the below information. These are kept a secret so as not to lose a competitive advantage. For example, Zeiss has been in business a LONG time. They have perfected their engineering and coatings over many years and are not very willing to share their best practices with other companies!***
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'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!"
For the better part of two decades, all of my birding was done with a cast-off pair of Eddie Bauer 10 x 25 compact binoculars that seemed to have fallen down a chimney. The previous owner must have been glad to get rid of them. You could scarcely read a stop sign at 300 feet, and they were covered, inexplicably, with some kind of sooty marl, like a moss-colored gunpowder.
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.
The discussion in the opening paragraphs dealt with the two main types of prism configurations, but beyond that, the materials that the prisms are made of greatly impact image quality. BAK4, or Barium Crown glass, is considered the best type of prism material. It has a high refractive index and lower critical angle than other materials, which means it transmits light better with less light being lost due to internal reflection—such as from internal bubbles trapped during the manufacturing process.
With 10x and even more powerful binoculars you will get more detail which is good for spotting birds of prey, waterfowl, and large birds or wildlife. These birds tend to be slower moving and are often out in the open, where the narrow field of view will also not be such an issue. When using a very high-powers (approx. 12x or more), you will need a very steady hand or tripod or some sort of image stabilization and it is very important to stay away from cheap binoculars with high magnifications.
Adjust the Binoculars for Your Eyes - This final adjustment is the most important because it will deliver the sharpest image. Your eyes are different from each other, so each of your binoculars' eyepieces can be focussed separately to be perfect for both of your eyes. They do this with a diopter setting. The eyepiece which can rotate independently of the binocular body is the one with the diopter setting. See how to do this in the section below.
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.
Another thing you have to keep in check is the lens coating. A lens coating is films applied to the lens to reduce reflections and glares which might affect your vision of the target. It also enhances light transmission and makes the colors look more vibrant. It might look great to put a blue-tinted coating in the lens, but the idea of applying a coating is to make the image look better. So keep in mind that coating is to make things better and not just to make the device look better.
To find the best binoculars, we had a professional ornithologist spend over 100 hours field-testing 17 pairs against his own $2,500 Leica Ultravids. After using our test pairs in the mountains and hills of Southern California, then on a research trip to the rain forests of southern Mexico, he found that the Athlon Optics Midas ED 8×42 pair was the best of the group, offering performance comparable to his Leicas for a fraction of the price and the widest field of view out of all the binoculars tested. This means you’ll see more, and it will look better.
Terms such as coated, multi-coated and fully multi-coated refer to the location and type of coating processes used. Coated lenses are the most basic and denote that at least one lens surface has at least one layer of coating on it. Multi-coated means that multiple surfaces are coated and/or multiple layers of coatings have been applied to each surface. Fully multi-coated means that all surfaces—inner and outer—of the lenses have multiple layers applied to them. This treatment offers the highest level of light transmission, clarity, contrast, and color rendition. At the pinnacle is broadband fully multi-coated. These coatings are engineered to be effective across a wide spectrum of wavelengths and provide the best performance.
Bucking the trend, Walker Golder, Deputy Director of Audubon North Carolina, is a shore-bird specialist who uses an old pair of Leica 8x32 binoculars. For closer views, he switches to a spotting scope, but the 8x32s are, according to him, “small enough for me to put around my neck and they don’t get in the way as I move and get in and out of boats.” He generally recommends 10x for shorebird viewing for others.

Seeing as all of the major manufacturers of optics have a pair or two of laser rangefinder binoculars, it’s no surprise that Nikon wants to be in that game as well. The LaserForce 10×42 is among their best offerings, but what really makes it stand out is the 1900 yards distance however, that number should be taken with a grain of salt. Even Nikon themselves mention that the number was achieved under their measurement conditions, and you might not be able to achieve the same in less-than-ideal conditions. Aside from that, its features and specifications are more or less on par with other premium offerings from that price range. Let’s take a better look at the specs.
In contrast, both the Swarovski and Leica models require you to pull back on the focus knob until it actually moves and you hear a click. Then you can use the focus knob to adjust the diopter. Once you're done, you can push the focus knob back into its original position, and you're good to go. While this mechanism works great on both models, there is the slight chance that you could pull the focus knob back in a fit of excitement and completely miss that Swainson's hawk flying by. This is by no means a common occurrence, but it is possible.
With 10x and even more powerful binoculars you will get more detail which is good for spotting birds of prey, waterfowl, and large birds or wildlife. These birds tend to be slower moving and are often out in the open, where the narrow field of view will also not be such an issue. When using a very high-powers (approx. 12x or more), you will need a very steady hand or tripod or some sort of image stabilization and it is very important to stay away from cheap binoculars with high magnifications.
That’s not much to go on, and a lousy assessment of an optic’s best asset: the glass inside its tubes. That’s where Out- door Life’s annual Optics Test can help. We rst measure the optical clarity of a bin- ocular or riflescope on a resolution range. Then our test team (for personnel, see p. 54) measures how late into the darkness the submissions can see a black-and-white target (we do this on three separate eve- nings and average the results). We then peer into the guts of the optic with ash- lights, assessing internal lens coatings and quality of construction. We shoot with the riflescopes to assess their reticles and turrets. We glass with binoculars. We rate products on repeatable measurements of optical and mechanical capability and on subjective assessments of performance. We also assign a value score to each optic; the product with the best value score wins our Great Buy award. The top overall score in each category gets our Editor’s Choice award.
The terms “angle of view” and “field of view” are complementary. Both terms describe the amount of scenery, measured horizontally, that is visible when looking through a binocular. Imagine standing in the middle of a giant pizza pie; binoculars with a 6.3-degree angle of view would show the viewer a 6.3-degree “slice” of the 360-degree pie, looking outward.
Concerning the image stabilized binoculars from Canon, these are excellent binoculars for astronomy and do not require a tripod. They are just expensive. The 15 x 50 is a good choice, because of the wider field and ease of use than the 18 x 50 model. Also even though they do not require a tripod, better to put them on one. The later models do come with a standard threaded hole for a tripod. By using a tripod, you free your hands up to take notes or read a star chart without having to go back and find what you were looking at.
Eye-cups are related to the eye relief as they keep the distance from the oculars to our eyes, but also help keep stray light away from your eyes while using binoculars. Many eye-cups are made from rubber and can roll up or down depending on whether you use lasses or not. The problem with these is that the constant rolling causes the eye-cups to break. Another type are eye-cups that slide rather than roll, but these can be hard to keep in place. The third type are eye-cups that twist up and down and so they can be left at any position from all the way up to all the way down, some even have click stops at regular intervals with the eye relief distance for each stop marked on the cup so you can get the perfect eye relief for your vision. (importance 8/10 if you uses glasses not hugely important if you don't)
This double-hinge pocket binocular would make a good travel optic, but it had enough shortcomings—uncoated lenses, dust in the interior, and a maddeningly tiny focus wheel—that the panel worried about its durability and overall suitability as a hunting tool. A few testers, though, noted the weight (10 ounces) and suggested that the Hawke is a good go-anywhere optic that could be pulled out when you need it. The price is right, but we’d probably opt for the 8X in this platform.
Choosing the right binoculars with rangefinder function will depend upon each user’s circumstances. Some users value certain aspects more than others. The ability to view distant targets may be a top priority, so a unit with great optics may be most important. Other users need extremely accurate distances to targets and game, so the rangefinder aspect will be paramount.
Depth of field: the depth of field is a term that describes the amount of a scene, from near to far, that appears sharp at any given point of focus. This factor is often overlooked, but a better depth of field means less “fiddling” with the focus wheel in use, and can make a huge difference to your experience when using binoculars in the field for extended periods.
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.
Also, unlike every other model we tested (except the Nikon Prostaff compacts), the Pentax AD’s fasteners for the straps are located between the eyepieces, not along the sides of the body where they poke into your thumbs as you focus. Of course, this meant the straps tend to get in the way a bit whenever you lift the binoculars to your eyes, but this was a minor inconvenience rather than a dealbreaker. The rubberized eyepieces of the Pentax AD also felt comfortable against my eyes and are also less prone to temperature fluctuations in the field, so you won’t freeze when the weather is cold.
Their build quality is good which is actually a bit surprising, as many manufacturers’ first place for cutting corners when they want to save money is build quality. Fortunately, BARSKA decided to go against that, and you have an ergonomic, non-slip grip which won’t fall out of your hand. The rubber armor is shockproof and heavy duty and will hold in various rough conditions. Another great thing while we’re discussing the build quality is that the binoculars are floating, and even if you do manage to drop them in the water, they’ll stay on the surface, making them easy to find. Like you’d expect, they’re fully waterproof, and sealed with O-rings. They are also filled with nitrogen, which means they won’t fog up or get damaged by moisture, regardless of the weather conditions. By now this might be a common sighting with binoculars of this class, but you don’t notice how useful it is until you’ve had to use a pair that doesn’t have that kind of protection.
Often Brighter - All 8x42 binoculars create a 5.25mm exit pupil (42mm/8 = 5.25mm). Basically the exit pupil is the diameter of the column of light coming out of the eyepieces. A larger objective lens provides a wider column and allows more light to enter your eyes when your pupils dilate at night. The average pupil of a young person dilates only to about 7mm even in darkness. As we age, our eyes' ability to dilate gradually diminishes, so a 5.25mm exit pupil may deliver all the light your eye can use, even in dim-light conditions. Therefore, a 42mm objective is a good, practical compromise between brightness and weight. In daylight, when your pupils contract to around 3mm, most of the light coming out of the binoculars will fall outside the pupil and never enter your eyes at all and so making the exit pupil larger won't make the image look any brighter.

Another feature we deemed essential was proper functioning for users with glasses. Your binoculars work only when the proper distance between your eye and the binoculars’ ocular lens (the lens on the eyepiece end) is maintained. Glasses would increase that distance if you didn’t have a way to adjust the inboard or outboard position of the ocular lens. This feature is called eye relief, and the standard recommendation is that those who wear glasses need a minimum of 15 mm of adjustability. Old-fashioned eye relief meant a pair of rubber cups that rolled down to bring your glasses to the proper distance; those cups are still found on some binoculars, but we don’t recommend them, because they’ll eventually stiffen or even tear. Preferable are eyepieces that twist downward into a more compact position, a feature that all of our picks have.

Canon recently refreshed their line up of image-stabilized binoculars with new versions of their venerable 10×30 and 12×36 models. (They’ve also released three completely new binoculars utilizing a different image-stabilization mechanism: 10×32, 12×32, and 14×32, due out some time in November, 2017.) The 12×36s go from version II (reviewed here) to III, and the 10×30s are updated to version II. What are the differences and are the changes a reason to upgrade? To find out, I obtained a 10×30 IS II to evaluate. Continue reading “Review: Canon 10×30 IS II Image-Stabilized Binoculars”
Whether you're looking for an inexpensive first pair of binoculars, or want a good, secondary, compact pair that won't break the bank, the Vortex DiamondBack 8x28 will serve you well. These relatively small bins tip the scales at just 15 ounces, yet can provide enough brightness and clarity to identify small birds on a bright day. Top that off with high-quality construction and a smooth focus knob, and you've got an excellent pair of budget bins.

Mercury and Venus. These are both inner planets.  They orbit the sun closer than Earth’s orbit.  And for that reason, both Mercury and Venus show phases as seen from Earth at certain times in their orbit – a few days before or after the planet passes between the sun and Earth.  At such times,  turn your binoculars on Mercury or Venus. Good optical quality helps here, but you should be able to see them in a crescent phase. Tip: Venus is so bright that its glare will overwhelm the view. Try looking in twilight instead of true darkness.

Muirden, James. Sky Watcher’s Handbook. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company Limited, 1993. Basically, a good review of the use of binoculars and telescopes for different types of observing. Intermediate to advanced. There is always something interesting or important to read or refer to in this book. An amateur who has specialized in observing a particular object writes each area of observing.North, Gerald. Advanced Amateur Astronomy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Basic review of binoculars. Other topics well covered, especially, lunar and planetary material. Book is advanced and technical, but full of useful information.


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.


This light and bright binocular is built around extra-low-dispersion (ED) glass. We liked the image, especially the clear periphery, and we loved the aggressive open-hinge design that enables one-hand operation. Other nice touches are the oversize focus wheel, the center-hinge locking diopter control, and the lovely nylon carry case. But the focus wheel is spongy, and the eyecups felt flimsy and imprecise. Although the optics are solid, the Vanguard finished in the middle of the field in resolution and low-light performance.

Continuing the trend of good options for the budget-minded individuals, we have the BARSKA Deep Sea 7×50 binoculars. Similar in style to the previous two offerings, this pair is excellent for water lovers and boating enthusiasts. They offer a similar set of functionalities as the previous two binoculars with rangefinders on our list, but their style and color choice is a bit different. They don’t have that green, military style, but instead come in a black and blue color combination. Nevertheless, they look pretty good.


Kinsey's Outdoors strives to offer a wide variety of the most current product selection for all outdoor enthusiasts from the beginner to expert. In every department, we have several highly technically knowledgeable "Outdoor Guides" to offer assistance in making your selections. Kinsey's outdoors offers a wide assortment of products, with the best technically knowledgeable staff, and backed with top quality service after the sale.
Quality construction also lends to a longer life for well cared for products. We judged each pair based on any alignment issue we could visually see, how smooth the hinges for adjusting the interpupillary distance were, we noted if anything was loose or coming apart, and we also took note of our biggest pet peeve: how well the lens caps fit. There is nothing like losing a lens cap to frustrate you on a trip.
Compact binoculars are essentially scaled-down versions of full-size binoculars, with similar rubberized construction to protect against impacts, waterproof seals, a central focusing knob, twisting eyecups, and foldable hinges—yet they are about half the size and weight (around 10 ounces vs. 25 ounces or more). Because the lenses are narrower, the field of view (how wide an area you see while looking through them) is reduced compared with that of any full-size model. But, particularly if you have neck/shoulder pain or don’t mind sacrificing a little optical performance for the ease of packing them in a pocket or tote bag, they’re a solid choice for “light” birding, butterfly-watching, or botanizing. They’re also ideal for mountain biking or backpacking, when you may want to look at a couple things on the trip, but they’re not constantly in use.

Different styles suit different people. My personal preference is for the modern single-hinge design (as found in my Swarovski SLC HD and the Vortex Razor HD reviewed on this site recently), followed by the traditional single hinge and finally the double open-hinge design that has become so popular today (a trend started by the popular Swarovski EL series, and used by the Docter 8×42 ED and Vanguard Endeavor 8.5×45 ED we reviewed recently).
While telescopes have traditionally been the go-to device for viewing the heavens, binoculars actually offer a few distinct advantages. One of the biggest drawbacks of telescopes is their size. Even a small telescope is much larger than your average pair of binoculars. This seriously hinders their portability. If you are taking a multi-day camping and hiking trip, lugging along a giant telescope would be impractical for nighttime stargazing.
I compared these side by side to Vortex Fury and Swarovski EL and could see no difference in optical quality. I have ranged beyond 1K yds without trouble on a tripod. As others have stated range results are returned quickly. Angle compensation is a plus (returns horizontal distance) One down side is the mushy rubber coating. Sand and dust stick to these thing like glue.
As we mentioned, there are dozens of binoculars with rangefinder available, and it can be a confusing task to find the right one. But no worries we are here to help! We have researched a lot of different products and picked the ten best range finding binoculars. Each one is of the highest quality, offers excellent image quality, and has pro-level features. So let's zoom in on the winners.
When you’re new to stargazing, the first step seems obvious: buy a new telescope. But what will serve you just as well is a good pair of binoculars for astronomy. Binoculars bring the stars a bit closer to your eyes, with a larger field of view that makes the heavens a bit easier to understand. And even a good pair of binoculars will generally be cheaper than a new telescope. Browse the articles below for some tips on choosing the best binoculars for astronomy. You’ll also find articles that cover binocular basics, introducing you to the terms that you’ll need to know when you buy.
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