Most full sized optics have objective lenses of between around 42mm. Whist larger and heavier binoculars may be more difficult to carry about, it may be irrelevant if you do most of your bird watching from a fixed location like a hide or in your back garden. Or for some people the benefits of a larger, heavier binocular outweigh the hassle of carrying them about:
Sticker shock is common when looking for your first pair of bins. If you're timid about spending multiple hundreds of dollars on a new hobby, the Celestron Nature DX 8x42 is a perfect choice. The image quality of these binoculars, which list for just $140 and often sell for less, is by far the best we've seen in this price range. In fact, it rivals models that cost more than twice as much in that regard. The supple focus knobs and easy eyecup adjustments continue the beginner-friendly trend. We also enjoyed that the 6.5ft focus range let us get a good look at any nearby butterflies or other interesting insects, a big plus for days when the birds just aren't singing.

With an eye relief of 20 mm and 8.5×42 magnification, this rangefinder binocular is the perfect fit for those wearing glasses. This is because it offers a lot of places for you to adjust behind the lens while wearing glasses. The focus wheel is placed perfectly where your hands can comfortably handle it. The dioptre adjustment is incorporated with the focusing wheel. This lets you to simply pull back the wheel and turn it to change the dioptre scale.
A new company that we just brought into stock is GPO USA. Offered in 8x and 10x they are packed with the performance features you want: ED glass, Phase-corrected BAK4 prisms, Nitrogen-filled, Magnesium chassis, all the bells and whistles. I got a chance to try out the 8.5x50 version and they were incredible during the day, at dusk, and at night. The 42mm and 50mm both fall into your price range.
Similarly to the USCAMEL mentioned above, the Hooway are also full of nitrogen, meaning they won’t fog up in subpar conditions. This could be a dealbreaker for many, and it’s good to see that Hooway thought of it. You get a wide field of view, as mentioned above, thanks to the porro prism system. The prism is BAK4, and the optics are fully coated. All of this combined gives you a crisp and bright image you’ll enjoy. And, you also get an illuminated compass that will prove to be useful, as well as an internal rangefinder to help you determine distance and the size of an object.
Sky&Telescope has just released a new, slightly expanded edition of my book, Binocular Highlights. The original had been out for ten years and sold very well, so instead of simply doing another print run, they opted for a new edition. I was happy to help out and select ten new “highlights” for inclusion. Continue reading “Binocular Highlights 2nd Edition Now Available”
Combine Nikon binocular performance with the extreme speed and ranging technology of a 1900-yard laser rangefinder and you have LaserForce, Nikon’s 10x42 Rangefinder Binocular. Quite simply the single optic solution for serious hunters who depend on both their binocular for picking out distant animals and their rangefinder for getting the exact distance before taking the shot.
No matter what weapon you choose to hunt with, having the correct range is paramount for making an accurate shot. Being off by just 10 yards can mean the difference between a hit and a miss. Here at BlackOvis.com, we stock some of the best rangefinders in the industry from brands like Leupold, Vortex Optics, Leica, Nikon, and Zeiss. Whether you’re looking for high power binoculars with rangefinder combos with angle adjustment built in, or if you’re looking for a more economical option, we have the perfect rangefinders for hunting.
The build quality is on point, with a rubber coated body, obviously made to last. Holding them is pretty easy as they’re grippy, and shock resistance is enough in those few cases where you might need it. The body is IPX7 waterproof, and completely sealed. There’s more useful stuff on the inside, as they’re full of nitrogen gas. What this means is that even under some extreme situations and weather conditions, the lenses won’t fog up. The prism is BAK4, similar to the other options, and you get the same sharp and vivid images, which let you see all the details of the object you’re looking at.
Other flaws of the top binoculars focused mainly on what they didn’t do. For example, in several models (e.g., Nikon Prostaff 7S, Opticron Discovery WP PC), I found little details to complain about, like the fact that the twisting plastic eyecup was physically too easily pushed down as I carried it around, so each time I would raise the binoculars to my eyes, they’d be at wildly unbalanced levels. Even more annoying (and painful), several pairs I tested produced mild to fairly severe eyestrain, that ache behind the pupils when staring for more than a few seconds at a time through the lenses (memorably with the Eagle Optics Denali pair and a couple of Opticron models), or resulted in my eyes having a jittery little kick after I put the binoculars down and tried to focus on something else (say, my field notebook). This transition was smooth and virtually seamless in the top pairs of binoculars of the bunch I tested (e.g., Athlon, Carson, and Nikon), less so in other makes and models.
As far as scientific terms go, you’ll find BAK-4 prisms, XTR coatings, as well as what Bushnell calls the Matrix Display Technology. This might be of interest, as the feature enhances display readings as much as possible. If you haven’t used a pair with this technology before, you might not think you need it. However, it undoubtedly proves to be very useful in some situations where you find it tricky to see the display. Those BAK-4 prisms are coated with PC-3 phase corrective coating. This ensures that you get a clear, sharp view and, with the magnification levels you get, you will actually get a clear view of every fine detail you might need.
So what makes the Victory’s the cream of the crop? They do sport the largest objective lenses on our list with about the same level of zoom. You’re going to notice a difference in zoom quality between the Victory’s and a pair of 10x42mm’s. Zeiss ensures that with this pair of binos, in particular, you’re getting unparalleled quality through carefully coated lenses.

With an eye relief of 20 mm and 8.5×42 magnification, this rangefinder binocular is the perfect fit for those wearing glasses. This is because it offers a lot of places for you to adjust behind the lens while wearing glasses. The focus wheel is placed perfectly where your hands can comfortably handle it. The dioptre adjustment is incorporated with the focusing wheel. This lets you to simply pull back the wheel and turn it to change the dioptre scale.


They also have the added bonus in that they are far more versatile and you can use them for many other applications. If you plan to use this method, you should keep magnification below 12x in order to maintain steadiness. A good pair of binoculars with a magnification of 7x to 12x and a large objective lens will show you planets in our solar system, hundreds of star clusters, nebulae and even some galaxies.

To get the price down, the Monarch 7 does have to sacrifice in a few areas compared to the higher end and more expensive optics. The most significant difference you would notice is the quality of the image, especially in low light situations such as a darker forest canopy, sunrise or sunset. The Monarch 7 does reasonably well, but it doesn’t come close to the overall image quality of a Zeiss Victory SF or Leica Noctivid.
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!

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.
The larger SkyMaster models (80mm and 100mm ) have been designed by Celestron to meet the special demands of extended astronomical or terrestrial viewing sessions and include features like enhanced structural reinforcement to the main binocular body. and an integral super rigid photo tripod adapter to enable easy attachment to tripods and other fixing devices.
What is good for us the consumers is that many of the new Chinese optics are now being made to very high optical standards and whilst many may not like to admit it, they perform as well as many far more expensive optics made in the west. Some popular brands include the Oberwerk which have plenty of nice features including collimation screws, Celestron's, Meade's and the excellent Apogee brand of binoculars. All of these offer fantastic quality for the price and bring giant binoculars within reach of most peoples budgets. (Take a look at this review on Cheap Binoculars for Astronomy)
The interpupillary distance is the distance between the centers of each of your eyes. This is usually two inches. To set the interpupillary distance scale go to the small scale from 60 to 70 with a few small divisions located between the eyepieces on top of the bridge of the binoculars. This is the interpupuillary distance scale measured in millimeters. Once measured you may write it down somewhere to remember it or like professional binocular users mark it with pocket knife or a dot of white India ink.Focusing a U.S. Military Specification Design Binocular
The Meade 15×70 are indeed more suitable for general use without a tripod. You shouldn’t have issues holding them still and using them for stargazing. They are full sized 70mm binoculars which is what you need for astronomy. They are not compact or light but they come with a carry bag and can be carried around. You can use them with your glasses by twisting the eyecups to their downwards position. They can be used during daytime too and work very well actually. Your only concern would be size and weight. These are 1.4 Kg and need to be carried in the case or in a large backpack / bag. But if your main use is astronomy then there is no way around it.. The large lenses are essential and do provide a much brighter view. We hope this helps.
Combine Nikon binocular performance with the extreme speed and ranging technology of a 1900-yard laser rangefinder and you have Laser Force, Nikon's 10x 42mm Rangefinder Binocular. Quite simply the single optic solution for serious hunters who depend on both their binocular for picking out distant animals and their rangefinder for getting the exact distance before taking the shot. Featuring ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass and Nikon's ID Technology to compensate for incline or decline angles, Laser Force puts ranging precision, optical performance and rugged performance within your reach.
The exit pupil is the size of the focused light that hits the eye. To see the exit pupil, hold the binocular eight to ten inches away from your face and notice the small dots of light in the center of the eyepieces. Exit pupil diameter, which should always be larger than the pupil of your eye, is directly affected by the objective diameter and the magnification. The pupil of a human eye ranges from about 1.5mm in bright conditions to about 8mm in the dark. If your binoculars’ exit pupil diameter is smaller than the pupil of your eye, it’s going to seem like you’re looking through a peep hole. Bear in mind that as eyes age, they tend to dilate less, so exit pupil becomes more important as the user ages.
A company better known for digital imaging has entered the sports optics business with this binocular. Some testers were put off by the “plastic-y” feel of the KF and the durability score—one of the lowest in the test—reflects that. The optics are disappointing for a company on the leading edge of lens technology; the Fujifilm trailed the field in resolution and low-light performance. On the other hand, we liked the price and the portability of the aluminum-alloy chassis. The clicking center-wheel diopter is a nice touch.

Angle Compensation: This feature considers the angle from the device to the target and alters the distance reading to reflect the change in distance and weight of gravity on the projectile. It rarely comes in handy for most users unless angles are quite extreme, but it can be very useful for bow hunters in high tree stands. For those that rarely need it, it may not be worth the higher price tag.
Now, as far as rangefinders are concerned, the most popular size is 7×50. There are sometimes 10×42, or in Zeiss’ Victory, 10×56. These are all numbers that you could go for. However, less than 7 times magnification won’t do the job. On the other hand, more than 10x, and you won’t be able to get as much light to your eyes, and the image will be darker. As far as the objective lens size goes, if you can’t mount the binoculars on a tripod, you will need something with an objective lens not larger than Zeiss’ 56mm, as it will be heavy and difficult to handle.
As mentioned before, this is the second number when describing binoculars. Along with magnification, this is the most important feature for astronomical binoculars. The larger the lens is, the more light that gets in, the brighter your image will be. Binoculars for stargazing should be at least 50mm and preferably even 70mm and above. Larger lenses of 50mm to 100mm are very common in astronomy binoculars simply because they can gather more light.
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.
For careful budgeters, we recommend Oberwerk's 20X80 Deluxe II and 25X100 individual focus models which provide good values for their prices. If your budget is flexible, there are many fine, giant binoculars that will provide very good value for their purchase prices. We plan ongoing reviews of astronomy binoculars as OpticsReviewer.com grows, so please check back from time to time as your astronomy interests evolve!
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
That being said, I feel like I can give you some places to start looking. If you want to see that level of detail, and you're looking at roof prisms, make sure the prisms are phase corrected. This will improve contrast, clarity, and resolution. Also, consider non-standard magnification like 8.5x that will boost the image size without drastically limiting the field of view or exit pupil like a 10x might.
You also want high optical quality. Stars and faint celestial objects seen against a dark sky are much more demanding than daytime scenes, so mediocre optics display their flaws much more obviously when you're observing the night sky rather than eatching the pitcher's mound. In general, price is a pretty good indicator of optical quality. The best optics are not going to be cheap.
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