Generally the better the anti-reflective coatings, the better the resulting image and the better the binoculars will perform across a wide range of lighting conditions. The best performing coatings are expensive to produce and difficult to apply, and typically add considerably to the cost of the finished binocular. These coatings are perhaps the main differentiating factor between premium or “alpha” class binoculars and other models.
I am a fairly new birder and purchased Nikon Monarch M511 8x42 6.3 waterproof binoculars about 2 years ago from B&H. While I was in Equador this spring the side hinge where I attached my Nikon harness broke on the left side. I have no means of atttaching them now to the harness. I have enjoyed these as effective "starter" binoculars. With the loss of the capacity to wear my harness, I am considering upgrading. I would appreciate a suggestion for a new pair, as the broken part seems to be an integral part of the frame and not something that can be repaired. I would like to be able to see subtle colors, wing bars and eye ring color at the same or greater distance than I can with the Monarchs. Waterproof, as light a weight as possible.
The first thing to keep in mind is the power—or magnification—and the size of the lens. These numbers are often represented together, e.g. 10x42, 9x32, 12x56, etc. The first number, the power, indicates how many times your view is magnified while the second number is the width in millimeters of the lens farthest away from your eyes—the objective lens.
Eric Lind, Center Director of the Audubon Constitution Marsh Center & Sanctuary, in Garrison, New York, prefers 8x binoculars and says, “8-power gives you a little bit more than 7-power. I’ve tried 10x, but they were difficult to hold steady.” Eric uses an older pair of Zeiss 8x42 binoculars. “10x,” he says, “might be more appropriate for shore bird viewing from the beach.”
On the packaging of any set of binoculars, there is one piece of information more prominent than anything else. It’s a set of two numbers with an “x” between them (8×32, for example). The first stands for the magnification level of the lenses. So, for instance, if you’re looking at a pair of binoculars with 10 as the first number, you know that their magnification is 10x larger than the normal eye. The second number is an indicator of the objective lenses’ (the lenses on the front of the binoculars) diameter.
This is a supersized binocular suited to glassing distant targets for long periods of time. The double-hinge design creates a nice space for hands to hold it, but you will probably want to mount this 3-pound Leupold on a tripod. The mounting bracket is smartly located on the inside hinge of the Leupold (see Innovations, right). Hits: tight controls, the battleship-gray armor, the webby texture that wraps the aluminum-alloy chassis, and the first-rate carry case and neck strap. Misses: disappointing resolution and image quality.
With binoculars at this level they are offering as much as top-quality telescopes and will bring galaxies and deep-sky objects into view. They have BaK-4 prisms and multi-coated optics as well as individual eyepiece focus to ensure optimal focus position. The body of these Celestron binoculars is water-resistant and they come in a padded carrying case for travel and safe storage.
Measuring only 5 ½ inches long, this new Nikon delivers a lot of optical horsepower in a compact and lightweight package. And what an elegant package it is. The Monarch HG has a number of stylistic features that reminded us of the last premium Nikon binocular: the EDG. There’s the pebbled-rubber armor, the finely turned eyecups, and the Euro-style metal objective lens rings. The Monarch delivers an image on par with the premium furnishings. The “field-flattener” lenses widen the field of view and reduce peripheral distortion.
Having said that the gap between the leading tier of €1,000 plus binoculars and some of their more affordable competition is closing. Optical technologies, techniques and components pioneered by premium European manufacturers have become more widely available and affordable, and production standards in the far east have improved to the point where manufacturers are mass-producing some remarkably good optics.
The Vanguard Spirit XF produced some of the sharpest and clearest images of all binoculars we tested. Its rugged design and pristine optics make it an ideal pair for outdoor activities including hiking, camping and birdwatching, while its versatility also makes it a great choice for action like sporting events. Precise optics and durable design earned the Vanguard Spirit XF 1042 our Editor’s Pick for Best Binoculars.
Here again Swarovski comes out on top with a close focus of 4.9 feet. I stand at 5'8", so functionally that means anything in front of my feet, be it a butterfly or another interesting insect, will be in focus. The Zeiss and Leica models are no slouches, both with a close focus of 6.2 feet, but the difference is very noticeable if you like to look at little critters.
Tripod Adapters As mentioned before, binoculars with magnifications of 10x and higher are hard to hold steady, especially if they have large objectives. Large binoculars sometimes have a built-in tripod mount that makes it easy to mount them on a tripod. Sometimes a tripod adapter is required. Typically, full-sized binoculars have a plug that unscrews from the front of center hinge. The adapter screws into its place and mounts on most quick-release plates or tripods. Some tripod mounts are simply a small platform on which to lay the binocular and hold it in place with an adjustable strap.
The 8x42 SLC Binocular from Swarovski combines extra-low dispersion (HD) glass elements and range of proprietary optical coatings with a weather-resistant magnesium alloy housing to create a multi-purpose set of glasses that deliver impressive image quality and durability. This configuration of the SLC displays an immersive 61° apparent viewing angle; a long 18.5mm eye relief and multi-position twist-up eyecups enable a comfortable viewing distance for almost any observer.
Binoculars are tools and, just as you wouldn't get far using a Phillips screwdriver on a slotted screw, you'll want to match the binocular to its task. The astronomy binoculars with 60mm diameter objective lenses or larger will be appropriate to consider for your next astronomical binoculars. First, most star watchers want to have a basis for evaluating their binoculars so we'll stop long enough to consider how to do that.
The Fury’s rangefinder reticle is similar to the one you’ll find in a normal rangefinder. Like the Laser Force and Fusion, these binos utilize a laser to acquire distance. If your target is at an odd angle away from you, the Fury employs the Horizontal Component Distance (HCD) to compensate for those angles and ensure you are getting precise distances.
Observing with both eyes not only feels more natural, but your brain can actually form a better image when when using the "information" sent to it from both eyes. I have written more about this phenomenon in the section entitled "Two eyes are Better than one" in this article on Observation Binoculars with Angled Eyepieces if you are interested to learn more.
As one of the safest, easiest, and most environmentally friendly hobbies in existence, birdwatching brings together people of all age groups through a common love of wildlife. Birdwatching can be done practically anywhere, though avid hobbyists won’t hesitate to travel the world in search of the rarest species of birds. A good set of binoculars is the most important piece of equipment involved in birding, and buying the perfect pair is worth an investment in time.
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.
Yet another reason binoculars are excellent for beginning astronomers is that using two eyes is quite simply better than using one. Not only does it help when finding objects, but using two eyes with Porro prism binoculars will provide a stunningly beautiful three-dimensional effect that is much more interesting and, yes, exciting than the flat, one-dimensional view typically seen through a telescope. Not only is the depth of the view noteworthy, but the width as well. You can find astronomy binoculars with 5-6° field of view while most telescopes are limited to a 1° view even at their lowest magnification.
The main advantage these have over handheld models, is that they are far more stable. This means you can easily go for a bino with 25×70 or even larger, since the tripod will be keeping your bino stable for a much closer look at the celestial bodies. I would go so far as to say that you shouldn’t even consider getting a 15x-20x without a tripod. The magnification is simply too large to be held steady in your hands.
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.
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.
Leica is another well-known brand when it comes to high-end optics, and the 10x42 Geovid is an outstanding new entry to the field. The 10X magnification combined with a 42mm lens diameter provides for excellent imaging, especially in low light conditions at dawn or dusk – making it perfect for hunting and all other outdoor activities. The rangefinder display works very well and is effective up to ranges of nearly 1900 yards. Plus, the range finding on these binoculars is fast - often providing accurate distance measurements within seconds.
My use is 50/50 day/night celestial/terrestrial. I have found in the past when using a 10×50 I’ve always wanted some more distance/zoom. I have never used a larger power than this and am happy with the reviews of the Meade. portability is not an issue and neither is the weight, i will be using them hand held. budget is the driver and the most bang for buck. Given the above would you recommend the Meade 15×70?
I too am shopping for a pair of binoculars for my husband for Christmas. We live in a condominium building overlooking Lake Superior and he likes to look at the cargo ships coming in and out and the different boats on the water. I am thinking something 10x or 10-30x. We would probably just keep it mounted on a tripod if I bought a heavier set, but would prefer something lighter.
Which Monarch are you looking at? There are three models in the series: 7, 5, & 3. The three is the basic model and performs great, it's not really on-par with the Zeiss...for that you'd need to go with the 7/5 as they get upgrades over the 3 with extra low-dispersion glass, and phase-corrected dielectric coated prisms so there won't be any color fringing and the resolutiona and contrast will be greatly improved. The main difference between the 7 & 5 is that the 7 has a wide field of view to present you with a really immersive observational experience.
Bought these items for a family member for hunting. First impressions are wow these things are great. They feel good in the hand a little heavy but expected that from a cheap pair of binoculars. Then started to use and found out they are great products. My brother and I used them over the weekend for hunting coyotes in western Utah. During the hunt the weather went from rain to snow to sun, and I can say that these had no issues at all. The lenses stayed clear and focusing was almost as good as my vortex binos that I paid 5x more for. carying case is a little hokey but nothing that a good bino holster cant fix. All in all I am glad that my brother was happy with his present and we were able to test them in 3 types of weather. I hope they stand up to the test of time. Worth the investment of 32.99.
Constructed to be both shock-proof and waterproof to military standards, the Armasight Binoculars are an excellent buy when it comes to rangefinder binoculars. Discover clear and crisp images thanks to the powerful 8X magnification and 30mm lens diameter, all offered in a very compact case. The universal rangefinder provides very accurate distance measurements while the binoculars offer excellent imagery in all lighting conditions.
Binoculars are much easier to learn to use than a telescope. It's a little like comparing a point-and-shoot camera to the type used by professional photographers. You intuitively "point" the binoculars at what you wish to see and look through them. This intuitive "pointing" makes it significantly easier to find objects and subsequently move from one celestial object to the next. It's easier, using binoculars, to learn the locations of planets, constellations, galaxys, and clusters and observe their orderly movements — thus establishing the foundation for greater understanding.
The focus adjustment is pretty easy and accurate. You will also find there’s an on-board compass. If you calibrate it properly, it’s accurate as well, and during something like a sailboat trip, you’ll love the fact that it’s there. The distance measurement is another great addition, and even at this price point, it is fairly accurate. You will undoubtedly find it useful for things such as birdwatching or wildlife exploration and, both the rangefinder scale and compass have an illumination switch, which is useful in darker and overcast situations.
I work part time as an IT security consultant. Luckily I can work from anywhere so I go back and forth between Colorado and Florida. I get my fix of skiing, hiking and camping in Colorado in the Dillion area, and when I am in Florida you can usually find me on the water either paddleboarding or kayaking. My recent passion is scuba diving, I got certified a few years ago and "get wet" as frequently as I can.
Review additional features and warranties. Pay attention to field of view and close focus, two measures that affect how much you’ll see. See our report on field of view and close focus to understand how these factor into your choice. Also pay attention to durability, waterproofing, and warranty—many major optics companies now offer excellent warranties. Check our full review spreadsheet for these details.
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.
There is an adage that goes "the best pair of binoculars is the one you use." If yours aren't comfortable to hold, carry, or look through then you aren't going to use them. Things like rubberized coatings on the barrels, indentations for your hands and thumbs, an open bridge, comfortable interpupillary distance, padded straps, adjustable eyecups, weight, size, and eye relief can all affect how comfortable a pair will be. All of these measurements are very subjective and will differ between individuals. For instance, not everyone's eyes are set the same distance apart, so everyone will be most comfortable with a slightly different interpupillary distance. The amount of eye relief can be a big concern for someone with glasses and of little concern to others.
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.
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Whilst the field of view on astronomy binoculars is not as important as it is for people using their binoculars to view unpredictable, fast moving objects, like birds, it is still fairly important. Field of view is basically the width of the scene that is in view when you look through your binoculars, for a full explanation see field of view in my optics glossary. A wide field of view will make it easier to scan the night sky and find objects when looking through the binoculars.
“I originally bought this for my 6-year-old grandson but when I received them I decided to give them to my 10-year-old grandson. These binoculars have weight to them not like cheap plastic ones I have bought for grandchildren before. They are easy to use. Clear to see through and lightweight. They are worth more than I paid for them. My husband has tried them out and said he wouldn’t mind having a pair.”
Features: It is super powerful and portable to be taken. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor using. Durable and protective for long time using. FMC glass lenses deliver the ultimate brightness and resolution. Ergonomic design for comfortable handling. It can apply in military, travel and more places. Streamlined shape,smooth central focus knob for simple operation.
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Lens coatings are films applied to lens surfaces to reduce glare and reflections, increase light transmission and contrast, and help make colors look more vivid. Any light reflected is light that never reaches the viewer’s eyes, so by eliminating reflections, the image ends up being brighter and sharper. Coatings, in general, are good, provided that the coatings do something. It’s easy to put a cheap coating on a lens to give it a cool-looking orange tint, but the coating might not do anything to improve image quality. If you aren’t able to test a pair of binoculars before buying, the best you can do is research the brand, look for user reviews, and ask questions before you buy.
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).
Like every set of binoculars, astronomy binoculars will have two main features: magnification and the objective lens size. So for example, if the binoculars are 10×50 it means they have 10x magnification and 50mm objective lenses. The secret to choosing the perfect night time binoculars is getting the right balance between magnification and lens size that will result in a clear, bright and stable image.
Magnification: This determines the extent to which you can make faraway objects appear closer. Experts suggest that most people find a happy medium—enough magnification to identify birds from a distance, but not so much that unsteady hands become more noticeable and the viewing area becomes too small. Higher magnification is also less than ideal when you’re tracking a moving target, which will probably be the case when you’re birding.
If binoculars aren’t 100% indispensable to bird watching, they’re pretty close. For almost any bird that crosses your path, a good pair of binoculars will show you fine details, make colors pop out of shadows, and improve your chance of identifying what you’ve seen. For most bird watchers, binoculars soon become almost an extension of their bodies.
The Athlon Talos 8 x 32, Minox BV 8 x 33, and Vortex Diamondback Classic 8 x 32 are “tweener” or “large compact” binoculars—not particularly compact, but a size down from full-size. They feature the largest focusing wheel, wide/heavy bodies, and weigh as much as some full-size models. Though I wouldn’t trade them in for my go-to 8 x 42 pair (due to the narrower field of view), I actually found them to be a comfortable size for birding/nature-study, and didn’t find serious drawbacks during testing (though the Vortex Diamondback gave me minor eyestrain).
Digiscoping The use of digiscoping adapters has seen an increase in recent years, since just about every phone in everyone’s pocket is equipped with a camera. These adapters, either binocular, phone-specific or (growing in popularity) universal fit, allow you to mount your phone on one of the eyepieces and take photos of the magnified view. Depending on the manufacturer, these adapters can be made of plastic or metal with varying degrees of usability options. The good news is that as the hobby grows, more and more options are made available so you can spend as much or as little you want.
The problem with camera tripods is that most of them are hopeless beyond about 30 degrees above the horizon. That can leave out as much as two-thirds of the night sky. There are special armed rigs for binoculars that either fit to or come with sturdy tripods. The best ones are articulated parallelograms, which can swing smoothly through a wide range of angles. These have counterweights to let your optics "float" in front of your eyes. As you might imagine, they are about as expensive as the binoculars themselves.