It is for this reason and a few others that many professional birdwatchers tend to choose binoculars with a lower magnification and a wider field of view, rather than the other way round. 8x magnification binoculars tend to be the most popular, although if you are often going to be looking at birds at far distances, water birds on a lake for example, you may also think of using 10x magnification, just keep in mind the field of view.

When you hold a pair of binoculars at arms length and look into the lenses there will be two circular points of light. These are the exit pupils, determined by the magnification and diameter of the front lens. These points of light should fit inside your pupils, Since not everyone pupils expand to the same diameter what size you need will vary. In general though, under 30 years old you want 7 X 35. Older eyes will need more like 7 X 50.

You may also find more numbers below the magnification-x-aperture rating. These give the field of view, which is how wide a scene you'll see. It's expressed in feet at a distance of 1,000 yards, or, more commonly these days, in degrees. (The conversion is simple: 1° is 52 feet at 1,000 yards.) Binoculars' fields of view vary from about 10° (the size of the Big Dipper's bowl, or the size of your fist held at arm's length) for wide-angle models, to a mere 2° (the width of your thumb at arm's length) for high-power models. Most of the time, though, the field of view is about 5° to 8° wide: about as much sky as is covered by a golf ball or squash ball held at arm's length.

The easiest way to tell if your binocular employs BAK4 or BK7 is to turn it around, hold it 6 to 8" away from you and look down the objective and observe the exit pupil. If you can see a squared-off side to the general roundness of the image, the binoculars have BK7 prisms. BAK4 prisms show a truer round exit pupil, which translates to better light transmission and edge-to-edge sharpness.
Compact binoculars have a tough job. Their glass must be clear enough to transmit images through relatively small objective lenses, and their sized-down controls need to be tight and precise to work within the smaller frame. This Leupold gets those details right. The controls are nice, the image is bright and big for the compact platform, and we really liked the close focus. The Tioga got the highest durability score in the category, and it has a lifetime transferrable warranty should you need it.
Eyecups on the binoculars ensure that your eyes will be at the correct distance, but if you wear glasses, you can't get your eyes as close to the lenses, so you need to adjust the eyecups to ensure that even with your glasses on your eyes are the correct distance from the ocular lenses. Binoculars with a longer eye relief are ideal for those who wear glasses as they basically project the image further beyond the ocular lens, giving you plenty of room to play with. So if you wear glasses, you should be looking for an eye relief of at least 15mm, to see the full image full image.
I’ve been birding since grade school and have spent the past 20 years working as a professional ornithologist, traveling worldwide to look for and learn about birds. I’ve published a couple dozen scientific papers and wrote Important Bird Areas of California, published in 2004 by Audubon California. Professionally, I lead birding trips for both beginners and experts, and for my “day job” I perform environmental surveys for individuals, conservation groups, corporations, and government agencies.
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.

Zeiss brought a 20X binocular to market in 1990 which utilized an entirely mechanical "dampened stabilization mechanism." That is to say it has no electronic component to the stabilization and thus no batteries to replace. This approach, while doing wonderfully in its own right, doesn't seem to stabilize as thoroughly as the Techno Stabi, but is still quite good when considering that it has more dampening to accomplish at 20X than lower magnification powers. Some reviewers say that they consider the vibration in the stabilized Zeiss 20X60s is about what you'd expect from a 4X binocular or about half what you'd experience with a non-stabilized 7X50. Did we mention that there are no batteries to die just as you see a particularly astounding view?


Compact binoculars have a tough job. Their glass must be clear enough to transmit images through relatively small objective lenses, and their sized-down controls need to be tight and precise to work within the smaller frame. This Leupold gets those details right. The controls are nice, the image is bright and big for the compact platform, and we really liked the close focus. The Tioga got the highest durability score in the category, and it has a lifetime transferrable warranty should you need it.
Next: see if you can detect whether the binoculars' two barrels are out of optical alignment, or "collimation." Experienced users can pick up on this relatively quickly, but beginners have a harder time of it, because your eye and brain automatically try to compensate for any misalignment. The best way I can describe this is that out-of-alignment binoculars will make you feel slightly "seasick." In really bad cases you may have trouble merging the two images into one, at least right away. Or maybe you'll have a mild sense of relief when you stop looking through them. Reject such units.

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.

Weighing at 34.7 ounces, it is not the lightest of the lot. You might feel a bit fatigued after carrying it for a longer time period. But it has long-range capabilities which outweigh this aspect. The range is estimated to be from 10 to around 2000 yards, which is much more than a mile. The binocular has a micro sd card slot which can be used to feed the ballistic information. Having a field of view of about 374 feet per 1000 yards, it is one of the biggest you will come across. The range and field of view go hand in hand to deliver you the view of a much larger area through the binocular, something which most of the rangefinder binoculars cannot offer. This will easily make you forget the weight of the device.

The Geovid HD-B also has an internal ballistic calculator that works off of your rifle’s bullet weight, ballistic coefficient and velocity. One thing that sets the Geovid apart from the rest of the pack is the fact that they take into account angle and barometric pressure. This is important because if you are hunting at different elevations your drop can vary greatly, the HD-B’s will modify your drop accordingly automatically. It’s worth noting that ballistics do not read out past 1000 yards.
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.
The latest versions incorporate an inclinometer that measures the uphill or downhill angle from you to the subject, and often have an internal computer running proprietary software and using special algorithms geared for golf or hunting can take the distance and angle (and even your cartridge and grain load), and calculate an adjusted distance for you to judge your shot, or show the click adjustment required on your scope.

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.
Combined Unit: Having binoculars and a rangefinder in one tool is very convenient, but it can be considered just as much of a drawback should something go wrong. Should the device end up lost, damaged or stolen, it would be equivalent to having two devices compromised at the same time. It would be best to carry at least one backup device to stay on the safe side.
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.
As a more general comment on the current state of binocular manufacturing: With things changing so rapidly, consumers should check that the pair they end up with is the same high-quality model we’ve tested. So many new binocular brands and models are in the market now, and some confusion is inevitable. Athlon Optics, a relatively new company, currently has 28 different models and six distinct binocular lines. If you’re the kind of person who prefers the stability (and availability) of a better-known brand, look toward our runner-up and budget picks.

The natural tendency for most people new to binoculars is to get the most powerful binoculars they can find. After all, the idea is that you want to get a view as close to the bird as possible. However, there is a drawback to high-powered viewing: image shake. The higher the magnification, the more small movements and vibrations will be translated into your image. Also, high magnification usually has an impact on minimum focus distance (more on why that is important later) and it also narrows your field of view.

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 with as wide a field as possible might seem best, but you can go too far and wide field of view binoculars may exhibit distorted or out-of-focus star images at the edges of the field. In simple terms lower magnification often means wider field of view. So what you are looking for is the wider field of view as possible in your chosen magnification. For more on this subject you can take a look at this article on Wide Angle Binoculars. (importance 5/10)
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.
We’ll finish off this list with a pair of binoculars with rangefinders that are a bit different than the other offerings above. The binoculars we’re discussing are ATN’s BinoX-HD, 4-16x. You might think they aren’t exactly a budget offering, but they’re very far from the premium ones by Nikon and Carl Zeiss. Factor in the functionality they offer, though, and you might be inclined to change your mind on the “budget” part. When you try to take a look at some traditional night vision devices online, you will find that many quality options tend to be upwards of $2,000. Many people don’t want to spend that amount of money on such a product, and you can’t really blame them. The BinoX-HD break that pattern, by providing Gen1 night vision, with a price that’s a fraction of the competition’s.
Why is this important? Because the bright disk of the exit pupil should fit inside the pupil of your eye. And not everyone's eyes open to the same diameter in the dark. Young people (under age 30 or so) have pupils that open to about 7 millimeters across. While individuals vary a lot, the rule of thumb is that after age 30 you lose 1 mm of exit pupil every 10 or 15 years. So older eyes can't take advantage of binoculars with large exit pupils and, as a result, might see no difference between 7x35s and 7x50s. The extra light collected by the bigger 7x50s isn't fitting into your eyes; it's just going to waste. Score a big point for the high-power camp, at least if you're getting on in years; the higher the power, the smaller the exit pupil.

Binocular rangefinders work on the principle of shooting laser on the target and using it to measure the distance between you and the target. But there is more to it. With developing technologies, rangefinders, in general, have come a long way. Compared to the latest rangefinders, the older versions are nowhere near as accurate. It currently comes with a lot of features which makes the purpose of target range measuring much easier. So now you have a better understanding of what a rangefinder binocular is, let us get into the things you have to consider.
Due to the construction required for the binoculars to be able to work at both 8x and 16x magnification,  you will get a severely crippled field of view when you’re using 8x. The easiest way to see the difference is to compare a pair of 8x binoculars, to a pair of 8-24x. The field of view at 8x will be very different. Seeing as zoom requires glass parts to move and have a complex construction, there is some pretty noticeable loss of quality in comparison to a fixed pair of rangefinder binoculars. Your best option is to see what kind of magnification works best for your specific environment, and then go for that with a fixed zoom setting.

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.
Fusion 1-Mile uses the latest technology especially when it comes to the glass and lens. It uses the all-new XTR technology to provide the ultimate transmission of light. This, in turn, delivers great clarity and resolution. It has a waterproof coating which protects it from harsh conditions. The multi-coated casing also gives it protection from falls and other impacts. The quality of lenses and the sturdy construction makes it easy for you to carry it into the woods without worrying about damaging the device.
    The UpClose G2 8x21 Roof Binocular from Celestron is a light weight 8 ounces with a closed hinged bridge design. At less than 4 inches they are a prime candidate for an easily mobile binocular that leaves no excuse to be caught without some magnification for that surprise situation. The water resistant, rubber covered, aluminum body adds an added level of worry free use from too much rough handling and never too much use. The sure grip furnished by thumb indents and finger ridges are a welcome feature allowing a firm non-slip hold. Just another reason to make sure that this binocular gets taken along.
***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!***

Next when purchasing a binocular you must consider the purpose or what are you buying the binocular to observe-star gazing, sports, and birding. What? Binoculars are great for doing a variety of things such as an accessory to the telescope to star hop to those deep sky objects you want to find or an asteroid. Also binoculars are great for learning the constellations, following sunspots across the sun(DANGER-BE SURE TO USE THE PROPER SOLAR FILTERS), the motion of the planets among the constellations, the phases of the moon, sky conditions, comets, variable stars, and nova.For astronomy the 7 x 50 and the 10 x 50 have been the traditional choice. For your first pair of binoculars, get this standard size over the giant binoculars. The 7 x 50 or 10 x 50 is good for general purpose viewing and portable. The 7 x 50 is good for dark country skies. The 10 x 50 is good for the city or the suburbs due to its smaller exit pupil. The 10 x 50 though can be hard to hold for some and may require a tripod due to its 10x magnification. Even the 7 x 50 view improves with the use of a tripod. There are several tripod setups on the market, which allow steady viewing, overhead viewing, and easy scanning of the sky without neck cramps. In fact, for certain types of viewing like variable star, comet, and asteroid observing, binoculars on a tripod is essential to give a steady view of the field, take notes, and use star charts. Also more detail can be seen when observing the moon or star clusters.


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.
Zoom: This option changes the effective magnification of the lens and allows the user to view a bird in a scene or close up, even from a great distance. Zoom lenses are effective when viewing birds standing still, but may make it difficult to follow moving subjects. They tend to be larger and heavier than fixed lens units. Birders pay a premium for excellent zoom lens optics. Less pricey models often have fuzzy or distorted images and a smaller field of view.
For most binoculars with 80mm or 100mm objective lenses, however, a tripod as typically used for light cameras for instance, will not be strong enough to hold a binocular weighing between 5 and 10 or more pounds (2.25 to 4.5+ kg). We're the kind of folks who figure we're likely to get an even heavier instrument later on, so we'll get a good, heavy-duty tripod to start with. That's just us, though, and you certainly don't NEED to get anything above and beyond what will serve your immediate needs! Just be sure the tripod you use for your giant astronomy binoculars won't collapse with resultant damage to your instrument!
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.
Athlon Optics, the company that makes our top-pick binoculars, has a new pair of 10 x 25 compact binoculars coming out. After field-testing a beta version, we found the optics and ergonomics to be top-notch, but also found issues with the hinges and rubberized armor, which Athlon tells us are being fixed prior to its release, which is set for later this spring.
Let’s talk about performance and features for a moment. In one sentence, performance is stellar, and the features are what you’d expect from a pair of binoculars at this price range and in this category. The binoculars have a 7 times magnification and a 50 mm lens. At 1000 meters, the field of view is 132 meters. This translates to 396 feet at 1000 yards. What this should tell you is that they’re great for any sports that require basic optics and magnification. The individual eyepiece focus system lets you focus when you’re viewing objects at both medium and long distances.
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.
It is for this reason and a few others that many professional birdwatchers tend to choose binoculars with a lower magnification and a wider field of view, rather than the other way round. 8x magnification binoculars tend to be the most popular, although if you are often going to be looking at birds at far distances, water birds on a lake for example, you may also think of using 10x magnification, just keep in mind the field of view.
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.
In addition to the built-in rangefinder, the binoculars also include a compass in order to properly get your bearings. Sturdily constructed, they are designed to be shockproof so that they can withstand rougher environments on your adventures. Because of these qualities, the Barska Outdoor Marine waterproof rangefinding binoculars are truly impressive.
A nitrogen-filled housing provides a fogproof performance, while its rubber armoring and textured ridges deliver a slip-resistant grip. A broad interpupillary adjustment range allows the Yosemite to be comfortably used by those with smaller faces, such as children or young adults. Twist-up eyecups and a long 18mm eye relief help to provide a comfortable viewing distance for all users. This version of the Yosemite comes with a carrying case, neck strap, and lens cloth.
Accuracy. No matter how experienced you are in hunting, you can only come out with a ‘rough estimation’ of the distance of a prey. Rough estimation often means the accuracy of the measured distance is pretty much skewed. I am not trying to undermine experienced hunters but it’s normal that manual calculations are susceptible to human error. What more if you are an absolute beginner?

Meteor showers offer a practical example. You never know exactly where the next bright streak will appear. Yes, you're pretty sure it will come from the "radiant." That’s the name of a constellation (usually) whose location on the sky roughly corresponds to the cloud of cosmic crap into which Earth is plowing to create the shower. [Example: The Leonid meteor shower in November appears to come from the direction of Leo.]
×