3. First, view the moon with binoculars. When you start to stargaze, you’ll want to watch the phase of the moon carefully. If you want to see deep-sky objects inside our Milky Way galaxy – or outside the galaxy – you’ll want to avoid the moon. But the moon itself is a perfect target for beginning astronomers, armed with binoculars. Hint: the best time to observe the moon is in twilight. Then the glare of the moon is not so great, and you’ll see more detail.
The Leupold Shadow Gray 6x30 BX-1 Yosemite Binocular features a compact form-factor outfitted with traditional BAK4 Porro prisms and a fully multi-coated optical path to display more depth of field than similar roof prism designs. The resulting images transmitted by the Yosemite binocular have lifelike depth and are crisp and clear with high-contrast and accurate colors across the field of view.
Select a distant object. Turn the center focus wheel counterclockwise until the eyepieces are all the way out. This is the extreme “plus” position. Now close your right eye or cover the right objective with your hand and slowly focus inward for the left eye until the image is sharp. Stop! Do not focus back and forth. If you do, you will have to start over. Turn the right diopter eyepiece out to the extreme plus position and now close the left eye or cover the left objective with your hand. Now slowly focus inward for the right eye until the image is sharp. Stop! Focusing errors will result if you do, and you will have to start over.
It’s a whole other galaxy like our own, shining across the vastness of intergalactic space. Light from the Andromeda Galaxy has traveled so far that it’s taken more than 2 million years to reach us. Two smaller companions visible through binoculars on a dark, transparent night are the Andromeda Galaxy’s version of our Milky Way’s Magellanic Clouds. These small, orbiting, irregularly-shaped galaxies that will eventually be torn apart by their parent galaxy’s gravity.

The field of view relates to the width of your image. For astronomers, this means the amount of sky you can capture when aiming your binoculars to the stars. The wider the field of view the more sky you can cover. Powerful, high magnification, binoculars will often have a narrower field of view and vice versa. Good astronomy binoculars will have both – a good magnification and a wide field of view.

The Leupold BX-1 Yosemite is a good set of binoculars that produces clear images. These binoculars are lightweight, waterproof and fogproof, so they can handle wet conditions without damage to the optics inside. They’re low powered and have the smallest objective lens of any binoculars we reviewed. Pros: These Leupold binoculars are some of the lightest we reviewed at 17oz. An 8x magnification and 118m field of view make them a good choice for birdwatching and sporting events where things move quickly.


Overall, I give the Nikon binocular performance an A-. I did notice in the optical performance that there was some chromatic aberration, or color fringing. It did very well in low light conditions, and offered bright images in return. I only found a few trees over 700 yards difficult to get complete ranges on, but distant animals were never an issue.
These Canon binoculars offer something different from the above options because of the image stabilization function. This means that they minimize any shake and are much easier to use by hand – you just push the image stabilization button and the shaky image steadies. This means that for casual stargazing and astronomy, they can be used without a tripod.

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. 
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 Leica Geovid HD-B is an advanced model with a versatility that can handle target shooting and hunting. The model features automatic adjusting that alters ballistics based on the atmospheric conditions when in use. It also has fantastic optics with the ability to view targets clearly at over 1,500 yards. Its field of view is 300 feet even at 1,000 yards.
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.
Though a bit on the portly side at 23.6 ounces, there’s a simplicity of design and ease of use that’s hugely gratifying in the field. This may sound like small potatoes, but the tethered lens covers and rain guard are far and away the best I’ve ever come across. Most require substantial wrestling, while these slide right on and off. For what it’s worth, I also didn’t have a minor cardiac event while adjusting the neck strap. With a field of view upwards of 340 feet at 1,000 yards, and amped-up magnification for long-range birding, the Ranger EDs feel like a rare triumph of design over wallet slenderness.
For the mechanics, Fujinon was the first company to have developed stabilization with high-speed gyroscopes and they brought this feature to market as the "Stabiscope" in 1980 with a 14X binocular. The design was improved and the Techno Stabi introduced in 1999 at price points that make it competitive with the Canon offerings. This stabilization approach works particularly well in adjusting for large movements, such as experienced with vessels on water, but also does admirably with smaller movements. Fujinon optics have earned their reputation for excellence and provide an above average crisp, clean, and bright viewing experience.
The comfortable ergonomic chassis is made of a fiberglass reinforced polycarbonate to help reduce weight, without sacrificing strength while adding impact and temperature resistance. Being resistant to temperature changes not only ensures that the housing will remain a constant temperature, even in cold and wet conditions, but will not experience the expansion and contraction common in metal chassis that can cause the optical elements to move out of alignment over time and preventing the binocular's ability to achieve sharp focus. The chassis is covered in a black rubber armoring that helps to protect it from drops and impacts, and provides a slip-resistant grip.
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.

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.
Select a distant object. Turn the center focus wheel counterclockwise until the eyepieces are all the way out. This is the extreme “plus” position. Now close your right eye or cover the right objective with your hand and slowly focus inward for the left eye until the image is sharp. Stop! Do not focus back and forth. If you do, you will have to start over. Turn the right diopter eyepiece out to the extreme plus position and now close the left eye or cover the left objective with your hand. Now slowly focus inward for the right eye until the image is sharp. Stop! Focusing errors will result if you do, and you will have to start over.

The 10 in. x 25 mm Style Black The 10 in. x 25 mm Style Black Monocular features a Blue Lens. It is compact and lightweight for easy carrying. Enjoy the Fully coated optics for bright images. Non-slip protective rubber armor and ergonomic rubber design makes it easy to hold. Ideal for travel concerts and sporting events. Includes ...  More + Product Details Close
Everyone talks about magnifications and there is no doubt that high magnifications yield beautiful views of the Moon, planets and fine detail in some deep sky objects. However, many objects in the sky are too large to fit into the field of view of a high power eyepiece. These objects demand a wide field of view to appreciate their beauty and delicate form.

The rangefinder on this set of binos is a simple but incredibly accurate laser that can acquire targets up to 1300 yards away. Another factor you’ll appreciate is the Victory’s performance during twilight and evening. With enhanced optics and larger lenses, the Victory is going to be soaking up more light compared to any other pair of binos on our list. With the appropriate light transmission and zoom, you’ll still be able to see in detail in low light.


If you're brand new to optics in general, including astronomy optics, you'll also want to stop by our page about How to Buy Binoculars which walks a person through various criteria in choosing a binocular (this link takes you directly to the criteria). The various items, such as field of view, what kind of prism glass, the importance of coatings, objective sizes, how exit pupils and eye relief affect your experience, and so on there will be just as important to your enjoyment of the heavens as what you'll find here. Others have said they found the most benefit by using these two pages together.
What these coatings do is to assist light transmission. It is important to note how the manufacturer describes their coatings as they are not all created equal. Ideally you want to see "Fully Multi-Coated" which means that all air to glass surfaces have received multiple layers of antireflection coatings. If you just see "Fully Coated" or "Multi-Coated" it means only some surfaces have coatings or they only have a single coating and thus will not perform anywhere near as well as Fully Multi-Coated binoculars assuming everything else is equal.
I’ll try to point the way, with a caveat that my methodology is appallingly unscientific; a field-based approach, you might charitably call it. I used each of these binoculars on assignment in Norway, North Dakota and Vermont, and on my sun-porch in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with an infant in my arms, glassing the horizon for any passerine that might happen to wing into view, as they so often do, seemingly from nowhere. Bearing in mind all of the above, here are five of the best birding binoculars you’ll find.

The good news is that the true technological improvements in binoculars over the past few years have come not in gimmicky features, but optics. Whereas 20 years ago you might have needed to spend $500 to get decent, waterproof binoculars from a factory in the Midwest, now the recent manufacturing boom in China has brought us increasingly cheaper versions of familiar products, resulting in a crush of nearly identical binoculars—more than 2,000 models right now on Amazon, for example—most of them featuring similar designs.
Most standard tripods can be used, but because you are looking upwards, it does mean that the eyepieces will be in an awkward position. The best way to get around this is to use a chair and position yourself almost under the tripod. With traditional tripods this can be a little awkward as the legs often get in the way. I recently tested a Vanguard Alta Pro tripod that has an adjustable central column that you can effectively use to position your binoculars away from the center of the tripod (see image below) so you can more easily position yourself under your optics, which I found worked really well for astronomy. For more read my review of the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT Tripod.
With binoculars the old adage “you get what you pay for” still hold true to a significant degree. Precision optical instruments demand exacting standards in their production… and still comes at a price. Binoculars you pick up on offer at your local supermarket for €50 may be OK for occasionally watching ships sail by on a sunny day at the beach, but they will fall far short of ideal when trying to pick out subtle plumage detail on a small brown bird in a shady hedgerow, or spot the tell-tale signs of distant whales blowing offshore.
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?
As we have discussed, binocular manufacturers are on a never-ending quest to provide us with a perfect image. Some of the common issue’s consumers experience is loss of brightness and color, depth of field issues, chromatic aberration, fringing, and crispness. Many of these problems are compounded in challenging light environments such as in shady woods or sunrise/sunset.
Let's take just a moment to consider getting astronomy binoculars with zoom optics at this point. You're probably normal and about now you're thinking that getting zoom optics would be especially intelligent when considering astronomy. Zoom binoculars can seem like an astute purchase due to a perceived greater utility. The popularity of zoom configurations is largely based on the range of magnifications available in on instrument. Unfortunately, the very aspect that makes it seemingly attractive can also work against it optically. You can learn more about the optical considerations in choosing zoom binoculars on the How to Buy Binoculars page (this link takes you directly to the section on zoom optics).
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.

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.


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.

The Leica 8X42 Geovid is an all-around excellent range finding binocular that delivers outstanding performance when you need it. In addition to its stunning range of view and excellent optical clarity, the 8X42 offers unparalleled ballistics information at the push of a button thanks to the binoculars' patented advanced ballistics compensation technology which allows you to record and obtain proper rifle ranges. It is perfect for hunting, hiking, and other outdoor activities.


It’s not always possible to try all of the binoculars on your short-list before you make a decision. In many places high quality optics retailers are thin on the ground, so finding somewhere that stocks the models you’re interested in can be a challenge. That said there really is no substitute for experiencing the different views, handling and features of a range of different binoculars to give you a “feel” for which options suit you best.

The main reason why these are perfectly fine for astronomy is that they have mid-level or perhaps even high-level multicoated 50mm lenses. Unlike other low-priced models these truly deliver the brightness and sharpness you need when stargazing at night. The optics are simply remarkable for this price range. There is no distortion on the sides of the image and the focusing mechanism operates smoothly every time.


Fantastic range is all I can say! I tested the one mile claim and found that these binos are capable of surpassing it. I ranged a high dirt bank in twilight conditions at 1780 yards! In normal daylight conditions, I was able to get 1600 yards with no problems, so the rangefinder is great. The glass in the binoculars isn't bad either. It's not as clear as say, a Swarovski, but at a third the price it's pretty good. It looked about as clear as my cousin's Leica 10x42, with only slightly less field of vision. I have been doing long range shooting and needed a long range rangefinder to replace my Leupold 1000 yard handheld. These are a little bulkier but having the glassing capability and great ranging aspect as well. All in all, worth the price unless you have to have the biggest and best. Which translates into very expensive.
When most people think of amateur astronomy, they picture a dad and son using a telescope perched out in the middle of a soccer field, but you can do it just as well from a fire escape when you look through these decidedly massive binoculars. They let me see details on the surface of the moon I thought were reserved for Apollo astronauts. Get them and you’ll see starlight brighter than ever before. You might even catch a distant meteor or comet streaking through the sky. Even in nearly pitch-black night, their massive 100mm diameter lenses gather an abundance of light. Do not bring them on distance hikes — they are nearly 10 pounds and far too heavy.

A final consideration for optics concerns brightness and lighting. A larger objective lens will be able to capture more light. Also pay attention to the exit pupils, relative brightness and twilight factor. In this case, the higher the number, the brighter the images will appear, which is important if you’ll be using your binoculars in low-light settings.


Technically, the type of prism utilized in binoculars is a double-Porro prism, but is always shortened to just “Porro.” It is also always capitalized because it is the last name of the inventor, Ignazio Porro, who designed this prism system around 1850. This most basic of prism configurations is defined by the folded light path, which displaces the point where the light enters and exits the prism, which results in the familiar look of a “traditional” or “old-school” binocular.
Most believe that Canon was the first company to have image stabilized binoculars due to very good marketing and bringing the price down to within reach of the consuming public, even if it's a long reach! Their introduction in 1997 was based on the work they had done for years in stabilizing video camera images. It quickly caught on and image stabilized Canon binoculars have many devotees. While the Canon technology doesn't seem designed to stabilize the larger movements encountered on boats/ships, speeding cars/trucks, and airplanes/helicopters, it does well with hand movements such as those often associated with health and age. The engagement of the stabilization mechanism and electronics is said to often result in a somewhat softer image which lacks the crispness found in Fujinons. We anticipate publishing a review of the Canon image stabilized binoculars.
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.
"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!"
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.
While the Geovid indeed uses a laser to calculate distance, it also factors in ballistic trajectory. For example, the actual distance to an object might differ with a bullet as opposed to a laser. If you were holding a gun instead of the Geovid, the binos will factor in a bullet’s drop to give you perhaps the most accurate information on our list up to 1200 yards.

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.
The Leica Geovid HD-B is an advanced model with a versatility that can handle target shooting and hunting. The model features automatic adjusting that alters ballistics based on the atmospheric conditions when in use. It also has fantastic optics with the ability to view targets clearly at over 1,500 yards. Its field of view is 300 feet even at 1,000 yards.
"These binoculars provide a clear view of wildlife in my backyard or while on a nature walk. I agree they are built like a tank, but not the weight. I was looking at other brands and decided on the Carson's VP series. I made my decision from reading the reviews and watching the Carson provided product videos. I can't wait to view more wildlife with them."
However instead of just doing what most other guides and review sites do and just list a bunch of instruments for you to choose from, claiming that they are all the best, in this guide I will go over in detail what you need to look for and how you can go about choosing the best pair for your particular needs and budget as well as offer some recommendations based on the binos that I have actually fully tested and reviewed.

If you’ve been shopping for binoculars, you will have noticed that some look very streamlined while others look chunkier. This is because the physical appearance and size of a binocular is determined by the type of prism it uses. Prisms are used to correct the orientation of the view horizontally and vertically so the scene looks natural; without a prism, binoculars would make things look upside down and flopped. There are two principal types of prisms: roof and Porro. The glass elements in a roof prism are in line with one another, making roof-prism binoculars more streamlined and easier to hold. Porro prisms have the glass elements offset from one another, and can provide greater depth of field and a wider field of view compared to similar roof prism models. This is accomplished by folding the light path, which shortens the length, spreading the objectives farther apart.
dless of whether you’re an expert with an extensive collection of rangefinder binoculars, or someone who’s only getting their first pair, choosing the right ones can be tricky. Making the wrong choice can cost you $90-100, or it could easily go into the thousands if you buy a premium pair of binoculars. When you consider all of the variables, making a wrong choice isn’t that hard. Things such as zoom or fixed, or image stabilization, or even the numbers in the name can be confusing for someone who isn’t well versed in the topic. However, as you saw above, clearing them up isn’t that difficult, and if you do know what you need, getting the right pair isn’t all that difficult either.

All binoculars are identified by a set of numbers, such as 10x42 and 7x20, which refer to their magnification and objective lens diameter, respectively. Using 10x42 as an example, the 10x means that the binoculars have 10x magnification power, making the view through them appear 10 times closer than it appears to the naked eye. For most situations, users should look for binoculars from 7x to 10x power. Theatergoers should choose something in the range of 3-5x, depending on your seats; sports fans will be happy with a 7x model; while big-game hunters would need 10x or higher for long-range observations. Keep in mind that for many users, holding binoculars greater than 10x42 steady for long periods may present some difficulty, so a tripod should be considered if you are looking at models with higher magnifications or larger objectives.
Bushnell Legends have great depth of view and give you a more realistic picture. The 8x feels more like a 10x and they retain most of these capabilities even when you zoom in a bit. Bird watchers will appreciate its brightness, which is a result of the high quality of coating used for  Legends. Near sighted people have noted that they can see far off objects through these without their glasses.

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.
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