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.

At Optics4Birding, we’re serious about this hobby, and we’re committed to providing our customers with the best equipment at competitive prices. We’ve built our reputation on our outstanding customer service, and we stand behind every product we sell with a no-hassle return policy and easy online ordering options. We are happy to offer a rock-solid Price Guarantee to our customers, too: We will meet or beat any advertised price from an authorized dealer on the same item. And, most orders ship free!
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.
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.

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.
And while a touch big for my pack, the Monarch 5’s were a perfect match for the Badlands, where long, grassy ranges and distant, rolling hills demanded extra magnification and then some. Golden eagles, western meadowlarks, bobolinks, curlews, a ferruginous hawk, spotted towees, northern harriers, western kingbirds, and black-rosy finches — I crossed them all off my list. No matter how you slice it — optical quality, resolution and brightness, eye relief, body mechanics — the Monarch 5’s match up against binoculars that cost two or three times as much.
Read product and user reviews on the brands you favor. The Internet features plenty of reviews on birding binoculars, from both expert and amateur birdwatchers. Consulting as many different reviews as possible will often result in the recognition of themes or patterns. Perhaps one brand is consistently more durable than another, or one style is overpriced compared to other models.
Looking at the basics, you’ll find that all binoculars come with a set of two numbers. They can be 7×42, 7×50, 8×42, 10×52 etc. This is a pretty important number with rangefinder binoculars, and any binoculars in general. The first number will tell you the magnification. For example, a 7×42 will show you objects 7 times closer than the naked eye. The second number tells you how big the objective lens is in mm. A larger objective lens lets in more light, and you’ll be able to see a brighter image. This could be especially beneficial in darker conditions. What you should know is that higher magnification will reduce the amount of light that’s available, and a large objective lens will make the binoculars large and heavy.
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.
The Carson RD 8 x 26 waterproof, Levenhuk Karma Pro 8 x 25, Maven C.2 10 x 28, and Minox 8 x 25 are part of a slew of “new compact” binoculars that resemble shrunken-down versions of the full-size 8 x 42 models, but were about two-thirds the size and weight. At this size, though, they’re too large to slip into most pockets, unless you have a huge coat on, taking away the very portability that we were looking for. I also found the quality lacking across the board—eyepieces that wouldn’t stop spinning (Maven), eyecups that didn’t sit flush with the eye (Levenhuk, Minox), and distortion of distant objects (Carson).
Another way to express the viewing angle is the Apparent Angle of View (AAoV). This is roughly calculated by taking the AoV and multiplying it by the magnification. So if that 10x42 binocular from the earlier example has a 6.3-degree AoV, its apparent angle of view is 63 degrees. The AAoV is the angle of the magnified field when you look through binoculars; so the larger the apparent field of view is, the wider the field of view you can see even at high magnifications. Generally speaking, an AAoV of more than 60 degrees is considered wide-angle. Nikon engineers developed their own mathematical formula to determine AAoV (see below) more accurately and precisely, which lowers the angle on average, but most of the optics industry continues to use the first formula for consistency and simplicity.
One thing you'll need to think about is how to attach your big astronomy binoculars to your tripod. Most binoculars are fitted with a standard size threaded socket and are ready to accept a tripod adapter. After unscrewing the hinge cap on the end of the hinge nearest the objective lenses, screw the adapter into the hinge socket, tighten it, and mount the other end of the adapter on the tripod's pan head. When selecting a binocular tripod adapter, you'll want one whose screw's knob will work equally well with roof and Porro prism designs as well as the tight space on some larger binoculars. We like the knob design on the Vortex tripod adapter because its slender shape allows it to be used with nearly any binocular.
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.
Edge Sharpness: All binoculars have a “sweet spot” in the centre of the field of view where the image is in sharpest focus before some loss of sharpness as you move out towards the image edge (a phenomenon known as field curvature). The wider this central sweet spot, the more enjoyable the binoculars will be to use. The better the binoculars, the larger the sweet spot, and the less softening you get as you approach the image periphery. Some premium binoculars (like Swarovski’s flagship EL Swarovision range), incorporate special “field flattener” lenses in the eyepieces to deliver a clear view right to the edge of the field.
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.
But binoculars are expensive. In fact, we’d argue that you should stretch your budget to buy the best binoculars you can afford. Binoculars are a long-term investment that starts paying off the day you get them. Most likely you won’t be buying new binoculars every couple of years, so it makes sense to choose carefully, try a lot of varieties, and save up for a pair that will deliver great views of the birds you seek out.

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.
"I bought these binoculars for an upcoming trip to Alaska. I was a little nervous about getting binoculars from a company I had never heard of... All the other binoculars in this price range would have involved some kind of compromise, either a narrow field of view or a of lack of ED glass or a long minimum focusing distance. These binoculars ticked all the boxes for me, and I stayed within my budget (although it was the high end of my budget)."

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.


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.
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.
Another advantage of the larger objective diameter is a larger exit pupil at the rear element of the binoculars, where your eyes are focused. With two binoculars of the same magnification, the circle of light hitting your eye is larger, with a larger objective. Therefore, an 8x42 binocular will have a larger exit pupil than an 8x35 binocular. A larger exit pupil generally means a more comfortable viewing experience.
If your main interest in astronomy is exploring the fine details on planets or showing structure in distant galaxies, you will probably also eventually want to get a telescope as binoculars just don't have enough magnification. However, binoculars have their advantages over telescopes for astronomy and a wide field of view is one of them. If are new to astronomy or if you thrive on large open star clusters and big, extended nebulae, binoculars can actually work better for you than a telescope. It is often said that binoculars are the best "first telescopes" you can buy and even an experienced astronomer usually keeps one with them at all times.
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.
I have used a pair of Pentax binoculars for years, bringing them with me to the tops of mountains, along trails dusty, muddy, snow-bound, and everything in between, and to several different continents. Throughout all those travels, I’ve been outright rough on them. And while the Pentax U-Series Papilio IIs aren’t the most amazing binos ever made in terms of performance, it’s their durability that makes them so clutch. It has a “uni-body” design, so it has fewer moving parts and a tougher housing. And while they may look heavier than other binoculars because of that squat, thicker central body, they’re in fact quite lightweight at less than 10.5 ounces — another reason they are great for trekkers.
The world of binoculars is vast and constantly evolving. No matter what you’re using them for—from a night at the opera to hunting on the tundra to comet watching—there is something for everyone at every price. This article has offered a basic introduction to the terms and technologies that will affect your buying decision and the overall performance of the optic. After making your selection, don’t forget about the accessories that can enhance your viewing experience and turn a good view into a great view.

Most of these binoculars now feature roof prisms, rather than old-fashioned porro prisms. Roof-prism binoculars, which you can identify easily by their “H” shape, draw light in along a straight path through the binoculars, from the objective lens to the eyepiece. Porro-prism binoculars, typically “A” shaped (see photo above), bounce the light along an angled path. Though either design can yield a great pair of binoculars, porro-prism units have, until recently, tended to be cheaper as well as heavier and less durable, though they could potentially yield a better image for less money. These days, roof-prism units are very inexpensive to manufacture, leading to the disappearance of high-end porro units except at the very lowest price points. For more on binocular design, see the Birding Binoculars Guide.


Hi. im thinking of buying the Meade 15×70 . It will be mainly for astronomical/stargazing use. It will also be used for day time (bird watching, etc). We wont be using a tripod and we’ll be travelling with it. So portability/weight will be a requirement. I also were an eye glass. Plus, should be easy to use. Do you reckon this will be the best option? Thanks.
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.
I know that some museums, like the Louvre or Musee d'Orsay, are well lit - while some parts of Versailles, cathedrals and churches like the Sistine Chapel - are a bit dim (almost dark)...so if you can handle a bino larger than a compact (up to 25mm objective lens diameter) you may want to think about upping the size to a 30-40mm to help make the view brighter if you know the rooms will have challenging lighting.
Most of these binoculars now feature roof prisms, rather than old-fashioned porro prisms. Roof-prism binoculars, which you can identify easily by their “H” shape, draw light in along a straight path through the binoculars, from the objective lens to the eyepiece. Porro-prism binoculars, typically “A” shaped (see photo above), bounce the light along an angled path. Though either design can yield a great pair of binoculars, porro-prism units have, until recently, tended to be cheaper as well as heavier and less durable, though they could potentially yield a better image for less money. These days, roof-prism units are very inexpensive to manufacture, leading to the disappearance of high-end porro units except at the very lowest price points. For more on binocular design, see the Birding Binoculars Guide.
When it comes to looking at the night skies, binoculars can work better than telescopes in some ways. They are more portable, intuitive to use and offer a wider field of view. If you like astronomy, you should have a decent pair of binoculars. Even if you already own a telescope or two, you should still have a minimum of one good pair of binoculars. If you are a beginning astronomer, or if you love to look up at the stars, then you will most likely use your binoculars even more than your telescope. The following is a quick guide on choosing astronomy binoculars. We’ve also listed our Top 3 Astronomy Binoculars for 2018.
Bushnell's RealTree Xtreme camouflage 10x42 Trophy Binocular (B&H # BU10X42R) utilize BAK4 prisms and fully multi-coated optics to create a versatile and capable optic that produces bright and clear images with accurate color rendition. Coupled with the optical features are 42mm diameter objectives which give the binocular very competent low-light performance, while setting the magnification at 10x allows you to resolve fine details at distances while maintaining a wide field of view. This combination of magnification, optics, objectives, plus a wide viewing angle make the Trophy ideally suited for most outdoor activities from hunting, to birding, to boating, and sporting events.
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.

Optical Performance. This aspect comprises of every thing that got to do with the clarity and sharpness of image viewed through the binocular. I have actually covered all these aspects pretty thoroughly in this post. If you aren’t aware about what makes up a quality binocular with great optical performance, I highly recommend that you check out the buying guide in the link before proceeding further.
As for cleaning your binoculars’ lenses, what you don’t want to do is start cleaning by breathing on and then rubbing the lenses with something like a microfiber cloth, lens wipe or—heaven forbid—your shirtsleeve. That’s because doing so may lead to the dust that’s already on your lens leaving tiny scratches. Instead, start with a lens pen or bulb-type blower to remove that dust, then go ahead and use either lens wipes or fluid and a microfiber cloth. For more info, visit our guide to the best camera cleaning gear (the routine for cleaning binoculars is fundamentally the same).

The Fusion ranges out just a tad less than its competitors, but nevertheless, it’s still a full 1,760 yards – a complete one mile. Bushnell is straight-up with its specs as they disclose that its soft-target ranging is only 500 yards. While that might seem on the low side for a high-powered and expensive optic, we do appreciate the truth of its abilities. However, 500 yards is still pretty, doggone far!


This term refers to the diameter of the large front lens (measured in millimeters) and is what will let light in through the lenses for the best viewing. So 10×50 means the lens is 50 millimeters in diameter and will let in more light than say 40 millimeters. More light means brighter, clearer images. This is very important feature offered by the Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15×70 binoculars with a 70mm diameter lens.
The Nikon Monarch 7 ATB 10x42 and the Leica 10x25 Ultravid BCR both earned a score of 8 out of 10 in our clarity testing. These models allowed us to see zones 8 and nine9 were clearly on the chart with just a little defocusing around the last millimeter or two near the edges. All five of these top pairs include multi-coated lenses, ED or HD glass, and excellent craftsmanship, which is what allows them all to be so clear.
Birders tend to gravitate toward the 40mm range for their binoculars. Binoculars with 40mm, 42mm, or 44mm objectives serve as a good medium compromise between low-light capability and portability. Objectives smaller than 35mm will lead to a more portable package at the expense of light gathering, and a 50mm or larger objective will give you a very bright image along with, potentially, the aforementioned sore neck and shoulders.
Steadier - As long as they are well balanced a larger heavier pair of optics will resist moving better, so are often easier to hold steady, which can be a consideration if you are using a high magnifications. They are also far easier to use and more comfortable to hold than tiny compact binoculars, especially true if you are using thick gloves in winter.

“I am SO thrilled with my new binoculars! I ordered the Compact 8x32s. I’d call them semi-compact. Bigger (and much higher quality) than my super-compact pocket ones and yet perfect to take along in a bag or on a belt. I’ve had them a week and I’ve gotten familiar with them and had a chance to use them as well. They look great AND they show things at a distance well, crisp! They are comfortable to hold with an indentation in the nonslip finish for each thumb. I have a problem with the finish on, and eye cups of, many binoculars as most are latex. But these don’t smell like tires and they don’t bother me. In the center, they adjust to the width between the eyes. And they have a right eye diopter which allows for the difference between most people’s eyes.”


The Orion name is synonymous with high quality, superior performance products and the Resolux is no exception. With the tripod adapter it easy to take these binoculars anywhere for extended viewing without the exhaustive set up and limited view of a telescope. Images will be sharp with minimal blurring at the outer edges of whatever you are viewing.

“These binoculars are inexpensive but have many of the characteristics of expensive binoculars. They are water and fog-proof, they have BaK-4 prisms, and they have a well-constructed and rugged body. I purchased Roofs rather than Porros after my Nikon Porros lost their collimation. Nikon repaired them for $10 plus shipping (which was very fair), but I did not want to go through that again. Roofs are generally more durable. These binos appear well collimated (I did every test I could find on the internet, including shining the sun through them onto a screen), they can quickly be focused quite sharply, and there is very little color aberration. The 8x42s have remarkably little distortion near the outside of the field of vision; the 10x42s have more, but are still quite acceptable. The eye relief is good, so I can wear these with or without glasses.”
The sole obligation of Celestron under this limited warranty shall be to repair or replace the covered product, in accordance with the terms set forth herein. Celestron expressly disclaims any lost profits, general, special, indirect or consequential damages which may result from breach of warranty, or arising out of the use or inability to use any Celestron product. Any warranties which are implied and which cannot be disclaimed shall be limited in duration to a term of one year from the date of original retail purchase. 
At a magnification around 7x to 10x, position yourself so that you can hold the binoculars firmly in place while viewing. Binoculars with overly high magnification may cause unstable image and uncomfortable viewing due to shaking by hand movement. When using high-magnification binoculars, you can fix the binoculars in place using a tripod to steady your field of vision for extended viewing without any worries.
Muirden, James. Sky Watcher’s Handbook. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company Limited, 1993. Basically, a good review of the use of binoculars and telescopes for different types of observing. Intermediate to advanced. There is always something interesting or important to read or refer to in this book. An amateur who has specialized in observing a particular object writes each area of observing.North, Gerald. Advanced Amateur Astronomy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Basic review of binoculars. Other topics well covered, especially, lunar and planetary material. Book is advanced and technical, but full of useful information.
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.
Binoculars’ exit pupil diameter is determined by dividing the objective by the magnification: so a 10x42 binocular has a 4.2mm exit pupil diameter. That’s a generous size, and larger than the pupil of the eye most of the time. But a 10x25 pair of binoculars has an exit pupil of just 2.5mm, which is smaller than the average pupil dilation and will be harder to see through clearly.
Younger and smaller skywatchers need smaller binoculars to fit their hands and faces. These Big View binoculars by Learning Resources are perfect for the youngest stargazers and bird-watchers. Designed for kids age 3 to 12, these binoculars are safe and easy to use. The binoculars come in a durable, plastic frame with plastic lenses, so parents don't need to worry about the hazards of broken glass or other broken parts. Rubber eyepieces make these comfortable to use, and a breakaway lanyard ensures that kids won't get tangled or hurt. A plastic focus knob allows the user to manually focus the view. Compared to more-expensive binoculars for adults, these have a relatively low power of magnification (6x). However, for the price, these binoculars are an excellent choice for kids. [The Best Space Gifts for Kids 2017]
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