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.
If you are going to use your binoculars for astronomy and don't want the hassle of using a tripod, 7x50 binoculars are a classic size. In recent years the giant binoculars have captured the headlines, but these are still unbeatable for viewing really extended open clusters and nebulae and as far as astronomy binoculars go, nothing is easier to use than a 7x50.

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.


To find a manageable group of testing finalists, we first eliminated companies that make only one model and that don’t exist outside of their Amazon presence. We also ruled out companies with just one model in our target price range, based on the logic that those binoculars are less likely to be widely available in the future, particularly if they get damaged and you need to return them. This left us with 17 models of 8×42 binoculars, priced mostly under $350:
Recently back from birding in France where I got to try Swarovskis, and realized the difference between binos and Oh My God binos.  I'm looking to buy new birding binos, and am concerned about weight, but definitely want the best clarity.  I'm planning to come into your store in 2 weeks.  Any thoughts as to what I should be looking at?  (And yes, my budget will include Swaros, it's time to spoil myself!)  Note:  I do want to be able to view fairly closely as well.
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.
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.

Roof-prism units are smaller and lighter-weight but have a more complicated, touchy optical design, which makes them more difficult and expensive to manufacture well. As a result, roof-prism binoculars tend to cluster at the high end of the market and, inexplicably, at the bottom end too — but not so often in between. A saying around my local astronomy club is that if your roof-prism binoculars don't seem to be performing well, you didn't spend enough money!
Binoculars get beat up and dusty, and cheap ones go out of alignment in a few weeks or with a good knock, resulting in double vision or blurry patches. For the record, I accidentally dropped the Athlon Midas ED binoculars onto a dirt road in Mexico (right onto the focus knob!), brushed them off and found they worked just fine. Nearly all companies I was able to reach offer a full, transferable, lifetime warranty of the “you can drive over it with a truck” type, but I recommend researching warranties before buying any model, because their details may change in the future.
Each product's clarity score was based on detailed observations, in varying conditions, to critically compare and rate performance. Factors that can influence clarity are objective lens size, lens material, lens coatings, and optical alignment. A larger objective lens allows more detail into the system, this has to do with the airy pattern and airy disc. ED or high-density glass corrects aberrations. This is important because a larger diameter objective lens can create more aberration issues.
As far as the optics and functionality goes, you’ll be pleased to find multi-coated optics with BAK4 prisms. You can read more about the different optic types here. They’ll make sure that regardless of the weather, you have high contrast images, and details are easily discernible and clear. Almost a standard set in the binoculars on the list, you have an internal rangefinder and compass, which are pretty accurate.
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.
On the other hand, if you are happy to keep your binoculars fixed in one location and used mainly for astronomy and long distance viewing then go with a larger and more powerful model. Remember that the larger the lenses are, the better your binoculars will be for astronomy – as simple as that! It is no surprise that most astronomy binoculars are also referred to as “Giant Binoculars.” Big lenses mean brighter images.
Hunting binoculars make it easy to spot prey at long distances so you can clearly detect and perfect your shot. We feature binoculars with 12x and higher magnifications for long-range viewing and hunting purposes, as well as options with scratch-resistant coatings, secure lenses and comfortable eyecups for long periods of use. Choose between our different durable and reliable roof prism binoculars and porro prism binoculars to find the best match for your specific hunting needs. Just remember that while you're on the hunt, be sure you're carrying the best binoculars that Academy can offer.

Completely water and weather-proof, the system is purged with nitrogen to provide advanced anti-fogging in any viewing conditions. They are also shock-resistant thanks to the rubber-coated body and are one of the sturdiest range finding binoculars you can buy. For their great construction quality, durability, as well as superior image quality, the USCAMEL HD Binoculars set makes for a powerful optical tool that you will be able to use for years to come.


Just remember the best pair of binoculars are the ones you use. If they are comfortable and work for what you want them too, then they are the right pair of binoculars. If you are thinking about upgrading your current pair, please consider donating your old pair. The Birders' Exchange supports bird watching programs and research in South America. You can always give your old pair to them. If you are still on the lookout for the best contender, consider reading over our Buying Advice.

"My 4-year old son loves his new binoculars and compass. He loves to pretend to go on adventures and look through his binoculars at things far away. Santa Claus brought him these binoculars, and he still has interest in them a week later, which for my four-year-old is pretty amazing. He's more of the 'let's-play-with-a-toy-for-five-minutes-and-then-quit' kind of kid. As binoculars go, these aren't like most 'toy' binoculars, where you can barely make out what you are looking at due to the blur. They are actually very clear and cover a good distance. I'm really impressed with them!"
With that in mind I selected my top five binoculars from the initial tests and took them along with me to unfamiliar territory in southern Mexico for advanced testing. Working in the field is the ultimate test for any pair of binoculars. The optics need to do some very heavy lifting—studying intricate patterns of white vermiculation on the upper back of a woodcreeper before the bird scoots around the trunk of a tree, for example—while my brain sorts through several near-identical species, something I don’t get to do back home.

What is good for us the consumers is that many of the new Chinese optics are now being made to very high optical standards and whilst many may not like to admit it, they perform as well as many far more expensive optics made in the west. Some popular brands include the Oberwerk which have plenty of nice features including collimation screws, Celestron's, Meade's and the excellent Apogee brand of binoculars. All of these offer fantastic quality for the price and bring giant binoculars within reach of most peoples budgets. (Take a look at this review on Cheap Binoculars for Astronomy)
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.

It uses high quality ED lens which are of HD (High Definition) quality and phase corrected BAK-4 prisms. Not to mention, all air to glass surfaces are fully multi coated providing you the best image quality ever. For some reasons (maybe due to the way it’s manufactured) it produces brighter and sharper image compared to other binoculars that use the same materials.
Higher power doesn’t necessary mean better bigger; the amount of magnification you’ll want depends on the end use. Low-powered binoculars from 6x to 10x magnification work great for most outdoor activities and sporting events where you’re keeping up with fast-paced action (a larger lens size and increased field of vision are also recommended for keeping up with the action). Higher magnifications are best for longer distances and less mobile objects, like landscapes or the night sky (and a larger field of vision is not necessary).
the quality of these binoculars is very good and the images are collimated correctly and very sharp.although the length is definitely an improvement over the giant style binoculars they’re still rather large and do require a tripod for steady viewing.my intention is to use these both for viewing wildlife in the daytime and the night sky. So far I’m very pleased.
Email or phone with any questions you have. Not being able to try the binoculars out first is a major disadvantage, but you can mitigate some of the drawbacks by getting in touch with the seller and sharing any concerns or inquiries. While a quick reply is always appreciated, you’ll occasionally find yourself waiting. A major purchase like this is worth the wait, so be patient and thank the seller for responding when the time comes.
The Celestron TrailSeeker binoculars are great for gathering light and delivering fantastic optical resolution with their 42mm lens and 8x magnification, the industry standard for a good pair of binoculars. While some of the image edges might suffer from blurring, these binoculars will still give you a wonderful and wide field of view for less than $200. And with their lightweight magnesium alloy body, you know you’re going to get something durable, waterproof, and high-quality for the outdoors or in a stadium setting.
Binocular stargazing is full of surprises. Sometimes you stumble across a pretty cluster and wonder how you’d previously missed it. Other times, you hunt and hunt for a galaxy listed at 8th magnitude, only to come up empty handed. It’s enough to make you wonder — what makes one object a binocular standout and another difficult challenge? Compiled here are the five most important factors that determine whether or not a deep-sky wonder will turn out to be binocular trash or treasure.
For 80mm binoculars, look for a tripod that lists a capacity of at least 12lb and 15lb or more is better. Another thing to check is the actual weight of the tripod, light tripods will struggle when loaded with a binocular of equal weight or more. Generally because portability is rarely an issue when it comes to tripods for astronomical binoculars, bigger is better. Quick release plates are a convenient feature, to look for, but check to see if they fit very tightly, if they fit loosely in the tripod head, you will get some unwanted sag.
Sticker shock is common when looking for your first pair of bins. If you're timid about spending multiple hundreds of dollars on a new hobby, the Celestron Nature DX 8x42 is a perfect choice. The image quality of these binoculars, which list for just $140 and often sell for less, is by far the best we've seen in this price range. In fact, it rivals models that cost more than twice as much in that regard. The supple focus knobs and easy eyecup adjustments continue the beginner-friendly trend. We also enjoyed that the 6.5ft focus range let us get a good look at any nearby butterflies or other interesting insects, a big plus for days when the birds just aren't singing.

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 Celestron TrailSeeker binoculars are great for gathering light and delivering fantastic optical resolution with their 42mm lens and 8x magnification, the industry standard for a good pair of binoculars. While some of the image edges might suffer from blurring, these binoculars will still give you a wonderful and wide field of view for less than $200. And with their lightweight magnesium alloy body, you know you’re going to get something durable, waterproof, and high-quality for the outdoors or in a stadium setting.
Open or Closed bridge refers to the center portion that connects the two optical tubes on roof prism binoculars. Typically, the center hinge and focusing mechanism will be enclosed in the housing. While this strengthens the hinge and mechanism, the closed bridge prevents your hands from wrapping all the way around. An open bridge will usually have the focus mechanism close to the eyepieces and another stabilizing section toward the objectives, with the middle section left open. This not only enables a full wraparound grip, but it also cuts the overall weight of the optic.
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.
The laser technology used in this rangefinder binocular is spot on as it gives you the range measurements at the greatest speeds ever. Before you even blink an eye, you get the readings on the display. The technology is way superior and it lets you get accurate measurements even in unfavorable conditions. It can aim at small targets such as rabbits from a distance with ease. With a range of 1300 yards, the T coated lens allows more light transmission giving great clarity. It is waterproof and nitrogen filled to protect it from unfriendly conditions. The sturdy construction of the rangefinder binocular makes it recoil proof to protect it from falls.

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.
If you can afford them, as they do cost a pretty penny, they will give you clarity unmatched by anything else. When you’re looking at something, you’ll feel like you’re actually looking through your own eyes, and not through a pair of rangefinder binoculars. This is the best of the best, the crème de la crème, if you will. The premium optics have a multi-layer glass, and fluoride, which results in a lot of light being able to go inside the lens. You’ll be able to see objects right before it gets completely dark, with ease. That coating we mentioned is LotuTec, and it also plays a big role in the vividness of the image.
Let’s take a look at what’s important. First of all, the USCAMEL feels very solid. Their build quality is great, and they’re built to last. The body is rubber-coated, which allows for a comfortable and firm grip, and you get some shock resistance as well. They’re built for outdoor use, even in some more extreme conditions such as mountaineering or watersports. The fact that they’re dust-proof and waterproof means that they’ll survive whatever you decide to throw at them.
Ranging Performance: The ranging performance describes how far a model can accurately range a target. The maximum range listed by the manufacturer is the farthest the model can return accurate results under ideal conditions. This is important because it makes up half of the purpose of the device, and different hunting styles require different maximum ranges.
Binocular buyers are immediately confronted with several purchasing decisions. Not only are there numerous brands of binoculars on the market, they come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and feature options. B&H Photo writer Christopher Witt recently published an in-depth Binoculars Buying Guide that dives deep into what you will find on the shelves of the B&H optics department and on the SuperStore website when searching for a pair of binoculars. Luckily, if your mission is viewing birds, purchasing options can be narrowed a bit. For this article, we will focus here on what specifications birders should consider when binocular shopping, and not reproduce everything from Chris’s excellent article.
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.
A: There is no single answer to this question. Here are a few things to keep in mind. If you will not be able to get close up to your subject, a higher magnification is better like 10x or 12x. Keep in mind the higher the magnification the more “shake” you will get and a tripod will help out greatly. If you are just looking out your back window at a bird feeder, a 6 or 8x magnification should be sufficient.
There is not much of a need for an astronomy binocular to be waterproof, water resistant is enough as using them at night can expose a binocular to dew and moisture, which can cause a non-waterproof model to mist up inside the mechanism. I would just like to say though that in general, better quality binoculars tend to be sealed and fully waterproof as well as fogproof and so this is one indicator to look out for if you want to make sure that the binoculars you are getting are of a good quality. (importance 2/10)
I had use of a pair of Mavens customized to these specs while bobbing off a Norwegian glacier in an open boat, trying to pluck a white-tailed eagle out of the storm-laden sky as it wheeled and dipped off a rock face that was the color of slate gray, with cloud cover roughly approximate. It ducked in and out of the shadowed, crenellated cliffs and I tried not to barf. Eventually, I locked onto this magnificent predator with a sharpness that was uncannily vivid. I can still see its fish-hooked, kitchen-yellow beak and almost hear the snap of its wing beat. At a scant 16.5-ounces, the B.3s are some of the lightest premium binoculars on the market, yet at a mid-range price. Baring catastrophe, we’ll be lifelong pals.
With the list and buying guide above, you should be on your way towards making an informed buying decision. The binoculars that we wrote about above are some of the best rangefinder binoculars you can get today, and there are both budget options, and premium ones, depending on your budget, as well as your level of expertise. What can be said about all of them is that you really can’t go wrong with any one pair, regardless of whether it’s the Bushnell Fusion 1-Mile ARC, the Nikon LaserForce, or the Aomekie 7×50. Just take a look at your budget, then take a look at your needs, then make your choice!
Zeiss is in no way a new player in the field of optics. They’re synonymous with extremely high quality, if you can afford them, and with the Victory 10×56, they live up to their name. Let’s kick things off with the build quality. Even if you’re a person who doesn’t really take a lot of care about their things, you’ll be good to go with these. They’re built to be sturdy and maintain their performance even if you do drop them once or twice. This build quality also extends to waterproofing, which is always appreciated. They’re also nitrogen filled, which, as mentioned a few times above, won’t let your lenses fog up on the inside. Cleaning the lenses is a breeze, which is in most part thanks to a coating that Zeiss put on their lenses.

Optics4Birding is your one-stop source for quality binoculars, spotting scopes, and related products. Our site features comprehensive binocular reviews, spotting scope reviews and other product reviews. Informative sections tell you how to choose binoculars, how binoculars and spotting scopes work, about digiscoping, caring for your optics, about night vision and much more.


Want really steady views? Invest in a dedicated binocular mount. This can be a simple "L" bracket ($10 to $20) that attaches to a tripod — or, much better, a fancy parallelogram-style mount ($200 or more) that holds your binoculars for astronomy pointing at any angle overhead while you raise or lower them to suit your eyes. This is especially useful for sharing views with others.
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