Why do people even consider astronomy binoculars? When first getting interested in astronomy or searching for a gift for a young person, don't we usually ask "What kind of telescope shall I buy?" Of course, there are many different kinds of telescopes available from sources such as discount, hobby and department stores and usually each promises extraordinary celestial views.
The EL only has one downside, and it's a big one: price. Listing for $2,888 these bins cost as much as a used car and are more of an investment than a purchase. However, if you're a serious birder or wildlife watcher that wants the absolute best, or you're embarking on a once in a lifetime safari, these bins will undoubtedly elevate your experience.
The next most important specification on binoculars is the field of view. It will be represented in one of two ways: feet at a distance of 1,000 yards, or degrees. The higher the number of feet at 1,000 yards, the larger the field of view. When expressed in degrees, the higher the number of degrees, the larger the field of view. As the magnification power of binoculars increases, the field of view generally decreases. If you prefer the immersive space walking experience, choose a model with a wider field of view. This will make it easier to pan across the sky and find different celestial objects to view. If you prefer to see those celestial objects in the maximum amount of detail, opt for a pair with a narrower field of view and stronger magnification capabilities.
Lens coatings are films applied to lens surfaces to reduce glare and reflections, increase light transmission and contrast, and help make colors look more vivid. Any light reflected is light that never reaches the viewer’s eyes, so by eliminating reflections, the image ends up being brighter and sharper. Coatings, in general, are good, provided that the coatings do something. It’s easy to put a cheap coating on a lens to give it a cool-looking orange tint, but the coating might not do anything to improve image quality. If you aren’t able to test a pair of binoculars before buying, the best you can do is research the brand, look for user reviews, and ask questions before you buy.
As we touched on in the previous section, the greater the magnification capabilities, the lesser the field of view. Since telescopes are generally more high-powered than binoculars, they are notorious for having a very limited field of view. If you know exactly where the celestial objects you plan on viewing will be, this may be less of an issue, but if you need to scan the sky to find planets and stars, this can be very problematic. Seeing more of the night sky at once also gives you a better appreciation of how objects relate to one another in size and distance.
The Meade 15×70 is a powerful pair of binoculars and a perfect choice for astronomy. These are our best selling astronomical binoculars due to their high quality optics and very affordable price. They are fine to use handheld although a tripod is still recommended for stargazing with this model. The Meade 15×70 Astro Binoculars are built for night viewing and feature large 70mm lenses, they provide a bright image across the whole field of view, nice vivid colours, solid design and an impressive 15x magnification.
Bought these items for a family member for hunting. First impressions are wow these things are great. They feel good in the hand a little heavy but expected that from a cheap pair of binoculars. Then started to use and found out they are great products. My brother and I used them over the weekend for hunting coyotes in western Utah. During the hunt the weather went from rain to snow to sun, and I can say that these had no issues at all. The lenses stayed clear and focusing was almost as good as my vortex binos that I paid 5x more for. carying case is a little hokey but nothing that a good bino holster cant fix. All in all I am glad that my brother was happy with his present and we were able to test them in 3 types of weather. I hope they stand up to the test of time. Worth the investment of 32.99.

Built for power, performance, and versatility, the 10-30x50 Level Zoom Binocular from Barska (B&H # BA1030X50B) integrates a thumb lever that allows you to take in a large field of view at a low magnification, and with a quick slide of the lever, increase the magnification to make detailed observations at a distance. Utilizing large objectives, anti-reflection fully multi-coated optics, and a traditional Porro prism optical path, you are provided with a rich depth of field and high-contrast images that are bright and clear with color rendition. Its protective rubber armoring is textured to provide a slip-resistant grip, and if you're planning on glassing for extended periods the Level Zoom can be mounted on a tripod using an optional adapter.
Whilst both telescopes and astro binoculars are designed to give you a better view of the heavens at night, they both have their unique advantages and disadvantages and thus the best option will vary depending on your requirements at that moment. It is because of this, most people that a very interested in astronomy and practice it a lot, will posses at least one telescope AND a pair of bins.
Voted as the best binocular of 2016 by Best Binoculars Reviews, it is a device which has lived up to its potential. The EL series from Swarovski has been a mainstay for many years with the brand improving up on the models with the latest technologies. The changes with each version have been small, but the impact it has made on the ease of use and comfort is enormous. Starting with the design, the cutaway portion delivers a great place to hold the binocular securely. They have used magnesium alloy to manufacture the chassis, which is far more expensive than the aluminum or polycarbonate plastic frames. But the robustness the magnesium alloy brings to the table is incomparable.
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.
Here again, both of our Best Buy winners impressed, earning scores of 7 out of 10 for brightness. Both the Vortex Diamondback 8x28 and the Celestra Nature DX 8x42 produced exceptionally bright images when we used them midday in good light. Both models did struggle a bit in low-light situations, however. Many early morning birds lacked some color and looked more like silhouettes until the sun got a bit higher.
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.
Fogging occurs when the air inside the optical tubes contains moisture. If you go from a warm cabin to frigid conditions outside, the moisture can condense on the inside of lenses, causing them to fog. Fog-proof binoculars are filled with inert gases such as nitrogen or argon, or a combination of the two, to prevent fogging. The inert gas is dry and is pumped into the optical tubes under pressure, keeping the gaskets and O-rings firmly in place.
Complementing lens coatings are prism coatings, which increase light reflection and improve image brightness and contrast. While many manufacturers may use standard reflective coatings, the upper echelon of prism coatings is called dielectric coatings, which allow almost 100% of the light through the prism, resulting in brighter high-contrast images.
Inferior image quality at lower price points: because roof prisms reflect light off more internal surfaces than porro-prisms, all other things being equal they tend to produce a darker image. They also suffer from a phenomenon known as phase shifting which degrades the sharpness of the final image. High quality roof prism binoculars include special phase-correction, high-transmission coatings on the prism surfaces to counteract these negative effects. Roof prisms can match and surpass the quality of porro-prisms, but at a price.
Now, the BinoX-HD are not typical night vision equipment. They aren’t your typical pair of rangefinder binoculars either. Typical night vision devices have image intensifier tubes, micro channel plates, or high sensitivity and improved frequency response. However, these have a charge-coupled device which provides the night vision capability. In terms of binoculars, typical ones tend to magnify the object by using a series of lenses. These, however, have a sensor – much like the one you’d find on a digital camera. When you’re looking at the object, it’s the sensor that magnifies the object between 4 and 16 times, and it does so digitally instead of optically. You can’t do wonders with it, such as zooming it at something that’s 1000 yards away at night, but the products that can do this are at least six or seven times the price.
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.
What makes the Athlon Optics Midas ED binoculars great? For starters, their brightness. A lot of birding and using binoculars in general involves looking out or up at something much brighter, like the sky, or darker, such as into a dense thicket. Just as your autofocus camera can’t figure out how to illuminate something against a bright (or overcast) sky, binoculars may have difficulty mustering the light needed to brighten the distant object you’re trying to identify. Also tough is the inverse of this situation, looking into dark, dense vegetation, a situation in which you need all the light-gathering ability the binoculars can give you. The Athlon Optics Midas ED performed well on both fronts. For example, several other models tested would not allow me to differentiate throat coloration of warblers in treetops early in the morning. With the Athlons, it was almost as if the glaring, whitish background of sky wasn’t there—the colors popped to life.
The only pairs with a locking diopter are the Leica Ultravid BCR and the Vortex Viper. The top pairs in this group with the smoothest adjustments and easiest focus were the Vortex Viper HD 8x42 and the Nikon Monarch 7 ATB 10x42. With all of these models even novices were able to follow birds in flight and keep them in focus without much issue. This is attributable to their smooth focus knobs.
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.
The magnification and objective of a binocular are always complimentary. The range of a rangefinder binocular also depends on these two aspects. You might have seen the binoculars being denoted by a set of numbers such as 7×20 or 10×42. What it denotes is the magnification and the diameter of the objective lens. For example, if the binocular is denoted by 7×20 it means that 7x is the magnification and 20 are the diameter of the objective lens. The magnification requirement depends on the purpose of your purchase. If you have bought it to take it to the movies, the ideal magnification would be anywhere from 3x to 5x. If the purpose something like sports, 7x would fair perfectly. But for hunting the best option would be 10x magnification. But one thing you have to keep in mind is that the field of view reduces with increase in magnification. The field of view of a 7x rangefinder binocular would be more than that of a binocular with 10x magnification. Also, it will be difficult to hold a rangefinder binocular which 10×42 for a long time as it will be heavy. The help of a tripod stand can be used in such cases.

This binocular uses automatic ballistic configuration that automatically detects various changes in the atmosphere and incorporate them in calculation. There are pros and cons to this automation. The pros are, it’s convenient as there is no need for manual input of data or choosing a specific set of parameters because the rangefinder automatically does it for you.
NOTE: This warranty is valid to U.S.A. and Canadian customers who have purchased this product from an authorized Celestron dealer in the U.S.A. or Canada. Warranty outside the U.S.A. and Canada is valid only to customers who purchased from a Celestron’s International Distributor or Authorized Celestron Dealer in the specific country. Please contact them for any warranty service.
In the past i have paid $100 ( when that was a lot of money) for binoculars that were no better than these. Great buy for $37. Once you get used to how they work they are excellent for watching Bald Eagles and other raptors in Cape May Point lighthouse sanctuary. Small enough to keep in the car, and if they get broken, well, it's only $37 so I'll pick up another pair.
Other flaws of the top binoculars focused mainly on what they didn’t do. For example, in several models (e.g., Nikon Prostaff 7S, Opticron Discovery WP PC), I found little details to complain about, like the fact that the twisting plastic eyecup was physically too easily pushed down as I carried it around, so each time I would raise the binoculars to my eyes, they’d be at wildly unbalanced levels. Even more annoying (and painful), several pairs I tested produced mild to fairly severe eyestrain, that ache behind the pupils when staring for more than a few seconds at a time through the lenses (memorably with the Eagle Optics Denali pair and a couple of Opticron models), or resulted in my eyes having a jittery little kick after I put the binoculars down and tried to focus on something else (say, my field notebook). This transition was smooth and virtually seamless in the top pairs of binoculars of the bunch I tested (e.g., Athlon, Carson, and Nikon), less so in other makes and models.
As we touched on in the previous section, the greater the magnification capabilities, the lesser the field of view. Since telescopes are generally more high-powered than binoculars, they are notorious for having a very limited field of view. If you know exactly where the celestial objects you plan on viewing will be, this may be less of an issue, but if you need to scan the sky to find planets and stars, this can be very problematic. Seeing more of the night sky at once also gives you a better appreciation of how objects relate to one another in size and distance.

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.


Modern binoculars all come with an adjustable eyecups around both eyepieces. This is either a foldable rubber cup or one that adjusts in and out using screwing motion. The simple rule of thumb is that if you wear glasses make the eyecup as small as possible, i.e. you need to get your glasses as close to the glass eyepiece in your binocular as you can.
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 term “roof prism” was originally applied to the Abbe-Koenig (AK) prism design that corrected an image horizontally and vertically while maintaining a straight line from the point at which the light enters the prism and exits it. While the AK prism configuration is the most common, there are others that are variations on the original AK design, such as the Amici and Schmidt-Pechan (SP). While they accomplish the same basic function, the optical paths take different routes to correct the image orientation. The main advantage of the SP design is that it is more compact than both the Amici and AK prisms, resulting in thinner optical tubes that tend to be more comfortable to hold—especially during long glassing sessions. Zeiss is known for using SP prisms.
Range finding binoculars have become all the rage in recent years, especially among hunters, hikers, and nature fans. Combining traditional binocular functions with a modern range finder that shows you the distance to a target, they are incredibly useful. We researched 30 models and selected the ten best range finding binoculars for you. Let’s take a closer look.
Inside a regular pair of binoculars, there are many glass surfaces from the objective lens to the eyepiece. If these are untreated, a small amount of light is lost at every glass surface. By the time light reaches your pupil, there is much less of it that started down at the objective lens, which dims the image you see and lowers the quality of your astronomy.
Saturn. Although a small telescope is needed to see Saturn’s rings, you can use your binoculars to see Saturn’s beautiful golden color.  Experienced observers sometimes glimpse Saturn’s largest moon Titan with binoculars.  Also, good-quality high-powered binoculars – mounted on a tripod – will show you that Saturn is not round.  The rings give it an elliptical shape.
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.

Close focusing is key when trying to see detail on things like butterflies, wildflowers, and the like. Our pick gets as near as 6.5 feet, and though a few binoculars focused closer than that, several contenders didn’t get anywhere near getting near. The Nikon Prostaff 5, for example, couldn’t bring objects any closer than 16 feet into focus. We liked the Prostaff 5 as a budget pick, but we warn that they’re not for looking at butterflies or anything that requires getting ultra-close for detail.

Yet another reason binoculars are excellent for beginning astronomers is that using two eyes is quite simply better than using one. Not only does it help when finding objects, but using two eyes with Porro prism binoculars will provide a stunningly beautiful three-dimensional effect that is much more interesting and, yes, exciting than the flat, one-dimensional view typically seen through a telescope. Not only is the depth of the view noteworthy, but the width as well. You can find astronomy binoculars with 5-6° field of view while most telescopes are limited to a 1° view even at their lowest magnification.

“Took these binoculars to see Cavalia Odesseo from the nosebleed section and I must say they gave me an excellent view of the horses and acrobatics. I could easily see the violin soloist, the Spanish guitarist, and the enchanting vocalist behind the shrouds on the balconies. I will never watch a stage performance the same way again. I find that at a certain distance, I didn’t have to adjust the focus as often as I had expected. The focal sweet spot is pretty large. There is a mild chromatic aberration when viewing in daylight hours against the light, but this goes away when I fine tune the focus. For the price, these binoculars can’t be beat.”
Range finding binoculars have become all the rage in recent years, especially among hunters, hikers, and nature fans. Combining traditional binocular functions with a modern range finder that shows you the distance to a target, they are incredibly useful. We researched 30 models and selected the ten best range finding binoculars for you. Let’s take a closer look.
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.
The latest product from this direct-to-consumer optics brand is a big 15X configured for open-country hunters. The B.4’s lightweight polymer chassis makes it lighter than it looks, and a mid-frame ridge offers great purchase for those who hand-hold the binocular. While our test model was in plain black and gray, buyers can dress this optic up in their choice of camo patterns and colors for an additional fee. The optics were a little disappointing, and testers gave demerits for the boxy, overlarge eyecups. But the price is fair for a big, albeit niche, bino.
But even with all these improvements, binoculars will vary in important ways. A few models close focus down to 5 feet away or even a little closer, though at least one popular model reaches no closer than 16 feet away, making them a no-go for seeing butterflies and other up-close objects. The field of view (how large an area you see when you look out into the distance) is also variable and differed by more than 20 percent across models tested for this review.

"Great binoculars. I have used these binoculars on my last vacation to Florida. I could not put them down. The 20 magnification allowed me to view the birds,dolphins and some other sea creatures from the balcony of my condo. It is like being in the ocean with the dolphins. The fact they are also waterproof was very handy since i dropped them in the ocean. I panicked,but they were just fine."
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.
We are also big fans of the unique "Uni-body" design. The dual lenses are locked in a single housing with the eyepiece built for synchronizing movement. Just because they're small though doesn't mean you have to sacrifice quality or durability. These binoculars can still take in breathtaking images with their 21mm lens and 8.5x magnification that boasts exceptional edge-to-edge sharpness.
CELESTRON DISCLAIMS ANY WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, WHETHER OF MERCHANTABILITY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR USE, EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH HEREIN. 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 ANY 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 TWO YEARS FROM THE DATE OF ORIGINAL RETAIL PURCHASE.

Colour fidelity: its important that wildlife and birding binoculars reproduce colours and tones accurately. For birding in particular correct identification can depend on differentiating between subtle variations in hue. Many binoculars have a subtle colour cast. The view through them is either slightly cool (bluish) or slightly warm (yellowish) compared to the view through the naked eye. This isn’t necessarily a problem as long as it’s not pronounced — but look for a binocular that’s as close to neutral colour reproduction as you can get.
Originally, they were used by military organizations. They wanted their soldiers to have as much real-time mission data as possible, and this technology let them have just that in specific situations. That technology later on trickled down, and we now have it available in the hunting and commercial enterprise world. They’re so common, actually, that people who use a pair of binoculars on a daily basis won’t even take a look at anything else but binoculars with rangefinders for hunting, or for anything else for that matter.
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.

Recommendation: unless you’re looking to use your binoculars for a particular specialist task choose something in the 8x to 10x range for general bird watching and wildlife observation. Try out different magnifications to see which suits you better. Generally if you’re doing a lot of long distance observation (like scanning wading birds on estuaries or lagoons, for example) you may appreciate the higher magnification of a 10x. If you do a lot of wildlife watching at close quarters, or in enclosed places like woodlands trying to track small, fast-moving subjects, then the wider field of view of an 8x may suit you better.

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.
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.
Our small army of volunteers rated the models on a 1 to 5 scale for a variety of factors, including clarity, brightness, focus response, and eye relief. (For a fuller explanation of our methods, see the below story on how we made our rankings.) For the sake of consistency, we reviewed 8x32 (pronounced “eight by thirty-two”) or 8x42 optics. Most birders prefer 7- or 8-power binoculars because they’re bright and have a wide field of view, making it easier to find birds and to follow them in flight. Optics with objective lenses—the glass at the fat end of the tube—larger than 42 mm are heavier, and those smaller than 30 mm, while lightweight, aren’t bright enough to show detail in poor light. 
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).
The white highlands, nestled between the maria, are older terrain pockmarked by thousands of craters that formed over the eons. Some of the larger craters are visible in binoculars. One of them, Tycho, emanates long swatches of white rays for hundreds of miles over the adjacent highlands. This is material kicked out during the Tycho impact 2.5 million years ago.
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.
×