Really, you'll be OK with even smaller binoculars, as long as they are of high-quality optical glass. You can carry an 8x35 pair all day for bird- (or people) watching, and they won't make your arms tremble — and your stars dance like drunkards — when you pick them up at night. The wider view-field of most lower-power binoculars is usually a plus for skywatching.
Having said that, if you already have a good quality 8X25 binocular do you need to get an 8X50 right away? Not at all! Use your present binocular for several clear, dark nights to get a feel for the nighttime sky. You'll be amazed at the difference a clear, dark night makes in what you can see as opposed to a night when you have nearly enough moonlight to read a newspaper. Then see if you can find a friend with a 50mm binocular who will let you look through it. It won't surprise us at all if, after a trial run, you decide to go ahead and get a good binocular with 50mm objective lenses.

It is for this reason and a few others that many professional birdwatchers tend to choose binoculars with a lower magnification and a wider field of view, rather than the other way round. 8x magnification binoculars tend to be the most popular, although if you are often going to be looking at birds at far distances, water birds on a lake for example, you may also think of using 10x magnification, just keep in mind the field of view.
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Generally, you’ll find that models with longer eye relief have a smaller field of view than similarly priced models with shorter eye relief. Accomplishing superlative specifications in both categories is an expensive process of optical engineering. It is always good to have a broad viewing area, so decide how much eye relief is necessary for you and buy the binoculars that otherwise give the widest field of view. Field of view is discussed in greater detail below.
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.
The full rubber coating will protect the binoculars in any conditions, making them an extremely versatile tool for hiking, hunting, boating, and travel. Exceptionally crafted, the Armasight Binoculars offer compass-enhanced rangefinding and optical zoom in a finely tuned fashion. It is a joy to use this product, and we loved how high-quality this it feels.
Beginning stargazers often overlook binoculars for astronomy, but experienced observers keep them close at hand. Compared to a telescope, binoculars for astronomy actually have certain advantages. Granted, they're smaller and give lower magnification. But they're lighter, much easier to take outside, use, and put away, and less expensive. They also give a much wider view than a telescope does, making celestial objects easier to find. They let you use both eyes, providing surer, more natural views. Moreover, in binoculars for astronomy everything is right-side up and presented correctly, not upside down and/or mirror-reversed.
For outdoor activities like bird-watching, hunting or even viewing a sports game from a high-up stadium seat, these binoculars provide an excellent view. Top Ten Reviews lauds these binoculars for their durability and ease of use. "Add this to its unparalleled viewing experience, and you have the best binoculars we reviewed," Top Ten Reviews states. While these binoculars do provide an impressive view, with12x magnification, they're also heavier than average, weighing in at 36.2 ounces (1 kilogram). Eyeglass wearers won't have a problem using these binoculars; you can adjust the eye-relief distance to make these fit with or without glasses on. These binoculars are fog-proof, waterproof and super-durable, so you don't have to worry about damaging them with outdoor use. And according to Top Ten Reviews, these binoculars work great in low-light situations, so you can use them for nighttime skywatching as well as daytime sport.
Harnesses For most of us, the neck strap that comes with most binoculars is fine. For those who require more, there are numerous options for you. Some are designed to redistribute the weight of the binocular from the neck to the back and shoulders. Others provide a stabilizing function to allow you to hold the optic in your hand while virtually eliminating hand shake or other movements. For those who do activities and want to keep their optic at the ready, some harnesses hold the binocular close to the body and greatly reduce swinging or swaying while running, climbing, or skiing.

Celestron has designed this model to meet the demands of extended astronomical or terrestrial viewing sessions and the 25×70 version is one of the most popular models in the Skymaster series. They offer large aperture light gathering and so open up more stargazing opportunities and are relatively light but include an adapter so they can be used with a standard camera tripod.
Best Mid-Range: In The Genius of Birds, Jennifer Ackerman describes the sophisticated neural architecture of songbirds, a kind of ornithological ESP that may allow them to know what other birds are thinking. Some birds can do arithmetic, while others are “born Euclideans, capable of using geometric clues and landmarks to orient themselves in three-dimensional space, navigate through unknown territory, and locate hidden treasures.” That seems a good description of the Ranger EDs.

The quality of the glass or prism used in the rangefinder binocular makes a great difference in measuring the range. Using a generic glass or prism can dent the quality of the image given by the binocular. A slight bend in the glass or prism would result in making the colors look off and give an odd projection of the target. Glasses which are low or extra low dispersed glasses are ideal to give you non-distorted image quality. These glasses are also called specialized glasses. It transmits the light without bending it, giving you crystal clear images without any colors looking oddly off. So, do get to know the type of glass or prism which is used by the manufacturers for the rangefinder binocular.


The Swarovski EL series has been the upper echelon of hunting optics for years and the EL Range is no different. Swarovski rates this unit to 1500 yards, which is a fairly accurate limit. The EL Range doesn’t have the raw ranging power that the other high end units have but for most hunters having the ability to solidly range past 1000 yards is plenty.

Anyone looking to make far-away objects appear a bit closer should consider a good pair of binoculars. But you might wonder why this story is so oriented toward bird watching. The answer is simple: Binoculars that are great for birders are great for anyone looking to make things appear closer—whether you’re hunting, watching sports, or otherwise. That’s because birding asks everything you need to ask of binoculars. So even if you never plan to seek a scissor-tailed flycatcher or a harpy eagle, birding binoculars will do what you ask. (But you really should try out birding; for more info, contact your local Audubon Society, or, in North America, pick up either The Sibley Guide to Birds or the Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America.)
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.
If you're looking for a super-crisp and clear image, the Vanguard Spirit XF binoculars are the way to go. Top Ten Reviews found that these binoculars produce the sharpest images of all the binoculars the publication reviewed. And the Spirit XFs are designed to be versatile, so you can use them during the day and at night. The 42-mm objective lens "helps create bright images, as more light can enter through the binoculars," Top Ten Reviews writes, adding that "you can use the binoculars in low-light settings and still get a fairly clear image." And with these binoculars' relatively wide field of view, you can easily track fast movement without readjusting your gaze too much. These are also exceptionally lightweight for high-quality binoculars, weighing in at 22.93 ounces (0.65 kg). You won't have to worry about tired arms when using these binoculars all day long, and you won't need a tripod to see a steady image. The binoculars provide 10x magnification and are built to last, with rubber armor that is both waterproof and fog-proof.
Also concerning zoom binoculars stay away from them. Zoom binoculars show up in greater numbers for repairs than any other design. They were originally developed as a “gimmick” to encourage sales simulating the success of sales of zoom camera lenses.U.S. military specification design is still the best design for binoculars, although not as popular as the center focus design. If someone is advertising their binoculars as “military design binoculars, just make sure they are U.S. military design and not someone else’s military. U.S. military specification design means that each eyepiece has to be focused for each eye, that the barrels of the binocular are sealed or water proofed, and filled with nitrogen, prisms are Bak-4, and the lens are fully multi-coated.Center focus binoculars are not usually water proofed and filled with nitrogen. You achieve focus with a center focus wheel and the right eye piece for the right eye. For a good center focus binocular make sure the prisms are Bak-4 and the lens are fully multicoated.
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 “42” in our 10x42 binocular refers to the diameter of the objective (front) lens in millimeters. Since the objectives will often be the largest portion of the optic, it will affect the overall size and weight of the binocular, and how much light it can gather. In basic terms: larger objectives allow more light to pass through them than smaller lenses, which means images will appear brighter, sharper, and clearer. However, the larger objectives will also add bulk and weight, and that is where certain tradeoffs and compromises need to be considered when deciding if certain models will be convenient to carry, pack, hold, and use comfortably.

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.
"I ordered these, and have been very impressed. A small river with many birds and deer runs against my property, and a friend was watching a heron on 5/3/17. He took the binoculars, rested them on a small clock near my sink, adding one of my artist's paint brushes, to prop them up the way he wanted, and took this photo with his iPhone THRU the binoculars! The heron was about 80 yards away. The second pic is of his 'set up.' I never knew the binoculars would be used to take distant pictures through, but you can see it's possible!"
If you are interested in Astronomy and can’t afford the telescope at the moment (we all know how expensive they are) you can definitely buy binoculars to fulfill your interest. It is always better to invest in high-quality Astronomy or Stargazing Binoculars rather than investing in a cheap Telescope. Also, Binoculars have some advantage over the telescope like they provide a wide field of view, they are portable enough to carry, and we can use both our eyes to observe which feels more natural to us. In fact, binoculars are also referred as “The first Telescope” and even a seasoned astronomer always keeps one by the telescope.
Binoculars Built for BirdingBinoculars are so common a companion of outdoor enthusiasts that many pack them with hardly a second thought. They’re tossed into a backpack alongside bug spray, sunblock, and waterproof matches with not half the care afforded the typical cell phone. But to some outdoors groups, binoculars serve a highly specific and eminently indispensable purpose. And there is perhaps no group for whom this rings more true than for bird watchers. If you count yourself among this exceptionally technical clan of hobbyists, here are 10 birding binoculars you’ll want to know more about – even if you know about them already.1.      Vortex Diamondback 8x28$175 – 225This compact roof prism model is a true bargain for birders (or birdists, as some prefer) searching for a lightweight binocular they can carry on any occasion, in any pocket or pack. Argon-filled, with multi-coated lenses and phase-correction dielectric coating, the Diamondback is valued for its close focus (2 meters) and macro clarity. It is as adept at scanning for far-off albatrosses as it is at taking in the details of the little auks flapping so close you can feel the wind on your face.2.      Celestron 71404 TrailSeeker 8x42 Binoculars$175 – 225Wide field of view, BAK-4 prisms with phase and dielectric coatings, two-meter close focus, magnesium alloy body, and fully multi-coated optics ensure that this binocular is lightweight, durable, and sharp of sight at both short and long ranges. Though the model does not allow the same degree of light-gathering as other more expensive bins, its wide view is excellent for birders because it necessitates less movement to keep an eye on the avian wildlife.3.      Eagle Optics Ranger ED 8x42$300 – 350Reviewers have praised this model for several reasons key to birding: Its rubberized waterproof design is durable for weather conditions birders frequently find themselves in, and its supple focus knob allows for easier tracking of birds moving among trees and other obstructions. The Ranger ED may be slightly too large for distance backpacking, but its image quality is top notch. Take these bins on trips that don’t require much hiking.4.      Zeiss Terra ED 8x32$425 – 475Since its foundation in Germany in 1846, Zeiss has established a reputation as one of the world’s leading optics companies. The Terra ED is among the best of its name. Noted for its impressive field of view, which is said to surpass most of the other Zeiss models, these binoculars make an ideal accompaniment to any nature adventure – and hence, a fine fit for birdwatchers. An under-armor harness, plastic storage case, and nice velvet bag are also included.5.      Steiner Predator 8x42$425 – 475Another German optics company, Steiner field-tests every lens it produces. Its Predator Pro has good mobility, a bright picture, and is simple to use. The color adjusted transmission coating is designed to increase contrast and light transmission, making wildlife (particularly fast-moving bird life) easier to see – though some reviewers have been unable to notice the difference when compared to lenses without the coating. Its magnesium alloy chassis is also durable and lightweight.6.      Athlon Cronus 10×42$475 – 525Ideal for birders whose top priority is high-quality glass at a reasonable price, the Cronus is Athlon’s flagship model and commands a solid reputation among similar Nikon and Bushnell scopes. The ESP dielectric coating makes for excellent light transmission and clarity, two aforementioned priorities in birding. Reviewers have praised this model’s minimum focus distance (two meters) and detail when glassing at ranges around 300 meters (985 feet). Even at viewing distances of several miles, Cronus performed at least as well as more expensive birder-loving brands like Zeiss and Swarovski.7.      Nikon Monarch 7 ATB 10x42$475 – 525The Monarch line has always been Nikon’s best-selling binocular product, a beloved choice among birders the world over. And though the 8x42 Monarch 5 is said to be their most popular model in terms of sales, the 7 (as professed by Nikon itself) is its top-performing binocular. Nikon is certainly qualified to make this statement: Founded in Japan in 1917, it has its hand in many areas of image technology. Not only that, its Monarch 7 is a quarter the cost of similar bins like the Zeiss Victory and is among the lightest and smallest in the Monarch family. The 7 uses a lens coating that sets it above the 5 and 3 models, and its online reviews attest to its quality.8.      Vanguard Endeavor ED II 10x42$475 – 525Building on the success of the award-winning Endeavor ED, the ED II offers resolution-enhancing BAK4 roof prisms with phase coatings, extra-low dispersion glass, a close focus of two meters, fully multi-coated optics, 19.5mm of eye relief, and a magnesium body that is proofed against fog and water. (Rumor has it other binocular producers have had to lower their prices to better compete with Vanguard’s respectable position in the market.) Vanguard uses high-end Hoya optics from Japan to provide optimum clarity, though some reviews have mentioned that the adjustment on these bins can be a little stiff at first.9.      Leica 10x25 Ultravid BCR$725 – 775The Leica-proclaimed “reference standard,” these compact binoculars are compared to just about every other compact model available. In some reviews, they are the lightest and smallest models tested. It may seem that Leica needed to make huge compromises in order to produce such a small model, but this does not appear to be the case: Regardless of their size, these bins still have many of specs modern birders have come to expect, such as multi-coating on every air-to-glass surface, phase-coated roof prisms, nitrogen-purged waterproof housing, and internal focusing. This model is perfect for bird watchers who like to put some hike into their hobby.10. CL Companion Polaris 8x30 B$1,325 – 1,375Swarovski is known for making glass of such superior quality it can virtually be marketed as jewelry. While the CL Companion Polaris is not as extravagantly outfitted (or priced) as some other Swarovski bins, it is a winning choice for both bird watching hikes and trips that require little foot traffic whatsoever, like Arctic or Antarctic bird watching cruises. Use its 124-meter (372-foot) field of view to get oriented, then zoom in using the 8x magnification. The binocular weighs 17.6 ounces (500 grams), measures 4.7 inches (119 mm) long, and has a comfortable ergonomic design, making it an easy item to pack for any occasion or distance. Keep these bins at your side and you’re sure to amass all manner of bird-filled sights to share with your fellow members in the American Birding Association, or any birdwatching society to which you happen to belong.
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.
Pick a magnification. Deciding between 8x and 10x binoculars is a personal choice. In general 10x are better at distance birding. But it usually also means a narrower field of view, a slightly darker image in low light, and more noticeable hand-shake. An 8x gives you a smaller image that’s wider, brighter, and easier for finding and following birds.

A constant question I am asked is, “What’s the difference between nitrogen and argon?” A quick Google search will return many links to forums where people have very strong opinions on the matter and will get into any number of online arguments over the subject. The short answer is that, performance-wise, there really isn’t much of a difference between the two for the clear majority of people. Both gases will keep moisture out and prevent internal fogging. If you do a deep-dive into the chemistry and look at a diagram of each molecule, you will see that argon molecules are larger than nitrogen molecules. Because of this, some manufacturers feel the larger argon molecules will have a harder time leaking out from the seals, keeping the inert gas inside longer and thus maintaining their water/fog-proof properties over a longer period of time. From a practical standpoint, as long as you have an optic with either of these inert dry gases versus having none, you’re ahead of the game.


Olaf Soltau, a member of the New York Chapter of the Audubon Society, shared his experiences and opinion: “I use Swarovski EL 10x42s. But it took years before I felt ready to move up from 8x to 10x. For beginners, I always suggest 8x40. Think Goldilocks: not too strong, not too weak, not too heavy, not too flimsy. It's simply the best compromise. Higher magnification makes the image too shaky and the birds too hard to find, especially for beginning birders. Lower magnification simply doesn't bring the birds close enough. There are, of course, exceptions. 10x40s are OK if most birding takes place in wide open spaces like grasslands and coastlines, where the birds are often far away. I used 8x40s for years until my hand had gotten steady enough and my bird-finding-through-binos skills had become good enough for 10x40s. Another exception: People who don't have the physical strength to carry 8x40s around all day long can opt for 8x30s, but that means sacrificing image quality.”
If you're looking for a super-crisp and clear image, the Vanguard Spirit XF binoculars are the way to go. Top Ten Reviews found that these binoculars produce the sharpest images of all the binoculars the publication reviewed. And the Spirit XFs are designed to be versatile, so you can use them during the day and at night. The 42-mm objective lens "helps create bright images, as more light can enter through the binoculars," Top Ten Reviews writes, adding that "you can use the binoculars in low-light settings and still get a fairly clear image." And with these binoculars' relatively wide field of view, you can easily track fast movement without readjusting your gaze too much. These are also exceptionally lightweight for high-quality binoculars, weighing in at 22.93 ounces (0.65 kg). You won't have to worry about tired arms when using these binoculars all day long, and you won't need a tripod to see a steady image. The binoculars provide 10x magnification and are built to last, with rubber armor that is both waterproof and fog-proof.
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