"Multi-Coated" means that at least some surfaces (again, usually the first and the last) have multiple layers of antireflection coatings. (A multilayer coating effectively reduces reflected light that cannot be eliminated with a single-layer coating, and increases the transmittance of light.) Multiple layers are about an order of magnitude more effective than a single layer.

2. Start with a small, easy-to-use size.  Don’t buy a huge pair of binoculars to start with! Unless you mount them on a tripod, they’ll shake and make your view of the heavens shakey, too. The video above – from ExpertVillage – does a good job summing up what you want. And in case you don’t want to watch the video, the answer is that 7X50 binoculars are optimum for budding astronomers.  You can see a lot, and you can hold them steadily enough that jitters don’t spoil your view of the sky.  Plus they’re very useful for daylight pursuits, like birdwatching. If 7X50s are too big for you – or if you want binoculars for a child – try 7X35s.

Recommendation: while few people will buy binoculars solely on the strength of a warranty, and hopefully you won’t need to avail of it, a manufacturer’s willingness to stand over their product is obviously a major plus. Focus on features and the overall quality of the binocular first — but do consider the warranty in the “mix” before making your final selection.
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]

Whilst it is obviously important that the rangefinder accurately measures distance to target, you should most certainly not forget the quality of the chassis and the optics contained within. Your instrument needs to be tough enough to withstand the elements and the quality of glass and coatings largely determine the quality of the image and the level of detail that can be seen.

A new company that we just brought into stock is GPO USA. Offered in 8x and 10x they are packed with the performance features you want: ED glass, Phase-corrected BAK4 prisms, Nitrogen-filled, Magnesium chassis, all the bells and whistles. I got a chance to try out the 8.5x50 version and they were incredible during the day, at dusk, and at night. The 42mm and 50mm both fall into your price range.


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.

Leica is another well-known brand when it comes to high-end optics, and the 10x42 Geovid is an outstanding new entry to the field. The 10X magnification combined with a 42mm lens diameter provides for excellent imaging, especially in low light conditions at dawn or dusk – making it perfect for hunting and all other outdoor activities. The rangefinder display works very well and is effective up to ranges of nearly 1900 yards. Plus, the range finding on these binoculars is fast - often providing accurate distance measurements within seconds.
Designed specifically for marine usage thanks to integrated o-ring seals to protect the optics from water damage, the Barska outdoor rangefinding binoculars make for a superior product. The Barska Marine is nitrogen-purged to prevent fogging, making it perfect for humid and moist environments such as oceans, lakes, and rivers. These binoculars provide a 7X magnification with an incredible 50mm lens diameter for ultimate light-gathering capabilities.
The Leica Geovid HD-B is an advanced model with a versatility that can handle target shooting and hunting. The model features automatic adjusting that alters ballistics based on the atmospheric conditions when in use. It also has fantastic optics with the ability to view targets clearly at over 1,500 yards. Its field of view is 300 feet even at 1,000 yards.
We’ve already mentioned coatings several times, and they really do transform the performance levels of any binocular. Almost all binoculars on the market today will have some kind of anti-reflective coating applied to at least some of the air-to-glass surfaces to improve light transmission, compensate for the aberrations inherent in any optical design and enhance image resolution, colour fidelity and contrast.
Nikon offers a 25 year limited warranty with these binoculars.  For added peace of mind, the Monarchs also come with a no-fault repair/replace guarantee. There are some exceptions-read the warranty info before you buy. Coupled with excellent customer service, the Nikon 7295 Monarch ATBs is a wise choice for birdwatchers looking for lightweight bins.
Next, face well-lit wall and hold the binoculars nearly at arm's length, with the eyepieces pointed at you. You'll see the exit pupils (disks of light) floating just behind the eyepieces, as was illustrated above. You might think that exit pupils would always be perfectly round, but this isn't so. The ones on cheaper binoculars often have a slightly "squared off" look, as if someone shaved off, or dimmed, two or four edges. This is a sign of manufacturer's corner-cutting that will slightly dim all the images you see.
Field of View is expressed as feet at a thousand yards. This is fine if you are in the artillery, but astronomers use degrees to define the field of view. If you see on your binoculars a field of view 316 feet at a thousand yards, it means the field of view is 316 feet from edge to edge in your binoculars. To convert this to astronomical field of view or degrees divide by 53. In this case 316 divided by 53 equals 5.96 or 6.0 degrees field of view.
The Geovid HD-B also has an internal ballistic calculator that works off of your rifle’s bullet weight, ballistic coefficient and velocity. One thing that sets the Geovid apart from the rest of the pack is the fact that they take into account angle and barometric pressure. This is important because if you are hunting at different elevations your drop can vary greatly, the HD-B’s will modify your drop accordingly automatically. It’s worth noting that ballistics do not read out past 1000 yards.
One of the greatest advantages of binoculars comes from their very design. Unlike with a telescope, with binoculars you get to view space with two eyes. This is very important to give your brain the full visual experience. Not only does single-eye viewing severely hamper your depth perception, it also decreases your signal-to-noise ratio, which is not a good thing. When you have a high signal-to-noise ratio, your brain filters out much of the unwanted random impulses from each eye, leaving you with a better view of whatever objects you are looking at. In fact, many astronomers claim that color perception and contrast is improved by as much as 40 percent when using binoculars over a telescope.
Your binoculars represent a significant investment — and you want a pair that is going to serve you well for many years. One useful guide to the longevity of a pair of binoculars is the type of warranty offered by the manufacturer. While not infallible, this at least gives you a steer on the manufacturer’s confidence in the quality of their product.
Thanks to vivid colors, contrast that doesn’t sacrifice sharpness at the peripheries, extremely smooth focusing and rugged, streamlined, compact build, the Diamondback has earned favorable comparisons to the Nikon Monarch 5, though it’s nearly half the price. And the finish feels nicer to me, less like a tennis grip and more like the Space Shuttle joystick, I imagine.
These are special coatings added to the outer lens surfaces, typically of high-end premium binocular models, designed to protect the more the delicate anti-reflective coatings from abrasion and damage during use and cleaning. They also usually repel water, dirt and grease, making the binoculars easier to use in the rain, and much easier to clean than binoculars without such coatings.

Everyone talks about magnifications and there is no doubt that high magnifications yield beautiful views of the Moon, planets and fine detail in some deep sky objects. However, many objects in the sky are too large to fit into the field of view of a high power eyepiece. These objects demand a wide field of view to appreciate their beauty and delicate form.


The 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.
Keep 'em dry! The most common binocular problem, aside from getting knocked out of alignment, is moisture-related stains (often fungus) forming on the internal prisms and lenses. So be sure to let yours dry thoroughly after stargazing on a dewy night, or after bringing them into a humid house from the outdoor cold. If you expect dew and humidity to be a problem, consider sealed, waterproof binoculars such as these.
With an eye relief of 20 mm and 8.5×42 magnification, this rangefinder binocular is the perfect fit for those wearing glasses. This is because it offers a lot of places for you to adjust behind the lens while wearing glasses. The focus wheel is placed perfectly where your hands can comfortably handle it. The dioptre adjustment is incorporated with the focusing wheel. This lets you to simply pull back the wheel and turn it to change the dioptre scale.
In this section, we focus on the binoculars that would work best for most people. Most of them fall into the $100-$500 price range and are great for the majority of birders and wildlife enthusiasts out there. If birding is more of a lifestyle than a hobby for you, and you're willing to spend $2000+ to get the best pair of binoculars possible, check out our high-end shootout section below.
The first decision a birder needs to make when buying binoculars is what magnification binoculars to get. When looking at binoculars on the Web (and on the box and the binoculars themselves) you will usually see two prominent numbers. These refer to the magnification and objective diameter. An example is: 8x42. This indicates the magnification of the binoculars is 8x power and the objective (front) lens is 42mm in diameter.
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)
As mentioned before, this is the second number when describing binoculars. Along with magnification, this is the most important feature for astronomical binoculars. The larger the lens is, the more light that gets in, the brighter your image will be. Binoculars for stargazing should be at least 50mm and preferably even 70mm and above. Larger lenses of 50mm to 100mm are very common in astronomy binoculars simply because they can gather more light.

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.
The clear majority of binoculars use a center focus system. The main focus wheel is set on the bridge between the two oculars and moves them symmetrically. With center focusing, many manufacturers will have a dioptric adjustment dial on one of the eyepieces to fine-tune the focus to match individual optical prescriptions. The dioptric correction amount is decided by each manufacturer, usually by model, and can be on the left or right eye, or both. Certain models have the dioptric correction integrated into the center focusing mechanism.
Pro Tip: If you plan on sharing your binoculars or using them for a variety of distances, stick with center-focusing models. For astronomy or marine use, individual focus will provide the sharpest views and you won’t have to adjust the focus very often because they will be focused on “infinity” (far-away subjects) where the focus won’t change much.
What pair of binoculars that you should get, will depend on how specialised and exactly what you want to use them for: The best binoculars for someone who wants to observe the stars with, but also then to use during the day, will be different to those that want to only use the binoculars for star gazing and don't have to worry about carrying them about.

Your binoculars represent a significant investment — and you want a pair that is going to serve you well for many years. One useful guide to the longevity of a pair of binoculars is the type of warranty offered by the manufacturer. While not infallible, this at least gives you a steer on the manufacturer’s confidence in the quality of their product.
The field of view relates to the width of your image. For astronomers, this means the amount of sky you can capture when aiming your binoculars to the stars. The wider the field of view the more sky you can cover. Powerful, high magnification, binoculars will often have a narrower field of view and vice versa. Good astronomy binoculars will have both – a good magnification and a wide field of view.
As we have discussed, binocular manufacturers are on a never-ending quest to provide us with a perfect image. Some of the common issue’s consumers experience is loss of brightness and color, depth of field issues, chromatic aberration, fringing, and crispness. Many of these problems are compounded in challenging light environments such as in shady woods or sunrise/sunset.
The top models in the brightness category where the Nikon Monarch 5 8x56, and the Celestron SkyMaster DX 9x63. The Nikon Monarch 5 and Celestron SkyMaster both have large diameter objective lenses that allow for more light to enter the system. This makes them both good for low light viewing conditions. The Nikon Monarch 5 features ED glass and have fully multi-coated lenses, which helps to reduce the scattering of light inside the system. The Celestron SkyMaster use a double porro prism (the only pro prism pair in our test) which is more efficient at transferring light than a roof prism.

You’ll recognize zoom binoculars by their name – the magnification factor is actually two numbers, such as 8-16×42. This tells you that you can go from 8x, to 16x magnification. You will notice that none of the binoculars on our list are zoom binoculars. There’s also the fact that there aren’t many high-end options as far as zoom binoculars go, only some lower priced pairs.


Welcome to Optics4Birding, the birding experts’ choice since 1992. We’re passionate about birding, and we’ve hand-selected a range of birding optics and accessories that are perfect for getting the most out of this engaging pastime. Optics4Birding has optics for any budget, from beginners to serious enthusiasts, researchers, and birding tour operators. Of course, we carry brands that are well-respected in the optics industry - brands like Zeiss, Leica, Nikon, Swarovski, Vortex, and many more. We are authorized dealers for every manufacturer we sell.

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.
For careful budgeters, we recommend Oberwerk's 20X80 Deluxe II and 25X100 individual focus models which provide good values for their prices. If your budget is flexible, there are many fine, giant binoculars that will provide very good value for their purchase prices. We plan ongoing reviews of astronomy binoculars as OpticsReviewer.com grows, so please check back from time to time as your astronomy interests evolve!
For four generations, we’ve relied on family-centric values and the examples of character Vernon Kinsey, our founder, gave us. When life challenged Vernon, leaving him paralyzed below the waist, he turned his passion for archery into a profession. He persevered, built a successful business, treated everyone with respect and never let challenges hold him back. Today, Kinsey’s Outdoors honors Vernon’s legacy as we continuously strive to spread and support a love of the outdoors, spending time hunting and fishing with family and friends. 

Also, unlike every other model we tested (except the Nikon Prostaff compacts), the Pentax AD’s fasteners for the straps are located between the eyepieces, not along the sides of the body where they poke into your thumbs as you focus. Of course, this meant the straps tend to get in the way a bit whenever you lift the binoculars to your eyes, but this was a minor inconvenience rather than a dealbreaker. The rubberized eyepieces of the Pentax AD also felt comfortable against my eyes and are also less prone to temperature fluctuations in the field, so you won’t freeze when the weather is cold.


Although perhaps not familiar with the Navy study behind it, many know about the 7X50 binocular configuration having been used by the military for low light conditions. What are the best astronomy binoculars? The best astronomy binoculars for beginners will doubtless be the general purpose 7X50 to 10X50 configurations. They're the most popular "small" astronomy binoculars and for a good reason! To start with, they're about the largest that can comfortably be held by hand for the extended periods often encountered by stargazers. They also provide an excellent field of view and will gather all the light you want for the size, since larger objective lenses make a binocular significantly heavier. If these are for a youthful face, you'll want to ensure that you choose an instrument that has an appropriate interpupillary distance. You'll also want to consider the binocular's weight and the strength of the person who will be using it. Star watchers usually hold binoculars up to their eyes for longer periods than bird watchers do!
For exquisite ergonomics and handling ability, the Carl Zeiss Victory RF Binoculars offer great rangefinding ability coupled with advanced optics. Featuring a built-in calculator that allows you to compute ballistic trajectories with ease, the laser rangefinder can take accurate measurements almost instantly up to 1,300 yards. The lenses are multi-coated and work exceptionally well in low-light conditions thanks to the 45mm diameter.
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.

For high magnification binoculars and those with an effective objective lens diameter over 50mm, we recommend the use of a tripod to stabilize the binoculars for viewing, as they may cause unstable image and uncomfortable viewing due to shaking by hand movement. This is also a convenient method for steadying your field of vision for extended viewing.

Technically, the type of prism utilized in binoculars is a double-Porro prism, but is always shortened to just “Porro.” It is also always capitalized because it is the last name of the inventor, Ignazio Porro, who designed this prism system around 1850. This most basic of prism configurations is defined by the folded light path, which displaces the point where the light enters and exits the prism, which results in the familiar look of a “traditional” or “old-school” binocular.
This is a supersized binocular suited to glassing distant targets for long periods of time. The double-hinge design creates a nice space for hands to hold it, but you will probably want to mount this 3-pound Leupold on a tripod. The mounting bracket is smartly located on the inside hinge of the Leupold (see Innovations, right). Hits: tight controls, the battleship-gray armor, the webby texture that wraps the aluminum-alloy chassis, and the first-rate carry case and neck strap. Misses: disappointing resolution and image quality.

Very bright, clear display with 4-step intensity adjustment; easily readable under any lighting conditions and against various subjects, with single or continuous measurement up to 8 seconds. Displays in increments of 0.1m/yd, when shorter than 100m/yds and in 1m/yd at 100m/yds and over. Auto power shut-off function saves battery life by shutting down after 8 seconds of non-use. (*For reference. Under Nikon’s Measurement conditions. The specifications of the product may not be achieved depending on the target object's shape, surface texture and nature, and/or weather conditions.)
In conclusion, the best binoculars are the ones you fall in love with and the ones that keep you excited about birding. To find that pair, do your homework, evaluate the options, try before you buy, and get the best pair your budget allows. Once you get your pair, we look forward to seeing you smiling beneath your binoculars out in the marsh, woods, or local nature walk!

To find the best binoculars, we had a professional ornithologist spend over 100 hours field-testing 17 pairs against his own $2,500 Leica Ultravids. After using our test pairs in the mountains and hills of Southern California, then on a research trip to the rain forests of southern Mexico, he found that the Athlon Optics Midas ED 8×42 pair was the best of the group, offering performance comparable to his Leicas for a fraction of the price and the widest field of view out of all the binoculars tested. This means you’ll see more, and it will look better.
No-quibble returns: given how difficult it can be to get “hands on” time with high-quality optics in some places, some mail order companies (particularly in the US — but increasingly in Europe) offer a no-quibble return policy allowing you to order with confidence, try the binoculars for a few weeks, and return them for a full refund if you’re not happy, no questions asked.
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.”
Whether you're looking for an inexpensive first pair of binoculars, or want a good, secondary, compact pair that won't break the bank, the Vortex DiamondBack 8x28 will serve you well. These relatively small bins tip the scales at just 15 ounces, yet can provide enough brightness and clarity to identify small birds on a bright day. Top that off with high-quality construction and a smooth focus knob, and you've got an excellent pair of budget bins.

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.
Basically, a rangefinder binocular is a combined device of both a binocular and a rangefinder. The binocular will provide clear, distant vision while the rangefinder will calculate and show you the approximate distance of a targeted object from the point you are viewing. Due to the fact that both of these devices complement each other to provide a better hunting experience, rangefinder binoculars have been getting serious attention among the hunting tribes.
Ballistic Functions: Ballistics curves are essential for getting proper information from the rangefinder unit, and customizable ballistics information is ideal. Many units come with pre-programmed ballistics charts that also allow the user to enter their own specific information. Some models even feature automatic adjustment of the ballistics curves based on changes in the atmosphere.

Best Compact: The Cadillac Fleetwood of birding binoculars, this new iteration of the Leica Ultravid 8x32s is unquestionably worth the price tag, if you can afford it. Lightweight, exquisitely balanced, great in smoldering sun, easy to focus, with a wide field of view and surgical sharpness that stays undiminished in low light, and they just about squeeze into the front pocket of my J.Crew chinos (regular fit).
This is the first model in this list that are specialist astronomy binoculars from a known astronomy brand (Celestron – who make high-quality telescopes and other equipment).  “Giant” binoculars are defined as those that magnify the view 10 times or more and have 70-mm or larger front (objective) lenses and Celestron’s 25×70 SkyMaster binoculars are one of the leaders in the low-price giant binocular arena.
Another consideration are fixed focus binoculars (sometimes mistakenly referred to as auto focus binoculars, or sometimes slightly more accurately described as focus free or always in focus binoculars) These have a very large depth of view and once you have adjusted them to your eyesight, which only needs to be done once, they will be permanently in focus from a given distance to infinity. The obvious advantage of this is that you never have to change focus, which in terms of speed can't be beaten. On the down side,depending on the distance of the bird from your position, you won't always get the sharpest of images. If you want to learn more read my article on self focusing binoculars.
Now, it’s no secret that there are plenty of choices. From cheap, sub-par quality pairs of binoculars with rangefinders, to high-end, premium options from reputable manufacturers which have supreme build quality and optics, the market is fairly saturated. This means that there is something for everyone. Whether you’re after an entry-level option that’s great for only a few things that you really need, or a premium binocular from the likes of Carl Zeiss and Swarovski that have everything you need, and more, as well as some added benefits in terms of quality and optics, you can get something that’s right for you.

Also look for binoculars that have been either nitrogen or argon purged. This means all the internal air has been replaced with a dry gas which will protect them from any internal fogging. This fogging can occur when you get rapid temperature changes or in places that have high humidity levels. A secondary benefit of this is that it protects the inner workings from corrosion because there is no internal moisture. For more information read my article on waterproof and fogproof binoculars  
"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!"

For exquisite ergonomics and handling ability, the Carl Zeiss Victory RF Binoculars offer great rangefinding ability coupled with advanced optics. Featuring a built-in calculator that allows you to compute ballistic trajectories with ease, the laser rangefinder can take accurate measurements almost instantly up to 1,300 yards. The lenses are multi-coated and work exceptionally well in low-light conditions thanks to the 45mm diameter.


Most compacts have objective lenses of between 25mm to 28mm. A light and compact binocular is much easier to carry around with you all day. Smaller binoculars may also actually let you see more because you're more likely to have them with you when you need them as you never know when a birding opportunity will arise. Compact binoculars are also great for when you're traveling, where you may not always want large high-value optics dangling from your neck and so it's nice to have binoculars that will tuck into a purse or jacket pocket.

The area of space that you can see through binoculars is smaller than expected when compared with what can be seen with the naked eye. For this reason, it is better to find the stars (or constellations) that you want to view with your naked eye first. Keeping your gaze fixed on the same spot, swiftly bring the binoculars up to the level of your eyes and peer through them. Another way is to find a bright star and, using that star as a reference point, gradually move your binoculars’ field of vision in the direction of the galaxy or star cluster that you wish to view.


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)
“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 trade-off from above model is a smaller field of view which is greater with the 15×70 binoculars when using by hand, but for astronomical you will need to use a tripod anyway. This model has an adapter to attach to a standard camera tripod – just make sure you get one that is high enough for your height so that you don’t need to stoop too much when using.

We are defining clarity as the amount of detail one can see through the lenses. This was tested by using the following ISO 12233 chart. The chart was downloaded and printed on a piece of 11x17 paper at 1200 dpi resolution. We also recruited a couple bird models from a local arts and crafts store (Garry the Goldfinch and Barry the Bluebird) and observed those models through each pair of binoculars.


The down side to long eye relief is that it usually reduces the field of view. Some people wonder if you need to wear glasses at all using binoculars, well If you are near-sighted or far-sighted, you can use your binoculars without wearing glasses and the binoculars focus will compensate, but if you have astigmatism, you will need to use your glasses.

Best Compact: The Cadillac Fleetwood of birding binoculars, this new iteration of the Leica Ultravid 8x32s is unquestionably worth the price tag, if you can afford it. Lightweight, exquisitely balanced, great in smoldering sun, easy to focus, with a wide field of view and surgical sharpness that stays undiminished in low light, and they just about squeeze into the front pocket of my J.Crew chinos (regular fit).


Oculus packs a number of premium features in this compact, hand-filling 42mm binocular, including a tripod adapter, thumb detents on the underside of the barrels, a very precise clicking diopter control, and a cushioned nylon case. The optics, delivered through “ultra high-definition” glass inside the magnesium-alloy chassis, are solid, finishing in the middle of our full-size field. Our quibble is with the controls. The closed center hinge is so stiff it takes some serious work to spread the barrels, and the focus wheel is spongy.

The Vanguard Endeavor ED are lower-powered binoculars with a 10x magnification. Along with a 114m field of view, this Vanguard model is best suited for faster-paced action and outdoor activities. They have one of the largest objective lens diameter of the binoculars we reviewed, so they’ll perform better in low- and poor-light surroundings, making them a good pair of hunting binoculars on early mornings.
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.
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.
Another thing that’s worth mentioning is that each of the device’s independent diopters are adjustable. This is something you won’t find on many rangefinders. But, since this is a binocular combo, you’re actually getting a pretty good deal. The unit is right-eye-dominant, and the right diopter is what will focus in on the reading display, and you have the main focus adjusting the distance.
When my wife came along, we upgraded to a pair of Steiner binoculars (now lost) and lived briefly in a new visual milieu, utterly fresh and imposing. Things appeared as they never had before. Being owl people, our birding gestalt began to follow an inexorable course toward higher magnification, all the way up to 10x. We’re also urbanites with a young child and do 90 percent of our birding from our porch at sunup, with nuthatches and chickadees flitting about in a hazed cityscape, so we also like a wider 8x field of view. Though slightly less broke, we drool over the sale bins at Target. We’re also fairly lazy, it must be admitted, and would prefer our binoculars to be as light as cotton, and for someone else to do the lifting.
Now that you know the lingo and understand the different types, it is time to go shopping for astronomy binoculars for sale.  If you decide to buy stargazing binoculars online, make sure to choose a retailer with a good return policy in case something goes wrong. Never buy any pair without a thorough inspection and ask about a refund if they don’t measure up when you take your first night view of the sky.
Telescopes do make objects look larger. But their main job is to gather light. Paradoxically, the more a telescope magnifies an object, the dimmer that object appears. That's a problem when observing deep-sky targets like comets, galaxies and widely diffuse star clusters. It's an issue for everything, really, except the moon — which can be too bright — and a few vivid planets.
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