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Most people have two eyes. Humans evolved to use them together (not all animals do). People create a continuous, stereoscopic panorama movie of the world within in their minds. With your two eyes tilted upward on a clear night, there's nothing standing between you and the universe. The easiest way to enhance your enjoyment of the night sky is to paint your brain with two channels of stronger starlight using a pair of binoculars. Even if you live in, or near, a large, light-polluted city, you may be surprised at how much astronomical detail you'll see through the right binoculars!
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.
You also want high optical quality. Stars and faint celestial objects seen against a dark sky are much more demanding than daytime scenes, so mediocre optics display their flaws much more obviously when you're observing the night sky rather than eatching the pitcher's mound. In general, price is a pretty good indicator of optical quality. The best optics are not going to be cheap.
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.
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.
When you’re new to stargazing, the first step seems obvious: buy a new telescope. But what will serve you just as well is a good pair of binoculars for astronomy. Binoculars bring the stars a bit closer to your eyes, with a larger field of view that makes the heavens a bit easier to understand. And even a good pair of binoculars will generally be cheaper than a new telescope. Browse the articles below for some tips on choosing the best binoculars for astronomy. You’ll also find articles that cover binocular basics, introducing you to the terms that you’ll need to know when you buy.

"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.
Decide on your price range. Top-of-the-line binoculars give you a pristine image in a comfortable, durable package. Lower price ranges also offer some great options, thanks to technological advances in the last decade. See our chart of Performance vs. Quality Index to look for your best value. Note that we provide MSRP (from October 2013), but many retailers sell binoculars at below this price.
Often Brighter - All 8x42 binoculars create a 5.25mm exit pupil (42mm/8 = 5.25mm). Basically the exit pupil is the diameter of the column of light coming out of the eyepieces. A larger objective lens provides a wider column and allows more light to enter your eyes when your pupils dilate at night. The average pupil of a young person dilates only to about 7mm even in darkness. As we age, our eyes' ability to dilate gradually diminishes, so a 5.25mm exit pupil may deliver all the light your eye can use, even in dim-light conditions. Therefore, a 42mm objective is a good, practical compromise between brightness and weight. In daylight, when your pupils contract to around 3mm, most of the light coming out of the binoculars will fall outside the pupil and never enter your eyes at all and so making the exit pupil larger won't make the image look any brighter.
"These binoculars provide a clear view of wildlife in my backyard or while on a nature walk. I agree they are built like a tank, but not the weight. I was looking at other brands and decided on the Carson's VP series. I made my decision from reading the reviews and watching the Carson provided product videos. I can't wait to view more wildlife with them."
Due to the construction required for the binoculars to be able to work at both 8x and 16x magnification,  you will get a severely crippled field of view when you’re using 8x. The easiest way to see the difference is to compare a pair of 8x binoculars, to a pair of 8-24x. The field of view at 8x will be very different. Seeing as zoom requires glass parts to move and have a complex construction, there is some pretty noticeable loss of quality in comparison to a fixed pair of rangefinder binoculars. Your best option is to see what kind of magnification works best for your specific environment, and then go for that with a fixed zoom setting.
I am shopping for a pair of good binoculars for my husband for Christmas.  We attend all of the UGA games, so this pair would be used for viewing sporting events.  Our daughter is in the marching band there, so we will also use them to follow her on the field.  I have read about the image stabilization of the Canon produts, but I am not sure if we need it?  Do you have a great pair that you would recommend for my gift?  Also, my husband wear glasses
Due to the construction required for the binoculars to be able to work at both 8x and 16x magnification,  you will get a severely crippled field of view when you’re using 8x. The easiest way to see the difference is to compare a pair of 8x binoculars, to a pair of 8-24x. The field of view at 8x will be very different. Seeing as zoom requires glass parts to move and have a complex construction, there is some pretty noticeable loss of quality in comparison to a fixed pair of rangefinder binoculars. Your best option is to see what kind of magnification works best for your specific environment, and then go for that with a fixed zoom setting.

10x42 is a nice utilitarian size, but some may find them a bit large/heavy for general sightseeing as they may cause neck strain when worn around the neck while walking around town or in the woods. I'll give some recommendations, for that size - but you may want to consider some other sizes. An 8x42 drops the magnification down a bit, but you generally get a larger field of view, wider exit pupil, and usually a longer eye relief so they are a little better for sightseeing. Additionally, you may want to go with a smaller objective such as a 30-32mm, which will shave considerable ounces off the weight and inches off the size to make it easier to pack and carry...for smaller models like this, I'd stay at the 8x power to maximize image brightness, field of view, and exit pupil. With that being said, here are my recommendations:


So, you found the Andromeda galaxy (M31) with your 2-lb.,10x60 binoculars. Now you want to actually see it without all that zigzagging round, turning your stars into lightning bolts. And you also want to show it to your partner. Wouldn't it be nice to just park your binoculars in position on the sky? To do that, you need to be sure your binoculars have a screw mount point for a support system.
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