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.
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.
Bottom Line The best all around bins that we tested, but they also carry a high price tag. High-end bins that are nearly as good as the Swarovskis, but not quite. High end binoculars that live up to their pedigree, but have some downsides compared to other high-end models Just about the best clarity/brightness you can get without a quadruple digit price tag Good optical quality, but not the best in the price range
To find a manageable group of testing finalists, we first eliminated companies that make only one model and that don’t exist outside of their Amazon presence. We also ruled out companies with just one model in our target price range, based on the logic that those binoculars are less likely to be widely available in the future, particularly if they get damaged and you need to return them. This left us with 17 models of 8×42 binoculars, priced mostly under $350:
Another thing you have to keep in check is the lens coating. A lens coating is films applied to the lens to reduce reflections and glares which might affect your vision of the target. It also enhances light transmission and makes the colors look more vibrant. It might look great to put a blue-tinted coating in the lens, but the idea of applying a coating is to make the image look better. So keep in mind that coating is to make things better and not just to make the device look better.
One aspect of binoculars often overlooked by birders is minimum focusing distance (or close focus). The binocular brings the distant bird visually closer to the birder for observation and analysis, but the Audubon Society’s Eric Lind is quick to point out that birding can easily involve looking closely at birds and insects that are relatively close to the observer. Having a close minimum focusing distance might give you an amazing close-up view of that feeding hummingbird or majestic butterfly. Binoculars with higher magnification will, in general, have longer minimum focus distances.
We loved the eyecups on the Swarovski and Zeiss models. Both use threaded eyecups that twist in and out and have very conspicuous stopping points, so you can be sure both eye cups are set on the same depth. The Lecia bins also use threaded eyecups, but the stopping points aren't as solid, and we often had trouble getting both cups set to the same depth. This was particularly annoying when sharing the bins amongst multiple testers with different eyecup preferences, as it took much more finagling to get the eyecups to an acceptable and even setting.
The larger SkyMaster models (80mm and 100mm ) have been designed by Celestron to meet the special demands of extended astronomical or terrestrial viewing sessions and include features like enhanced structural reinforcement to the main binocular body. and an integral super rigid photo tripod adapter to enable easy attachment to tripods and other fixing devices.
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.
Glass wise these are quite a step up from the Bushnell’s but not yet at the level of the Leica’s and Swaros. Ranging wise, they smoke the Bushnells and nudge just above Swarovski El’s. In fair weather (sun, overcast, light rain, etc) the Leica Geovid HD-B is going to outrange it most of the time. If weather turns to crap or there is heavy fog the Steiner will be unbeaten.
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.
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.
6. Use your binoculars to view beyond the Milky Way. Let’s leap out of our galaxy for the final stop in our binocular tour. Throughout fall and winter, she reigns high in the sky during northern hemisphere autumns and winters: Andromeda the Maiden. Centered in the star pattern is an oval patch of light, readily visible to the unaided eye away from urban lights. Binoculars will show it even better.
CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE COMES FROM AMAZON SERVICES LLC. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. All prices on this site may change and those considered valid are displayed on Amazon.com
Price. As discussed above, the price of any of these will range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. However, it’s also important to make fair valuations between the various brands in the market so you actually get what you pay for. Also, always ask yourself the degree of accuracy and maximum ranging distance you need as these aspects will highly impact the price of the product.
Any binocular over 12x that is used for astronomy really should be mounted in order to obtain a steady view. With the proper mount, there is no limit to magnification, objective size, and binocular weight. The key phrase is “proper mount”. Be aware that some of these binoculars will require a mount that costs as much or more than the binocular. Some models, such as the BT-100-45, come complete with mount. The BT Series, with their comfortable 45° viewing and inter-changeable eyepieces, are capable of very high magnification (up to 90x), and are a viable alternative to a single-eyepiece telescope. Click here for more info.
With the built-in ID (Incline/Decline) Technology, you’ll have angled compensated distances to accurately adjust your riflescope for holdovers. You’ll be able to clearly see your readings with the LED display that has a 4-step brightness intensity to adjust for any time of the day. Pleasantly, Nikon doesn’t disappoint, and we say “Welcome to the playing field, Nikon.” We’re super stoked to see the LaserForce make its presence known as they’ve only hit the 2017 market. We’re proud to put both thumbs up to their optic – job well done!
A BAK-4 prism ensures crisp, clear images, and works very well in low-light conditions. Additionally, the multi-coated optics provide excellent light sensitivity and filtering throughout the lens system, making for great viewing even in low-light conditions. An excellent waterproof binocular rangefinder, the Barska Battalion is the perfect product for any outdoor situation.
Carl Zeiss lenses are made in Germany and are world-renowned for their clarity, quality, and optical capabilities. In terms of image quality, you cannot buy much better range-finding binoculars. Well balanced, waterproof, with superb optics and range finding ability, the Carl Zeiss Victory RF Binoculars make calculating distance a snap. They are all-around excellent, and we can recommend them without any reservation. This product is an absolute joy to use.
As far as the build quality goes, they won’t disappoint you. They were designed with fairly high tech military standards, and nowhere is that more obvious than the armor. The non-slippery armor will both give you grip that’s more than sufficient for any user and provide fairly good shock absorption in case it’s something you happen to need, as it’s actually a rather rugged option. Inside, there is nitrogen gas. As mentioned with some of the previous models we spoke about, this will make sure that your lenses don’t get fogged up, even in high humidity situations or rainstorms. And wrapping things up with the build quality and construction is the fact that these binoculars with rangefinders are IPX7 water resistant, which should be more than enough for a variety of situations.
In general, the larger the objectives, the more light is gathered, and the more you’ll see- however, the larger objectives, the heavier the binocular. Magnification should be 12x or lower- any higher and you’ll have a hard time getting a steady view. Low magnification binoculars have the advantage of a big FOV (field of view), which makes navigating the night sky easier. They provide glorious views of star clusters and nebulae, and are wonderful for exploring the Milky Way. On the other hand, don’t expect to see planets with any detail- they are very tiny objects at these magnifications. Click here for more info.
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.
They also have the added bonus in that they are far more versatile and you can use them for many other applications. If you plan to use this method, you should keep magnification below 12x in order to maintain steadiness. A good pair of binoculars with a magnification of 7x to 12x and a large objective lens will show you planets in our solar system, hundreds of star clusters, nebulae and even some galaxies.
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.