With that in mind I selected my top five binoculars from the initial tests and took them along with me to unfamiliar territory in southern Mexico for advanced testing. Working in the field is the ultimate test for any pair of binoculars. The optics need to do some very heavy lifting—studying intricate patterns of white vermiculation on the upper back of a woodcreeper before the bird scoots around the trunk of a tree, for example—while my brain sorts through several near-identical species, something I don’t get to do back home.

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.
Recommendation: balance and handling is a very personal thing, but you should be able to get some idea of what the binoculars on your shortlist are like by reading reviews online from people who’ve spent time with the binoculars on your short-list. Try searching birding and wildlife forums (like Bird Forum) for recommendations by owners — and try and get to use as many different types of binocular as you can to see how different models and different styles feel to you (see point 10 on Try Before you Buy).
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Look for lenses of good quality, multi-coated if you can afford it since the targets you pursue are so far away that you can make use of any additional feature you can get. Better quality lenses will increase sharpness and brightness, enhance contrast and generally render a better image than low-quality ones. It all comes down to your budget and preferences, of course.
Inside, things are more or less what you’d expect from a pair of binoculars like these. The prism is a Hi-index BAK4 prism, which has been proven to give you a sharp and bright image, with plenty of contrast. When you’re looking at an object, you can be sure that you see every little detail of it. The 22 mm lens design won’t cause any eye fatigue, or dizziness, and your view will be a combination of HD and wide angle. The 50 mm objective lens, on the other hand, is large enough to ensure that even in low light conditions, such as at dawn, or at dusk, or even at night, you will receive as much light as possible inside, making the image bright.
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In light of the foregoing, is it any wonder that binoculars are well recommended for astronomy beginners?!? In typical conversation with astronomers, the term "astronomy binoculars" is applied to those binoculars with 60mm diameter or larger objective lenses. For convenience, however, we're going to use that term for any binoculars used for astronomy.
Image stabilized binoculars are those with a compensating mechanism which adjusts many times per second, usually in conjunction with electronics, to eliminate most movements in the image you view. While the compensating mechanism may vary between brand names, the concept of stabilizing the view remains constant and amazes those who've not previously experienced it. Naturally, the compensating mechanism, electronics and batteries all add weight to the binocular. The benefits, however, outweigh the costs to the extent that these binoculars are rapidly gaining in popularity. It's up to you to decide whether these types of optics qualify as "best binoculars for astronomy." They're quite nice, but they're not essential to enjoying the celestial sites.
The laser rangefinder in the binoculars is extremely accurate and does wonders. And they’re made in such a way that even when lighting conditions are less than ideal, you won’t have a problem. We’re not talking about big objects only, but even with small things such as a squirrel, or a rabbit, if you’re using them for hunting, can be seen with ease. Even with a bit of shaking, the laser is still accurate.
“We are REALLY impressed with the quality of the Aurosport 10x25's. While they have a lower magnification than the Nikon Travelights, they are not short on quality at about 1/3 the price. We have several months yet before we will use them for spotting wildlife, but are confident that we made the right choice in purchasing these and will recommend them to anyone who asks us about them. In summary - an OUTSTANDING product for the money.”
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.
The Pentax AD’s weight is feather-light, at 9.6 ounces (less than half the 25-ounce weight of the Athlon Midas 8×42 binoculars, our top full-size pick). All compacts—in particular the high-magnification ones—are prone to “tunnel vision” due to a narrow field of view that makes it hard to find a distant target through the lens. Optically, the Pentax AD compacts have a wider field of view than some of the other compacts we tested, and the colors on birds, flowers, and butterflies appeared just as bright under normal conditions.
It has become popular equipment which is carried to the woods, especially shooting ranges. It is said that the traditional binoculars might be replaced by rangefinder binoculars in the near future due to its growing popularity. So, in this article, we are on a quest to introduce you to rangefinder binoculars and the top four of those which are available to you. The article also includes a buying guide you can follow if you are planning on purchasing a rangefinder binocular.
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.

When Europe was blundering its way through the Dark Ages, Middle Eastern Astronomers were translating Greek texts that named and plotted the positions of stars into the Arabic language, helping to ensure the preservation of humanity's knowledge of the night sky. It is human's knowledge of the position of celestial objects, such as the North Star, that made ocean exploration possible. Determining a ship's heading without these navigational aids was considerably more difficult and less accurate.


More resolution - With all other aspects being equal, the larger the objective lens, the better the resolution in the image. But you pay, with increased weight and size. How much resolution you need depends on how much you're going to magnify an image. For a magnification of 8x or 10x, a 42mm objective lens provides plenty of resolution and there is no need to exceed your eyes' ability to see. The reason some people might choose larger objectives would not be for increased resolution but for more brightness in poor light and bad light or for use at night for astronomy.
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.
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 Razor HD is argon-filled and sealed with O-rings to ensure reliable and durable protection against dust, debris, fog and water. It is rubber armored for non-slip and durable protection, and is equipped with a large focusing knob that is easy to use even while wearing gloves. Naturally contoured to perfectly fit your hands, promoting comfort and eliminating user-fatigue Vortex has once again created a winning combination of features.
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.
For many people the ideal compromise will be a mid sized binocular which have objective lenses of around 32mm. These are becoming increasingly popular, and there are many good arguments in their favor. Whilst it is true that larger objectives can theoretically deliver brighter, higher resolution images, with magnifications of around 8x, it is actually quite hard to detect a qualitative difference between 42mm and 32mm objectives. In my opinion, at 8x or 10x, the quality of the optics and their coatings is far more important than the size of the lenses.
Over the years I’ve tested virtually every affordable image-stabilized binocular on the market for reviews appearing in Sky & Telescope magazine. Canon is the clear leader where astronomy is concerned. The company currently offers six models, each with something to interest the backyard stargazer. Some of these binoculars are among the very best available for astronomy, while some are more general purpose. (Fujinon also makes 14×40 image-stabilized binos. You can read my thoughts on this model here.)
There is also a lot of additional functionality with the BinoX-HD. For example, seeing as you have a sensor that’s capturing the image, there’s the ability to take a picture, or record video. The video can be either 1080p, at 30 frames per second, or 720p, at 60 frames per second, which is pretty good. At night, they’re very good, until you go past 10x magnification. This is where you’ll be having some issues, which is to be expected, honestly. However, when you consider the package of functionality you’re getting at the price ATN ask for the BinoX-HD, you’ll find that it’s very much worth it.
I’ve been birding since grade school and have spent the past 20 years working as a professional ornithologist, traveling worldwide to look for and learn about birds. I’ve published a couple dozen scientific papers and wrote Important Bird Areas of California, published in 2004 by Audubon California. Professionally, I lead birding trips for both beginners and experts, and for my “day job” I perform environmental surveys for individuals, conservation groups, corporations, and government agencies.

Beginning each autumn and into the spring, look for a tiny dipper-like cluster of stars called the Pleiades.  The cluster – sometimes also called the Seven Sisters – is noticeable for being small yet distinctively dipper-like. While most people say they see only six stars here with the unaided eye, binoculars reveal many more stars, plus a dainty chain of stars extending off to one side. The Pleiades star cluster is looks big and distinctive because it’s relatively close – about 400 light years from Earth. This dipper-shaped cluster is a true cluster of stars in space.  Its members were born around the same time and are still bound by gravity.  These stars are very young, on the order of 20 million years old, in contrast to the roughly five billion years for our sun.
All binoculars are identified by a set of numbers, such as 10x42 and 7x20, which refer to their magnification and objective lens diameter, respectively. Using 10x42 as an example, the 10x means that the binoculars have 10x magnification power, making the view through them appear 10 times closer than it appears to the naked eye. For most situations, users should look for binoculars from 7x to 10x power. Theatergoers should choose something in the range of 3-5x, depending on your seats; sports fans will be happy with a 7x model; while big-game hunters would need 10x or higher for long-range observations. Keep in mind that for many users, holding binoculars greater than 10x42 steady for long periods may present some difficulty, so a tripod should be considered if you are looking at models with higher magnifications or larger objectives.
Combine Nikon binocular performance with the extreme speed and ranging technology of a 1900-yard laser rangefinder and you have Laser Force, Nikon's 10x 42mm Rangefinder Binocular. Quite simply the single optic solution for serious hunters who depend on both their binocular for picking out distant animals and their rangefinder for getting the exact distance before taking the shot. Featuring ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass and Nikon's ID Technology to compensate for incline or decline angles, Laser Force puts ranging precision, optical performance and rugged performance within your reach.

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.
Good glass is expensive, making binoculars one product where you tend to get better performance the more you pay. That isn't to say the trend is linear, however. For example, we think the Swarovski EL are the best bins you can buy, but you might have to sign away your firstborn in order to afford them. On the other hand, the Editors' Choice winning Vortex Viper gets close to the performance level of the Swarovskis, but at a fraction of the price. The Nikon Monarch 5 and Celestron Nature DX also tend to punch above their weight class, offering great values for those with $300 and $150 budgets, respectively.
Most standard tripods can be used, but because you are looking upwards, it does mean that the eyepieces will be in an awkward position. The best way to get around this is to use a chair and position yourself almost under the tripod. With traditional tripods this can be a little awkward as the legs often get in the way. I recently tested a Vanguard Alta Pro tripod that has an adjustable central column that you can effectively use to position your binoculars away from the center of the tripod (see image below) so you can more easily position yourself under your optics, which I found worked really well for astronomy. For more read my review of the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT Tripod.
Features: It is super powerful and portable to be taken. Suitable for both indoor  and outdoor using. Durable and protective for long time using. FMC glass lenses deliver the ultimate brightness and resolution. Ergonomic design for comfortable handling. It can apply in  military, travel and more places. Streamlined shape,smooth central focus knob for simple operation.

Not all birding is done on sunny days. You will definitely want a pair of binoculars that is waterproof, as even fair-weather birders might get stuck in a passing rain shower from time to time. Fogproof is also a good feature to look for, as this will keep your binoculars from fogging up when transitioning to the outdoors on a cold day from a warm living room, where you were just perusing the latest Audubon magazine or Sibley guide.
One thing you'll need to think about is how to attach your big astronomy binoculars to your tripod. Most binoculars are fitted with a standard size threaded socket and are ready to accept a tripod adapter. After unscrewing the hinge cap on the end of the hinge nearest the objective lenses, screw the adapter into the hinge socket, tighten it, and mount the other end of the adapter on the tripod's pan head. When selecting a binocular tripod adapter, you'll want one whose screw's knob will work equally well with roof and Porro prism designs as well as the tight space on some larger binoculars. We like the knob design on the Vortex tripod adapter because its slender shape allows it to be used with nearly any binocular.

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.
In the same way that digital cameras can have image stabilization, so too, can binoculars. Image stabilization compensates for operator movement, the swaying of a boat, or the vibration inside an aircraft, that normally prevent the viewer from having a steady image. Stabilized binoculars usually contain a gyroscope that requires power to provide stabilization, or a pendulum-type device that provides stabilization without being powered. Most often, this type of binocular is used by boaters to reduce the disorientation common with high-power optics, or while using them in choppy seas. They are also popular with aviators and search-and-rescue professionals.
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.
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.

We can’t really recommend any binoculars that cost under $100; those tend to have very poor optics and aren’t durable enough to survive hard knocks without coming out of alignment. But for just a bit more, the very functional Carson VP pair offers excellent optics, a minimum focus distance 10 feet closer than the Nikon ProStaff 5, and rugged waterproof and fogproof construction.


Compact binoculars are essentially scaled-down versions of full-size binoculars, with similar rubberized construction to protect against impacts, waterproof seals, a central focusing knob, twisting eyecups, and foldable hinges—yet they are about half the size and weight (around 10 ounces vs. 25 ounces or more). Because the lenses are narrower, the field of view (how wide an area you see while looking through them) is reduced compared with that of any full-size model. But, particularly if you have neck/shoulder pain or don’t mind sacrificing a little optical performance for the ease of packing them in a pocket or tote bag, they’re a solid choice for “light” birding, butterfly-watching, or botanizing. They’re also ideal for mountain biking or backpacking, when you may want to look at a couple things on the trip, but they’re not constantly in use.
In light of the foregoing, is it any wonder that binoculars are well recommended for astronomy beginners?!? In typical conversation with astronomers, the term "astronomy binoculars" is applied to those binoculars with 60mm diameter or larger objective lenses. For convenience, however, we're going to use that term for any binoculars used for astronomy.
After saving for two years for an optics purchase, I am very happy with this product! Originally I had intended to buy a high end rifle scope, but why have a bunch of expensive rifle scopes sitting in the safe? Instead, I decided to streamline my archery hunting setup by going with rangefinding binos that I would get more use out of. Let's be honest, these Nikons are no Swarovskis, but they come pretty darn close to my Swaro EL 10x42. For long range rifle hunting here in the West, nothing beats my Swaro 10s and 15s along with my Gunwerks BR-2 rangefinder. Even though the Nikons boast 1900 yard ranging, for me it will be for archery only. It has been amazing white shooting 3D! Now for the hack mentioned above. I made a "silicon dimple" on the range button by masking off a little square with blue masking tape. Then I put a dollop of Mcnett's Seam Sealer on the button. When it cured (24 hours), I had a nice custom tactile range button I can locate with out looking. If you are picky about optics and know the value of a dollar...you won't be disappointed.

We chose to limit our tests to 8×42 binoculars for a number of reasons, one being that we found 10x binoculars to be too shaky, like walking around with a fully zoomed telephoto camera lens. Plus, the 42 objective-lens size is perfect for balancing brightness and clarity with weight. Compact binoculars, which have smaller objective lenses, are often much dimmer. They’re not great if you want to truly spot and identify something in the field, though good reasons to use smaller binoculars do exist, as many backpackers and travel-light types will attest. We plan to test compact binoculars soon.


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.

It is more comfortable to view the stars while lying flat in a sleeping bag on the ground or sitting in a chair. When lying on the ground in winter, you can protect yourself from the cold by spreading cardboard or a thermal insulating sheet for camping on the ground, thus preventing the coldness of the ground from reaching you. If you have a reclining chair, you can view the stars in a more comfortable position.
"I was introduced to these binoculars when taking a bird-watching class. I already had some inexpensive 'permanent focus' binos, and these Pentax binoculars were a revelation! Crisp depth of field for the sharpest images make these the choice for bird/animal watching. Easy and simple focusing system, with retractable eye cups for eyeglass wearers. Can't beat these binoculars for the price!"
The first and one of the most important is your budget. If you know your budget or can set your budget prior to your purchase, it will help you research in a much better way. Make sure you set a realistic budget. Because there is no need to spend more than you can or spend way less than you can afford. The idea is to not make the purchase of rangefinder binocular a burden. Once you have decided on the budget, it is easy for you to eliminate the rangefinder binoculars which are both above or below your affordability. You can then select the best binocular rangefinders from the affordable range and research on them. It makes the choices narrower and suitable to your need.
To sum things up, if you can afford them, as they carry a pretty hefty price tag, you will never regret getting them. For anyone who can appreciate a pair of binoculars that offer more than supreme clarity, as well as vivid images, it doesn’t get any better than this. Add to that the build quality and finishing touches, and you’ve got yourself a real winner here.

Obviously, early technology was nowhere near as accurate as modern day technology is (is likely that technology will continue to advance in the future), but you should still be able to get a fantastically accurate reading every single time you bring a pair of rangefinders up to your eyes. There are definitely some limitations to this technology, however.
Hi Mark, I found the 60 x 60 binoculars for about $50-80. They look pretty poorly built. I also found a pair of 60 x 90’s for just over $110 and they don’t look much better either. I think anything larger than 12 x 50 is hard to handhold and anything over 15 x 70 is impossible. Not sure why people wanting that much magnification don’t go for a spotting scope? 
If this japanese-made binocular looks European, that’s entirely intentional. It’s the first full-size bino from a new brand that hopes to marry European style and optical performance with retail prices achievable from the lower production costs of Asian partners. The Passion looks, feels, and performs like a higher-end European binocular. The machined aluminum eyecups are first-rate and the controls are tight and precise. The glass is excellent. The price is a bargain for an optic of this quality, especially considering the fully transferrable lifetime warranty.
We did include a few of these on our list. When this is your requirement, there’s a list of things that need to be checked in order to get the most out of the binoculars. First of all, you’ll need them to be waterproof and fog proof. Having them float is a nice addition too. Waterproofing is pretty much a given with them, and they’re commonly filled with nitrogen so the lenses don’t fog up on the inside – this is a great thing and a must in this situation. The models commonly have lower magnification, such as 7x, because with higher magnification you’ll get a pretty blurry image. Image stabilization is a great option here – if you have it, you could go higher than 7x, and still have a crisp image.

A lot of the discussion on the general internet tends to be one brand against another with very little reason as to why. Also most forum users only own one pair, so it very much becomes a sample-of-one. Your atricle puts all the main concepts together allowing the prospective buyer to at least understand all the jargon and also filtering out the marketing gumf which so often misleads (aircraft-grade, being a prime example).


Measuring only 5 ½ inches long, this new Nikon delivers a lot of optical horsepower in a compact and lightweight package. And what an elegant package it is. The Monarch HG has a number of stylistic features that reminded us of the last premium Nikon binocular: the EDG. There’s the pebbled-­rubber armor, the finely turned eyecups, and the Euro-style metal objective lens rings. The Monarch delivers an image on par with the premium furnishings. The “field-­flattener” lenses widen the field of view and reduce peripheral distortion.
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 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 one year from the date of original retail purchase. 
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