Different styles suit different people. My personal preference is for the modern single-hinge design (as found in my Swarovski SLC HD and the Vortex Razor HD reviewed on this site recently), followed by the traditional single hinge and finally the double open-hinge design that has become so popular today (a trend started by the popular Swarovski EL series, and used by the Docter 8×42 ED and Vanguard Endeavor 8.5×45 ED we reviewed recently).
Uranus and Neptune. Some planets are squarely binocular and telescope targets. If you’re armed with a finder chart, two of them, Uranus and Neptune, are easy to spot in binoculars. Uranus might even look greenish, thanks to methane in the planet’s atmosphere. Once a year, Uranus is barely bright enough to glimpse with the unaided eye . . . use binoculars to find it first. Distant Neptune will always look like a star, even though it has an atmosphere practically identical to Uranus.
For most binoculars with 80mm or 100mm objective lenses, however, a tripod as typically used for light cameras for instance, will not be strong enough to hold a binocular weighing between 5 and 10 or more pounds (2.25 to 4.5+ kg). We're the kind of folks who figure we're likely to get an even heavier instrument later on, so we'll get a good, heavy-duty tripod to start with. That's just us, though, and you certainly don't NEED to get anything above and beyond what will serve your immediate needs! Just be sure the tripod you use for your giant astronomy binoculars won't collapse with resultant damage to your instrument!
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.
Want really steady views? Invest in a dedicated binocular mount. This can be a simple "L" bracket ($10 to $20) that attaches to a tripod — or, much better, a fancy parallelogram-style mount ($200 or more) that holds your binoculars for astronomy pointing at any angle overhead while you raise or lower them to suit your eyes. This is especially useful for sharing views with others.
Fogging occurs when the air inside the optical tubes contains moisture. If you go from a warm cabin to frigid conditions outside, the moisture can condense on the inside of lenses, causing them to fog. Fog-proof binoculars are filled with inert gases such as nitrogen or argon, or a combination of the two, to prevent fogging. The inert gas is dry and is pumped into the optical tubes under pressure, keeping the gaskets and O-rings firmly in place.
Combining excellent optical performance with ruggedness, portability, and comfort, the Diamondback 8x42 Binocular from Vortex Optics is ideal to take along on hiking trips, camping, traveling, or just in case. The optics feature improved transmission, contrast, and true color using fully multi-coated lenses and phase-corrected roof prisms. With the improved close focus of 5' you will get plenty of focusing range and a sharp focus on faraway scenery as well as close-ups of nearby street signs, monuments' details, or wildlife. The combination of 8x magnification and the 42mm objectives offers you a generous 60° angle of view that gives you complete images of targets.
If you want to explore the great outdoors with your kids, then the Educational Insights GeoSafari binoculars are the best pair to get them started. The pair of kid-friendly binoculars feature soft-grip handles for smaller hands, while kids can explore nature in-depth with their 30mm glass lenses and 4x magnification. There's also a trusty compass attached for some light orienteering. Moms and dads will love that these binoculars can help their kiddos get into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning.
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.
The design of the rangefinder binocular makes a big difference. It has to be compact and lightweight for you to easily handle. The weight defines how easily you can take it with you. You should have the ability to carry it with you without being fatigued. Also, if it is too compact, there is always a chance of the device falling off from your hands. A balance between compactness and weight would be the ideal match for a good rangefinder binocular.
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.
I reviewed 10 pairs of compact binoculars from widely available brands before choosing the Pentax AD as our compact pick. The optics on all the compact binoculars I tested are good (even great) quality; all have retractable eyecups that sort of spin down to be flush with the lenses if you wear glasses; most are armored/rubberized, which means you can bump them around a bit, and (probably) even drop them, and they won’t be knocked out of alignment. Still, when all the compact models rode around in my back seat, I just kept reaching for the Pentax AD rather than the others.
Often, but not always, the optic will employ some type of seal—an O-ring or gasket—to keep moisture, such as from general humidity or a light mist, from getting into the optical tubes. You can take a weather-resistant binocular out in moist conditions without causing damage. The air inside the optical tube will probably be just ambient air from the factory where they were assembled, and due to air conditioning and other factors, will usually have an extremely low moisture content. What this means is that under most normal conditions, a binocular right out of the box shouldn’t have fogging issues, even if it is O-ring or gasket sealed.
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.
Designed to be as light as possible with maximum ergonomic comfort, these Nikon Aculon binoculars aren’t giant, but they’ve been found highly useful for nighttime stargazing. If you’re just looking for a high-class set of ‘regular’ size binoculars, you’ll have a hard time going wrong with these. Recommended by amateur astronomy class teachers, the Aculon 7×50’s cost about a fourth of professional grade astronomy binoculars, but provide much of the same performance.
If you’ve been shopping for binoculars, you will have noticed that some look very streamlined while others look chunkier. This is because the physical appearance and size of a binocular is determined by the type of prism it uses. Prisms are used to correct the orientation of the view horizontally and vertically so the scene looks natural; without a prism, binoculars would make things look upside down and flopped. There are two principal types of prisms: roof and Porro. The glass elements in a roof prism are in line with one another, making roof-prism binoculars more streamlined and easier to hold. Porro prisms have the glass elements offset from one another, and can provide greater depth of field and a wider field of view compared to similar roof prism models. This is accomplished by folding the light path, which shortens the length, spreading the objectives farther apart.
3. First, view the moon with binoculars. When you start to stargaze, you’ll want to watch the phase of the moon carefully. If you want to see deep-sky objects inside our Milky Way galaxy – or outside the galaxy – you’ll want to avoid the moon. But the moon itself is a perfect target for beginning astronomers, armed with binoculars. Hint: the best time to observe the moon is in twilight. Then the glare of the moon is not so great, and you’ll see more detail.
I'd like to get a binocular for my wife who is legally blind and has also some degree of night blindness. We travel extensively and she loves watching nature (animals on safaris; mountains; etc.). I was thinking that a binocular with a large aperture and wide field might be a good choice, such as the Steiner 8x56 ShadowQuest Binocular. I like the good performance during dawn, becasue of my wife's impaired ability to see in low-light environments. What do you think? Any other types I should consider?
Cometron 7×50 binoculars from Celestron is an ideal pair of binoculars for amateur or beginner users. With 50mm aperture, it gathers enough light to provide a bright and sharp image of stars, comets, and craters of the moon. Cometron also provides 6.8-degree wide field of view that helps to locate objects in the sky without constantly moving the binoculars.
In general astronomical binoculars should not really be thought of as a substitute for a telescope, rather you should think of them as something to be used along with your scope, especially when you want to get a wider field of view and see more of the sky at once. But to give you an idea of what kind of things you can see, the observations below were made whilst using the great value Celestron SkyMaster 25x70 Binoculars on a night with an almost full moon and a fair amount of light pollution:
When shopping for binoculars, there is a lot to consider: magnification versus mass, field of view, prism type, optical quality ("sharpness"), light transmission, age of the user (to match "exit pupil" size, which changes as we grow older), shock resistance, waterproofing and more. To choose the right binoculars for yourself, check out our Buyer's Guide: How to Choose Binoculars for Stargazing.