An 8x or 10x will give you a comfortable magnification, with average to wide exit pupil, plus you'll get much better fields of view. Holding these magnifications steady will be easier, so you'll be much more mobile. The most popular size is 8x/10x42 as a good balance between aperture and magnification, but you could also do great with a 50mm to boost the low-light performance and exit pupil.
Colour fidelity: its important that wildlife and birding binoculars reproduce colours and tones accurately. For birding in particular correct identification can depend on differentiating between subtle variations in hue. Many binoculars have a subtle colour cast. The view through them is either slightly cool (bluish) or slightly warm (yellowish) compared to the view through the naked eye. This isn’t necessarily a problem as long as it’s not pronounced — but look for a binocular that’s as close to neutral colour reproduction as you can get.
Which Monarch are you looking at? There are three models in the series: 7, 5, & 3. The three is the basic model and performs great, it's not really on-par with the Zeiss...for that you'd need to go with the 7/5 as they get upgrades over the 3 with extra low-dispersion glass, and phase-corrected dielectric coated prisms so there won't be any color fringing and the resolutiona and contrast will be greatly improved. The main difference between the 7 & 5 is that the 7 has a wide field of view to present you with a really immersive observational experience.
Let's have a brief word about why stabilization is of interest before discussing the differences in mechanics and their results. The stabilized image will allow you to actually see not only subtle differences in color hues, but also where they start and end. If your binocular's optics (without image stabilization) would otherwise allow you to see them, the tiny movements of your hands caused by things so innocuous as your heart's rhythmic beating or breathing will usually blur these fine details. Consequently, the detailed image afforded by stabilized binoculars is much better than that typically seen in non-stabilized instruments.
The Leupold BX-1 Yosemite is a good set of binoculars that produces clear images. These binoculars are lightweight, waterproof and fogproof, so they can handle wet conditions without damage to the optics inside. They’re low powered and have the smallest objective lens of any binoculars we reviewed. Pros: These Leupold binoculars are some of the lightest we reviewed at 17oz. An 8x magnification and 118m field of view make them a good choice for birdwatching and sporting events where things move quickly.
And the sky is always changing. Summertime offers such showpiece sights as Mizar and Alcor, the famous pair of stars at the bend in the Big Dipper's handle, and the perfectly round little fuzzball of M13, the Great Cluster in Hercules. Sweep the summer Milky Way from Cygnus overhead through Sagittarius low in the south, looking for knots of stars and luminous bubbles of interstellar gas. Some sections of the Milky Way look, to me, better in binoculars for astronomy than through any telescope.
Another way to express the viewing angle is the Apparent Angle of View (AAoV). This is roughly calculated by taking the AoV and multiplying it by the magnification. So if that 10x42 binocular from the earlier example has a 6.3-degree AoV, its apparent angle of view is 63 degrees. The AAoV is the angle of the magnified field when you look through binoculars; so the larger the apparent field of view is, the wider the field of view you can see even at high magnifications. Generally speaking, an AAoV of more than 60 degrees is considered wide-angle. Nikon engineers developed their own mathematical formula to determine AAoV (see below) more accurately and precisely, which lowers the angle on average, but most of the optics industry continues to use the first formula for consistency and simplicity.
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With binoculars at this level they are offering as much as top-quality telescopes and will bring galaxies and deep-sky objects into view. They have BaK-4 prisms and multi-coated optics as well as individual eyepiece focus to ensure optimal focus position. The body of these Celestron binoculars is water-resistant and they come in a padded carrying case for travel and safe storage.
Look at your binoculars as a long-term investment. Unlike the latest electronic gizmos your binoculars won’t become obsolete in six months, and if properly cared for the view through them won’t deteriorate over time. A good pair of binoculars will keep delivering value week in week out, year after year for decades. More expensive binoculars are also made with better quality materials and to tighter production tolerances, and are built to cope with the rigours of life in the field.
Yes, these things cost nearly $3000. Why? Lots of reasons, starting with their powerful 10x magnification and 42mm diameter lenses, which work in concert to make faraway objects look nice and big and bright. But it’s also because their HighLux and AquaDura coated lenses create crisp contrast and clear colors, gathering all the detail you could want. There’s also the super-long 19mm eye relief, which makes the Leica bins ideal for people working in law enforcement, rescue, for military applications, or for nature study and/or photography. For when you need to see quickly and clearly in all sorts of conditions.
“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.”
Binoculars come in two basic configurations: Porro prism or roof prism. The Porro prism gives that type of binoculars the traditional binocular shape. The roof prism binocular features a narrower and compact, straight design. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, but, in general, the Porro prism design is less expensive to manufacture and, therefore, gives you more bang for your buck as far as optical quality and features. The relative compact size of roof prism binoculars makes them generally more popular for birders, as optically similar Porros will be larger.
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.
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At its core, it’s superior to the roof prism design, and it does offer a deeper, richer field of view. Apart from its design platform, it also has the Sports-Auto Focus Technology with independent eyepieces. Its rangefinding ability may be lacking in that it doesn’t offer angle compensation or ballistic data, but it can range out to a full 1,860 yards! Not bad Steiner, not bad.
These binoculars provide the widest field of view of all the binoculars tested by Top Ten Reviews. This means that the Action EX Extremes "are ideal for situations in which you want to track fast-paced movement," like bird-watching or sporting events, Top Ten Reviews states. With a relatively low magnification of 7x, these binoculars won't allow you to see quite as far as Celestron's SkyMaster binoculars do. However, the lower power helps to eliminate the shaky images caused by small hand movements. But what these binoculars lack in magnification, they make up for with optical quality. "Nikon Action EX Extreme produced some of the best images out of all the binoculars we reviewed," Top Ten Reviews states. However, these are best used for daytime observations. The binoculars have 35-mm objective lenses, which is a relatively small setting and means that these binoculars won't catch as much light in low-light settings. The Action EX Extremes are also fog-proof, waterproof and durable enough that you can use them outdoors without worrying about damaging them.