Convenience. It’s certainly more convenient to have both important devices combined. Imagine the situation where you spotted a prey and you would like to estimate it’s distance from you. When you took out your rangefinder device, it’s gone already. I bet you are going to be pretty frustrated. Furthermore, carrying both devices (that could be combined) during a hunting trip is just not wise.
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.

The Athlon Optics Midas ED 8×42—along with nearly all of the other binoculars we tested—are the beneficiaries of a revolution in optical quality caused by the falling costs of precision manufacturing and optical treatments. For under $300 you can get a pair of binoculars that matches—that’s matches, not comes close to—products that cost hundreds, or even thousands, more. The Athlon Midas ED pair’s optics aren’t its only strong suit: These are exceptionally durable binoculars that easily withstood the humid, dusty, and hostile environment of the Mexican rain forest and harsh sun of the Californian desert. And their focus dial adjusts reliably and smoothly across a wide range of depths, making it easy to focus on what you’re trying to see, no matter where it is.
When looking at spec sheets on binoculars, birders may notice that they have two standard types of prisms. Chris’s article gets deeper into this, but we will discuss it briefly here. The BAK4 prism provides a more circular field of view and is considered superior to the BK7 prism’s rectangular field of view, as the BK7 may cause vignetting of the image. There are wonderful binoculars with the BK7 prisms, so do not discount the variation; it is just something to be conscious of when comparing binoculars.
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.
We are defining clarity as the amount of detail one can see through the lenses. This was tested by using the following ISO 12233 chart. The chart was downloaded and printed on a piece of 11x17 paper at 1200 dpi resolution. We also recruited a couple bird models from a local arts and crafts store (Garry the Goldfinch and Barry the Bluebird) and observed those models through each pair of binoculars.

What these coatings do is to assist light transmission. It is important to note how the manufacturer describes their coatings as they are not all created equal. Ideally you want to see "Fully Multi-Coated" which means that all air to glass surfaces have received multiple layers of antireflection coatings. If you just see "Fully Coated" or "Multi-Coated" it means only some surfaces have coatings or they only have a single coating and thus will not perform anywhere near as well as Fully Multi-Coated binoculars assuming everything else is equal.
Inside the lustrous black chassis of the Noctivid is a ton of sophisticated optical technology, including high-transmission Schott glass and plasma-coated lenses. The fluid precision of the mechanical parts of the Leica—the positive, locking eyecups; the smooth and exacting focus wheel; and the locking center-dial diopter control—made this the favorite of the test team.
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Which are all crucial considerations, as binoculars tend to be highly subjective. It’s helpful to think of a pair as you might a new car: you want a rare symbiotic union of stylistic penchants, pragmatic details and clarity of vision that all mesh with whatever price point you’re willing to live with. Because the moment you drive it off the lot, the resale value craps out. There’s no monolithic pair that everyone should own, no starter set that’s worth the $200 you could just apply towards pricier lifetime binoculars. While cost is often a barometer of quality, it’s not always. Instead, a thornier set of metrics obtains: are you after high magnification for long-range birding — owls and shorebirds and the like — or will 7x or 8x suffice? Do you want a lightweight pair to stow in your glove compartment, carry-on or briefcase? How important is balance, overall feel, focus, and what birders call “eye relief” (basically visual ergonomics) to you? Because they’re different for everyone. In short, will you be driving an Audi 6 or a Ford Fusion?
The rangefinder on this set of binos is a simple but incredibly accurate laser that can acquire targets up to 1300 yards away. Another factor you’ll appreciate is the Victory’s performance during twilight and evening. With enhanced optics and larger lenses, the Victory is going to be soaking up more light compared to any other pair of binos on our list. With the appropriate light transmission and zoom, you’ll still be able to see in detail in low light.
A quick word on monoculars: There is certainly a market for these devices. Basically, the monocular is half of a binocular; one of two optical tubes that are connected to form a binocular. The monocular gives you half the binocular, less than half the weight (there is no bridge), and often a proportional cost savings. The disadvantage is that one-eye viewing is more tiring than viewing with both eyes, and you lose the stereoscopic advantage of the binoculars. However, if your vision is poor in one eye, or nonexistent, the monocular makes a ton of sense.
Harnesses For most of us, the neck strap that comes with most binoculars is fine. For those who require more, there are numerous options for you. Some are designed to redistribute the weight of the binocular from the neck to the back and shoulders. Others provide a stabilizing function to allow you to hold the optic in your hand while virtually eliminating hand shake or other movements. For those who do activities and want to keep their optic at the ready, some harnesses hold the binocular close to the body and greatly reduce swinging or swaying while running, climbing, or skiing.

Binocular stargazing is an immensely pleasurable and fascinating activity. And Orion Telescopes & Binoculars has been the leading name in astronomy binoculars for three decades. Browse this section for Orion's all-star lineup of big-aperture astronomy binoculars. Any one of them can reveal countless treasures of the night sky. Two-eyed touring with astronomy binoculars is not only comfortable, but provides a more 3D-like depth of field than you get with a telescope, and can be done spur of the moment.
Another advantage of the larger objective diameter is a larger exit pupil at the rear element of the binoculars, where your eyes are focused. With two binoculars of the same magnification, the circle of light hitting your eye is larger, with a larger objective. Therefore, an 8x42 binocular will have a larger exit pupil than an 8x35 binocular. A larger exit pupil generally means a more comfortable viewing experience.
We’ll finish off this list with a pair of binoculars with rangefinders that are a bit different than the other offerings above. The binoculars we’re discussing are ATN’s BinoX-HD, 4-16x. You might think they aren’t exactly a budget offering, but they’re very far from the premium ones by Nikon and Carl Zeiss. Factor in the functionality they offer, though, and you might be inclined to change your mind on the “budget” part. When you try to take a look at some traditional night vision devices online, you will find that many quality options tend to be upwards of $2,000. Many people don’t want to spend that amount of money on such a product, and you can’t really blame them. The BinoX-HD break that pattern, by providing Gen1 night vision, with a price that’s a fraction of the competition’s.

Birders demand a lot from their binoculars. Birding binoculars must be light enough to carry all day long and sturdy enough to survive years of heavy use. They must be easy to hold steady. They must resolve delicate details and reveal subtle colors with accuracy. They must focus quickly and up close and work well in dim light. They must be sealed from dust and moisture. And they must show the whole picture even for birders wearing eyeglasses.
The black 2017 edition of Zeiss Optics' 8x42 Terra ED Binocular (B&H # ZE8X42TEDBB) features a redesigned ergonomic chassis that makes holding them more comfortable, especially during long glassing sessions. Optically, they retain the exceptional elements that are the hallmarks of the Terra ED including compact Schmidt-Pechan roof prisms, SCHOTT extra low-dispersion (ED) glass, and the proprietary multi-coatings. These complementary technologies and elements work together to produce an immersive observational experience that presents clear and bright views, with accurate color representation and virtually zero distortion, across the entire field of view. Adding to the binocular's usability is a short 5.25-foot close-focus distance that gives them the ability to resolve feathers or leaves in fine detail.
The Hooway 7x50mm model is sort of your all-around tough and reliable set of rangefinder binos. The large, 50mm objective lenses are encased in non-slip rubber armor-making them shock-proof and water-proof. On the underside of the binos is a tripod adapter. A tripod may be ideal in situations where you are planning to remain in one spot for a long time.
The internal range finder is coupled with a compass for easier operation, which will help you to quickly establish your bearings and find distances. And not only are these binoculars waterproof, but they will actually float if dropped into water. The latter is a useful feature, particularly on boats. Thanks to Barska's incredible attention to detail with superior optics and waterproofing technology, the Deep Sea Waterproof Floating Binoculars are a no-brainer when shopping for range finding binoculars. They offer amazing features at a great price, and you will be able to enjoy this high-quality product for a long time.
These Vortex are really nice, with phase-corrected prisms to keep images sharp and colors accurate, and wide angles of view. They're water and fogproof also, so they'll stand up to inclement weather great. I also like the mid-sized 42mm objectives which will give them good low-light capabilities when a lot of game . https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1200179-REG/vortex_db_204_8x42_diamondback_binocular_green_black.html
First, pick up several binoculars and look at their objective (front) lenses. Do this with a bright white light coming over your shoulder from behind. You'll notice right away that in some objective lenses, the reflection of the light will be brighter than in others. Pick the models with the reflections that look darkest (and no doubt deeply colored); this is a sign of quality lens coatings. Good coatings increase the transmission of light through the glass and reduce the amount of scattered light hazing the view.
Astronomy is done in the dark, so you really want big aperture: big front lenses. These collect lots of light so you can see fainter things. This doesn't matter so much in the daytime, when there's plenty of light and you can get by with small front lenses — allowing daytime binoculars to be smaller, lighter, and less expensive. But for binoculars for astronomy, the bigger the aperture the better.

The idea of purchasing a rangefinder binocular is to observe things which are far. So it is ideal to have the maximum range for the rangefinder binocular you purchase. With the increase in magnification, you get an increase in range. Choose the kind of magnification which would suit you the most. If the range you want from your rangefinder binocular is less, then you do not have to go for one with higher magnification. Also, in cases such as bird watching, people need rangefinder binoculars which can have great minimum range. They would be using the binocular for closely watching birds in the nearby tree branches. So the minimum Focus distance has to be less than the distance between the person and the tree. So, keep both these aspects in mind.
"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.
High quality optics and long-distance ranging capability come together in our all-new Fury™ HD 10x42 Laser Rangefinding Binocular. Convenience, speed, efficiency, and valuable dual-purpose functionality—all the advantages of a high-definition binocular perfectly paired with an angle compensated rangefinder. Right side controls are simple to use and easily manipulated with a single hand – leaving your other hand free to hold your bow, rifle, or other important piece of equipment.
If you're fortunate enough to live where there is a nominal amount of light pollution or less, first train your binoculars on the Moon so you see it in the center of your field of view and see what the edges of it look like. If you can't see the entire Moon within the center of your field of view, get its edge right in the middle since all optics tend to soften images at the periphery of their viewing area. Many binoculars, including some expensive ones, will show either a complete halo of one or more colors or color fringes on opposing sides. This is chromatic aberration. It usually evidences itself when viewing a bright object against a dark background or vice versa. What's desirable is to see only the object - without the extra, colored fringes.

The Fusion ranges out just a tad less than its competitors, but nevertheless, it’s still a full 1,760 yards – a complete one mile. Bushnell is straight-up with its specs as they disclose that its soft-target ranging is only 500 yards. While that might seem on the low side for a high-powered and expensive optic, we do appreciate the truth of its abilities. However, 500 yards is still pretty, doggone far!


Combine Nikon binocular performance with the extreme speed and ranging technology of a 1900-yard laser rangefinder and you have LaserForce, Nikon’s 10x42 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.
Though a bit on the portly side at 23.6 ounces, there’s a simplicity of design and ease of use that’s hugely gratifying in the field. This may sound like small potatoes, but the tethered lens covers and rain guard are far and away the best I’ve ever come across. Most require substantial wrestling, while these slide right on and off. For what it’s worth, I also didn’t have a minor cardiac event while adjusting the neck strap. With a field of view upwards of 340 feet at 1,000 yards, and amped-up magnification for long-range birding, the Ranger EDs feel like a rare triumph of design over wallet slenderness.
Pick a magnification. Deciding between 8x and 10x binoculars is a personal choice. In general 10x are better at distance birding. But it usually also means a narrower field of view, a slightly darker image in low light, and more noticeable hand-shake. An 8x gives you a smaller image that’s wider, brighter, and easier for finding and following birds.

Fusion 1-Mile uses the latest technology especially when it comes to the glass and lens. It uses the all-new XTR technology to provide the ultimate transmission of light. This, in turn, delivers great clarity and resolution. It has a waterproof coating which protects it from harsh conditions. The multi-coated casing also gives it protection from falls and other impacts. The quality of lenses and the sturdy construction makes it easy for you to carry it into the woods without worrying about damaging the device.
Nikon has also entered the market with its Stabil-Eyes image stabilized binocular. While the body of the instrument is similar to the Fujinon Techno Stabi, Nikon has indicated that there are differences in its stabilization technology. Although we've not had opportunity to use Stabil-Eyes binoculars, we understand they have settings for both "Land" and "Sea" (not offered with Techno Stabis) and have heard reports that they do well with hand movements and tremors. We look forward to reviewing the Stabil-Eyes.
I read your article and was interested in finding out more about the Digiscoping.  When I clicked on the link, which took me to see what products B&H was selling, I became very confused as to what I would actually need, since it showed "adapter rings", "holders", "SnapZoom adapters", etc.  We will soon be leaving for a South African (photo) Safari.  I have an Iphone 6 & my husband has an Iphone 7.  We also have some older binoculars (but I spent several hours researching the best options for possibly purchasing a new pair).  Since this is a one time trip, I do not want to invest a fortune (maybe $150 - $300), but I want to be able to get good views of the animals and possibly take some decent pictures of them, as well.  Can you please make some appropriate suggestions.  Also, are these new gadgits user friendly and will any of them work with older binoculars (Bushnell Citation, 7x35 or Bushnell Imageview 11-1025,10x25)? (The Bushnell Imageview 11-1025 has a built in camera, but drivers are no longers availble to download the pictures from it).  Any & all information would be greatly appreciated.
We are also big fans of the unique "Uni-body" design. The dual lenses are locked in a single housing with the eyepiece built for synchronizing movement. Just because they're small though doesn't mean you have to sacrifice quality or durability. These binoculars can still take in breathtaking images with their 21mm lens and 8.5x magnification that boasts exceptional edge-to-edge sharpness.
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:
I am shopping for a pair of binoculars for my husband and I to use on an expedition to Antarctica next year. Then, the following year, I would like to use the same binoculars for a safari, possibly buying a second pair by then. I'm having analysis paralysis trying to decide betwenn 8x and 10x and also 32 or 42. Several seem like good choices: Zeiss, 8x32 Terre ED, Hawke Sport Optics 8x42, Vortex Diamondback 10x42 and Nikon 10x42 ProStaff 3S. My husband will probably use them more than I will since I will be the one behind the camera but I definitely want to be able to share them. You can tell my price range from the models listed. Advice is appreicated. Thank you.
If binoculars aren’t 100% indispensable to bird watching, they’re pretty close. For almost any bird that crosses your path, a good pair of binoculars will show you fine details, make colors pop out of shadows, and improve your chance of identifying what you’ve seen. For most bird watchers, binoculars soon become almost an extension of their bodies.
Eyecups As we discussed earlier, the eyecups hold the eye at the proper distance from the ocular lens. Some manufacturers offer eyecup upgrades for certain models. The most popular are replacing standard flat eyecups with winged (contoured) eyecups. The “wing” wraps around your eye socket and blocks your peripheral vision, which eliminates light leakage for improved image brightness and a clearer view.
If you are going to a place where others are already viewing the stars, it is necessary that you be careful not to interrupt their viewing by thoughtlessly shining your flashlight around. Make sure that your eyes have thoroughly adjusted before moving about. You should also reduce the light level by draping red cellophane or a red handkerchief over the light to lessen the glare.

The area of space that you can see through binoculars is smaller than expected when compared with what can be seen with the naked eye. For this reason, it is better to find the stars (or constellations) that you want to view with your naked eye first. Keeping your gaze fixed on the same spot, swiftly bring the binoculars up to the level of your eyes and peer through them. Another way is to find a bright star and, using that star as a reference point, gradually move your binoculars’ field of vision in the direction of the galaxy or star cluster that you wish to view.
Eye-cups are related to the eye relief as they keep the distance from the oculars to our eyes, but also help keep stray light away from your eyes while using binoculars. Many eye-cups are made from rubber and can roll up or down depending on whether you use lasses or not. The problem with these is that the constant rolling causes the eye-cups to break. Another type are eye-cups that slide rather than roll, but these can be hard to keep in place. The third type are eye-cups that twist up and down and so they can be left at any position from all the way up to all the way down, some even have click stops at regular intervals with the eye relief distance for each stop marked on the cup so you can get the perfect eye relief for your vision. (importance 8/10 if you uses glasses not hugely important if you don't)
Every pair of binoculars has two numbers printed somewhere on the instrument (usually on the face of the focus wheel, but sometimes on the body of the binocular) — for example 10×42 (pronounced ten by forty two) or 8×32. The first of these numbers is the binocular’s magnification, the second is the diameter of the objective lens (we’ll get to that in a moment).

For careful budgeters, we recommend Oberwerk's 20X80 Deluxe II and 25X100 individual focus models which provide good values for their prices. If your budget is flexible, there are many fine, giant binoculars that will provide very good value for their purchase prices. We plan ongoing reviews of astronomy binoculars as OpticsReviewer.com grows, so please check back from time to time as your astronomy interests evolve!
Hi. im thinking of buying the Meade 15×70 . It will be mainly for astronomical/stargazing use. It will also be used for day time (bird watching, etc). We wont be using a tripod and we’ll be travelling with it. So portability/weight will be a requirement. I also were an eye glass. Plus, should be easy to use. Do you reckon this will be the best option? Thanks.
The last element of today’s great, affordable binoculars is optical coatings. Lens coatings perform various functions, such as improving light transmission, reducing glare, and keeping colors true. Coating quality and levels used to be a key differentiator between cheap and expensive binoculars, but these days, lens coating technology has come down in price. All of our picks use the highest level, which is full multicoating, meaning that all glass surfaces—most binoculars have between 10 and 16 such surfaces, called optical elements—are coated.
Birders tend to gravitate toward the 40mm range for their binoculars. Binoculars with 40mm, 42mm, or 44mm objectives serve as a good medium compromise between low-light capability and portability. Objectives smaller than 35mm will lead to a more portable package at the expense of light gathering, and a 50mm or larger objective will give you a very bright image along with, potentially, the aforementioned sore neck and shoulders.
The field of view relates to the width of your image. For astronomers, this means the amount of sky you can capture when aiming your binoculars to the stars. The wider the field of view the more sky you can cover. Powerful, high magnification, binoculars will often have a narrower field of view and vice versa. Good astronomy binoculars will have both – a good magnification and a wide field of view.

Objective lens size: This refers to the size of the front lens, which determines how much light gets in. A larger objective lens will make it easier to see greater distances, as well as improve visibility at dawn or dusk. They cost more, but most birders agree that larger objective lenses are a must. (Note: Most binoculars are identified using magnification and objective lens size paired together, like 8x32 or 7x42. As a general rule, the wider the ratio, the larger the image. For instance, an 8x42 pair of binoculars produces a larger image than a 8x32 combination.)


Resolution: resolution is a measure of your binocular’s ability to reveal the fine detail in the subject you’re viewing (individual feathers in a bird, for example), and of course a higher resolution image with more detail is always better. The main factors that affect the resolution of a binocular are the size of the objective lens, the magnification, the quality of the optical components and the lens and prism coatings.
We are also big fans of the unique "Uni-body" design. The dual lenses are locked in a single housing with the eyepiece built for synchronizing movement. Just because they're small though doesn't mean you have to sacrifice quality or durability. These binoculars can still take in breathtaking images with their 21mm lens and 8.5x magnification that boasts exceptional edge-to-edge sharpness.
Adjust the Binoculars for Your Eyes - This final adjustment is the most important because it will deliver the sharpest image. Your eyes are different from each other, so each of your binoculars' eyepieces can be focussed separately to be perfect for both of your eyes. They do this with a diopter setting. The eyepiece which can rotate independently of the binocular body is the one with the diopter setting. See how to do this in the section below.
2. Start with a small, easy-to-use size.  Don’t buy a huge pair of binoculars to start with! Unless you mount them on a tripod, they’ll shake and make your view of the heavens shakey, too. The video above – from ExpertVillage – does a good job summing up what you want. And in case you don’t want to watch the video, the answer is that 7X50 binoculars are optimum for budding astronomers.  You can see a lot, and you can hold them steadily enough that jitters don’t spoil your view of the sky.  Plus they’re very useful for daylight pursuits, like birdwatching. If 7X50s are too big for you – or if you want binoculars for a child – try 7X35s.
Eye-cups are related to the eye relief as they keep the distance from the oculars to our eyes, but also help keep stray light away from your eyes while using binoculars. Many eye-cups are made from rubber and can roll up or down depending on whether you use lasses or not. The problem with these is that the constant rolling causes the eye-cups to break. Another type are eye-cups that slide rather than roll, but these can be hard to keep in place. The third type are eye-cups that twist up and down and so they can be left at any position from all the way up to all the way down, some even have click stops at regular intervals with the eye relief distance for each stop marked on the cup so you can get the perfect eye relief for your vision. (importance 8/10 if you uses glasses not hugely important if you don't)
The main advantage these have over handheld models, is that they are far more stable. This means you can easily go for a bino with 25×70 or even larger, since the tripod will be keeping your bino stable for a much closer look at the celestial bodies. I would go so far as to say that you shouldn’t even consider getting a 15x-20x without a tripod. The magnification is simply too large to be held steady in your hands.
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