The latest product from this direct-to-consumer optics brand is a big 15X configured for open-country hunters. The B.4’s lightweight polymer chassis makes it lighter than it looks, and a mid-frame ridge offers great purchase for those who hand-hold the binocular. While our test model was in plain black and gray, buyers can dress this optic up in their choice of camo patterns and colors for an additional fee. The optics were a little disappointing, and testers gave demerits for the boxy, overlarge eyecups. But the price is fair for a big, albeit niche, bino.
On the packaging of any set of binoculars, there is one piece of information more prominent than anything else. It’s a set of two numbers with an “x” between them (8×32, for example). The first stands for the magnification level of the lenses. So, for instance, if you’re looking at a pair of binoculars with 10 as the first number, you know that their magnification is 10x larger than the normal eye. The second number is an indicator of the objective lenses’ (the lenses on the front of the binoculars) diameter.
At a magnification around 7x to 10x, position yourself so that you can hold the binoculars firmly in place while viewing. Binoculars with overly high magnification may cause unstable image and uncomfortable viewing due to shaking by hand movement. When using high-magnification binoculars, you can fix the binoculars in place using a tripod to steady your field of vision for extended viewing without any worries.
"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!"
Review additional features and warranties. Pay attention to field of view and close focus, two measures that affect how much you’ll see. See our report on field of view and close focus to understand how these factor into your choice. Also pay attention to durability, waterproofing, and warranty—many major optics companies now offer excellent warranties. Check our full review spreadsheet for these details.
It’s a whole other galaxy like our own, shining across the vastness of intergalactic space. Light from the Andromeda Galaxy has traveled so far that it’s taken more than 2 million years to reach us. Two smaller companions visible through binoculars on a dark, transparent night are the Andromeda Galaxy’s version of our Milky Way’s Magellanic Clouds. These small, orbiting, irregularly-shaped galaxies that will eventually be torn apart by their parent galaxy’s gravity.
As you can expect from Swarovski, the optics are above par. It has SwaroBright, an integrated diopter, and a locking center focus. Even the external features of the FieldPro Package have been meticulously executed. That’s what you can expect from Swarovski – meticulous attention to detail. You’ll see it all through the glass when you peer through them. There’s no going back once you’ve found yourself seduced by the sexy El Range!
The white highlands, nestled between the maria, are older terrain pockmarked by thousands of craters that formed over the eons. Some of the larger craters are visible in binoculars. One of them, Tycho, emanates long swatches of white rays for hundreds of miles over the adjacent highlands. This is material kicked out during the Tycho impact 2.5 million years ago.
So what makes the Victory’s the cream of the crop? They do sport the largest objective lenses on our list with about the same level of zoom. You’re going to notice a difference in zoom quality between the Victory’s and a pair of 10x42mm’s. Zeiss ensures that with this pair of binos, in particular, you’re getting unparalleled quality through carefully coated lenses.
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.
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.
Fantastic range is all I can say! I tested the one mile claim and found that these binos are capable of surpassing it. I ranged a high dirt bank in twilight conditions at 1780 yards! In normal daylight conditions, I was able to get 1600 yards with no problems, so the rangefinder is great. The glass in the binoculars isn't bad either. It's not as clear as say, a Swarovski, but at a third the price it's pretty good. It looked about as clear as my cousin's Leica 10x42, with only slightly less field of vision. I have been doing long range shooting and needed a long range rangefinder to replace my Leupold 1000 yard handheld. These are a little bulkier but having the glassing capability and great ranging aspect as well. All in all, worth the price unless you have to have the biggest and best. Which translates into very expensive.
If your main interest in astronomy is exploring the fine details on planets or showing structure in distant galaxies, you will probably also eventually want to get a telescope as binoculars just don't have enough magnification. However, binoculars have their advantages over telescopes for astronomy and a wide field of view is one of them. If are new to astronomy or if you thrive on large open star clusters and big, extended nebulae, binoculars can actually work better for you than a telescope. It is often said that binoculars are the best "first telescopes" you can buy and even an experienced astronomer usually keeps one with them at all times.
"Bought these to replace older Nikon Sportstar II compact binoculars (similar price range), which fogged up on a damp river trip leaving poor image quality. I wear eyeglasses, and I could never get a full field of view with the Nikons due their short eye relief even with the eye cups folded down. The edges were always indistinct and blurry. The Pentax has longer eye relief and eye cups that quickly telescope out for spectacles-free viewing, and retract for eyeglass wearers. Way better than chintzy fold-down eyecups. With the Pentax I get the full, clear field of view with sharp edges."
It was during my training into becoming a field guide (safari guide) that I learnt in any detail some of the southern hemisphere's star constellations, it was also the first time that I had ever really looked at the stars through binoculars. Even though I was only using my compact Steiner 10.5x28 Wildlife Pro's which are far more suited to looking at wildlife than the stars, I was amazed at just how many more stars you can see through binoculars than you can with the naked eye, so much so that it became difficult to pick out the constellations because of all the "new" stars that I could now see.
Whilst these SuperGiant astronomy binoculars have smaller objective lenses (80mm) than the Tachyon binoculars from Zhumell, this does mean that they weigh in at just 4.4 pounds, meaning they are small and light enough to use in the field, but of course are best mounted to a tripod and they come with a built in tripod mount that takes any standard photographic tripod for longer periods of observation.
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.
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.
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.
The latest versions incorporate an inclinometer that measures the uphill or downhill angle from you to the subject, and often have an internal computer running proprietary software and using special algorithms geared for golf or hunting can take the distance and angle (and even your cartridge and grain load), and calculate an adjusted distance for you to judge your shot, or show the click adjustment required on your scope.
The problem with camera tripods is that most of them are hopeless beyond about 30 degrees above the horizon. That can leave out as much as two-thirds of the night sky. There are special armed rigs for binoculars that either fit to or come with sturdy tripods. The best ones are articulated parallelograms, which can swing smoothly through a wide range of angles. These have counterweights to let your optics "float" in front of your eyes. As you might imagine, they are about as expensive as the binoculars themselves.