Pros: The waterproof and fogproof chassis protects your binoculars from moisture damage. At 22.1 ounces, these are one of the lighter pairs of binoculars we reviewed, and testers found them comfortable to hold and easier to adjust than many other models. Testers also reported consistently bright and clear images, and its 17.7mm eye relief is one of the best we saw.
The 20x32 Lucid View Binocular from BARSKA is The 20x32 Lucid View Binocular from BARSKA is a compact binocular engineered to perform under conditions requiring lightweight portability and carrying comfort. The Lucid View binocular features BAK-7 roof prisms and fully coated optics thereby maximizing light transmission and making bright images available to the viewer. Ergonomic and shock absorbing ... More + Product Details Close
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.
Magnification: This determines the extent to which you can make faraway objects appear closer. Experts suggest that most people find a happy medium—enough magnification to identify birds from a distance, but not so much that unsteady hands become more noticeable and the viewing area becomes too small. Higher magnification is also less than ideal when you’re tracking a moving target, which will probably be the case when you’re birding.
Field of view is measured at a thousand yard distance because you'll only really notice a difference when looking far into the distance. So if you're looking for bins to scope out lines on a distant ridge, you'll probably appreciate a wider field of view. If you're using binoculars to watch wildlife, which will generally be within a couple hundred feet of you, you probably won't be able to notice the difference between a 300 foot and 450 foot field of view, as the difference will be negligible at that distance.
You also want high optical quality. Stars and faint celestial objects seen against a dark sky are much more demanding than daytime scenes, so mediocre optics display their flaws much more obviously when you're observing the night sky rather than eatching the pitcher's mound. In general, price is a pretty good indicator of optical quality. The best optics are not going to be cheap.
However instead of just doing what most other guides and review sites do and just list a bunch of instruments for you to choose from, claiming that they are all the best, in this guide I will go over in detail what you need to look for and how you can go about choosing the best pair for your particular needs and budget as well as offer some recommendations based on the binos that I have actually fully tested and reviewed.
There's much more to look at in the night sky than random stars. Scores of double stars, rich Milky Way star clouds, star clusters of various sizes and types, stars that vary in brightness from month to month or even hour to hour, a smattering of ghostly nebulae and dim, distant galaxies — all are waiting for you to track them down with binoculars and suitably detailed sky maps and guidebooks.
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.
Built for power, performance, and versatility, the 10-30x50 Level Zoom Binocular from Barska (B&H # BA1030X50B) integrates a thumb lever that allows you to take in a large field of view at a low magnification, and with a quick slide of the lever, increase the magnification to make detailed observations at a distance. Utilizing large objectives, anti-reflection fully multi-coated optics, and a traditional Porro prism optical path, you are provided with a rich depth of field and high-contrast images that are bright and clear with color rendition. Its protective rubber armoring is textured to provide a slip-resistant grip, and if you're planning on glassing for extended periods the Level Zoom can be mounted on a tripod using an optional adapter.
Eric Lind, Center Director of the Audubon Constitution Marsh Center & Sanctuary, in Garrison, New York, prefers 8x binoculars and says, “8-power gives you a little bit more than 7-power. I’ve tried 10x, but they were difficult to hold steady.” Eric uses an older pair of Zeiss 8x42 binoculars. “10x,” he says, “might be more appropriate for shore bird viewing from the beach.”
Polycarbonate is a polymer resin that comes in many formulas with many different properties. In general, they all share similar characteristics, such as being easy to work with and inexpensive, corrosion proof, and strong. The principal advantage of using polycarbonate is that it is temperature resistant. If you’re using the optic in extreme conditions (especially cold) the chassis will remain at a neutral temperature—unlike metals, which can (and will) get cold, given enough time. More importantly, metal expands and contracts with temperature fluctuations, so over the years that constant movement can pull the optics out of columniation, which will prevent the optic from being able to achieve tack-sharp focus. Since polycarbonates won’t expand and contract, they are not subject to this possibility.
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.
Select a distant object. Turn the center focus wheel counterclockwise until the eyepieces are all the way out. This is the extreme “plus” position. Now close your right eye or cover the right objective with your hand and slowly focus inward for the left eye until the image is sharp. Stop! Do not focus back and forth. If you do, you will have to start over. Turn the right diopter eyepiece out to the extreme plus position and now close the left eye or cover the left objective with your hand. Now slowly focus inward for the right eye until the image is sharp. Stop! Focusing errors will result if you do, and you will have to start over.
“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.”
When we’re discussing physical characteristics, the binoculars are on the heavy end. At more or less 31 ounces, you might find them a bit too heavy for your liking. Something like the Nikon LaserForce mentioned below is a lot better in that regard however, with all the tech and quality materials, you shouldn’t really be complaining. You’re getting a great pair of laser rangefinder binoculars that will do the job exceptionally well and that are robust.
Looking at the basics, you’ll find that all binoculars come with a set of two numbers. They can be 7×42, 7×50, 8×42, 10×52 etc. This is a pretty important number with rangefinder binoculars, and any binoculars in general. The first number will tell you the magnification. For example, a 7×42 will show you objects 7 times closer than the naked eye. The second number tells you how big the objective lens is in mm. A larger objective lens lets in more light, and you’ll be able to see a brighter image. This could be especially beneficial in darker conditions. What you should know is that higher magnification will reduce the amount of light that’s available, and a large objective lens will make the binoculars large and heavy.
I’ve peered through binoculars of different types and made by dozens of different brands over the years, and had settled on my current pair of $2,500 Leica Ultravids. After eight weeks of testing over 30 pairs of binoculars in the $150 to $350 price range (and a few that were cheaper or more expensive), I can honestly say that if my Leicas got lost tomorrow, I wouldn’t hesitate to replace them with one of our top picks.
Range finding binoculars have become all the rage in recent years, especially among hunters, hikers, and nature fans. Combining traditional binocular functions with a modern range finder that shows you the distance to a target, they are incredibly useful. We researched 30 models and selected the ten best range finding binoculars for you. Let’s take a closer look.
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 low-cost Pentax AD 8 x 25 WP are ideal for day hikes or airplane travel, where you want good-quality optics in a small package. Everything worked—the eyecups felt solid and comfortable, the hinges weren’t too loose, and focusing was quick and surprisingly accurate at any distance. Of course, this is not the pair for serious birding, stargazing, or anything requiring exceptional detail. But if you want inexpensive, very compact binoculars, this is the pair for you.
As its name suggests, there’s a 10 times magnification, and an objective lens size of 42 mm. These are respectable numbers, that are similar similar to other models. The ranging distance begins at 10 yards and ends at 1900 yards however, a more realistic expectation could maybe be set at around 1100 yards, which is still a pretty respectable number. You will also get their Extra-low Dispersion glass, something they often us for their camera lenses, as well as +/-89 degrees of incline and decline. The ED glass is what corrects much of the chromatic aberration that often happens, and this is something that should be important if you intend to use these binoculars with rangefinders for hunting. The glass is actually the same one you have in the Monarch 7, which is a tested and proven amazing line of optics.
The low price does necessitate some drawbacks. The rubber coating of the Nature DX 8x42 feels of a lower quality than higher priced models and the hinges likewise feel slightly less sturdy. The glass is also lower quality, so lowlight situations will yield slightly dim images. However, the large 42mm objective lenses do help in these situations, making these binoculars perform a bit better in low light than the compact models often found in this price range. Overall these complaints are minor, and we would wholeheartedly recommend these bins to anyone looking for their first pair on a budget.
The Fury’s rangefinder reticle is similar to the one you’ll find in a normal rangefinder. Like the Laser Force and Fusion, these binos utilize a laser to acquire distance. If your target is at an odd angle away from you, the Fury employs the Horizontal Component Distance (HCD) to compensate for those angles and ensure you are getting precise distances.