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.
Best Compact: The Cadillac Fleetwood of birding binoculars, this new iteration of the Leica Ultravid 8x32s is unquestionably worth the price tag, if you can afford it. Lightweight, exquisitely balanced, great in smoldering sun, easy to focus, with a wide field of view and surgical sharpness that stays undiminished in low light, and they just about squeeze into the front pocket of my J.Crew chinos (regular fit).
Angle Compensation: This feature considers the angle from the device to the target and alters the distance reading to reflect the change in distance and weight of gravity on the projectile. It rarely comes in handy for most users unless angles are quite extreme, but it can be very useful for bow hunters in high tree stands. For those that rarely need it, it may not be worth the higher price tag.
I’ve been birding since grade school and have spent the past 20 years working as a professional ornithologist, traveling worldwide to look for and learn about birds. I’ve published a couple dozen scientific papers and wrote Important Bird Areas of California, published in 2004 by Audubon California. Professionally, I lead birding trips for both beginners and experts, and for my “day job” I perform environmental surveys for individuals, conservation groups, corporations, and government agencies.
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.
Again, you tend to get what you pay for here to some degree, and optics from established top-flight brands are usually incredibly well made (my binoculars are still the best made piece of equipment I have ever owned). That said there are plenty of very well made binoculars in the low-to-mid range from manufacturers who take quality every bit as seriously as the premium brands.
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.”
Combining excellent optical performance with ruggedness, portability, and comfort, the 10x50 Diamondback Binocular from Vortex Optics (B&H # VODB10X50) is ideal to take along on your hiking trips, camping, traveling, or just in case. The specially designed optics feature improved transmission, contrast, and true color using fully multi-coated lenses and phase-corrected roof prisms. With the improved close focus of 7' 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 10x magnification and the 50mm objectives, which are ideal for low-light conditions and even star-gazing, offers you a generous 6° angle of view that gives you complete images of targets.
The first thing to keep in mind is the power—or magnification—and the size of the lens. These numbers are often represented together, e.g. 10x42, 9x32, 12x56, etc. The first number, the power, indicates how many times your view is magnified while the second number is the width in millimeters of the lens farthest away from your eyes—the objective lens.
A. Celestron warrants your product to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for two years. Celestron will repair or replace such product or part thereof which, upon inspection by Celestron, is found to be defective in materials or workmanship. As a condition to the obligation of Celestron to repair or replace such product, the product must be returned to Celestron together with proof-of-purchase satisfactory to Celestron.
Zeiss brought a 20X binocular to market in 1990 which utilized an entirely mechanical "dampened stabilization mechanism." That is to say it has no electronic component to the stabilization and thus no batteries to replace. This approach, while doing wonderfully in its own right, doesn't seem to stabilize as thoroughly as the Techno Stabi, but is still quite good when considering that it has more dampening to accomplish at 20X than lower magnification powers. Some reviewers say that they consider the vibration in the stabilized Zeiss 20X60s is about what you'd expect from a 4X binocular or about half what you'd experience with a non-stabilized 7X50. Did we mention that there are no batteries to die just as you see a particularly astounding view?
Their build quality is good which is actually a bit surprising, as many manufacturers’ first place for cutting corners when they want to save money is build quality. Fortunately, BARSKA decided to go against that, and you have an ergonomic, non-slip grip which won’t fall out of your hand. The rubber armor is shockproof and heavy duty and will hold in various rough conditions. Another great thing while we’re discussing the build quality is that the binoculars are floating, and even if you do manage to drop them in the water, they’ll stay on the surface, making them easy to find. Like you’d expect, they’re fully waterproof, and sealed with O-rings. They are also filled with nitrogen, which means they won’t fog up or get damaged by moisture, regardless of the weather conditions. By now this might be a common sighting with binoculars of this class, but you don’t notice how useful it is until you’ve had to use a pair that doesn’t have that kind of protection.
The “act of seeing” is more a confirmation of a couple facts your brain stores, and identification becomes a result of quickly matching a minimum number of those facts with what your eyes tell you. Sure, mockingbirds have sharp, narrow bills, but that’s not usually what you look for in a distant mockingbird; you see a slender gray bird and confirm that it has black-and-white wings, and, hence, isn’t something else. Knowing that mockingbird is pretty much the only thing around with those features—and if nothing else jumps out—your identification of it as a mockingbird is instant. Your total time looking through the binoculars is maybe a second or two.
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?
What is good for us the consumers is that many of the new Chinese optics are now being made to very high optical standards and whilst many may not like to admit it, they perform as well as many far more expensive optics made in the west. Some popular brands include the Oberwerk which have plenty of nice features including collimation screws, Celestron's, Meade's and the excellent Apogee brand of binoculars. All of these offer fantastic quality for the price and bring giant binoculars within reach of most peoples budgets. (Take a look at this review on Cheap Binoculars for Astronomy)
Evaluating brightness was a somewhat subjective process and we individually polled each tester. So for our scoring, we relied primarily on human judgment and opinion. Many factors help to determine how bright a pair of binoculars will be: the size of the objective lens, the glass material, the coatings used and on what surfaces these coatings are used, and the magnification.
As a general rule, the size of the first number relative to the second number correlates directly to how clear and crisp the image will be. As the relative size of the first number gets lower in comparison to the second number, the image quality increases. It’s a result of the fact that bigger objective lenses let more light in, making details of the image much easier for the eyes to pick up on.
Let’s talk about performance and features for a moment. In one sentence, performance is stellar, and the features are what you’d expect from a pair of binoculars at this price range and in this category. The binoculars have a 7 times magnification and a 50 mm lens. At 1000 meters, the field of view is 132 meters. This translates to 396 feet at 1000 yards. What this should tell you is that they’re great for any sports that require basic optics and magnification. The individual eyepiece focus system lets you focus when you’re viewing objects at both medium and long distances.
Edge Sharpness: All binoculars have a “sweet spot” in the centre of the field of view where the image is in sharpest focus before some loss of sharpness as you move out towards the image edge (a phenomenon known as field curvature). The wider this central sweet spot, the more enjoyable the binoculars will be to use. The better the binoculars, the larger the sweet spot, and the less softening you get as you approach the image periphery. Some premium binoculars (like Swarovski’s flagship EL Swarovision range), incorporate special “field flattener” lenses in the eyepieces to deliver a clear view right to the edge of the field.
Any binocular over 12x that is used for astronomy really should be mounted in order to obtain a steady view. With the proper mount, there is no limit to magnification, objective size, and binocular weight. The key phrase is “proper mount”. Be aware that some of these binoculars will require a mount that costs as much or more than the binocular. Some models, such as the BT-100-45, come complete with mount. The BT Series, with their comfortable 45° viewing and inter-changeable eyepieces, are capable of very high magnification (up to 90x), and are a viable alternative to a single-eyepiece telescope. Click here for more info.
The exit pupil is the size of the focused light that hits the eye. To see the exit pupil, hold the binocular eight to ten inches away from your face and notice the small dots of light in the center of the eyepieces. Exit pupil diameter, which should always be larger than the pupil of your eye, is directly affected by the objective diameter and the magnification. The pupil of a human eye ranges from about 1.5mm in bright conditions to about 8mm in the dark. If your binoculars’ exit pupil diameter is smaller than the pupil of your eye, it’s going to seem like you’re looking through a peep hole. Bear in mind that as eyes age, they tend to dilate less, so exit pupil becomes more important as the user ages.
Laser rangefinder binoculars give you the best of two worlds, as you can both view distant objects and get a precise measurement of their distance. The binoculars listed below feature a built-in laser rangefinder, and they're perfect for hunters and golfers who need a better look at game or a green, but don't want to carry multiple devices in order to find their range. You'll have more room for other gear when you combine your rangefinder and binocular into one package, and you'll be far more precise with your distance reading since you'll be sure you're targeting the rangefinder correctly. The rangefinder's display is read through the binocular lenses, so these laser rangefinding binoculars are super easy to use. Save space and weight while having two great tools close at hand with a rangefinding binocular!
Whether you’re bird watching, hunting, or even just taking an exploratory hike in the wilderness, a good pair of binoculars is one of the most useful things you can bring along with you. Though they’re not immediately thought of as a necessity by those who don’t have a direct need for them, binoculars can provide some true entertainment and fascination in the outdoors. If the fishing is slow, for example, checking out the herons across the lake or scanning the treetops for hawks is a great way to pass the time waiting for a bite. But in order to use them for situations like the above, you first have a pair. And, as with anything else, you should always research binoculars before you buy them. Read on for an elementary guide to binoculars for the outdoors.
“These are quality binoculars. They are great for bird watching both in the national parks or open areas, and the mount helps you capture images that you would need an expensive DSLR camera to get a clear shot of so you can revisit the memories you have created. The optics are gorgeous. The image quality is comparable to the expensive brand like Bushnell. Very satisfied with the quality.”
Many people will tell you that $300 is the magic number when it comes to binoculars, and there is some truth to this. $300 is the price range where you first start seeing truly good lowlight performance. If you're willing to spend this much on a pair of bins, we highly recommend the Nikon Monarch 5 8x42. These bins offer the best clarity we've seen in this price range. They also offer a nice, smooth focus knob that lets even beginners lock in a clear image quickly and easily. The cherry on top is the brightness, which allows for a good image even in suboptimal lighting conditions. So if your birding hobby grows into an obsession that finds you setting the alarm for 3:30am just to catch a glance at a migrating Grosbeak, these binoculars will be able to keep up with you.
Bottom Line The best all around bins that we tested, but they also carry a high price tag. High-end bins that are nearly as good as the Swarovskis, but not quite. High end binoculars that live up to their pedigree, but have some downsides compared to other high-end models Just about the best clarity/brightness you can get without a quadruple digit price tag Good optical quality, but not the best in the price range
Beginning stargazers often overlook binoculars for astronomy, but experienced observers keep them close at hand. Compared to a telescope, binoculars for astronomy actually have certain advantages. Granted, they're smaller and give lower magnification. But they're lighter, much easier to take outside, use, and put away, and less expensive. They also give a much wider view than a telescope does, making celestial objects easier to find. They let you use both eyes, providing surer, more natural views. Moreover, in binoculars for astronomy everything is right-side up and presented correctly, not upside down and/or mirror-reversed.