Voted as the best binocular of 2016 by Best Binoculars Reviews, it is a device which has lived up to its potential. The EL series from Swarovski has been a mainstay for many years with the brand improving up on the models with the latest technologies. The changes with each version have been small, but the impact it has made on the ease of use and comfort is enormous. Starting with the design, the cutaway portion delivers a great place to hold the binocular securely. They have used magnesium alloy to manufacture the chassis, which is far more expensive than the aluminum or polycarbonate plastic frames. But the robustness the magnesium alloy brings to the table is incomparable.


This warranty is valid to U.S.A. and Canadian customers who have purchased this product from an authorized Celestron dealer in the U.S.A. or Canada. Warranty service outside the U.S.A. and Canada is valid only to customers who purchased from a Celestron Distributor or authorized Dealer in the specific country and please contact them for such service.
The easiest way to tell if your binocular employs BAK4 or BK7 is to turn it around, hold it 6 to 8" away from you and look down the objective and observe the exit pupil. If you can see a squared-off side to the general roundness of the image, the binoculars have BK7 prisms. BAK4 prisms show a truer round exit pupil, which translates to better light transmission and edge-to-edge sharpness.

The type and quality of the glass used for the lenses and prisms matter. Generic optical glass may have imperfections, and if it isn’t ground and polished correctly, it could bend light oddly, causing colors to look skewed or prevent its ability to achieve tack-sharp focusing, or you may notice distortion at the edges. Specialized glass, such as low dispersion or extra low dispersion, is engineered to have virtually no distortion and transmit light better without bending it. The resulting images are generally clearer, sharper, with true color rendition and higher contrast.
One of the best features of the Athlon Optics Midas ED was the ease and precision of adjusting the focus. It smoothly and accurately adjusts across a wide range of focal depths. Some models, like the Nikon Prostaff 5, focused very quickly, but this often translated to loss of detail at distance, or basically, the smooshing together of anything more than a couple hundred feet away into one focusing position. This sounds confusing, but makes sense if you think of a focusing knob the way you might a volume control. Less rotation between silence and loudness means you can get between the extremes quickly, but you may not be able to get to precisely the level you want; on the other hand, a volume knob with too much rotation will take forever to adjust. With binoculars you want a happy medium that focuses fast but allows for granular accuracy. In other models, even within the same brand (e.g., Nikon Prostaff 7S), this focusing issue was less noticeable, and they performed well in this regard. In still others, such as the now-discontinued Opticron Explorer WA Oasis-C pair, the knob was sluggish, requiring a good crank around several times to focus on anything near or far.
The Pentax AD 8 x 25 WP are among the smallest compact binoculars we tested. They are truly pocket-size and lightweight, and they offer excellent light-gathering glass, which is crucial for making out detail on distant or obscured subjects in nature. They also have a comfortable and easy-to-hold design. Compact binoculars don’t have the light-gathering ability of full-size models, so for very distant subjects or for viewing in lower light, you’ll still want your full-size binoculars. But, in exchange they offer exceptional portability and convenience and they’re a must for backpackers, sightseers who need a pair to stow in a suitcase, or for any situation where every ounce counts.
For outdoor activities like bird-watching, hunting or even viewing a sports game from a high-up stadium seat, these binoculars provide an excellent view. Top Ten Reviews lauds these binoculars for their durability and ease of use. "Add this to its unparalleled viewing experience, and you have the best binoculars we reviewed," Top Ten Reviews states. While these binoculars do provide an impressive view, with12x magnification, they're also heavier than average, weighing in at 36.2 ounces (1 kilogram). Eyeglass wearers won't have a problem using these binoculars; you can adjust the eye-relief distance to make these fit with or without glasses on. These binoculars are fog-proof, waterproof and super-durable, so you don't have to worry about damaging them with outdoor use. And according to Top Ten Reviews, these binoculars work great in low-light situations, so you can use them for nighttime skywatching as well as daytime sport.
The Pentax AD 8 x 25 WP are among the smallest compact binoculars we tested. They are truly pocket-size and lightweight, and they offer excellent light-gathering glass, which is crucial for making out detail on distant or obscured subjects in nature. They also have a comfortable and easy-to-hold design. Compact binoculars don’t have the light-gathering ability of full-size models, so for very distant subjects or for viewing in lower light, you’ll still want your full-size binoculars. But, in exchange they offer exceptional portability and convenience and they’re a must for backpackers, sightseers who need a pair to stow in a suitcase, or for any situation where every ounce counts.
"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!"
In roof prisms the light path is split in two as it passes through the prism and then recombined, but because of the way roof prisms work the two light paths are slightly out of “phase”. This reduces contrast and resolution in the the resulting image, so the best roof prism binoculars have a special coating applied to the prism surface to counteract this “phase shift” and prevent degradation of the image.

The Meade 15×70 is a powerful pair of binoculars and a perfect choice for astronomy. These are our best selling astronomical binoculars due to their high quality optics and very affordable price. They are fine to use handheld although a tripod is still recommended for stargazing with this model. The Meade 15×70 Astro Binoculars are built for night viewing and feature large 70mm lenses, they provide a bright image across the whole field of view, nice vivid colours, solid design and an impressive 15x magnification.
The down side to long eye relief is that it usually reduces the field of view. Some people wonder if you need to wear glasses at all using binoculars, well If you are near-sighted or far-sighted, you can use your binoculars without wearing glasses and the binoculars focus will compensate, but if you have astigmatism, you will need to use your glasses.

Is there a best binocular for astronomy? We could point you to one of the best in the Fujinon 25X150 MT or it's sibling with 40X magnification. They both have terrific optics, but neither will do any good if it's not used. Your OpticsReviewer proposes that, aside from ensuring you have fundamentally good optics in good housings, the best astronomy binoculars are the ones that are used and help a person to learn more about the celestial bodies around this globe.
If you want a pair of binoculars for traveling or for the convenience of having a pair you can slip into your pocket, then a compact pair is for you. However, for distant subjects, or viewing in dim light (like, under the canopy of the rainforest), or for quickly finding fast-moving birds in dense vegetation, you’ll probably want to buy full-size binoculars rather than compacts.

The good news is we really didn't run into any binoculars that were uncomfortable to hold. No matter what model you buy you'll likely be able to use them for hours on end without any nagging discomforts. However, small touches like the nice thumb indents on the Vortex Viper makes the bins feel a bit more ergonomic and comfortable. Likewise, the tacky rubber coating of the Nikon Monarch models lends a solid feeling grip whether you're fondling the barrels like you're double fisting beer cans, or using a dainty fingertip grip as if you're sipping tea at a fancy party.

A lot of the discussion on the general internet tends to be one brand against another with very little reason as to why. Also most forum users only own one pair, so it very much becomes a sample-of-one. Your atricle puts all the main concepts together allowing the prospective buyer to at least understand all the jargon and also filtering out the marketing gumf which so often misleads (aircraft-grade, being a prime example).


Along with the larger objective lens comes more weight and the need for support - usually a tripod as noted above. You may simply go with what is most convenient to purchase for your first tripod, but wooden ones are typically preferred because they help to dampen vibrations which would otherwise be transmitted to the instrument. Is the type of tripod of tremendous importance? It certainly isn't at first, at least to our way of thinking.

Generally the better the anti-reflective coatings, the better the resulting image and the better the binoculars will perform across a wide range of lighting conditions. The best performing coatings are expensive to produce and difficult to apply, and typically add considerably to the cost of the finished binocular. These coatings are perhaps the main differentiating factor between premium or “alpha” class binoculars and other models.


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Different styles suit different people. My personal preference is for the modern single-hinge design (as found in my Swarovski SLC HD and the Vortex Razor HD reviewed on this site recently), followed by the traditional single hinge and finally the double open-hinge design that has become so popular today (a trend started by the popular Swarovski EL series, and used by the Docter 8×42 ED and Vanguard Endeavor 8.5×45 ED we reviewed recently).
Another feature we deemed essential was proper functioning for users with glasses. Your binoculars work only when the proper distance between your eye and the binoculars’ ocular lens (the lens on the eyepiece end) is maintained. Glasses would increase that distance if you didn’t have a way to adjust the inboard or outboard position of the ocular lens. This feature is called eye relief, and the standard recommendation is that those who wear glasses need a minimum of 15 mm of adjustability. Old-fashioned eye relief meant a pair of rubber cups that rolled down to bring your glasses to the proper distance; those cups are still found on some binoculars, but we don’t recommend them, because they’ll eventually stiffen or even tear. Preferable are eyepieces that twist downward into a more compact position, a feature that all of our picks have.
The true renaissance of astronomy began when Nicholaus Copernicus proposed that the sun was at the center of the universe in the 16th century C.E. Less than 100 years later, Johannes Kepler introduced the Three Laws of Planetary Motion. Around the same time, Galileo was beginning his study of celestial beings with the aid of a telescope, leading him to discover Jupiter's four brightest moons. Astronomers have continued to make great strides in our understanding of the universe, discovering the first planets outside of our Solar System as recently as 1991.
Next, face well-lit wall and hold the binoculars nearly at arm's length, with the eyepieces pointed at you. You'll see the exit pupils (disks of light) floating just behind the eyepieces, as was illustrated above. You might think that exit pupils would always be perfectly round, but this isn't so. The ones on cheaper binoculars often have a slightly "squared off" look, as if someone shaved off, or dimmed, two or four edges. This is a sign of manufacturer's corner-cutting that will slightly dim all the images you see.
This term refers to the diameter of the large front lens (measured in millimeters) and is what will let light in through the lenses for the best viewing. So 10×50 means the lens is 50 millimeters in diameter and will let in more light than say 40 millimeters. More light means brighter, clearer images. This is very important feature offered by the Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15×70 binoculars with a 70mm diameter lens.
Whilst it is obviously important that the rangefinder accurately measures distance to target, you should most certainly not forget the quality of the chassis and the optics contained within. Your instrument needs to be tough enough to withstand the elements and the quality of glass and coatings largely determine the quality of the image and the level of detail that can be seen.
These binoculars features a large field of view with a 25mm objective lens and 10x magnification. The binos even feature a low light level night vision mode that can capture brilliant images at more than 1,000 yards away without giving up detail or clarity during the day or night. At a very inexpensive price point, you really can’t go wrong with this pick.
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.

Whilst it is obviously important that the rangefinder accurately measures distance to target, you should most certainly not forget the quality of the chassis and the optics contained within. Your instrument needs to be tough enough to withstand the elements and the quality of glass and coatings largely determine the quality of the image and the level of detail that can be seen.
“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.”

All things considered, for a person who isn’t after the absolute top-of-the-range pair of binoculars, or for someone who’s just getting into them, you pretty much can’t go wrong with the USCAMEL 10×50 military binoculars. With their great build quality and weather resistance, as well as the optic clarity and additional functionality, they’ll do the job great.
The full rubber coating will protect the binoculars in any conditions, making them an extremely versatile tool for hiking, hunting, boating, and travel. Exceptionally crafted, the Armasight Binoculars offer compass-enhanced rangefinding and optical zoom in a finely tuned fashion. It is a joy to use this product, and we loved how high-quality this it feels.
I have used a pair of Pentax binoculars for years, bringing them with me to the tops of mountains, along trails dusty, muddy, snow-bound, and everything in between, and to several different continents. Throughout all those travels, I’ve been outright rough on them. And while the Pentax U-Series Papilio IIs aren’t the most amazing binos ever made in terms of performance, it’s their durability that makes them so clutch. It has a “uni-body” design, so it has fewer moving parts and a tougher housing. And while they may look heavier than other binoculars because of that squat, thicker central body, they’re in fact quite lightweight at less than 10.5 ounces — another reason they are great for trekkers.
Secondly, the argon-purged chamber helps protect the binoculars against water damage and prevents fogging, one of the most common issues with binoculars. And third, the company backs their bins with a lifetime replacement warranty against defects and lifetime no-cost repairs if you damage them by accident during normal use. And as any avid bird watcher can tell you, frequent normal use will eventually lead to damage.
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.
I know that some museums, like the Louvre or Musee d'Orsay, are well lit - while some parts of Versailles, cathedrals and churches like the Sistine Chapel - are a bit dim (almost dark)...so if you can handle a bino larger than a compact (up to 25mm objective lens diameter) you may want to think about upping the size to a 30-40mm to help make the view brighter if you know the rooms will have challenging lighting.
If, as you turn the focus, little rays start growing out of the star in all directions before the rest of the star comes down to focus, you're looking at spherical aberration. This problem too may be in your own eye, even if you're wearing your glasses. If it is, all binoculars with a given size exit pupil will show the same problem. To reduce it, choose higher-power binoculars; these yield a smaller exit pupil for a given aperture. Unfortunately, your eye's spherical aberration cannot be corrected with glasses.
But binoculars are expensive. In fact, we’d argue that you should stretch your budget to buy the best binoculars you can afford. Binoculars are a long-term investment that starts paying off the day you get them. Most likely you won’t be buying new binoculars every couple of years, so it makes sense to choose carefully, try a lot of varieties, and save up for a pair that will deliver great views of the birds you seek out.
This is the first model in this list that are specialist astronomy binoculars from a known astronomy brand (Celestron – who make high-quality telescopes and other equipment).  “Giant” binoculars are defined as those that magnify the view 10 times or more and have 70-mm or larger front (objective) lenses and Celestron’s 25×70 SkyMaster binoculars are one of the leaders in the low-price giant binocular arena.
Uranus and Neptune. Some planets are squarely binocular and telescope targets. If you’re armed with a finder chart, two of them, Uranus and Neptune, are easy to spot in binoculars. Uranus might even look greenish, thanks to methane in the planet’s atmosphere. Once a year, Uranus is barely bright enough to glimpse with the unaided eye . . . use binoculars to find it first. Distant Neptune will always look like a star, even though it has an atmosphere practically identical to Uranus.
The clear majority of binoculars use a center focus system. The main focus wheel is set on the bridge between the two oculars and moves them symmetrically. With center focusing, many manufacturers will have a dioptric adjustment dial on one of the eyepieces to fine-tune the focus to match individual optical prescriptions. The dioptric correction amount is decided by each manufacturer, usually by model, and can be on the left or right eye, or both. Certain models have the dioptric correction integrated into the center focusing mechanism.
Look for lenses of good quality, multi-coated if you can afford it since the targets you pursue are so far away that you can make use of any additional feature you can get. Better quality lenses will increase sharpness and brightness, enhance contrast and generally render a better image than low-quality ones. It all comes down to your budget and preferences, of course.
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.
The center of mass should be in the prisms, comfortably over your palms. If the objectives at the front are too massive, they will create a lever that torques your wrists. You will see your muscle fatigue in the form of jittery images. Was that a black-chinned hummingbird? Or just a clearwing hawk moth? If you had lighter binoculars, you would know!
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