Everyone talks about magnifications and there is no doubt that high magnifications yield beautiful views of the Moon, planets and fine detail in some deep sky objects. However, many objects in the sky are too large to fit into the field of view of a high power eyepiece. These objects demand a wide field of view to appreciate their beauty and delicate form.
In contrast, both the Swarovski and Leica models require you to pull back on the focus knob until it actually moves and you hear a click. Then you can use the focus knob to adjust the diopter. Once you're done, you can push the focus knob back into its original position, and you're good to go. While this mechanism works great on both models, there is the slight chance that you could pull the focus knob back in a fit of excitement and completely miss that Swainson's hawk flying by. This is by no means a common occurrence, but it is possible.
Whilst both telescopes and astro binoculars are designed to give you a better view of the heavens at night, they both have their unique advantages and disadvantages and thus the best option will vary depending on your requirements at that moment. It is because of this, most people that a very interested in astronomy and practice it a lot, will posses at least one telescope AND a pair of bins.
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.
Whether you're looking for an inexpensive first pair of binoculars, or want a good, secondary, compact pair that won't break the bank, the Vortex DiamondBack 8x28 will serve you well. These relatively small bins tip the scales at just 15 ounces, yet can provide enough brightness and clarity to identify small birds on a bright day. Top that off with high-quality construction and a smooth focus knob, and you've got an excellent pair of budget bins.
Most binoculars have center focus, meaning that you focus both barrels at once by turning a knob or a rocker in the center. This is great for when the distance of your target often changes, such as in birdwatching, or when you often pass the binoculars for astronomy back and forth between people. But the night sky always stays at infinity focus, and you're probably observing it alone. So
If you want to explore the great outdoors with your kids, then the Educational Insights GeoSafari binoculars are the best pair to get them started. The pair of kid-friendly binoculars feature soft-grip handles for smaller hands, while kids can explore nature in-depth with their 30mm glass lenses and 4x magnification. There's also a trusty compass attached for some light orienteering. Moms and dads will love that these binoculars can help their kiddos get into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning.
The main downside to these bins is the price. A list price of $750 is pretty hefty. Plus, you can get brighter optics for less (like the Viper HD) if you're willing to deal with the weight of a full-sized pair of binoculars. But, if you want quality optics in the most portable package possible and are willing to pay for it, the Leica 10x25 Ultravid is the cream of the crop.
These Canon binoculars offer something different from the above options because of the image stabilization function. This means that they minimize any shake and are much easier to use by hand – you just push the image stabilization button and the shaky image steadies. This means that for casual stargazing and astronomy, they can be used without a tripod.
One of the greatest advantages of binoculars comes from their very design. Unlike with a telescope, with binoculars you get to view space with two eyes. This is very important to give your brain the full visual experience. Not only does single-eye viewing severely hamper your depth perception, it also decreases your signal-to-noise ratio, which is not a good thing. When you have a high signal-to-noise ratio, your brain filters out much of the unwanted random impulses from each eye, leaving you with a better view of whatever objects you are looking at. In fact, many astronomers claim that color perception and contrast is improved by as much as 40 percent when using binoculars over a telescope.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.
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 10×50 magnification will enable you to see the moon in more detail and many more stars in the night sky, however these are not specialist astronomy binoculars and you won’t be spotting planets or deep-sky objects like galaxies. Think more of a low-cost all-rounder that you might like to have around the house and take on trips rather than a serious piece of astronomy equipment.
Our small army of volunteers rated the models on a 1 to 5 scale for a variety of factors, including clarity, brightness, focus response, and eye relief. (For a fuller explanation of our methods, see the below story on how we made our rankings.) For the sake of consistency, we reviewed 8x32 (pronounced “eight by thirty-two”) or 8x42 optics. Most birders prefer 7- or 8-power binoculars because they’re bright and have a wide field of view, making it easier to find birds and to follow them in flight. Optics with objective lenses—the glass at the fat end of the tube—larger than 42 mm are heavier, and those smaller than 30 mm, while lightweight, aren’t bright enough to show detail in poor light.
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.
In the mid 19th century, an Italian named Porro designed a telescope with two prisms set at right angles to each other between the objective lens and the eyepiece. This arrangement not only erected and reversed the image, but also folded the light path, resulting in a shorter, more manageable instrument. In 1894, the Zeiss Optical Works created the first "Hunting Glasses," incorporating the Porro prism design, and modern prismatic binoculars were born.
Glass wise these are quite a step up from the Bushnell’s but not yet at the level of the Leica’s and Swaros. Ranging wise, they smoke the Bushnells and nudge just above Swarovski El’s. In fair weather (sun, overcast, light rain, etc) the Leica Geovid HD-B is going to outrange it most of the time. If weather turns to crap or there is heavy fog the Steiner will be unbeaten.
Constructed to be both shock-proof and waterproof to military standards, the Armasight Binoculars are an excellent buy when it comes to rangefinder binoculars. Discover clear and crisp images thanks to the powerful 8X magnification and 30mm lens diameter, all offered in a very compact case. The universal rangefinder provides very accurate distance measurements while the binoculars offer excellent imagery in all lighting conditions.
Some binoculars have variable magnification. At first, this seems like the best of all worlds, but, in reality, you lose a lot of optical quality for the price point with zoom lens binoculars. If you ask around, you will be hard-pressed to find anyone who endorses zoom binoculars for birding. In fact, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology says succinctly, “Avoid ‘zoom’ binoculars.”You’ll recognize zoom binoculars by their name – the magnification factor is actually two numbers, such as 8-16×42. This tells you that you can go from 8x, to 16x magnification. You will notice that none of the binoculars on our list are zoom binoculars. There’s also the fact that there aren’t many high-end options as far as zoom binoculars go, only some lower priced pairs.
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.
Look for bright, crisp, true color. Image quality has an overriding importance. How bright are the bins? How sharp? How true are the colors? How well do they resolve details in a backlit image? Most optics stores are better lit than your average forest—find somewhere dark to compare low-light performance. In our ratings, pay special attention to the Clarity/Crispness score to decide on image quality. Note that because of poor image quality, we don’t recommend any compact-style binoculars with objective lenses smaller than about 30 mm.
Telescopes are big. Even little ones are bigger, heavier and longer than most binoculars. So telescopes need to sit on tripods or rocker-boxes for stability. A hand-held spyglass might have been good enough for Captain Kidd, but every modern navy uses binoculars. Angling a long tube up toward the sky makes the shake problem even worse; your extended arm wiggles the front objective lens. Binoculars can lock in tightly to both your eye sockets and your hands are close in to your face for more stability. [Related: Best Telescopes for Beginner: A Buying Guide]