The Best Image-Stabilization Binoculars of 2018

It seems like there’s a pair of binoculars for just about every situation and sometimes with intricate pieces of technology infused within. We’ve seen rangefinder binoculars among other things, but an even lesser known form of binos is image-stabilization binoculars.

Image stabilization is a very sought after quality among camera fanatics, including those who own DSLR and SLR cameras. For more information and guides on DSLRs and SLRs, visit Bokeh Hub. We all want our binoculars to transmit the best quality images to us regardless of weather conditions. While most binos do a pretty good job on their own, these particular binos are specialized to produce some of the best non-shaky images in the world.

Let’s take a look at each of them:

Fujinon

Fujinon is widely known for producing polaroid film and polaroid cameras. Their entries into the IS-camera market have been met with near-universal acclaim, so let’s explore why.

14x40mm Fujinon Techno Stabi TS1440 - 14x40 Image Stabilization Binocular

This 14x40mm pair of binos is more rectangular than your average pair of binos, but does have some hand grip on the left side so you can handle them with ease. These particular binos come with 5 degrees of stabilization. Degrees of stabilization, in the simplest terms, refers to the level of which the lenses operate in order to stabilize the image.

Advanced cameras utilize degrees of stabilization with the utmost importance, especially when filming. The Fujinon 14x40mm has received rave reviews because of its ability to display images in the far distance but with maximum stability and image quality.

  • Fujinon also manufactures a 12x32mm version with 3 degrees of stabilization.
  • You can also view the upcoming 12x28mm version.

Canon

Canon is a renowned camera maker, so its no wonder that they would have a large number of image-stabilization binos.

10x30mmCanon 10x30 Image Stabilization II Binoculars

The 10x30mm model is Canon’s most popular model of IS-binoculars. It differs from other binos like Fujinon’s because it has elongated eyepieces. The eyepieces also flatten images on the edges of your vision, eliminating blurriness that commonly occurs with other binos.

The 30mm lenses utilize the same image stabilization technology that you’ll find on Canon’s line of EF lenses that go on SLR and digital cameras. This technology is battery powered and in ideal conditions can last over 8 hours. We don’t recommend taking these in extreme conditions like below freezing temperatures, but they can operate for about an hour.

Canon really went all out with these binoculars, and its no wonder they’re so popular. Check out some of the other sizes of image stabilization binos by Canon:

Zeiss

Carl Zeiss binos may have some of the biggest price tags in the binos world, but that price is reflected in their almost unmatched image quality and handling.

20x60mm

The 20x60mm pair of binos is the biggest on our list and certainly the most powerful. These 60mm lenses and long eyepieces ensure that you’re seeing objects and a

Carl Zeiss Optical 20x60 Image Stabilization Binocular

nimals in the distance and to the edges of your lenses.

These binos also give you the ability to “lock in” an image while you’re looking through the lenses. This feature will really appeal to

outdoorsmen like birders who really need their binos to be stable as they analyze features of avians.

The high magnification of the 20x60mm makes them a good candidate for nighttime viewing as well. Some users have even used the 20x60mm to spot stars at night before getting a closer look with a telescope.

Design

Due to the construction process of these lenses, the overall design of the binos is a little different than your average pair of 10x42mm or 8x42mm. They look a bit like rangefinder binos but in the end built with image quality and stabilization in mind. The lens sizes are also not the usual size you’d find browsing for normal binoculars, but the kick is getting even better images.

Because the technology for these binoculars is still very new, you’ll see that there is not many of them currently on the market and the ones that are are going to be a bit of an investment.

Besides above average image stabilization, these binos share many of the same characteristics that apply to all binos:

  • The bigger the lens, the more light that is gathered
  • The higher the zoom, the more focused an image will be

8x42mm Binos vs. 10x42mm Binos

When it comes to binoculars, 8x42mm and 10x42mm are pretty much the standard measurements for the best overall views. There are smaller and larger pairs of binoculars that would be ideal for certain situations, but 8×42’s and 10×42’s are certainly the most popular and widespread among manufacturers.

So what makes these two sets of binos similar and dissimilar? At first glance, you might not notice the difference between the two. Design-wise, they’re very similar to each other unless we factor in wide-angle binos as well. More on those later.

Upland Optics Perception HD 10x42mm Hunting Binoculars

In case measurements are unclear to beginners, let’s clear some things up. In an 8x42mm model, for example, the 8 refers to the level of zoom the binoculars can reach. The 10mm refers to the diameter of the objective lens within the binos. The wider the diameter of the objective lenses are, the more light the binos gather and the brighter the overall image. The larger the zoom, the closer you can focus in on a specific object.

Large vs Small Binos

Given what we know, this doesn’t mean that the binos with the largest measurements out there are going to be the best on the market. The reason we have different measurements is that different measurements are better in different situations.

The difference between the two may seem small at first, but once you get a feel for the detail provided by both, you’ll see what we mean.

Let’s look at both models individually.

8x42mm

The 8x42mm model is a pretty average size for binoculars, making them some of the best all-around binos in the industry. Despite similar measurements, not all 8x42mm models are exactly the same. Some companies use specific manufacturing techniques to allow just the tiniest bit more of light to pass through the lenses.

8×42 models provide ample zoom and field of view (FOV) for their user without trying to add too much flare.

Here are a couple of examples of situations where 8x42mm models would be ideal:

  • Opera-for a smaller field of view
  • Stadium Events-you may not need to track high-speed objects, but see many things at once
  • Hunting-for ideal target acquisition in ideal conditions, normally shorter range
    • 8×42’s also have slightly larger exit pupils, eye reliefs, and field of views, making them more ideal overall for low light conditions

10x42mm

The 10x42mm offers the same or similar level of light transmission as 8x42mm models but offers a small boost in the zoom factor. For a more powerful zoom, you’ll get clearer images so you can identify objects and animals at long range.

Here are a couple of examples of situations where 10x42mm models would be ideal:

  • Birding-for fast moving animals
  • Hunting-for target acquisition of animals in the distance, usually at maximum range
  • Twilight Factor-while the 8×42’s model can acquire targets in low light, its the clarity and resolution of the object/animal that matters. This is where the 10×42’s excel

Wide Angled BinosBushnell Perma Focus 7x 50mm Wide Angle Binocular

Wide angled binos offer an even larger field of view with the same measurements. For activities such as birding which require fast movement and a wide field of view as much as detail acquisition, wide angled binos are the preference. For birding in particular, you may prefer one model over the other depending on what environment you are glassing.

As we mentioned, these optics come in the same 8×42 and 10×42 models, but their design is noticeably different, (see image on the right).

Overall

8×42’s are generally more stable than 10×42’s, meaning you’re not shaking as much at maximum range. Seeing an object in the distance doesn’t mean necessarily mean you’re going to get unreal image quality. On the other hand, 10×42’s are going to pick up more detail each time you glass a certain area.

Both models of binos have their advantages and disadvantages. This means you’ll want to conduct your research carefully and plan out what you want to use a particular pair of binos for before you buy them.

Click here to browse our picks for the best binoculars of 2018. You can also find many individual reviews of specific binos in our binoculars category.

Binoculars vs. Spotting Scopes

The question to bring one set of optics on an outdoor excursion over the other will always be tricky. It depends on the situation and the power and versatility of your optics. In this article, we’ll narrow down some areas where you should prefer one over the other. On the other hand, you might be inclined to bring both.

Spotting Scopes

On average, spotting scopes are going to have more powerful focus and longer range than your basic set of 8x42mm or 10x42mm binoculars. If you recently purchased a spotting scope or are looking to get one, here are a couple of situations you should consider:

  • Hunting-For long distance hunts where the terrain is variable. Spotting scopes will help you determine key details about the environment. When you are sitting in a location where you can observe the terrain around you for miles, the scope will be preferable to a set of binos.
  • Birding-In order to have a successful birding experience, acquiring the most intricate details of birds is the priority. It’s no surprise that two different bird species may only be separated by a small and hard to see color scheme. With powerful zoom and light transmission, the spotting scope is going to be your best friend.

The inconvenience with spotting scopes is that the larger ones (that are usually the best), require tripods for the best stabilization. Depending on where you’re going, tripods add a lot of excess weight. If you’re planning on walking long distances or going up steep terrain, you might want to think twice about bringing a spotting scope. Despite the excess weight, there are ways to bring a spotting scope and tripod and still get the job done:

  • Travel with a friend
  • Bring a larger backpack
  • Use a pack animal

There are some spotting scopes that you can freehand. This means less overall weight but smaller and less powerful lenses.

Click here for our picks for the best spotting scopes of 2018.

BinocularsNikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42 Binocular (Black)

While not as powerful as spotting scopes, binoculars are certainly the most widespread and versatile optics in the outdoor adventuring world. They weigh less than spotting scopes but some models do produce impressive power, focus, and light transmission.

With binos, you can place them in pouches on your body for easy access. You don’t have to take off your backpack every time you need to glass terrain. Compared to spotting scopes, they’re a whole lot more convenient.

So, where should you be using binos? Rather, the question should be where shouldn’t you be using binoculars? Binos can be and are usually used in just about every outdoor excursion there is. They are also commonly used in indoor events such as opera or theater, where people sitting far away may not be able to see the stage that well.

  • The key thing to do before you purchase a new pair of binos is to check the product description carefully. This description should give you the correct measurements, and how well they hold up during low light conditions (morning and evening).

For a reliable viewing experience, binos are pretty much a necessity when venturing into the wilderness, especially when dealing with shorter ranges. You would never want to travel with just a spotting scope.

Click here to see our choices for the best binoculars of 2018.

Click here to see our picks for the best rangefinder binoculars of 2018.

Overall

There isn’t a primary set of criteria that dictates which optics are better than others. Sure, spotting scopes on average sport more powerful and longer reaching lenses. However as we’ve discovered, the most power doesn’t equate to the best experience.

In our opinion, what you should be judging binoculars and spotting scopes on is the excursion you are about to embark on.

  • What’s the terrain like?
  • What will the weather be like?
  • What time of day will you be out there and for how long?
  • Are the animals/objects are want to see well camouflaged or reclusive?

There is no set answer to each of these questions. In the end, the answer will come down to how quickly you want to spot what you’re looking for. In that case, it’ll be a good idea to bring both sets of optics on a trip so you can get the best of both worlds.

Do you have a preference for one type of optic over the other? Leave a comment and let us know!

The Best Rangefinder Binoculars for your Adventures in 2018

At the crossroads of the long-range optics industry are the rare products called Rangefinder Binoculars. While still available to the general public, the rarity comes at an increased price. Basically, these optics combine the basic mechanics of binoculars with the acquisition abilities of rangefinders.

As with normal rangefinders, these types of binos do require batteries. They may not be the large CR2 batteries that most rangefinders run on but you will still have to spend some money every now and then to replace them.

The process to hybridize rangefinders and binoculars is very tricky, hence the larger than normal price jumps. These binoculars are fine-tuned during manufacturing to make sure that the rangefinding system is accurate and compatible with each size of objective lenses.

Laser rangefinders usually don’t use the x and y-axis markers that appear within the lenses. They use a laser acquisition system and a pointer reticle that simply tells you how far away each object is.

Best Under $300

Hooway 7x50mmHooway 7x50 Waterproof Fogproof Military Marine Binoculars w/ Internal Rangefinder & Compass for Navigation,Boating,Fishing,Water Sports,Hunting and More

The Hooway 7x50mm model is sort of your all-around tough and reliable set of rangefinder binos. The large, 50mm objective lenses are encased in non-slip rubber armor-making them shock-proof and water-proof. On the underside of the binos is a tripod adapter. A tripod may be ideal in situations where you are planning to remain in one spot for a long time.

The rangefinder on this pair of binos uses a y-axis to determine distance. In this case, distance is approximate and measured in kilometers to as opposed to laser rangefinders which are usually dead on. The calculation is as follows:

Distance=(100)x(Object Size)÷Rangefinder Scale Reading

If you can approximate object height or width, you’ll get the object distance. Aside from the rangefinder itself, the binos are equipped with an internal compass for navigation and direction.

We like that the Hooway’s objective lenses provide a wide FOV and appropriate level of zoom all for a very affordable price. The rangefinder may not be the best in the world, but it gets the job done and saves you the hassle of having to carry two different pairs of optics.

Aomekie Ultimate

Aomekie’s set of 7x50mm binos are very similar to the Hooway model. They are a durable pair built to handle tough conditions whether it be rain, fog, or humidity.

The rangefinder with these binos is nearly identical to the Hooway and the same goes for the compass. The downside is that you won’t get the exact distance of an object to the “T” but it will be very close. The tricky part is knowing or guestimating an object’s height or width.

One thing to note is that the product description is misleading-these binos do not come with night vision but do better in low-light conditions than the average pair. Aomekie has a couple of different colors available, but make sure that you remain on the 7x50mm pair.

USCAMEL 10x50mmUSCAMEL 10x50 Military Waterproof HD Binoculars with Rangefinder Compass - Army Green

The 10x50mm by USCAMEL increases the zoom by a factor of three. This gives it a little bit of an advantage over the Aomekie and Hooway models in terms of close up detail and target acquisition. The more chance of appropriately identifying the target, the more exact your rangefinder calculation is going to be.

We like that these pair of 10x50mm uses folding eyecups. This design makes viewing for users with glasses much easier. Especially when conditions aren’t great, this pair of 10x50mm is durable and reliable for users of all ages and experience levels.

The FOV at 1000 yards with these binos is 396 feet, which is about the same as the Aomekie and Hooway models. The level of zoom on this pair of binos will be key in identifying objects and animals on the water, where vision can be blurry and unfocused.

Best Under $1200

Snypex Knight Arm Yourself With the New SNYPEX Knight LRF1800 8x42 Precision Tactical 1.2 Miles Laser Rangefinder Binoculars, "Crime Fighting Eyes for Cops"

The Snypex Knight is an 8x42mm model of binoculars with a laser range finder. This simplifies the overall process with the push of a button. Speaking of which, the buttons are conveniently located across the top of the binos-one for power acquisition and one for changing the distance measurement.

With a hard rubber exterior, the Knight is built to handle tough conditions and the occasional high drop. A common laser rangefinder problem is inaccuracies when the laser is pointed at or through glass. You can rest assured that the Knight has solved this problem and even allows for continuous ranging with moving targets.

The inclusion of the rangefinder and its batteries barely alters the overall weight of the Knight. In the end, it’s still covered protective armor, so you almost wouldn’t notice the difference until you actually used them.

Bushnell Fusion

The Bushnell Fusion 10x42mm pair of binos give a good introduction to higher-end rangefinder binos. Its powerful laser extends in a one-mile arc in front of the binos.

The internal display is actually pretty intuitive. Not only will the Fusion give you the distance to the target, you can switch between rifle or bow hunting focus and get the angle of elevation. For the hunter or outdoor enthusiast who is nitpicky with detail, these measurements are hard to pass up.

At maximum range, the rangefinder can acquire targets up to 1760 yards away. In particular with the rifle mode, the Fusion has different settings that allow you to sight-in the binos at 100, 200, 300, and 400 yards.

While people may initially be wary of picking up a pair of rangefinder binos, Bushnell really sets the tone for the industry by including multiple ways get the correct distance. It does this, all while providing the user with great light transmission through the lenses.

Nikon Laser ForceNikon 16212 Laser force Rangefinding Binocular Spotting Scopes

Nikon’s 10x42mm laser force binoculars are a sight to behold. Most rangefinder binos of this price range and above use lasers to get the distance to an object. They are more accurate than the cheaper pairs of binos that require you to do some slight calculations to get the approximate distance.

The laser force has a range of 1900 yards and can also factor in inclines and declines. This small but noticeable addition to the laser rangefinder will ensure that you are getting near precise measurements. In low light conditions, you can also adjust the intensity of the display within the lenses.

Like most rangefinders, the laser force can acquire the range of a target as it moves, but only up to 8 seconds. Overall, the laser force is one of the best all-around rangefinder binos despite the price.

Vortex Optics Fury Vortex Optics LRF300 Fury 10x42 Binocular LRF

We all know how popular Vortex can be and they really knock the ball out of the park with the Fury’s. Their 10x42mm measurements give you ideal FOV at 1000 yards and provide ample light transmission so you can study an object or animal closely.

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.

Aside from being a reliable pair, they are waterproof, fog proof, and built to withstand the occasional drop or scratch.

Best Under $2500

Leica GeovidLeica Geovid 10x42 HD-R 2200 Rangefinder Binocular, Black

The 10x42mm Leica Geovid’s look like some oddly designed optics, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re a lackluster pair of binos. The orientation of the binos has no effect on your overall viewing experience, it’s just how the lenses are constructed.

While the Geovid indeed uses a laser to calculate distance, it also factors in ballistic trajectory. For example, the actual distance to an object might differ with a bullet as opposed to a laser. If you were holding a gun instead of the Geovid, the binos will factor in a bullet’s drop to give you perhaps the most accurate information on our list up to 1200 yards.

What makes the Geovid worth the price? It’s quality optics. The Geovid’s wide FOV at 10x42mm makes it nearly unmatched in wide area scanning and target acquisition. The ability to combine a lot of perks like detail and zoom in addition to a rangefinder is what gives the Geovid an advantage over its competitors.

Best under $3500

Carl Zeiss Victory

The price doesn’t get much larger and the quality not any better than the Carl Zeiss Victory 10x56mm models. Despite their price, they’re more than capable of handling rain and fog. They’re encased in thick but grip-friendly rubber to protect against scratches.

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.

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.

Are you considering Rangefinder Binos?

One thing is for sure, Rangefinder Binos definitely cut down on the space and weight given by carrying two items at once, even if it is minuscule. Despite the couple thousand dollar difference between the cheapest and most expensive pair, each of these binos has proven its worth in the field and picked up some satisfied customers along the way.

Personally, we like the laser-equipped rangefinder binos, but the ones that you use an old-fashioned x and y-axis do a throwback to the old ways of calculating distance. We imagine that the laser-equipped binos are going to more suitable for hunting and other tracking activities, while the others will be suitable for sight-seeing and birding.

 

 

Reviews of the Best Night Vision Binoculars of 2018

Night vision binoculars are becoming increasingly popular for hunting. They’ve been around for several years as the military has relied on them for one mission after another. With hunting, it gives the hunter a real advantage with allowing them to see their target through the blackened forest. Sometimes, the moonlight just isn’t enough to supply the hunter with needed light. Since many hog and varmint hunts are performed at night, the technology of night vision binoculars is a helpful accessory.  Continue Reading

Celestron SkyMaster 15x70mm Binoculars Review

While Celestron is more known for their telescopes, they sell all sorts of optical equipment including microscopes and binoculars. You don’t normally see Celestron binoculars in the field while you’re hunting and birding. That’s because Celestron manufactures some big binoculars. These 70mm binoculars are apart of the SkyMaster line of optics and isn’t even the largest set of handheld binoculars on the market.

Celestron as a company specializes in viewing objects very far away and objects too small for our naked eyes to see. The SkyMasters feature enormous 70mm lens, capable of getting clear images of the moon in the right settings and conditions.

Here we’ll explore the Skymaster 70mm’s, and where you can use them best.

Optics

Let’s take a look at the overall power of these 70mm optics.

  • 15x magnification
  • Field of View (FOV)-4.4 degrees
    • FOV at 1000yds-230
  • Multi-coated lenses
  • Diopter range- -4 to 8
  • Close Focus Distance 52.5

70mm lens are some of the biggest lenses you can have on handheld binoculars. As a result, you have some of the greatest light gathering power on the market. The diopter settings range from -4 to +8, meaning you can adjust to low or high light situations.

Uses

Since these binoculars are made by Celestron, you can already guess what they’re good at. The moon is one of the brightest objects in our night sky and with the 70mm’s variable diopter settings, you’ll have no difficulty seeing it up close when the sky is clear.

These diopter settings work the same during daytime and landscape viewing as well. They come with a tripod adapter as they do weigh about 3lbs free handed. Birding and nighttime sky watching are going to be the biggest and most logical uses for the 70mm’s. 70mm means that you’re going to soak up whatever is giving off light, notably objects in the sky and the moon.

Versus Other Sporting Optics

These binoculars are big, hence why more often than naught, you’ll see them hooked up to a tripod. They don’t make the best hunting binoculars because they are designed for extreme range viewing rather than detailed viewing. Remember, just because a pair of optics has big lenses, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the best details of an object.

Swinging these binoculars isn’t going to be easy due to their size and weight. Compared to wide angled binos and other smaller sporting optics, the 70mm’s aren’t the most logical to take on hunts when you’re lugging them around for hours at a time. Unless you plan to stay in given area, you’re better off using a smaller pair.

Overall

It’s astonishing to note that the 15x70mm’s aren’t the biggest or smallest pair of binos in the SkyMaster series. Regardless, the 15x70mm’s sit in the middle of the SkyMaster series and provide astounding images for a cheap price compared to other Celestron products.

The 15x70mm’s don’t have the power to see stars or planets beyond the moon up close and personal but provide a sort of middle ground between mainstream sporting optics and telescopes.

Click here to shop the SkyMaster 70mm’s.

 

Bushnell PowerView 20x50mm Binoculars Review

The Bushnell PowerView series is a wide range of wildlife and tactical binoculars that feature high powered optics across the board. Bushnell offers a lot of choices when it comes to binoculars, so why the 20x50mm model?

The PowerView 20x50mm offers a good blend of magnification and light gathering power. The Powerview is another version of the popular wide-angle binos, which are different than your average sporting optics model.

Optics

  • Close focus: 45ft/13.7m
  • Field of View at 1000yds: 170ft
  • Exit Pupil-9mm

The PowerView’s optics aren’t spectacular, but they do have something called Insta Focus, patented by Bushnell. While not exactly working the same way as a camera focus, it keeps objects in focus with a push of a button. It’s extremely useful when viewing things at maximum range.

The field of view (FOV) at 1000 yards is smaller than most top of the line sporting optics. Most of them have FOV’s between 200-400 yards at 1000 yards, but the PowerView does get close. The better the quality, usually higher the price.

While PowerView’s usefulness at maximum range drops off, detail and coloration from 0-1000 yards is still astounding.

Uses

The 20x50mm are perfect for just about every outdoor viewing activity from hunting to concerts and theater. Light transmission within the lenses is also optimal, so you should have no problem seeing objects at long range while indoors.

Extreme range viewing might not be the PowerView’s strong point, but at closer range, it really picks up on detail. Many users have complimented the PowerView’s versatility as an animal watching optic as well hunting.

Compared to Other Sporting Optics

You’ll find that the 20x50mm compares well with other binoculars that are marketed specifically as “sporting optics”. One of the biggest perks about the PowerViews is that they are remarkably cheap compared to other sporting optics.

They feature a tough rubber skin to absorb and protect against dings and scratches. They may sport the biggest lenses in the PowerView line but the overall construction is still relatively compact. They won’t be cumbersome to carry on extended trips.

Overall

The PowerViews are at a slightly wider angle than mainstream hunting binoculars. They combine some of the perks of sporting optics with more compact binos to deliver a good all-around performance.

While there is no limit to where you can use them, you’ll have the best chance of using them for closer range activities regardless if it is indoor or outdoor.

Click here to shop the PowerView 20x50mm model.

Reviews of the Best Binoculars for 2018

The Best BinocularsIt may seem like a strange notion to those who have never done it before, but buying a great pair of binoculars takes quite a bit of research and knowledge. Just like anything else, a quality pair of binoculars will provide you with a lot better images than buying a cheap pair from a discount store. As technology has improved, binoculars have become more modern and have improved in quality. Nevertheless, there are still some basic features that you should look for in a pair of binoculars, and this is what we will explain first. We hope that this guide is useful to you in finding the perfect pair of binoculars for your needs.

My #1 Recommendation

Choosing just one pair of binoculars to crown as our number one pick is a difficult thing to do. But if we had to, we would choose the Upland Optics Perception HD 10x42mm. These binoculars are tough as nails and give an excellent picture quality. They have the perfect magnification and field of view for a general pair of binoculars, and can be used for everything from hunting to bird watching. Our partner company Upland Optics does an amazing job, these binoculars are first class! Click here to see their price.

 

 

 

What to Look For in a Pair of Binoculars

Specifications

Magnification and Objective Lens Diameter

One of the most important features in a pair of binoculars is the magnification and objective lens diameter, which is typically included in model information. For example, in the Upland Optics Perception HD 10×42 mm – “10×42” is the magnification x objective lens diameter.

The magnification will usually appear as 8X, 10X, or even higher. When a pair of binoculars has a magnification of 10X, it means that you will be able to see a distant object 10 times larger than you would if you were not using binoculars. For instance, if you are viewing something that is 500 yards away, it will appear as if it were only 50 yards away. Magnification is often the most important thing that a buyer will look for in a pair of binoculars.

In the example above, 10 is the magnification, while the 42 means that the objective lens diameter is 42 millimeters. Lens objective size is very important, as larger lenses collect more light than smaller lenses. This means that objects will appear brighter in binoculars that have larger lenses. Furthermore, the size of the objective lens will greatly affect the field of view you will have, which we will discuss next.

Field of View

The next feature to understand is field of view. This is simply the amount of area that you are able to see when you are looking through your binoculars. The magnification of your binoculars as well as the diameter size of your objective lens will affect your field of view. There are a few ways to understand field of view:

  • Higher magnifications – smaller field of view
  • Larger lenses – larger field of view

reviews of binoculars

So, if you are comparing binoculars and they have the same magnification, the lens size will determine the field of view.

Actual and Apparent Field of View

The units of measurement that you may see when looking at field of view statistics are degrees and feet. When you see degrees, you will often see two numbers, and these will represent the degrees in the actual field of view and the degrees in the apparent field of view. The actual field of view is the number that matters. The apparent field of view is calculated from the actual field of view.

The actual field of view is the angle of your viewing window at the point after the binocular lenses. If you have a pair of 10X binoculars, and your actual field of view is 5 degrees, then your apparent field of view will be 50 degrees. You simply multiply the actual field of view measurement by the magnification of your binoculars in order to get the apparent field of view.

When the field of view is measured in feet, it is a bit less complicated. If you see a field of view of 300 feet, it means that you are able to see 300 feet at 1,000 yards. This means that if there were a 300 foot building off in the distance, you can get as close as 1,000 yards and still be able to see it in its entirety through your binoculars.

Eye Relief

For people who wear eyeglasses, eye relief is an important specification. Eye relief is closely related to field of view, as it is the distance that you can hold the binoculars away from your is a good rule of thumb for people with eyeglasses. With sufficient eye relief, a person that wears glasses is able to enjoy the same field of view as everyone else.

Exit Pupil Diameter

The exit pupil diameter relates to the brightness your binoculars provide. It is the measurement of the size of the ray of light that will hit your eyes after it travels through the lens. The exit pupil diameter is determined through dividing the lens size by the magnification. The larger the number that is obtained, the brighter the images will appear when viewing through the respective binoculars. Matching a higher magnification with a larger lens size ensures that you will not sacrifice on the brightness of your image.

Additional Binocular Features

Aside from those key specifications that were discussed above, you may be interested in some other features that are common in binoculars.

Compact Size

Many people find that having compact sized binoculars is an advantage when traveling through rough terrains or carrying lots of equipment. New technology is constantly improving on the size and weight of these binoculars. Currently, you can find models that weigh half a pound and are of very high quality. In the future, compact sized binoculars may even be the norm. Today, however, many are not as powerful as their full-sized counterparts.

Weatherproof Binoculars

Many environments where binoculars are used are treacherous, and binoculars are constantly exposed to the elements. Water can damage the equipment that we carry, so developers have started to design water resistant and waterproof binoculars. Many also include fogproof design. While the degree of water protection may vary, this is a good feature that will prevent your binoculars from fogging up or getting water damage. Some binoculars may even be able to submerge in water for a short time, but make sure that you have checked your manual before attempting that.

Lens Coating

Lens coating is often what differentiates cheap binoculars from high quality binoculars. Binoculars that are worth buying often have at least one coat over the lenses that improves clarity and protects them from scratches. This makes them more durable, and they will produce higher quality images for a longer period of time.

Basic Uses and Recommendations

General

If you are looking for binoculars for general sport use, marine use, or for the theatre, you will want at least a pair of 7 x 25 lenses. This will ensure that you have enough magnification, but not too much where your field of view will be impaired. The field of view should be between 300-350 feet, with the higher end being for marine use. You may also want to consider waterproof binoculars for marine use.

Bird Watching and Hunting

For bird watching and hunting, you will want a pair of 8 X 30 lenses. Waterproof is always a good idea for these purposes. The field of view should be at least 350 feet. You may want to consider more powerful binoculars if you are looking at far away animals, or maybe even a spotting scope to complement your field binoculars.

Golfing

If you want binoculars for golfing, either as a player or a spectator, a pair of 6 X 17 should suffice. In golf, you are looking at stationary objects that are not terribly far away, so you do not need very high powered lenses. A range finder may be useful if you are using them for golf in order to know the distance between you and the hole or other obstacles such as bunkers and bodies of water.

Stargazing

Stargazing presents a special set of circumstances, as you are viewing stationary objects that are very far away. To make it more complicated, the environment will have minimal light available. 10X 40 binoculars are typically recommended for this purpose. You can afford higher magnifications because you will not be moving the binoculars much, and to make up for the diminished field of vision and darker images that this will present, you have the large lens diameter.

Next, we will delve more specifically into binocular makers and specific pairs of binoculars for every need and budget. First we will start with an overview of binocular manufacturers.

The Best Binocular Brands

Bushnell

Bushnell is a giant in imaging products in the United States, and it makes everything from high quality rifle scopes, microscopes, telescopes, and of course, binoculars. The company was founded in Japan by David P. Bushnell when it was occupied by Allied forces during WWII in 1948. Bushnell’s binoculars have won multiple awards for their quality, and most recently, the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10X42 binoculars were awarded binocular of the year by binoculars.com.

Zeiss

Zeiss is one of the oldest, most reputable optics and imaging companies in the world, and it makes very high quality binoculars. Not only does it deal in sporting optics like Bushnell, but it also makes optic devices for medical use and even space telescopes. It was founded in Germany in 1846, and it has become a leader in the industry since then. One of the most popular binoculars it has on the market right now are the Zeiss 10X42 Victory HT binoculars.

Nikon

Known for its digital cameras, Nikon also makes stellar binoculars. Nikon is now a huge company that was founded in Japan in 1917. It specializes in lenses, binoculars and other advanced imaging technology. Their best-selling binoculars have historically been from the Monarch line. Today, the 8X42 Monarch 5 take that distinction.

Steiner

Steiner has a rich history in the optics industry, and it has arguably one of the most advanced optics laboratories in the world. Every lens and pair of binoculars that Steiner produces is field tested extensively to ensure that it is a very high quality product. This German company prides itself in producing binoculars that will be serviceable for multiple lifetimes. You can be sure that if you buy Steiner binoculars like the Safari Ultrasharp 8X22, you will have a product that you are satisfied with for life.

Of course, this is not an all-inclusive list, and there are many more manufacturers that make outstanding binoculars. If you are in the market for a pair of high quality pair of binoculars, you should not limit yourself to these brands.

Next, we will focus on the best binoculars for specific uses.

Best Binoculars for Hunting

When hunting big game, binoculars are one of the most important pieces of gear you will need. They will allow you to scan for animals that you cannot see with your naked eye. This makes them an indispensable tool in the field.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when choosing a pair of binoculars for hunting. First off, remember that you’ll often be looking for animals in low light conditions, so light transmission is crucial. Also, you’ll be lugging them around difficult terrain, so buy a quality pair that will be able to take a few bumps without any major problems. 10×42 is the most common size of binoculars to carry while hunting, although you may want a larger pair if you are doing long range spotting.

Here are four five that are extremely highly rated and are worth checking out:

Upland Optics Venator

The upgraded version of our #1 recommendation above, the Venator are the pair to get if you are a hunter looking for the best glass possible. With excellent light transmission and lens coatings, they deliver top grade optical performance while also being durable enough to survive hunting in the toughest of environments.

Nikon Monarch Best Hunting BinocularsNikon Monarch Binoculars

Nikon Monarch binoculars come in three sizes: 8X42, 10X42, and 12X42, so you have many choices at your disposal. The standard 10X42 have a 288 ft. field of view, and 18.4mm eye relief. Also, these binoculars are waterproof, fog proof, and have coated lenses. They weigh around 21.9 ounces.

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD

These are Bushnell’s most critically acclaimed binoculars, and it is no surprise that they are some of the best binoculars for hunting out there. They come in 4 sizes: 8X36, 8X42, 10X36, and 10X42. The 10X42 variety have a 340 ft. field of view, and 15.2 mm eye relief. Like the Nikon pair, Bushnell Legend Ultra binoculars are waterproof, fog proof and have coated lenses. They weigh in at 24.7 ounces.

Vortex Diamondback

Vortex Diamondback binoculars are of very high quality, and although the company is not as big as its competitors, it can deliver a great product. Diamondbacks come in 4 sizes: 8X28, 8X42, 10X42, and 12X50. The 10X42 pair have a 345 ft. field of view and 16 mm eye relief. These binoculars are waterproof, fog proof and have coated lenses. They weigh 24.4 ounces.

Vanguard Spirit ED

Vanguard’s Spirit ED binoculars are very worthy of mention in this section. They come in four sizes: 8X36, 8X42, 10X42, and 10X50. The 10X42 pair have a 314 ft. field of view and 16 mm eye relief. Like its counterparts in this section, these binoculars are waterproof, fog proof, and have coated lenses. They weigh a bit more than the other binoculars in this section at 29.8 ounces.

Best Binoculars for Birding

If birding is your hobby, the following are some binoculars that you should definitely consider purchasing in order to have the best viewing experience. Because birding is more about the picture quality and feel, picking a pair of binoculars without trying them first is very difficult.

Athlon Cronus 10×42

If your main priority is high quality glass and you don’t want to spend a fortune, the Cronus might be the perfect fit for you. High quality glass and ESP Dielectric coating give these binoculars excellent clarity and light transmission, making them perfect for bird watchers who want to see every detail.

Zeiss Victory Best Birding BinocularsZeiss Victory THT 8X42

These binoculars are considered top-of-the-line, and this is noticeable in the price tag. They feel great in the hands and have great clarity and eye relief. They are widely considered some of the best binoculars that money can buy.

Zeiss Victory TFL 8X32

These are a smaller version of the THT binoculars, but they still have all of the benefits of a top-of-the-line pair of binoculars. If you can afford these, you cannot go wrong with them. Zeiss also has midrange priced binoculars, Zeiss Conquest HD, which are of excellent quality and a great alternative to the Victory line.

Nikon Monarch 7

These are ¼ of the price of binoculars like the Zeiss Victory, but they deliver exceptional quality and image. The Monarch line has been very popular among birders for years, and it continues to deliver.

Leica Trinovid

The Trinovid line has been around for a long time, and experienced birders will likely recognize it. The new Trinovid line offers exceptional quality and a bright, clear image.

Best Compact Binoculars

If you are looking for compact binoculars that you can take with you comfortably everywhere, here is a list that will give you an idea of where to start looking. The following are widely considered some of the best compact binoculars on the market.

Swarovski CL Pocket 8X25 Binoculars

These are very high quality compact binoculars that fold up easily and can fit in your pocket. Furthermore, they are waterproof and fog proof. They are made by Swarovski, so you know you are getting some of the best binoculars on the market with these.

Vanguard Orros 10X25 Binoculars

These binoculars feel great in your hands, as they have a very lightweight rubberized body. The shape is very compact, and they can fold down to store anywhere. Furthermore, these binoculars are very affordable.

Pentax 9X28 DCF LV Binoculars

Unlike many compact counterparts, these binoculars offer a 9X magnification without sacrificing too much field of view. They are waterproof and fog proof, and while they are mid-priced binoculars, they offer exceptional optical quality. They also have a great design and feel great in your hands.

Best Astronomy and Stargazing Binoculars

Many stargazers and astronomers prefer to use binoculars instead of telescopes to look at the stars. If you want to get into stargazing, or are already an avid stargazer and are looking for binoculars, the following are a few binoculars that are definitely worth your consideration.

Celestron Echelon 20X70 Binoculars

Since you are stargazing, you want a higher magnification along with a bigger lens. These are very high quality binoculars that are tripod adaptable in order to allow for long stargazing periods. They are not too heavy that you cannot pick them up and use them with your hands for added flexibility.

Celestron 15X70 SkyMaster Binoculars

These offer exceptional performance and come at a great price for viewing the night sky. The lenses are multicoated, which makes your image of the stars much clearer. Aside from stargazing, these have other great uses including bird watching as well.

Best Binoculars for Safaris

If you enjoy viewing wildlife, specifically wildlife on safaris, there are a few binoculars that you should research and test before looking at any others. Consider these as you embark on your safari trip.

Celestron Granite 9X33 Binoculars

These binoculars have a wide field of view, which is excellent for safaris. Since they are 9X, you get a little more detail of the object you are looking at. The lenses are very high quality, and with these you will get a very crisp image.

Swarovski EL W B Traveler 8X32

These are top-of-the-line midsized binoculars that offer impeccable optical quality. They are optimal for taking on safaris, and their open bridge design makes them comfortable to hold with one hand. Furthermore, they offer a digital camera adapter so that you can take high quality photos through them. Swarovski produces some of the best imaging products in the world, and this is no exception.

Best Binoculars for Kids

When engaging children in nature activities, the right set of binoculars can go a long way towards getting them excited about their surroundings. Certain binocular features are more important than others when it comes to children’s binoculars, such as the maximum magnification level. The recommended maximum is 8x, as this gives children a wide enough view to keep their eyes on the interesting sight even if their hands are shaky.

The size and weight of the binoculars is also important, as bulky binoculars may be difficult for children to hold on to. With these factors in mind, consider both of the following highly rated binoculars for kids:

Bresser 6×21 Junior Compact Binoculars

With a colorful casing guaranteed to catch your child’s eye, the Bresser 6×21 is a compact binocular with a maximum 6x magnification that is perfect first binocular for children of any age. The state-of-the-art optical system delivers clear images, while the rubber armored body is built to endure all types of damage. Affordably priced, the Bresser 6×21 also comes with a five year guarantee.

Opticron Discovery WP PC 8×32 Binoculars

Built for the older child, the Opticron Discovery is both compact and lightweight enough to deliver comfort regardless of how long the nature walk lasts. An 8x optical system also delivers clear images from a distance, while the affordable prices guarantees a great return on the investment. With a durable design built to last through years of wear and tear, the Opticron Discovery remains one of the best children’s binoculars on the market.

Best Binoculars with Built in Camera

For the professional photographer or birdwatcher, a quality sighting through a pair of binoculars is only worthwhile if the image can be captured. Luckily, modern technology has intersected with current demands to yield a new generation of binoculars with built in cameras. Some of the best digital camera binoculars on the market today are both inexpensive and easy-to-setup. Learn more about two of the industry leaders below:

Vivitar 10×25 DigiCam Binoculars

Though the slightly heavy design may seem inconvenient at first, the Vivitar Digicam Binoculars are well worth the effort with a 640X480 resolution on the attached camera. Add to that the 16 megabytes of internal storage and these camera binoculars become perfect for both long and short sightseeing events, from sports games to nature walks and more. Designed for comfort and precision, the Vivitar 10×25 carries a long battery life as well to ensure long-term use on almost any outing.

Eoncore 2″ LCD Display Digital Camera Binoculars 12×32 

For a highly affordable set of binos with a built-in digital camera and video camera, look no further than this Amazon bestseller that averages 4 stars from customers. These are very popular with avid birdwatchers, making it simple to capture quality images of the birds in the wild for identification or saving for later. There are many things you can do with this device, so it’s highly versatile and easy to customize.

 

Best Rangefinder Binoculars

Open ranges can be a thing of beauty all on their own. However, there are few ranges that cannot be enhanced by a great pair of rangefinder binoculars. Regardless of the type of rangefinder binoculars you plan on purchasing (golf, hunting, digital, etc.), the goal is to improve aim while also allowing for a wide field of view regardless of the terrain. If you want this feature in a separate device, you can always get a stand alone laser rangefinder.

Learn more about two of the best rangefinder binoculars on the market below:

Leica Geovid HD-B Binocular

Though pricier than other brands of binoculars, the reward is well worth the cost as the Leica Geovid is one of the most accurate rangefinder binoculars on the market. Featuring state-of-the-art optics and a field of view exceeding 1,000 yards, these industry-leading Leica binoculars offer everything from automatic adjustments of the visual settings to an ergonomic design that ensures comfort regardless of how long they are held.

Zeiss Victory RF Binocular

Fluoride glass is one of the secrets to the Zeiss Victory’s premium imagery, ensuring that every sight seen through these lens is of the best quality possible. A 45 millimeter objective lens adds to sight quality while the field of view remains one of the best in its class. Though slightly heavier than other comparable binoculars, the Zeiss Victory makes up for it with convenient button placement for added comfort.

The Best Binoculars for the Money

After all of the binoculars that have been listed so far, you may be wondering, “Which ones provide me with the best value?” The following binoculars are widely thought to give buyers the best bang for the buck.

Swarovski CL Pocket 8X25 Binoculars

Although they may seem pricey, these binoculars are cheap compared to the other $1200+ priced binoculars that Swarovski offers. Furthermore, they are better than almost anything else on the market.

Hawke Sapphire ED 8X42 Binoculars

These binoculars have amazing specs, they are waterproof and fog proof, and they have a lightweight body made of magnesium. Add to this the unparalleled optical quality that they offer and you will realize that the price is a great bargain.

Upland Optics Perception HD 10×42 Binoculars

These are some of the best binoculars out there at any price point, and they are under $300 dollars! They offer exceptional optics, water repellant lens coating, a light weight chassis, and unparalleled image quality.

Celestron Nature DX 8X42 Binoculars

These will appeal to those on a tight budget, but also to those looking for a great value and optical quality. These are fully sealed waterproof and fog proof binoculars that deliver a great image, and the price will make you very happy.

Best Binoculars for Under $100

If you are on a tight budget and can only spend $100 or less, you can still get quality binoculars. The following binoculars will offer great quality for their price.

Nikon 8245 Aculon Binoculars

These binoculars are so good that you may find some vendors selling them for $200 due to demand, but if you look in the right place, mainly online, you can find them for under $100 dollars. They provide a quick central focus system and a 420 foot field of view. One downside to these is that they are not waterproof.

Celestron 20X80 Skymaster Binoculars

Celestron simply makes great quality products at a great price. These are great for stargazing and many other uses, and they have a water-resistant, not waterproof body.

Best Binoculars for Under $200

If you have a little more to spend, these are some binoculars you should consider that are under $200 dollars.

Vanguard 10X42 Spirit XF Binoculars

These binoculars offer a wide field of view, multi coated lenses, and high quality images. If you are a causal binocular user, you simply cannot go wrong with these.

Hawk Nature-Trek 8X42 Binoculars

If you want high quality, low weight binoculars, then you have found them. These are fully waterproof and fog proof, and they provide a relatively good field of view and close focus. These are a great choice for the budget conscious buyer.

The Best Binoculars on the Market

If you want the best-of-the-best, and you are fortunate enough to have no price limitations on the binoculars that you are looking for, then the following is a list of the best binoculars that money can buy.

Upland Optics Perception HD 10×42 Binoculars

See description in the Best Value section.

Zeiss 10X42 Victory HT Binocular

These are often listed as the best binoculars that money can buy, period. They offer a viewing experience like no other binoculars, and you can see even the finest details of your object in dimming light. They are very robust, and offer a staggering 95% light transmission. If you want the best-of-the-best, then these are the binoculars for you.

Conclusion

The world of binoculars is huge, and it will take many years for the beginner to explore and learn. With time, you will be able to appreciate minor differences between binoculars, and you will develop a taste of your own. I hope that this guide will provide you with sufficient information to begin your exciting journey into the world of binoculars.

Bushnell Falcon 10x50mm Binocular Review

The Bushnell Falcons are wide-angle optics, noticeable by their expanded lenses that are “wider” than most sporting optics. Wide-angle binoculars offer a wider field of view (FOV), meaning you can see more objects when looking into the eyecups. A common misconception is that increased DOF is the result of bigger eyecups or lenses.

These binoculars function as multi-role optics but are more commonly seen among birders.

 

Optics

This particular pair of binoculars is 10x50mm, giving you increased magnification power. Combined with the benefits of a wide angle construction, the Falcon allows you to see more across the lenses while also giving you the power to see up close details. Range, depth, and magnification are usually sacrificed for one another, leaving few binoculars that shine in all categories.

To be precise, at 1000 yards, the field of view is nearly 300 yards without magnification. One of the reasons why the Falcon is popular among birders is that it’s perfect for tracking fast moving birds or other animals. With a wider angle of view, you can spot and keep track of moving objects without having to swing your optics because it’s moving too fast.

Here are the general specs of the Falcon:

  • Magnification/Lens Diameter: 10x / 55mm.
  • Autofocusing Porro prism.
  • 25-foot close focusing distance.
  • Weight: 27 oz.
  • Eye Relief: 9mm.
  • Exit Pupil: 5mm.
  • Field of View @ 1,000 yds: 300ft.

 

Compared to Hunting Binos

You don’t see too many hunting binos with a wide angle style of construction. This is because hunting binos are focused on achieving recognition of an object at various ranges and then acquiring details about that object (color, light transmission, anti-fog, etc.).

The Falcon’s wide field of view and ten times magnification still make it a versatile pair of binos, but it may lack in acquiring intense detail of objects and animals at maximum range.

 

Overall

This set of binoculars work well for every outdoor activity that needs long-range optics. To the make the most of them, one has to think of them as more than just lenses to look through. Wide-angle binoculars have a broader FOV, even more so than some of the best sporting optics out there. That’s not to say that sporting optics aren’t flashy and provide great detail, but the key difference is that the Falcon is cheap.

As with most binoculars, it comes with a focusing knob in the middle and diopter setting. You can spread the binoculars out and adjust the eyecups to your liking, making them personable optics as well. They would make great gifts for the holiday season because they are great quality and still have uses beyond birding.

Click here to shop the Bushnell Falcon 10x50mm.

Click here to check out the Falcon 7x35mm.

 

Nikon Monarch HG Review

The Nikon Monarch HG is the latest in Nikon’s monarch line of binoculars. It comes in the 10×42 and 8×42 versions. This version of the Monarch series is the quintessential rugged outdoorsman binoculars. It is constructed of magnesium alloy, a stronger substance and coating to protect against damage from drops and other accidents.

Here we’ll explore the HG as it compares to other Monarchs and its improvements.

Compared to Monarch Series

The HG is nearly double the price of the binoculars that preceded it, the Monarch 7. They both have the ED (extra-low dispersion) glass that clears up distortions in imaging and augments the Field flattener lens system. The HG isn’t a vastly different pair of binoculars compared to its predecessors but really ups the ruggedness factor.

Apart from being shielded and coated with anti-fog and moisture material, the HG prides itself on being the best pair of sporting optics out there. Being rugged and during is one thing, but retaining image quality is another.

The focus is still in the center between the eyepieces and takes on a larger shape for increased control and stability.

 

Field Flattener Lens System

The Monarch HG employs the field flattener lens system (FFLS) like the rest of the Monarch line. With most imaging devices including cameras, a notable problem is a dropoff in image quality and color around the edges of an image.

The HG compensates for this problem with the FFLS, clearing up images on the outside to make a complete and colorful viewing experience. Nikon has increased the level of coating for the HG’s internal prisms and lenses, leading to a nearly 92% light transmittance factor. For low-light and unfavorable conditions, the HG is the pair of binos for the job.

Other Features

The HG employs a 60.3-degree FOV for the 8×42 pair and 62.2 FOV for the 10×42 pair. A two-degree difference doesn’t seem like much but can mean the difference between spotting a rare object or animal at long range. The HG also has a diopter setting that allows you to save your preferred setting in the case that you share these binoculars with another person.

It is rated waterproof above 5m for around ten minutes and fog-proof at altitudes of up to 16,400 feet. These stats showcase just how rugged this pair of binoculars is. That’s not to say that the entire Monarch line is sub-par, but the HG is ideal for harsher conditions where other binoculars might suffer performance issues.

Overall

As the latest edition in the Monarch series, the HG doesn’t make leaps and bounds over its predecessor Monarchs but does improve slightly with its FFLS and image quality. Coupled with increased protection around the lenses and body, the HG makes its case for one of the best pair extreme outdoorsmen binoculars on the market.

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