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.

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 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.

Get yours on Amazon today! Click here!

Wingspan Optics Spectator 8×32 Compact Binoculars Review

When we think of binoculars, we can be quick to classify any of them as good for any purpose. This simply isn’t so. Take a look around Optics Den and you’ll see the various sorts of optics used specifically for different purposes.

This is where the Spectator 8×32 compact pair of binos by Wingspan Optics comes in. These binos almost fit in the entirety of your hand but we aren’t classifying them as toys or mini-binos by any means. The most popular hobby that these binos are used for is birding.

  • Wingspan Optics is a brand known for their focus in birding optics, so you can already see how specialization in the optics industry occurs.

You may be asking, can’t I just use my hunting binoculars for birding? Don’t they do the same job? Not quite. Let’s look at why this set of Spectators is a universal birder’s choice for optics.

Despite their small size, the Spectator’s have a pretty wide depth of field that enables you to see more in a single viewing. The light transmission is just as good at the maximum magnification and range at a thousand yards.

  • An important aspect of birding is being able to differentiate between two species that look almost identical. The 8×32’s give you incredible detail at long range so you can identify those small characteristics.

Don’t mistake the Spectator’s small size for low-quaility optics. These binos boast impressive stats that will help you see what you want to see on a greater level of detail. Let’s take a look at some of its specs.

 

Specs

POWER – 8x

OBJ.LENS DIA. – 32mm

EXIT PUPIL DIAMETER – 4

EXIT PUPIL DIST. – 14.8

DIMENSIONS (LxWxH) – 4.5 x 4.5 x 1.75 inches

WEIGHT – 15.2 Ounces

 

Overall

Just because these binos specialize in birding doesn’t mean you can’t take them anywhere else. Many users have reported that the small size of Spectators allows them to take the binos on trips and excursions where larger optics might prove cumbersome or unnecessary. They do carry a little bit of weight to them but not like true hunting or other sporting optics.

  • Our recommendation would be to simply test them with any hobby that your require optics for whether it be birding, hunting, or even stargazing. You might find that the Spectator is more suited for birding compared to other binos but in the end everyone’s preference is different.

Where the Spectators really stand out is the coloration of the environment or in most cases—animals you are looking at. This where that need for differentiation we talked about comes in. Color and light transmission, as well as visibility all play a role in your ability to see the target.

  • For accessibility, the binos have hooks on the sides where you can thread a strap through. Don’t feel as though you have to carry them by hand everywhere you go.

The magnification isn’t the greatest in the world in terms of sporting optics but the trick with these binos is their depth perception and their ability to pick up detail. A maximum range of around a thousand yards is still an impressive feat.

 

Binoculars Review 2018: Monarch 5 10x42mm

Nikon’s Monarch line of binoculars are some of the most popular in the world. As you’d expect thanks to their popularity and the Nikon name, they are great binoculars.

If you are looking to upgrade that old pair of binoculars in your truck that only really work through one eye, you will be absolutely amazed by the quality of these binoculars. In optics, you get what you pay for, and that’s especially true in binoculars.

The Monarch line is well made and well respected. Even if you are experienced with binoculars but are looking for a new pair, there is very little to be disappointed in with this line. And, you have several configuration options, so you can get exactly what you need.

Monarchs actually come in three configurations – 8×42, 10×42, and 12×42. We tested the 10×42 Monarch 5, which includes the following specs:

  • FOV @ 1000m/yds: 96/288
  • Exit pupil: 4.2 mm
  • Brightness: 17.6
  • Eye relief: 18.4 mm
  • Weight: 21.2 oz

And it has the following features:

  • Extra-low dispersion glass
  • Multi-layer coating
  • Turn and slide rubber eyecups
  • Waterproof and fog free

The Monarch 5 10×42 is a great mid-range binocular. True, they’re on the higher end of that price range, but they are worth the money if you can make your budget accommodate.

Design

One of the first things you’ll notice right out of the package is that the Monarchs feel well made and sturdy. They are also relatively lightweight for this price point, so you won’t feel like you’re lugging bricks around your neck all day.

The rubber armoring makes it easy to hold. The twist-up eyecups are comfortable, as is the 18mm eye relief. Adjustments are easy to make, and the focus wheel works incredibly well no matter what your hands are covered in.

These are very well made, and designed with the elements in mind. Nikon Monarch 5 binoculars are filled with nitrogen, which makes them completely fogproof. For anyone who has experienced the frustration of lenses that fog up, you will be super impressed by how well this fogproofing works. Additionally, the Monarch 5s are waterproof (for up to 10 minutes at a depth of up to one meter).

Key Users

The Nikon Monarch 5 is very popular with bird watchers, hikers, and hunters. The design features support the needs of those populations. And, the multi-coated lenses mean that the true color comes through. The overall visual quality is outstanding. You’ll see crisp, clear views with great detail.

In-House Comparison

We tested these alongside comparably priced binoculars with similar specs, and the Monarch 5s were the clear winner. The lightweight design gives it a competitive edge, but it really comes down to eye comfort and the stunning quality.

Our Verdict

The Monarch 5 is a great pair of binoculars that will work well for a number of uses. Whether you want to take them hiking to check out wildlife, keep them in your vehicle for your birdwatching excursions, or keep them close on your hunt, they will work wonderfully. We can’t wait to get these back outside for hunting season, or even just to birdwatch. Overall, the Monarch 5 is well worth the money and will last you a long, long time.

Click here to check the current price of the Monarch 5

Vortex Diamondback 10×42 Review

Vortex is a manufacturer of high-quality optics for hunting, bird watching, and other outdoor activities. The Diamondback 10×42 pair of binoculars are dedicated sporting optics with a clear view of nearly one-thousand yards. They’ll fetch you a high-price, but if you’re looking to up your game in the outdoor world, the Diamondbacks are the optics for you.

During a bright day, the sun can play havoc with a binocular’s ability to see objects at a distance. We were blown away by the Diamondback’s anti-reflective lens that gave it above average light filtering. Of course, as you approach a thousand yards above, general vision quality decreases. However, the Diamondback’s optics are dielectric coated and argon purged to deliver above average clarity and keep them water and fog proof.

When you search for a good pair of sporting binoculars, there are a couple of things that you want to consider. The first and foremost however is focusing. The Diamondback gives you some options to properly adjust the binoculars for your comfort.

  • The IPD (Interpupillary Distance) is the distance between the primary light gatherers in your eyes. The Diamondback has the ability to rotate its barrels in order to match the distance between your eyes.
  • The center focus is located in the middle of the binoculars and should be adjusted after you have played with the barrels and formatted them to your liking.
  • The diopter ring (on the right barrel) is a mini-focus that will help you adjust the binoculars to your own vision. Anyone else with different viewing preferences will have to adjust the ring on their own.

The eyecups are also adjustable. If you’re using the binoculars with your naked eye, you can twist the eyecups away from from the body of the binoculars. This feature combined with the focusing features gives the user maximum control over the clarity of the object or area they wish to view.

Due to their weight, it can be difficult for younger users to handle these optics without shaking them. Thus if you plan to use these optics for hunting or bird watching, they would be complemented by a small tripod to eliminate shakiness. Furthermore, two built-in structures on each barrel allow for a neck strap to run through.

Overall, there is little we could find to slander the Diamondback. There are still shadows that most binoculars have trouble with when you move them around sharply, but they aren’t a huge deal if you find some sort stabilizer (like a tripod) for them.vortex

Bushnell’s New Engage Line of Binoculars and Scopes

Bushnell Engage Binoculars

Bushnell’s new lineup of Engage Binoculars is shaking things up in the world of optics.

The Engage binoculars feature multicoated glass with Bushnell’s new EXO Barrier protective coating. These are designed to withstand pretty much everything. This Bushnell exclusive coating repels water, debris, oil, and fog.

The Bushnell Engage binoculars come in four configurations:

8 x 42 mmBushnell

  • FOV 142m
  • eye relief 19mm

10 x 42 mm

  • FOV 113m
  • eye relief 18mm

10 x 50 mm

  • FOV 113m
  • eye relief 15mm

12 x 50 mm

  • FOV 93m
  • eye relief 15mm

The rugged nature of these doesn’t do anything to skimp on image quality, though. The ED Prime Glass feature and dielectric prism coating produce high reflectivity, great color, amazing resolution, and fantastic details. Each configuration offers twist up eyecups and a locking diopter.

These work well in low light conditions, thanks to a host of other features that enable the best brightness and details available.

One of the best features of this new line is its affordability. The Engage line of optics drives home Bushnell’s commitment to making high-quality optics that everyone can afford.

 

Bushnell Engage Riflescopes

The Engage lineup also includes new riflescopes. Like the binoculars, these feature the exclusive EXO Barrier protective coating. This slick coating repels everything from oil and water to dirt and debris.

The riflescopes come in nine configurations: Bushnell riflescope

  • 2-7x 36mm
  • 3-9x 40mm
  • 3-9x 50mm
  • 4-12x 40mm
  • 6-18x 50mm
  • 5-10x 44mm
  • 3-12x 42mm
  • 4-16x 44mm
  • 6-24x 50mm

These scopes feature:

  • EXO Barrier
  • Waterproof construction
  • Fully multi-coated optics
  • Ultra-wide band coating
  • Side focus parallax adjustment
  • Tool-less Zero Reset (on some models)
  • Locking Turrets

 

Engage riflescopes include Bushnell’s new Deploy MOA reticle. This gives shooters 1-MOA windage and elevation hashmarks and can reach both short and mid-range targets.

Like the binoculars, the Engage riflescopes are affordable, yet high on quality. Find out more on Bushnell’s website.

Athlon Talos 10x50mm Binoculars Review

Athlon may not be as big of a name in the sporting optics world as Bushnell or Nikon, but that certainly doesn’t mean their products aren’t worth considering for sportsmen. This particular model, the Talos 10x50mm binocular, is a great pair of binoculars for a variety of purposes.

Binos with a 50mm objective lens are designed to gather maximum amounts of light, and are ideal for use in low light conditions. While they are heavier to carry than the more common 42mm lenses, for many the trade off is very well worth it.

The packaging is fairly standard for binoculars in this range. The soft case isn’t the best I’ve seen, but also is far from the worst. The included neck strap does have some very nice padding, better than most similar binoculars, which will definitely be needed for carrying a pair with heavy 50mm lenses. As far as the lens caps, the objective side cap attaches to the binoculars themselves and the eye piece side can attach to the neck strap. They are of a similar design and quality to virtually every pair of binos in any price range. However, the occular side caps seemed to be poorly fit. Even the lightest touch immediately pulls them off of the lenses, making them pretty worthless for field use. Even pulling the binoculars out of their case immediately ripped the caps right off, offering little protection.

I field tested these binoculars at the same time that I tested Athlon’s higher end Cronus, comparing both pairs to mid range pairs from Nikon and Bushnell. Of the various binos I compared, the Talos was the most affordable.

I was impressed with the general build quality of the Talos. While most pairs in the sub $200 pricing level tend to be of mixed quality workmanship, the Talos seemed very solidly built. As a back country hunter, I’ve seen binoculars take some pretty significant falls before, and I got the sense that the Talos could the handle the punishment as well as anything I’ve seen.

While I was impressed with the build quality, I wasn’t blown away by the optics. I wouldn’t call them bad, but the image quality definitely left something to be desired. It probably didn’t help that I was comparing them to pairs that are more expensive, but if optical clarity and sharpness are your primary concerns these probably aren’t for you. The field of view is also not particularly great for a 10 power pair of binoculars, though not the worst I’ve seen.

Here’s a quick run down of the pros and cons of these binoculars:

Pros:

  • Large 50mm objective lenses gather a ton of light.
  • Grip on the side of the casing of the binoculars makes them easy to hold onto, prevents any slipping.
  • Build quality appears to be much higher than normal for this price range.

Cons:

  • Glass leaves much to be desired.
  • Objective side lens caps are essentially worthless.

In the end, I would recommend these binoculars to someone who specifically wants 50mm objective lenses and is on a strict sub $200 budget. In that price range, I can’t think of any 10x50s that will serve you better. With that said, I think you can find much better glass if you are willing to spend a little bit more money.

 

Athlon Cronus 10×42 Binoculars Review

Athlon makes a fairly wide range of binoculars, and the Cronus is their flagship model. While certainly not cheap, the Cronus fits the midrange in price that puts it out of reach of many people, but not so incredibly high priced that you’d be nervous to carry it in the field. Made to exacting standards and promising high quality and clear images, I was definitely excited to test these guys out.

Like other Athlon products I’ve tested, the Cronus comes in fairly standard binocular packaging, wrapped in several layers of plastic and a cardboard box. It includes a soft carry case that fits it well, and closes with a buckle instead of the more common Velcro. The lens caps are the typical rubber caps that connect too the binocular itself and/or the neck strap. The strap itself appears to be the same as the one found in the much less expensive Talos from Athlon, but has good padding and will work for many uses. I usually recommend using a chest harness system purchased separately for extended carrying of binoculars anyway.

10×42 is the ideal size for most sporting optics uses, and especially for hunters. If you want a wider field of view (at the price of less zoom) an 8.5×42 model is also available. The Cronus glass is encased in a hard plastic material with textured grip areas. Binocular manufacturers have generally gone one of two ways, using either rubberized coatings (Bushnell, Upland Optics, etc) or hard plastic with textured grip. I personally am a fan of the rubberized coating, but I know plenty of people who like the alternative.

I field tested the Cronus while hiking in the Idaho mountains, and compared it to a few other sets of 10×42 binoculars I had on hand. They included 10×42 sets from Bushnell and Nikon that are in the $300 price range, as well as the 10×50 Talos from Athlon.

Finding deer was easy during the wintering season, and I was able to test them all side by side when looking at small herds of deer anywhere from 300 yards to several miles away. While all of the binoculars did the job, there were definitely some subtle differences that will be important to someone willing to spend more money to get better glass. While looking at deer that were relatively close up, I noticed that they seemed to “pop” more with the Cronus than they did with any other set I was using. The focus was a bit sharper and the glass appeared to let in just a little bit more light (light conditions were sub optimal due to an incoming storm).

When testing them at long range, the differences were more subtle but still present. It was just a bit easier to pick apart the hill side using the Cronus than the more affordable Bushnell and Nikon sets. As far as comparing it to Athlon’s far less expensive Talos model, there was no question that the Cronus is a far superior set of optics.

Personally, I feel like the Cronus would be excellent for bird watchers. They have an excellent close focusing distance of only 2 meters, which is perfect for birders. The differences I noticed when glassing deer at 300 yards would be exactly the type of differences that birders are willing to pay thousands of dollars to get in their optics, and the Cronus is much less expensive than the typical Swarovski and Zeiss models that birders flock to.

As far as downsides go, I did notice one thing I wasn’t impressed with. All binoculars will have some amount of shadows obscure your view as you move/adjust them during use. However, I noticed those shadows much more with the Cronus than I have with other pairs in the same price range. I will say that those effects are usually highly dependent on the user and their unique eyes, so I recommend testing them yourself to see if that is an issue for you.

Overall, I think the Cronus 10x42s are an excellent pair of binoculars. There are some things that I personally am not a fan of (like the above mentioned shadows and the hard plastic), but those are personal preferences that plenty of people will not have issues with. And the glass is definitely of very high quality, which is the most important thing for a pair of binoculars. In particular I’d recommend these binoculars to bird watchers, who I think could really use the excellent close focusing distance and solid glass to its full capabilities.