Reviews of the Best Telescopes of 2021

Humans have always been fascinated with the stars, and children have grown up being amazed by space for years. Today, there are a number of excellent telescopes that are designed by various manufacturers for specific astrological purposes. Some of these telescopes are extremely advanced and take a lot of technological knowledge in order to operate.

However, there are numerous ones on the market designed for children and amateurs and do not require a lot of previous technological background knowledge. After all, everyone has the right to enjoy the beauty of the stars. If you are interested in astronomy and telescopes, you will be able to find all of the information that you could possibly need below.

 

Best Telescope for Beginners – Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ

Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQIf you are a beginner, the AstroMaster Reflector Telescope is by far the best choice on the market. It has a lot of higher-end features that other brands do not provide in this price range, and it is an easy telescope to set up. This is extremely important for beginners because you have to know how to set up a telescope correctly in order to get the most out of it. Most beginners are still learning about astronomy in general, and therefore, they are content to see the simple things and wonders of space.

With the AstroMaster Reflector Telescope, they might not be able to see far off galaxies, like with a higher powered telescope, but they will be able to see things like the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter. These things are fascinating for beginners, and it is an excellent starting point. With this telescope, you will get access to two different eyepieces that get up to 100 x magnifications. When using this telescope, it has been recommended that you also use the CELE705 lens kit. These lenses will enhance your view, giving you the best experience available.

The dimensions of this telescope are 11 inches by 17 inches by 32.25 inches. It isn’t as large as other telescopes, which will make it easier to handle for beginners, and when it is assembled, it is only 12.7 kilograms. Therefore, it will be easy to move for most beginners, regardless of their age. When it comes to brightness, this particular telescope is actually three times brighter than other telescopes that are considered to be 60mm scopes. The only downside that people have found about this particular telescope is that the start pointer on it is not all that easy to use.

According to the reviews of the people who have used this telescope, this telescope is a good telescope, but it is really designed for beginner observation and not deep sky observing. They also said that the price of this telescope is excellent for the quality that it will provide you, especially if you are a beginning astronomer. After all, if you are a beginner, you do not want to spend a lot of money on your first telescope, while trying to figure everything out.

 

Best Telescope for Kids – Vixen Space Eye

Vixen Space Eye 50mmA universe is an amazing place, and kids are often times fascinated with stars. However, just like most things, it doesn’t make sense to purchase an expensive telescope for a child. That is one reason why this particular telescope is the best telescope for kids. The Vixen Space Eye Telescope is a 50 mm telescope, and other than price, it has a lot of features that make it perfect for a child. Unlike a lot of other telescopes, this one only weighs 6 pounds, which means it will be easier for kids to move around when using it.

This particular telescope comes with everything that a kid could want and need in order to enjoy the universe. The telescopes dimensions are 13 inches by 8 inches by 37 inches. According to some of the customers who have purchased this particular telescope, one of the best things about it was its mount. With cheaper telescopes, you sometimes have to deal with the object are watching skipping slightly when trying to move the telescope. However, the Space Eye 50 mm Telescope has slow motion controls.

Due to this, it will make it easier for a kid to actually be able to steady the telescope and follow the objects that they want to without having to worry about the object getting blurred and losing eye contact with it. Another aspect about this particular telescope is the fact that it actually is powerful enough to allow kids to see the rings of Saturn under certain conditions. This is important because although the moon is both unique and extraordinary, there is nothing better for a new astronomer than seeing the beauty of Saturn layout before their eyes.

Another excellent aspect about this particular telescope is the fact that you can actually purchase an adapter for it that will allow you to be able to hook your smartphone up to it. This is an excellent way to also introduce you or your budding astronomer to astrophotography. This adapter is actually designed to work with most types of smartphones, and it will add on hours and hours of fun from this particular telescope for your kid and even yourself.

 

Best Telescope for Astrophotography – Celestron NexStar 130 SLT

Celestron NexStar 130 SLT Computerized TelescopeAstrophotography is a little more difficult than regular observation. One of the biggest differences is the fact that you need a telescope that is actually designed to be able to take the photos needed and desired. According to many astrophotographers, the NexStar 130 SLT computerized telescope is by far the best one available on the market for anyone that is actually interested in astrophotography. This telescope comes with a focal ratio of f5, and it has a focal length of 650mm.

While using this particular telescope, you will find that it is extremely easy to move, and this is entirely thanks to the fact that it has a motorized Altazimuth mount. You will not have to worry about being able to follow objects in order to get that perfect picture of your favorite object in the sky. It also has SkyAlign. This is an excellent aspect about this telescope because you will no longer have to worry about just looking at one object. With SkyAlign, you will actually be able to align the telescope with any 3 celestial objects in the sky that are bright.

There have only been two things about this particular telescope that have been logged as needing help. The first thing is its battery. The battery life is rather short compared to others. Therefore, it is imperative when using this telescope that you charge the battery to full before heading out to do your astrophotography. After all, you would not want to be in the middle of your project and have the telescoping die. The second thing about this telescope is that it is a little sensitive to vibration. Therefore, when you are using it, you need to make sure that it is on a surface that will not conduct vibration.

However, the pros of the NexStar 130 SLT far outweigh these minor setbacks. For instance, you will not find another telescope in its price range that has as wide a field of view as this telescope. Therefore, you will be able to broaden the horizons of your astrophotography experience. It is also very light and portable. Therefore, you will not have to worry about it being too heavy to move around as you see fit.

 

Best All-Around Telescope – Gysker AZ70400 

It can be difficult to locate a telescope that sits at the crossroads of affordability, power, and clarity. However, the Gysker AZ70400 solves that problem by accomplishing goals in all three of the previous categories.

In addition to your purchase, you get the tripod and a 25mm and 10mm eyepiece. The AZ70400’s focal length is 400mm, which is technically on the lower end of their products, but its power is still impressive.

There are no computerized or electronic aspects about the AZ70400, so you can just manuever the telescope by hand. It does come equipped with an inverted star finder which should aid in your search for objects in the night sky.

 

Best Telescope for the Money – Celestron NexStar 4 SE

Celestron NexStar 4 SEThere are thousands of different telescopes that are available on the market, but when looking at price vs features, the Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope is by far the best telescope for the amount that it costs. This telescope has a state-of-the-art computerized operating system, and this will allow you to be able to view a number of excellent and beautiful celestial objects. Although this telescope can be used by beginners, it is designed more for a more advanced astronomy observer. With the single touch of a button, you will be able to find thousands of different planets, galaxies, and stars, and you will be able to enjoy the entire world of astronomy from the privacy of your own backyards or your favorite star gazing spot.

According to the people who have used this particular telescope have given it an overall excellent review, but there are a couple of things you should be aware of before purchasing this telescope. First off, this telescope can actually use rechargeable batteries, but these batteries are not included with the actual telescope. Therefore, you will need to purchase them separately. Plus, due to its size, it can be rather limited when it comes to being able to view deep into space. However, its size is also one of its best tributes. Thanks to this, it is both small and portable, which means you can carry it around a lot easier to the places that you wish to star gaze from.

The computerization components of this telescope are also very trackable, which means you will be able to keep track of the different celestial bodies that you observe with the telescope. Another thing that actually makes this the best telescope for the money it costs is the fact that you can also take part in amateur astrophotography. You will be able to take pictures with it, but it will be rather limited. They will not be as high quality as a telescope that was designed for such things. This telescope is motorized, and therefore, you can actually align the telescope to be able to track whatever you want from planets, nebulae, galaxies, and stars.

 

Best Telescope for under $100 – Meade Instruments Infinity 70mm AZ

Meade Instruments Infinity 70mm AZ Refractor TelescopeThere are a lot of different telescopes that fall into this price range, but just like everything else, there is one that is superior. In this price range, the telescope that is superior is the Meade Instruments Infinity 70 mm AZ Refractor Telescope. This telescope has an aperture of 70mm (2.8 inches), a focal length of 700mm, a focal ration of f/10, and a rack-and-pinion focuser. When you purchase this telescope, you will also receive an instructional DVD and an Astronomical software, which will help you take your stargazing to the next level. For its price range, you will be able to view farther out into space than with other telescopes like it, but it was not designed to allow you to observe far away.

It comes with an Altazimuth mouth that has a slow-motion control. This is excellent and helps to make sure that the view does not skip when trying to move it manually. Because of this, you can also track the things that you want to track, regardless if it is day or night. This telescope has 2 barlow lens which always you to double the magnification power of all eyepieces. It has two different eyepieces to choose from. The low eyepiece is 26mm, and the high eyepiece is 6.3 It provides you with a red dot viewfinder, which will allow you to point at the celestial objects that you want to see. Therefore, you will be able better observe to your desire. Another asset to purchasing this telescope is the fact that it actually comes with an accessory tray. This is very convenient if you are observing the stars out and away from any furniture. It is actually big enough for your phone and keys.

Another reason why this is such an excellent telescope for its price is the fact that you can use it at night to observe the universe and during the day to observe things like birds and the ocean. The assembly of this particular telescope is very easy, especially since it is a refractor telescope. This means you will never have to worry about aligning mirrors. You will actually be able to use it straight out of the box.

 

Best Telescope for under $200 – Orion StarBlast 4.5

Orion StarBlast 4.5If you are looking for the next step up to your beginning telescope, the Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Telescope is the next logical price. It is still reasonably priced, and it will give you the best experience possible for a telescope within its price range. This particular telescope is able to view a number of different things in the night sky. Not only can you see planets and moons, you will also be able to see a number of deep space objects as long as they are bright enough. If you are new to astronomy, you can actually start out with this telescope because it is easy to set up and use, but it is also suitable for an intermediate astronomer who is looking upgrade.

The eyepieces that it comes with are Expanse telescope eyepieces, and they will actually give you a 66-degree field of view. Unlike cheaper telescopes, you will even be able to see the Andromeda galaxy with this one, and the first time you see it, you will be in awe of its absolute beauty. It also has fast f/4 optics, which means that you will be able to see a lot more celestial objects without having to hunt for them, thanks to the widened field of view that it provides. This telescope does come with a EQ-1 equatorial telescope mount with a slow-motion control. Basically, this means that you will be able to follow celestial objects across the night sky without having to worry about your view being skipped.

With these controls, you will never have worry about moving your telescope by hand. You can actually just enjoy a smooth viewing of your favorite celestial objects. The dimensions of this particular telescope are 44 inches by 12 inches by 20 inches, and it weighs a little less than 20 pounds. Therefore, it is heavy enough to be held down firmly, but it is not so heavy that you cannot move it as needed to set it up. This telescope requires a Lithium-ion battery, and it comes with one. Therefore, you do not have to worry about going out and finding one of your own.

 

Best Telescope for under $1,000 – Meade Instruments LightBridge 12-Inch Truss Tube Dobsonian Telescope

Meade Instruments LightBridge Dobsonian TelescopeWhen you get up to this price range, it is imperative to do the research. The LightBridge 12-Inch Truss Tube Dobsonian Telescope has received the best results and reviews for the people who have actually used it. It has a number of excellent features that will allow you to have the best astronomy experience possible for its price range. This telescope has a focal length of 1525 millimeters, and it has an aperture of 12 inches. This will actually allow you to see celestial objects a lot brighter than most other telescopes available on the market for less than $1,000. As an added bonus, this particular telescope actually comes with a 1-year limited warranty.

This is extremely important, because everyone knows that it is possible for accidents to happen. You do not want to purchase so a high quality telescope without having some protection for those accidents. The focal ration of this particular telescope is f/5, and the dimensions of this telescope are 29 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches. It does weigh close to 100 pounds. Therefore, it is imperative that you are careful when moving it, because it is not the easiest telescope to move around once you have it set up and placed in the desired spot. However, the beautiful experience that you get with this telescope is especially worth it.

Before you are able to use the telescope, you will actually have to get 8 AA batteries in order for it to work. It is recommended that you purchase higher quality batteries in order to avoid them being drained quickly and you missing out on a beautiful astrological event that might only come around once in a life time. This telescope actually stands around 5 feet tall. Therefore, you will not have the need for any other type of mount, and this particular telescope is excellent for visual observing, but it is not recommended for someone that wishes to partake in astrophotography. However, if you live in a big city or an area with high light pollution, this is the perfect telescope because it will actually allow to see through it and view deep sky observations.

 

Best Telescope for under $2,000 – Celestron Advanced VX 8″ f/10 EdgeHD Telescope

Celestron Advanced VS EdgeHDIf you are interested in going big, the Celestron Edge HD Telescope and its usual bundle is by far the best deal in the $2,000 price range. First off, this telescope comes with a 2 year warranty, which is extremely important, especially due to the expensive nature of this telescope. When observing the stars, you never know when something might happen to knock over your telescope or something else. So, this warranty will allow you to have peace of mind when out having fun and observing celestial objects. The Celestron Edge HD 8” Telescope comes with a 1.25 inch eyepiece, a 1.25 inch 90-degree mirror diagonal.

It also comes with a Celestron Advanced VX Mount that is a tripod mount. This will actually make it a lot easier to set up. These types of mounts are generally more stable, which means they are less likely to be tipped over by an accident while trying to observe the stars and other celestial objects. This telescope weights around 85.5 pounds, and due to its weight, it is imperative to make sure you plan where you want to observe from prior to moving it. This will cause you a lot less trouble than having to constantly move it once it is set up. One of the only downsides to this particular telescope is the fact that you cannot merely use regular batteries to charge it.

It actually needs 12 volts in order for it to work. Therefore, you will need an inverter and a car battery to make it work or a power port I a nearby vehicle. However, the excellent results that this particular telescope will provide you in your observing experience are completely worth it. You will be able to look and see just about anything that you really want, within reason. Some people have even reported that while using this particular telescope, they were actually able to get 120 second exposures without having to deal with see the star trails. This telescope actually takes astrophotography to a whole new level. Plus, it is excellent due to the fact that vibration is not an issue when this telescope and mount are used together.

 

Things to Know when Buying a Telescope as an Amateur Astronomer

If you are new to astronomy, it can be extremely difficult to learn everything on your own, and if you are not careful, you could make costly mistakes when buying your telescope. One of the most important things to remember when buying your first telescope is that there is no substitute for quality. Although you might find an appealing telescope at your local department store, it is always a better idea to purchase your telescope from an actual telescope store or from a place where you can find just as high a quality of the telescope.

If you are willing to put in the time and really learn astronomy, you can actually save yourself a lot of money, especially if you are a younger astronomer. For instance, joining an astronomy club is a great way to learn the different constellations. By doing this, you will actually be able to find a telescope that is cheaper and more simplistic to use. Some astronomers might tell you that you need all of these technological features on your telescope in order to take seriously. However, it is not always important to have these features. A lot of times, people want these features for the sake of having them, but they could honestly get by without them lightening the expensiveness of their telescope choice.

When practicing astronomy, it is important to know that observation is key to having a good experience. One of the things that separate expert astronomers from amateur astronomers is their observation skills. Therefore, it is imperative that you make sure to work on these skills because it will actually assist you in being able to get a smaller telescope that will most likely cost less. Generally, there are two types of astronomers that people want to be: Visual astronomer or an astrophotographer. As an amateur astronomer, it is always better to start out as a visual observer, because the equipment and knowledge of astronomy are a lot more extensive in order to do astrophotography.

 

Reputable Brands of Telescopes

There are a lot of different brands that manufacture telescopes for both professional and amateur astronomers. Below, you will be able to find a few different reputable brands that are some of the best in the industry.

Celestron – Celestron has been manufacturing telescopes and accessories for over 50 years, and all of their workers provides quality craftsmanship that actually make them one of the best manufacturers, in the industry. They have telescopes designed for every type of an astronomer, regardless if they are a beginner or a professional. One of the best things about Celestron telescopes is the fact that they are extremely easy to assemble, and those who purchase them are always guaranteed satisfaction.

Sky-Watcher – If you have ever been to a star party, then you have probably seen a Sky-Watcher telescope, especially if you live in Europe. They have been around since the 1960s, and currently, they are actually known as the #1 fastest growing telescope brands in Europe, and their reputation is starting to grow everywhere else as well. They are the manufacturers that actually created one of the first Dobsonian telescopes, which is one of the most popular types available on the market.

Zhumell – Zhumell is known for their beginner telescopes. They have a wide range of these types that are low cost being less than $200. They have been around for years, and they are by far the best brand available on the market for that young or inexperienced astronomer in your life.

Meade – There are different stages of being an amateur in astronomy. Some are kids and some are adults. Meade understands that this is important knowledge to know when manufacturing telescopes. Currently, they are one of the top manufacturers when it comes to creating telescopes for any amateur despite this knowledge or age.

Best Telescope Accessories of 2019

When you first purchase a telescope, it usually comes with standard optics that don’t immediately require additional optics right off the bat. Compared to cameras, which are regularly updated along with a specific line, telescope manufacturers take greater time to produce new models with different features and capabilities. Particular models will have the same manufacturer, they don’t operate along a particular “line” of products like cameras, binoculars, or other optics do.

All telescopes are made to see the stars, but some have limits as to how far and what they can see. Any two telescopes will differ on power and quality of view based on the size and quality of their optics.  However, if you take a good look at two or more telescopes, you’ll probably notice that most have similar mounts, tripods, viewfinders, and so on.

Here are examples of telescope accessories we think you should be familiar with in the case that something breaks or needs replacing.

Eyepieces

Eyepieces are going to be your primary investment. They will determine what you can and cannot see and what the quality of the object will be. Eyepieces can range anywhere from as small as 2.5 mm to greater than 60mm. We know you’ll have a multitude of options to choose from when it comes to eyepieces, and that is why we’ve determined the best eyepieces for amateur astronomers. One thing to be cautious of however is whether or eyepiece is interchangeable across different manufacturers. Most eyepieces are diverse, but there are some made specifically for a particular brand.

Below are eyepieces renowned for their quality and the views they provide for their users:

Celestron 8 to 24mm 1.25 Zoom EyepieceCelestron Lens

It’s no surprise that Celestron tops our list once again. Celestron manufactures some accessories to compliment their already widely popular telescopes. Celestron’s 1.25-inch eyepiece is one such accessory that users have widely applauded. What’s great about this eyepiece that it is compatible with telescopes that accept a 1.25-inch eyepiece, so you don’t have to worry about buying from any specific brand. With a field of view (FOV) of 40-60 degrees, you’ll get crisp images of our moon and even deep sky objects.

  • Those who wear glasses will have no problem with this eyepiece. It has a folding eyecup which allows people with glasses to lean in close.

Meade Instruments Series 4000 8 to 24-Millimeter 1.25-Inch Zoom Eyepiece

Meade’s version of the 1.25-inch eyepiece is not too dissimilar from Celestron. Apart from a slight price difference, Meade offers a similar, high-quality eyepiece compatible with telescopes that can sport 1.25-inch eyepieces. For quick and easy zooming, Meade is your maker when it comes above average atmospheric filtering and image quality.

  • There is a small difference with the Celestron eyepiece in that the 24mm setting offers a 55-degree FOV instead of 60. It’s not the largest distance in the world, but if you’re particular about what you want to see, the Meade eyepiece does offer a slightly smaller FOV than Celestron.

Orion 3.0mm Edge-On Planetary Eyepiece

Of the 1.25-inch eyepieces, Orion’s Edge-On takes the cake for the highest power but with overall stats that make it one of the best in our opinion. Not only will you be able to see objects and planets with its wide FOV, but happy customers have reported being able to see the moons of Jupiter and the individual bands that give it its distinctive look.

  • A 20mm eye relief gives it one of the most comfortable positions for those with glasses.

SVBONY Telescope Lens 0.91″ 23mm Wide Angle 62 Degree Aspheric Eyepiece HD Fully Coated for 1.25″ 31.7mm Astronomic Telescopes

SVBONY is not a well-known optics manufacturer, but in this case, we couldn’t resist placing their 1.25-inch eyepiece on our list. For one, the price is unbeatable. Like Meade and Celestron, it is also compatible with telescopes able to support a 1.25-inch eyepiece.

  • Surprisingly, it sports a 62-degree FOV, slightly larger than both Celestron and Meade. This difference can mean a great deal depending on what you’re looking for, but this can give you a bigger picture of deep space beyond our moon and solar system.

Mounts

Altazimuth mounts are some of the more common mounts you see on telescopes today. They allow you to maneuver your telescope up and down and side to side. The loss of diagonal or full range of motion doesn’t mean you’ll be losing out when it comes to seeing objects. Advances in digital altazimuth technology have allowed users to better track objects as they move across the sky, something that previously wasn’t available to amateur astronomers.

Meade Instruments Coronado AZS MountMeade Mount

Meade has constructed one of the simplest altazimuth mounts on the market. For a reasonable price, the Coronado provides smooth and stable controls for sizable telescopes. Also, it comes with an accessory tray—can’t beat that. Since your focus will be on slow and steady movements, the Coronado employs slow motion control cables that will help prevent sudden or sharp movements.

  • Weighing in at only 7lbs, it is portable and accessible to someone looking to take it beyond their front or backyard.

Orion’s VersaGo II isn’t designed to hold the heaviest of telescopes, but it does the job. A beginner’s or children’s telescope would fit good on this mount; in fact, any telescope less than fifteen pounds is supported by the VersaGo II. Since it is one of the smallest altazimuth mounts on our list, it is also one of the simplest—allowing you to install and remove your telescope with ease.

  • An accessories tray in the middle of the three legs gives you an accessible place to access interchangeable parts and optics.

 Twilight II Heavy-Duty Dual-Head Altazimuth Mount and Tripod

The Twilight II is perhaps the most unusual altazimuth mount because it can carry not one, but two telescopes on each of its primary mounts. In theory, you could use one telescope for normal viewing while the other could be for astrophotography. Although a little pricey, the Twilight II is an excellent investment if you have more than one telescopes with different features.

  • The Twilight II, understandably, is the heaviest of the mounts. Weighing in close to 25lbs, it’s no wonder it’s able to sport two telescopes at once. However, if you do plan to utilize its dual telescope feature, make sure you have a stable and ample power supply nearby because they will draw large amounts of power.

Equatorial mounts are rarer than altazimuth but not entirely uncommon. Two (advanced) telescopes you’ll find them on are the 80mm TwinStar Silver and the Celestron Advanced VX 8″. You’ll also commonly find them in observatories attached to much larger and powerful telescopes and peering out of the domes that house them.

As far as amateur telescopes go, they are less common but provide a more stable system for tracking moving objects according to Earth’s rotation (some pretty advanced stuff!). They are also going to be much more expensive than altazimuth mounts.

Celestron CG-4 German Equatorial Mount and Tripod

The CG-4 tops our list for the best equatorial mount because of its reliability and sturdiness. With equatorial mounts, the key is adjusting to the rotation of Earth, and to do this correctly, they need to be planted firmly on the ground. Celestron’s CG-4 accomplishes its goal of being strong, sturdy, and versatile as to what you can track as the night progresses.

  • A German equatorial mount sports counterweights that are perfect for larger telescopes designed for astrophotography or prolonged exposure in the night sky.Meade German

Meade LX70 German Equatorial Mount

Meade’s LX70 German mount is similar to Celestron’s CG-4 in design, but on the interior, the differences begin to show. Like Meade’s altazimuth mount, the LX70 features slow motion controls for cool control over the telescope. Everything is right where you need it on the mount including the latitude/elevation controls and the accessory tray.

The LX70 is also the priciest equatorial mount on our list, but on the bright side, you can attach it to any telescope twenty pounds or less. It would be a major bummer if it were only applicable to Meade’s telescopes.

  • A steel body and frame ensures that everything is strong enough to survive a journey to an excellent location or an accidental tip over.

Orion 9055 Min-EQ Tabletop Equatorial Telescope Mount

The Min-EQ Tabletop mount is exactly as its name suggests. It’s designed for smaller telescopes weighing less than 7lbs. This equatorial mount is ideal for portability where larger mounts might be too bulky or spacious. Campground and raised platforms will be great locations to place the Min-EQ.

Because equatorial mounts are rare and expensive, the Min-EQ is a bargain when it comes to price. The only problem is you probably won’t be able to mount a full-size Celestron or Meade telescope on it. However, if you do have a lighter telescope in your possession, the stability you will get with the Min-EQ will be unparalleled.

  • Children’s or beginner’s telescopes with less bulk on the primary tube are excellent pieces to fit on the Min-EQ.

Finder Scopes

Finder scopes are a useful addition to a telescope and not meant to be overlooked. Telescopes with motorized or computer tracking systems are rare and expensive, so you’ll usually find yourself using the old point and look method that astronomers have been using for hundreds of years.

Finder scopes usually come in the form of a red dot sight like the ones that appear on firearms. However, these are long lasting and designed to help track far away objects as they move across the sky day or night depending on your telescope’s capabilities. What separates finder scopes from each other is how well it tracks and object and (if it has a red dot sight) if it is easily aligned.

Here are our recommendations for the best finder scopes applicable across different models and brands of telescopes:

Celestron Star Pointer Telescope Finder Scope

Celestron’s star pointer is a fundamental finder scope which has day and night uses thanks to the power provided from its 3V battery. For its size and power, the Star Pointer is easily aligned with any 6-inch or larger telescope.

For a meager price, you’ll get an incredible two-year warranty which is sometimes better than most telescopes that you’ll eventually attach it to. This doesn’t mean you should run wild and tossing it around like a toy, but it will protect the finder scope against most basic accidents or inconsistencies.

Of the finder scopes on our list, the Star Pointer is probably one of the best all-around devices—low price, easy setup, and versatility are all hard to beat.

SVBONY 5×24 Finder Scope

SVBONY’s 5×24 finder scope is a classic design—a throwback to some of the early days of astronomy. This doesn’t detract from its capabilities, however, as the 5×24 has a magnification feature that is unlike most finder scopes.

The 5×24 is designed to give you a level of precision that you just don’t find with other finder scopes. The screws located near the eye port allow for more accurate alignment in combination with its low power magnification. This means that not only will you be almost guaranteed to lock on to an object, but you’ll stay on it and get a proper view.

Due to its versatility and power as a finderscope, the 5×24 may have more success and a more powerful telescope. It’s not pricey, but you wouldn’t put this scope on a children’s telescope that can’t see very far.

Orion 7211 Black 6×30 Right-Angle Correct-Image Finder

Orion’s 6×30 image finder is a lot like SVBONY’s 5×24 in that they both have magnification features, with Orion’s being slightly more powerful. The 6×30 scope is shaped difOrion Image Finderferently than most straight facing scopes in that it is bent upward at the bottom, so you don’t have to squat down to look through a straight one. For those of us that have back problems, we know how much pain that can be!

The 6×30 has a magnifying power of 6x across a 30mm diameter objective as the name suggests. These features are sure to give you a crisp, clean view of your object by way of the 6×30’s tracking and your eyepiece’s viewing power.

Another Orion scope makes our list, this time the more powerful 9×50 CI finder scope. As the most powerful of the scopes on the list, you’ll get one of the most enhanced looks at the object your tracking compared to all other scopes. Like the 6×30 scope, it too is made at a right angle which circumvents hunching and squatting over. Because of its shape, the 9×50 can be ideally used on a Dobsonian telescope, a type of reflector.

As the most expensive of the scopes, you should invest in this scope if you are looking for the best tracking and best imaging possible from your telescope.

Telrad Finder Sight

Telrad’s finder sight is one of the simpler ones on the market, but its high price will leave you wondering what makes it better than the rest of the scopes on our list. This is because the Telrad is preferred by both amateur and professional astronomers who enjoy “star-hopping” or quickly moving from one star/object to the other in quick succession.

If you plan on viewing as many stars and objects as possible, then you’ll want a scope that can easily adjust to quick change of pace. Other scopes will have to be magnified and readjusted depending on how long and how closely you look at an object.

The price compared to other scopes is going to put some people off, but this doesn’t mean that the Telrad isn’t capable of doing everything normal scopes do without the magnification features.

FiltersGosky Filters

A telescope filter is designed to dilute almost every atmospheric anomaly or distortion that might come between you and a celestial object. Some objects are also incredibly bright (like the sun), depending on how close they are and you’ll need a filter to see them.

Gosky Telescope filters set 1.25”

The set of filters that are made by Gosky do just about everything when it comes to filtering out unnecessary light. Sources like street lamps, cities, cars, and aircraft are only some examples of things that could inhibit your ability to see at night. Gosky’s set of filters come in seven different colorations to enable you to see different colored planets, stars, and objects at the utmost quality.

 

Reviews of the Best Binoculars of 2021

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.

If you want to read more about what to look for in a pair of binoculars, here is an excellent article that expands on the subject.

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. See our full guide to the best binoculars for stargazing here.

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

Upland Optics Venator BinocularsThe 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 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.

 

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.

Bluebird Optics Zonos 8×25

This compact option from Bluebird is great for bird watchers who don’t want to be constantly lugging around a full sized binocular. Weighing less than a pound, it’s small enough to even be slipped into a pocket. They are also very affordable considering their high end features, like ED glass.

Athlon Argos G2 UHD

If your main priority is high quality glass and you don’t want to spend a fortune, the Argos G2 UHD might be the perfect fit for you. High quality ED 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. These are part of Athlon’s new lineup of binoculars, and they have performed excellently in our testing.

Zeiss Victory Best Birding Binoculars

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.

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.

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.

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.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Telescopes Sales & Deals of 2020

Telescopes open the way to the stars for us. They’re not the most common gift that comes on a birthday or in a stocking but they are definitely worth it. Telescopes come in a variety of sizes and powers, so it’s important to do your research beforehand.

If you’ve ever wanted to glimpse the stars, planets, nebulas, and just about everything else space has to offer, you should consider our picks for the best telescopes of 2020. Telescopes are not just for the experienced professional. Nowadays, they are becoming a lot more user and family friendly, so you can have yours set up in only a couple of hours or so.

Click here to see all Cyber Monday deals on telescopes

 

Telescopes Current & Expired Deals

As you can see, Celestron dominates a large part of the telescope market with their wide range of telescopes. If none of these telescopes appeal to you, keep in mind there are still plenty of manufacturers that produce telescopes of varying power levels and difficulty ratings.

Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker

Celestron 70mm Travel Scope

Celestron NexStar 130

Celestron NexStar 8

Gskyer Kid’s GT Telescope

Meade Instruments Infinity 70mm

 

Telescopes to Watch For

Gskyer German Technology Telescope

 

Do Telescopes Make Great Gifts?

While not exactly cheap, telescopes help us see the wonders of the universe. Not everyone can be an astronaut, but we all have chances to get unparalleled glimpses of space. A telescope makes a great gift for the budding explorer and anyone with an unquenchable curiosity.

Nowadays, some telescopes have astrophotography capabilities. Astrophotography is exactly how the name sounds. Not only will you see the uncountable number of objects in the sky, you’ll be able to save pictures of them so you can look back on them.

The Best Image-Stabilization Binoculars of 2021

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. 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 world’s best non-shaky images.

Let’s take a look at each of these image stabilizer binoculars:

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 image stabilization binocular

This 14x40mm pair of binos is more rectangular than your average pair of binos but has some hand grip on the left side to handle them with ease. These particular binos come with 5 degrees of stabilization. In the simplest terms, Degrees of stabilization refers to the level of which the lenses operate 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.

12x28mm

fujinon techno stabi ts12x28 image stabilization binocular

 

The Fujinon Techno-Stabi image stabilization binocular offers you a very reliable vibration reduction system. These have a more compact design that allows for easier transport, and the rechargeable battery is included with your purchase.

They are ideal for those looking for the best vibration reduction. They feature a three-degree vibration reduction range and a center focus wheel for focus adjustments. The batteries are long-lasting; they have multicoated optics, a 2.5mm exit pupil, and lightweight construction.

However, the lens is also on the smaller side, and the binoculars are not compatible with camera lenses.

Canon

Canon is a renowned camera maker, so it’s no wonder that they would have many image-stabilization binos.

10x30mm

canon 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 it’s no wonder they’re so popular. Check out some of the other sizes of image stabilization binos by Canon:

10x42mm

canon 10x42 l image stabilization waterproof binoculars

These Canon image stabilized binoculars come with a padded case to keep them safe while you are on the move. The case also comes with a neoprene strap, making it easier to carry and secure. The rain guard for the eyepiece allows you to maintain clear vision. They can also be used in rainy conditions due to the fully waterproof construction.

We like these binoculars; they use a high-quality L series lens, have 10x magnification, offer a great field of view, and boast full weatherproof protection.

14x32mm

With this Canon binocular, you will find lens shifting image stabilization in combination with microcomputer control. All of this allows for sharp and clear images and no color bias. The design of these binoculars is also incredibly ergonomic and fits comfortably in your hands.

They are light in weight and have a compact construction. They have a 32mm lens diameter and offer 10x magnification. You can also get 14x magnification for long-distance focus. They are great for hunting and bird watching.

If considering this model, remember that this is not a waterproof binocular or shockproof, there is no fog resistance, and the price point may be higher than what some are looking for compared to a regular binocular.

12x36mm

canon 12x36 image stabilization III binoculars

If you are looking for superior image stabilization, then these are the binoculars for you. They have a compact design that is easy to hold onto and allow you to maintain a firm grip. The Porro II prism system allows for more clarity and better viewing and makes it easier to zoom in on your target. These binos also feature a 36mm objective lens diameter. The lenses are on the smaller side but still offer you the view you want.

The images are always going to be clear and sharp. They are anti-shake and offer a maximum zoom of 12x. We especially love the field flattener, edge-to-edge sharpness, the power-efficient design, and the fact that it is compatible with Canon EF lenses.

However, we also noticed limited lens compatibility, and they don’t work the greatest in low light conditions.

18x50mm

canon 18x50 image stabilization all weather binoculars

The Canon 18×50 image stabilization all-weather binoculars were designed for outdoor use. If you need them for more distant viewing, it comes with 18x magnification power and a 50mm aperture. They provide you with an FoV of 65 meters, making them ideal if you are an avid bird watcher or hunter.

You will find extra clarity because of the fully multicoated lens, and the all-weather design makes them water-resistant. However, this particular model is heavier and does not come with a front lens cover.

Zeiss

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

20x60mm

Carl Zeiss Optical 20x60 Image Stabilization BinocularThe 20x60mm pair of binos is the biggest on our list and certainly the most powerful. These 60mm lenses and long eyepieces ensure that you see objects and animals 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 power 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. So, they are great as astronomy binoculars.

Hooway

hooway 7x50 waterproof fogproof military marine binoculars

Hooway binoculars have been designed to meet military standards. They have been designed to perform highly in varying weather conditions, including extreme rainstorms.

7X50

These Hooway binoculars are considered marine binoculars, offer 7x magnification power, and have a 50mm objective lens. They are completely waterproof and can even float in water. They are nitrogen-purged and fogproof, and highly durable.

The Porro prism system allows for a wider field of view, and the fully multi coated lenses allow for bright and clear images. These image stabilization binoculars also have an illuminated compass built-in for direction location and an internal rangefinder to help determine the distance and size of objects.

The non-slip rubber armor of these binoculars add to their durability and can absorb shock, keeping them safe from damage. It also allows you to maintain a firm grip.

These binoculars allow for a field of view of 396 feet at 1000 yards. The left and right diopter adjustment rings can adjust sharp optics to meet your different vision requirements. They are ideal for many activities, including hunting, boating, bird watching, hiking, and fishing.

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 are not many of them currently on the market and the ones that will 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

What Is the Difference Between Active and Passive Image Stabilization?

When looking for image stabilization binoculars, they fall into one of two categories: active and passive. With active image stabilization, you will find electronic sensors that detect movement. The view is automatically adjusted.

Depending on the type of Active ISB system the binos use, they will make prism angle adjustments or shift the lens position. Active image stabilization is good to use on a more stable platform, so hunting and bird watching are ideal activities.

Passive image stabilization doesn’t detect movements made with your binoculars. However, they do create more of a stabilizing effect for images on a more continual basis. They contain an internal gyroscope that reduces body movement. It disengages the prism, making the movements much less influential.

These binoculars should be used in non-stationary positions, like on a boat deck.

What Magnification Should I Look For?

When you choose binoculars for image stabilization, you will come across two numbers. For example, 10×42. The first number is the magnification power level, and the second number refers to the lens diameter and is measured in millimeters.

Larger diameters typically allow for clearer images, but these binoculars can also prove to be much more sensitive and a lot more expensive.

If you will be using your image stabilization binoculars for general use, then 10×40 is sufficient. However, if you want them for bird watching, then 8×42 is the standard so you can view more intricate details. For hunting, we recommend a 7×42 or 10×50, especially for long-range distances. A tripod will be needed to help with shakiness with these higher magnification levels and can help ensure a steadier image.

What to Look for When Choosing Image Stabilizing Binoculars

Now that you have more information under your belt, let’s take a closer look at what to look for when choosing the best image stabilization binoculars for your specific activities.

Aperture

This is the opening in which light passes and enters and has to do with the size of the lenses. The aperture size depends on your use. For regular viewing, an aperture of 36mm is sufficient.

Field of View

This is the total area you can see from your binoculars. It is usually measured in degrees but can also be determined by yards or feet if you are hunting or bird watching. For a wider FoV, look for less magnification.

Lens Coating

To reduce the amount of light that is lost, you need to consider coated lenses. The coating helps reduce any light loss and provides a sharper image.

Weatherproof

If you are using the image stabilized binocular outdoors, and you most likely will be, then how weatherproof they are is a big consideration. You want to make sure the sun and rain, and other elements don’t damage your binos so they can remain functional for as long as possible.

Eye Relief

When we talk about eye relief, we are talking about the distance from the eyepiece lens’s outer surface to the eyepoint. Eye relief is an especially important factor to consider if you wear eyeglasses. Long eye relief allows you enough room to have the binoculars the right distance from your eyes, even when you are wearing your glasses.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are several good choices when it comes to the best image stabilized binoculars on the market today. When choosing your next pair, consider the activity you will be doing and then look for high-quality optics, solid construction, and the best image stabilization system. Also, keep in mind, these binoculars will cost more than conventional binoculars, so keep your budget in mind as well.

Best Action Cameras of 2021

Action cameras are some of the most popular on-the-go video and photo taking devices on the market. Their video and photo taking capabilities are matched by some of the higher-end DSLR and SLR cameras. We use them to document our lives (no matter how crazy they are) at the moment. That’s why it’s not uncommon to see them mounted on shoulders, helmets, vehicles, aircraft, and even pets.

GoPro is definitely the first name that comes to mind when it comes to action cameras. Sure, GoPro certainly makes some high-quality cameras that are raved about. However, some of their cameras have limitations as to where you should take them and what conditions you should put them under. If you’re on a budget, a couple hundred dollar GoPro may not be in your best interest. That is why we’ve compiled a list of action cameras according to budget and occupation.

Furthermore, we’ll discuss how to compare one action camera vs. another and what you should look out for.

Our #1 Recommendation

GoPro HERO 6 Black

The HERO 6 is the newest toy in GoPro’s expanding product base. Soon to follow is the GoPro Fusion, but for now, the HERO 6 tops the market as the best action camera in the world. Customers might be a little hesitant based on price and how new it is, but trust us, you’d think you were a filmmaker with this little camera.

Aesthetically, it’s not all too dissimilar from the HERO 5. The one button on top of the camera and touchscreen on the back both make a reappearance. The actual lens placement on the front of the camera is a little different to allow for a new type of camera.

This camera is by far the most advanced in the world. Regardless of the fact that the HERO 6 hasn’t been out for so long, 4k at 60FPS quality is about as close as you can get to something like Blu-Ray quality. As soon as you’ve recorded your videos, they are also uploaded to the GoPro app for improved editing.

You won’t have to worry about jarring or shakiness because the HERO 6 features even better stabilization technology than the HERO 5 (which already made a statement on its own). It’s also waterproof without a casing up to 10m (best not to try and test that limit).

It’s hard to make a case for why the HERO 6 shouldn’t be the best action camera in the world.

 

Best Action Cameras under $100

FITFORT Action Camera

The Fitfort is a simple looking action camera that is loaded with impressive specs. It’s natural for people to be wary of brands that don’t say “GoPro” on the front but the Fitfort really handles the competition with a wide range of capabilities. The biggest spec is its 4k/25FPS setting—the highest setting for the video component. This is basically saying HD without specifically saying HD.

For less than a hundred dollars, the FitFort is waterproof above ten meters (thirty-three feet), and users have taken it with them biking, bungee jumping, and snowboarding among other activities. If you’re attaching the Fitfort to an area that you can’t easily reach, not to worry. The camera comes with a wireless controller that will fit around your wrist for easy access.

 

The Crosstour is a bulkier camera but still offers many of the same specs that the Fitfort does all for an insanely low price. We know what you’re thinking—cheap doesn’t always mean good quality but the Crosstour is here to dispel that rumor. 12MP and 1080P quality video (not 4k but still awesome) will still get you prime shots no matter the conditions you put it in. That being said, don’t treat the Crosstour like it’s indestructible. Like the Fitfort, it operates best underwater above 

The Crosstour has nearly triple the operating floor of the Fitfort underwater at thirty meters (ninety-eight feet). This will definitely appeal to swimmers or divers looking to take a camera to deeper spots than just beyond the shore.

 

We might as well call this camera the “McCool” because that’s what it is. With 4k at 30fps and 16mp, the Explorer-Pro is one of the fastest shooting action cameras at the highest quality for an affordable price. Using both rechargeable batteries will give you at maximum, a little over three hours of recording time—perfect for outdoor excursions.

The Explorer Pro comes with two additional shooting features—slow-motion and time-lapse. These features basically give you control over normal and slow to extremely slow speeds. If you consider yourself at the crossroads between hobbies and artistry, then the Explorer Pro is the right balance for you.

 

DBPOWER N6

You may recognize the name DBPOWER by the drones they manufacture. They manufacture the N6 action camera with the same precision and quality that they do their drones. A simplistic camera with 4k video and 170-degree camera angle (almost completely horizontal) makes sure that your shots are of the utmost quality.

Some designs you might find handy is the inclusion of a touchscreen on the back of the camera. Like many cameras, the N6 can be controlled via a smartphone app. The CamKing app also gives you the ability to do some slight photo and video editing with the camera’s onboard software. This is perfect for getting repeated shots in a particular area without having to go home to a laptop or desktop to do dedicated editing.

 

AKASO EK7000

The Akaso EK7000 could also fit under the best waterproof cameras section, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to put it in our budget section.  The EK7000 is a more dedicated camera for the extreme athlete or hobbyist. It combines a lot of the specs that make previous cameras great—4k video, 25FPS, and 12mp, all of which point to high-quality shots. A remote control attachable to your wrist will enable you to control the camera without much difficulty.

The operating floor of the EK7000 is around 100 feet below the surface of the water. It’s hard to find a better camera better equipped for nature than the EK7000 and for a low price.

 

Best Action Cameras under $200

 

SJCAM SJ5000X Elite

The SJ5000X may look like your average GoPro, but the reality is it’s anything but. It’s’ built to handle most grueling of journeys but still return some of the best images and videos possible. On the inside, it’s equipped with a number of programs and components to keep its shutter steady. In extreme environments, you can expect your camera to be tossed around almost as much as you are. The SJ5000X makes sure to compensate for these conditions while still maintaining a high standard in light filtering and coloration.

This camera also comes equipped with a slow motion feature (240FPS), enabling you to capture precise movements and details as they occur.

 

Best Waterproof Action Cameras

HLS Action Camera

The HLS action camera is a masterpiece of durable, waterproof technology. The highest possible setting on the HLS is a 4k/30 FPS, one of if not the best in the action camera market. Like the rest of the cameras in the waterproof section, it’s perfectly capable operating above and below the water line.

In regards to operating underwater, the HLS has an operating floor of a hundred feet, which is about the lowest floor of any camera on this list. To take full advantage of this feature, diving will probably be preferable to snorkeling.

 

Best Action Cameras for Hunting

Spypoint Xcel

During a hunt, it’s key to have a reliable action camera that can capture sights and sounds of game with precision. The Spypoint Xcel has a 4k quality option and every spec below that with the corresponding megapixel setting. You’ll also enjoy the fact that it’s camouflaged for forest terrain. It’s possible game might be scared away or confused by any other color of action camera.

The Xcel also has a burst mode feature—able to take three photos in only one and a half seconds. If you’re looking to track the position of game over time, this feature will definitely come in handy.

 

Olympus TG-Tracker

The TG-Tracker is a more dedicated action camera for hunting as opposed to ones that are applicable for hunting. It shoots at 4k quality which is what most people are going to be looking for. Its design is a little wonky in that its front facing with the LCD screen located on the side. This means you probably won’t be holding it when its recording. Instead it would probably work best strapped to some part of your body or tree.

This camera, besides its video and camera capabilities, has five senors—GPS, compass, accelerometer, thermometer, and a barometer. It would appear that camera is more of a multi-tool than just a camera, which is extremely beneficial to the dedicated hunter.

 

Best Action Cameras for Sports

GoPro HERO5

Not to be mistaken with the HERO5 Session. The simply put “HERO5” is the crown jewel of current GoPro technology. This camera truly has the most astounding specs about it. The price is still looming but if you’re looking to capture important moments on vacation or holiday, the HERO5 is the best camera for the job.

Like the Session, the HERO5 is a simple, one button camera. This button turns on the camera and you can basically control the recording from there with your voice. The back screen is also touch sensitive, giving you the ability to alter the quality and do some slight editing.

 

GoPro HERO5 Session

The HERO5 Session is another odd looking action camera. Don’t mistake this feature for the inability to do its job well. The camera itself is relatively easy to operate compared to the more rectangular action cameras. Aside from being waterproof, the Session fits snug onto everything from surfboards to helmets.

The Session is one of GoPro’s most advanced cameras. It can be voice controlled, enabling you to record without having to reach around to press a button.  Its 4k video at 30FPS is the fastest and highest quality on the market. The price is going to be a concern for most people, but GoPro really knocks it out of the park with the Session. This camera is built to handle the elements and give you some of the recordings of images and videos.

 

YI 4K Sports and Action Video Camera

The YI is definitely an advanced piece of equipment, employing a number of technologies to produce high-quality shots. The YI’s lens covers 160 degrees, slightly lower than the average degree angle but the difference isn’t too noticeable. Basically, the YI’s specs are designed to compensate for the worst of conditions.

Some cameras (and even phones) will get blazing hot when you set them on the highest quality. The YI compensates for this factor with an advanced cooler that will keep the camera and its valuable electronics from overheating, even on a hot day. The touchscreen will also give you editing capabilities

 

Best Action Cameras for Helmets

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30

The VIRB tops our list in this category for a number of reasons, not the least of which because of its all-around specs and capabilities. While not a dedicated helmet camera, it’s the best kind for the job of off-roading or helmeted sports. It shoots at 30FPS, the highest setting for 4k quality. You’ll be getting more than just above average quality.

The VIRB is almost on point with the hunting camera, the TG-Tracker, in that it has a number of sensors built into supplement your journey. If you plan on staying away from home or taking an extended trip, the VIRB can help you adjust to your surroundings and even keep track of your heart rate.

 

GoPro HD Helmet Hero

The Helmet Hero is an older model of GoPro but don’t let that fool you as to its capabilities. It doesn’t have the 4k quality option that a general action camera does by 1080p setting is still up there in terms of quality. The advantage with this is at 1080p, you get a whopping four hours of recording time!

This camera comes with a couple of mounts so you can mount it on everything from motorbike helmets to sports helmets. A multitude of shooting modes will give you an equally diverse way of looking at your footage.

 

Kodak PIXPRO SP1

The PIXPRO is a cute little camera similar in design to the TG-Tracker. It’s probably the simplest action camera you can get and pretty small at that. It won’t have the quality that bigger and more advanced action cameras do but it makes up for these in its versatility. It’s waterproof up to thirty feet and has stabilization software to avoid blurry shots.
Its shape is ideal for fitting on helmets or even the sides of helmets.

Comparing Cameras

With technology being updated almost every day, you can expect to see prices drop as higher quality optics becomes more affordable. Still, there is a multitude of action cameras out there, and it’s pretty overwhelming. As you’re looking through this guide, you’re probably wondering, how do I choose between two really good cameras?

If the categories didn’t already narrow down your decision, we’ve provided some pointers and tips to help guide your search.

Sports, Environments, and Conditions

One of the biggest factors you’ll have to consider when purchasing an action camera is where are you going to take it and how are you going to use it. Some examples of activities outdoorsmen and women have taken action cameras on are the following—

  • Rafting
  • Hiking/Backpacking
  • Running
  • Snowboarding/Skiing
  • Skydiving
  • Bungee Jumping
  • Helmeted Sports

While these are just some examples of activities, you’ll also have to factor in the weather should it come into play. Rain, wind, and snow are all threats to sensitive optics. Most manufacturers realize that their customers will be going on adventures with their action cameras, so they prepare them as best they can for rugged terrain and harsh weather.

  • This doesn’t mean you should treat your action camera as invincible. Treat it how you would treat a sensitive telescope or camera—with caution and handling.

Quality

Most of the action cameras on our list have the ability to shoot in 4k, 1080p, and 12mp quality. There are some cameras with specs above and below those mentioned, but for the most part, you should be able to get an excellent camera for under $400. However, maybe your budget and desire for camera quality are interlinked, how do you reconcile the two?

If you consider yourself a hobbyist and adventure above all, maybe you’re not too keen on purchasing the camera with the highest possible specs on the action camera market. If you’re contempt with the shots you get the first time, then you can probably push your search towards the $100 range and below.  If specs are your primary ambition, then the higher priced cameras are going to be your best bet. You may even get a few more shooting methods and editing styles for paying a little more.

  • Keep in mind which action cameras say they are waterproof. They may be common, but you don’t want to purchase one that isn’t just because it has fancy specs!

 

What does it mean when a camera says it has “built-in WiFi”? 

  • Most, if not all cameras require a WiFi connection to operate. Out in the wilderness or under the water, the internet doesn’t exist, so what does this mean? Well, it’s actually pretty simple. The camera will have a WiFi adapter compared to your smartphone’s emitter. The two will search for each other even outside civilization. Once they’re connected, you’re good to go! Just don’t expect to run much beyond the camera’s specific app.

 

Overall

We guarantee that you’re going to be satisfied with whatever action camera you end up purchasing from this list. While GoPro is still the hottest name on the market, don’t count out the various other manufacturers. Some of them, like the Ppap and the MGcool have some unique qualities about them that will make you do a double take.

It’s important to take care of these optics despite how battle-tested they may be according to other users. The warranty can only cover so much for so long. Carefully and soundly attaching a camera to your body or helmet will extend its lifetime dramatically.

 

 

Best Binoculars for Stargazing

While most might immediately associate telescopes with astronomy and stargazing, there are plenty of good reasons to go with binoculars instead (or in addition to). They are smaller and more portable, and they tend to cost much less. It’s also often easier for a beginner to get to know the stars with binoculars.

There’s also the added benefit of investing in a multi-purpose set of optics — binos are great for much more than just astronomy and can be used for more activities than telescopes.

Having said that, it’s important to remember that, though there are plenty of perks to using binoculars, you won’t have the same magnification so the viewing quality is going to be different.

Some of the best stargazing binoculars are going to be big, so you may need to have a tripod handy to use them.

With all that in mind, let’s dive into our top picks for the best astronomy-friendly binos. You’ll notice that there are just a few brands — namely, Celestron and Orion — that make most best lists, and that’s because they specialize in astronomical binos. These brands are worth checking out if our top picks aren’t quite right for you.

Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15×70 Binoculars

celestron skymaster giant 15x70We covered this pair in our best binoculars guide and our full review here so it’s no surprise that the Celestron SkyMaster Giant takes our top spot for best stargazing binos.

For a relatively inexpensive pair, the Celestron does an amazing job of aiding you in your astronomy excursions. They have high magnification, multi-coated lenses, and large aperture, so there’s plenty inside that make them useful for such an activity.

While lightweight given the size, most users find that they work best with a tripod. Eyeglass wearers will appreciate the 18-millimeter eye relief.


 

Celestron SkyMaster Astro 25×100 Binoculars

Though you’ll pay quite a bit more for the Astro, the 100mm objective lens is the largest available size from Celestron. Multi-coated optics and BaK-4 prisms are optimal for low light conditions and for stargazing.

The build on the SkyMaster Astro is part of the reason for the additional cost as well. As the company notes, “Celestron has designed and engineered the larger SkyMaster models to meet the special demands of extended astronomical or terrestrial viewing sessions.” This means that, although they are large, the balance and overall design is more conducive to longer uses.

The Astro includes a tripod adaptor, which you’ll most definitely want to use to catch specifics like Saturn’s rings. It also comes with a deluxe carrying case. Overall, the SkyMaster Astro is worth a look if you have a budget in the $300 range.


 

Orion Resulux 15×70 Binoculars

Another step up in price brings us to another great astronomy-focused brand, Orion, and their 10×70 Resulux binoculars. Boasting excellent optical quality and an 18mm eye relief, this is a fantastic pair that rivals many telescopes for star viewing.

The Resulux features a comfortable grip and full water resistance. Nitrogen purged construction helps eliminate fogging. But it’s really the optical features that makes this such an excellent choice, like the BAK-4 prisms and advanced multi-coatings on all optical surfaces. Like most stargazing binos, a tripod or monopod is strongly encouraged for optimal experiences.

This is a pair you’ll see often in articles about astronomy binoculars, though its price may put it out of budget for a lot of folks. Still, we think it’s worth saving up for if you’re a serious stargazer or if you’re forgoing a telescope altogether.


 

Orion Ultraview 10×50 Binoculars

This second option from Orion is a good blend of affordability (at around $150) and quality. The multi-coated optics offer 50mm objective lenses and BAK-4 prisms for solid light transmission and good image quality. Eyeglass wearers will appreciate the 22mm eye relief as well.

This is a model that has been around a while and reviews overall are primarily positive. These are the most high powered binos out there, so folks hoping to be able to see everything will be disappointed. Even so, these work great for the casual viewer and work equally well in the daylight.

The body is constructed with cast metal alloy. The Ultraview includes a carrying case and wide neck strap.


 

Canon 18×50 Image Stabilization Binoculars

The price tag on these is not for the faint of heart. At around $1000, the Canon 18×50 IS is one of the most expensive pairs of binoculars out there, and definitely the most expensive astronomy binos. However, these are a must-have for many hard core stargazers and definitely should be considered if you have the means.

The Image Stabilization is a fantastic addition to the high-end glass and beautiful build. You’ll need 2 AA batteries for the IS and you’ll have the best results with the addition of a tripod. Having said that, Canon claims that their technology is designed to combat the shake that accompanies not having a tripod thanks to a Vari-Angle Prism, dual transparent plates, independent vertical and horizontal sensors, and a dedicated microprocessor.

These are also All-Weather, so you can count on success in any condition, and they are shock- and water-resistant. While you’ll pay a good chunk of change for the Canon binoculars, most long-time users say it’s well worth the investment.


Best Gifts for Grandpa in 2019

For some of us, our grandfathers showed us the little tips, tricks, and shortcuts through life. Grandpas seem to provide a never-ending list of tall tales and adventures of which we are all jealous of. This holiday season, you can return the favor to your grandpa(s) by providing them with any of the nifty tools, devices, and gadgets listed below as a token of your appreciation.

 

Bluetooth Neckband

The Mpow Jaws V4.1 is a very popular set of wireless headphones that are noise-canceling. They are far cheaper than most over or in-ear Bluetooth headphones and fit comfortably around the neck. The earbuds are also finely shaped to fit into your ear rather than around it.

 

Multi-Tool

If your grandpas are still as invested in tradecraft and working with tools, they’ll really appreciate this laser-engraved multi-tool. What better way to show appreciation for all the hard work than a multi-tool that says “best grandpa ever”?

 

Amazon Echo

If mobility and distance are issues between you and your grandpa, consider the Amazon Echo, your new personal assistant. With a multitude of abilities, the Echo can make calls, purchases, and play music from a variety of apps among other things.

The Echo is as personable as you want to make it and is constantly updated with new firmware to increase its capabilities.

 

Binoculars

If your grandpa is still an avid outdoorsman, consider getting him a pair of Upland Optics 10x42mm sporting binoculars. These binoculars are high-quality optics perfect for any outdoor excursion from hunting to birding.

 

Apron

We all have the one grandpa who thinks that his burgers are the best in the west. If you think he’s as good as he says he says, then get him this stylish, Attitude Apron’s adjustable apron for his next grilling party. What dad or grandpa can’t help but brag about their grilling skills?

 

 

 

Image result for Sentai Men's Wooden Watch

Watch

The old-fashioned way of telling time certainly hasn’t gone out of style with the arrival of smartphones and smartwatches. Gift your grandpa a vintage wooden watch from Sentai that will remind him that he’s special to you.

 

 

 

 

Telescope

As we mentioned before, our grandpas took on some of our first outdoor adventures. You can acknowledge his efforts by gifting him an affordable yet powerful telescope from Celestron, a trusted telescope maker. These telescopes are also family and user-friendly.

 

 

 

Picture Frame

It’s important to keep memories alive, so why not provide your grandpa with the proper picture frame? There are many grandpas out there, but this one, in particular, is yours!

Holiday Gift Ideas for Telescopes 2018

Telescopes aren’t the most common gift to appear under the tree or in a stocking but when they do, you’ll know it was for a special someone. Though not as openly discussed as binoculars or spotting scopes, telescopes contain the most powerful optics in the world, and for good reason.

That power can be in your hands this holiday season, as there is a number of popular telescopes on the market that are family and user-friendly. There are some telescopes that can even be controlled with an app on your phone. If you or a relative are entirely new to astronomy and telescopes, check out our beginner’s guide to astronomy.

Nothing really beats the old point and look method, which is why most companies provide you with an interstellar map to guide your nighttime viewing. If you don’t find a telescope on here that you like, check out our picks for the best telescopes of 2018.

 

 

Best Telescope for Astrophotography

Celestron NexStar 130 SLT

  • Celestron is well known for their diverse and ever-growing catalog of telescopes. Astrophotography is an ability that was previously only available to scientists and professional astronomers. Now, if you are looking to get a great picture of a planet or object, the NexStar is the telescope for you.

Best Telescope for Beginners

Vixen Space Eye

  • Lightweight and below $100, the Space Eye is the perfect children’s or beginner’s telescope that simplifies the astronomy learner’s process. It’s a lot like the old point and look telescopes and you’ll have to do some fiddling by hand. But there isn’t a more perfect time to learn the basics than at a young age.

Best Telescope for Hobbyists/Amateurs

Celestron AstroMaster 114

  • The AstroMaster is the ideal hobbyist telescope with a wide range of power levels. Whether you want to take pristine shots of the moon or up close photos of birds, the AstroMaster will get it done. With its moderate size, it’s the ideal telescope to take on trips or outdoor excursions to escape light pollution.

Best Telescope for Professionals

Celestron Advanced VX 8″ EdgeHD

  • THe VX 8″ is one of the more powerful telescopes on our list and is equipped with a German equatorial mount. This mean’s the telescope and its turning mechanisms are aligned with the Earth’s, giving a better chance to seem rarer objects in the sky. The German equatorial mount isn’t a widespread telescope mount, hence the high price tag.

Do Telescopes Make Great Gifts?

Like we mentioned, it isn’t always that you see a telescope under the tree. That’s why it’ll be more than just a great gift, it’ll be a great surprise for the astronomer or budding explorer in your life. Telescopes aren’t cheap, so that’s why it’s important to catch them on sale this holiday season.

Some telescopes have shorter range optics so their ideal for other activities like birding, which requires about the same amount of patience that astronomy does. If your relative or friend already has a telescope, you could also look into additional or alternate lenses for that specific telescopes.

  • Most telescopes nowadays have interchangeable parts that are perfectly compatible with parts built by other companies. You’ll want to do some research beforehand, however. Click here for a guide to the best telescope accessories available.

Don’t feel as though you are limited by the stock options on your telescopes. While some telescopes can only handle a certain power level, you can definitely change up some finder pieces and lens to diversify your experience.

Best Action Cameras of 2021

Action cameras are some of the most popular on-the-go video and photo taking devices on the market. Their video and photo taking capabilities are matched by some of the higher-end DSLR and SLR cameras. We use them to document our lives (no matter how crazy they are) at the moment. That’s why it’s not uncommon to see them mounted on shoulders, helmets, vehicles, aircraft, and even pets.

GoPro is definitely the first name that comes to mind when it comes to action cameras. Sure, GoPro certainly makes some high-quality cameras that are raved about. However, some of their cameras have limitations as to where you should take them and what conditions you should put them under. If you’re on a budget, a couple hundred dollar GoPro may not be in your best interest. That is why we’ve compiled a list of action cameras according to budget and occupation.

Furthermore, we’ll discuss how to compare one action camera vs. another and what you should look out for.

 

Best Action Cameras under $100

The Crosstour is a bulkier camera but still offers many of the same specs that the Fitfort does all for an insanely low price. We know what you’re thinking—cheap doesn’t always mean good quality but the Crosstour is here to dispel that rumor. 12MP and 1080P quality video (not 4k but still awesome) will still get you prime shots no matter the conditions you put it in. That being said, don’t treat the Crosstour like it’s indestructible. Like the Fitfort, it operates best underwater above

The Crosstour has nearly triple the operating floor of the Fitfort underwater at thirty meters (ninety-eight feet). This will definitely appeal to swimmers or divers looking to take a camera to deeper spots than just beyond the shore.

Click here to see the price!

 

DBPOWER N6

You may recognize the name DBPOWER by the drones they manufacture. They manufacture the N6 action camera with the same precision and quality that they do their drones. A simplistic camera with 4k video and 170-degree camera angle (almost completely horizontal) makes sure that your shots are of the utmost quality.

Some designs you might find handy is the inclusion of a touchscreen on the back of the camera. Like many cameras, the N6 can be controlled via a smartphone app. The CamKing app also gives you the ability to do some slight photo and video editing with the camera’s onboard software. This is perfect for getting repeated shots in a particular area without having to go home to a laptop or desktop to do dedicated editing.

Click here to see the price!

 

AKASO EK7000

The Akaso EK7000 could also fit under the best waterproof cameras section, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to put it in our budget section. The EK7000 is a more dedicated camera for the extreme athlete or hobbyist. It combines a lot of the specs that make previous cameras great—4k video, 25FPS, and 12mp, all of which point to high-quality shots. A remote control attachable to your wrist will enable you to control the camera without much difficulty.

The operating floor of the EK7000 is around 100 feet below the surface of the water. It’s hard to find a better camera better equipped for nature than the EK7000 and for a low price.

Click here to see the price!

 

Best Action Cameras under $200

SJCAM SJ5000X Elite

The SJ5000X may look like your average GoPro, but the reality is it’s anything but. It’s’ built to handle most grueling of journeys but still return some of the best images and videos possible. On the inside, it’s equipped with a number of programs and components to keep its shutter steady. In extreme environments, you can expect your camera to be tossed around almost as much as you are. The SJ5000X makes sure to compensate for these conditions while still maintaining a high standard in light filtering and coloration.

This camera also comes equipped with a slow motion feature (240FPS), enabling you to capture precise movements and details as they occur.

Click here to see the price!

 

Best Action Cameras for Hunting

Spypoint Xcel

During a hunt, it’s key to have a reliable action camera that can capture sights and sounds of game with precision. The Spypoint Xcel has a 4k quality option and every spec below that with the corresponding megapixel setting. You’ll also enjoy the fact that it’s camouflaged for forest terrain. It’s possible game might be scared away or confused by any other color of action camera.

The Xcel also has a burst mode feature—able to take three photos in only one and a half seconds. If you’re looking to track the position of game over time, this feature will definitely come in handy.

Click here to see the price!

 

Olympus TG-Tracker

The TG-Tracker is a more dedicated action camera for hunting as opposed to ones that are applicable for hunting. It shoots at 4k quality which is what most people are going to be looking for. Its design is a little wonky in that its front facing with the LCD screen located on the side. This means you probably won’t be holding it when its recording. Instead it would probably work best strapped to some part of your body or tree.

This camera, besides its video and camera capabilities, has five senors—GPS, compass, accelerometer, thermometer, and a barometer. It would appear that camera is more of a multi-tool than just a camera, which is extremely beneficial to the dedicated hunter.

Click here to see the price!

 

Best Action Cameras for Sports

GoPro HERO5

Not to be mistaken with the HERO5 Session. The simply put “HERO5” is the crown jewel of current GoPro technology. This camera truly has the most astounding specs about it. The price is still looming but if you’re looking to capture important moments on vacation or holiday, the HERO5 is the best camera for the job.

Like the Session, the HERO5 is a simple, one-button camera. This button turns on the camera and you can basically control the recording from there with your voice. The back screen is also touch sensitive, giving you the ability to alter the quality and do some slight editing.

Click here to see the price!

 

GoPro HERO5 Session

The HERO5 Session is another odd looking action camera. Don’t mistake this feature for the inability to do its job well. The camera itself is relatively easy to operate compared to the more rectangular action cameras. Aside from being waterproof, the Session fits snug onto everything from surfboards to helmets.

The Session is one of GoPro’s most advanced cameras. It can be voice controlled, enabling you to record without having to reach around to press a button. Its 4k video at 30FPS is the fastest and highest quality on the market. The price is going to be a concern for most people, but GoPro really knocks it out of the park with the Session. This camera is built to handle the elements and give you some of the recordings of images and videos.

Click here to see the price!

 

YI 4K Sports and Action Video Camera

The YI is definitely an advanced piece of equipment, employing a number of technologies to produce high-quality shots. The YI’s lens covers 160 degrees, slightly lower than the average degree angle but the difference isn’t too noticeable. Basically, the YI’s specs are designed to compensate for the worst of conditions.

Some cameras (and even phones) will get blazing hot when you set them on the highest quality. The YI compensates for this factor with an advanced cooler that will keep the camera and its valuable electronics from overheating, even on a hot day. The touchscreen will also give you editing capabilities

Click here to see the price!

 

Best Action Cameras for Helmets

Garmin VIRB Ultra 30

The VIRB tops our list in this category for a number of reasons, not the least of which because of its all-around specs and capabilities. While not a dedicated helmet camera, it’s the best kind for the job of off-roading or helmeted sports. It shoots at 30FPS, the highest setting for 4k quality. You’ll be getting more than just above average quality.

The VIRB is almost on point with the hunting camera, the TG-Tracker, in that it has a number of sensors built in to supplement your journey. If you plan on staying away from home or taking an extended trip, the VIRB can help you adjust to your surroundings and even keep track of your heart rate.

Click here to see the price!

 

Kodak PIXPRO SP1

The PIXPRO is a fun little camera similar in design to the TG-Tracker. It’s probably the simplest action camera you can get and pretty small at that. It won’t have the quality that bigger and more advanced action cameras do but it makes up for these in its versatility. It’s waterproof up to thirty feet and has stabilization software to avoid blurry shots.
Its shape is ideal for fitting on helmets or even the sides of helmets.
Click here to see the price!

Comparing Cameras

With technology being updated almost every day, you can expect to see prices drop as higher quality optics becomes more affordable. Still, there is a multitude of action cameras out there, and it’s pretty overwhelming. As you’re looking through this guide, you’re probably wondering, how do I choose between two really good cameras?

If the categories didn’t already narrow down your decision, we’ve provided some pointers and tips to help guide your search.

Sports, Environments, and Conditions

One of the biggest factors you’ll have to consider when purchasing an action camera is where are you going to take it and how are you going to use it. Some examples of activities outdoorsmen and women have taken action cameras on are the following—

  • Rafting
  • Hiking/Backpacking
  • Running
  • Snowboarding/Skiing
  • Skydiving
  • Bungee Jumping
  • Helmeted Sports

While these are just some examples of activities, you’ll also have to factor in the weather should it come into play. Rain, wind, and snow are all threats to sensitive optics. Most manufacturers realize that their customers will be going on adventures with their action cameras, so they prepare them as best they can for rugged terrain and harsh weather. This doesn’t mean you should treat your action camera as invincible. Treat it how you would treat a sensitive telescope or camera—with caution and handling.

Quality

Most of the action cameras on our list have the ability to shoot in 4k, 1080p, and 12mp quality. There are some cameras with specs above and below those mentioned, but for the most part, you should be able to get an excellent camera for under $400. However, maybe your budget and desire for camera quality are interlinked, how do you reconcile the two?

If you consider yourself a hobbyist and adventure above all, maybe you’re not too keen on purchasing the camera with the highest possible specs on the action camera market. If you’re contempt with the shots you get the first time, then you can probably push your search towards the $100 range and below. If specs are your primary ambition, then the higher priced cameras are going to be your best bet. You may even get a few more shooting methods and editing styles for paying a little more.

Keep in mind which action cameras say they are waterproof. They may be common, but you don’t want to purchase one that isn’t just because it has fancy specs!

 

What does it mean when a camera says it has “built-in WiFi”?

Most, if not all cameras require a WiFi connection to operate. Out in the wilderness or under the water, the internet doesn’t exist, so what does this mean? Well, it’s actually pretty simple. The camera will have a WiFi adapter compared to your smartphone’s emitter. The two will search for each other even outside civilization. Once they’re connected, you’re good to go! Just don’t expect to run much beyond the camera’s specific app.

 

Overall

We guarantee that you’re going to be satisfied with whatever action camera you end up purchasing from this list. While GoPro is still the hottest name on the market, don’t count out the various other manufacturers. Some of them, like the Ppap and the MGcool have some unique qualities about them that will make you do a double take.

It’s important to take care of these optics despite how battle-tested they may be according to other users. The warranty can only cover so much for so long. Carefully and soundly attaching a camera to your body or helmet will extend its lifetime dramatically.