Best Action Cameras of 2019

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.

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 Gifts for Hunters in 2019

Finding the perfect gift for someone you love can be tough. For the hunter in your life, we have some ideas for great gifts for any occasion – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or just because.

 

Our gift guide includes products specifically for hunting, as well as other ideas that your hunter is sure to love.

 

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Binoculars

A good pair of binoculars makes all the difference for hunters, but few take the time and money to get a good pair. That’s why binoculars make a great gift for hunters. We did the research for you! Our binoculars guide will tell you everything you need to know and which models are best for each purpose. You’ll find a pair for any hunter and any budget. Our #1 recommendation is a pair from Upland Optics, the Perception HD 10x42mm Binocular.

Knives

If you’re out in the wild, chances are that you are going to need a knife. The worst thing that could happen is to have that knife fail you in a time of dire need. That is where survival knives come in. Designed specifically to handle any situation you throw at them, whether it be splitting firewood, cleaning an animal, or even as a weapon, a solid survival knife is literally built to save your life. The Banner Knives Ti-G10 is the knife that we’ve found to be the ideal choice for virtually any survival situation. It is made of the highest quality materials available with great craftsmanship, and it has never let me down. It’s fixed blade design makes it virtually indestructible, and capable of performing many tasks a smaller knife never would be up to.

Beer Kit

Hunters do more than just hunt! In off-season, your hunter can help provide for the family in a different way – by brewing their own beer. A beer making kit is a great way to help your budding brewer get started.

Rangefinder

A Rangefinder is another great gift idea for hunters. Like binoculars, rangefinders are something that many hunters want and could really use, but they don’t want to spend the money on them. Also like binoculars, we did research on rangefinders and offer up numerous options for different needs and budgets.

GPS

GPS units are smart addition to your hunter’s equipment lineup. If your hunter is in need of one, there are many options available. There are great options at every price point, so you’ll definitely be able to find one that fits your specific needs and budget.

camp stove

Campstove

This BioLite CampStove is a really neat bundle that does the work of several items in one – campstove, pot, and grill, plus a light and charger. It would make a fantastic gift for any hunter or backpacker.

 

Cozy Pajamas

After a week of hunting, coming home means getting comfortable. Why not get your hunter some cozy pajamas to lounge around in? Our vote is this camouflage onesie. Or, for the claustrophobic, maybe some nice pajama bottoms.

Boot Dryer

A boot dryer might sound like a luxury, but it’s actually a useful tool for anyone. This PEET boot dryer is super affordable and works great. You’ll prolong the life of hunting or hiking boots, as well as athletic shoes, too. Bonus: it helps reduce odors.

Trail Camera

Trail cameras are becoming more and more popular, and can actually be used for other surveillance in addition to scouting. Our trail camera guide talks about some of the uses of trail cameras and provides reviews of the best on the market. Trail cameras are available at all sorts of price points, and they make excellent gifts for any hunter.

Spotting Scope

As with all the optics we’ve discussed, spotting scopes make great gifts because many hunters don’t have them. Again, we’ve done all the hard work for you and created this guide to spotting scopes. For the hunter that seems to have it all, this might be one useful piece of equipment they don’t have. Our #1 recommendation is a spotting scope from Upland Optics.spotting scope

 

 

 

Reviews of the Best Telescopes of 2019

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 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!

Best Crossbows Scopes of 2019

Crossbow hunting and target shooting are becoming popular activities among hobbyists and professionals in this modern age. If you’re practicing archery, crossbow scopes are an essential tool to have whether you’re on a range or hunting game.

Nikon Bolt XR Crossbow Scope (BDC 60)

We’ve compiled a list of the very best crossbow scopes available. We’ll also discuss the fundamentals of crossbow scopes, including types, designs, and mounts. First, though, let’s dive right into the scopes.

Why Use a Scope?

Scopes are typically used to magnify one’s target to get a more precise shot and makes it easier to visualize the goal. Scopes can additionally lend aid to one’s accuracy and can make for clean and quick kills so game from hunting won’t suffer. There are various kinds of scopes — or sights as some refer to them as — all with different features and functions. It’s very important that the archer chooses a scope that best suits their specific needs and fits their crossbow nicely.

powerful-crossbows

Recommended Crossbow Scopes

While there is a vast variety of scope brands to choose from, only a few make it to the top and are worth mentioning.

 

Nikon Scopes

The Nikon Bolt XR Crossbow Scope (BDC 60) (pictured above) is designed to outdo what other scopes are capable of. It’s equipped with 3x Nikon optics that transmit up to 92% of available light for brightness and contrast, and Nikon also included a multi-coated lens with multiple layers of anti-reflective compounds. What’s even greater about this scope is that its advanced BDC 60 reticle provides precise aiming points up to 60 yards based on a velocity of around 305 fps. Some additional features include a large ocular that utilizes its full field of view, 3.4 inches of eye relief, and a quick-focus eyepiece.

The Nikon Prostaff P3 3×32 BDC 60

The Bolt XR furthermore has zero-reset turrets allowing you to sight in at 20 yards, lift the spring-loaded adjustment knob, then rotate to your “zero” allowing you to re-engage. You can simply dial in your subsequent ranges to make your field adjustments, and with the Bolt XR being waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof, this scope virtually matches with any crossbow velocity and bolt weight.

Many archers have deemed the Bolt XR as an excellent scope. It was mentioned that it works very well in low light with crystal clear glass. The multiple aim points were said to make it easier to accurately shoot from 20-60 yards with little to no effort. It’s highly recommended for archers looking for quality optics for their crossbow, for it has received a high rating amongst many that have bought and used this scope.

The Nikon Prostaff P3 is a newer version of the brand’s crossbow scope, and it is very similar in specs to the Bolt XR, including the BDC 60 reticle and reticle adjustments via 1-MOA click-stop moves. With this one, you’ll find a smoother experience and heartier build, so it’s definitely worth investigating the Prostaff P3.

Excalibur Scopes

Excalibur Twilight

The Excalibur Twilight Dlx Scope Multirange Reticle is one of a few worthy scopes from Excalibur. This one is particularly good in low light situations, and it’s at its best on crossbows at 300-400 fps. This is especially true when it comes to sighting in the scope. This 1962 Scope 6X44mm 30mm tube boasts excellent durability, so it’s a good option for hunters who encounter harsh conditions. Though the magnification is 6x, it offers 50-foot range at 100 yards.

Excalibur offers two other excellent options that come highly recommended.

Each of the Excalibur scopes we reviewed are shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof. It’s one of the most versatile crossbow scope brands on the market.

Other Crossbow Scopes

Another worthy crossbow scope is UTG’s 4×32 1″ Crossbow Scope with Pro 5-Step RGB Reticle and QD Rings. It’s built on a TS platform with a 1″ tube, wide angle lens, and parallax at 50 yards. It also includes broadband lens coating, RGB side-wheel illumination, zero-reset/locking W/E knobs, and comes with complete flip-open lens caps and UTG RQ2W1104 QD rings. The side wheel with green/red illumination has flexible adjustment for most versatile weather and lighting conditions and the scope has ergonomic and precise windage and elevation adjustment turrets for a more precise shot.

Plenty favor this scope for its crystal clear glass view and effective green/red colored sight reticle, great for day or night shooting. It’s pretty solid and well-built with a comfortable

Hawke Crossbow 1.5-5X32 IR SR

eye relief and houses overall wonderful optics, fantastic for archers looking for an effective yet affordable scope.

One last scope in the list of top scopes is Hawke’s 1.5-5×32 Matte IR SR Scope with Illuminated Circles. This scope matches up to the Bolt XR’s high performance and is specifically designed for crossbows. It features a crossbow speed selector which allows the scope to be compatible with any crossbow, and the precision reticle is engineered to provide aim points at exact 10-yard intervals from 20 to 100 yards. Its 1″ optics are fully coated for high levels of light transmission, and the red/green illumination (only on the SR model) allows for excellent reticle clarity.

It’s around the same value as the Nikon Bolt XR, and its users like its simple set up and quick sighting in. It seems to be highly recommended for those that do target shooting or hunting for archers can truly reach out to 100 yards, which is a best for many that couldn’t reach that before with other scopes.

Scope Design Basics

The scope is to be placed on the body of the crossbow above the trigger. An obvious component to a scope’s design is the long black tube with an ocular lens eyepiece on one end and the sight on the opposite end past the eyepiece. If the archer decided to add zooming features, there should be a power ring to be able to adjust the magnification of the sight. The elevation adjustment and windage adjustment tool can be found in the middle of the scope tube, and at the end of the scope is the objective bell where the scope’s body seems to get wider and almost bell-shaped. The objective bell is where the objective lens is contained. There are three main types of scopes an archer can choose from; a laser sight scope, red dot sight, and reticle scope.

Types of Scopes

A laser sight scope is an alternative, mostly practical for when you’re aiming at a moving target. The laser is meant to help the archer anticipate when the arrow will strike the objective. Laser sights can either be mounted underneath an archer’s crossbow or to the upper portion of the scope. If the laser sight is used with a quality scope, it can be utilized to accurately determine midrange targets. An iron sight is another alternative and is the most basic yet durable. There can be two sights on the crossbow, with one as a post, bead, or ring in the crossbow’s front and on the back of the bow perpendicular to the crossbow’s line of sight.

A red dot sight scope makes a red (or sometimes green) dot that the archer can see and use to pinpoint his aim at the target. You can either get red dot sights with single style distance settings or more advanced multi-dot scopes with several distance settings, it depends on what your preferences are. A lot of times, the red dot sight can be adjusted so it will be brighter or darker according to your liking too.

A reticle scope has crosshairs that section the lens view into four parts. This type of lens scope is the most common and more traditional. The crosshairs might be etched, wired in, or lit up in the scope depending on the model.

Scope Mount Types

When selecting a type of mount for your scope, there are the Picatinny, Dovetail and Weaver rails to choose from. Picatinny mounts can elevate the scope by about ½ an inch above the crossbow body and is most practical if you are using a red dot sight scope. “Picatinny” comes from the place of origin where the system was designed at the New Jersey-based Picatinny arsenal.

The Dovetail mount looks similar to the Picatinny mount in that it has a set of grooves running parallel that grasp onto a tiny set of ribs raised in the middle part of the scope’s base. Dovetail mounts are actually the oldest used mounts, and because of a 1931 patent on the mount’s design, Dovetail mounts are also known as Redfield style or Leupold style.

The Weaver rail grips onto scopes’ beveled outer edge and is considered to be sturdier than other alternate mounts such as the Picatinny and Dovetail rails.

Crossbow scope rings are usually made out of steel or aluminum. Be sure to pay attention to the scope’s accuracy, size, and range when picking the best scope for your target shooting or hunting needs for these will be important in how your scope performs.

Most of the time, archers look for scopes that can increase their range so that they can hit targets easier. If you’re using your crossbow for hunting small game, then your scope should feature a short to mid-range distance and it needs to fight nicely onto the scope mount while being lightweight and sturdy. If you have something like a variable scope, which can be a bit on the heavy side, it can affect your ability to hunt and be anything but an improvement.

Terms You Should Know Before Buying a Scope

There’s nothing like knowing exactly what you need to improve your crossbow’s accuracy. So before deciding on the perfect scope, here are some terms you need to know and keep in mind as you’re exploring the scope market.

Magnification is a basic function of a scope’s features which allows the archer to zoom in on objects from afar since the naked eye doesn’t have the ability to do so. There is a wide range of magnifications on scopes, with most of them having up to 32x maximum.

A scope’s field of view is essentially the sight picture with a particular width. For example, if your target’s distance is at 150 yards, the scope will give you a sight that is 15 feet wide. Thus, it’s not only magnified, but it also provides the focal lengths of the lenses. Usually, if the magnification is high, then the field of view will be narrow. While this feature isn’t necessarily for new crossbow users who still need practice, it’s very important for hunters that need to hone in on their prey, especially smaller game.

Stray light is an internal coating which disperses light that enters in the scope and prevents it from reflecting off the scope’s metal. Overall, this helps you achieve the clearest sight of the goal.

The eye relief is simply the space between your eye and the eyepiece lens. It prevents any accidents that may happen your eye while shooting, such as the lens bumping into your eye if your crossbow has a bit of kickback.

Length refers to the distance from the edge of the objective lens up to the back edge of the eyepiece. As a rule of thumb to remember, the longer that the scopes measure to be, the greater the magnification will be, but it will also be heavier. Depending on your preference, the magnification will vary if you like lightweight scopes versus heavier scopes.

The center tube diameter lets you know the size of the scope’s rings as well as the base of the scope.

Questions to Ask Before You Buy

When browsing for the perfect scope, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself in order to make sure the scope fits your needs.

Does the scope fit your budget? Typically, the pricier a scope, the more features it has and the better it performs. Cheaper scopes come with more standard and basic features and don’t have as many advanced settings such as higher magnification or illuminated sights.

What is your purpose for buying a scope? Believe it or not, this matters very much for it can affect how you perform whether you’re just a hobbyist archer or a serious hunter. If you spend most of your time at a shooting range, then perhaps a red dot sight scope or reticle scope would be most ideal. If you like to hunt game, then a red dot or a laser scope could serve you well. Laser scopes are especially great for moving targets as mentioned before.

Is it easy to sight in with the scope? If you’re familiar with sighting in, you’d know how irritating it is if you have a scope that takes dozens of tries to adequately sight in on your target. You won’t have this issue if you get a quality scope.

Is the scope waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof? These qualities are important if you’re shooting in different weather situations, as they will aid you in getting a more accurate shot and prevent any inconveniences.

Is the scope made of durable material? Depending on what the scope you choose is made of, it could last from a couple months to up to 10 years. Most scopes are made of aluminum alloy while others are made of a less durable material.

Those who own crossbows all have different priorities as to how they use it and what they use it for. Some like red dot sight scopes, others may prefer the traditional cross sight or laser sight, and some like more lightweight scopes compared to heavier scopes. If the scope you ultimately pick can provide you with easy visualization of your target, magnify for a better view of your prey, give you quick and humane kills when hunting, and offer features that serve all of your specific needs.

Click here to see the full selection of crossbow scopes.

The Best Scope for an AR-15 in 2019

best scope for an ar 15A high-powered rifle isn’t going to do you much good if you can’t hit your target. Spending the money upfront on a good rifle scope can drastically increase the effectiveness, enjoyment and reliability of your rifle. Sorting through the wide assortment of available scopes may seem like a difficult task, but provided you have a clear understanding of what to look for you can quickly narrow down your options. Factors such as the materials used in the build, the quality of the glass and the accuracy of the reticle are all important considerations when buying a scope. Scopes are small, portable and can easily be attached to the top of any rifle for the ultimate in portability. Additionally, red dot sights can be used on an AR-15 to increase your accuracy by creating a visual aid for aiming.

Features to Look For When Purchasing an AR-15 Scope

A lot of products on the market have the same basic features, but you can narrow down the available options by excluding scopes with components you don’t need. For example, you might be able to save some money and get a scope with a lower magnification if you don’t plan on shooting long-range targets. On the other hand, if you have the extra money, it might makes sense to buy the best scope you can get since your needs may change. The magnification, reticle, degree of parallax, scope to eye distance, and minute of angle are all important features you should understand before buying a scope.

  • Magnification: The level of magnification will determine the distance of a scope’s viewable range. Scopes can come with variable and fixed power magnification. The best scopes use variable magnification, since it allows for a better range.
  • Reticle: The reticle helps you to see objects at a distance. Reticles are also known as crosshairs, and they come in a wide variety of styles. Dot and duplex are the most common types. Duplex is good for camouflage operations, while dot works well for distant contact operations.
  • Parallax: Parallax occurs when you look at something from a different angle. Take the speedometer in a car for example. As a passenger, if you look at the speedometer, you’re going to see the needle resting on a different speed than the driver. The driver, who is sitting directly in front of the speedometer can view the needle as it was intended. Scopes that have a magnification of more than 10X will experience parallax, so it’s important to have an adjustable objective lens to counteract the parallax and get an accurate shot.
  • Eye Relief: The distance from the scope and your eye is known as eye relief. It’s important to have enough room so that if the rifle recoils when you shoot, the scope won’t hit you in the eye.
  • Minute of Angle: The minute of angle (MOA) allows for minute adjustments. The specification on the scope for MOA usually determines the amount of adjustment in inches. For a scope with a one-quarter inch MOA, the bullet will hit one-quarter inch from the crosshairs on the scope. This can be used for adjustments in windy conditions, or to account for other advanced adjustments that may be needed.

With those points covered, here are the scopes that come with the highest recommendations and the best prices:

Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope with Rapid Action Turret: Under $250

This is a high-quality scope that is unlikely to reflect light from the lens, which provides a clear and bright image quality. The exit lens is the perfect size for most needs, and uses Nikon’s multi-coating formula. The scope is lightweight and very portable, weighing in at just 2.2 pounds. The reticle includes the BDC 600 opening circle aiming points. The open circle is capable of adjusting according to the distance of the target. The one-quarter inch MOA allows for quick adjustments in the field.

The rifle is optimized to work with Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Match Technology for increased accuracy and reliability. This scope is one of the best scopes out there in this price range, and it comes with a lifetime guarantee from Nikon. The large scope is built for distance, but red dots make it suitable for close-range targets as well. This scope stays honed in no matter what you throw at it. Bumps, shakes and off-road adventures won’t affect it’s ability to stay on target and give you an accurate shot.

UTG 3-12×44 30 mm Compact Scope: Under $150

If you want a stable, consistent and reliable rifle scope, this mid-range scope offers an ideal option. It has a consistent eye relief that helps to keep your brow and eyes safe from kickback. Super compact, the UTG  is a 36 colors Mil-dot with good accuracy. Coated lenses offer good clarity and light transmission.

If you’re operating with a limited budget but don’t want to sacrifice clarity, this is a great option. The majority of reviews are positive and the price makes it too good to ignore.

Vortex Optics Spitfire Prism Scopes: Under $350

If you don’t mind spending a bit more, this Vortex scope is worth the money. Multi-coated, anti-reflective coatings make these optics stand out. The Spitfire will work best in medium range shooting applications and it’s built for situations where speed is critical.

Many reviewers compare this favorably to the ACOG, at a much more wallet-friendly price. And, Vortex is well-known for offering excellent optics, so this scope is highly recommended overall.

The Best Trijicon ACOG Scope in 2019

best trijicon acog scopeTrijicon’s line of Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights (ACOGs) is of the utmost quality. All models are forged from an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, making them lightweight and nearly indestructible. All models pass military drop tests and are water resistant up to 100 meters, filled with dry nitrogen to prevent fogging. For an even more durable product, Trjicon makes their ACOG scopes with fixed magnification. Less moving parts means more reliability. Most models feature a fiber-optic and tritium reticle that adjusts brightness based on available light, operating completely battery-free in bright to low-light conditions, and some offer an LED reticle option that runs for thousands of hours on a single battery. Trijicon’s ACOG scopes are specifically designed for effective use in close-quarters combat, using the Bindon Aiming Concept. It is no mystery why Trijicon ACOG scopes are the most trusted combat sights worldwide.

Trijicon offers a huge assortment of ACOG scopes, with different magnification powers, different reticles, different objective lens diameters, and different physical sizes. This article will give a brief overview of them, arranged by magnification strength and objective size, but first, a quick word about objective lens sizes.

For those of us that are new to firearms scopes, the magnification power and objective lens diameter are listed as, for example, “1.5×24”. The first number, 1.5, is the magnification strength of the scope. An object viewed though the scope will appear approximately 1.5 times as large. The second number, 24, is the diameter of the objective lens, in millimeters. The objective lens is the lens farthest from the eye, and determines how much light enters the scope. A larger objective lens will produce a brighter image, but will be bigger and heavier, and may require additional accessories to attach.

Now let’s talk about the various models of Trijicon ACOG scopes.

1.5x16S

These scopes are built for quick reflexes in close quarters. They feature a super-wide 7.4° field of view, allowing you to see a 12.9 meter diameter at a 100 meter distance. No other Trijicon ACOG scope matches these for maintaining complete combat awareness.

The smallest ACOG scopes Trijicon makes weigh a tiny 5.1 ounces. They are designed for the lowest possible mounting configuration, making them an excellent choice for AK rifles or other firearms with low cheek welds. They also make wonderful accompaniment to M16 or M4 rifles, leading to fantastic fire-control capability.

Trijicon 1.5x16S ACOG scopes feature circle-dot reticles, with no batteries required. The circle is made of high-quality fiber optics that catch and intensify ambient light, automatically adjusting brightness and contrast from bright to low-light conditions. The center dot is made of tritium, which catches and stores energy from collected light and glows when little or no light is available.
1.5x16S Trijicon ACOG scopes are a great choice for close-combat situations or for speed-oriented marksmanship competitions. They are small, light, simple, and durable.

1.5×24

These ACOG scopes feature a larger objective lens diameter than the previous set, with the same magnification strength. The image produced by these scopes is expected to be brighter and clearer than that of the 1.5x16S, but the scope itself is much larger. While the height and width remain the same as the smaller scope, the 1.5×24 scope is 45 millimeters longer, with a total length of 147 millimeters (about six inches). This scope is 6.3 ounces, considerably heavier than the 1.5x16S.

These scopes offer two possible targeting reticles: Triangle or crosshair. Reticles are made of fiber-optics and tritium, like most Trijicon ACOG scopes, and automatically adjust brightness based on lighting conditions. The largeness of the reticles makes them easy to decipher at an instant, allowing you to take aim that much faster.

The field of view through a Trijicon 1.5×24 ACOG scope is an 8.6 meter diameter at a 100 meter distance, or about 4.9°, much smaller than the 1.5x16S.

The benefits of the 1.5×24 ACOG scope are in the large exit pupil and generous eye relief. The exit pupil is a full 16 millimeters, and the eye relief is 91 millimeters. This configuration means that eye position requires much less precision, allowing for lightning-fast target acquisition in rapid-movement situations.

Trijicon’s 1.5×24 ACOG scopes are the right choice for fast target acquisition in close-quarters environments and any situation in which you need to maintain low-distance accuracy without sacrificing maneuverability.

2×20

This is the first step up in magnification, but it comes with a slight reduction in objective lens diameter.

The 2×20 ACOG scope is smaller than the 1.5×24, coming in at 135 millimeters in length, but with the same width and the same low profile. It is only one tenth of an ounce heavier.

Field of view is 5.6°, or a 9.8 meter diameter at a 100 meter distance. This is a wider field of vision than the 1.5×24, allowing a wider view of the combat zone while aiming through the scope.

Trijicon’s 2×20 ACOG scopes have three reticle options: Triangle, crosshair, or 6.9 MOA dot. These large reticles enable faster targeting discernment, but at the expense of long-range accuracy.

This scope’s compact design makes it a great choice for compact firearms, such as UZIs, MP-5s, or other member of the H&K lineup. It’s enhanced magnification extends accurate rifle range up to 200 meters.

3×24

This is the point at which Trijicon ACOG scopes begin to focus on long-distance accuracy. These scopes have the least eye relief of all Trijicon ACOG scopes, at 35 millimeters, and the smallest exit pupil, at only 8 millimeters. The scopes are only 127 millimeters long, and are available at in standard height or low-profile designs. Low-height scopes are perfect for AK style rifles, or other firearms with low cheek welds. The 3×24 ACOG scopes weigh between 5.8 and 6.1 ounces, making them easily maneuverable.

Field of view for these scopes is approximately 8.6 meters at a 100 meter distance, or 4.9°. Reticles at this level are specifically calibrated to either .223 or 7.62x39mm ammunition. The two targeting reticle options are either a dual-illuminated ballistic crosshair, or dual-illuminated horseshoe-dot. Both are made of fiber-optics material that automatically adjusts brightness based on lighting conditions, with a tritium center dot that glows in low-light conditions.

Trijicon builds windage and elevation adjusters right onto their ACOG scopes, so no extra tools are needed. They also integrate housings for their Ruggedized Miniature Reflex sights, or RMRs, so the extra optics can easily be mounted onto the ACOG scope.

Trijicon’s 3×24 ACOG scopes are the right choice for rifles using either .223 or 7.62×39 cartridges, when they need to balance lightweight maneuverability with long-distance accuracy.

3×30

This is one of the most versatile magnification and lens diameter options available. These scopes can be specifically calibrated for .223, .308, 7.62×39, or 300 BLK ammunition.

At 7.8 ounces and a length of 155 millimeters, these scopes are the biggest and heaviest of Trijicon’s compact ACOGs. They have a field of view with only a 6.5 meters at a 100 meter distance, about 3.7°, which is the tightest field of vision of the compact ACOGs.

Trijicon’s 3×30 ACOG scopes offer significant accuracy improvements. The sizable magnification strength extends usable rifle range, and the automatically adjusting fiber-optic reticle features bullet drop compensation for long-distance shooting. At these distances, windage and elevation adjustment is critical, and the 3×30 ACOG scopes feature integrated external adjusters at 4 clicks per adjustment inch at 100 yards.

These scopes offer a little more eye freedom than the 3×24 scopes, with 48 millimeters of eye relief and an 8.4 millimeter exit pupil.

Trijicon’s 3×30 ACOG scopes are the right choice for those who want a compact scope that enhances mid-range accuracy, and are using a .223, .308, 7.62×39, or 300 BLK rifle. This scope does not come in low-height configurations, and so may not be comfortable on rifles with low cheek welds.

3.5×35

This begins the set of Trijicon ACOG scopes built for extended range shooting. The 3.5×35 scope offers accuracy up to 800 meters for .223 rifles and up to 1200 meters for .308.

These scopes are not compact, and so are much larger and heavier than the previous scopes. 3.5×35 ACOGs are 203 millimeters long, 53 millimeters wide, and 66 millimeters tall. They weigh 14 ounces, nearly a full pound of extra weight on your rifle.

This scope has the largest exit pupil of the extended range scopes, nearly 10 millimeters, and the second largest eye relief, at 61 millimeters. External windage and elevation adjusters operate at 3 clicks per inch at 100 yards.

Trijicon offers a wide selection of targeting reticles for its 3.5×35 ACOGs: Chevron, crosshair, horseshoe-dot, triangle, and donut. Each reticle is dual-illuminated with fiber-optics and tritium. All sights are zeroed at 100 meters. Chevron sights are 5 moa thick, or approximately 19 inches at 300 meters. Competitive marksmen often prefer donut reticles, as they will not obscure the target.

Trijicon makes a special 3.5×35 ACOG scope designed specifically to be used with the M249 weapon system. This special scope increases hit probability out to 1000 meters. The special M249 scope is prepared to accept an additional RMR, and is built with GDI auto-locking quick-release levers. The scope is easily zeroed for either 500 meters or 10 meter BZO.

The Trijicon 3.5×35 ACOG scope is popular among competitive shooters for its ease of use, reliability, and accuracy. It is also among the only ACOG scopes specifically designed for use with a machine gun system.

4×32

The classic, the original. This is the first ACOG Trijicon made, and is still one of their most popular products. The 4×32 scope lineup includes several designed specifically for use by the US military, and one designed for use by the Los Angeles Police Department.

U.S. military specifications require the ACOG scopes to allow for bullet drop compensation up to 800 meters without any manual adjustments. Most non-US-military 4×32 scopes allow for bullet drop compensation up to 600 meters.

This magnification strength and objective lens diameter configuration has the most options of any ACOG scope Trijicon makes. They offer several models with the standard crosshair reticle, either dual-illuminated of illuminated with tritium only. They offer many different dual-illuminated reticles in scopes designed for use with the Bindon Aiming Concept. They even have 4×32 ACOG models with LED reticles.

LED reticle 4×32 ACOG scopes require one AA battery. They can last over 12,000 hours before the single battery must be replaced. The use of electricity over fiber optics allows the user to adjust the brightness of the reticle with a simple switch, and means that the reticle maintains the same level of brightness in all light conditions.

5.5×50

This is the longest of Trijicon’s ACOG scopes. It sits a full 305 millimeters in length! It sits relatively low, at only 69 millimeters. It weighs 25.6 ounces, just over a pound and a half, which will definitely affect the maneuverability and ease of use in your weapon. This ACOG scope is built for great accuracy in extended-range shooting, but is still designed to work well with the Bindon Aiming Concept.

The reticle is only available in chevron, but comes with a flat-line top adapter. The large objective lens ensures that the image will be bright and clear even at such a high magnification. A tight field of view, only 6.1 meters at a 100 meter distance, about 3.5°, maintains an accurate image with as little fish-eye distortion as possible.

This ACOG is made for pinpoint accuracy. Built-in windage and elevation adjusters operate at 5 clicks per inch at 100 yards. The reticle includes markings for bullet drop compensation for incredibly long distances. The reticle is zeroed at 100 meters, and the 5.53 MOA chevron signifies 19 inches at 300 meters, allowing easier range estimation for silhouetted targets.

These 5.5×50 ACOG scopes can be calibrated either for .223 or for .308 ammunition. This covers a wide variety of weapons that are generally used at these distances.

The Trijicon 5.5×50 ACOG scope is the right choice for shooters intending to use their weapon at long distances, but who want to avoid the extra weight and difficulty of using the last Trijicon ACOG magnification and objective lens diameter configuration.

6×48

This is perhaps the most impressive of Trijicon’s ACOG lineup. These can be calibrated for .223, .308, or .50 BMG ammunition. All 6×48 ACOG scopes incorporate bullet drop compensation notches in the reticle: the .223 scope has bullet drop compensation to 800 meters, the .308 up to 1200 metes, and the .50 BMG up to 1800 meters.

The .308 scopes can have either a chevron or horseshoe-dot reticle, while the others are only available in chevron. All reticles are zeroed at 100 meters, and the chevron is 5.53 MOA think, or 19 inches at 300 meters. All reticles are dual-illuminated with fiber optics and tritium, which provided battery-free lighting that automatically adjusts in brightness to environmental conditions.

Trijicon makes two specialty ACOG scopes in this range. The first is designed for use with the M240 weapon system, and the second for use with the .50 BMG M2 system. Both specialty scopes incorporate a horseshoe-dot reticle with a tritium center that glows in darkness. Both have a built-in 1913 Picatinny Rail on top, so additional sights can be attached. Both have auto-locking quick detach levers. Both are designed for both-eyes-open shooting, in the Bindon Aiming Concept.

The 6×48 ACOG scopes are incredibly durable. They are built of the same aluminum alloy as the others, need no batteries, and are waterproof up to 500 meters. These scopes go anywhere.

These scopes are by far the heaviest of the Trijicon ACOGs, at 36.9 ounces, over 2.25 pounds. They are 229 millimeters long and 86 millimeters high, making this configuration perhaps the most cumbersome. Windage and elevation adjusters operate at 4 clicks per inch at 100 yards.

The M240 scope provides bullet drop compensation notches up to 1200 meters. It includes a 500 meter zero point, and a 10 meter BZO marker.

The M2 scope provides bullet drop compensation notches up to 2000 meters. Instructions to zero the scope at 100 or 500 meters are etched into the side. This scope is designed to account for bullet spin at extreme distances, specific to .50 BMG ammunition.

The 6×48 ACOG scope is the perfect choice for those who want the highest magnification strength, but understand the importance of the Bindon Aiming Concept. These scopes are the definition of rugged reliability. They are easy to use and capable in nearly any environment.

Summary

Here’s a quick guide to deciding on a Trijicon ACOG scope:

  • Consider the size of the weapon to which the scope will be attached. Smaller weapons are better suited to compact scopes, which range up to the 3×30.
  • Consider the cheek welds. Guns with low cheek welds are often better suited to low-profile ACOGs.
  • Consider your average combat distance. At close quarters, a wide field of view helps maintain peak combat awareness, and smaller, lighter scopes will be more easily maneuverable.
  • Consider eye relief. In high-speed situations, more eye relief space makes it easier to get a full view through the scope without specific head placement.
  • Consider caliber. Longer-distance scopes are specifically designed by caliber, with bullet drop compensation lines that match.
  • If using an M2, M240, or M249 weapon system, go straight for ACOG scopes specifically designed for use with your firearm.

Once you’ve considered every aspect of the scope, use the links above to find what you want on Amazon, and click Buy Now. You won’t be disappointed.

Binoculars Review: Monarch 5 10x42mm

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

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

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

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

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

And it has the following features:

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

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

Design

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

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

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

Key Users

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

In-House Comparison

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

Our Verdict

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

Click here to check the current price of the Monarch 5

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.

 

The Best Image-Stabilization Binoculars of 2019

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 best non-shaky images in the world.

Let’s take a look at each of them:

Fujinon

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

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

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

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

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

Canon

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

10x30mmCanon 10x30 Image Stabilization II Binoculars

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

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

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

Zeiss

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

20x60mm

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

Carl Zeiss Optical 20x60 Image Stabilization Binocular

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

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

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

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

Design

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

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

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

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