Reviews of the Best Binoculars of 2021

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

My #1 Recommendation

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

 

 

 

What to Look For in a Pair of Binoculars

Specifications

Magnification and Objective Lens Diameter

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

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

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

Field of View

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

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

reviews of binoculars

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

Actual and Apparent Field of View

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

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

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

Eye Relief

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

Exit Pupil Diameter

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

Additional Binocular Features

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

Compact Size

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

Weatherproof Binoculars

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

Lens Coating

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

Basic Uses and Recommendations

General

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

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

Bird Watching and Hunting

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

Golfing

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

Stargazing

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

Best Binoculars for Hunting

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

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

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

Upland Optics Venator

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

Nikon Monarch Binoculars

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

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD

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

Vortex Diamondback

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

 

Best Binoculars for Birding

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

Bluebird Optics Zonos 8×25

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

Athlon Argos G2 UHD

If your main priority is high quality glass and you don’t want to spend a fortune, the Argos G2 UHD might be the perfect fit for you. High quality ED glass and ESP Dielectric coating give these binoculars excellent clarity and light transmission, making them perfect for bird watchers who want to see every detail. These are part of Athlon’s new lineup of binoculars, and they have performed excellently in our testing.

Zeiss Victory Best Birding Binoculars

Zeiss Victory TFL 8X32

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

Nikon Monarch 7

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

Leica Trinovid

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

Best Compact Binoculars

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

Swarovski CL Pocket 8X25 Binoculars

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

Vanguard Orros 10X25 Binoculars

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

Pentax 9X28 DCF LV Binoculars

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

Best Astronomy and Stargazing Binoculars

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

Celestron Echelon 20X70 Binoculars

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

Celestron 15X70 SkyMaster Binoculars

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

Best Binoculars for Safaris

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

Celestron Granite 9X33 Binoculars

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

Swarovski EL W B Traveler 8X32

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

Best Binoculars for Kids

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

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

Bresser 6×21 Junior Compact Binoculars

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

Opticron Discovery WP PC 8×32 Binoculars

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

Best Binoculars with Built in Camera

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

Vivitar 10×25 DigiCam Binoculars

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

Eoncore 2″ LCD Display Digital Camera Binoculars 12×32 

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

 

Best Rangefinder Binoculars

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

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

Leica Geovid HD-B Binocular

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

Zeiss Victory RF Binocular

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

The Best Binoculars for the Money

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

Swarovski CL Pocket 8X25 Binoculars

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

Upland Optics Perception HD 10×42 Binoculars

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

Celestron Nature DX 8X42 Binoculars

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

Best Binoculars for Under $100

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

Nikon 8245 Aculon Binoculars

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

Celestron 20X80 Skymaster Binoculars

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

Best Binoculars for Under $200

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

Vanguard 10X42 Spirit XF Binoculars

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

Hawk Nature-Trek 8X42 Binoculars

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

The Best Binoculars on the Market

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

Upland Optics Perception HD 10×42 Binoculars

See description in the Best Value section.

Zeiss 10X42 Victory HT Binocular

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

The Best Binocular Brands

Bushnell

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

Zeiss

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

Nikon

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

Steiner

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

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

Conclusion

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

Best Hunting Binoculars of 2021

Hunters have specific needs when it comes to optics, so finding the right pair of binoculars takes more than just finding a trusted brand. Binoculars are one of the most important pieces of equipment for hunters. But with so many choices on the market, how do you know which pair is right for you?

We have reviewed five of the top options for hunters, so you can narrow your search to find the best pair for your outdoor adventures. These pairs range in price and features, so there’s something for everyone.

 

Upland Optics Perception HD: #1 Recommendation

While it’s true that spending more money on optics means better quality, our top pick doesn’t break the bank. In fact, it’s one of the most affordable premium optics around. Upland Optics Perception Binoculars

Every product from Upland Optics is designed by and for hunters. This means that the Perception HD offers exceptional glass, great durability, and weather-resistance.

Some of the key features and specs of the Perception HD binoculars include:

  • Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Glass
  • Waterproof & fogproof
  • 10x42mm
  • 113m FOV at 1000m
  • 17.2mm eye relief
  • Dimensions: 5.5″ x 5″ x 2″
  • Weight: 1.44 lbs
  • Lifetime Warranty

Click here to shop for the Upland Optics Perception HD.

 

 

Nikon Monarch Best Hunting BinocularsNikon Monarch 5 Binoculars

Nikon Monarch binoculars come in three sizes: 8X42, 10X42, and 12X42, so you have many choices at your disposal. Nikon’s high-quality glass and prisms ensure a solid viewing experience in most lighting conditions.

The build is designed for comfortability and durability, making it an all-around excellent pair of binoculars for most uses, including hunting.

Some notable features of the Monarch 5 10×42 include:

  • Premium ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) Glass
  • Fully Multicoated Eco-Glass Lenses
  • Apparent FOV: 51.3°
  • 288′ field of view at 1000 yards
  • 18.4mm eye relief
  • Weight: 21 ounces
  • Dimensions 7.6 x 3.1 x 5.9 inches

Click here to shop for the Monarch 5.

 

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD

These are one Bushnell’s most popular binoculars, and it is no surprise that they are some of the best binoculars for hunting out there. They come in 4 sizes: 8X36, 8X42, 10X36, and 10X42.Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x42

Like others we have discussed so far, these are built for durability and all weather conditions. These are often found for slightly less than the Nikon and Upland pairs that take the top spots.

Notable features of the 10×42 include:

  • Exceptional optics with ED Prime Glass, Ultra Wide Band Coatings, and RainGuard HD water-repellent lens coating
  • Waterproof & fog proof
  • Ultra wide field-of-view with long eye-relief; locking diopter
  • Weight: 22.5 Oz
  • Dimensions 5.28 x 4.02 x 6.89 in

Click here to shop for the Bushnell Legend Ultra.

 

Upland Optics Venator

This is the upgraded version of our top choice. For the discerning hunter, the Venator 10×42 are the pair to get for the best possible glass. Excellent light transmission and premium lens coatings help deliver top grade optical performance while also being durable enough to survive tough hunting excursions.

Though these are priced higher than any of the binos we’ve discussed so far, they are still very well priced for their quality and the amazing glass. You can read our full review of the Venator here. Our most significant findings are that the build quality is outstanding and the premium glass makes it worth the splurge.

Here are some key features and specs:

  • 10x optical zoom, 42mm objective lens
  • 114m field of view at 1000m
  • 15mm eye relief
  • Waterproof & fogproof
  • Includes carrying case, lens cloth, neck strap, and lens caps
  • Dimensions: 5.5″ x 5″ x 2″
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs

Click here to shop the Upland Optics Venator.

 

Vortex Diamondback

Vortex Diamondback binoculars are of very high quality, and although the company is not as big as its competitors, it can deliver a great product. Diamondbacks come in 4 sizes: 8X28, 8X42, 10X42, and 12X50. Vortex Optics Diamondback 10x42

One of the most appealing things about the Diamondback in this list is that it is the most affordable pair we recommend for hunting. It’s currently priced well under $200 and isn’t usually much more than that.

Some of the notable features of the Vortex Diamondback 10×42:

  • Dielectric, fully multi-coated lenses transmit more light and clearer, brighter images
  • FOV 330′
  • Eye relief 15mm
  • Multi-position eyecups twist up for adjustable eye relief
  • Waterproof and fogproof 
  • Weight 21.4 oz
  • Dimensions: 5.8″ x 5.1″

Click here to shop for the Vortex Diamondback.

Athlon Neos G2 HD 8x42mm Binoculars Review

Athlon’s new line of sporting optics hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves yet, so I’m here to set the record straight by reviewing their entry into the low-mid range end of the binocular market: The Neos G2 HD. This binocular can usually be had for less than $100, making it very affordable and accessible for the average beginner sportsman or enthusiast.

I got my hands on the 8x42mm version of this binocular. 42mm objective lenses are far and away my favorite, as they offer the perfect trade off between portability and image quality. They let in plenty of light, and the 8 power magnification is ideal for when you need a fairly wide field of view but aren’t necessarily looking to zoom in super close to your quarry.

The big thing that you give up when you get a binocular in this price range is extra low dispersion glass. For an Athlon option that has this higher end glass, check out the Argos G2 UHD I recently reviewed. However, I have to say that even without ED glass, the Neos impressed me with its surprisingly great image quality. The difference between ED and non ED glass is something that it takes some time to be able to distinguish, and conditions play a role in it as well. With these binos it was shockingly difficult to tell that they didn’t use ED glass. Suffice it to say that for the money, these binos offer an excellent view.

The coolness factor is somewhat arbitrary, but still important to many people, and these binos definitely have it. With their sleek grey color (it reminds me of my Cement colored Tacoma) and excellent grip texturing, these binos simply look cool. Way more visually to them than the standard plain black rubber.

You can get these binos standalone, or packaged with a Wearable4U lens cleaning pen and clothe, which is a very helpful addition for those who use their binos in adverse conditions. Regardless they will include the industry standard clothe carry case, neck strap and small lens clothe. As with the Argos G2 I mentioned above, these come in Athlon’s beautiful new packaging, which has one of the better box designs I’ve seen in the industry.

In short, these are a solid pair of binoculars and a great option for someone looking in this price range!

Athlon Optics Argos G2 UHD 10×42 Hands On Review

Athlon is one of my go to recommendations for a wide class of sporting optics. They have solid products, are reliable, and constantly update their lineup. They recently sent me one of their newest generation of binoculars, the Argos G2 UHD.

Priced at a bit over $200, the Argos G2 UHD is an entry into the midrange market of binos, which is the most popular for consumers and what I typically recommend those who are getting into hunting, bird watching or some other type of outdoor activity start out with. They are also perfectly sized, with 10×42 being the best fit for most users. In short, these binos are targeting a sweet spot in the market.

But with that sweet spot of course comes competition. There are dozens of brands vying for the same customers as the Argos. So what did Athlon do to give them the competitive edge? Let’s dive in. First off, the optics are great. These binos come with ED (extra low dispersion) glass. This is a critical feature that I have to see before I recommend a mid range bino. It makes image quality significantly higher. They also offer ESP dialectric coating on the phase corrected prisms, which has insanely high light transfer. Translation: more light going through the binos actually gets to your eyes, meaning brighter, clearer images. They also offer an XPL coating on the exterior lenses to protect against dirt, moisture, and anything else they get exposed to in the elements when you’re on a major adventure.

These binoculars fall into what I would call the “modern” category. They have a sleek build with lots of features and grip elements built into the chasis, making them easy to hold and use, and very attractive to look at. They come with the standard lens cloth, soft case, and neck strap. The box they come in also excellent, and really adds a nice presentation element to it (all of Athlon’s new line seems to be coming in these high end new boxes, and I’ve been very impressed by their packaging). Compared to the cheap cardboard the company used to use, it’s a massive upgrade in how the product feels coming out of the box.

Overall I think this is an excellent mid range bino to consider, especially since it is priced a little below many of the best competitors in the space. You can check them out on Amazon here.

The Best Image-Stabilization Binoculars of 2021

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

Image stabilization is a very sought after quality among camera fanatics, including those who own DSLR and SLR cameras. We all want our binoculars to transmit the best quality images to us regardless of weather conditions.

While most binos do a pretty good job on their own, these particular binos are specialized to produce some of the world’s best non-shaky images.

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

Fujinon

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

14x40mm

fujinon techno stabi ts1440 image stabilization binocular

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

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

12x28mm

fujinon techno stabi ts12x28 image stabilization binocular

 

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

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

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

Canon

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

10x30mm

canon 10x30 image stabilization II binoculars

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

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

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

10x42mm

canon 10x42 l image stabilization waterproof binoculars

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

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

14x32mm

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

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

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

12x36mm

canon 12x36 image stabilization III binoculars

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

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

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

18x50mm

canon 18x50 image stabilization all weather binoculars

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

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

Zeiss

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

20x60mm

Carl Zeiss Optical 20x60 Image Stabilization BinocularThe 20x60mm pair of binos is the biggest on our list and certainly the most powerful. These 60mm lenses and long eyepieces ensure that you see objects and animals in the distance and to the edges of your lenses.

These binos also give you the ability to “lock-in” an image while you’re looking through the lenses. This feature will really appeal to outdoorsmen like birders who really need their binos to be stable as they analyze features of avians.

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

Hooway

hooway 7x50 waterproof fogproof military marine binoculars

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

7X50

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

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

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

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

Design

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

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

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

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

What Is the Difference Between Active and Passive Image Stabilization?

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

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

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

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

What Magnification Should I Look For?

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

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

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

What to Look for When Choosing Image Stabilizing Binoculars

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

Aperture

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

Field of View

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

Lens Coating

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

Weatherproof

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

Eye Relief

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

Conclusion

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

The Best Rangefinder Binoculars for Your Adventures in 2021

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

As with normal rangefinders, a rangefinder bino does require batteries. They may not be the large CR2 batteries that most rangefinders run on, but you will still have to spend some money every now and then to replace them.

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

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

Best Under $300

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aomekie Ultimateaomekie binoculars for adults 7X50

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best Under $1200

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

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

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

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

Bushnell Fusionbushnell fusion 1 mile isolated on white background

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

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

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

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

Nikon Laser ForceNikon 16212 Laser force Rangefinding Binocular Spotting Scopes

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

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

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

Vortex Optics FuryVortex Optics LRF300 Fury 10x42 Binocular LRF

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

The Vortex Fury HD rangefinder reticle is similar to the one you’ll find in a normal rangefinder. Like the Laser Force and Fusion, these binos utilize a laser to acquire distance. If your target is at an odd angle away from you, the Fury employs the Horizontal Component Distance (HCD) to compensate for those angles and ensure you are getting precise distances.

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

ATN Binox 4K Day & Night Smart Binoculars

atn binox 4k day & night smart binoculars isolated on white background

If you want live streaming and HD video recording, then these are the smart binoculars for you. They allow for bright and crisp images, and the zoom feature is smooth, imitating your natural eyesight. These binos are multipurpose and can be used for hunting, outdoor sports, wildlife observation, surveillance, and even golfing.

The sharp sensors of these binos feature extended metadata, e-compass orientation, zoom level, distance to the target, and 3D gyroscope functionality. Even though they are packed with all these powerful features, these binos have low energy consumption and can be used for 16+ hours of active use.

For comfort and eye relief, interpupillary adjustments can be made, making these a good choice for everyone, even children. The 4K Ultra HD technology combined with the Dual Core Processor allows for a clear image, despite ambient light.

These binoculars can help you detect and identify prey and the built-in laser rangefinder helps you measure the distance easily and quickly. These binoculars offer great image stabilization, high-quality image production even in low light conditions, water-resistant construction, an ergonomic design, an inbuilt compass, and Wi-Fi streaming.

However, also keep in mind it only has a 220-foot field of view at 1000 yards, and these binoculars are prone to damage.

Sig Sauer 5270-1296 Binoculars

sig sauer 5270 1296 binoculars

These binoculars are a great choice and come in at under $1,200, making them an affordable option for a high-quality product. They are ideal for broad daylight performance. They are lightweight, easy to use, and have an ergonomic design. They fit your hands nicely, and you won’t get tired of holding them.

The Sig Sauer binoculars are also weatherproof, so you don’t have to worry about pulling them out during rainy conditions. You also don’t have to worry about damage due to condensation forming on the lenses. They are well-constructed and are a value at this price point.

They offer a field of view of 320 feet at 1000 yards. The lenses are fully multi-coated, 10x magnification and the lens diameter is 42mm with an eye relief of 18mm.

The high-quality internal ballistics keep all your accurate data and help you while you are out on the field. However, they aren’t ideal for twilight conditions, so keep this in mind.

Advantages of Rangefinder Binoculars

When you use a pair of rangefinder binoculars, you can view distant objects and measure the distance between yourself and the target. If you are hunting, it can prove to be advantageous. When you choose to use traditional rangefinders, you can still look at objects in the distance, but you will have half the range you would have if you were to use rangefinder binos.

Rangefinder binoculars are also equipped with magnification that is almost double the power when compared to traditional rangefinders. Additionally, rangefinder binos are lightweight, so they don’t add much to your pack.

Ranging Distance

With rangefinder binoculars, you not only extend your visual range, but you also have the advantage of measurements. You will typically find a range capacity of 1700 to 1900 meters for objects that are reflective. For a non-reflective target, the range capability is approximately 1000 to 1200 meters. Along with the measurements is the magnification power. Most rangefinder binoculars are capable of 10x magnification or even 12x magnification.

Ballistic Configuration

If you are a hunter, then the ballistic configuration proves important. The ballistic information includes data about the current conditions in the field. You can learn more about ground slope, wind conditions, temperature, barometric pressure, and the altitude within a specific range.

A high-quality pair of rangefinder binoculars offer ballistic configurations for up to 1900 meters. This helps eliminate guesswork and eliminate inaccuracies. The data accuracy on the newer models is also far better due to the higher-quality lenses and prisms.

Field of Vision

The field of vision (FoV) and magnification are similar. If you want a wider field of vision, you want to have a set of rangefinder binoculars with a lesser magnification. With higher magnification, you will find that the FoV can become compromised. So, if you are a long-distance shooter, then go for a higher FoV. You can spot your pry and better target them within the lens.

How to Choose the Best Rangefinder Binoculars

Now that you know more about the features you should look for, here is how to find and choose the best rangefinder binoculars.

Optical Performance

Always choose binos that offer high-quality lenses and optics. A larger diameter lens works much better at gathering light and allows for clear images. Lower light conditions warrant a 50mm lens for the best optical performance.

Glass Coatings

You can find rangefinder binoculars with different glass coating types. Some are meant to keep the water off the lenses, while others are strictly more anti-reflective, which is what you want for clear and sharp imaging.

The Distance

A long-range shooter needs to have a long-distance or range and better magnification. Choose your magnification and FoV carefully, considering the kind of activities you will be engaging in.

Focus System

If you want the exact location of your target, then a focus system will prove beneficial. Instead of manually focusing on your target, it auto-focuses instead and saves you time.

Eye Relief

If you wear glasses, then eye relief will prove to be important. It is also beneficial if you find yourself using your rangefinder binoculars for long hours at a time.

Durability

Finally, since you will be using your binoculars outdoors, you want them to be durable. A hard plastic body and rubber casing are ideal and prove to be impact resistant.

Conclusion

Whatever rangefinder binocular you choose, make sure they are suitable for your activities. Having the best rangefinder bino allows you to have just one device that can provide you with a full range of findings, rather than having to wear several devices around your neck.

When finding your next pair, consider optical performance, magnification, FoV, and angle compensation, among the other factors we have already discussed.

Reviews of the Best Night Vision Binoculars of 2021

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

Best Binoculars for Stargazing

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

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

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

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

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

Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15×70 Binoculars

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

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

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


 

Celestron SkyMaster Astro 25×100 Binoculars

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

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

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


 

Orion Resulux 15×70 Binoculars

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

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

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


 

Orion Ultraview 10×50 Binoculars

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

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

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


 

Canon 18×50 Image Stabilization Binoculars

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

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

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


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

Bushnell Engage Binoculars Review

Looking for a new pair of binos, or need to find a gift for your favorite outdoorsman? You need to check out the Bushnell Engage binoculars. Introduced in 2017, Bushnell’s lineup of Engage Binoculars provides a versatile, affordable option for hunters, bird-watchers, and star-gazers.

Whether you’re looking for a rugged pair to keep on your dashboard, or a sleek option for those long weekend hikes, it’s hard to go wrong with the Bushnell Engage binoculars.

Check out these high-quality features!

What’s in the box:

Bushnell has really stepped up its packaging game, lately. The box is heavy-duty and well-designed. Besides the binoculars themselves, you get an outer storage bag and a smaller, protective bag that also serves as a lens-cleaning cloth.

Alongside the protective bags, Bushnell provides lens covers for both front and back lenses. Both of which are easy to take on and off.

To keep your binoculars close at hand, you’ll also get a padded, branded strap. The strap is durable and comfortable, but can be a little difficult to install.

Construction & chassis:

The sub-frame of these binoculars is magnesium, making the binoculars strong and sturdy, but not ultra-heavy. In fact, these binoculars have just enough heft to make them easy to stabilize, but they’re not so heavy you’ll get tired using them.

The tubes themselves have a great hand-feel. Heavy enough for good stability, but light enough to be super portable. They’re really the perfect size for field use.

On top of the sub-frame, there’s a rubberized coating on the whole thing. This coating helps to keep the binos safe and from sliding around. So, if you need a pair for on dashboard of your pickup, the Bushnell Engage binoculars are a great option.

The rubberized coating and strong sub-frame make these binoculars ultra-durable. Drop them on the ground or in a puddle, and you won’t have to worry about anything breaking, getting scratched, or falling apart.  If you’re unlucky, though, Bushnell Engage products come with an Ironclad lifetime warranty—for the binoculars, it’s 20 years.

Each model can also be adapted to a tripod.

Eyecups and diopter:

The eyecups on the Bushnell Engage binoculars are twist up. This feature allows for easy storage and portability. The eyecups are a little on the thin side, but it’s important to remember they’re not meant to be giant field binoculars.

One of the niftiest features of these binoculars is the locking diopter. Understandably, diopters can be a little intimidating and tedious to figure out, but once you have it, you can lock it in place. No need to worry about somebody knocking them over and messing up your focus.

All you have to do is pull up on the diopter to adjust, and then push it back in to lock in. With your personal diopter setting locked in, you’ll have a crystal-clear view, no matter what.

Lenses

The Engage binoculars feature multicoated glass with Bushnell’s new EXO Barrier protective coating, which actively repels water, debris, oil, and fog. Don’t worry about your kiddo’s grubby paws getting your lenses dirty, or scratches on the lenses while you’re out in the field. The EXO really helps keep your binoculars clean and your vision sharp even with rugged use.

Concerned about image quality? Don’t be. The Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Prime Glass feature and dielectric prism coating produce high reflectivity, great color, amazing resolution, and fantastic details, even well into dusk and even at night.  Engage Binoculars provide precision viewing in the field, on the trail, or from the cabin porch.

The depth of field on these are great, too. You can keep an eye on what’s happening outside your main target, which is a really nice feature, and an uncommon one.

Engage binoculars are also made with environmentally-friendly, lead-free glass and are fully waterproof.

Model Options

The Bushnell Engage binoculars come in four models:

8 x 42 mm

  • FOV 142m
  • eye relief 19mm
  • weight 23.5oz

10 x 42 mm

  • FOV 113m
  • eye relief 18mm
  • weight 23.5oz

10 x 50 mm

  • FOV 113m
  • eye relief 15mm
  • weight 29.2oz

12 x 50 mm

  • FOV 93m
  • eye relief 15mm
  • weight 29.2 oz

Value

The Bushnell Engage binoculars are truly an incredible value. Their high-quality glass, sturdy construction, and excellent image make these on par with some of the most expensive binos on the market. All the great features roll into a sleek, rugged pair of binoculars that are ready to go to work with you, rain or shine.

With their Engage line, Bushnell has proven you don’t need to spend half your paycheck on a high-quality pair of binoculars. The Bushnell Engage line of products includes riflescopes.