If your looking for a good pair of binoculars and want to see things that the human eyes are incapable of seeing, such as staring at the moon, going hunting and looking for your prey from a far, looking for different birds among the trees or just watching a pack of lions a mile away whilst in your jeep nice and safe in the African safaris. I will shed some light on the 15 best binoculars on the market.
For a novice buying Binoculars, it might not be as straight forward as you think, just picking up a pair of binoculars to go bird watching, as there are many different things to take into consideration such as the magnification, objective lens, whether they are waterproof and eyepiece design. After this post you will understand more about which best binoculars are suited to your needs.
If you need the best binoculars for your safari journey, then binoculars do not get much better than the Nikon Prostaff 3S. As it is lightweight on the hands and allows you to locate the subject easily in large fields, with the objective lens diameter of 42mm. Looking into the stars with the Celestron skymaster is a perfect way to spend your night star gazing, with the wide field of view, quick adjustment for optimum eye relief and the 8x magnification porro prism binocular. Watching those birds fly around requires a good quality focus lense for seeing in dark places and the Nikon 7237 Action 7×35 is one of the best on the market.
The Top 15 Best Binoculars
Product 1 – Celestron SkyMaster 25×70 Binocular
Magnification: 25x | Optics: Multi-colored | Adaptable to Tripod: Yes
There are many different types of Celestron Skymaster binoculars available on the market, some more expensive than others and that offer different types of maginifaction. This model offer a high-quality yet affordable choice for binocular astronomy or long-distance terrestrial viewing with large 70mm objective lenses and powerful 25x magnification.
Make long-range observations or explore the night sky using the 25×70 Celestron SkyMaster binoculars. These binoculars are specifically designed for those tasks and possesses two distinct characteristics that set them apart from many other binoculars and make them a good fit for the purpose. First is the extra-wide 70mm objective aperture, which allows lots of light and delivers good visibility in low-light conditions. Second is their high 25x magnification power, which enables you to have good close-ups on distant objects, even the moon and the stars. These binoculars have a configuration that allows you to observe celestial objects with both eyes, an advantage over regular telescopes.
Product 2 – Canon 10×30 IS II Binocular
Magnification: 30x | Objective Lens: 30.0 mm
Enjoy excellent quality with high resolution, low distortion and get 10x closer to distant objects thanks to Canon’s precision optics . They are compact, lightweight and practical binoculars with intensity and clarity, easy to carry with you wherever you go and Ideal for travel, bird watching and a variety of spectator sports.
Experience a beautiful field of view with a clear, flat and low distortion view right to the edges thanks to the field flattener optics and Porro II prism design. See the full field of view in comfort with long 14.5mm eye relief ideal if you wear glasses.
Designed with a premium grip and feel and large rubber eyecups for comfortable, well balanced viewing, the conveniently placed Image Stabilizer button and smooth focus adjustment ring offer easy fingertip control from either hand.
Product 3 – Nikon Monarch 8×42 binoculars
Magnification: 8x | Objective Lens: 42 mm
The all-new Nikon Monarch 5 all-conditions optical performance binoculars, further elevates its game with improved agility and advanced low light brilliance. By shaving nearly an ounce of weight from its rugged frame, the new Monarch 5 is more athletic than ever making it one the best pair of binoculars on the market.
Nikon Monarch now come with its legendary extra low dispersion glass lenses, which correct chromatic aberrations across the furthest limits of the visible light range and effectively compensate for color fringing. The improved resolution also provides a brighter and more natural looking images.
Fully multi coated lenses, which provide an even higher light transmittance across the entire visible light spectrum, are applied to all of the lens and prism surfaces that transmit light. This minimizes the loss of light due to reflection, thereby ensuring a more natural, crystal clear view.
Product 4 – Zeiss Victory SF 10×42
Eye Relief: 18mm | Optics: Multi-coated| Prism Description: Roof Prism
The Victory SF from Zeiss allows you to experience the most exciting hunting moments as never before. The optical perfection, the unparalleled field of view, the revolutionary ergonomics and the ultra-light design make this model the best all-purpose binoculars ever built by Zeiss. Experience the Zeiss Victory SF as the most versatile premium binoculars in the company’s 170-year history.
The 10x magnification delivers unexpected precision and crystal clear details. The Ergo Balance concept enables steady handling despite the high magnification. By combining exceptional optics and a wide field of view in a lightweight and durable housing. Extra low dispersion fluoride lenses, fully multicoated optics, and phase corrected prisms work together to create Image quality that is clear and bright without distortion across the entire field of view.
Zeiss victory SF provides an outstanding smart focus concept that allows you to respond as quickly and intuitively thanks to the improved focusing speed. The focusing wheel is positioned in the triple-link bridge to allow for a comfortable, natural hand position.
Product 5 – Nikon Prostaff 3s
Objective Lens: 42 mm | Optics: Multi-layer coated | Waterproof, Fogproof
Nikon make some of the best pair of binoculars at the best prices, and these Nikon Prostaff 3s are extremely compact binoculars and lightweight, they are ideal for casual outdoor activities. The slim body and comfortable grip ensure easy handling. Being waterproof and fog-free makes them suitable for all kinds of weather.
With a magnification 10x these Nikon Prostaff 3s binoculars bring faraway objects especially moving ones such as wild birds, and running animals much easier to view. The 10×42 model features a wider field of view without compromising on the length of the eye relief and the turn-and-slide rubber eyecups make it easy to correctly position the eye.
They are built with a slim body, rubber armoring for shock resistance, firm and comfortable grip ensuring easy handling. Nikon created these binoculars for bird watching enthusiasts in mind as they are 100% waterproof and fog-free making them suitable for all kinds of weather. Whether you are bird watching in the mountains or the dense conditions in the forests.
Product 6 – Celestron Nature DX
Eye Relief: 18.2 mm | Magnification: 10x | Prism Coating: Phase Coating
Celestron Nature DX 10×56 binoculars are the perfect companion for your next outdoor adventure. Designed with the outdoor enthusiast in mind, bird watchers will love the Celestron Nature DX for its bright, sharp views of distinguishing features and markings. The 10×56 model is a favorite among beginning and intermediate birders, since birds are easier to locate and follow with its wide field of view.
The 10x magnification and 56mm diameter make them suitable for low light conditions and genera outdoor viewing, while its strong, polycarbonate construction means they are durable and light weight. The prism binoculars come with phase coating which increases contrast and resolution for sharper and a more detailed image.
The Celestron Nature dx come with twist-up eyecups, that twist up and down with multiple stops for correct positioning of the users eyes for comfortable viewing with or without eyeglasses. The coated lenses provide maximum light transmission through the entire optical path, resulting in brighter, sharper images even in low light conditions.
Product 7 – Vortex Diamondback HD
Magnification: 8x | Optics: Multi-coated | Adaptable to Tripod: Yes
The Vortex diamondback ultra HD roof prism binoculars offer great performance and price, delivering a rock-solid optic that optically punches high above its class. With so many features to like about these Vortex HD binoculars such as the improved focus knob which allows you to turn it with less effort and the amount of resistance is more consistent, the argon purging and O-ring seals which provide water and Fog proof performance in all environments or the GlassPak binocular harness that stores and protects your binoculars while keeping them close at hand for quick deployment.
The vortex optics has Increased light transmission with anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. Dielectric coating on the roof prism enhances resolution and contrast for more clear, color accurate images. plus armortek coating protects exterior lenses from scratches, oil and dirt.
Product 8 – Zeiss Terra ED
Magnification: 8x | Objective Lens: 25 mm
The Zeiss terra ed 8x magnification is the perfect all-round solution for every use. Zeiss binoculars are known for their magnification power, and this terra ed 8×32 model guarantees razor sharp images in all weather conditions with its anti-reflective coating providing clarity and precision even when looking at objects in the night sky.
The ease of use is also noticeable thanks to its smooth focus wheel which your index finger positions itself perfectly when holding the binoculars. You no longer have to think about how best to hold the binoculars if an exciting scene appears right in front of you.
These Zeiss terra ed binoculars are considerably cheaper than more premium models, plus they are extremely compact and can be easily transported as they are designed to be light weight at just over 300 grams which is less than half a bag of sugar and can fit into any hold bag. As standard they are 100% waterproof and fog proof which cope in extreme conditions.
The construction for this model has excellent ergonomics and with a nearly indestructible casing you get reliability and high level of quality. Therefore, the manufacturer offers a two year guarantee on this ZEISS product.
Product 9 – Nikon 7237 Action
Magnification: 8x | Eye Relief: 17.3 mm | Adaptable to Tripod: Yes
The Nikon Action Extreme ATB 7×35 ultra wide angle binocular is a rugged porro prism design featuring multi-coated optics and heavy metal-free Eco-Glass lenses. The Nikon 7×35 Action Extreme binocular has a huge 488 foot field of view at 1000 yards which is quite impressive.
The attractive black rugged rubber armoring for added durability provides a secure slip-free grip and protects the binocular against shock. With their waterproof and fog-proof construction, Nikon Action Extreme binoculars are able to compete even in the worst conditions.
The Action extreme Series binoculars each feature a unique, click-stop eyecup design that not only delivers long eye relief, but also allows for variable eye relief that is customizable to the user’s own eyes and eyeglasses. The 7x magnification is perfect for astronomy lovers as it is low enough to be hand held for viewing stars without them them jumping around too much.
As standard with all Nikon ATB binoculars, they come with a 25 year warranty and no-fault repair/replacement policy. Which is great if it needs repairing and wasn’t your fault, Nikon will repair or replace it for just $10, plus return shipping and handling fees.
Product 10 – Athlon Optics Midas
Optics: Fully multi-coated | Water Resistant
Another highly powerful binocular on the list of best binoculars. The Athlon optics midas roof prism Ultra HD With a magnification 10x and a 5mm exit pupil will produce brilliant color fidelity and gather maximum light. Impressively it has a very wide field of view for a 10x binocular, this really adds to its versatility and will appeal to anyone who is prepared to carry a little extra weight. In exchange, you get an instrument that will perform equally well in wide open areas, in good light as well as low light conditions or in areas like thick woods and forests.
Not only does the tough rubber armor do a good job of protecting the instrument, but it increases grip and is a less shiny, more camouflaged surface. Under the armor is an equally robust, yet comparatively low weight magnesium alloy construction.
Athlon also makes their binoculars water proof and fog proof, as well as the feature twist-up eyecups with multi-position click-stops, a large central focus wheel and a right-eye diopter for exact calibration to your specific eyesight. Other design enhancements include our XPL Lenses coating that protects the exterior lenses from scratches, dust and anything else mother nature throws at you.
Product 11 – Bushnell Legend 10x42mm
Magnification: 10x | Optics: Multi-coated | Adaptable to Tripod: Yes
If your looking for the best pair of binoculars that are trusted by the professionals, then Bushnell legend HD series is what you are looking for. At an extremely low price, these HD ultra wide viewing field and long eye relief binoculars will help your viewing excellence reach a whole new level.
Bushnell’s highest quality glass delivers amazing color, resolution and contrast, even in low light. Multiple layers of anti-reflective coating on all air to glass surfaces deliver bright, high contrast images. Along with a durable, lightweight magnesium chassis, premium objective covers and an easy-to-use click diopter.
It is easy to see why most pros are using the Bushnell legend series for their choice of binoculars. With rainguard HD technology and state of the art hydrophobic and oleophobic lens coating keeps water, fog and oily fingerprints from wrecking your vision. Water drops from rain, snow, and sleet bead up into much smaller droplets that scatter less light, ensuring that you never miss your moment.
Product 12 – Celestron outland X
Magnification: 8x | Optics: Multi-coated | Adaptable to Tripod: No
The Celestron Outland X 8×42 binoculars are ideal for all types of outdoor enthusiasts looking to enhance their view of field. These binoculars have an immense magnification that is also multi-coated to obtain high resolution and high contrast views. The prisms are made of BaK-4 glass to give you enhanced color fidelity.
Large focus knobs make for easy and precise focusing and twist-up eyecups allow for quick adjustment of eye relief to allow for full field viewing. The rubber covered Outland X allows for rough and tough handling, it is also waterproof, fogproof and is nitrogen purged for using in all weather environments. it uses a large focus knob for easy and precise focusing, twist up eyecups that allow for quick adjustments of eye relief.
Celestron binoculars include a wide, comfortable strap and a soft, moisture-resistant neoprene carrying case. In addition you can capture and share images and videos of your new found discoveries quickly with the bonus smartphone adapter. The Outland X is a versatile binocular and has superb value, making it one of the best pair of binoculars available for all of your outdoor adventures.
Product 13 – Vortex Viper HD
Magnification: 10x | Objective Lens: 42mm | Adaptable to Tripod: Not stated
The Vortex viper HD Premium optics have a rugged construction and are tremendously compact and light weight. With 10x magnification and 42mm objective lenses you can see far and wide, and with an easy-to-grip, rubber armored chassis with perfectly placed thumb indents providing superior ergonomics.
The viper uses a high density optical system that delivers exceptional resolution and edge to edge clarity. XR anti-reflective lens coatings give bright, full views even in the morning or evening light.
A locking, right eye diopter tailors each barrels focus to each eye. The smooth, center focus wheel provides fine focus control and quick sharp views. Twist up eyecups rest comfortably against the face and provide customized eye relief. Other features like argon purging and O-ring seals provide a lifetime of waterproof and fog proof performance. Ultra-hard, scratch resistant armortek protects the exterior lenses from scratches, oil, and dirt.
Product 14 – Olympus Roamer 8×21
Magnification: 8x | Optics: Anti-reflective | Objective Lens: 21mm
The Olympus pair of binoculars are the cheapest model in this article of 15 best binoculars. Although they offer great reviews from customers, with a 8x magnification and an anti-reflective lensed coating to reduce glare they are perfect for watching sports matches, watching the birds or horse racing.
These roamers are affordable and stylish, they are all purpose and amazingly compact in size and light in weight so you can easily carry them no matter where your destination, yet offer amazing views. Olympus uses a convenient center focusing knob that makes for easy, accurate focusing, while the built in dioptric correction adjusts to individual eyesight.
It also comes with a neck trap and case so you can transport it with ease
Product 15 – Swarovski EL 50
Magnification: 12x | Objective Lens: 50mm
When you think of Swarovski, you think of jewelry. But it turns out that Swarovski actually make very good binoculars too. The EL 50 model is perfect for hunting at twilight and during the night, offering a strong magnification and excellent sharpness of detail. The most compact 50mm binoculars with 12x magnification that are second to none. They impress with their perfect weight balance and allow you to hold them steadily in your hand.
Their ideal weight balance means that they fit perfectly in your hand brilliant for lengthy periods of observation over long distances. Swarovski’s HD optics feature fluoride-containing lenses, which virtually eliminate color aberrations. The scatter is considerably less with fluoride than with even the best types of optical glass. This enables maximum color fidelity and leads to a significant improvement in resolution and contrast.
The focusing wheel, which is both non-slip and solid, is the ultimate in user-friendliness. Its excellent precision engineering ensures that it operates particularly reliably and accurately
Buyer’s Guide to Binoculars
Types of Binoculars
There are many different types of binoculars to choose from nowadays and knowing which ones will help you in different situations is also useful to know.
- Night vision binoculars – A standard pair of binoculars are going to be next to useless for you if you are needing them at night. In these cases, you may want to consider a pair of night vision binoculars that are electronically assisted optics that take the little available light you have and amplify it through a series of photon-enhancing components.
- Marine and waterproof binoculars – A pair of marine binoculars are specifically designed to be in and around water. They have a wider ocular and objective lens with low to moderate magnification power. When on the high seas you are going to want something that has a larger field of view with a lower magnification, as too high of magnification will cause a shaky image with just the slightest hand movement. Marine binoculars are also generally fog and waterproof.
- Budget binoculars – You can find several types of budget binos on the market if you don’t have deep pockets. A pair of Nikon Aculon A211 10×50 suit a wide range of purposes, from birding to travel and sporting events, and are lightweight enough to bring along for the day and come with a relatively small price tag.
- Premium binoculars – when it comes to expensive but quality binos, you would be looking around at Zeiss as they make some of the best binoculars around. With amazing quality and optimized objective lens diameter, they usually come with some fantastic features likes smooth focusing mechanics, crystal clear images with the fully coated lenses and fashionable designs. Or you can go for Swarovski. Just like the Zeiss models, the Swarovski binos have similar feature and can cost you a few thousand for a pair of these.
Field of View
When it comes to viewing your field. Most models of binoculars have a wide viewing range. Real field of view is the angle of the visible field, seen without moving the binoculars, measured from the central point of the objective lens. The larger the value is, the wider the view field available. For example, binoculars with a wider field of view such as 8×42 are advantageous for locating fast moving wild birds within the view field.
Take the Nikon 10×50 model. The first digit 8 is the magnification, which means how much times closer you are to the object and the second digits 50 is your viewing field, which means how much of the area you can see through looking into the binoculars.
Sizes and weights will vary depending on model and magnification and the viewing field. The construction of models will depend on whether they are light weight or on the bulky side, they can be made of aluminum, which makes them hard and more cumbersome to carry. Other materials used to make them include leather or neoprene. Most cases include a practical strap for a more comfortable carrying. In other cases, they are built for a specific type and size of binoculars.
In general the lower the magnification and better construction used to make them, the lighter they will be. Take the celestron nature or the Nikon monarch for example, super lightweight weighing less than 500g.
Lens sizes – When it comes to lens size, the choice is clear: think of what is the activity you will be performing the most. If your use for binoculars will be astronomy, a larger objectives lens size and even a larger magnification works great.
Magnification – The most common magnifications for binoculars are 5x, 7x, 8x, 10x and 12x. The lower the magnification the further you will see the objects that are far away.
Prisms – A prism is a sectioned block of glass that reflects light. The prism is important when it comes to size since it folds the path of light, allowing the size of the binoculars to be much smaller than a telescope. There are two types of prism that are most commonly used today, BAK-4 and BAK-7. The BAK-7 is used in cheaper models due to its low price and the fact that they are made of less dense glass. BAK-4 are denser and transmit more light and usually come in more complex models.
1. Which is the Best Magnification for Binoculars?
The best magnification will depend on what you are using the binoculars for. For bird watching for example most birders suggest that a magnification of 8x is more adequate for viewing birds as our hands shake and it is very difficult to keep steady hands when viewing objects move in the air.
The binocular’s magnification increases not only the size of the image, but also the apparent shakiness. So the more you magnify, the more the image is jumping around. At some point, the advantage that comes from making the image larger just gets overwhelmed by the unsteadiness of the hand. That is why many people find that they will actually see just as much detail or more with the 8x magnification.
For astronomy binoculars, most people consider 15x magnification to be the best because you get to see the stars 15 times closer. It also worth noting that using a tripod for your binoculars will make your view more steady when star gazing.
2. What is Better 8×42 or 10×42 Binoculars?
Taking into consideration that the difference between the 8x magnification and the 10x magnification is purely how close to the object you are viewing is, but with that in mind any movement that you make gets multiplied by the magnification and thus you also get more image shake with a 10×42 vs 8×42 when hand holding them and thus even though the image may have more detail if it is shaking about too much you won’t be able to appreciate it.
In good to average light condition, it is often impossible to notice a difference in brightness between the views of equal quality 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars. But in forest light the pupils in your eye expands to allow them to take in more light, the larger exit pupils created by the 8×42 configuration is a definite advantage and means they will often look to have a brighter image than the 10×42 equivalent.
As for pricing, as standard the bigger the number, the bigger the price will be. All in all for sporting events or star gazing you would consider 10×42 for getting closer to the action, but for birders then you would probably choose the 8×42.
3. What is Better 10×50 or 10×42 Binoculars?
To be honest there is not a great difference between 10×50 and 10×42. The main difference is that the 50mm lenses are 8mm bigger in diameter than 42mm ones and thus the ends of the barrels where the objective lenses are set, reflect this difference by about the same amount. As you move down towards the ocular lenses, they taper down in size as most 10×50 binoculars will incorporate the same eyepieces as that of the 42mm versions.
Another difference is the light that is better with the 50mm as of course it is slightly wider, the larger surface area of 50mm lenses means that they have the potential to capture more light when viewing than 42mm ones. The 50mm has a larger Exit Pupil which makes it easier for you to line your eye up with the light exiting the eyepieces and thus a 10×50 binoculars is simpler to use because it is easier to achieve an image without black rings on the edges of the view.
Taking everything into account, the 10×50 is gonna be slightly more expensive than the 10×42 because of the larger body and bigger eye glass, but for viewing the 10×50 binoculars are better.