Best Binoculars for Birding – Our Top 10 Recommendations!

birdwatching binocular reviews

Have you have suddenly discovered a strong passion for observing birds and started to think of it as an interesting new hobby. But, what would you need for this one? Birds, that is for certain, and a pair of really good binoculars.

But, how to choose the best binoculars for birding? There are so many different models and different specifications on each, so it is rather hard to tell which one is the best, the most appropriate one. What to look for when buying binoculars?

These are some of the most common questions for bird watchers of all levels of expertise. Those who are just beginners will surely pick a less pricey model with a solid performance. On the other hand, you have those who are highly skilled in this, which means that they will opt for a model of top- notch performance, regardless of the price.

Here, in this article, we shall try to give you a smart guide on how to choose the best binoculars for birding, whether you are a beginner or a pro. You will also get a list of the most popular models at the time being. Moreover, we will go through some of the most common frequently asked questions regarding binoculars. And finally, you will find out where else do people use binoculars and where else can you test your new passion.

Stay with us as you will get plenty of useful tips on the subject!

Contents

What to look for when buying binoculars?

When you are picking an item for a certain purpose, there are many aspects you should take into consideration. That’s because you want that thing to be precisely what you need. Of course, you want to get the best possible item for the money you are about to pay.

The same thing stands for binoculars. As you know, they consist of many parts and each of them has some special role. Even though the purpose of each binoculars is the same, their performance is not. That’s where these little details will help you define what is it the one that you need.

What do you need to pay attention to when buying binoculars?

As already mentioned, there are a lot of things that are rather important when buying binoculars. It isn’t of high importance if you are a professional bird watcher or if you have just taken it up as a hobby – good binoculars are good binoculars.

And here is a list of what you need to look out for:

1. Magnification power

This feature surely is the first one to check when choosing binoculars. As you will notice, the majority of models have 8 x 42, while there are those which have 10 x 42 magnification.

The first number (10x or 8x) means how many times the object that you are looking at will seem bigger. So, at 10x the object that you are looking will be 10 times bigger than when you look at it with your bare eye.

The second number (42) refers to the diameter of the lens.

If you want to maintain a large field of view and at the same time have a good view of the target, then the ones which have 8 x magnification are what you are looking for.  For most of the people, this would be enough.

Have in mind, these can be very heavy, so if you choose one that is 10 x or above, it might be difficult to hold it for a long time.

2. Lens size

Lenses are an important part of binoculars as they determine the amount of light that gets in, as they define the diameter of the front lenses. When the size of the length changes, that affects multiple factors, such as size, clarity and the field of view. The logic goes like this: the wider the lens – the wider the field; the wider the field – the brighter the image.

3. Field of view

This characteristic is a sort of consequence of both of the above mentioned. Both parameters have a strong influence over the FOV. This is measured as how many feet per Yds they reach.

4. Weight, size, and portability

These three things we have described so far are all related to some technical details. However, there are those factors which have got nothing to do with this. They are related to design, weight and other physical factors of different binoculars.

These three altogether have a truly important role when it comes to choosing a pair of binoculars. Have in mind that birdwatching is not something you do just for fifteen minutes. Sometimes it takes hours of patient observing, and even moving from one place to another.

If binoculars are too heavy, you will give up this hobby sooner than you can imagine. You will get tired of wearing huge uncomfortable binoculars all around. So, look for some less bulky ones. Moreover, if they come with a neck strap, you’ve hit the jackpot.

5. Price and quality

Of course, the final step in this decision-making process is to determine whether a certain pair of binoculars has all you need and at the affordable price. We are all aware that a thing worth a couple of hundreds of dollars will bring us a model of excellent quality. But what if we haven’t got that amount of money to spend on a pair of binoculars? Be at ease, as there are many different models available on the market now, and they are more than affordable.

As you can see, there are a few key factors to pay attention to. Some of them are technical, while the others are related to design. Of course, the price is also very important, but that depends solely on the depth of your pocket.

Moreover, when choosing between two models of the same type that cost the same, some people will make the final decision based on that whether the product comes with some extras or not. That makes sense, of course.

The best binoculars for birding

And, finally, the thing you have been patiently waiting for- the list!

Here are ten of our favourite binocular, and best according to customers’ reviews. They all have something good about them, so we advise you to read the list and find something that will suit your needs the most.

Bear in mind that we didn’t place them so that the first one on the list is the best one, neither the last one is necessarily the “worst one”.

1. Wingspan Optics Spectator8 X 32 Compact Binoculars for Bird Watching

Manufacturer’s specs and features

With a lens diameter of 32 mm, eye relief of 14.8mm, and amazing magnification of 8x and close focus of 3m, they are an excellent choice for outdoor activities such as birding, watching sports games and similar.

Moreover, their field of view is 1000Yds (362 ft), which means they provide a wide field of view. Have no worries if it starts raining while you’re out because these are waterproof. With an adaptable tripod, non-slip grip and a lifetime warranty, they are a must-have for all those who are passionate about birdwatching, click here to take a look at some user reviews.

Pros and highlights

  • Come with numerous accessories
  • Easy to carry and lightweight
  • Very durable
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons and potential flaws

  • Sometimes they may fog up

2. Gosky – 10×42 Roof Prism HD Professional Binoculars for Bird Watching

Manufacturer’s specs and features

This model has a fantastic magnification power of 10 times and a wide field of view of 307 ft (1000 Yds).  They bring the beauty of the distant world closer than you can imagine. Along with objective width of 42 mm and eyepiece diameter of 18 mm, you will enjoy top-notch images of amazing brightness. And they come with an adapter for smartphones and many useful accessories as well!

Pros and highlights

  • Optics and lens are of the highest quality
  • Easy to carry and lightweight
  • Compatible with smartphones

Cons and potential flaws

  • Don’t come with a warranty

3. Nikon 7576 MONARCH – 5 8×42 Binocular

Manufacturer’s specs and features

These 42 x 8 binoculars from a renowned manufacturer feature ED (extra-low dispersion) lenses made of eco-glass. That means all the details you see will be lifelike and colourful. Just to mention, they are also available in magnifications of 42 x 10 and 42 x 12.

To make the impression even more realistic, they are equipped with multi-layered coatings. This feature provides better transmittance of light. You can use them in all conditions. Be it rainy or sunny, the quality of images and the resolution will be the same, see the latest price here (amazon link).

Pros and highlights

  • Top-quality product in terms of materials
  • Come with useful extras
  • Deliver excellent images

Cons and potential flaws

  • No tripod attachment

4. Wingspan Optics WideViews – HD 8X42 Professional Binoculars for Bird Watching

Manufacturer’s specs and features

What makes these outstanding is the extra-wide view field of 403 ft. With 42 x 8, they will make each detail bright and clear. These binoculars are an excellent choice for nature lovers, as they’re designed for birdwatching exclusively.

They are water and fog resistant, and in addition to these fantastic features, they come with a lifetime warranty. Moreover, you get some amazing accessories with them, such as carrying case, microfiber cloth for cleaning, and a few more. Find out more about them here.

Pros and highlights

  • Made of durable materials
  • Tripod adaptable
  • Sharp close focus

Cons and potential flaws

  • Hard strap attachment

5. Celestron 71332 Nature – DX 8×42 Binocular

Manufacturer’s specs and features

BaK-4 prism and multi-coated optics along with eye relief of 17.5 mm are some of the most significant features of this model. That means they have a superb light transmission. They are a great choice for users of an intermediate level of experience.

Celestron Nature binoculars are filled with dry nitrogen gas and they are waterproof. This model is excellent for watching close objects and subjects, as it has a sharp close focus of 6.5ft.

These binoculars have amazing reviews on Amazon, read some of them here.

Pros and highlights

  • Tripod attachable
  • Prism is phase coated
  • Comfortable even when one wears eyeglasses

Cons and potential flaws

  • Hard to adjust eye spacing for people with larger heads

6. Bushnell Falcon – 10×50 Wide Angle Binoculars

Manufacturer’s specs and features

If you want a mix of durable design and solid performance, these ones are for you. With magnification of 10 times and 50 mm lens diameter, these lightweight binoculars provide sharp viewing.

That is also because they feature Porro prism. With a 300 ft field of view at 1000 Yds, they deliver images of stunning clarity and amazing resolution. With fold-down eyecups, they are a good choice for those wearing eye or sunglasses.

Pros and highlights

  • Autofocusing Porro prism
  • Easy to use and lightweight
  • Very durable

Cons and potential flaws

  • They are not water resistant
  • No tripod adapter

7. Vortex Optics – Diamondback Roof Prism Binoculars

Manufacturer’s specs and features

With 8 x 32 and multi-coated lenses, be sure that you will get a durable product which delivers images of fantastic quality. Moreover, a field of view of 426 ft at 100 Yds, they are among the largest in the class.

Eyecups can be adjusted in multiple positions. Thanks to arbour purging and rubber armour, you will not have problems using them when the weather is rainy or foggy. Vivid and vibrant images are closer than you can imagine! Find out more about them here.

Pros and highlights

  • Fully coated and phase corrected prism for bright and clear images
  • Come with useful accessories
  • Fog-proof and waterproof

Cons and potential flaws

  • No additional layers of coating
  • Should improve ergonomic features

8. Nikon 7540 MONARCH – 38×42 Binocular

Manufacturer’s specs and features

Thanks to the high reflective Silver alloy phase corrected prism, various light phases reflections won’t result in degradation of the quality of images. With 8 x 42 or 10 x 42, this model will deliver images of the highest resolution.

Besides that, they are very durable which means they will be your best friend in many birding adventures. The field of view at 100 Yds goes from 299 to 330 ft. Rubber eyecups are turn-and-slide, and eye relief long (17.4 to 24.1).

As always with Nikon, their products are pure quality – see what the verified purchasers have to say about them.

Pros and highlights

  • Unique ergonomic design
  • Fog and water resistant
  • Tripod adjustable

Cons and potential flaws

  • Lens covers are a flip-down type, which means they are prone to snap off

9. Carson 3D Series – High Definition Waterproof Binoculars with ED Glass

Manufacturer’s specs and features

The biggest perk of these 8 x 42 binoculars is ED glass, which improves the quality of images, along with HD optics. These ones have rubberized armour coating.  That means they will perform well regardless of the weather conditions (fog and rain particularly).

Accompanied by numerous accessories, they will be a great company in all the outdoors adventures of yours. Moreover, you can use this with eye and sunglasses, learn more about them here.

Pros and highlights

  • Deliver top-notch quality images thanks to ED glass
  • Come with several accessories
  • Warranty included

Cons and potential flaws

  • Without lens cover

10. Celestron 71404 TrailSeeker – 8×42 Binoculars

Manufacturer’s specs and features

Bak4 prism ensures a very wide field of view, which means the binoculars won’t have to be moved a lot when watching and following the subject. A close and sharp focus of 6.5 brings all the details to their brightest.

Strengthened with magnesium alloy, they are very persistent. Also, these ones are tripod adaptable, which means you can enjoy extended sessions of viewing – click here to find out a bit more about these binoculars.

Pros and highlights

  • Perform well even when the light is low
  • Tough and comfortable twist-up metal cups
  • View field is very wide

Cons and potential flaws

  • Bad warranty offer

Now that you know all about the most popular models of binoculars for birding, we hope it will be less problematic for you to determine which ones are the most suitable for you. As you could see, each of them has some specific detail which will be of great importance when making a decision.

FAQ’s

OF course, it is not enough to only read the reviews, but they should answer some of the most important questions regarding the specific group of products.

That’s why we decided to answer some of the doubts people who buy binoculars usually have.

1. Except for birding, what else can I use binoculars for?

One can use them in theatre, concert, for hunting, military purposes and sky watching as well.

2. What are the numbers 8 x 42 or 10 x 42 for?

The first numbers represent the level of magnification a pair of binoculars has, and the second one refers to the diameter of the lens.

3. How to keep binoculars clean?

The best is to use a cloth made of some soft material, such as a microfibre. There are also special brushes used for this purpose. You can also find cleaning products which are made for cleaning binoculars.

One should pay special attention when cleaning the lenses, as they are the most sensitive part. Clean it slowly, in circular moves. Cleaning should be done as seldom as possible, as excessive one may lead to severe damages in lenses.

4. How important are binocular’s brands?

You will inevitably agree that a certain brand name plays an important role when choosing any product. However, if you pay close attention to all the models we mentioned, you will notice that there are some less known names which offer binoculars of excellent quality and performance.

So, the brand name is an important one, but that doesn’t mean you cannot get an excellent deal from an unknown manufacturer.

5. How important is the field of view?

As we said, the wider the field the better the image, so one has to pay special attention to this detail in specifications. Of course, magnification also influences this, by giving sharp and quality images.

6. What is phase coating for binoculars?

The purpose of this process is to create shifts in the light wave phases. The only drawback of this is reduced contrast and resolution, but this is easily achievable by applying some special layers which prevent this.

7. Why are prisms important?

There are two main types- porro and roof pentaprism. With the first one, the rays go in the right angle, whereas in the second one the light travels in a nose angle shape.

Both of these have good and bad sides. Roof pentaprisms are more compact, while the porro gives vivid pictures.

8. Are binoculars water-resistant?

They generally are but you have to check that in manufacturer’s specs. Having in mind that they should mostly be used outside, they are mainly water and fog resistant. However, the best is to have that checked.

9. Can I use them both during the day and night?

How much light enters the eye is the key here. All models are designed for daily usage, but a majority of them performs excellently even during the night.

10. Can you use binoculars with glasses?

Of course, both with regular and sunglasses. Make sure you check the size so that you have no problems with comfort while wearing them.

These were some of the most common questions consumers have. Even though this complicate terminology may sound terrifying to a beginner in this hobby, sooner than you think you will get the grip of the subject and understand all this without any problems.

Where else can I use binoculars?

Our article here is mostly on binocular for birding purposes. However, their field of usage is much larger than that. There are many different models; some of them are manufactured precisely for bird watching, while you have those which can be used on many other occasions.

Speaking of, those are practically all the situations where one needs to see details from a certain distance. That includes lots of everyday activities, as well as many hobbies. Since there are many affordable models, getting one is not an expense which may cost you a fortune.

Here’s the list of most common occasions where people use binoculars.

1. Sky-watching

You must admit that chilling comfortably on a blanket while gazing at the stars is a relaxing activity. To make that fine feeling complete, binoculars come in handy. If this is one of your favourite pastime activities, you’ll be glad to hear that there are models which perform excellently during the night.

So, have no worries, you will get a clear and bright picture of a night sky with all the stars out there. Some binoculars are of such high quality that they are even better in these situations than telescopes.

2. Theatre, concerts, opera

You surely remember those images from the cartoons or movies where people sitting in the theatre wear a monocle. That must have been a good inspiration for people to use binoculars on these occasions.

Sometimes the place you have is simply too far from the stage, and you cannot get all the details well. And without all the details, the whole occasion loses its true meaning. Believe it or not, some people even wear those at sporting events.

3. Military actions

When used for this purpose, binoculars help one coordinate the moves. They are excellent “weapon” for spotting the enemy, particularly during the night. Since they are mostly small and not so heavy, they are not problematic when one needs to move from one place to another.

4. Hunting

When it comes to this, binoculars are a must-have gadget. They make it possible for a hunter to spot animals at larger distances.

The best thing of all is that the distance is large enough that animal doesn’t get disturbed and the hunter manages to accomplish the target easier. When choosing one for hunting purposes, you could use the same parameters as for birdwatching.

5. Birdwatching

And finally, birdwatching. They are a necessary gadget for all those who enjoy this activity. As a matter of fact, if one already has binoculars, chances that he/she will start watching birds as a hobby are pretty high.

Moreover, when a child gets interested in birds, there’s no better way to make it interesting than with a pair of good binoculars. The kids will get enthusiastic and happy when they have the chance to see the bird very close.

So, To Conclude

We hope that you enjoyed our complete guide on best binoculars for bird watching. Now that you know which are the details you should pay attention to as well as the FAQs, you can feel more confident about getting a pair for yourself.

With our list, you will be able to compare all the characteristics we pointed out as important.

Finally, with a right pair of binoculars, you will create the most special and precious memories this charming hobby can give you. Let those memories be bright and clear… Just like the best binoculars for birding should look like.

 

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