Best Binoculars for Birding [Buying Guide for 2020]

birdwatching binocular reviews

One of the fastest-growing activities of the 21st century, bird watching continues to gain in popularity!

No longer the past time of retirees, it’s now enjoyed by all ages, having long left the confinements of those dark and dank reserves!

From yards and gardens, parks and forests to mountains and seashores, all you need is the right pair of binoculars to ensure the best viewing experience.

Highlighting ten of the best binoculars for birding currently retailing on Amazon, these models assure you of a fantastic bird watching experience – perhaps even helping you spot a rare find as you go!

Whether you’re just starting or are a seasoned pro, we also offer a quick guide of what to look for when buying binoculars.

Fantastic Binoculars from Leica
Leica BCR Binocular, 10 x 25
The Ultimate Bird Watching Binocular
Zeiss 10x42 Conquest HD Binocular with LotuTec Protective Coating (Black)
An Excellent Beginners Option
Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42 Binocular (Black)
Leica BCR Binocular, 10 x 25
Zeiss 10x42 Conquest HD Binocular with LotuTec Protective Coating (Black)
Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42 Binocular (Black)
Fantastic Binoculars from Leica
Leica BCR Binocular, 10 x 25
Leica BCR Binocular, 10 x 25
The Ultimate Bird Watching Binocular
Zeiss 10x42 Conquest HD Binocular with LotuTec Protective Coating (Black)
Zeiss 10x42 Conquest HD Binocular with LotuTec Protective Coating (Black)
An Excellent Beginners Option
Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42 Binocular (Black)
Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42 Binocular (Black)

Our 10 Best Binoculars For Birding

1. Carl Zeiss Conquest HD Binoculars

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The Carl Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars are a great choice for birdwatchers.

You can see the details of all birds whether they’re close to you or further away. They have a wide field of view so you can scan for birds, and use the magnification to zoom in for a closer look.

The images appear in high definition, and the lenses are coated for optimum performance. The Zeiss T coating helps to give you images with excellent contrast, and they are also coated against poor weather conditions, so you can watch birds whenever you want to.

They are lightweight, but very sturdy, and the grip is designed so you can hold on to them firmly, even if you are wearing gloves. Even the eyecups have been created for your comfort. They are slanted so they align better with your natural line of vision.

  • HD Lens System
  • T Premium Lens Coatings
  • Bright and clear with powerful magnification
  • Lens cap can be awkward to put on
  • Relatively expensive

2. Leica Ultravid BR 10×25 Compact Binoculars

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The Lecia Ultravid binoculars are compact, lightweight, waterproof and ergonomically designed so they are easy to hold.

The magnification can be adjusted up to 10x so you can view all your targets no matter how far away they area. The field of view is 1000 yds, so you can scan to look for birds as well. The diopter is easy to adjust with one touch of a button so any bird which is not in focus, can be seen clearly.

The design is compact, but they are still packed with features to help you see clearly in any light, and to see every bird in its true, brilliant colours.

They can be used by anyone who wears eyeglasses and include eye relief, and are a perfect choice for anyone who enjoys a long day out bird watching.

  • Excellent magnification
  • Compact pair of binoculars
  • Waterproof
  • AquaDura Lens Coating
  • Prone to breaking if they’re dropped from a significant height

3. Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8×42 Binocular

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A top of the range model, Nikon present their 8×42 Monarch 5 Binoculars, which are the perfect choice for those more professional of bird watchers.

Best of all, with every Monarch 5 binocular, users benefit significantly here from the built-in premium ED glass, ED stands for extra low dispersion glass, ED glass minimizes distortion that’s created by spherical aberration – in layman’s terms, it allows for a sharp image and no “rainbow effects” around your target.

Boasting vibrant, accurate colours, the lenses are fully multicoated and offer near enough the same brightness as that perceived by the naked eye!

An Amazon choice model, this is entirely durable and will remain waterproof and fog proof throughout use. This durability is also strengthened by the addition of a rubber armoured body. What’s more, this design element ensures a pair of birding binoculars that will last for a good number of years.

Claimed to be almost an ounce lighter than its predecessor, these are said to be easy to carry and indeed hold, with an easy to grip body structure.

The Nikon Monarch 5 binoculars with sufficient space between the user’s brown and the eye cups for a high eye point, this allows a clear field of view for everyone, even if you wear glasses.

Bring your field of view into focus with ease using the smooth, centrally located focus knob.

Customers of the Nikon Monarch 5 Binoculars find these exceptional and a good investment. With the slight reduction in weight being very noticeable, their depth of field is considered fantastic. Also, that lightweight feel makes them more relaxed on the hands for many, mainly when used over more extended periods – quality binoculars.

  • Reputable brand
  • Use of premium HD
  • Several user-friendly features
  • Durable design
  • High price

4. Wingspan Optics WideViews HD 8X42 Professional Binoculars

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A Wingspan Optics product, these are the 8×42 binoculars which offer a most professional level for bird watching and all in HD – with the most generous of eye-relief.

These are significant in ensuring an extra-wide field than usual; therefore, they are designed for a birder, allowing them then to capture, focus accurately and see the results through a crisp, unobstructed field of view.

Primarily, the objective of the WideViews binocular is to enhance the birdwatching experience. This is clear in this model’s ability to capture targets from 1000 yards out, but more so utilise no less than 430 feet of available extra-wide field.

Featuring sharp HD optics, the prisms here are phase-coated with the 42 mm lenses fully multicoated. Combined with an 8x magnification, the result is a sense of feeling mere inches away from your subject matter.

They are durable and perform well in the toughest of weather conditions and environments.

At just 1 Ibs 6 oz, this lightweight model also comes complete with neck strap, eyepiece and lens protection covers, a cleaning cloth and nylon mesh carrying case.

Customers of the Wingspan Optics WideViews birding binoculars rave about the sheer precision and image clarity these offer which they claim really does make you feel closer to the subject you’re viewing.

  • HD Quality
  • Good mid-range price
  • Designed primarily for birdwatching
  • Extra-wide field of view
  • Some suggestions of being too heavy

5. Celestron 71332 Nature DX 8×42 Bird Watching Binoculars

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Celestron presents a simplistic looking 8×42 model from their Nature DX range, but one which is entirely designed with the avid bird watcher in mind.

An Amazon choice model, these green coloured birding binoculars benefit from a full rubber armour in the design. Strong enough to withstand most outdoor activities.

A mid-sized choice and considered more affordable, these are ideal for those intermediate users, but beginners will also benefit from their simplistic features.

Boasting brighter images due to the inclusion of fully multicoated optics, these also offer a more definite and concise focus up to 6.5 feet. The prisms used here are phase coated to ensure increased contrast resolution.

Ideal for spectacle wearers, the eyecups can be adjusted and twisted to suit with multiple stops.

Included with your purchase are a sturdy carry case, neck strap, lens cloth, eyepiece rainguard and an objective lense cap.

Customers of the Celestron Nature DX Binoculars find them a good fit and comfortable to hold and use. With many suggesting spectacular durability to this model, and ongoing crystal clarity, they’re even claimed to rival that of the more expensive types on the market!

  • Ideal for beginner to intermediate users
  • Good essential features
  • Nice colour and lightweight
  • In a good price range
  • Some find them good but average performers

6. Bushnell Falcon – 10×50 Wide Angle Birding Binoculars

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Bushnell offers a wide-angle binocular type with their Bushnell 10×50 Falcon model, encouraging an all-round pleasant experience and all for just a small financial outlay indeed.

Providing users with a most durable of designs, they’re practical and comfortable, fitted with non-slip rubber and covered with an abrasion-resistant finishing, weighing just 27 pounds.

Ideal for spectacle wearers, the inclusion of fold-down eyecups enhance their comfortability while the instant focus lever gives smooth feedback.

This model has an ideal level of tension to ensure a fine-tuned magnification while the Porro prisms and addition of coated lenses allow for a sharper viewing process. This means a close focusing distance of 25 feet in total.

Customers of the Bushnell Falcon Binoculars find them reasonably useful for occasional birdwatching. With most customers understanding the limitations of this model, considering its incredibly low price, they aren’t considered the most lightweight but are said to be good enough to focus immediately and clearly.

  • Wide-angle/increased lens and magnification sizes
  • Sharp results
  • Simple to use
  • Durable finishing
  • Quality focus wheel
  • Are said to be heavier due to increased lens size

7. Vortex Optics – Diamondback Roof Prism Birding Binoculars

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Vortex Optics sell an 8×32 binocular model from their Diamondback range, with the intentions of heightening the experience to its fullest!

The view from the binoculars claims to be one of the largest in its class. Therefore the result is a capable helping hand to glass your surroundings – immediately identifying your target. This is all available via 5.3 close focus and a 1000-yard range.

Providing an 8x magnification through a 32mm objective lens, using roof prisms, these binocular types are known in the field as Vortex workhorses! This means you’ll be assured of durability alongside the most impressive optics.

Furthermore, these high-quality lenses are dielectric and fully multi-coated. Therefore they transit more light for brighter and clearer image quality.

With a short hinge design, these birding binoculars benefit from a design which includes both rubber armour and thumb indents. Therefore, your hands have more room and are secure, feeling immediately comfortable with a non-slip grip. This makeup also ensures enhanced waterproof and fog proof elements while withstanding extreme weather conditions.

Best of all, these boast multi-position eyecups that twist, and also a right eye diopter adjustment which accommodates focal differences in the eyes!

Customers of the Vortex Diamondback Binocular find them an excellent choice with many specially selecting these because of the Vortex name itself. Claimed to hold their own against their more expensive counterparts, reviews rate highly here for clarity, refinement, and brightness.

  • A workhorse of the binocular world!
  • Transmits more light for more precise results
  • Well designed
  • Good in all weather conditions
  • High price

8. Nikon 7540 MONARCH 38×42 Binocular

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Another Nikon product, this one is the Monarch 3 version, aiming to help all birdwatchers maximise every moment they spend in the field!

These 8×42 binoculars have unique highly reflected silver alloy phase correction prisms. Thus, they work to eliminate any image degradation. This is caused when different light phases reflect in the binoculars.

Claiming to set the benchmark for performance, Nikon believes the Monarch 3 outshines the competition!

Featuring their illustrious history alongside an enhanced optical system, these have fully multicoated lens surfaces complete with anti-reflective lens coating.

The body of the binocular is rugged in design and durable, taking advantage of a polycarbonate build. Therefore they are made to withstand all the elements while lasting a lifetime. They also have new objective lens covers for further safety when not in use.

Waterproof and fog proof, they offer a range to 1000 yards with a close focus distance to 9.8 feet.

With the ability to access a multi-click turn, these also offer generous eye relief, making them great for spectacle wearers.

Customers of the Monarch 3 Binoculars tend to rate this model highly because of the Nikon name. Most high ratings focus on both the sturdiness and bright images offered, finding them especially great for bird watching in some of the more unpleasant of weather conditions!

  • Popular brand
  • Good use of corrected prisms
  • Rugged and durable body
  • Fully multicoated lens
  • High price

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

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Carson presents their fantastic 3D high definition binoculars that make watching birds a dream with their inclusion of ED glass.

The use of such a glass type, alongside their high definition optics, means images that are sharper and brighter.

With an 8x magnification and a 42 mm objective lens diameter, colour fringing is also reduced here, and chromatic aberration-corrected. Phase corrected prisms also enhance the resolution.

Both waterproof and fog proof, these birding binoculars have a body which is cleverly nitrogen purged and sealed. Furthermore, this practical designing extends to ergonomic thumb groves – ensuring the most comfortable of experiences when holding and using.

Eye relief distance is offered in the form of extra-long twist down eyecups, making these perfect for spectacle wearers.

Tripod mountable, a deluxe case, lens cover, lens cloth, neck strap, and shoulder harness are included with your purchase.

Customers of the Carson 3D Binoculars offer some fantastic high rated reviews for this model, finding the vast amount of benefits staggering for what’s considered a relatively low price! The quality is claimed to be excellent throughout, with many mentioning the high-end birding optics their best feature.

  • Use of ED glass
  • HD Optics
  • Good accessories pack included
  • Fantastic coating throughout the design
  • Very high price!

10. Celestron 71404 TrailSeeker – 8×42 Binoculars

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The second Celestron model on the list, these are the TrailSeeker Binoculars that Celestron claim provide a higher-level outdoor performance, making them perfect for avid bird watchers.

Finished in an army green colour, ensuring they mould into the background with ease, these are a lightweight model with a durable magnesium alloy body frame.

Thus, great care has been taken to ensure these models last for many years to come while handling exceptionally well when used out and about.

With a specific area for a tripod, these binoculars offer a vast view. This allows you to spot and view your subject much quicker without having to move or continually readjust them.

Fully multi-coated optics are used here alongside Bak-4 prisms. This ensures brighter image quality, increased resolution, and better contrast.

Close focus is detailed, and multiple stops can be selected for correct compatible eye position. The twist-up eyecups made of metal are also more durable and better for spectacle wearers.

Customers of the Celestron TrailSeeker Binoculars rate them well for exceptional value. With clear, sharp images every time and fantastic optical quality throughout, they are also considered the more durable of models, with many preferring their inconspicuous army green colour also!

  • Extra-wide field of view
  • BaK-4 prism used
  • Fully multi-coated optics
  • Close focus available
  • High cost
  • A few niggles mentioned

Buyer’s Guide

Now that you’ve had a chance to read through some of our most recommended binoculars, you may have a clearer idea of the best model for you. But, before parting with your money, why not take a few minutes to read through our brief but informative buying guide below?

Here we explain in further detail those specific features mentioned in the reviews above, highlighting their importance when it comes to selecting the best binocular type.

By utilising this guide alongside our detailed reviews, you should then be in a better position to select the best type of binoculars to satisfy your requirements.

What Do You Need to Pay Attention to When Buying Binoculars?

Each specific binocular model will vary in the features and benefits that it offers users. However, when it comes to purchasing the best type, there are a couple of factors that you should pay attention to. These include the magnification power, the lens size, the field of view, the weight and overall size of the design, ease of portability, model quality, and finally, the price tag! Here we explain those factors in more detail.

binoculars for long distance viewing

1. Magnification Power

Perhaps the essential feature of all, magnification power tells you how much closer objects will appear in the binoculars, as opposed to the naked eye.

For example, 10x magnification power means you’ll be able to view birds up to 10 times closer than you would do without the use of binoculars.

It’s recommended for the best viewing experience, those binoculars with a magnification power of 7x to 10x are more suitable.

You will also find a second number referred to in your binocular’s description. For example, in a 10x magnification power, it could be shown as 10×42.

This number refers to the size of the diameter of the front lens, that is the objective lens.

This is an important number as it tells you how much light will pass through your binocular lenses and determine the overall image quality. The diameter size will also affect the model’s total weight and overall dimensions.

Learn more about magnification, and some general advice on purchasing binoculars below – great video from Eagle Optics.

2. Lens Size

As mentioned above, the lens size of your binoculars is vital in determining how clearly you will see images through them and how bright and sharper they will appear.

Those larger of lens are the better choice for they allow more light to shine through, meaning increased clarity.

However, with such increased lens size comes increased overall weight. Therefore you may have to decide on a compromise, especially if this increased weight results in the binoculars being too heavy on the hands and awkward to carry and even pack away.

As you can see from the reviewed models above, a lens size of 42 mm is the preferred choice for many bird watchers as it’s the more comfortable while still allowing a good deal of sunlight in good light conditions.

3. Field of view

Field of view, often referred to as FOV, means the width of the visible area that you can see without having to move the binoculars.

In its simplest terms, it’s expressed in feet and at a distance of 1000 yards or 1000 metres (see our recommended long distance viewing binoculars here). The FOV will be narrower when the magnification is increased, and the objective is decreased.

4. Weight, Size, and Portability

When considering how long you plan to spend on each birdwatching session, you may find yourself clocking up numerous hours in one day alone. Therefore, the weight and size of your binoculars will be just as important as its technical aspects.

Too heavy a model will make it uncomfortable on the hands and tire you out very quickly. A heavy pair of binoculars will also be the more awkward to carry throughout the rest of the day, provided you can get them to fit into a suitable case!

Therefore, consider those binoculars claiming to be more lightweight in design and those offering a neck strap. Many models are now compact for this reason. In addition to this, make sure the overall build and design around the binoculars have rubber features or even ergonomic elements. Thus, you’ll ensure the comfort factor each time you use your binoculars.

5. Price Range and Quality

You may notice when shopping for binoculars that the price range tends to vary greatly. The reasons for such extensive price ranges are due to several factors. These include branded names and any additional features, benefits, or accessories included with your purchase.

However, price range is more than often linked to the lens coatings used, the optics quality, the material used in the design, and even the prism type selected.

Our best advice here is to think about what you want from your birding experience along with what you can realistically afford to spend.

If you’re an avid birdwatcher, perhaps at an intermediate level, you may want to look towards those higher priced models that offer more features than those standard entry-level binoculars.

However, if you’re a newbie bird watcher, increased magnification power and lens size may not be as relevant to you yet, and therefore you’ll be able to start with a cheaper model type.

Those cheaper models will not be as high spec as the more expensive of binoculars, but you should still expect a good quality when it comes to being able to identify your subjects and see them much more clearly than you would with the naked eye.

So, To Summarize!

Armed with the best pair of binoculars selected from those above, along with our helpful buying guide, you’ll now hopefully have all you need to get started in this relaxing hobby.

More relevant here is selecting the best pair of binoculars to suit your needs and preferences. So, ensure you’re entirely comfortable with your choice and take some time beforehand, familiarising yourself with all that they can do.

This way, when you do head out to your bird-watching session, you ensure you won’t miss out and make the very best of your time, every time.

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