With years of experience in hiking, we don’t only prioritize the gears that we’re going to bring, but also the accessories that we have to use to protect ourselves. We understand the feeling of a glaring sun shining right at you, or snow getting into your eyes, which is why we tested and reviewed the […]
Best Binoculars for Hiking in 2021
Published: July 14, 2021
It’s fascinating to encounter wild animals when you’re out hiking in the woods. We might not get anywhere near them, but we can see them from up close if we have the right gear with us. Binoculars are handy when you’re outdoors because they allow you to see clearly within a long-range while keeping your distance.
For this article, we’ve tested more than 35 binoculars side-by-side with different specifications, magnifications, and features. We’ve evaluated the products based on their weight, waterproof/fogproof capacities, focus, and value while we were out exploring multiple parks in the country. After thorough testing and hundreds of hours hiking, we were able to choose and recommend the top 16 products.
Our top choices include the Nikon Monarch 5 as the best overall binoculars, the CamKing FS608 as the best hiking binocular with a digital camera, the Vortex Optics Diamondback 8×32 as the best compact binocular, and much more.
Best binoculars: our quick answer
- Best Overall Binoculars for Hiking: Nikon 7577 Monarch 5 10×42 Binocular
- Best Kids Binoculars for Hiking: Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Kid Binoculars
- Best Hiking Binoculars with Camera: CamKing FS608 720P Digital Camera Binoculars
- Best Compact Binoculars for Hiking: Vortex Optics Diamondback 8×32
- Best Hiking Binoculars for the Money: Sallous 10×25 Compact Binoculars
- Best High Powered Binoculars for Hiking: Nikon Aculon A211 16×50 Binocular
Best overall binoculars for hiking
1. Nikon 7577 Monarch 5 10×42 Binocular
Dimensions: 5.7” x 5.1”
When it comes to having a great balance between focus, weight, and price, the Nikon 7577 Monarch 5 is unbeatable. If you’re willing to spend a couple of hundred dollars so that you can easily lock on the sight that you want to, even if you’re a beginner, then this could be the best option for you.
What we like about the Nikon Monarch 5 is that these binoculars have a smooth focus knob that beginners and immediate users would be happy to use. Plus, they offer good clarity and brightness. If it’s your first time using binoculars with a great low-light performance, you’ll be astounded.
First off, the new edition of the Monarch 5 is equipped with Nikon’s ED glass lenses (extra-low dispersion). Mind you, in the past, you only saw Nikon’s ED glass lenses on their Monarch 7 and higher binoculars. Now that they’re featured on the Monarch 5, people with a tight budget who want a decent eyepiece can have one.
These binoculars are user-friendly. The eyecups are made with a turn-and-slide rubber which users can easily adjust to get a custom fit that can extend the period of use while being comfortable. Besides, we like the smooth central focus knob because it’s super simple to use.
What our campers like the most from the Monarch 5 is that they’re made with rubber armor, which makes them durable, fogproof, and waterproof. Even if you’re in an extreme terrain where it constantly rains, the non-slip grip allows you to hold your binoculars steady.
Perhaps what we like the most from the Monarch 5 is the brightness. In this price range, it can be difficult to find binoculars that perform well, even in low lights. Thankfully, the Monarch 5 do, even when we’re out looking for birds at three in the morning, in the middle of the woods.
What we don’t like about the Nikon Monarch 5, on the other hand, is their field of view and close focus range. It’s safe to say that you get what you pay for. Since Nikon upped its game with the ED lenses and superb brightness, they had to downplay some of the assets of the Monarch 5.
If you’re close to your target, the view can be a bit too narrow, which we only noticed when we compared these binoculars side-by-side with a higher spec model. Also, the close-range focus is a bit long. We noticed this when we were trying to look at nearby birds. We had to backpedal a few steps to see them clearly.
Best kids binoculars for hiking
2. Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Kid Binoculars
Dimensions: 6.9” x 5.5” x 2.8”
Weight: 8.5 ounces
The Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr are some of the best kid binoculars because they’re very easy to use, affordable, have a great view (even at 2x magnification), and have a lanyard to keep them safe while your kid is out exploring the wilderness.
What we like about the GeoSafari Jr. is that they were specifically designed for kids aged 3 and above. You won’t find any focusing knob, which we think is great because kids this small do not have a great hand and eye coordination yet.
The 2x magnification is enough for the kids to feel extra excited when we’re out on an adventure, and by having their own binoculars, it’ll be enough for them to constantly want to go out in nature. We also like the large eyepiece that’s designed to fit preschoolers’ eyes. Besides, our kid campers mentioned that they’re comfortable to use, even for a long time.
Another thing that we like about GeoSafari Jr. is that they have a break-away lanyard that allows kids to explore and have them within their reach every time they need them. Plus, they don’t require any batteries to operate, unlike most of their direct competitors, which is a big plus for us.
The only thing that we didn’t like about the Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. is that they’re not durable, so proper care and supervision are definitely needed. They’re also not fit for a lot of outdoor activities, so we recommend them when you’re out with your kid hiking. But, for the super affordable price, these can be great first binoculars for your kids.
3. Dreamingbox Compact Shockproof Binoculars for Kids
Dimensions: 4.7” x 3.5” x 3”
If you want your kid to have a more in-depth experience when you’re hiking with binoculars, we recommend you the Dreamingbox Compact Shockproof. They’re versatile, durable, and have high-resolution that your kids will definitely love.
What we like about the Dreamingbox is that they have an FMC prism green optics that give them crisp color images, and with the BAK4 prism, your child will surely love the outdoor experience. Most of our kid campers were excited to explore the woods with these binoculars because of the 8x magnification, which allows them to see birds from up close, even if they were right by our campsite.
It’s also worth noting that with the 7.2° viewing angle, our kids didn’t encounter any problem looking at different areas. We were even able to see bears at the national park near our campsite, which was quite an experience for the kids.
We also love how durable the Dreamingbox binoculars are. Plus, they have a non-slip scratch and shockproof design that’s perfect for the hands of kids ages 3-12. The kids also loved how lightweight the item is. Whether we were lounging in an area waiting for wildlife or hiking around the woods, they didn’t have any complaints about the weight of the binoculars.
Durability-wise, if your kid is as clumsy as any other kid, you’ll be very happy with the Dreamingbox. As stated in online reviews, multiple parents were astounded by how durable these binoculars are. Even if their kids dropped them multiple times, they still had the same colorful images as when it was brand new.
The only thing that we didn’t like about the Dreamingbox Compact Shockproof Kids Binoculars is that they’re quite expensive. But if you’re looking for advanced binoculars that your kids can use while they’re out camping with you, then this could be the best purchase for them.
4. Thinkpeak Toys Binoculars for Kids
Dimensions: 4.4” x 4” x 1.5”
Weight: 8.1 ounces
The Thinkpeak Toys Binoculars for Kids have everything that your child will need to explore the outdoors. Whether it’s for hiking, trekking, or just exploring the outdoors, these binoculars can handle all the wear and tear that your child will make them endure.
What we like about the Thinkpeak kids’ binoculars is that they have an 8×21 magnification that can let your child see the wild animals or birds up close. Besides, the focus wheel in the middle of the binoculars enables your child to adjust the focus, which can be a great help in the long run if they plan to continue this hobby when they become adults.
Plus, they have a rubber surrounding the eyepiece, which helps the kid feel comfortable, even if they use it for a long time. You’ll also find a diopter adjustment if your kid wants to adjust the binoculars for each of their eyes.
At an affordable value, you’ll be happy to know that these binoculars are shockproof and have a non-slip grip. Thus, even if your child drops them a couple of times while you’re on the move, you don’t have to worry about any breaking or difference in the value of the images.
In addition to this, they have an eyelet for the neck strap that’s included in the kit, and they’re foldable, which makes them handy, compact, and lightweight. We didn’t encounter any problems with the Thinkpeak Toys Kids Binoculars and we didn’t find any complaints online from other users either.
Best hiking binoculars with camera
5. CamKing FS608 720P Digital Camera Binoculars
Dimensions: 5” x 4” x 3”
Weight: 4 pounds
Some of the hiking binoculars that stood out the most for us were the CamKing FS608 720P Digital Camera Binoculars. Because of their outstanding performance in magnification, brightness, taking photos, and videos, these hiking binoculars with a camera are many professionals’ favorite.
What we like about the CamKing FS608 digital camera is that the 2-inch LCD screen can be folded down whenever you don’t need it. Also, the 12x puissant zoom proved to be great when we tried it on the outskirts of the park to look at birds. The LCD screen shows what you see on the binoculars themselves, which is great considering many of us wanted to see through the binoculars.
Besides, they have a full HD 1080 HD display, so you don’t see the blurry images even if you max out the zoom. We also love the fact that it can take pictures and videos and store them on an external memory drive. You’ll find all the quick functions when you flip the LCD up.
The CamKing FS608 Digital Camera are compact binoculars that you can easily bring wherever you go because they come along with a neck strap, so you don’t have to worry about constantly handling them. In addition, they work with a built-in Li-ion battery that you just need to charge.
For those who are wondering if you can use these to do a couple of video shoots, these hiking binoculars with a digital camera are tripod-compatible, but you need to purchase the tripod separately. To test this function, we brought our own tripod and inserted an external memory card, and let it take videos of the scenery around us.
The only thing that we didn’t like about the CamKing FS608 720P Digital Camera Binoculars is that they take too long to charge. Whether we plugged them into our computer or main adapter, it still took us three hours to charge them fully. Other than that, these binoculars with a digital camera are a great buy for the price.
6. Solomark Night Vision Binoculars
Dimensions: 5.5” x 4” x 3”
Weight: 3 pounds
What we consider as some of the most versatile hiking binoculars with a camera, the Solomark Night Vision Binoculars, is a force to be reckoned with. This item’s outstanding performance in both daytime and nighttime and ability to take photos and videos is unlike any other night vision binoculars.
What we like about the Solomark Night Vision is that they approximatively have a 1,300-foot detection range that allows you to still see your target. During the day, this range can be a bit longer when the light is bright enough to see everything clearly. Although, at night, like almost all night vision binoculars, it’s safe to say that 100 yards are enough for the average recognition.
Most night vision binoculars don’t have magnification, which is why the Solomark are way ahead of their competitors. Indeed, they have a 2x digital zoom but can create minimal deterioration. They also feature a 3.5x-7x optimal magnification with no deterioration on the images.
The Solomark Night Vision have a CMOS sensor that is different from that of their competitors, where the widely used infrared sensor is an image intensifier tube. The CMOS’ sensor is way cheaper than the traditional tube, which is why the Solomark binoculars are also cheaper in terms of night vision goggles.
Another feature of the Solomark is that they can take pictures and videos, which is pretty rare for night vision goggles. They also come with a 4GB external SD card, but you can upgrade this to 32GB. Other accessories include a neck strap, soft carrying case, USB cable, AV cable, and a cleaning cloth. This model also is tripod-compatible.
The only thing that we didn’t like about the Solomark Night Vision Binocular is that they’re not as good as Gen 2 and 3-night vision goggles. Plus, they have a limited image and range resolution when you’re out in low lights.
7. Eoncore Digital Camera Binoculars 12×32 5MP
Dimensions: 5.75” x 4.06” x 2.17”
Weight: 15.8 ounces
If you’re looking for affordable, durable, and well-performing hiking binoculars with a camera, the Eoncore Digital Camera Binoculars could be the best choice for you. With the anti-shake feature, flip LCD screen, rechargeable battery, and 12x magnification power, you’ll surely love going outdoors with these binoculars.
What we like about the Eoncore Digital Camera Binocular is that they have an anti-shake feature which you will rarely see in digital camera binoculars. This feature allows you to take photos or videos without worrying about the blur because it slows down the shutter speed and lets the light pass to get a clear and crisp image.
Compared to other digital cameras, they also have a viewing range of 200 feet and a 12x magnification power, which makes them ideal for long-distance viewing. While we were testing them out, they worked remarkably well when we were bird-watching at dawn. Besides, they’re also tripod-compatible, which makes taking videos easy, especially when we tried to shoot the sun breaking from dawn.
Also, you can flip open or close the 2-inch LCD screen, which makes this item easy and compact. These binoculars come with a 4GB TF card, but you can insert a 32GB external memory card inside instead. By using a card reader or USB cable, you can watch or transfer your files. These binoculars also come with a rechargeable battery, which is great considering most of their competitors within this price range don’t offer any batteries at all.
There are two things that we believe can be improved on the Eoncore Digital Camera Binocular. The first one is the overall bulky design of the product, and the second one is that they don’t provide WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity.
Best compact binoculars for hiking
8. Vortex Optics Diamondback 8×32
Dimensions: 5.3” x 4.5”
We chose the Vortex Optics Diamondback 8×32 as some of the most compact binoculars for hiking because of their portable size, easy-to-use features, and affordability. For this price, it’s astonishing that these can provide great clarity and durability.
What we like about the Vortex Optics Diamondback 8×32 is that they have phase corrections that give them such great clarity. We tried to maximize what we saw when we zoomed the view, and the target was clear. However, the edges of the binocular started to defocus, making them straining to some people’s eyes.
The Vortex are easy to hold and feature comfortable rubber eyecups. All the adjustment mechanisms are easy to reach as well. When we tried it for the first time, we noticed that the focus knob, diopter, and hinge to adjust the interpupillary distance are a bit stiff. But, as we kept using and adjusting them, they loosened up quickly. It’s worth noting though that there’s no locking mechanism on the diopter.
The only thing that we didn’t like about the Vortex Optics Diamondback 8×32 is that they don’t work well in low lights, making it difficult to use at dawn, when you’re waiting for birds. Other than that, these compact binoculars are great for hiking.
9. Nikon Trailblazer 10×25 ATB Binoculars
Dimensions: 4.1” x 4.5”
If you’re looking for compact, lightweight, and durable binoculars that offer great image quality, the Nikon Trailblazer 10×25 ATB could be the binoculars of your dreams. Whether you’re bird-watching, hiking, trailblazing, or just want to use these babies outdoors, you will not be disappointed with how reliable they are.
What we like about the Trailblazer 10×25 is that they provide great quality images for just under $100. First off, they have an IPD of 56-72mm, which can be comfortably used by both kids and adults. Plus, they have 10mm twist-up eyecups that provide comfort for your eyes.
These binoculars work extremely well in the daytime when there’s sufficient natural light. But at night, it’s quite the opposite. Because of the 25mm lenses, they don’t gather enough light to provide clear and crisp images. However, it’s a good thing that they feature 10x magnification and don’t shake too much, giving you close-up images of what you’re looking at.
It’s worth noting that the diopter doesn’t have a locking mechanism, so you may have to adjust it over and over again. Our campers mentioned that the central focus knob is smooth, even on the first use. Durability-wise, these binoculars are waterproof and fogproof. Additionally, we accidentally dropped them a couple of times and didn’t notice any damage to them afterward.
What we didn’t like about the Nikon Trailblazer 10×25 ATB is that the eyepiece cover doesn’t fit right. Sometimes, it just fell off, leaving us wondering where the covers were. Other than that, compared to its direct competition within this price range, the Trailblazer 10×25 are a cut above the rest in terms of quality and compactness.
10. Zeiss 8×25 Terra ED Compact Binocular
Dimensions: 4.4” x 4.5”
If the budget is out of the question and you want the best compact binoculars for hiking or to partake in any outdoor activities, then we suggest that you take a look at the Zeiss 8×25 Terra ED compact binoculars. They’re portable, fold, can be used in almost any weather, and provide great optics resolution, so every penny is worth it.
What we like about the Zeiss 8×25 is that they have hinges that allow the binoculars to fold and occupy less space. Even when folded, you can still use them properly. While we were testing them, we are happy to observe that these binoculars perform really well in all the terrains we’ve gone through.
They’re waterproof, fogproof, and have a special LocuTec coating made by Zeiss that lets any water bead up and roll through the lenses. We were caught in stormy weather in the middle of our testing, and these binoculars were still useful.
Besides, the Zeiss 8×25 Terra ED have 8x magnification, 1.9m close focusing distance, and 52° viewing angle, making them some of the best within their price range and compared to other compact binoculars. They’re also ergonomically designed for your fingers to adjust the focus knob easily without having to take the binoculars away from your eyes.
Of course, while we were out hiking, sometimes, the binoculars bumped into some solid objects. Once, we even dropped them. But thanks to the reinforced glass fibers, there were no scratches on the outer part of the binoculars and the images were still crisp and clear.
The only thing that we didn’t like about the Zeiss 8×25 Terra ED is that they’re quite expensive compared to the models reviewed above. But considering their performance, image clarity, and durability, we are confident that these are some of the best compact binoculars on the market today.
Best hiking binoculars for the money
11. Sallous 10×25 Compact Binoculars
Dimensions: 4.48” x 4.13” x 1.33”
Weight: 6.1 ounces
The Sallous 10×25 Compact Binocular are some of the most affordable and compact binoculars on the market today. Even within their price range, they provide an excellent view with 10x magnification and a 25mm objective lens, which is why many people are happy to use these as their first binoculars for outdoors or for watching concerts and games.
What we like about the Sallous 10×25 is that they provide a great image for their price. Although Sallous advertises a 10x magnification, we believe that it’s only up to 8x as when overly magnified, the image becomes blurry and you won’t be able to see properly.
One of the features that we like on these binoculars is the ease to focus thanks to the center-focus knob and the right-eye lens. Whether you’re using them or letting your kid borrow them, the knob can easily be reached. We also like the fact that these can be folded, which makes them pocket size. Purchasing these binoculars already provides you with a complete set as they come with a portable bag, neck strap, instruction manual, and cleaning cloth.
What we didn’t like about the Sallous 10×25 is that the rubber eyecups cannot be adjusted, so people who wear eyeglasses won’t be comfortable using them. Also, the neck strap is of low-quality, which is why we suggest that you bring your own.
12. Bushnell Falcon 133410 7×35 Binoculars
Dimensions: 8” x 6.25” x 3”
Weight: 13.12 pounds
Everyone in the optic world knows that Bushnell is one of the leading manufacturers in the high-end optic gear industry. They are reputed to provide high-quality performance in binoculars, and the Falcon 133410 are no exception. With a price tag just under $50, you’ll be surprised by how effective those are.
What we like about the Bushnell Falcon 133410 is that they feature one of the widest angles among affordable binoculars. Coming with an astounding 420-foot/ 1000-yard field of view, you’ll have a hard time finding binoculars with the same vision as these ones. Also, they feature a 12mm eye relief and 5mm wide exit pupil for the binoculars to get better light transmission.
Additionally, they provide 7x magnification, 20-foot close focusing distance, and auto-focusing Porro prisms that effectively enhance the performance and provide you with clear and crisp images. You’ll see the difference in the quality of images between the Falcon 133410 and its direct competitors because of the high-quality images that you’ll see even if you max out the magnification.
What we didn’t like about the Bushnell Falcon 133410 is that they’re heavier and bulkier than the products reviewed above. Also, they come with a cheap nylon casing and are neither waterproof nor fogproof. It’s also worth noting that in some online reviews, users complained about the durability of the binoculars.
Overall, considering the price and image quality of the Falcon 133410, we can definitely say that those are some of the best hiking binoculars for your money.
Best high-powered binoculars for hiking
13. Nikon Aculon A211 16×50 Binocular
Dimensions: 7.0” x 7.8”
Nikon has been in the industry providing high-quality optical gears for a long time. The Nikon Aculon A211 are some of their high-powered binoculars that won’t break your bank. With their eco-glass lenses and durable rubber coating, they will surely last you years, even if you travel outdoors with them.
What we like about the Aculon A211 is that they have multi-coated eco-glass lenses that deliver bright and crisp images. Even in low lights, you’ll still be able to see colorful images thanks to this optical technology.
Plus, they have a smooth central focus knob, which you can easily reach with your fingers without having to look away from the binoculars. Also, the turn-and-slide rubber eyecups are very easy to set to the right position for your eyes and provide a comfortable experience. Even if you’re wearing prescription glasses, you’d be comfortable using these binoculars.
The Aculon A211 are built with a rubber-armored coating that can handle almost any weather and environment. And because of the lightweight design, you can easily carry these on any of your adventures without any hassle. Additionally, these feature a non-slip design that’s both waterproof and fogproof.
What we didn’t like about the Aculon A211 is that the carrying bag is a bit too narrow. You’d have to stuff the binoculars inside for you to close it properly. Plus, the eyepiece covers don’t fit tightly, so sometimes, it casually falls off.
14. Celestron 71454 Echelon 20×70 Binoculars
Dimensions: 10.15” x 8.74” x 3.31”
The Celestron Echelon 20×70 Binoculars are simply not for the faint-hearted. If you’re willing to spend almost a thousand bucks to get high-powered binoculars for your next adventure, then this could be the best choice for you. Equipped with amazing optical quality, durable construction, comfortable usage, and great accessories, you’ll surely believe that every penny you spend on those is worth it.
What we like about the Echelon 20×70 is that they have everything you need to see crisp and clear images from far away. Indeed, this model has 20x magnification and a 3° field view, which is a great balance of brightness and clarity.
Unlike regular binoculars though, the Echelon 20×70 have an individual focus system. This means that you have to manually turn and slide both eyepieces whenever you need to refocus the binoculars. During our tests, we noticed that it can be a little troublesome to continuously adjust both eyepieces to refocus. This is particularly noticeable if you’re looking at a close range, and then wanting to look at items that are far away.
It’s reassuring to know though that these binoculars have 19.5mm eye relief, which means that whether you’re wearing eyeglasses or not, you’ll be comfortable using these binoculars for a long time. It’s also worth noting that you can adjust the IPD distance at a minimum of 5.8cm and a maximum of 7.2cm.
Durability-wise, you’d be happy to know that the Echelon 20×70 are made with an aluminum body, which makes them sturdy and high-quality. They’re also fully fogproof and waterproof, which makes them usable in any weather conditions.
What we didn’t like about the Celestron Echelon 20×70 Binoculars is that the hard carry case and neck strap are a bit low-quality considering that they should help protect binoculars that nearly cost a thousand dollars. Also, the lens’ cover is basic, like the ones you’ll find on mid-range binoculars.
Best binoculars for hiking: Comparison table
|Foto||Binoculars for Hiking||Waterproof/Fogproof||Dimensions||R-Value||Weight|
1. Nikon 7577 Monarch 5 10x42 Binocular
|Yes||5.7" x 5.1"||21.6oz|
2. Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Kid Binoculars
|N/A||6.9" x 5.5" x 2.8"||8.5 ounces|
3. Dreamingbox Compact Shockproof Binoculars for Kids
|N/A||4.7" x 3.5" x 3"||180g|
4. Thinkpeak Toys Binoculars for Kids
|N/A||4.4" x 4" x 1.5"||8.1 ounces|
5. CamKing FS608 720P Digital Camera Binoculars
|N/A||5" x 4" x 3"||4 pounds|
6. Solomark Night Vision Binoculars
|N/A||5.5" x 4" x 3"||3 pounds|
7. Eoncore Digital Camera Binoculars 12x32 5MP
|N/A||5.75" x 4.06" x 2.17"||15.8 ounces|
8. Vortex Optics Diamondback 8x32
|Yes||5.3" x 4.5"Â||18.4oz|
9. Nikon Trailblazer 10x25 ATB Binoculars
|Yes||4.1" x 4.5"||9.9oz|
10. Zeiss 8x25 Terra ED Compact Binocular
|Yes||4.4" x 4.5"||10.9oz|
11. Sallous 10x25 Compact Binoculars
|N/A||4.48" x 4.13" x 1.33"||6.1 ounces|
12. Bushnell Falcon 133410 7x35 Binoculars
13. Nikon Aculon A211 16x50 Binocular
|Yes||7.0" x 7.8"||32.6oz|
14. Celestron 71454 Echelon 20x70 Binoculars
|Yes||10.15" x 8.74" x 3.31"||65oz|
What should I look for when buying binoculars?
Whether you’re a newbie or an expert in your chosen outdoor hobby, it can be a daunting task to look for binoculars that are fit for you. Since we’ve covered the best binoculars on the market within their respective categories, let’s talk about the different features that you need to look for in this specific optical gear.
Different features of binoculars
Not all binoculars are created the same way. Indeed, affordable and compact binoculars may have fewer optical features than high-end ones. To help you in your quest for an optical gear that’s right for you, here are the features that you should look for.
- Great eyepiece
Perhaps one of the most important features in binoculars is the quality of the eyepiece, which is the basis for the magnification and overall field view of this gear. This also determines the edge-of-field resolution of the image, which can sometimes become distorted or compressed because of the lens’ curve.
To avoid having a backward and upside-down projection, —which occurs when you look at a curved surface reflection— optical gears manufacturers use prisms to provide a comfortable image. The common styles of prisms are roof and Porro.
Roof prisms are commonly used in compact and affordable models because of their straight-line design, while Porro prisms have a zig-zag feature that is commonly found on larger and higher-end binoculars.
- Objective lenses
The objective lenses are found at the other end of the binoculars or monoculars. They are the ones closer to the viewing object. The primary purpose of these lenses is to collect light so that your view can be in high-resolution.
Depending on the binoculars and manufacturer, some models feature two objective lenses in order to better refract light and provide a truer sense of the color of the objects.
Understanding the optics behind binoculars
Optics is the term behind how well the binoculars or monoculars can collect and distribute light back to your eyes. Most optical gears only have magnification x lens diameter, but other factors need to be considered as well.
In simple terms, magnification means how close and large you see the object that you’re viewing from a certain distance. Most binoculars you’ll find on the market today offer around 6x to 10x magnification power. But if you’re looking at higher-end models, you’ll find some with 10x magnification or higher.
The higher the magnification, the more difficult it is to steady your view. With a 12x magnification, if your hand starts to shake, it would be like if you were looking at a place in the middle of a huge earthquake. To compensate for this, nowadays, most binoculars provide a tripod adapter so you can attach them to a tripod for steady viewing.
- Lens diameter
After the magnification, the next number you’ll see is the lens diameter, which refers to the binoculars’ field of view. The bigger the diameter, the lighter the lens can collect, therefore providing you with optimal viewing. If you’re in low lights, it’s best to look for binoculars with a high lens diameter to view objects clearly.
- Exit pupil
You’ll determine the exit pupil of binoculars once you divide the lens diameter by the magnification number. Exit pupil refers to how bright you’ll see the objects when you’re in low-lights. The bigger the number, the clearer the objects.
- Coated lenses
You’ll often find coated lenses in high-end binoculars. Manufacturers have developed lens coating in order to control the amount of light that enters the binoculars.
Different types of binoculars
With multiple manufacturers constantly creating their own binoculars, you’ll find different sizes on the market today.
These are small, lightweight, and portable options that are the go-to choice of people who are just starting out with their outdoor hobbies or use them to watch sports or concerts. Because of their small sizes, these are usually limited in terms of magnification and lens diameter.
Just like the name suggests, these binoculars are in the mid-range in terms of size, light transmissions, and features. Most hikers choose this size because it has the capacity to view objects from a long distance, and it’s not too heavy to carry around.
These are the binoculars you’ll typically see hardcore explorers and hunters with. They have higher magnification and lens diameter, which causes them to be bulky and heavy. If you want to make your hobby a full-time job, then this should be the best option for you.
Looking for the best binoculars is not an easy task. You’ll need to figure out what type of activity you’ll be using it for, the optics that you need, the features you want, and the size you wish to carry around.
Once you’ve decided on all the factors aforementioned, you can easily decide, between the products that were mentioned above, which binoculars are perfect for you. To get a detailed explanation on how binocular works, check out our article “Everything You Need to Know About Binoculars.”