Editor choice

Best Binoculars For Birding – Buyer’s Guide

Best Binoculars For BirdingWhen choosing binos for birding, consider going with full-size binos instead of compact ones.

Full size binos have big objective lenses, usually 42mm or larger.

And with a large objective you can see details like the colors and sex of a bird.

You also get clear views at any distance. Most 42mm binos come have 7x, 8x or 10x magnification.

Although some users prefer 10x binos because they deliver high clarity imagery. I would recommend 8x binos for birding and not only because experts say so, but because high magnification creates certain problems.

The field of view is one area that’s directly affected by magnification. When you increase the magnification, this changes how much of your image you can view.

Usually, when you up the power, the field of view becomes small. This can make it hard to observe or track a bird that is on the move.

The image also becomes shaky when your hand starts getting tired because most binos with high magnifications have sizeable objective lenses. Unless you use a tripod, your bird watching expedition may be short.

So for birding, 8x binos are more ideal than 10x binos as they are lighter and easier to carry around. But long range birding requires 10x.

That said, this guide discusses some of the best binoculars for birding based on consumer reviews and extensive research and testing. It is aimed at giving you some ideas on which binoculars to get for birding. Enjoy.

Top pick
Leica 40318 Trinovid 8×42 HD

If spending an extra couple of bucks on quality binos for birding is not a problem for you, then try out the Leica camera binos. I can tell you, having tried them and a couple of other high-rated binoculars, I was quite impressed with the performance with the Leica. It has great optics. It’s light in weight and you can use them in any weather condition.

Leica 40318 Trinovid 8x42 HD

  • 8x Magnification
  • 42mm Objective Lens
  • Multicoated Lenses
  • Phase Coated BaK-4 Prisms
  • Compact Design
  • Exit Pupil of 5.25mm
  • Field of View of 414 feet
  • 5.9 Feet Close Focus Distance
  • Eye relief of 17mm
  • Waterproof Body
  • Fog Proof Lenses

Check now

We’ve tested 7 binoculars for birding and the winner is above!

Binoculars For Birding Comparison Chart

Model

Leica 40318 Trinovid 8x42 HD

Vortex Optics V200 Viper HD 8x42

Vortex Optics V201 Viper HD 10x42

Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42

Canon 9526B002 12x36 IS III

ZEISS 524212 Conquest HD 10x42

ZEISS 524223 VICTORY SF 8x42

Photo

Leica 40318 Trinovid 8x42 HD

Vortex Optics V200 Viper HD 8x42

Vortex Optics V201 Viper HD 10x42

Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42

Canon 9526B002 12x36 IS III

ZEISS 524212 Conquest HD 10x42

ZEISS 524223 VICTORY SF 8x42

Magnification

8x

8x

10x

8x

12x

10x

8x

Objective Lens Diameter

42 mm

42 mm

42 mm

42 mm

36 mm

42 mm

42 mm

Prism System

Roof (BAK4)

Roof

Roof

Roof

Porro

Schmidt-Pechan

Schmidt-Pechan

Angle of View

6.75° (Actual)
54° (Apparent)

7.8° (Actual)

6.5° (Actual)

6.3° (Actual)

5° (Actual)

6.6° (Actual)

8° (Actual)

Field of View

414 feet/1000 yards

409 feet/1000 yards

341 feet/1000 yards

330 feet/1000 yards

262 feet/1000 yards

345 feet/1000 yards

486 feet/1000 yards

Minimum Focus Distance

5.9' / 1.8 m

6.5' / 2 m

6.5' / 2 m

8.2' / 2.5 m

19.7' / 6 m

6.5' / 2 m

4.9' / 1.5 m

Interpupillary Adjustment

58 to 76 mm / 2.3 to 3"

56 to 75 mm / 2.2 to 3"

56 to 75 mm / 2.2 to 3"

56 to 72 mm / 2.2 to 2.8"

55 to 75 mm / 2.2 to 3"

54 to 74 mm / 2.1 to 2.9"

54 to 76 mm / 2.1 to 3"

Eye Relief

17 mm

18 mm

17 mm

19.5 mm

14.5 mm

17 mm

18 mm

Exit Pupil Diameter

5.25 mm

5.25 mm

4.2 mm

5.3 mm

3 mm

4.2 mm

5.3 mm

Weight

25.8 oz

24.5 oz

24.9 oz

20.8 oz

23.3 oz

28 oz

27.5 oz

Check on Amazon

Check on Amazon

Check on Amazon

Check on Amazon

Check on Amazon

Check on Amazon

Check on Amazon

Check on B&H

Check on B&H

Check on B&H

Check on B&H

Check on B&H

Check on B&H

Check on B&H

7 Best Binoculars For Birding (as of April, 2020):

1. Leica 40318 Trinovid 8×42 HD Binoculars For Birding – Best 8×42 in $500-$1000 Range Review

Leica 40318 Trinovid 8x42 HD

  • Phase Coated BaK-4 Prisms
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Field of View of 414 feet
  • Close Focus Distance 5.9 Feet
  • Eye relief of 17mm
  • Submersible to 13′ (4m)

Check Price on Amazon!

Leica is one of the leading producers of superior optics in the world. And the Leica 40318 Trinovid 8×42 HD model has been made using top-notch technology and superior optics.

The Leica Trinovid 8×42 model has a simple design that makes it easy to carry and use these binos.

The chassis is made of aluminum, which is covered with a soft rubber to give you a firm hold even when your hands are wet. The rubber coating makes it easy to maintain these binos as dust and dirt don’t stick to it.

Leica 40318 Trinovid 8x42 HD is made of aluminum and is covered with a soft rubber

The image quality is great. Leica were not messing around when they were designing the optics of these binos. And to ensure that they stay in the competition, the Leica camera binos utilizes multicoated lenses as well as coated prisms to give you high-contrast images.

Leica 40318 Trinovid 8x42 HD Review, Pros and Cons

The BaK-4 prisms have a special coating made by Leica that allows more light to pass through the binos providing clear visuals.

The resolution of these binos is excellent in dim light or extreme weather. The big objective lens delivers high-resolution views and the 8x magnification brings image that are far up close.

Leica 40318 Trinovid 8x42 HD

Via: @forestitalia

The field of view of 414 feet is decent and the close focus of 5.9 feet is low enough to watch insects and small animals as well.

If you wear spectacles or lenses, you’ll be happy to know the Leica 8×42 has an eye relief of 17mm which is adequate for people with poor eyesight.

Leica 40318 Trinovid 8x42 HD has an eye relief of 17mm and multicoated lenses

So overall, the Leica 8×42 has great features and performs better than the 10×42. The only problem I had with the 8×42 is that there some chromatic aberration on the edges of the images, but It’s barely noticeable.

Main Features

  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Phase Coated BaK-4 Prisms
  • Exit Pupil of 5.25mm
  • Field of View of 414 feet
  • Close Focus Distance 5.9 Feet
  • 54° Apparent Angle of View
  • Eye relief of 17mm
  • HLS (HighLux System)
  • Closed Bridge Configuration
  • 4-Position Click-Stop Twist-up Rubber Eyecups
  • ±4 Right-Eye Dioptric Correction
  • Nitrogen-Filled, Water & Fogproof
  • Submersible to 13′ (4m)
  • Lightweight & Durable Magnesium Alloy Housing
  • Black, Protective, Textured Rubber Provides Slip-Resistant Grip
  • Tripod Mountable with Optional Adapter
PROS:
  • 8X magnification
  • 42mm objective lens
  • Fully Multicoated lens
  • Phase coated roof prisms
  • A smooth focus wheel
  • Compact design
  • Light in weight
  • Waterproof body
  • Fog-proof lenses
  • Good close focus distance
  • Rubberized armoring
  • Low light capability

CONS:
  • It is expensive
  • It has some chromatic aberration

The Leica Trinovid HD:

The new Leica Trinovid HD

2. Vortex Optics V200 Viper HD 8×42 Binoculars For Birding – Best 8×42 in $300-$500 Range Review

Vortex Optics V200 Viper HD 8x42

  • Roof Prism
  • High-Density Extra-Low Dispersion Glass
  • Dielectric Coating & Phase Correction
  • XR Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Scratch-Resistant ArmorTek Lens Coating

Check Price on Amazon!

Like many quality binos, the Vortex Optics v200 Viper HD 8×42 features a rubber armoring that protects the unity from water and impact damage. It also helps you have a solid grip on the bino, which means you can go birding in the rain and the binos won’t slip from your hands.

Vortex Optics V200 Viper HD 8x42 features a rubber armor

It also helps you stay incognito. So even if you accidentally drop them or something metallic bumps into them, the rubber helps absorb sound. And unlike metal it does not reflect light, so you can remain incognito as you enjoy viewing the beautiful creatures of nature.

The viper utilizes extra-low dispersion glass, which helps minimize color fringing. The lenses are fully multicoated to allow more light to pass through delivering clear images in low light.

The optic quality is supreme and the image contrast and sharpness are pretty great. And there is no noticeable chromatic aberration on the edges of the images.

Another feature that stands out is the eye relief. The Viper offers 18mm of eye relief, which is adequate if have poor eyesight. Plus the eyecups are adjustable, so you can adjust them to get the eye relief that feels comfortable to you.

Vortex Optics V200 Viper HD 8x42 Review, Pros and Cons

The Viper 8×42 has a large central focus wheel that allows you to focus up to 6.5 feet. And with this distance you can watch insects like dragonflies aside from birds.

It has a field of view the 409 feet at 1000 yards, which is pretty wide, but probably not wide enough for some users.

Vortex Optics V200 Viper HD 8x42

Via: @acleekphysique

So the Viper 8×42 compared to many other quality binos that are used for birding offers great performance. Their light and compact design make the binos easy to carry around. And given the cost range of these binos, you doget value for your money.

Main Features

  • Roof Prism & HD Lens Elements
  • XR Fully Multi-Coated
  • Dielectric Coating & Phase Correction
  • Adjustable Eyecups & Locking Diopter
  • Center Focus Wheel & Tripod Adaptable
  • Waterproof & Fogproof
  • ArmorTek & Rubber Armor
PROS:
  • 8x magnification
  • 42mm objective lens
  • 18mm eye relief which is sufficient for people who wear spectacles
  • flexible eyecups that you can adjust for comfortable viewing
  • Multicoated lenses for exceptionally clear images and to protect the lenses from scratching
  • Fast-focusing mechanism for quick and easy focusing
  • Extra-low dispersion glass that helps prevent color fringing
  • Twilight capability
  • Excellent close focusing distance
  • Comes with a carrying case, lens cloth, and neck strap

CONS:
  • The field of view is not wide enough

Vortex Viper HD Binoculars:

Vortex Viper HD Binoculars

3. Vortex Optics V201 Viper HD 10×42 Binoculars For Birding – Best 10×42 in $300-$500 Range Review

Vortex Optics V201 Viper HD 10x42

  • Roof Prism
  • HD Lens Elements
  • XR Fully Multi-Coated
  • Dielectric Coating & Phase Correction
  • Scratch-Resistant ArmorTek Lens Coating

Check Price on Amazon!

The Vortex Viper V201 HD 10×42 model has a decent design. And like many quality roof prism binoculars, it has a rubber armoring that gives you a comfortable and solid grip.

The rubber armoring also keeps the binoculars dirt, and dust free and protects them from water damage.

Vortex Viper V201 HD 10x42 model has a rubber armor and tethered objective lens covers

The image quality of these binos is great. You can use them to go bird watching when there is little light outside and they see well. And this is because they utilize phase-coated prisms and multicoated lenses that help deliver bright and sharp images.

Coated prisms and lenses also help prevent color fringing on the edges of the objects. The exterior lenses are also coated with a scratch-resistant coating, which reduces the risk of scratching, particularly when you are cleaning them.

Vortex Optics V201 Viper HD 10x42 Review, Pros and Cons

The one thing I was disappointed in is the field of view distance, which to me is not wide enough. The 341 ft field of view may be decent for some folks, but compared to the Viper 8×42 model, it is a lot narrower.

Vortex Optics V201 Viper HD 10x42

Via: @forkynation85_jmg

So if the field of view is important to you, then go with a different model.

I was impressed with the eye relief. Although the 8×42 model offers more eye relief compared to the 10×42, which provides 17mm of eye relief,  it’s still adequate for glass wearers.

Vortex Viper V201 HD 10x42 model has adjustable eyecups

The close focus distance of 6.5 feet is also great. You can watch birds, insects, and even flowers at close range. So overall, the Viper 10×42 is a great pair of binos for bird watching and wildlife viewing.

Vortex Optics V201 Viper HD 10x42

Via: @j_jhuntcolorado

Main Features

  • Roof Prism & HD Lens Elements
  • XR Fully Multi-Coated
  • Dielectric Coating & Phase Correction
  • Adjustable Eyecups & Locking Diopter
  • Center Focus Wheel & Tripod Adaptable
  • Waterproof & Fogproof
  • ArmorTek & Rubber Armor
PROS:
  • 10x magnification to view objects that are very far
  • 42mm objective lens
  • Exit pupil of 4.2mm
  • Fog proof and waterproof construction build
  • Phase-coated prisms to help correct chromatic aberration
  • Multicoated lenses for clear and bright views
  • Wide field of view

CONS:
  • Some users have complained that they found it hard focusing while wearing glasses

4. Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8×42 – Best 8×42 Under $300 Review

Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42

  • Phase-Corrected Dielectric-Coated Prisms
  • ED Glass (Extra-Low Dispersion)
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Lead- and Arsenic-Free Eco-Glass
  • Turn-and-Slide Rubber Eyecups
  • Waterproof & Fogproof

Check Price on Amazon!

For a bino at this price range, the Nikon 7576 Monarch 5 8×42 has premium quality optics than binos that cost a lot more. The image brightness and sharpness are excellent.

And this is due to the fact the Monarch utilizes extra-dispersion glass and multicoated lenses which to lower chromatic aberration and deliver clear, bright, and sharp visuals.

Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42

Via: @ryukiagriardi

The Monarch 5 8×42 has a great design as well. Its light in weight and it has a rubber armoring that feels comfortable on the hand. Plus it helps you have a firm grip on the binos.

If you are a glass wearer, you’ll find the long 19.5mm eye relief the Monarch offers is sufficient. And you can adjust the eyecups to the eye relief level that you are comfortable with.

It has a focus knob that allows you to focus on your images. And it turns without much resistance so you can focus on a moving object with ease and speed.

Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42 Review, Pros and Cons

The one problem I had with these binos is close focus distance. They have a close focus distance of 8.2 feet, which to me is not short enough. There are similar products that offer a much shorter close focus distance.

Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42

Via: @gone_birding

Main Features

  • Phase-Corrected Dielectric-Coated Prisms
  • ED Glass (Extra-Low Dispersion)
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Lead- and Arsenic-Free Eco-Glass
  • Turn-and-Slide Rubber Eyecups
  • Durable Rubber-Armored Body
  • Smooth Central Focus Knob
  • Good Close Focusing Distance of 2.5 m
  • Long Eye Relief & Wide Neoprene Strap
  • Waterproof & Fogproof
PROS:
  • Fog proof and waterproof body
  • Multicoated lenses for high-resolution views
  • Close focus distance of 8.2 feet
  • Extra-low dispersion glass lens to help prevent color fringing
  • Non-slip body design
  • Wide field of view which is ideal for people who wear spectacles and those that don’t
  • Phase-coated prisms for bright and clear visuals
  • Adjustable eyecups for comfortable and easy viewing
  • Smooth turning focus knob for fast and easy focusing
  • Lightweight
  • Comes with a carrying case and neck strap

CONS:
  • The close focus distance is not too great

5. Canon 9526B002 12×36 IS III – Best 12×36 w/Image Stabilization in $500-$1000 Range Review

Canon 9526B002 12x36 IS III

  • Porro Prism
  • Vari-Angle Prism Image Stabilization
  • Eco-Friendly Lead-Free Glass
  • Super Spectra Multicoated Optics
  • Doublet Field-Flattener Lenses

Check Price on Amazon!

The Canon 9526B002 12×36 IS III image-stabilized binos have a motion sensor and a variable angle prism that work together to stabilize your images.

The motion sensor is activated by the press of a button and when it senses any kind of movement, the prism takes action to ensure that your image remains still. This happens so quickly that you wouldn’t notice that your image or object moved.

As for the image quality, I was not disappointed. The Canon III utilizes multicoated optics to ensure that your views are clear and sharp. The lenses are field flattening lenses and what they do is minimize fuzziness, so that your images appear clear and sharp.

The 12x bino has a 36mm an objective lens, which is something you don’t get with porro prism binos. Usually, porro prism binos have large objective lenses, which makes them heavy and big.

Canon 9526B002 12x36 IS III Review, Pros and Cons

But this is what makes the Canon III unique, the small lens makes it easy to carry the bino around with you. And given that these binos have a compact design, they are light in weight and you can hold them for an extended amount of time before your hand gets tired.

But it was disappointing to learn that the Canon III is not waterproof. And that is a big disadvantage since you cannot take these binoculars out when it’s raining. Another problem with these binos is the eye relief.

Canon 9526B002 12x36 IS III

Via: @lalitsahoo

If you wear eyeglasses, I would recommend you get a bino that has an eye relief of that is more than 16mm. The Canon III has an eye relief of 14mm which is not adequate for glass wearers.

Main Features

  • High Magnification Ratio: 12x
  • Porro Prism
  • Vari-Angle Prism Image Stabilization
  • Eco-Friendly Lead-Free Glass
  • Super Spectra Multicoated Optics
  • Doublet Field-Flattener Lenses
  • 262′ Field of View at 1000 yd
  • Apparent Angle of View: 60°
  • ±0.8° Stabilization Freedom
  • Center Focus Wheel
  • ±3 Dioptric Correction
  • Runs on Two AA Alkaline / NiMh Batteries
PROS:
  • Image stabilizing capability
  • Multicoated lenses for sharp and clear viewing
  • 12x magnification for viewing objects that are far
  • Compact design that you can carry easily
  • Battery charge can last up to 4 hours
  • Field flattening lenses to reduce fuzziness

CONS:
  • Insufficient eye relief for glass wearers
  • Not waterproof

6. ZEISS 524212 Conquest HD 10×42 – Best 10×42 in $500-$1000 Range Review

ZEISS 524212 Conquest HD 10x42

  • Schmidt-Pechan Roof Prisms
  • HD Lens System
  • Multi-Layer Coating
  • LotuTec Protective Coating
  • Aluminum Housing

Check Price on Amazon!

Zeiss has long been known to produce some of the best optics in the world. And when they launched the Conquest HD binoculars, they were an instant hit.

The ZEISS 524212 Conquest HD 10×42 model has a great design and while it costs more than many other similar products, it is worth the investment. And this is because when it comes to performance, it outdoes similar models that cost a lot more.

The Conquest like other Zeiss binoculars utilize multi-coated lenses to ensure that your images appear clear and sharp at all ranges.

The lenses are also coated with a coating known as LotuTec to help maintain clear viewing even when it’s raining. The coating also prevents dirt from sticking to the lenses.

In addition to that, the Conquest lenses utilize extra-low dispersion glass which helps correct chromatic aberration. The glass also ensures that your views are clear and sharp despite the lighting or weather conditions. And this is great because it gives you the flexibility to go bird watching whenever you want.

ZEISS 524212 Conquest HD 10x42

Via: @tocantinsbirding

I like that the Conquest utilizes phase-coated roof prisms. And the coated prisms prevent light loss. So your views are always sharp. And because they are able to deliver sharp viewing, you can easily identify the sexes or species of birds.

The 42mm bino has a field of view of 345 feet, which is pretty large. You are able to see a huge part of your view. And using the focus wheel, you can bring objects as close as 6 feet.

ZEISS 524212 Conquest HD 10x42 Review, Pros and Cons

The focus wheel turns smoothly, but it is a bit narrow. If you have a fat finger you might find it a challenge to use it. Other than that, the wheel has a rubber covering which makes it easy to use even if you are wearing gloves.

What’s also great about the focus feature is that you can quickly focus on a moving object without moving much. So as a bird flies from tree to tree, you are still able to track it.

ZEISS 524212 Conquest HD 10x42

Via: @hunting_with_vitaliybuchinskiy

So on the whole, the Conquest is a great performer. Although some people may find it to be expensive, the cost of the binos becomes irrelevant because the performance is exemplary.

Main Features

  • Schmidt-Pechan Roof Prisms
  • HD Lens System
  • Multi-Layer Coating
  • LotuTec Protective Coating
  • Aluminum Housing
  • Apparent angle of view: 66°
  • Functional Temperature Range of -22 to 140°F/-30 to 60°C
  • 90% Light Transmission
  • Large Focusing Wheel & Twist-Up Eyecups
  • Compact 6.1″ Size & Light 1.6 lb Weight
  • Nitrogen Filling
  • Water resistance 400mbar or 13’/4m
PROS:
  • Clear images in low light conditions
  • Multicoated lenses for high contrast images
  • Wide field of view
  • Easy to use fast focusing feature
  • Simple but stylish design
  • Rubber armoring for non-slip and comfortable gripping
  • Come with a carrying case

CONS:
  • Some consumers find them to be pricey
  • The lens covers don’t fit well
  • Some users find them heavy
  • The rubber armoring has a smooth texture, which attracts dirt and dust

Zeiss Conquest HD Binocular Durability Test:

Zeiss Conquest HD Binocular Durability Test

7. ZEISS 524223 VICTORY SF 8×42 – Best 8X42 $1500+ Review

ZEISS 524223 VICTORY SF 8x42

  • Extra-Low Dispersion Fluoride Glass
  • Schmidt-Pechan Roof Prisms
  • T* and LotuTec Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Wide 64° Apparent Angle of View
  • Balanced Weight Distribution

Check Price on Amazon!

The ZEISS 524223 VICTORY SF 8×42 binos are one of the most expensive 8×42 binos in the market. So if you are on a budget or you don’t want to spend over a thousand bucks on a pair of binos, then these are not for you.

Having said that, the Zeiss Victory is a truly magnificent bino. It looks and feels good. The body is made of magnesium alloy, which is sturdy, durable, and lightweight. And it has a rubber finish to give you a comfortable and firm grip.

ZEISS 524223 VICTORY SF 8x42

Via: @kai.bakken

These are full-sized binos, so they don’t have a compact design. Owing to this, you might assume that they are heavy, but these binos are light in weight.

When you use the Zeiss Victory for the first time, you’ll be amazed at the clarity of the images. I guess that’s why they cost so much. But moving forward, the Victory utilizes multi-coated lenses and field flattener lenses.

The multicoated lenses allow more light to pass through delivering high-resolution images while the field flattener lenses help reduce image distortion and deliver clear images.

I did not notice any color fringing on the edges of the images which I thought was great. But this is owing to the fact that the Victory utilizes extra-low dispersion glass, which minimizes color fringing.

ZEISS 524223 VICTORY SF 8x42 Review, Pros and Cons

The Victory has a focus wheel to help you get a quick focus on an image without. And you don’t have to fumble around for the wheel, you can reach it easily with your finger. Plus it turns easily.

I like binoculars that offer a large field of view and I was happy to see that the Victory has a field of view of 486 feet. To some bird watchers, this may not seem wide enough, but it is sufficient for birding.

ZEISS 524223 VICTORY SF 8x42

Via: @opticsnorthwest

What I also liked about the Victory is the 4.9 feet close focus distance. Being able to bring objects that close without losing the sharpness is great particularly for bird watchers.

Main Features

  • Schmidt-Pechan Roof Prisms
  • T* and LotuTec Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Wide 64° Apparent Angle of View
  • SCHOTT Ultra-FL extra-low dispersion (ED) fluoride (FL) lenses
  • Field of View 486 ft at 1000 yd & Close-Focus Distance 4.9 ft
  • Large Center Focusing Knob & Open-Bridge Design
  • Twist-Up Eyecups with 4 Click-stop Positions
  • Wide 5.3mm Exit Pupil & Long Eye Relief 18mm
  • 92% Light Transmission
  • Balanced Weight Distribution
  • Functional Temperature Range of -22 to 145°F/-30 to 63°C
  • Water resistance 400mbar or 13’/4m
PROS:
  • 8x magnification for long-distance viewing
  • 42 mm objective lens
  • Close focus distance of 5 feet to ensure you don’t miss anything
  • Excellent field of view
  • Long eye relief ideal for people with poor eyesight
  • Water and fog resistance
  • Multicoated lenses and prisms for crisp clear viewing
  • Field flattening lenses to reduce image distortion

CONS:
  • Too expensive

Buyer’s Guide

When I bought my first pair of binoculars for my birding expeditions, I made some serious rookie mistakes. I did not give it much thought and as a result, I ended up with heavy binoculars that did not help me at all.

So I abandoned them and did some more research to find out what binos works best for birding. And what I found out was that binos that are lightweight, easy to use and have functional features were the best for birding.

And this is the reason I wrote this guide. To help other birders, particularly the newbies to know what to look out for when selecting binoculars for birding. And the following are some key factors that you need to consider when choosing binos for birding.

What to look out for when selecting binoculars for birding

Via: @leicanature

How to Choose the Right Binoculars For Birding

Magnification

If there is something I learned the hard way is that high powered binos are not the best for birding. 8x binos are great when you are observing birds in a forest.

And experienced birders will tell you that you are better off with an 8x bino than a 10x power. And the reason for this is because when you increase the magnification, the field of view narrows making it hard to keep track of a bird that is flying.

Also, high power binos are harder to stabilize because they have large lenses than low power binos. If you don’t have a steady hand, don’t get high power binos.

Objective Lens

Expert birders recommend buying a bino with a 42mm objective lens. You can choose one with a smaller sized objective lens, it all depends on what you want.

The one thing I noticed was that binos with a large objective lens tend to be heavy although they optimize light transmission delivering clear and sharp images.

And most modern 42mm binos are designed to be lightweight to make it easy to carry them around.

Field of View

I would recommend getting binos with a large field of view as this makes it easy to keep a bird that’s on the move constantly in your view. Aim for binos that have a field of view of more than 340 feet at 1000 yards to improve your viewing experience.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is an important feature particularly if you have poor eyesight. Bino experts recommend choosing binos with an eye relief of 15mm or more for glass wearers.

Binos with an eye relief of 15mm or more for glass wearers

Via: @redstartbirding

And also ensure that the binos have adjustable eyecups. When looking through the binos, you want to be able to adjust the eye relief to your comfort.

Size and Weight

The weight and size are two aspects of a binocular that newbies ignore.

Bird watching is an activity that can sometimes take hours.

And the last thing you need is large and heavy binos that you cannot hold for long before your hands become tired. Also, you don’t want binos that are hard to carry around.

So always getting 8x42mm binos as they are light. You may choose to get 10x42mm binos but they may be a bit heavier to carry around for hours. But if you don’t intend to spend much time in the field, then they are a good choice.

Ease of Use

A good pair of binos for birding and basically any other outdoor activity should be easy to use. It should feel comfortable on your hand when you hold it. Some key features like the focus wheel should be easily accessible and easy to use.

If the bino has a poor exterior that makes it hard to grip and it’s not easy to use, consider getting one that is easy to use and handle.

Best binoculars for birding should be easy to use

Via: @opticstrade.outdoor

Budget

How much you want to spend on a pair of binoculars is a personal choice. What I know is that having tested many different binos, there are some pricey binos that don’t perform well. And there are cheap binos that perform unexpectedly well.

Via: @phoneskopebirding

It all depends on how much you are willing to fork out for quality binos. If you are looking for a bino that has supreme optics and advanced features, be ready to part with more than $1000.

But also keep in mind that you can get some low or mid-priced binos that offer excellent optical performance.

Mistakes to Avoid When Finding Binos for Bird Watching

Newbies tend to overlook a number of things when buying binos for bird watching. And this can at times be costly.

So not to waste your hard-earned money, here are some mistakes you need to avoid when deciding on which binos for birding you want to purchase.

  • Magnification – don’t buy high powered binos for activities like birding. Go with a 7x or 8x bino than a 10x bino. Some people assume that high powered binos are the real thing, but the truth is that when it comes to birding, a low powered bino is a more ideal option
  • Price tag – the cost of binoculars vary and this depends on the brand. Some brands are quite expensive. But don’t be fooled by the price tag, just because a bino is cheap it doesn’t mean that its performance is mediocre. There are some relatively cheap binos in the market that offer great performance
  • Size – don’t assume that the bigger the bino, the better the performance. For birding, the size and weight of the bino should be of priority. Large binos are usually heavy, especially the ones with large objective lenses. So stick with lightweight binos that are easy to carry around

Conclusion

I have to say, buying binos for birding can be somewhat tricky if you don’t know what to look for. While for some people, sticking to a budget is of priority, for others it’s all about the optics.

You want to prioritize features like the field of view, magnification, objective lens, eye relief, and close focus distance when buying binos for birding. The budget, although important, should not be at the top of your list if you are looking to buy quality binos for bird watching.

With that said, I hope this guide has helped you get some insight on how to go about buying the right binos for your birding adventures.

Best Binoculars For Birding

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

OpticZoo - Best Optics Reviews and Buyers Guides