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Best Binoculars For Surveillance – Buyer’s Guide

Best Binoculars For SurveillanceToday, binoculars are not used law enforcement and the military alone.

They are also available to anyone who is interested in owning a bino for one reason or the other.

And while some binos are multipurpose, some are designed with a specific purpose in mind.

However, this guide discusses some of the best binoculars for surveillance which you can also use for other outdoor activities like birding, wildlife viewing, and hunting.

Top pick
Nikon 7541 MONARCH 3 10×42

Having reviewed numerous binos that are suitable for surveillance work, we were most impressed by the Nikon 7541 Monarch. And this is what got us excited about this bino.

Nikon 7541 MONARCH 3 10x42

  • Waterproof & Fog Proof Construct
  • Compact & Lightweight Design
  • Fully Multicoated Prisms & Lenses
  • Generous Eye Relief
  • Polycarbonate Body for durability
  • Large Objective Lens & High Magnification
  • Great Close Focus Distance

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We’ve tested 5 Binoculars For Surveillance and the winner is above!

Binoculars For Surveillance Comparison Chart

Model

Nikon 7541 MONARCH 3 10x42

Olympus 118760 Trooper DPS I 10x50

Simmons 899431 Prosport 10x42

Celestron 71009 SkyMaster Giant 15x70

Humvee HMV-B-10X50 10x50

Photo

Nikon 7541 MONARCH 3 10x42

Olympus 118760 Trooper DPS I 10x50

Simmons 899431 Prosport 10x42

Celestron 71009 SkyMaster Giant 15x70

Humvee HMV-B-10X50 10x50

Magnification

10x

10x

10x

15x

10x

Objective Lens Diameter

42 mm

50 mm

42 mm

70 mm

50 mm

Prism System

Roof

Porro

Roof (BaK-4)

Porro (BAK4)

Porro

Angle of View

5.7° (Actual)

6.5° (Actual)

5.8° (Actual)

4.4° (Actual)

6.2° (Actual)

Field of View

229 feet/1000 yards

341.25 feet/1000 yards

304.5 feet/1000 yards

231 feet/1000 yards

324 feet/1000 yards

Minimum Focus Distance

9.8' / 3 m

19.7' / 6 m

84.6' / 25.8 m

42.6' / 13 m

n/a

Interpupillary Adjustment

56 to 72 mm / 2.2 to 2.8"

60 to 70 mm / 2.4 to 2.8"

n/a

56 to 72 mm / 2.2 to 2.8"

n/a

Eye Relief

17.4 mm

12 mm

16 mm

18 mm

n/a

Exit Pupil Diameter

4.2 mm

5 mm

4.2 mm

4.7 mm

5 mm

Weight

24.7 oz

30.2 oz

23.84 oz

48 oz

34.4 oz

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5 Best Binoculars For Surveillance (as of January, 2020):

1. Nikon 7541 MONARCH 3 10×42 Binocular For Surveillance Review

Nikon 7541 MONARCH 3 10x42

  • Phase-Corrected Silver-Coated Prisms
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Lead- and Arsenic-Free Eco-Glass
  • Multi-setting Click Stop Eyecups
  • Flip-Down Objective Lens Covers

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This is one of Nikon’s best selling binoculars and for good reasons. The Nikon 7541 Monarch 3 10×42 sports a 10x magnification with a close focus distance of 9.8 feet.

That means if you are doing any surveillance, you are less likely to be spotted since the Monarch allows you to view images that are far away.

Nikon 7541 MONARCH 3 10x42 Review, Pros and Cons

The 42mm objective lens allows for a wide field of view. And the lenses are coated with multiple layers of anti-reflective coatings to ensure that your images appear sharp and clear despite the weather conditions and distance.

Like most quality binos, the monarch has a strong and sturdy construction that is waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof. And to ensure durability, the binos have a polycarbonate body covered with a special type of rubber for a solid grip.

Nikon 7541 Monarch 3 10x42 has the flip-down objective lens covers and rubber-armored coating

The Monarch is designed for ease of use and with an eye relief of 17mm, these binos provide sufficient comfort for glass wearers. But if you tend to view images for an extended amount of time, use a tripod.

Main Features

  • Phase-Correction High Reflective Silver-Alloy Prism Multicoatings
  • Fully Multicoated Eco-Glass Lenses
  • Lightweight, Slim Design
  • Smooth Central Focus Knob
  • Multi-Setting Click Stop Eyecups
  • Precision Aligned Optics
  • Flip-Down Objective Lens Covers
  • Nitrogen Filled & O-Ring Sealed
  • Waterproof & Fogproof
  • Durable & Protective, Rubber-Armored Coating
PROS:
  • Waterproof and fog proof construct
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Fully multi-coated prisms and lenses to reduce glare and deliver sharp viewing
  • Great for outdoor activities such as surveillance, birding, and wildlife viewing
  • Generous eye relief for people with or without glasses
  • Polycarbonate body for durability
  • Large objective lens for a better viewing experience
  • Good close focus distance

CONS:
  • Loose objective lens covers that come off easily
  • Some users consider them heavy and therefore not ideal for outdoor activities that require moving about

2. Olympus 118760 Trooper DPS I 10×50 Binocular For Surveillance Review

Olympus 118760 Trooper DPS I 10x50

  • Large 50 mm Objective Lenses
  • Traditional Porro Prism
  • Aspherical Eyepiece Lenses
  • Anti-Reflection Coated Optics
  • Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation Protection

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The Olympus 118760 Trooper DPS I 10×50 is a porro prism binocular with a 50mm objective lens. That’s right folks. This baby offers a generous field of view to help you track moving objects and to see objects that are far away.

Plus it has a central focus knob, which you can easily adjust to quickly get a sharp focus on your target.

Olympus 118760 Trooper DPS I 10x50 Review, Pros and Cons

On top of that, the lenses are coated with anti-reflective coatings to optimize light transmission for sharper and clearer images. So even in poor lighting conditions, this beast doesn’t compromise on performance

It has UV protection that adds an extra layer of protection for your eyes.

The Olympus Trooper is built to last and to perform in bad weather conditions. So whether you are doing your surveillance in the rain or snow, you won’t have trouble seeing images whether they are far or near.

However, although these binos are built to provide consistent quality optical performance in harsh weather conditions, they don’t do well in foggy conditions.

Main Features

  • Large 50 mm Objective Lenses
  • Traditional Porro Prism
  • Aspherical Eyepiece Lenses
  • Anti-Reflection Coated Optics
  • Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation Protection
  • Wide 65° Apparent Angle of View
  • Large Center Focus Knob
  • Right-Eye Dioptric Correction adjusts to individual eyesight
  • 5-Element/3-Group Objective Lens Configuration
  • Fold-Down Rubber Eyecups
  • Rubber Armoring with a Slip-Resistant Grip
PROS:
  • Anti-reflective coated lenses for clear and undisrupted viewing
  • Strong and sturdy construction with rubber armoring for waterproof
  • Quality optical system that performs well in any weather condition
  • Large objective lens with a wide field of view for tracking fast-moving subjects
  • UV protection to help protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays when
  • Quick and easy focusing feature to ensure you don’t miss out on anything
  • Compact and lightweight

CONS:
  • They are heavy
  • They are not fog proof

3. Simmons 899431 Prosport 10×42 Binocular For Surveillance Review

Simmons 899431 Prosport 10x42

  • BaK-4 Roof Prisms
  • Magnification – 10x / Objective – 42mm
  • Field-of-View – 303′ at 100yd
  • Multi-Coated Optics
  • Rubber Armor Coating

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These Simmons 899431 Prosport 10×42 binos have a roof prism design, so they are compact and lightweight. This makes them great for undertaking hours of surveillance.

However, since they have a 42mm objective lens, you might need a tripod if have to use them for long periods of time.

Like many high-quality roof prism binos, the Simmons Prosport boasts of multi-coated lenses and BaK-prisms for bright and crisp visuals.

The lenses are sealed with O-rings and purged with nitrogen to ensure they deliver excellent performance in foggy conditions.

Simmons 899431 Prosport 10x42 Review, Pros and Cons

And all these wonderful features are housed in solid construction that is armored with a special rubber that protects the binos from water and shock damage.

Main Features

  • BaK-4 Roof Prisms
  • Multi-Coated Optics
  • Magnification – 10x / Objective – 42mm
  • Wide Range of Magnifications & Configurations
  • Wide field-of-view (303′ at 100yd / 101m at 100m)
  • Eye relief of 0.62″ (16mm)
  • Can be used in Challenging Weather Conditions
  • Waterproof, Nitrogen Purged & Fully Fogproof
  • Rubber Armor Coating for better grip and protection
  • Can be used with a tripod
PROS:
  • Multi-coated lenses for sharp and clear viewing
  • BaK-prisms to optimize light transmission and deliver high-resolution images
  • Rubber armoring for better and easy handling, and waterproof performance
  • Solid construct with nitrogen-purged and O-ring sealed lenses for fog-proof performance
  • Sufficient eye relief for lens wearers
  • Wide field of viewing for better viewing and quick tracking of moving objects
  • Affordable

CONS:
  • The eye relief is not sufficient for glass wearers
  • Does not use ED glass which reduces chromatic aberration so they may not be ideal for low light conditions or long distances
  • Some users have expressed having problems adjusting the central focus knob. Apparently, it hard to turn

4. Celestron 71009 SkyMaster Giant 15×70 Review

Celestron 71009 SkyMaster Giant 15x70

  • BAK4 Porro Prisms
  • Multi-Coated Optics
  • 70mm Extra-Wide Objectives
  • Wide 66° Apparent Angle of View
  • Weather & Impact Resistant

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These Celestron 71009 SkyMaster Giant 15×70 binos are definitely great for police surveillance because they have a 15x magnification and 70mm large objective lens.

Now, this is one powerful bino capable of delivering crisp and clear images in poor lighting conditions and long distance conditions. And to capture more light so as to deliver clear and sharp viewing, the lenses are coated with anti-reflective coatings.

The SkyMaster Giant is a heavy bino and you definitely need a tripod to use it. The good thing is that it has a diopter adjustment, which allows you to quickly and easily focus on an image without needing to move much.

And in any case, with such a large objective lens, the field of view is wide enough to keep your target always on sight. Furthermore, they have an eye relief of 18mm, which is sufficient for glass and lens wearers.

Celestron 71009 SkyMaster Giant 15x70 Review, Pros and Cons

The housing is made of durable materials and armored with rubber for firm gripping and waterproof performance.

Main Features

  • BAK4 Porro Prisms
  • Multi-Coated Optics
  • 70mm Extra-Wide Objectives
  • Wide 66° Apparent Angle of View
  • Diopter Correction Ring is located on the right ocular
  • Ultra Sharp Focus Across the Field of View
  • Suitable for Terrestrial or Astronomical Viewing
  • Protective Rubber Covering for Ultra-Firm Grip
  • Large center focus knob for easy focusing
  • Tripod Adapter Included
  • Long Eye Relief ideal for eyeglass wearers
  • Weather & Impact Resistant
  • Carrying Case included for travel and safe storage
PROS:
  • Multi-coated lenses for bright and clear viewing
  • Generous eye relief making them ideal for glass and lens wearers
  • Wide field of view for better viewing thanks to the large objective lens
  • High magnification which is ideal for long distance viewing
  • Easy to use diopter adjustment for quick and easy focusing
  • Solid construction with rubber armoring for a slip-free grip
  • Quality optics that work well in any weather condition

CONS:
  • It is super heavy and requires a tripod
  • Some users have complained of having double vision problems
  • The plastic part features are not durable

5. Humvee HMV-B-10X50 10×50 Review

Humvee HMV-B-10X50 10x50

  • Traditional Porro Prism Design
  • Sharp Image & Wide Field of View
  • Anti-Reflective Ruby Red Glass Lenses
  • Weather-Resistant Housing

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What’s great about the Humvee HMV-B-10X50 10×50 binos are the light-gathering red glass lenses. Not only do they give these binos a cool look, but the lenses are also designed to optimize light transmission so as to deliver clear visuals in low light conditions.

Humvee HMV-B-10X50 10x50 Review, Pros and Cons

They have a 10x magnification which makes them great for other outdoor activities other than surveillance such as hunting and bird watching. The 50mm objective lens makes it easy to keep your target in view, whether it’s moving or not at all ranges.

But this is not a lightweight bino. You cannot carry it around easily and neither can you hold it with your hands for long. You need a tripod to use them. These binoculars don’t come with the tripod, so you need to buy one.

The Humvee is built for strength and can withstand harsh weather conditions thanks to the rubber covering that protects its sturdy body. The lenses also have rubber coverings to protect them from scratching and fogging.

Main Features

  • Traditional Porro Prism Design
  • Sharp Image & Wide Field of View
  • 10x Magnification
  • 50mm Objective Lens Diameter
  • Anti-Reflective Light Gathering Ruby Red Glass Lenses
  • Rubberized Black Armor Coating & No-Slip Grip
  • Weather-Resistant Housing
  • Case Included
  • Great for military use, hiking, bird watching, hunting, and outdoor activities
  • 10-Year Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty
PROS:
  • Red glass lenses that capture sufficient light to deliver clear and sharp images
  • 50mm objective lens that offers a wide field of view
  • High magnification for long distance viewing
  • Rubber armoring for a firm grip
  • Ideal for military use, surveillance, hunting, hiking, and birding

CONS:
  • It’s heavy and big and therefore, it’s not easily portable

Buying Guide

When choosing the best binocular for surveillance, you have to take into consideration a number of factors. And these factors include:

Prism Design

When it comes to choosing a surveillance bino, you need to figure out whether to go with the porro prism design or the roof prism design.

Porro prism binos are less expensive than roof prism binos.

However, since most of them have a large objective lens and high magnification they are better for long distance viewing than roof prism binos. Also, they have a wider field of view which is essential for activities like surveillance.

Furthermore, they are easy to use and maintain. And they have a sturdy build and can, therefore, withstand any type of weather while still delivering great performance.

Roof prisms binos, on the other hand, are compact and lightweight. So you can use them for long periods without your hands tiring easily or quickly.

However, high-end roof prism binos are extremely expensive and they are not as tough as their porro prism counterparts.

Durability

Whether you are buying binos for surveillance, hiking, hunting or wildlife viewing, you want binos that can last long. Particularly if you also intend to use them in harsh weather conditions.

Most standard binos have rubber armoring to protect them from shock and water damage

Most standard binos have rubber armoring to protect them from shock and water damage. And their bodies are made of durable materials to ensure their longevity. So when selecting surveillance binos, don’t compromise on durability and sturdiness.

Magnification and Objective Lens

Surveillance work sometimes requires a bino with a large lens and high magnification, particularly if what you are viewing is far away.

However, for short distance viewing, you don’t need a bino with very high magnification. But as for the size of the objective lens, bigger is always better if you need to keep your target in view all the time.

Optical System

Almost all binos today use multi-coated lenses. This is because they gather light better than lenses that are not coated, thereby delivering sharp, bright, and clear images.

Another feature you need to look out for is the glass lens. Binos that use extra-low dispersion glass deliver high-resolution images at long distances because the ED glass prevents chromatic aberration which can cause images to appear distorted, blurry or unclear.

Budget

The budget should not be much of a priority when buying binos, but it’s important to factor it in when selecting binos. There are binos that cost thousands of dollars and then there those that cost a couple of hundred bucks.

And just because a bino is expensive doesn’t mean it can deliver better performance than a cheap one. Don’t be surprised to find a cheap bino that can deliver better performance. It’s all in the craftsmanship and the materials used to make the bino.

Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Binos for Surveillance

Whether you are a rookie or an expert when it comes to binoculars, here are some mistakes you should avoid when buying a bino:

  • Don’t buy a bino because it has high magnification. While high magnification has its advantages, binos with high power tend to be heavy and large
  • Don’t buy a bino because it’s cheap. There are a lot of cheap brands in the market and not all of them can withstand harsh environments or deliver excellent performance
  • Avoid binos that have digital cameras because they cost an arm and a leg, and they don’t deliver peak performance

Conclusion

It’s not that hard to select quality binoculars for surveillance if you know what to look for. Whether you choose a large bino or a small one, don’t compromise on durability, the quality of the optical system and other key features mentioned in this guide.

And always do your research before buying a bino. Expensive doesn’t always mean good and cheap doesn’t always mean bad. So don’t focus too much on the price tag when buying a bino. Unless of course, it’s overlypriced or way beyond your budget.

Best Binoculars For Surveillance

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