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Best Binoculars For Wildlife Viewing – Buyers Guide

Best Binoculars For Wildlife ViewingWildlife viewing for some is a career and for others, a hobby.

And like every other outdoor activity, you need the right tools to accomplish your goals.

When you need to view birds, insects, and other animals, you can do this easily with binoculars.

But it all depends on the quality of the binoculars. Some perform better than others because they have better features.

So when you get down to choosing the best binoculars for wildlife viewing, there is quite a bit you need to consider. This guide discusses what factors these are and looks at some of the top binoculars for birding and wildlife.

Check also: best binoculars under $200 and you may be interested in best binoculars for ocean viewing

Top pick
Athlon 113004 Midas 8x42

  • Compact BAK4 Roof Prisms
  • Dielectric Coated and Phase Corrected
  • Extra-Low Dispersion Glass Objectives
  • Broadband Fully Multi-Coated Optics

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We’ve tested 4 binoculars for wildlife viewing and the winner is above!

Binoculars For Wildlife Viewing Comparison Chart

Model

Athlon 113004 Midas 8x42

Bushnell BN150142 H2O 10x42

Vortex Optics V200 Viper 8x42

Adorrgon 889268 12x42

Photo

Athlon 113004 Midas 8x42

Bushnell BN150142 H2O 10x42

Vortex Optics V200 Viper 8x42

Adorrgon 889268 12x42

Magnification

8x

10x

8x

12x

Objective Lens Diameter

42 mm

42 mm

42 mm

42 mm

Angle of View

8.1° (Actual)

5.8° (Actual)

7.8° (Actual)

n/a

Field of View

426 ft/1000 yds

305 ft/1000 yds

347 ft/1000 yds

367 ft/1000 yds

Eye Relief

17.2 mm

17 mm

20 mm

n/a

Optical Coating

Fully Milti-Coated

Multi-Coated

XR Fully Multi-Coated

Fully Multi-Coated

Prism System

Roof (BAK4)

Roof (BAK4)

Roof

Roof (BAK4)

Weight

25 oz

25 oz

24.2 oz

1.1 pounds

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4 Best Binoculars For Wildlife Viewing (as of September, 2020):

1. Athlon Optics 113004 Midas 8×42 Binocular For Wildlife Viewing Review

Athlon 113004 Midas 8x42

  • Compact BAK4 Roof Prisms
  • Dielectric Coated & Phase Corrected
  • Extra-Low Dispersion Glass Objectives
  • Broadband Fully Multi-Coated Optics

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The Athlon 113004 Midas 8×42 is a powerful binocular that is designed to make your wildlife viewing experience enjoyable. It features multi-coated lenses for clear viewing, adjustable features for sharp focusing and a compact design for portability.

ED Glass and multi-Coated Lenses

ED glass and multi-coated lenses make the images appear clearer and sharper.

In fact, ED glass reduces a phenomenon known as chromatic aberration or color fringing. And this has to do with the way light is transmitted into the scope and how it affects the way an image appears.

Athlon 113004 Midas 8x42 Review, Pros and Cons

Lenses that are not coated don’t reduce chromatic aberration and therefore, the images don’t appear clear or sharp.

Long Eye Relief

The Athlon Midas has a long eye relief, which is particularly ideal for people who wear glasses. This because long eye relief translates to a wide field of view. Basically, they are able to see an entire view.

Waterproof Construct

The Midas is a roof prism binocular, which means it has a compact design and it is lightweight. It’s also armored with special rubber to make water-resistant and easy to handle.

Main Features

  • ED Glass and ESP Dielectric Coating
  • Compact BAK4 Roof Prisms
  • XPL Coating
  • True Color – Advanced Fully Multi-Coated lenses
  • Phase Corrected Prisms
  • Long Eye Relief
  • Close Focus
  • Twist Up Eyecups
  • Magnesium chasis to be able to withstand the tough weather
  • Waterproof and Fog proof with Argon Purging
  • Comes with bag and neck strap
PROS:
  • Multi-coated lenses for high-contrast, bright, and clear viewing
  • ED glass to deliver clear and sharp images
  • Ideal for wildlife viewing, hunting, sightseeing, and hiking
  • Good eye relief
  • Good low-light performance
  • Affordable

CONS:
  • Some consumers have complained that the eyepiece and objective lens covers are loose

2. Bushnell BN150142 H2O 10×42 Binocular For Wildlife Viewing Review

Bushnell BN150142 H2O 10x42

  • BAK4 Roof Prisms
  • Multi-Coated Optics
  • Large Center-Focus Knob
  • Twist-Up Eyecups
  • Non-slip Rubber Armor
  • Soft Texture Grip

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The Bushnell BN150142 H2O 10×42 is one of those binoculars you want to take out when it’s raining. These binoculars have a rubber armor that protects it from water damage. So if you were to drop them in a river or lake, your only worry is retrieving them.

The rubber armor also helps you have a better grip on them. So even if it’s raining and you are outdoors sightseeing or wildlife viewing, you don’t have to worry about them slipping from your hands.

The Bushnell H2O's rubber armor helps you have a better grip on them

Waterproof Construction

The Bushnell H20 has a waterproof build that is also fog proof. Its body is armored with a special rubber that makes it waterproof and gives a good grip.

Multi-coated lenses

Like most quality binoculars, the Bushnell H20 has multi-coated lenses to help deliver clear and sharp images.

Bushnell BN150142 H2O 10x42 Review, Pros and Cons

Quality Optical System

Bushnell does not compromise on the quality of their optics. The Bushnell H20 optical system features high-quality components specially made to make your viewing experience enjoyable.

The lenses use ED glass and they are multi-coated for image sharpness and clarity. It has an objective lens of 42 mm, which means that it provides a wide field of view.

Main Features

  • BAK4 Roof Prisms
  • Multi-Coated Optics
  • 12-foot Close Focus Distance
  • 17mm Eye Relief
  • Large center-focus knob for easy adjustments
  • Twist-up eyecups for comfortable use with glasses or without
  • O-ring sealed optics
  • Nitrogen-Filled Fogproof / Waterproof
  • Non-slip Rubber Armor
  • Soft Texture Grip
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
PROS:
  • Multi-coated lenses for sharp, bright, and clear views
  • 100% waterproof and fog proof
  • They are easy to handle due to the armor rubber which is non-slip
  • They focus quickly and easily
  • Good eye relief
  • Wide field of view for better viewing
  • Ideal for hunting, sightseeing, and birding
  • Compact design for portability

CONS:
  • It doesn’t come with lens protectors

3. Vortex Optics V200 Viper HD 8×42 Binocular For Wildlife Viewing Review

Vortex Optics V200 Viper 8x42

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

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When you look at the Vortex Optics V200 Viper 8×42, it easy to be taken in by its beauty. But it’s not just its good looks, these multi-purpose binoculars is designed for hunting game at long distances.

Equipped with an extra-low dispersion glass and multi-coated lenses, the Vortex Viper offers bright and sharp viewing. This is why it’s great for outdoor activities like hunting and wildlife viewing.

Vortex Optics V200 Viper 8x42 Review, Pros and Cons

For a mid-range priced binoculars, the Vortex offers plenty of good performance and it’s built to last.

Durable Build

The Vortex Viper has a rubber-armored body and it’s O-ring sealed and argon purged for any weather condition.

It a roof prism binocular, which means it lightweight and has a compact design making it ideal for travel.

Quality Optics

The Vortex Viper uses ED glass and anti-reflective coated lenses for sharp viewing. It has a 10x magnification which is ideal for wildlife viewing, hunting, and other outdoor activities.

Vortex Optics V200 Viper 8x42 is ideal for travel

The objective lens is 42mm in diameter, which means the binoculars offer a wide field of view. And usually, this is great for people who have eye problems or people who wear glasses.

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:
  • ED glass for clear and sharp viewing
  • Multi-coated lenses for sharp and bright views
  • Rubber armor for waterproof and fog-proof performance
  • Compact and lightweight construct

CONS:
  • The eye relief is not sufficient for people who wear glasses
  • Some consumers have complained that it’s hard to handle them and that they are heavy

Vortex Viper HD Binoculars:

Vortex Viper HD Binoculars

4. Adorrgon 889268 12×42 Review

Adorrgon 889268 12x42

  • Weight only 1.1 pounds
  • Large 16.5mm BAK4 Prism
  • Fully Multi-coated lens
  • Clear Weak Light Vision
  • Lightweight, Durable and Anti-slip Grip

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These powerful binoculars by Adorrgon are designed for outdoor activities like hunting, hiking, sports, concerts, sightseeing, and wildlife viewing.

It’s a great pair of binoculars if you are on a budget. Compared to many binoculars brands out there, the 12X42 powerful binoculars are quite affordable. You can even afford to buy more than one for family or friends

Adorrgon 889268 12x42 Binocular has 367ft1000yds large field of view

So aside from having an attractive price tag, the binoculars have a lot to offer in terms of performance.

Designed for durability and performance, these binos have Cleak Weak Light Vision feature that can deliver clear viewing in low light conditions.

Adorrgon 889268 12x42 Review, Pros and Cons

Clear Weak Light Vision

The Adorrgon 889268 12×42 Powerful Binoculars have a feature called the Clear Weak Light Vision which you can use to see in weak light conditions.

Although it is a neat feature to have especially when you need to see in poor light conditions, it is not designed for pitch darkness.

Large Eyepiece

A large eyepiece enables you to see your whole view without struggling. And the 12×42 Powerful Binocular has a large eyepiece which is ideal for people who wear glasses.

Adorrgon 889268 12x42 Binocular has Fully Multi-coated lens and professional HD Vison

Solid Construct

It features a rubber armor, like most superior binoculars. This makes it easy to handle the binoculars without it slipping from your hand. The rubber armoring also makes it waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof.

Main Features

  • Weight only 1.1 pounds
  • Large 16.5mm BAK4 Prism
  • Fully Multi-coated lens
  • Clear Weak Light Vision
  • Capable of delivering a clear face from more than 650 feet away
  • Durable structure with odorless rubber armor for shock-resistance and Anti-slip grip
  • Carrying Case, Eyepiece Lens Protection Covers, Cleaning Cloth and Neck Strap
PROS:
  • Clear Weak Light Vision feature for better viewing in low light conditions
  • Large eyepiece for better viewing particularly for people who wear glasses
  • Compact design that is lightweight and durable
  • Anti-grip construct for easy handling
  • Delivers clear viewing

CONS:
  • It’s Clear Weak Light Vision can only deliver clear viewing in poor light conditions but not in the dark

Buyers Guide

When it comes down to choosing the best binoculars for wildlife viewing, checking out customer reviews or expert reviews can be helpful.

There are many brands out there and to pick the best one, you need to narrow them down based on your budget, preference, reputation or other factors.

Once you have shortlisted the scopes that appeal to you, the next most important step is to compare them. And this is where certain factors come into play. Every scope is different in one way or the other.

So how do you go about figuring out which is the best one? What the factors should be considered when choosing the best binoculars for observing wildlife?

Roof Prism or Porro-Prism

Binoculars fall under two categories: Roof prism and Porro-prism. With the roof prism binoculars, the tubes are straight, while the Porro-prism tubes are angled.

Owing to the way they are designed, roof prism binos have a more compact design which makes them easier to carry around than Porro-prism binoculars.

Roof Prism & Porro-Prism Systems

And since roof prism has a compact design and are lightweight, they are more expensive than Porro-prism binoculars which are heavier.

Unless budget is on top of your list when choosing binoculars for wildlife viewing, it would be advisable to stick with roof prism binoculars.

Magnification

Every scope has different magnification ratings which are indicated in numbers. For example 10X42. The digit 10X represents the number of times you can magnify an image and the number 42 is the size of the objective lens in millimeters.

The larger the objective lens, the larger the field of view. That is, you can see more of what you are viewing from left to right.

When it comes to magnification, high magnification provides a better close-up of your view than low magnification. However, high magnification also reduces your field of view. It also becomes difficult to have a sharp focus of your view.

So ideally, high magnification binos are not the best option for wildlife viewing.

Optical Quality

This is possibly the most important factor when selecting the best binoculars for wildlife viewing. It is the one thing that separates the wheat from the chaff.

Binoculars with poor optics are basically useless. You are better off using your eyes.

So what should you look out for when it comes to optical quality?

There are several factors that make for good optics and some main ones are:

  • The glass lenses – most standard binoculars have ED or extra-low density lenses. This is due to their ability to correct what is referred to chromatic aberration. This is when images don’t appear sharp particularly high contrast images. ED glass eliminates chromatic aberration improving the clarity, sharpness, and brightness of your view
  • Close focus – most binoculars have a focus of 3 to 4 meters, which is good enough for wildlife such as birds. But if you want to view butterflies or other insects, you need a binocular that a close focus of about 2 meters

Lens Coatings

Lens coatings, believe it or not, do determine the performance of binoculars. Most binoculars in the market have anti-reflective coated lenses. This is to improve how an image appears and generally, enhance the user’s viewing experience.

Coated lenses allow more light into the scope delivering sharp, bright, and clear images. They also help reduce chromatic aberration.

Coated lenses help reduce chromatic aberration

Some lenses have special coatings and others have more than one layer of coatings. Generally, if the lens glass has multiple coatings, it delivers sharper and brighter images than one that has a single coating.

Build and Durability

Build and durability are some of the most important aspects of binoculars. Today, most binoculars have a rubber armor for waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof. And it also offers a good solid grip.

Most binoculars have a rubber armor for waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof

As for the build, quality binoculars have a superior optical system that enables you to views animals and whatever else easily. They are also able to deliver sharp and clear images.

So basically, this is what you would need in a binocular especially for wildlife viewing.

So it doesn’t matter if they are cheap or expensive, if they have a good optical system and a solid construct, that’s all you need.

Warranty

If you invest a good amount on a good pair of binoculars, ensure that they come with a warranty.

Most quality binoculars come with a lifetime warranty. And this means that they can replace or repair your binoculars in case of damage or defect for free.

Budget

For some people, budget is a priority when comparing binoculars. The thing is just a certain brand is expensive doesn’t mean it has better performance than one that is less expensive.

You can get some quality binos at relatively low prices. So don’t be misguided by the price.

Conclusion

Knowing what to look for when choosing binoculars for wildlife viewing can help you make a sound decision.

Wildlife viewing is an enjoyable activity and for some people, it’s what they do for a living. And having the right equipment like a good pair of binoculars is essential.

So before you go out and buy a pair of binoculars for wildlife viewing, do your due diligence. Do your research. See what other consumers are saying, or talk to a binoculars expert.

Best Binoculars For Wildlife Viewing

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