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5 Best Hunting Binoculars Under 200$ — Plus A Guide For Beginners

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Vortex Optics DB-204 Diamondback 8x42

Bushnell 197842 Legend Ultra HD E-Series 8x42

Vortex Optics CF-4301 Crossfire 8x42

  • Eye Relief: 17 mm
  • Weight: 21.8 oz
  • Exit Pupil: 5.3 mm

  • Eye Relief: 17.2 mm
  • Weight: 23 oz
  • Exit Pupil: 4.3 mm

  • Eye Relief: 17 mm
  • Weight: 23.5 oz
  • Exit Pupil: 5.3 mm

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Best Hunting Binoculars Under 200$As simple as it seems, picking the best hunting binocular under $200 can be a bit daunting.

Not only are there so many features to think about but also different binoculars are made with different features to fit different needs.

So how do you go about picking a budget binocular for hunting, bird watching or even watching wildlife?

Well, we have a list of five hunting binoculars that will work just fine for your budget. Check them out.

What is the Best Hunting Binocular Under 200$ in 2018?

ModelEye Relief:Lens Coating:Prism system:Exit Pupil:Weight:Price
Vortex Optics DB-204 Diamondback 8x4217mmFully-multicoatedRoof prism5.3mm21.8ozCheck price!
Bushnell 197842 Legend Ultra HD E-Series 8x4217.2mmFully-multicoatedRoof prism4.3mm23ozCheck price!
Alpen Outdoor Corp. 396SP SHASTA PEAK 10x4216mmFully-multicoatedRoof prism4.2mm26ozCheck price!
Vortex Optics CF-4301 Crossfire 8x4217mmFully-multicoatedRoof prism5.3mm23.5ozCheck price!
Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x4219.5mmFully-multicoatedRoof prism5.25mm20.8ozCheck price!

Vortex Optics DB-204 Diamondback 8×42 – Top Pick

Vortex Optics DB-204 Diamondback 8x42In the world of optics, Vortex has proven to be the yardstick of price and performance.

We had to kick off our list with the Vortex Optics DB-204 Diamondback 8×42 for the simple reason that it offers quality performance for anyone looking for budget-friendly hunting optics that do not compromise on enhanced resolution and contrast.

It has a rugged but comfortable construct that is also portable weighing only 21.8 oZ.

To further enhance its fog and water resistance, its housing comes with an O-ring seal plus it’s purged with argon gas to get rid of the vacuum effect.

On top of that, the fact that it’s a new release of the Vortex Optics DB-204 Diamondback 8×42 line gives it an edge.

Compared to its predecessors, the Diamondback has a portable design that is easy to hold thanks to a slip-resistant rubber armor exterior.

When it comes to optics, this binocular is made up of a roof prism design which popular among premium binoculars and makes it much more durable and rugged.

Furthermore, the dielectric fully multicoated lenses enable this binocular to deliver a close focus distance at 5ft. Plus, the images appear bright and full of natural colors thanks to a decent level of light transmission.

Basically this binocular gives you an ultra wide field of view that lets you cover more ground with minimal effort whether you are out hunting or viewing wildlife.

Performance

If you are looking for clarity and focus that compares well with the premium binoculars in the market, the Vortex Optics DB-204 Diamondback 8×42 makes a compelling option.

Vortex Optics DB-204 Diamondback 8x42 Review, Pros and Cons. Check our Top Pick 2018

Not only is it capable of producing brighter and clearer viewing with a quality focus, but it also boasts of a durable construction that will last years.

Furthermore, the lifetime warranty that comes with is another reason you should consider getting your hands on it at its price range.

The only drawbacks include some complaints about resistance with the focus knob and that the lens cover seems a little cheap.

Specification

  • Magnification: 8x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm
  • Eye Relief: 17 mm
  • Exit Pupil: 5.3 mm
  • Linear Field of View: 393 ft / 1000 yd
  • Angular Field of View: 7.5 degrees
  • Close Focus: 5 ft
  • Interpupillary Distance: 55-75 mm
  • Height: 5.8 in
  • Width: 5.1 in
  • Weight: 21.8 oz

What in the box?

  • Vortex Optics DB-204 Diamondback
  • Rainguard Eyepiece Cover
  • Tethered Objective Lens Covers
  • Comfort Neck Strap
  • Deluxe Custom-molded Carry Case

PROS:
  • Close focus
  • Lightweight body
  • Durable aluminum construct
  • Easy to handle
  • Water and fog resistance
  • Affordable

CONS:
  • Focus knob has some slight resistance

Vortex Diamondback Binoculars:

Vortex Diamondback Binoculars

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Bushnell 197842 Legend Ultra HD E-Series 8×42 – Second Best Pick

Bushnell 197842 Legend Ultra HD E-Series 8x42Bushnell 197842 Legend Ultra HD E-Series 8×42 was made with the hunters, wildlife watchers, and explorers in mind.

It boasts of premium optics that fit the needs of any outdoor enthusiast plus a fashionable yet rugged chassis that has a rubber –coated magnesium for durability.

It’s a decent choice for top-notch color rendition thanks to an incredibly bright viewing with its lead-free glass lenses.

With a long eye relief and an ultra-wide field of view, Bushnell 197842 Legend Ultra HD E-Series 8×42 presents comfortable viewing as well.

The twist-up eyecup is also easy to adjust adding to the comfort it delivers even for people wearing glasses.

Performance

A long eye relief on any binocular adds to the comfortable experience of using it. This binocular goes beyond this to give you twist up eye cups which is great especially if you wear glasses.

Bushnell gives you a lifetime warranty as well such that with this binocular you can be sure of long-lasting durability.

Bushnell 197842 Legend 8x42 Review, Pros and Cons. Check our Second Best Pick 2018

You don’t have to worry about misguided breath or fog getting in the way of your viewing as the Bushnell 197842 Legend Ultra HD E-Series 8×42 comes with a patented water-repellent coating that causes snow, rain or even moisture from your breath to scatter and condense away clearing up your view.

If you are in the zone with extreme weather conditions, the RainGuard lens also adds an extra layer of protection.

Specification

  • Magnification x Objective Lens (mm): 8x 42
  • Focus System: Center
  • Prism System: Roof
  • Prism Glass: BaK-4
  • Lens Coating: Fully Multi
  • Field of View (ft.@1000yds / m@1000m): 426 / 142
  • Close Focus (ft. / m): 6.5 / 1.9
  • Exit Pupil (mm): 5.3
  • Eye Relief (mm): 17.2
  • Eyecups: Twist-Up
  • Waterproof / Fogproof: Yes
  • Adapt to Tripod: Yes
  • Rainguard® HD: Yes
  • Weight (oz. / g): 22.4 / 635

What in the box?

  • Bushnell 197842 Legend Ultra
  • Carrying Case
  • Neckstrap
  • Microfiber Lens Cloth

PROS:
  • Good value for money
  • Lightweight housing for portability
  • Clear viewing with long eye relief
  • Water and fog repellent mechanism
  • Lifetime warranty

CONS:
  • Some users complain about the adjustable diopter

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Alpen Outdoor Corp. 396SP SHASTA PEAK 10×42 – Best Pick for Fog And Water Resistance

Alpen Outdoor Corp. 396SP SHASTA PEAK 10x42At its price range and for its features, Alpen Outdoor Corp. 396SP SHASTA PEAK 10×42 is practically a steal.

It is designed for the entry-level optics enthusiast and boasts of a bunch of positive reviews from users.

This one here comes in a 10×42 configuration and features a compact roof prism making it easily portable for a safari.

You will find a BaK4 glass that is similar to what you get with higher end binoculars.

For durability, it features a rubber armoring not to mention a soft rubber rain guard that is also easy to clean. It’s a waterproof binocular that is sealed with an o-ring and filled with nitrogen to prevent fog from getting trapped inside.

Convenience is top of mind for this binocular, especially for glass wearers. There is a twist-up eyecup that positions you at the right viewing distance and the no-fault no problem warranty gives users peace of mind which is simply remarkable.

Performance

Alpen Outdoor Corp. 396SP SHASTA PEAK 10×42 makes a decent pick for anyone who enjoys a reasonably priced binocular for their hunting and safari trips.

When you get your hands on it, you might find that the central focus is a bit stiff however once your break into it after a while, this should not be much of a problem.

Alpen Outdoor Corp. 396SP SHASTA PEAK 10x42 Review, Pros and Cons. Check our Best Pick for Fog And Water Resistance 2018

It’s a decent pick even for glass wearers thanks to a twist-up eyecup that enables comfortable viewing.

The diopter is also adjustable and the overall soft rubber lens cover provides a rugged housing to the binocular for durability. Besides, there are little complaints about it so far which is a good sign as well.

Specification

  • Max. Magnification: 10x
  • Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated
  • Prism system: Roof prism
  • Eye Relief: 16mm
  • Exit Pupil: 4.2mm
  • Features: Waterproof
  • Dimensions: L 8.8 x W 6.9 x H 3.1 inches
  • Weight: 26oz
  • Width: 2.2
  • Height: 2
  • Length: 5.8

What in the box?

  • Alpen Outdoor Corp. 396SP
  • Extra Wide Neck Strap
  • Lens Covers
  • Cleaning Cloth
  • Soft Rubber Rain Guard
  • Nylon Case

PROS:
  • Affordable pricing
  • Fashionable and rugged housing
  • Water-repellent design
  • Clarity viewing
  • Life warranty

CONS:
  • Cannot be used for night vision
  • The center focus knob might be a bit stiff

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Vortex Optics CF-4301 Crossfire 8×42 – Best Budget Pick For Close Range Hunting And Viewing

Vortex Optics CF-4301 Crossfire 8x42By now it’s pretty obvious that Vortex dominates the market when it comes to binoculars that are budget friendly yet boasting of a quality construct.

With the Vortex Optics CF-4301 Crossfire 8×42, you get a first class build quality that Vortex is known for but most importantly this binocular comes with all the right optic features for bow hunting.

Although it’s an entry-level binocular, it brings about an enhanced depth of field not to mention a close range focus of 7.5 ft.

It boasts of a fully multicoated lens this binocular delivers an impressive view with a decent light transmission.

You also get a lens cover and with an overall weight of about 30 ounces, this binocular is one of the most portable and lightweight designs you will find out there.

It has a wide field of view that is easy to use while hunting. The 8x magnification and the fully-multicoated lenses make it a good performer in terms of light transmission.

Besides, its rugged build quality features nitrogen purging for all weather conditions which is nothing to sneeze about.

Performance

The performance of the Vortex Optics CF-4301 Crossfire 8×42 is pretty much on its own league especially if you consider the features and its price range.

Vortex Optics CF-4301 Crossfire 8x42 Review, Pros and Cons. Check our Best Budget Pick For Close Range Hunting And Viewing 2018

Just like every other Vortex product, this one also includes a lifetime warranty and if reviews from other users are anything to go by, this binocular is a good pick for those looking for a budget option with premium features.

Specification

  • Magnification: 8x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 42 mm
  • Eye Relief: 17 mm
  • Exit Pupil: 5.3 mm
  • Linear Field of View: 393 ft / 1000 yd
  • Angular Field of View: 7.5 degrees
  • Close Focus: 7.5 ft
  • Interpupillary Distance: 56-76 mm
  • Height: 6.2 in
  • Width: 5.1 in
  • Weight: 23.5 oz

What in the box?

  • Vortex Optics CF-4301 Crossfire
  • Rainguard Eyepiece Cover
  • Tethered objective lens covers
  • Comfort neck strap
  • Soft carry case

PROS:
  • Close range focus
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Clarity and impressive light transmission
  • Wide field of view
  • Easy to mount on a tripod
  • Waterproof design

CONS:
  • Some users complain of fog on the eyepiece
  • A bit large for some users

Vortex Crossfire Binoculars:

Vortex Crossfire Binoculars

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Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8×42 – Best Pick For Night Star Gazing

Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42The Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8×42 is by far the most expensive binocular on our list.

But this should not discourage you; this binocular is worth every penny.

In fact, it barely made it to the under $200 price but with its features, this Binocular presents a compelling choice for those who are willing to splurge a little for the extra features.

First of all, like every other binocular in our list, the Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8×42 features a fully multicoated Eco-Glass Lenses for high levels of light transmission across the entire light spectrum.

It offers quality optics performance. This binocular brings about accurate color reproduction with its dielectric high-reflective multilayer prism coating.

In fact, compared to its predecessors, the Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8×42 features improved resolution for a more natural viewing.

The housing of the binocular is also made to fit its asking price. You can put it through the paces as it’s designed to withstand fog and water with its armored and durable housing.

For comfort viewing, it comes with rubber eyecups and a central focus that is smooth and easy to use for your convenience.

Performance

When it comes to remarkable viewing, the Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8×42 sits at the top making it worth the slightly higher price tag. It’s easy and enjoyable to use thanks to a high eye-point design that works well even for those with glasses.

Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8x42 Review, Pros and Cons. Check our Best Pick For Night Star Gazing 2018

With its small compact size, its obvious Nikon had portability in mind while making this binocular.

So whether you are planning to go bird watching or a trip to the Serengeti to view wildlife, the Nikon 7576 MONARCH 5 8×42 simply won’t disappoint.

Specification

  • Focusing System: Central Focus
  • Magnification: 8x
  • Objective Diameter: 42mm
  • Angular Field of View (Real): 6.3°
  • Angular Field of View (Apparent): 47.5°
  • FOV at 1000 yds: 330 ft
  • Close Focus Distance: 7.8 ft
  • Exit Pupil: 5.25mm
  • Eye Relief: 19.5mm
  • Size (Length x Width): 5.7 x 5.1 in
  • Weight: 20.8 oz
  • Phase Coating: Yes
  • Dielectric Coating: Yes
  • Waterproof/Fogproof: Yes
  • Prism: Roof
  • ED Glass: Yes

What in the box?

  • MONARCH 5 8×42
  • Turn-and-slide Rubber Eyecups
  • Wide Neoprene strap
  • Soft Case

PROS:
  • Excellent optics for quality viewing
  • Comes with a neck strap and a case
  • Rugged durable build quality
  • Lightweight design for portability
  • Works well for night star gazing

CONS:
  • A bit bulky

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Buyer’s Guide: what to look for in budget binoculars

With just $200 you can grab yourself a high-quality binocular that features clarity and sophistication that optics enthusiasts have come to expect with pricier options.

However, it might require that you do some research to understand exactly what you need. This guide will take you through some fundamental features to look out for in a budget binocular.

How will you use your binoculars?

First things first, you need to know how you are going to use the binocular. It might seem trivial but different binoculars come with features that suit different viewing needs.

For instance, if you are an astronomer, you would need a binocular with different features compared to a hunter or bird watcher. A sport like fishing, for instance, might require you to get binocular with a large field of view so that you can detect fast moving objects.

Bird watchers and hunters, on the other hand, will prefer high magnification with a relatively smaller field of view as it helps to spot the tiniest objects in the thick forest.  Most of the products we have listed suit a bird watcher, hunters, and wildlife watchers.

Budget

Most if not all of the above-listed binoculars fall in the $200 price range.

Even though you can still find decent options under $100 or even at $50 it makes more sense to go with a high quality and durable options even if it means spending extra.

After all, most of the binoculars come with a lifetime warranty which is convenient for avid bird watchers and hunters looking to invest in the right gear for the long run.

What’s more important between portability and power?

Glad you asked and the answer here depends on how you plan to use the binocular.

The good thing is that most manufacturers have improved on their designs and you no longer have to choose since most products feature portable designs that are still capable of delivering clarity and superb magnification.

However, bird watchers prefer powerful optics over portability and therefore go with high-end options that might be a little heavy. Hiking enthusiasts, on the other hand, prefer portability over powerful optics.

About glass wearers

If you wear glasses, you are obviously concerned about eye relief especially if it’s your first time using binoculars.

Well, to begin with, a binoculars eye relief basically refers to the eyepiece to eye distance and according to various reviews form glass wearers, a binocular with a longer eye relief is most preferable.

Plus you can prevent the binoculars from smudging your glasses with a longer eye relief which is great. Ultimately, you get more comfortable viewing with your glasses on so keep that in mind.

What are the most important features to consider?

Well, just like any other product out there, picking a binocular that works for your needs revolve around having the right features for your needs.

Basically, it’s the difference between picking a binocular that you love against having to compromise with a mediocre product. So without further ado let’s take a closer look at some important features to think about before a purchase.

Field of view

The field of view in a binocular simply refers to how far off you can see with your binocular. With more expensive binoculars, you get high-quality optics that offer a much greater field of view than cheaper options.

How to choose hunting binocular under 200$ // Hunting binocular under 200$ buyer’ guide

If you are planning to use your binocular to watch wildlife, a good idea would be to go with a larger field of view so as to be able to see fast moving objects.

Magnification capacity

If you are looking to enlarge your images with a larger field of view, picking a binocular with a powerful magnification will be a solid choice. Most options range between an 8x to about 10x magnification to provide a more realistic natural looking image after magnification.

Housing

If you are on a tight budget, the build quality is one of the features you might want to compromise on. As long as you have powerful optics, taking good care of the binocular will work just fine.

However, for hiking enthusiasts who usually put their binocular through the paces in an extreme environment, going with a rugged build quality with waterproof design and rubberized coating is a good option.

Binocular Lens coating

The lenses quality depends on the size of the lens, the coating mechanism, and overall build quality. The coating is an anti-reflective layer that keeps the light from bouncing.

A binocular with multi-coating allows more light to get to your eyes through the eyepiece meaning brighter images with distinguishable colors.

On the other hand, a coated lens tends to have more reflection with more light bouncing back instead of going through to the eyepiece. As result, the coating on the lens determines the quality of your viewing. Here is a breakdown of all the type of coating available:

  • Coated – as discussed, this represents lenses with a single layer of antireflection coating.
  • Multi-coated – here is where the binoculars get a little pricey as the lenses come with multiple layers of antireflection coating. With a multi-coated lens, you get effective light transmittance for brighter viewing with clarity.
  • Fully-multi-coated– with premium binoculars you will want them to have a fully multi-coated pair of lenses. This means that all air to glass surfaces on the lens has been coated with multiple anti-reflection coating layers for superior image clarity and viewing.
  • Dielectric mirror coating – these types of lenses mostly feature a roof prism that acts as a nonmetallic dielectric reflective surface to offer a 99 percent light transmittance. The viewer seeing an image with a dielectric coated lens will see more natural realistic images.

Prisms

One of the main distinguishable features about binoculars is their shape. While some come with straight tubes and more compact bodies, others feature lens tubes that are offset from the eyepiece.

These differences in shape and sizes are related to the inner working mechanisms of the binoculars. It might seem a bit complicated but to put it simply, binoculars work with prisms that reflect light and magnify images so that you end up with the right side up orientation of the image in the eyepiece.

This requires a complex arrangement of prisms in the lenses and there are two designs that are common so far.

How to choose hunting binocular under 200$ // Hunting binocular under 200$ buyer’ guide

Porro prism binoculars: these are the one with an offset lens tube to the eyepiece. They feature prisms that are arranged at an angle from the eyepiece and usually make up larger binoculars.

Roof prism binocular: these prism arrangements are common in straight tube binocular and represent an early design that allows for a more compact binocular with less light transmission when compared to Porro-prism designs.

How to get the best out of your binocular

For those who are new to binoculars, there are a couple of things you can learn to improve your results even with a budget binocular:

  • If you are going for a bird watching gear and you don’t have enough to spend on optics with powerful magnification, a quick solution would be to get a spotting scope that lets you increase your zoom to up to 50 times.
  • If you are unable to establish a balanced viewing, an easy trick would be to adjust the diopter ring. Most users only adjust the focus ring. However, if you play around with the diopter ring, you can achieve a balanced viewing than you previously expected.
  • It can get a bit frustrating trying to locate your target especially if you are using a high magnification binocular. An easy trick would be to use your naked eye to locate a landmark then while keeping your eyes locked to the landmark raise your binoculars to locate the subject.

Conclusion

If you are just getting started with binoculars, there are plenty of budget options to choose from even if you are on a budget of $200. The good thing is that now you know where to start from.

Check out our list to find what works for your needs as we have considered performance as well as budget while picking the 5 best products. Plus with our buyer’s guide, you will be better informed and manage to pick a binocular with the right features for your needs.

Best Hunting Binoculars Under 200$

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