The Best Birding Binoculars: Buying Guide 2017

The process of finding the best birding binoculars starts with knowing what you really need rather than what you want. This means that you first of all need to know the features of the products of some of the best products as well as where you are going to do the birding. Before narrowing down to birding, it is also important to understand that the binoculars you need for birding may be different from the one you need for hunting. Without the basic knowledge and information concerning the selection process, choosing the best birding binoculars can be a tall order. In fact, you may not end up choosing the best. However, guide on buying the best birding binoculars can make your work easier.

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Things to Consider

Price

It is always recommendable that you spend as much as you can on birding binoculars. This is because the world makes you get that which you have paid for. The higher end products do come with higher quality performance and durability. However, within the lower range products, there are some exciting features that still make it a viable investment to go for any range of binoculars. The best birding binoculars, which are of the highest end cost over $2000 whereas the cheapest that are essentially for beginners will cost less than $200.

Magnification

A great deal of the birding binoculars come with a magnification power of 8x or 10x. However, there are some few that will have a power of 7x or even slightly below. On the subject of magnification, the choice is highly subjective to different birders. Whereas there are some birders who will prefer to go for the higher magnification of 10x, which gives clearer images, others will prefer the 8x as it has a wider field of view. It therefore depends on whether you want a wider FOV or better magnification for bright crisp images.

Ergonomics

There are different designs and as with any other product, such designs play an important role in your selection of the right accessory for your use. It is important for one to go for the lightweight products as opposed to the heavy ones. If you must go for the heavy ones, be prepared to be walking with a tripod as you cannot be able to do viewing with the heavy options for extended periods of time. In case you do wear eye glasses, consider a long eye relief lest you fail to be able to use your product. The comfort in your hands, shapes and sizes of this product are all features to consider. In a nutshell, let the product be easy to use, aesthetic to walk with and friendly to the eyes.

Anti-Reflective Lens Coatings

It is worth noting than though most binoculars will today come with some antireflective lens coats, there are different types of coats hence the need of knowing the ones to go for. Antireflective coatings ensure there is increased light transmission thus can make a great difference on the quality of an image. On average, there is always a 96% light transmittance per single lens surface if it is not coated. If coated with a single layer, the transmittance rate is 98.5% for a single lens surface and 99.5% for a single lens surface of multilayer coating. It is therefore wise to go for the fully multi-coated lenses than any other.

Beware that if a manufacture just labels the product as “Coated”, then it implies that it is just single layered. “Fully Coated” implies that the entire surface between the glass surfaces and all air has been coated. Lastly, a “Multi-Coated” refers to products with multiple layers of coatings on the glass. “Fully Multi-Coated” therefore refers to the glass surfaces that come with multiple layers of antireflective coats between the glass surfaces and air. It is this reason that you really want to consider the fully multi-coated layered binoculars.

Easy Speedy Focusing

Remember that your subjects, the birds, don’t stay still as they will jump from one end to the other, at times in fast motion. It is therefore important to understand that just as important the wider FOV is, the speed of focus will determine whether you will be able to get anything from your focus or not. If the focusing is not easy and fast, chances that you are going to miss most of the birding details you need are very high.

​Focusing Wheel

The use of the focusing wheel needs to be a simple and intuitive possibility. This is because the focus wheel is what will help you achieve that accurate focus fast enough or the vice versa. Wheels with a patterned or ridged soft rubber surfaces usually gives great performance. A fairly large wheel which protrudes outside and is located on the binoculars top also needs to be sought for. This makes adjustments very simple and accurate even when you are having thick gloves on. The focus knob must just have a non slip surface.

Best Birding Binoculars for the Money

Below are reviews of some of the best birding binoculars within different ranges.

The Best Birding Binoculars over $2,000

Carl Zeiss 8x42 Optical Victory HT Binocular Review

The Carl Zeiss 8x42 HT by Zeiss, is a masterpiece that is credited for providing best quality images, thanks to its classic curved field optical designs. Mechanically, it features the best quality attributes that include; a solid magnesium alloy body together with a big double hinge for durability. It comes with a low friction focusing wheel for good performance and internal blackening & baffling for flare suppression. All these offer a boost on its optical quality and performance.

Special Features

  • Quality German make
  • New No Fault Policy for 5-years + Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • FL lens system enhancing supreme color fidelity
  • Exclusive Schott High Transmission glass together with enhances T* coatings that provide a 95% light transmission rate
  • Superior ergonomics necessitated by the Comfort focus concept together with easy-grip barrels

Pros

  • Best image quality in the market
  • Excellent, naturally observed reference colors
  • Best sharpness, micro-contrast, resolution and superb flare suppression
  • Intermediary between porro and roof hence best for those who want a taste of both but in a single product
  • Brightest glass, giving a lovely incredible transmission sparkle

Cons

  • It is very bulky
  • Exit pupil distance needs to be accurately placed, similar to the eyecup length adjustment
  • Holding the accessory close to the front end tends to have a long leverage

The accessory is an outstanding piece of optics that gives images that can be defined with great freshness. The images come with Chrystal clarity that a great deal of other birding optic accessories can’t offer hence the reason why it scores high as the best birding binoculars. If you want birding binoculars that will give you the best natural image quality with the least peripheral flare and the most details, then the HT is not an option but the choice.

The Best Birding Binoculars over $1,000

Carl Zeiss 8x32 Optical Conquest HD Binocular

The Conquest HD series that consists of pairs of binoculars is one of the most formidable series to have been developed by Zeiss. The 8x32 version has an objective lens diameter of 32 and a magnification of 8x. It combines an antireflective T* coatings system with the special premium HD optical system to guarantee brightness and proper image contrast with an overall transmission rate of at least 90%. The product also boast the LotuTec feature, which is a water shedding outer coating technology for enhanced use in all weather and ease in cleaning.

Special Features

  • LotuTec coating system for the external lens for moisture shedding and scratch resistance
  • HD lens system ensures superb color rendition
  • New No Fault 5-year Policy together with a Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • Made in Germany
  • Nitrogen purged for all weather use.
  • T* premium lens coatings for enhances brightness supremacy

Pros

  • A solid good quality casing
  • Wide Field of View
  • Great image quality with sharpness and crispness
  • Good quality optics for durability

Cons

  • Truncated pupil

Upon buying this product, you get a RainGuard together with lens cups, a hard case with a strap and another strap for the binocular. With a 10-year guarantee, you are sure that you will use the product for as long as you would wish. It is just one of the best birding binoculars you can ever think of.

The Best Birding Binoculars over $500

Nikon 7548 8x42 MONARCH 7 Binocular Review

The origin of binoculars can be traced to bird watching. People needed to get nature closer to them with Chrystal clarity without having to interfere with nature. The Nikon Monarch 7series, especially the 8x42 model takes bird watching to a new level. The product is tripod adaptable, offers a wide field of view and maintains the great clarity that one will need in a bird watching optical accessory. It is nitrogen purged and comes with high reflective prism coatings thus guaranteeing use in extreme environments and maximum light transmission. You are therefore sure of getting the best image quality in any weather conditions.

Special Features

  • Multi-colored anti-reflective lenses
  • An exceptional wide FOV
  • Extra-low dispersion optical glass for enhanced color fidelity and brightness
  • Durable rubber coated armor
  • Ergonomic design with comfort in handling and ruggedness for standing an array of conditions
  • Roof prisms having face correction for preserving detail and clarity
  • The prism features a High-Reflective, dielectric multilayer coating for improved contrast and color accuracy.

Pros

  • Image clarity even at low light levels
  • Highly reduced color aberrations
  • Viewing quality and colors maintained even at the highest distance range
  • Superb ergonomics and ease of use

Cons

  • Its relatively heavier than its counterparts
  • Installing the neck strap tends to be fiddly
  • No instructions on installation

To sum up, the Nikon 7548 8x42 MONARCH 7 Binocular (Black) in one word, it is detailed. The levels of details accompanying this exquisitely crafted piece of optic accessory are truly remarkable. These pieces of optics are just the very best birding binoculars especially for the avid birders.

The Best Birding Binoculars over $200

Nikon 7576 8x42 MONARCH 5 Binocular

In this Monarch 5 model is found one of the best birding binoculars that features great mechanical and optical quality features in a lightweight product. It comes with uncontested heritage and offers maximum performance in all the conditions. And in terms of aesthetics, it is one of the most beautiful products you will ever get in the market. The ED glass lenses on the other hand put the product in a different class of its own. This is virtually among the best birding binoculars to battle darkness with high contrast and sharp views

Special Features

  • Turn-and-slide eyecups made of rubber
  • Extra-Low Dispersion glasses
  • Water proof and fog proof
  • Eco-Glass lenses that have been fully multi-coated
  • An ounce lighter than the New Monarch 5, its predecessor
  • Rubber armored body construction for strengthened durability and improved comfort

Pros

  • 100% weatherproof (fog and water)
  • Long eye relief
  • Greater light transmission, thanks to the BAK-4 precision glasses
  • Greta reflectivity

Cons

  • Lens caps are of poor quality and can easily fall off.

With the Nikon 7576 8x42 MONARCH 5, you are guaranteed of a lightweight champion both in dawn and at dusk; a product with ED glass lenses; comfort in viewing; formidable light transmission; rich & accurate colors; and great performance regardless of weather or terrain.

The Best Birding Binoculars below $200

Celestron 71332 8x42 Nature DX Binocular Review

Standard professional binoculars have become common in all the average households. This is because there is a prospect in almost everyone, to get as close as possible to nature. The 8x42 Nature DX, by Celestron, is not just any other standard piece of optical accessory. Though it has been designed for thus on a tight budget, it comes with incredible features that no other binocular within its range can have. It is therefore the best birding binoculars for the beginners as well as the intermediates.

Special Features

  • Twist-up eyecups
  • Coated BaK-4 prisms for efficiency in contrast & resolution
  • Compact & lightweight
  • 6.5-inch close focus
  • Fully multi-coated optics

Pros

  • It is really affordable as compared to most of those products with its features and performance
  • Great glass standard for great performance within its range
  • Great construction for durability

Cons

  • Image blurring when finer details are to be viewed at maximum magnification

This is an entry level piece of optics that scores as the best birding binoculars for beginners and those on budget. However, it’s worth noting that you get exactly what you pay for. Therefore, if you need a great product, spend a bit more.

Conclusion

With such an incredible number of binoculars on today’s market, it can prove overwhelming to try and find the best birding binoculars. The good news is that with this review, your overall selection process has definitely improved. All that is remaining is for you to make the bold decision of starting to look for your own piece.

The Best Birding Binoculars: Buying Guide 2017
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