Best Binoculars for Hiking in 2022

Best Binoculars for Hiking

Finding the right pair of binoculars for hiking can be confusing as these observation tools come in a variety of styles and sizes. However, things get easier when you have an idea of ​​where you plan to use them and what specs and features the binoculars owe to you.

To define your field of prospecting, we have selected some of the best binoculars for hiking at the moment. Whether you’re a professional or beginner hiker, our top 10 list is sure to include a pair of binoculars that will be perfect for you.

Best Binoculars for Hiking Reviews in 2022

After examining more than twenty models, we selected the pairs of binoculars below because they obtained the best scores at the end of our rigorous tests. Each of our recommendations has been scrutinized in a practical way. So you’re guaranteed to see fine details from afar and enjoy an overall satisfying viewing experience on your hikes or nature excursions.

1. Nikon Aculon A211 10-22×50 – Ideal for a Wide Range of Applications

Nikon Aculon A211 10-22×50

Specifications:

  • Weight: 961 g
  • Prism type: porro prism
  • Lens coating: multi-coated coating
  • Actual/perceived field of view at 1000 m: 3.8°/ 66 at 1000 m
  • Objective lens diameter: 50 mm
  • Exit diameter of pupil: 5 mm
  • Magnification (digital zoom): 10 x
  • Minimum focusing distance:  15 m
  • Optical zoom: 10 to 22x
  • Twilight index: 22.4
  • Light intensity: 25
  • Waterproof: no
  • Adaptable tripod: yes

Pros

  • Compatibility with a wide range of applications
  • Many user-friendly features
  • A very good manufacturing quality

Cons

  • Relatively heavy compared to other options

Nikon is famous for its well-designed products and the Aculon A211 10-22×50 binoculars carry on that tradition with their great balance between affordability and high quality. It is designed with durable rubber armor to ensure optimal protection in drops and harsh environments. This model takes the very first step in our top 10 because it is suitable for a wide range of applications.

Whether at hiking or for bird and wildlife watching, Aculon A211 10-22×50 binoculars are easy enough to pack for the day although they aren’t the lightest on the market. Nikon has notably provided them with rubber eyecups which keep the binoculars positioned in the right place and promote comfortable wearing over an extended period of time.

If we particularly recommend this pair of binoculars, it is not only for their satisfactory ergonomics. The Nikon Aculon A211 10-22×50 sport multi-coated glass lenses with 50mm objective lenses for a wide and bright field of view.

These high-quality optics from Nikon are associated with a 5 mm exit pupil. So with these hardware choices, you can use the Aculon A211 10-22x50s to see distant objects even in low light or at night.

These binoculars include a smoothly rotating focus knob to allow you to quickly and accurately find a clear view of your subject. Also, their rubberized coating offers a strong grip,

However, long-distance images may appear wavy.  Also, the Nikon Aculon A211 10-22×50 have average weather resistance, so you should be careful when using them in certain environments.

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2. Olympus 8-16×40 S – Superb Zoom Capabilities Make This a Great Value Binoculars

Olympus 8-16×40 S - Best Value

Specifications:

  • Weight: 795g
  • Prism type: Porro prism
  • Lens treatment: Coated aspherical lenses
  • Actual/perceived field of view at 1000m: Wide angle: 5° – 3.4°/ 87-59m at 1000m
  • Lens diameter of objective: 40 mm
  • Exit pupil diameter: 5 – 2.5 mm
  • Magnification (digital zoom): 8 x
  • Minimum focusing distance: 10 m
  • Optical zoom: 8 – 16x
  • Twilight factor: 25.3
  • Light intensity: 6.25
  • Waterproof: no
  • Adaptable tripod: yes

Pros

  • Portable and lightweight
  • Construction with solid rubber
  • Aspherical and multicoated lenses
  • Wide field of vision
  • Very good value for money

Cons

  • Heavyweight

In terms of value for money, it’s hard to find a better option on the market than the Olympus 8-16×40 S. These binoculars have been available for a while now but continue to impress with their affordable price. They offer higher magnification (8 – 16x) and have a Porro Prism design, which combined with its aspherical lenses and provides a clear image even in low light conditions.

It features an excellent build quality in line with Olympus binoculars. This model includes all basic features, plus high-end coatings and interchangeable lenses, resulting in minimal distortion and aberrations. So, you can be sure to enjoy an enjoyable viewing experience overall.

We particularly like the Olympus 8-16×40 S for their superb zoom capabilities and their massive field of view of 143 meters at 1000 meters (one of the best on the market). Also, these binoculars offer a close focus of 10 meters. These features ensure that you will get a glimpse of nature at its best.

And the good news is that you have at your disposal a series of tools that promote clear and detailed visualization in different conditions. The large central rotary knob allows rapid adjustments of the focus during use. Likewise, these binoculars include a built-in diopter correction adjuster for manual focus adjustment for each eye, depending on your sight needs.

Other features promote the safe and comfortable use of the Olympus 8-16×40 S binoculars. With strong rubber armor, they offer resistance to potential shocks while hiking, and feature a textured grip to ensure a firm grip. Finally, the Olympus 8-16×40 S is compatible with most standard tripods.

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3. Bushnell 150142 Binoculars 10×42 H2o – Brilliant Optical Performance

Bushnell 150142 Binoculars 10×42 H2o

Specifications:

  • Weight: 709g
  • Prism type: Bak-4 roof prism
  • Lens coating: Multi-coated anti-reflective coating
  • Actual/perceived field of view at 1000m: 5.9°/ 115 at 1000m
  • Objective lens diameter:  42mm
  • Diameter pupil exit distance:  4.2mm
  • Magnification (digital zoom):  10
  • Minimum focusing distance:  3.6 m
  • Optical zoom: 10 x
  • Twilight factor:  20.5
  • Light intensity: 17.64
  • Waterproof: yes
  • Suitable for tripod: yes

Pros

  • An anti-reflective multi-coated lens system
  • High transmission BAK4 prism
  • 100% waterproof and fog-proof design with special anti-shock rubber armor
  • Satisfactory optical performance, including at dusk
  • Comfortable and easy to handle despite the relative heaviness

Cons

  • Resolution and contrast could have been better with phase correction coated prisms

The Bushnell H2O series is known for its binoculars offering good optical performance and this model is no exception. For an affordable price, the Bushnell 150142 10×42 h2o provides sharp images with high contrast and a satisfying viewing experience at dusk. Above all, their waterproof and solid design is resistant to the most difficult conditions of use.

This model is designed with a non-slip rubber that can absorb shock while ensuring a secure grip and handling. These binoculars are O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged, which means they are fog-free and condensation-free moisture and mold.

The robustness of their design gives them adequate protection if they accidentally fall from heights that are not too high. These are combined with the Bak-4 roof prism type design, which allows good light transmission and guarantees satisfactory twilight performance.

Despite the relative heaviness – a weight of 709 g on the scale, the Bushnell 150 142 10×42 h2o is comfortable to handle and use. This is largely made possible by their textured rubber exterior which makes it easy to grip whether you have wet hands or are wearing gloves.

Twisted eyecups provide longer eye relief for wearers of glasses or contact lenses as well as the good placement of controls are other features that make the Bushnell 150 142 10×42 h2o user-friendly.

As for the performance itself, it’s on the whole satisfactory although phase-correction coated primes would have resulted in improved resolution and contrast. That said, it’s not fair to complain about it given the affordable price of the Bushnell 150 142 10×42 h2o and the choices of optical components operated by Bushnell: large objective lens diameter (42 mm), glass lenses multi-layered…

The Bushnell 150 142 10×42 h2o feature 10x magnification and a 102m field of view at a distance of 1000m so distant subjects appear close enough. If you need a final argument to definitely choose these binoculars, you’ll be happy to know that they come with a strap and a carrying case.

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4. Nikon Sportstar EX 10×25 – Compact, Foldable and Waterproof Design

Nikon Sportstar EX 10×25

Specifications:

  • Weight: 300 g
  • Prism type: roof prism
  • Lens coating: multi-coated coating
  • Actual/perceived field of view at 1000 m: 6.5°/ 114 at 1000 m
  • Objective lens diameter: 25 mm
  • Exit diameter of pupil:  2.5mm
  • Magnification (digital zoom): 10x
  • Minimum focusing distance:  3.5m
  • Optical zoom: 10x
  • Twilight factor: 15.8
  • Light intensity: 6.25
  • Waterproof: yes
  • Suitable for tripod: no

Pros

  • Compact, foldable and waterproof design (immersion in 2 meters of water)
  • Brighter, sharper field of vision
  • Comfortable to handle and use

Cons

  • No tripod adapter

If you’re looking for hiking binoculars that are comfortable, durable and offer both a wide field of view and close focusing, the Nikon Sportstar EX 10×25 might be all you need.

This model is usable whatever the conditions. Because they withstand immersion in 2 meters of water, for up to 5 minutes. Their anti-fog design with the use of nitrogen and O-ring seals prevents fog from forming inside the lens and dirt/dust from accumulating there.

These binoculars adopt a compact and lightweight format, which makes them suitable for everyday use. After use, you can fold them up and put them in your pocket for quick and easy transport. So you do not necessarily need to provide a special case for these binoculars.

Nikon has done an amazing job of making the Nikon Sportstar EX 10x25s comfortable to use. For this purpose, they are covered with rubber armor to give you the firmest possible grip even in bad weather. Also, their central focus wheel has a studied positioning for quick use and smooth adjustments.

We recommend the Nikon Sportstar EX 10×25 mostly because they are perfect for both indoor and outdoor use. Apart from water sports, these foldable binoculars are designed for nature observation, camping, theater or concerts.

They bring subjects closer to you thanks to the 10x magnification. The 25mm objective lens diameter ensures efficient observation while remaining modest in size. The multi-coated lens treatment lets in more light to provide a brighter and sharper field of vision.

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5. Bushnell Powerview 10×42 – Affordable and Get a Bright, Clear & Crisp View

Bushnell Powerview 10×42

Specifications:

  • Weight: 670g
  • Prism type: Bak-7 glass roof prism
  • Lens coating: Multi-coated coating
  • Actual/perceived field of view at 1000m: 5.7°/ 98 at 1000m
  • Objective lens diameter: 42mm
  • Pupil exit diameter: 4.2 mm
  • Magnification (digital zoom): 8
  • Minimum focusing distance: 7 m
  • Optical zoom: 10x
  • Twilight index: 17.64
  • Light intensity:  17.64
  • Waterproof: no
  • Suitable for tripod: yes

Pros

  • Shock-absorbing, ergonomic and non-slip solid rubber body
  • High magnification (10x) and an adjustable diopter
  • Quick focus adjustment
  • Reasonable price for such quality

Cons

  • It may not be suitable if you need to observe at a very long distance (more than 87m)

If you’re looking for a mid-range pair of hiking binoculars with high magnification capabilities, don’t pass up the Bushnell Powerview 10×42. For an affordable price, they offer everything you needed for low-light vision and the comfort of use.

Their characteristics and functions have been studied to lend themselves to a wide variety of uses: observation of birds, wildlife, landscapes or even the ocean, sports activities, shows, etc.

These binoculars have a 42mm objective diameter, which allows for excellent daylight and low light viewing. Their multi-coated lenses sport a special coating to reduce light reflection and deliver bright images.

It should also be mentioned that the Bushnell Powerview 10×42 includes multi-coated BaK 7 prisms, which provide a clear view, as well as excellent saturation and contrast.

With these binoculars, you won’t miss any object. A focus knob in the center of the body — in a convenient location you’ll find without even looking — is also provided to allow quick focus adjustment until you can see your subjects perfectly in focus.

The folding blinkers and the reasonable weight (670g) are other elements that make the use of the Bushnell Powerview 10×42 user-friendly. Additionally, these have an adaptable tripod base so you can mount the binoculars on a tripod to give your arms a rest.

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6. Olympus 8×40 DPS-I – Excellent Design Binoculars, Easy to Use and Hold

Olympus 8×40 DPS-I

Specifications:

  • Weight: 710 g
  • Prism type: porro prism
  • Lens coating: single-layer coating
  • Actual/perceived field of view at 1000 m: 8.2°/ 143 at 1000 m
  • Objective lens diameter: 40 mm
  • Exit diameter of pupil: 5 mm
  • Magnification (digital zoom):  8
  • Minimum focusing distance: 4 m
  • Optical zoom: 8x
  • Twilight factor: 17.9
  • Light intensity: 25
  • Waterproof: no
  • Adaptable tripod: yes

Pros

  • Easy to use and hold with excellent design
  • Coated lenses and prisms to ensure a clear field of view
  • UV protection and built-in diopter correction adjuster
  • Large, easy-to-use center focus knob
  • Durable body

Cons

  • Slightly heavyweight

Whether you plan to do bird watching, hiking, or other outdoor activities, a pair of mid-range binoculars with decent features and functionality will do the trick. With a 65-degree field of view and 8x magnification, the Olympus 8×40 DPS-I might just be all you need to enjoy a satisfying viewing experience in different situations.

With a 40mm objective diameter and large (5mm) exit pupils, these binoculars are ideal choice for hiking. They show appreciable versatility, thanks to their optical system that uses aspherical lenses to ensure a clear field of vision. You will get an authentic view with high brightness, contrast and image quality.

The Olympus 8×40 DPS-I are appreciated above all for their robustness. Like the other Olympus binoculars, they exude high quality and truly give the impression of being made to last over time. That said, the rough construction of this pair of binoculars comes at a price: weight of 710g.

The brand has however worked to ensure that the relative heaviness of the Olympus 8×40 DPS-I is not disabling. Not only are these binoculars adaptable to a tripod for hands-free use, but they feature a rubber coating that ensures a secure and comfortable grip.

Other interesting features are worth highlighting. These binoculars are notably equipped with a large central focus knob that ensures easy focus adjustment in seconds. Likewise, they feature UV protection and a built-in diopter correction adjuster, which can be used to manually adjust the field of view for each eye.

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7. Bushnell Binoculars 10×25 H20 – Combined with Anti-Fog & Waterproof Properties

Bushnell Binoculars 10×25 H20

Specifications:

  • Weight: 290g
  • Prism type: Bak-4 glass roof prism
  • Lens coating: Multi-coated coating
  • Actual/perceived field of view at 1000m: 6.6°/ 114 at 1000m
  • Objective lens diameter: 25 mm
  • Pupil exit diameter:  2.5 mm
  • Magnification (digital zoom): 10
  • Minimum focusing distance: 4.6 m
  • Optical zoom: 10x
  • Twilight factor: 15.8
  • Light intensity: 6.25
  • Waterproof: not
  • Adaptable tripod: yes

Pros

  • Textured rubber frame with soft ridges to maintain grip
  • Compact size with a double-hinged bridge for minimal bulk
  • Nitrogen filled for fog proof and waterproof performance
  • Good optical performance overall
  • Very good value for money

Cons

  • The cover is a little too small and no cap for the lenses

If you’re looking for affordable binoculars for hiking that will give you crisp, clear views even in adverse weather conditions, the Bushnell 10×25 H20 should be among your options. Their waterproof and fog-proof design join honorable optical performance to enhance your adventures on the water or outdoors. These compact and lightweight binoculars are valuable hiking and travel partner.

They sport a protective rubber coating that provides a good gripping surface that will prevent your hands from slipping even in wet and cold conditions. Plus, their interiors are purged with nitrogen to rid the body of any moisture, and the O-rings are sealed to keep moisture out. So the Bushnell 10×25 H20 is designed so you don’t have to worry about observing in high humidity or getting caught in the rain.

We recommend these binoculars aren’t just for their 100% waterproof and fog-proof design, they also offer crisp, clear views. Thanks to the multi-layer anti-reflective coating, the lenses have been coated to reduce light loss and improve contrast. Their Bak-4 roof prisms provide improved clarity and brightness.

Moreover, the Bushnell 10×25 H20 has an objective diameter of 25 mm and a magnification of 10x. As for their apparent viewing angle, it is 6.6° while the eye relief is 12 mm. Finally, these binoculars include twisted eyecups that guarantee a comfortable viewing distance even when wearing glasses or contact lenses.

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8. Olympus 10×21 DPC-I – High Magnification and Sporty Design Binoculars

Olympus 10×21 DPC-I

Specifications:

  • Weight:  170 g
  • Prism type: porro prism
  • Lens coating: single-layer coating
  • Actual/perceived field of view at 1000 m: 5°/ 87 at 1000 m
  • Objective lens diameter: 21 mm
  • Pupil exit diameter:  2.1 mm
  • Magnification (digital zoom): 10
  • Minimum focusing distance: 2.2 m
  • Optical zoom: 10x
  • Twilight factor: 14.5
  • Light intensity: 4.41
  • Waterproof: no
  • Adaptable tripod: no

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Easy to store and transport
  • Ultraviolet (UV) Protection
  • Fully anti-reflective coated optics
  • Case, neck strap and lens caps included

Cons

  • Nothing to say

Olympus 10×21 DPC-I might be all you need for your next hiking or just plain adventures to watch sporting events of all kinds. These binoculars are designed a compact and ultra-lightweight (170 g only). You will therefore have no reason to leave them at home, as they are discreet and slip easily into a pocket.

However, we don’t recommend the Olympus 10×21 DPC-I just for their excellent portability. These sporty designed binoculars are especially appreciated for their ability to make you see things the way they are meant to be seen. The order includes a case, neck strap and lens caps.

This model is made from special optical materials that provide protection against harmful UV rays. They combine coated aspherical lenses and Porro prisms to ensure detailed observations of distant subjects.

The 21mm objective lenses feature an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare and improve light transmission, contrast and color fidelity. The Olympus 10×21 DPC-I has a strong 10x magnifying power, but you have the option to personalize the viewing experience thanks to the integrated dioptic correction which allows you to adjust the sharpness.

Also note that the focus is adjusted quickly and easily via a large central low-profile wheel.

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9. Vortex Optics Diamondback HD –  Smashes the Scale of Price vs Performance

Vortex Optics Diamondback HD

Specifications:

  • Weight: 272 g
  • Prism type: HD Roof Prism
  • Lens treatment: Fully multi-coated coating
  • Actual/perceived field of view at 1000 m: 87 at 1000 m
  • Objective lens diameter: 32 mm
  • Exit diameter of pupil: NC
  • Magnification (digital zoom): 10
  • Minimum focusing distance: NC
  • Optical zoom: 10x
  • Twilight index: NC
  • Light intensity: NC
  • Waterproof: yes
  • Adaptable tripod: yes

Pros

  • Good quality images with the ability to adjust sharpness
  • Compact, lightweight and robust design
  • Excellent value for the money
  • Very good grip and feeling of comfort
  • Strong magnifying power

Cons

  • Nothing to say

If you are on a tight budget and looking for the perfect binoculars for nature and wildlife viewing, the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD is one of the best options available to you.

These compact and lightweight binoculars (only 272g) use large (32mm) lenses and state-of-the-art optical coatings to deliver super-bright images so you can get the most out of your mountain treks. Its field of vision of 87 m at a distance of 1000 m ensures the observation of a large area of ​​the terrain.

The combination of high-quality HD glass roof prisms and lenses with fully multi-coated treatment guarantees optimum brightness while the high magnification power makes objects appear 10 times closer.

As you will have understood, these binoculars offer more than decent optical performance for their price. And you even have the possibility of personalizing the viewing experience by adjusting the sharpness of the image using the central focusing ring and the one dedicated to diopter adjustment.

If you wear glasses, you will be reassured to know that this is not incompatible with the use of the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD: they indeed include retractable rubber eyecups that you just have to fold down to be able to stick your glasses to the lenses without risk of damaging them.

Moreover, these binoculars are comfortable to use. Thanks to their fully multi-coating, which offers excellent grip to ensure good resistance against shocks. Finally, this model comes with a neck strap and a polyester cover: these accessories facilitate their transport and protect them from shocks and dust.

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10. Bushnell 12×25 131225 – Ideal Optical performance for Hiking & Outdoor Activities

 Bushnell 12×25 131225

Specifications:

  • Weight: 320g
  • Prism type: Bak-7 glass roof prism
  • Lens treatment: All surfaces
  • Actual/perceived field of view at 1000m: 4.6°/ 80 at 1000m
  • Objective lens diameter: 25 mm
  • Pupil exit diameter: 2.1 mm
  • Magnification (digital zoom): 10
  • Minimum focusing distance: 7.6 m
  • Optical zoom: 12x
  • Twilight factor:  17.3
  • Light intensity: 4.33
  • Waterproof: not
  • Adaptable tripod: no

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Excellent value
  • Strong magnifying power
  • Good choice for beginners or children

Cons

  • Improvable stability

If budget is a primary consideration for you, the Bushnell 12×25 1s are an option you should seriously consider. Apart from their affordable price, we recommend these binoculars as they might be just the thing for beginners or kids.

This model features a compact and lightweight design and offers powerful magnification (12x), as well as a wide field of view (4.6°/ 80 to 1000 m). These specifications make it a partner of choice for observing wildlife or nature but also for fully enjoying concerts and other sporting events.

Like their counterparts in the popular Bushnell Powerview series, the Bushnell 12×25 1 use fully coated optics to deliver bright and vivid images. Their 21 mm diameter objective lenses are indeed coated, which promotes excellent light transmission. The 12x optical zoom function reveals sharp details in distant objects.

They show signs of durability with their rubber grip armor that absorbs shock while providing a firm grip. Drops from moderate heights should therefore not get the better of these binoculars. They are also small and light enough to slip into a jacket pocket.

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Best Hiking Binoculars Buyer’s Guide

During an outdoor hike, you have often immersed in an environment rich in wildlife and sometimes magnificent panoramas. How frustrating not being able to admire a bird you hear in the distance or waterfalls far from your route. Fortunately, there are models of binoculars capable of offering you a clear point of view on the subjects that will punctuate your journey.

To choose a pair of binoculars suitable for your use, follow our dedicated guide!

Choose according to your use

For hiking, versatile binoculars will be recommended and a large field will be appreciable. To observe subjects in detail, it will be necessary to favor binoculars equipped with excellent optics, good magnification and fast focusing.

Avoid going over 10x magnification which could make your binoculars unstable in use. To observe birds at dusk, choose binoculars with a twilight index close to or greater than 20. A rubber coating will be ideal against falls as well as rubber protection for the eyes.

There are compact and easy-to-learn models specially designed for children. Models equipped with 8x magnification and a 21mm lens will suffice to introduce them to observation.

The type of prism and the quality of the lenses

Binoculars work with a prism system. These prisms allow the user to observe what the binoculars are capturing without inverting the image. There are two types of prism:

  • The Porro prism: this fairly old design is found on high magnification binoculars marketed at attractive prices. On the other hand, this design makes it less solid and luminous because the path of the light will be less direct.
  • The roof prism: this is a newer design that offers the advantage of a more direct and therefore brighter light path. Another advantage, the dimensions of the binoculars will be reduced while the reliability will be in tune with excellent sealing.

The type of glass used for the binoculars will have a big impact on the quality of the images. There are binoculars fitted with BK-7 boron lenses and BaK-4 barium lenses.

The majority of binocular models are equipped with BK-7 glasses which are less expensive for a satisfactory image quality result. On the other hand, BaK-4 lenses will mean better performance in terms of image quality at the expense of a higher price.

Finally, to guarantee a good contrast and a good sharpness of the images, the manufacturers apply the glasses of treatments on the glasses of the binoculars: fully multicoated, multicoated, fully coated and coated. It is advisable to choose models with a multicoated or fully multicoated coating while avoiding binocular models with uncoated lenses.

Magnification

On all pairs of binoculars, there are indications that actually correspond to the performance of the devices. We can find different binoculars, highlighting technical sheets where we will find mentions 10 x 50 or 12 x 30. The first number of this technical information will indicate the magnification coefficient of the binoculars, which we could assimilate to “zoom”.

A pair of 10 x 50 binoculars will thus allow you to view a subject or an object 10 times closer. On the other hand, a large magnification coefficient will not always be practical because, those who say high magnification coefficient, will also say the need to use a tripod to avoid the effects of tremor which will interfere with the use of binoculars past 12x magnification.

An average magnification coefficient of 7x will be sufficient for the vast majority of outdoor uses. If you like to see in detail the subjects you observe, a 10x magnification will be a good choice. For versatile use, there are binoculars with a variable magnification coefficient ranging from 15x to 45x.

The lens diameter

The diameter of the objective lens is identifiable by the second number which follows the magnification on the datasheet. To be more precise, it is the diameter of the front lens of the binoculars expressed in millimeters. This data will define the quality of the image obtained. They work the same way as camera lenses: light enters through the lens. The more light there is, the clearer the image will be.

This value will be useful to know according to your uses: if you plan to hike in areas that are not conducive to good light, large diameter binoculars will be useful.

On the other hand, this large-diameter lens will be at the expense of the weight and size of the binoculars. In other words, choosing binoculars equipped with large-diameter lenses will not necessarily be a good idea if you plan to use your binoculars in broad daylight.

For daytime hiking, a lens with a diameter between 32 and 42 millimeters will be ideal. For nocturnal observations, you can favor larger objectives than those indicated for daytime observation.

The diameter of the eye circle (Exit pupil)

The eye circle corresponds to the small circle of light that can be observed at the back of the binoculars. To obtain this data, simply divide the diameter of the lens by the magnification coefficient. The diameter of the eye circle is generally between 2 and 7 millimeters. And to make the analogy with the field of photography, it corresponds in summary to the diaphragm.

The diameter of the eye circle will define the maximum amount of light that can be captured using the binoculars and will thus directly influence the comfort of observation. For optimal viewing comfort, it will be necessary that the diameter of the eye circle is close to the diameter of your pupil.

To put it simply, it is considered that the pupil of a child measures about 7mm, that of an adult under 50 about 6mm and finally about 4mm in adults over 50.

Of course, the diameter of a pupil varies according to the quantity of light that it will receive. During the day, the pupil will be smaller than at nightfall. Thus, an adult under 50 without vision problems will have a pupil of 2 to 3.5mm during the day and 4 to 6mm in low light conditions, even reaching 7.3mm at nightfall.

Therefore, your age and the time of day /sun type of the environment where you will be using your binoculars will directly influence your choice of binoculars.

The twilight index and the luminosity index

These are two useful clues in determining what type of binoculars to use during the day or after dark.

To calculate the luminosity index, it will be necessary to calculate the square of the diameter of the exit pupil. For 10×50 binoculars, the luminosity index will be (50/10)², or 25. The higher the value obtained, the more the binoculars will be able to absorb light. Therefore, a pair of 5 x 50 binoculars will be able to absorb more light than 10 x 50 binoculars because its luminosity index will be higher (50 against 25).

The twilight index will allow you to define the effectiveness of the binoculars in low light conditions. This index is obtained by calculating the square root of the magnification coefficient multiplied by the diameter of the objective. Therefore, a pair of 8 x 42 binoculars will have a twilight index of 18.33.

The field of vision

The field of vision of a pair of binoculars corresponds to the width of the landscape that it will be possible to observe with the binoculars at a distance of 1000m. Usually, the field of vision is expressed in degrees or meters. This value will be directly related to the magnification coefficient. Indeed, the more you “zoom in”, the more your field of vision will decrease accordingly.

To obtain the field of view, multiply the magnification coefficient by the value of the field width. If the result of the calculation is greater than 64, you will be facing a pair of wide-angle binoculars. For example, a pair of 10 x 50 binoculars with a field of view of 7° will benefit from a field of view of 70.

The focusing system

Focusing consists of adjusting the sharpness of the image that you will observe in the binoculars to accurately visualize a subject. There are two types of focus on binoculars:

  • A central focus: that we will do using a wheel or a button.
  • Individual focus: often present on binocular models dedicated to water sports.

Additional Features

For difficult and humid weather conditions, choose waterproof binocular models. They will have the advantage of robust manufacturing, which prevent any entry of water and fog into the optics.

In the same way, if you want to use your binoculars in a difficult situation or in a “hostile” environment, choose models “coated” with rubber which can limit breakage in the event of falls or shocks.

Finally, you can pay attention to what is called “eye relief”, which is very important if you wear glasses. This criterion will ensure good comfort of use without having to separate you from your glasses: binoculars with an eye relief greater than 15mm will be ideal.

You should also know that not all manufacturers mention this information on the technical sheets of their models. In this case, be aware that there are still removable eyecups that can be adapted to binoculars, which will allow you to use the binoculars even with your glasses.

Not all eyecups are standard, which means that from one manufacturer to another there will be different eyecups. High-end models are almost always equipped with this feature.

Preferred brands and manufacturers

There are binoculars at all prices depending on their characteristics and their quality of manufacture, many manufacturers offer them for sale. Amazon offers entry-level models for the very general public.

For more specialized and top-of-the-range models, Nikon, Vortex Optics, Bushnell, Pentax or Steiner, which are in a way the tenors of optical devices, will therefore simply offer the best in the field.

The prices

The prices of the binoculars will obviously be determined by their technical data sheet. You will find the very first models for around $100 on Amazon while the most high-end models may well exceed $1000, or even $1500 for professional models.

For “good quality” entry-level products that give pride of place to excellent optical qualities and polished manufacturing, count around $500.

FAQs

Which pair of binoculars should I choose if I wear glasses?

For users who wear glasses, make sure to choose models equipped with an eye relief greater than 15mm. If this information is missing from the data sheet of the binoculars you are interested in, check that the manufacturer offers eyecups adaptable to the binoculars that will allow them to be used even with your glasses.

What quality of glass should be favored for binoculars?

There are two types of glasses for binoculars on the market: binoculars equipped with BK-7 boron glasses will be less expensive while offering very satisfactory image quality while BaK-4 barium glasses will be more expensive but will offer superior image quality. As for the coating of the lenses, we advise you to opt for a fully multicoated or multicoated coating while going your way for the untreated binoculars of a coating.

Which binoculars are for versatile use?

For versatile use, choose a pair of compact and light binoculars, that have a satisfactory image quality for all uses. It will not be necessary to choose too high a magnification (which would be detrimental for use without a tripod) and with an easy focusing system. Very specialized pairs will not necessarily be the models to turn to at the risk of not being able to take them everywhere with you.


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