Best Binoculars: Rating of Popular Models

Binoculars help you study objects at a great distance. But it is difficult to make a choice, since a number of technically complex factors affect the quality of the device – the magnification factor, lens parameters, the value of the exit pupil and the type of prism.

We have prepared a ranking of the best binoculars in 2019 and 2020. Nikolay Fadeev, a consultant of the Oculyar store, helped us in writing the review.

Over the past few years, the number of models on sale has grown 2–3 times, so it is problematic to decide which binoculars to choose. Our top includes the most optimal models in terms of price-quality ratio from different budget categories.

How to Choose Good High Magnification Binoculars: Pro Tips

The first thing you need to pay attention to when choosing a specific model, oddly enough, is its name. It usually contains two numbers, for example, 8×25, which mean the magnification factor (in our example, 8) and the lens diameter (25). To choose a model, you need to build on this information.

Do not chase binoculars with high magnification and maximum objective diameter, as these values ​​determine the specific application of the instrument. For example, a magnification of 12x will make it possible to conduct panoramic observations, but it will be difficult to concentrate on individual objects (as an example, marine binoculars).

When evaluating the rating of binoculars manufacturers, it is a common mistake to conclude that all devices made in China (as well as in Russia) do not differ in quality. As a rule, many well-known companies (for example, are considered the best Nikon or Zeiss) have launched their products in China. It will also be correct to compare binoculars of the same class from a well-known and Chinese brand – often the second will have a significantly lower cost.

What parameters should you pay attention to:

  • Lens size. Determines how high the resolution will be, sets viewing angles and dimensions.
  • Field of view at 1 km. Represents the distance visible through the eyepiece from the far right to the far left point at a distance of 1000 meters.
  • Zoom. The parameter indicates how many times the device can enlarge the visible object. When deciding what magnification of binoculars is better, rely on the tasks in hand. Pay special attention t the value when choosing a device with good zoom for birdwatching.
  • Exit pupil. The size of the image that the observer will see when looking into the device.

If you choose a device for hunting or extreme sports, then check if the model has a dust-proof housing and a convenient mount. Top brands: Nikon, Canon, Xiaomi, Yukon, Olympus.

#1 Best Overall – Nikon Aculon A211 10×50 Binoculars

Nikon Aculon A211 10x50 Binoculars

Product details:

  • zoom up to 10x;
  • field of view at 1 km – 114 m;
  • lens size – 50 mm;
  • exit pupil – 5 mm;
  • minimum for focusing – 7 m.

The Nikon Aculon A211 10×50 uses aspherical lens geometry with a multi-layer coating. The prism type is Porro, it provides a relative brightness of 25 units and an eye relief of 11.8 mm. The Aculon A211 10×50 magnifies distant subjects with a 10x zoom. Of the advantages, it should be noted a wide field of view of 114 meters

The minimum distance at which you can focus on a subject is 7 meters. The optical device is made of high-quality plastic, so it has a low weight – 900 grams. The best binoculars in our rating in the middle price segment.

The binoculars are recommended for those who want to get the best picture quality without visible distortion and darkening around the edge. It will be useful for both professionals and amateurs.

Reviews:

Owners, first of all, praise the device for its excellent image quality at different times of the day. The advantages include a comfortable body, reliable assembly, and a pleasant soft-touch coating. Disadvantages – the lack of rags and brushes in the kit, as well as only one mounting option.

Pros
  • high build quality and materials;
  • thoughtful ergonomic shape;
  • high-quality image without defects;
  • suitable for use at dusk or at night;
  • with high magnification 10x;
  • lightweight, with a convenient fastening;
  • quality lenses.
Cons
  • no cleaning accessories included;
  • fastening provides for belt wearing only.

#2 Best Budget Option – Xiaomi Beebest 8×32

Xiaomi Beebest 8x32Product details:

  • zoom up to 8x;
  • focus type – central;
  • applied prism type – roof;
  • lens with a diameter of 32 mm;
  • covered field with a range of 1 km – 130 meters;
  • the minimum focal length is 3 meters.

Our top 10 also includes budget devices. The best in this category is the Xiaomi Beebest 8×32. The most popular manufacturer offers 8x magnification through a roof prism.

Lenses with a diameter of 32 mm provide a long distance field of view of 130 meters, and a minimum focusing distance of 3 meters. Suitable for active sports and hunting due to the presence of protection against dust and water. Separately, it should be noted the low weight – 510 grams.

Beebest 8×32 is suitable for novice users purchasing their first long distance binoculars. The model has a good zoom, as well as high-quality optics.

Reviews:

Most owners have come to the conclusion that the device is worth the money because of the quality of the optical system. I like the good field of view, correct color reproduction and high build quality. Among the shortcomings, problems with sharpness at low temperatures are noted.

Pros
  • wide field of view: 70% of the picture is clear and contrasting;
  • color rendering in neutral shades;
  • high-quality assembly;
  • adjustment of the eyecups;
  • protection from dirt and water;
  • beautiful packaging.
Cons
  • when the temperature drops below zero, the sharpness is poorly regulated;
  • smells bad after unpacking.

#3 Best Premium – Canon’s 12×36 IS III Binoculars

Canon 12x36 IS IIIProduct details:

  • the presence of an optical stabilizer;
  • magnification up to 12x;
  • Porro prism used;
  • lens diameter – 36 mm;
  • visible field of view at a distance of 1 km – 87 meters;
  • minimum focusing – 6 meters.

Canon 12×36 IS III was named the best in the premium category. At a high cost, these professional binoculars received the maximum “stuffing” from a Japanese manufacturer. One of the nicest features is optical stabilization, which eliminates the effect of hand shake even at 12x magnification.

Objectives size – 36 mm, exit pupil diameter – 3 mm. With a range of 1 kilometer, the binoculars provide a field of view of 87 meters. The looks and build quality are commendable. For convenience, the body is rubberized on top, and the eyecups are made of polymer, pleasant to the touch. The weight of the model is 660 grams.

Recommendations for this model for professional use are given due to the presence of stabilization – this will make working with the device at a long distance more comfortable.

Reviews:

All users rate the Canon 12×36 IS III positively, highlighting the advantages of high image quality, the highest magnification and optical stabilization. I also like the compact size and weight. Among the shortcomings, the inconvenient design of the eyecups and the low-quality cover are noted.

Pros
  • there is an optical stabilizer (digital binoculars);
  • high magnification value;
  • comfortable and lightweight;
  • picture without distortion due to better optics;
  • looks nice;
  • excellent build quality.
Cons
  • eyecups are uncomfortable with prolonged use;
  • the case is not good enough.

#4 For Beginners – HAMA Optec 10×50

HAMA Optec 10x50

The device is made in China, but it is not inferior in quality to more eminent models. The HAMA Optec 10×50 is equipped with a 10x optical zoom and a 50mm lens. Model with center focusing through a Porro prism. It is made in a nice case, which is covered with a rubberized layer on top. It has a fairly large weight – 1.1 kg. The set comes with a branded case.

The model is suitable for inexperienced users who can be attracted by a high magnification ratio with a sufficiently large lens diameter.

Reviews:

The owners note good optical characteristics – high image quality, no blurred effect on the lenses, as well as a good package bundle. The disadvantages include the lack of mounts for lens caps.

Pros
  • high multiplicity of magnification;
  • budget model;
  • inexpensive binoculars with good optics;
  • rich set of delivery – napkins, laces, case;
  • separate lens adjustment.
Cons
  • lens caps are not attached to the body and can be easily lost.

#5 Inexpensive with Good Optics – Veber Classic BPC 20×50 VR

Veber Classic 20x50 VR

Budget binoculars Veber Classic BPC 20×50 VR. According to the manufacturer, its main purpose is to monitor small objects at a distance. For this, a 20x superzoom and large 50 mm lenses are provided. Ergonomics are also great – the eyecups are made of soft rubber, and there is a quick-detachable connection for attaching to a tripod.

High-quality optics are used – the prisms are made of BAK-4 glass with high light transmission characteristics. The body is metal, the lenses and eyepieces are coated with a protective coating.

The Veber Classic BPC 20×50 VR model is the choice of those who prefer observing small objects at a maximum distance. Please note that these binoculars are best used with a tripod due to their high magnification.

Reviews:

Owners rate this device positively, noting the advantages of a very high magnification ratio and good optics. On the negative side, some have problems with diagonal alignment.

Pros
  • the most powerful binoculars in the world with a magnification of 20x;
  • metal case with a protective coating;
  • high quality glass;
  • wide lenses;
  • observation range – 10 km;
  • low cost;
  • there is a quick-detachable mount for a tripod.
Cons
  • the alignment may get lost, and the image will be doubled diagonally.

#6 Most Powerful – Canon 18×50 IS

Canon-18x50-IS

The Japanese manufacturer in the lineup has devices with a higher cost and with advanced features. These include the Canon 18×50 IS, which has 18x magnification with a 50mm lens diameter.

For ease of use, optical stabilization is provided, which guarantees convenience when viewing from hand. The minimum focusing distance on the subject is 6 meters. Of the pleasant features, it is worth noting the diopter adjustment with a 3D value and the ability to adjust the distance between the pupils.

Canon 18×50 IS is recommended for demanding users who are going to observe small objects at a considerable distance.

Reviews:

Users are unanimous in their positive opinion about this model. They are noted for high reliability in all weather conditions. The device provides exceptional visibility and ease of observation due to optical stabilization. Of the shortcomings, they write about the high mass, as well as about the rapid consumption of the battery charge.

Pros
  • high quality optics;
  • almost complete absence of artifacts in the image;
  • optical stabilizer;
  • the structure is protected from adverse weather conditions;
  • with a rangefinder.
Cons
  • heavy weight;
  • the batteries of the optical stabilizer are quickly discharged.

#7 Professional – Zeiss CONQUEST HD 8×42

Zeiss CONQUEST HD 8x42

Optics manufacturer Zeiss also has a model from the segment of expensive CONQUEST HD 8×42 devices. The main advantage of the device is good quality optics from a renowned company. Well suited for daylight and dusk viewing due to its 5.25mm exit pupil diameter and 142m wide field of view (per km).

2 meters is enough to focus on the subject. It is well protected from adverse factors, has a 4D diopter adjustment, and you can also adjust the distance between the pupils.

Connoisseurs will appreciate the Zeiss CONQUEST HD 8×42 for its high quality optics and, as a result, an excellent picture with no distortion or aberration.

Reviews:

The owners of the CONQUEST HD 8×42 speak positively about its quality. Most of all they like extremely clear and high-quality picture, high light transmission and contrast in difficult conditions. Noteworthy is a robust aluminum casing that is resistant to stress and falls. Disadvantages include excessive sensitivity of the center focus wheel.

Pros
  • high quality optical elements;
  • large angular field of view;
  • high-quality assembly;
  • protected case;
  • rich equipment;
  • the ability to operate in adverse weather conditions.
Cons
  • the most expensive in the top;
  • the center focusing mechanism is too sensitive.

#8 Best for Tourism – Yukon Sideview 10×21

Yukon Sideview 10x21

One of the budget options from Yukon is the Sideview 10×21 model. A good device for novice users. Equipped with 10x zoom and 21mm lenses. It should be noted that this binocular has the highest diopter adjustment of all the models presented – 5D.

Of the strengths, it is also necessary to mention the short focusing distance – 7 meters and the small diameter of the exit pupil – 2.1 mm. This will allow you to focus on individual objects.

The device is recommended for novice users. Sideview 10×21 has quite good performance at a low cost.

Reviews:

The owners write that the characteristics of the device make it possible to use it in urban conditions – for this, the magnification ratio and the diameter of the lenses are balanced. I like the clear picture and the convenient case included. Among the shortcomings, the aberrations present in the field of view are noted.

Pros
  • good picture quality for tourism;
  • excellent combination of magnification and lens diameter;
  • rich equipment;
  • good, inexpensive binoculars;
  • quick setup.
Cons
  • distortion and artifacts may be present in the field of view.

#9 Binoculars for Hunting and Fishing – Olympus 8×40 DPS I

Olympus-8x40-DPS-I

Another inexpensive option for fans of active and extreme leisure activities is the Russian Olympus 8×40 DPS I. Despite the cost, it has an 8x zoom and 40mm lenses. For the convenience of the observer, the manufacturer has provided a 1D diopter adjustment and a wide range of adjustments for the distance between the pupils.

The optical characteristics look as good as the exterior: the angular field of view is 8.2 degrees, and the minimum focusing distance is 4 meters.

For all its budget Olympus 8×40 DPS I has solid optical performance, which makes it a good purchase for hunting and fishing, as well as for monitoring neighbors.

Reviews:

The model is popular among buyers who, first of all, write about excellent value for money. Of the advantages, they note a good build quality and strength, a high level of luminosity, and also the absence of chromatism. The disadvantages include the lack of image quality at the edges of the picture.

Pros
  • good level of aperture;
  • no chromatism;
  • sharpness and contrast at a high level;
  • well assembled;
  • resistant to shock;
  • good binoculars for hunting and fishing;
  • copes well in the dark.
Cons
  • distorts the image around the edges;
  • heavy.

#10 Binoculars for Nature Observing and Birding – Pentax SP 16×50

Pentax-SP-16x50

The Pentax SP 16×50 is specially designed for nature observation. It features 16x magnification, large 50mm lenses and a small 3.1mm entrance pupil diameter. The prism is made of premium quality glass of the VAK-4 brand, which ensures excellent light transmission and picture quality. The body is covered with a layer of rubber and is equipped with a landing pad for mounting on a tripod.

The Pentax SP 16×50 is suitable for those who need to observe distant objects, for example, in the wild. Balanced in terms of price-quality ratio.

Reviews:

Users are unanimous in their positive opinion about this device. Of the worthy features, they note the high image quality, the presence of diopter adjustment and the shock-resistant case. The disadvantages include the presence of chromatism in sunny weather.

Pros
  • ergonomic body;
  • decent price-quality ratio;
  • high level of luminosity;
  • good contrast and picture quality;
  • light weight;
  • wide viewing angle;
  • there is a diopter adjustment.
Cons
  • in sunny weather, chromatism appears.

Conclusion

When choosing binoculars, you need to determine for what purposes it will be used, so that there is no disappointment during operation. It can be a device for observing small objects, or a powerful device for a panoramic view.

If you need a model for hunting and fishing, then you should pay attention to models equipped with a convenient housing with protection from dust and water.

After comparing popular models, the leaders were determined, who topped the top binoculars in certain categories:

  • Nikon Aculon A211 10×50. Versatile model. 10x zoom in combination with a wide field of view provide a wide range of applications.
  • Best budget option Xiaomi Beebest 8×32. Despite the cost, the advantages of this binocular are good 8x zoom, high-quality optics and a wide field of view.
  • Canon’s Best Premium 12×36 IS III Binoculars. Its main advantage is high quality Japanese lenses, as well as optical image stabilization.
  • Having studied our rating, you can decide on a specific model that is necessary for certain tasks.

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