These binoculars are a close second to the Athlons, with just-as-clear optics, solid construction, and easy-to-use focusing. To find a manageable group of testing finalists, we first eliminated companies that make only one model and that don’t exist outside of their Amazon presence. A smaller, more comfortable binocular that’s not too small—with all the benefits of top-of-the-line glass and coatings. For starters, their brightness. But, particularly if you have neck/shoulder pain or don’t mind sacrificing a little optical performance for the ease of packing them in a pocket or tote bag, they’re a solid choice for “light” birding, butterfly-watching, or botanizing. Amazing brightness and crispness, with an exceptionally small size. They’re about as waterproof as possible, meaning all of the pairs we recommend are sealed against dust and can handle immersion—though if you drop them into a lake, you’ll still need to dive because they don’t float, yet. During testing in Southern California and/or southern Mexico, a few other models proved very good at bringing in color under harsh conditions, including the Bushnell Legend L Series, Celestron TrailSeeker, Carson 3D, and the Nikon Monarch 5 (my favorite of four Nikon models at the target price point). Fantastic binocular for the price category. Other no-go categories that we won’t be touching anytime soon are zoom binoculars or binoculars that include a digital camera. Just as your autofocus camera can’t figure out how to illuminate something against a bright (or overcast) sky, binoculars may have difficulty mustering the light needed to brighten the distant object you’re trying to identify. That’s because doing so may lead to the dust that’s already on your lens leaving tiny scratches. Close focusing is key when trying to see detail on things like butterflies, wildflowers, and the like. Magnification Power. Here are the best binoculars for birdwatching 2020: Zeiss Victory SF 10×42; Swarovski Swarovision 10×42 EL Thanks! Open bridge design is a plus. Top 10 Best Birding Binoculars Reviews for 2020. Though I wouldn’t trade them in for my go-to 8 x 42 pair (due to the narrower field of view), I actually found them to be a comfortable size for birding/nature-study, and didn’t find serious drawbacks during testing (though the Vortex Diamondback gave me minor eyestrain). These binoculars are a close second to the Athlons, with just-as-clear optics, solid construction, and easy-to-use focusing. Not quite as crisp or bright as Best in Class, but very close. For the record, I accidentally dropped the Athlon Midas ED binoculars onto a dirt road in Mexico (right onto the focus knob! Some models, like the Nikon Prostaff 5, focused very quickly, but this often translated to loss of detail at distance, or basically, the smooshing together of anything more than a couple hundred feet away into one focusing position. Be sure to read beyond the reviews where you’ll find our buying guide, complete with all of the tips that you need to know. We’ve read through this guide and stand by our current picks. Master optical reviewer Ken Rosenberg poses with a few of the many worthy binoculars sent to us by eager manufacturers. The Pentax AD 8 x 25 WP are among the smallest compact binoculars we tested. An all-around solid binocular from a brand well-known in the U.K. Good feel in the hand, popular open bridge design, and good close focus. Our reviewers were amazed at the image quality now available in even the lower price ranges. Available for everyone, The Athlon Midas ED pair’s optics aren’t its only strong suit: These are exceptionally durable binoculars that easily withstood the humid, dusty, and hostile environment of the Mexican rain forest and harsh sun of the Californian desert. The Pentax AD’s weight is feather-light, at 9.6 ounces (less than half the 25-ounce weight of the Athlon Midas 8x42 binoculars, our top full-size pick). Binoculars get beat up and dusty, and cheap ones go out of alignment in a few weeks or with a good knock, resulting in double vision or blurry patches. ... Now that we’ve seen the best binoculars for bird watching and what to look for when shopping for them, you should have a better idea of which ones will work best for your use. They’re also ideal for mountain biking or backpacking, when you may want to look at a couple things on the trip, but they’re not constantly in use. Instead, with the naked eye, stare up at what you want to see, then raise the binoculars to your gaze. You can also read the original review article from Living Bird magazine or download a complete set of review scores for all 102 models. We’ve reached out to Celestron and they plan to re-stock by the end of September. For farther-off objects, the Athlons and the Celestrons also offer identically wide fields of view of 426 feet at 1,000 yards—which means they’re great for locating fast-moving birds in dense foliage or for scanning the sky for raptors. They also have a slightly smaller grip than the … In one of the Opticron models, the black paint was chipping off the strap rivets as I pulled them out of the box, and the ring around one of the eyecups had become loose and was freely spinning by the time I attached the neck strap. Like the Athlon set, the Celestron Trailseeker features crystal-clear optics (even around the edges of the field of view), comfortable ergonomics, and predictable focusing, all in a slightly smaller package. Anyone looking to make far-away objects appear a bit closer should consider a good pair of binoculars. The bigger the lens, the more light it can gather. Vortex is the high-end line from the trusted manufacturers at Eagle Optics. Vortex Optics Crossfire: These seemed like a throwback to the past, with a cheap, flimsy feel, poor distance resolution, and limited low-light clarity. Compact binoculars are essentially scaled-down versions of full-size binoculars, with similar rubberized construction to protect against impacts, waterproof seals, a central focusing knob, twisting eyecups, and foldable hinges—yet they are about half the size and weight (around 10 ounces vs. 25 ounces or more). Also tough is the inverse of this situation, looking into dark, dense vegetation, a situation in which you need all the light-gathering ability the binoculars can give you. 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