Watching birds or other sporting activities hundreds of yards away is surely a challenge for our unassisted eyes to identify the finer details. With the best zoom binoculars, you will be able to unfold the finer details of your targets within the specified field of view of the binoculars.
Every avid bird watcher can attest to these claims that it’s somehow challenging to spot birds hundreds of yards away.
Zoom binoculars are a great investment for the enthusiasts in long-range viewing. They are, however, fairly expensive, dependent on the range of features that a brand has. We have an array of products on the market with seemingly the same features and designs. This makes it perplexing to handpick the best among them.
Because of the fairly expensive price tags, you have to be more vigilant whenever choosing these zoom binoculars. We will come to your rescue and discuss the important aspects that you need to take into consideration when shopping.
In addition, we have handpicked a range of the best products in the market based on the great features we’ve identified. Let’s start with the comparison table below to highlight some of the important features used in identifying the best product.
|Product Name||Magnification||Objective Lens||Price|
|Nikon ACULON A211||8 - 18x||42 mm||Check price on Amazon|
|Binger||10 - 30x||60 mm||Check price on Amazon|
|Celestron SkyMaster||25 - 125x||80 mm||Check price on Amazon|
|MYSTERY High Power||15 - 180x||100 mm||Check price on Amazon|
|Olympus Tracker||10 - 30x||25 mm||Check price on Amazon|
|SCOKC||10 - 30x||50 mm||Check price on Amazon|
|Nikon ACULON A211||10 - 22x||50 mm||Check price on Amazon|
|Bushnell Powerview Compact||7 - 15x||25 mm||Check price on Amazon|
|Nikon Compact||8 - 24x||25 mm||Check price on Amazon|
Things to Consider Before Buying
Here we will discuss the important features that you should look for before picking any model of zoom binoculars. Amongst others, these include the magnification, objective lens; field of view, exit pupil, eye relief, and other design features such as fog and waterproof.
This is the important feature that sets the zoom binoculars from the fixed magnification binoculars. The fixed ones are often identified by the numbers, for example, 7×50 where the 7x is the magnification level and the 50 is the objective lens diameter in millimeters.
Beware of the fixed multiple magnification levels such as 7x/10x/20x. It doesn’t mean they are zoom magnifications but fixed magnifications.
The advantage of the zoom binoculars is that you have a product with multiple zoom capabilities. The zoom feature allows you to move from low to high magnification so that you can reveal as many details as possible of your target. It is actually a great feature for long-range viewing where you spot birds or watch a sporting game that is miles away.
However, higher magnifications are linked to a narrower field of view when viewing objects. The image may be difficult to reveal the finer details. In this regard, beware of the ridiculously high magnification levels because they will make your viewing a difficult task should you opt for the high magnifications.
When viewing objects farther away, try the lowest magnification to spot the objects and then zoom accordingly until you reveal the finer details. The lowest magnification gives you a wider field of view than you would start with the higher magnification level. Typically, the ideal magnification shouldn’t be higher the objective lens diameter.
Objective lens diameter
Usually, the lens diameter is indicated by the last number in the description of the product. For example, in Binger 10-30×50 zoom binoculars, the lens diameter is 50mm. It basically plays a significant role in providing clearer images to the viewer.
The higher the number of the binoculars objective lens diameter is the more light into the binoculars to see more details of the product.
So, if you have two products with identical features but different objective lens diameter, pick the one with the larger diameter as it will bring more light, more especially in low light conditions. Obviously, the larger diameters will impact the price of the product. For someone who is keen to invest in binoculars that should not be a problem at all.
The exit pupil is yet another important feature to look for because it tells you about the brightness of the object when viewed in unfavorably low-light conditions.
The number is measured in millimeters and it is determined by dividing the objective lens diameter by the magnification number. A larger exit pupil will give you the bright and crystal images.
Still, on the exit pupil, we have the relative brightness which is determined by squaring the exit pupil number. The higher the result is the more brightness the binoculars are. The feature is also imperative in low-light conditions.
But note that models do play a role here as well because the binoculars with identical exit pupil numbers do not necessarily indicate they have the same quality. The optical coatings, prism type, and the lens play a role in that.
The best binoculars are the ones that allow you to operate them without taking off your eyeglasses. This is made possible by the eye relief. Usually, the binoculars have the retractable eyecups to accommodate the wearers of protective glasses. You can adjust them to the minimum position so you can use the binoculars.
The eye relief is the distance between your eyes and the eyepiece. Make sure it’s sufficient to let you use the binoculars with the eyeglasses. The long eye relief provides more comfort of using the binoculars away from your eyes. Together with the eye relief size, check the adjustable eyecups for the convenience of your protective glasses.
Normally, the light that passes through the lenses will be reflected away if not coated. The reflection diminishes the amount of light transmission and as a result, provides a blurred image.
Binoculars often feature multi-coated optics in a quest to reduce this light reflection so that you can have crystal and clearer images. For quality assurance, you must check if the optical lenses are coated whenever selecting any binoculars.
These include features such as waterproof and fog-proof. If you are going to use the binoculars in an area frequented by fluctuating climatic conditions with downpours, it’s advisable to consider the waterproof binoculars.
Weatherproof products are not necessarily waterproof. Usually, the waterproof binoculars feature the O-rings that seal away the moisture from penetrating the product.
Fog-proof is also an important feature to look for especially when you move from one temperature setting to another. Fog can be damaging to your binoculars.
Also, check the warranties given by the manufacturers when buying these products. Most of these binoculars are expensive and prone to fall and get broken just after receiving the package. So, a product with no warranty puts you in distress.
Now that we have discussed the important features that you should look for, let’s devote time on the product reviews. We have highlighted the important aspects of each product.
Best Products on Today’s Market
Price: Approx. $160
Weight: 2 pounds
Dimensions: 8.1 x 4.1 x 4.1 inches
Specific features: 8 to 18x of magnification, ergonomic design, multicoated Eco-glass lenses, turn and slide rubber eyecups, 42mm of objective lens diameter, intuitive zoom control knob
Best use: Zooming target objects, watching sporting events or concerts
Description: The Nikon Aculon A211 are a great add-on for avid bird watchers or for outdoor hobbyists of long range viewing. The binoculars deliver an impressively wide range of magnification from 8 to 18x to make sure that you reveal as many details as possible of your targeted objects in a reasonable field of view.
When spotting an object, start with the lower magnification level and then zoom in to view more details. The intuitive zoom control knob at your fingertips allows you to effortlessly select your preferred zoom.
With the objective lens diameter of 42mm, you are able to draw enough light into the binoculars to see more details of your target.
The quality of the image will be further enhanced by the multicoated Eco-Glass lenses mostly in low light situations. Thanks to the multicoated optical lenses because you can conveniently use the binoculars during dawn and dusk.
For those with protective eyeglasses, the turn-and-slide eyecups are to their advantage too. They provide the comfort of using these binoculars.
To avoid slippery especially in wet conditions, the rubber-armored coating will provide a secure grip. These Nikon binoculars are versatile to be used in a variety of conditions. Moreover, they are fairly inexpensive with their compact design for an extended use.
- Sufficient zoom magnification range
- Multicoated optical lenses for optimal light transmission
- Easily accessible zoom control knob at your fingertips
- Ergonomic design with a rubber-armored non-slip grip for effective handling
- Larger objective lens diameter for more light gathering
- No information about the design being waterproof and fog proof
- Its features are not necessarily the best out there compared to the high-end binoculars but good for your budget with no quality compromised
Related: As an add-on product to be used with these binoculars, you may consider the BARSKA Binocular Tripod Adaptorto mount on a tripod. It works with tripod or window mounts. It is a handy and portable product.
Price: Approx. $60
Weight: 2.1 pounds
Dimensions: 8.8 x 8.8 x 3.3 inches
Specific features: BK 7 porro prism, multicoated optic lens, magnification range of 10 to 30x, objective lens diameter of 60mm, tripod adaptable fittings
Best use: Long distance astronomical and terrestrial viewing
Description: The Binger Zoom Binoculars are for the budget-conscious avid long-distance viewers. There not only affordable but feature-rich as well with an impressive magnification range of 10 to 30x. You will be able to spot an object in a wider field of view and then use the central zoom control knob to adjust the zoom levels until you reveal the finer details.
The binoculars feature the BK 7 Porro Prism and the multicoated lenses for brighter images. The coated lenses will enhance more light transmission in both lighting and low-lying conditions to reduce the effects of reflection.
The objective lens diameter is 60mm. It helps in gathering more light so that you may have a clearer and crispier image. The lens diameter is large enough to accommodate the largest magnification level for an uncompromised field of view.
The eyecups are included for a comfortable use over a period of time and for use without the eyeglasses. The large focus wheel helps you in adjusting the binoculars.
Using these binoculars in wet conditions is an absolute breeze with the rubber-armored comfortable grip. Most of the binoculars are slippery should you encounter the downpour. These ones are even more comfortable to use in such conditions.
- Magnification range of 10 to 30x is large enough to reveal the finer details of birds
- Multicoated lenses and BK 7 Porro prism to enhance brightness and to optimal light transmission
- Comfortable grip with the rubber-armored non-slip body
- Larger objective lens diameter
- Low-cost binoculars below $100
- Minimum magnification of 10x may not be ideal for a wider field of view
- Basic features, but a great investment for the budget-conscious
Related: To use along with these binoculars, we recommend the Binger Tripod Adapter for Porro Binoculars. It is lightweight and made with the aluminum alloy.
Price: Approx. $170
Weight: 4.8 pounds
Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 18 inches
Specific features: Huge magnification range of 25x to 125x, field of view of 1.25 degrees, multi-coated BAK-4 prisms, 13mm of eye relief, integrated tripod adapter, 80mm objective lens diameter
Best use: For astronomical and terrestrial long-distance viewing
Description: The Celestron SkyMaster are perfect for those interested in maximum zooms almost equivalent to the telescopes. The zoom range is 25x to 125x wherein you can hover around a large field to spot an object with the lowest magnification of 25x and then zoom along until you reach the finer details you are interested in.
But the higher magnification of 125x may have an adverse effect on the field of view. It can narrow it to an extent of not being able to reveal the finest details.
The objective lens diameter is impressively large enough at 80mm. It gathers enough light especially in low-light situations to bring you brighter images. This makes them ideal for use in the dawn or dusk conditions.
The Bak-4 prism and the multicoated optics deliver a high-quality image that is clear and crisp. And for comfortable viewing, the binoculars come with the eye relief of 13mm. it’s actually to the advantage of eyeglass wearers. So, there’s no need to take off your glasses.
The binoculars also come with an integrated tripod adapter. They work well with the use of a tripod because they are relatively heavy at 4.8 pounds. They might shake when using hands.
- Larger objective lens diameter of 80mm for more light gathering
- High-quality BAK-4 prisms and multicoated optics for bright images and optimal light transmission
- Eye relief of 13mm for maximum comfort of use and for the convenience of eyeglasses
- Built-in tripod adapter to mount on a tripod
- Tripod not included
- Very high magnification narrows the field of view
- Relatively heavy so it is not easy to hold for a long time
- Not waterproof
Related: The binoculars work well if mounted on a tripod, which is sold separately. We, therefore, recommend the Celestron Heavy-Duty Altazimuth Tripod with a maximum height of 45 inches. It will hold the binoculars intact to avoid and slippery or shaking.
Price: Approx. $80
Weight: 2.3 pounds
Dimensions: 9.5 x 8.7 x 4.3 inches
Specific features: Double adjustable zoom, carry case & strap, huge magnification range of 15 to 180x, 100mm of objective lens diameter, porro prism and multicoated lenses, non-slip ergonomic design
Best use: For bird watching, astronomical long distance viewing, viewing sporting activities
Description: The MYSTERY High Power have a huge magnification range from 15 to 180x to allow you to zoom any object to reveal more details about it. But be aware that in order to spot the object, you have to start with the lowest magnification that increases the field of view.
Then when you spotted the object, you can then zoom in using the zoom control know at your fingertips. They actually have a double adjustable zoom that enhances the clarity of the images.
With the Porro prism and the multicoated lenses, the true color and brightness will be optimized. That’s a plus advantage when you are curious about watching sporting activities miles away or for astronomical purposes. More light is gathered by the larger objective lens diameter of 100mm to view on a wider field.
Looking at the design, these binoculars are non-slippery because of the comfortable grip design. With an overall weight of 2.3 pounds, they are one of the lightest binoculars you will come across.
Easy to handle with hands, but you can opt for the tripod to stabilize the binoculars. In a package, there is a pair of binoculars, a cleaning pad, a protective bag, and a strap.
- Lightweight with overall weight of 2.3 pounds
- Larger objective lens of 100mm
- Porro prism and coated lenses for quality of images
- Double adjustable zoom
- Minimum magnification of 15x may not cover a larger field of view
- No information about the design being waterproof
- Ridiculously higher maximum magnification can make images too blurry
Price: Approx. $65
Weight: 1 pound
Dimensions: 4.9 x 3 x 6 inches
Specific features: 10 to 30x magnification range, 25mm objective lens diameter, field of view of 56 of 33 meters at 1000 yards, quality prisms for crisp images, twisting eyecups and dioptric correction
Best use: Spotting wildlife, watching birds
Description: The Olympus Tracker is also an enticing set of binoculars ideal for bird watching or for wildlife monitoring at a field of view of 56 to 33 meters at 1000 yards. It’s easy to spot an object and then zoom until 30x to unfold the finer details.
The image will be brighter and crispier with the aid of the high-index prisms. Meanwhile, the objective lens of 25mm will gather sufficient light, especially in low-light conditions.
For a comfortable operation, this set of binoculars feature the twistable eyecups as well as the central focus knob for quick and easy zoom level adjustments.
The unreflective optics helps provide crispier images with an ample light transmission. The optics and the Bak-4 prisms are powerful in protecting you from the damaging UV rays and maintaining contrast and brightness.
Also, worth noting is the integrated dioptric correction that adjusts your eyesight. For those wearing the eyeglasses, the eye relief is long enough to let you operate the binoculars comfortably.
- Bak-4 prisms and coated optics for brighter images
- Integrated dioptric correction that adjusts your eyesight.
- The eyecups twist conveniently for your comfort
- The magnification range of 10 to 30x will let you spot your targets and reveal their details while miles away.
- Longer eye relief to the advantage of eyeglass wearers.
- Small objective lens diameter of 25mm. it will allow a little light
- Basic features
Price: Approx. $80
Weight: 2.09 pounds
Dimensions: 7.79 x 2.36 x 7.08 inches
Specific features: Powerful magnification range of 10-30x, fully coated optics, prism plated blue film, eye protective soft glue, eyepiece broadband green film
Best use: For hunting, bird watching, camping
Description: The SCOKC bring you a powerful magnification range of 10 to 30x so you can zoom as much as possible to examine any target closely.
Whether you are bird watching, sporting wildlife or just watching a sporting event, the magnification range will surely come in handy to help zoom. The fully coated optics will deliver crisp and clear images while the green lens minimizes glare. The prism plated blue film will also play a significant role in bringing clear and bright images.
With the objective lens of 50mm, these binoculars will be able to view efficiently in low light conditions because the larger lens diameter will gather more light. The other features include the eyepiece broadband green film.
- Powerful magnification range of 10 to 30x
- Objective lens diameter of 50mm
- Prism plated blue film for clearer and brighter images
- Affordable binoculars
- Lightweight with overall weight of 2.09 pounds
- Field of view is not the highest
- No information about the product being waterproof
Related: To stabilize the binoculars, we recommend the AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod With Bag. It is a lightweight tripod with adjustable legs and a quick-release mounting plate. You may also consider the BARSKA Binocular Tripod Adaptor as an add-on product to use with the binoculars and the tripod.
Price: Approx. $180
Weight: 3.1 pounds
Dimensions: 8.6 x 4.2 x 4.2 inches
Specific features: Magnification range of 10 to 22x, Objective Lens diameter of 50mm, zoom control knob, multicoated Eco-Glass, turn-and-slide rubber eyecups, durable rubber-armored coating
Best use: Spotting birds, watching wildlife, watching concerts miles away
Description: The Nikon ACULON A211 is yet another testimony of the expertise of Nikon in producing high-end binoculars. It comes with an impressive magnification range of 10 to 22x to enable you in viewing objects closer.
You can hover around a wide field to spot the farther placed object and then use the easily accessible zoom control know to zoom.
The 50mm of the objective lens is enough to get ample ambient light, especially in unfavorable lighting conditions to help you view brighter images. Thanks to the multicoated Eco-Glass that we are able to outsmart the light reflection and get sufficient light transmission.
For comfort handling, the binoculars have the durable rubber-armored coating that enables you to grip the product securely without slippery. It’s hard to handle the smooth binoculars in wet conditions. Nikon has prevented that with the non-slip coating. The turn-and-slide rubber eyecups are more convenient for extended periods of viewing.
- Magnification range of 10 to 22x for a wider field of view
- Multicoated Eco-Glass optics to prevent the adverse effects of reflected light
- Easily accessible zoom control know
- Rubber-armored coating for non-slip handling
- Larger objective lens diameter of 50mm
- Fairly expensive
- No info about it being waterproof
Related: To fasten these binoculars on a tripod, the OP/TECH USA 2701252 E-Z Comfort Strap may be ideal for you. It is easily adjustable.
Price: Approx. $80
Weight: 0.71 pounds
Dimensions: 5 x 2.8 x 5 inches
Specific features: Magnification range of 7 to 15x, Objective Lens diameter of 25mm, non-slipper rubber-armored grip, fully coated optics, fold down eyecups, Bak-7 prisms
Best use: For hunting or wildlife watching
Description: The Bushnell Powerview Compact is not only an affordable set of binoculars but also a set of quality. With its magnification of 7 to 15x at an objective lens of 25mm, you will be able to enjoy watching birds hundreds of yards away or hunt for the wildlife. The multicoated optics and Bak-7 prisms play a significant role in delivering brighter and crispier images.
These are one of the lightweight and compact binoculars on the market that almost everyone can afford. They are also comfortable to handle with the rubber-armored coating ergonomic design. It helps you to operate it in wet conditions without having your binoculars slipping through your hands.
The fold down eyecups gives you more comfort of using these binoculars. The eye relief is also impressively long for one to comfortably use with eyeglasses. The company also offers a limited lifetime warranty.
- Close focus of 6 feet/1.8 meters
- Eye relief of 12mm
- Exit pupil of 3.5mm at 7x and 1.6mm at 15x
- Field of view of 262 feet at 1000 yards
- Affordable binoculars
- Maximum magnification is still low compared to other products. Nonetheless, it has an impressive field of view
Related: You can use the OP/TECH USA 2701252 E-Z Comfort Strap to mount the binoculars on the tripod. The strap is adjustable to properly secure the product.
Price: Approx. $160
Weight: 1.5 pounds
Dimensions: 4 x 6 x 2 inches
Specific features: Magnification range of 8 to 24x, Objective Lens diameter of 25mm, high index Bak-4 prisms, 3-time zoom capability
Best use: Bird watching, wildlife spotting
Description: The Nikon Compact are portable and lightweight. However, they are fairly expensive. Their wide range of features justifies this price tag. The product has high index Bak-4 prisms that deliver bright images, and multicoated optics with anti-reflective compounds to enhance maximum light transmission.
The objective lens is, however, relatively smaller than other high-end binoculars we have reviewed. But it is large enough to provide you clear details.
The central zoom control lever enables you to quickly change the magnification level once you’ve spotted the target. It is a convenient feature more especially for fast-moving targets. This product is one of the lightest with the overall weight of 1.5 pounds.
- 3-time zoom capability
- Magnification range of 8 to 24x
- High index Bak-4 prisms for brighter images
- Multi coated optics with anti-reflective compounds
- Lightweight and portable
- Smaller objective lens diameter
- Fairly expensive
From the reviews above, it appears there is a broad range of zoom binoculars with powerful magnification range. Nikon products seem to be dominating with superior features as also evidenced by the price tag.
Some binoculars have ridiculously higher magnification over 100x. When using them, beware of blurry images. It’s advisable to use the lower magnification in spotting the target and then zoom along until you are able to reveal the finer details.
We have discussed the important aspects you needed to know before purchasing these products. These included, among others, magnification range, the objective lens, and the multicoated optics.
The prices are also highlighted for each product. The fact is that; many of these binoculars are affordable. You can actually find a set below $60. Only a few are above $100. These are predominantly the Nikon products.
Do you have some experience with any of our picks? If so let us know about them in the comments section below.