At a Glance
We all know that birds can be fun to watch. Birds, like every animal that exists in this world, can have unique behavior that will be entertaining and peaceful to people. However, like most animals, it will be hard to watch over them if you are around them or if they notice that you are around. Therefore, bird watching should be done in an extremely careful way, so as not to scare the birds.
This is why you need to have certain gear to watch the birds without making a sound or distraction. You have to really be quiet enough to get the perfect view. You have to be patient as much as possible to get the best results from the birds in the area. Therefore, if you want to get into the hobby, you need the best binoculars for bird watching in order to get up close and personal with these feathered friends.
10 Best Binoculars for Bird Watching Review
Here are our top 10 picks for the best binoculars for bird watching:
For Professional Use
These ones are best used by those who consider bird watching as a serious hobby. Most of these are a little expensive but are complete with lots of features.
1. Swarovski EL 8×32 Binoculars
The Swarovski EL 8×32 Binoculars is a good choice if you want something simple, straightforward but great for professional use, as it has a decent magnification of 8x. As for the specifics on the exit pupil, which can help you to get a better “bird’s eye view” of your bird, it has a diameter of 4 mm and an eye relief or distance of 20 mm.
Along with the specs, there are also many extras that come along with the binoculars, such as a carrying strap for traveling purposes, and an objective lens cover to keep the lenses away from dust and dirt. There is also an eyepiece cover for added protection in the violent rain or weather, plus a bonus field bag so that you can travel with it anywhere and not potentially lose it.
You will definitely have a good time looking at trees with the birds with the clarity and good distance of this professional set of binoculars. It can be a little expensive for some, but for professional usage, it is a must-try. There is also a lifetime limited warranty for this product, which covers the optics of the binoculars, while 10 years for the rest of the parts.
2. Vortex Optics Viper
The Vortex Optics Viper has a unique multi-position eyecup set so that it can be more comfortable than other cheap ones out there. You can use it if you have glasses and it will work just fine – not in an awkward way. It is great not just for bird watching, but also for hunting and the like, due to the durability of the chassis and coating made of impact resistant rubber.
The lens coating is also reflective enough to make the image quality superb, even in farther distances. It is available in both 8x and 10x lens sizes, both of which have good magnification overall. There is also a locking diopter ring for added protection and stability. Also, it is not too heavy to carry with you due to the decent weight.
Additionally, it has been o-ring sealed so that it will be waterproof when you go out in the rain, along with its argon purging to avoid fogging. The prism coatings also have good effects on the contrast, resolution and accuracy of the color that’s produced by the lenses. Overall, they can make an enjoyable bird watching session for anyone due to the good features.
3. Zeiss Terra ED
The Zeiss Terra ED is yet another professional series bird watching binoculars, which is definitely something you might want to take in the wilderness due to the waterproofing of up to 100 mbar and the heat resistance of up to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. It has a magnification of 8x and a wide field of view per 1,000 yards, with an angle of 56 degrees. This makes it easier for you to see birds in your backyard or countryside without losing image quality.
Because it has sufficient distance, you can go bird watching without disturbing them and without getting user fatigue due to the compact and lightweight design. It can also be used in camping and traveling trips outdoors for observing nature and other animals. As for the lens specifics, it has a diameter of 42 mm and an exit pupil diameter of 5.3 mm.
In addition to that, the hydrophobic multi-coating not only makes it durable, but also provides focal clarity and visual sharpness to any detail that you want to see in the bird’s habitat. Moreover, the easy-to-grip focus wheel adds ease of use so that you can focus without the problem of shaking the view too much when you focus on a bird or two.
4. Nikon 7579 MONARCH
As part of a well-known brand in DSLRs and image quality, the Nikon 7579 MONARCH is a definite must-try for professionals who are getting into bird watching or even bird photography. It produces accurate color reproduction due to the prism coatings with superb reflectivity and many layers put together in a dielectric process. This lets the lenses and coatings of prism be in harmony to produce good images with better contrast.
It is also quite easy to find your subject due to the field of view being pretty wide at 60 degrees or more. Because it is portable at only 4 inches in size, it can be easily carried with you anywhere. It may not be as light reflective as the 8×42 version, but as the 8×30 version, this is a good choice even for beginners who just want to start in bird watching.
With that said, it works very good in daylight and does not distort the image quality. Also, the durability of the body is due to the poly-carbon resin that reinforces a fiberglass material for the whole casing. It only weighs 15 ounces so it is definitely a travel-friendly companion to take with you in the wilderness, or even in your own backyard.
These ones are the best for those who want something affordable, yet still has a lot of features to consider, usually with a good field of view.
5. Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5
For a 10x binocular but on a more decent price, the Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5 might be a good choice for you. It uses extra low dispersion glass for the lenses so that it can produce super sharp images without distorting the field of view. Also, there is comfort when you use it due to the rubber eyecups that are present to keep your eyes from getting fatigue the whole time.
There is also a central focus knob that glides smoothly without getting in the way of your vision and will not cause violent shaking. It also bears a good light transmittance due to the eco-glass lenses that are fully multicoated for added clarity in most times of the day.
A soft case also comes with this set of binoculars so that you can take it with you in your travels. It has field of view of up to 228 feet per 1,000 yards. It is also easy to secure and attach so you can take it anywhere without the fear of dropping or losing, also due to having a rubber, non-slip feeling on the coating.
6. Wingspan Optics WideViews
The Wingspan Optics WideViews is both affordable and professional one that can be ideal for every bird watcher there is, due to the good price and design. It has a wide field of view of 430 feet per 1,000 yards and has 8x magnification so you can reach a lot of places without really getting there. In addition to that, the 42mm fully multi-coated lenses provide good picture clarity for the birds you can watch.
The protection for the housing is superb with waterproof and fog proof protection due to being sealed and filled with nitrogen to avoid fogging. It also has a 42mm objective lens diameter so that it can help increase the quality of the images of the birds that you can see with it. Because of the durability, it can withstand most weather disturbances like rain, snow, and fog.
As for the construction, the roof-prism design makes it durable, and since it is made with durable aluminum as well, it does not add too much weight when you carry it. Also, it has a rubber-armored exterior to have a better grip onto it during rainy days. It is also backed by a lifetime warranty.
7. Wingspan Optics SkyView
Also from the same manufacturer, the Wingspan Optics SkyView is a great waterproof choice, which also has a close focus feature and phase coating for added durability. It uses ED glasses much like the Nikon brand, and has a 10x magnification so it is definitely a must-try for farther distances. Because it uses low dispersion glasses, it makes the optics very good.
This binocular made with 42mm fully multi-coated lenses so that the image clarity remains superb with good brightness and colors. It is also further enhanced due to the prism coating and phase correction for the lenses. This product can go through tough weather conditions just fine due to the fog proof qualities, and has a field of view of 309 feet per 1,000 yards.
It has a lens diameter of 42 mm and a roof prism design (BaK-4) and it is also compatible with a harness for ease of accessibility. Not only that, you can also attach it to a tripod if you wish.
For Low Budget Needs
If you just need a simple pair of birding binoculars but don’t have a lot of money, these low budget picks might be for you.
8. Aurosports 10×25 Folding
For those who like something that is for low budget, you can try the Aurosports 10×25 Folding, which can be folded for ease of storage, and has a large field of view per 1,000 yards as well. It can work in both day and night situations and does not take too much to carry due to the lightweight feel. It is also durable with its housing and has a nonslip grip to prevent slipping.
The lenses that make up this cheap binoculars are made with multi coating construction, which also makes them waterproof without distorting the view. The 25 mm objective lens also adds up to the quality that is given by the 10x magnification, so it is not just for bird watching, but also for hiking, hunting, outdoor sports, events and the like.
9. Bushnell Falcon 10×50
If you want a truly wide angle lens, the Bushnell Falcon 10×50 is a binocular that you might make as a choice. It has good weight of only 27 ounces, has a field of view of 300 feet per 1,000 yards and an exit pupil of 5 mm for good clarity. In addition to that, the eye relief is at 9 mm, while the focusing distance is at 25 feet. These specs are all in all great for most bird watchers.
The magnification is at 10x so it is very far reaching as a bird watching tool. Its finish can withstand abrasions due to the rubberized coating. To back it up, the lens is made with unique Porro prism, which enhances sharpness of the bird subjects.
10. Wingspan Optics Spectator
For the person who doesn’t want to spend too much for a pair of binoculars, the Wingspan Optics Spectator can be a great choice for bird watching, or just about any outdoor activity with the kids or your friends. It is quite lightweight in its design and can be great for general birding and even camping, hiking or traveling. It has a nonslip grip so it cannot be easily dropped.
This product is an 8×32 pair of binoculars so it has a fair distance for its lens. You can also use it if you are into sports or watching an even from far away. Because of the portable design, you can take it basically anywhere without feeling too bulky. It has a field of view of 362 feet per 1,00 yards with a right eye diopter system.
The whole thing is lightweight at only 15 ounces, with a BaK4 prism type and a minimum focal length of 3 meters. Adding to the picture clarity is the centered focus system, with an exit pupil distance of 14.8 and a diameter of 4. Along with the binoculars, you also get a carrying case made of nylon mesh, plus a neck strap for ease of accessibility. You can also protect the lens due to the included covers and cleaning cloth.
Frequently Asked Questions About Binoculars
What are some criteria to choose compact binoculars for birding?
Bird watching can be improved if you choose the right binoculars for the job with the following criteria in mind:
- Price – do you have enough budget for something above $200 or will you just settle on something for less? Your budget plays an important role when choosing any product, but don’t try to spend too little for less features and quality.
- Magnification and weight ratio – while it is important to have a farther distance that you can reach with the binoculars, 8x and 10x might not really have too much of a difference if your hold is not very steady. If you want a 10x, that’s fine, as long as you are able to hold it properly with less shaking.
- Ease of focusing – because birds can move from one place to another too quickly, it can be hard to focus on a bird if your focusing gear on the bird watching binoculars is too flimsy or hard, so you need to go for a smooth one.
What are the benefits of using binoculars for wildlife viewing?
Like spotting scope, binoculars are great for wildlife viewing and birding because:
- It allows you to be in touch with nature.
- Binoculars help you to see different creatures.
- You can also spot objects and events from afar.
- Binoculars aren’t just for birds and wildlife – you can use it for sports events.
How do you properly use a pair of binoculars for birding?
To properly use your binoculars for bird watching, you should:
- Adjust the focus on the top as needed.
- Clean the lenses as needed regularly.
- Find a good spot to watch the bird(s).
- Keep your binoculars protected with a neoprene case.
Overall, we believe that the Vortex Optics Viper is our pick for the best binoculars for bird watching because of its impact resistant rubber coating, availability in both 8x and 10x lens magnification sizes, anti-fog properties, eyecups for less eye fatigue and good visual clarity.