Best Hunting Binoculars for 2017 – Buying Guide & Reviews
Binoculars consist of two telescopes that allow a viewer to view distant objects. Most of them can be held by an individual while there are others which are mounted on military trucks. They produce 3D images from different viewpoints. Here is an insight on the uses of binoculars, how to choose the best hunting binoculars and their price ranges.
Applications of Binoculars
The following are different ways in which binoculars are used.
- Tourist Adventures
In the recent past, domestic and international visitors have been using hand-held binoculars. They range from 3*10 Galilean glasses to binoculars with 30-50mm objectives. However, tourist attractions are currently installing pedestal-mounted binoculars which enable visitors to have a close view.
- Land Survey
Historical geoscientists and geographers collected data using binoculars. Field glasses are still used in large surveys.
- Bird Viewing
Most nature lovers use binoculars with a 7x-10x magnification when watching various bird species.
Some hunters use binoculars to spot animals that are beyond human eye sight. The commonly used binoculars have an 8x magnification. They have broad objectives and a light transmission that facilitate gathering light in dim conditions.
- Range Finding
In most binoculars, there is a range reticle scale which superimposed on the view. It enables a viewer to estimate the object distance if its height is known. Mariner 7*50 binoculars have reticle scales whose angle between marks is 5mil.
How to Choose Hunting Binoculars
The following steps can help when selecting hunting binoculars.
- Understand the Binoculars’ Numbers
Binoculars are usually named with two numbers such as 10*50 where * is the power. The first number represents the frequency in which an object is made to appear closer to the eye while as the second number is the primary lenses’ diameter in millimeters.
The diameter of the light beam reaching the eye is a division of the second number to the first. It is referred to as the exit pupil eye, and it is recorded in millimeters.
High magnification results in the formation of a large but dim image. If you require having a wide field of view when hunting, choose a binocular with a low magnification.
Large objective lenses are preferred as they gather more light and they can be used when hunting at dusk or dawn. You should also select an exit pupil value which matches with your eyes’ dilation.
- Choose the Lenses
In most binoculars, glass lenses are used whereas in others, plastic lenses are used. Glass lenses have a higher image quality than plastic lenses. However, a pair of plastic lenses with the same image quality as those of one of the glass lenses might be more expensive. Glass lenses can be modified with a coating to rectify its light reflection.
The layers are indicated by codes such as C, MC, and FMC. Multiple coats are more efficient than single coats. However, they are more expensive.
Plastic lenses should be used in mountain climbing since they have a long durability. Although they form low-quality images, they are rugged, unlike glass lenses.
- Evaluate Eyepieces
Eyepiece lenses should be at least 5 millimeters away from your eyes. This is referred to an “eye relief.” If you wear spectacles, your eye relief should not be less than 14 millimeters. In many binoculars, there are rubber eye cups fitted to help you place the eyepieces above your eyes. If you use spectacles, it is advisable that you select binoculars which can retract.
- Test the Binoculars’ Focusing Ability
Assess how closely you can steadily focus the binoculars and measure their distance from the object which you are viewing. Most binoculars use a center-post mechanism which moderates your eyes’ view.
Waterproof binoculars are fitted with an individual focusing on each lens. Each of its eyepieces has controls. Some binoculars can’t adjust the focus. Attempting to focus on a close object could strain your eyes when using them.
- Check the Prism Design
The primary lenses of most binoculars are set apart from the eyepieces due to the crystal design. It makes them larger while 3D images are formed. Binoculars with the roof mechanism allow the lenses to rest parallel to the eyepieces. They are more compact, but they produce low-quality images. However, they can be modified to deliver quality images but at a higher cost.
Cheap binoculars use the BK-7 prism design which squares off one part of an image. On the other hand, expensive binoculars use the BAK-4 prism design that delivers light, sharp and round pictures.
- Decide on the Ideal Weight of Your Binoculars
Large-lens and high magnification binoculars are heavier than average binoculars. This can be compensated for by mounting them onto a tripod stand with a strap that enables you to hang it around your neck. If you are on an extended hunting expedition, light but less powerful binoculars are appropriate.
- Select Waterproof Binoculars
If you intend to hunt in tropical forests or during rainy seasons, chose waterproof binoculars instead of water-resistant binoculars.
- Check the Manufacturer’s Guarantee
Research on how long the manufacturing company has been in existence and the different optical products that they make. If they have been operating for long, check how they would handle a case of damaged binoculars.
Best Hunting Binoculars under $200
The following binoculars are sold at less than $200.
- Hawke Endurance ED 8*32 binoculars
They are built with a magnesium chassis which is common inexpensive binoculars. The ED glass lenses are of high quality, and they use corrected roof prisms. They have a nice field of view and a deep close focus.
- They off quality images.
- They are affordable to many people.
- A unique magnesium chassis is used in making them.
- A viewer is given an excellent eye relief.
- They come in a solid carry case.
- They are not ideal for hunting in the mountains.
- Meade 8*42 Rainforest Pro binoculars
They are sold for only $110, and they won the 2015 Best Low-Cost Binocular award.
- They have multi coated lenses.
- The binoculars are waterproof and can be used in foggy conditions.
- An adequate eye relief of up to 17mm is given.
- One gets a warranty upon purchasing them.
- Vanguard 10*42 Spirit XF binoculars
These binoculars use the BAK-4 roof prism design which is contained in a sturdy, light and waterproof body. They have a variety of features which can only be found in expensive binoculars.
- High-quality images are formed.
- They have a long durability as their efficiency is not affected by water.
- They have a 10x magnification.
- They lack ED glass lenses.
- Prisms don’t have dielectric coatings.
- Celestron Nature DX 8*42 binoculars
The binoculars have multi-coated lenses and BAK-4 roof prisms. They have a light and waterproof polycarbonate body which makes them portable.
- The price is affordable.
- They are suitable for outdoor sporting events, hiking, and camping.
- Their good field of view makes them ideal for hunting.
- Helios Mistral WP6 8*42
They are cheap binoculars which cost $110, and they are available in America. The images formed are of a higher quality than those from other less expensive binoculars.
- They are built with a polycarbonate chassis that is filled with nitrogen to make it water proof.
- Lenses are covered by multiple coats.
- The field of view is more than 900 meters.
Best Hunting Binoculars under $500
These binoculars are sold at less than $500.
- Steiner Predator 10*42
They were first manufactured in Germany after World War 2.Steiner binoculars are tall and bulky compared to their counterparts. They are rugged and have an extended durability. Their polycarbonate body is covered by an NRB rubber coat that can tolerate shock. Its tubes are injected with nitrogen to facilitate a clear view while the lenses are treated with a color adjusted transmission coating.
- They have a long durability and don’t need frequent replacement.
- Efficiency is not reduced by misty weather conditions.
- One can spot animals from a landscape.
- -They are heavy and less portable.
- Nikon Monarch 8*42
Nikon binoculars have a good build and optical quality. They are suitable for hunters as they have a variety that one can choose depending on their budget and needs. There are accurate colors and a high contrast image produced.
- It is ideal for game hunting.
- High portability due to their light nature.
- It has a wide field of view.
- Prisms have several dielectric coatings.
- There are no straps hence limiting its portability when walking.
- Lenses are susceptible to damage as there is no lens cover.
- Vortex Talon HD 8*42
Most of its components are similar to those of the Viper HD binoculars hence enhancing their optical performance. However, they are slightly taller and heavier.
- They have high efficiency.
- The field of view is large.
- Despite having a diopter focus, you don’t get a locking feature.
Best Hunting Binoculars under $1000
The following binoculars are sold at less than $1000.
- Meopta MeoPro 10X42 HD binoculars
It delivers high-quality images similar to those of more expensive binoculars. Its ED glass lenses have high definition effects, multi-positions eyecups, and MeoBright coatings. They have a waterproof body built with a magnesium chassis. It does not use the BAK-4 prism design.
- -It has high-quality images.
- -Efficiency is not affected by moist weather conditions.
- -It is portable since it has a light weight.
- -It is sold at $800.
- -It may not be suitable for hunting in mountainous terrain.
- Steiner HX 8X42 binoculars
This is a durable and reliable binocular with a variety of specifications that a hunter would want. It has a Click-lock system, Nano-protection and a superb luminosity factor.
- -It is waterproof, and its efficiency is not lost even if it is submerged in water or it gets rained on.
- -The Makrolon body chassis increases its durability.
- -The fast focus technology is applied.
- -It may be complicated to use if one doesn’t keenly follow its manual guide.
- Vortex Viper HD 10X42 binoculars
The binoculars have HD lenses and XR prisms that are covered with dielectric coatings.
- -It is efficient in hunting expeditions.
- -Accidental shifts are avoided as it possesses a locking diopter.
- -Phase coatings enhance the formation of quality images.
- -It may not be affordable to financially unstable hunters.
How to Focus Your Hunting Binoculars’ Diopter Adjustment
When spotting animals using binoculars, it is essential for you to adjust the optics’ diopter. There are a variety of methods used when focusing different binoculars. However, the following technique is suitable for all hunting binoculars.
- Locate the diopter adjustment: In most cases, the adjuster knob is integrated with one of the barrels’ eyepiece. A knob located on the center focus wheel may snap to facilitate the adjustment. Read the manual guide to know the specifically affected barrel. Once you find the adjustment knob, set it to zero before you start focusing the diopter. It will help in having the best focus that suits your eyes.
- Cover the barrel carefully: You should also cover the diopter adjustment knob and look through the uncovered barrel with the matching eye-the right eye should look through the right barrel. Avoid squinting as it could change your eyeball’s shape hence affecting your focus.
- Focus on an object: Try to concentrate on an immobile object that is about 25 feet from you while using the focus wheel to create a clear image through the binoculars’ bins.
- Change the barrel cover: Uncover the adjustment barrel and cover the opposite one. While looking through a barrel with the appropriate eye, enhance the image focus using the diopter knob. The image formed should be clear.
- Uncover the barrels: Using both eyes, assess the binoculars’ overall focus. You should only use the focus wheel when verifying image clarity by checking objects from different distances. Repeat this step until you get a clear focus.
- Lock the adjustment knob: Less expensive binoculars do not have a locking mechanism on their diopter knob, and you may have to snap the knob back into position. They are stiffer than the primary focus and locking helps in preventing unexpected changes.
Selecting the best hunting binoculars is sensitive as it will determine the level of success of your hunting expedition. There are various binoculars which are available at different prices. If one is an amateur hunter, he can consult experienced hunters who frequently use binoculars.