Best Binoculars For The Money Reviews
If you are looking for the best binoculars for the money, but maybe it is the first time that you approach this subject and therefore you have no idea what the best choice is, nor what are the parameters to take into account in order to make a conscious assessment, then this article will be very useful.
Let’s start by saying that, a pair of binoculars is an optical device that is used to observe subjects that are at a certain distance.
What to look for when buying binoculars
When you are about to buy a pair of binoculars you have to take into account a whole series of factors, some of which are very technical and the final choice must be the result of careful analysis: there is absolutely no better binocular because everything depends essentially on the user to go with it.
In fact, the binoculars are used in various circumstances: for hiking activities, such as bird watching, rather than hunting, but also for Astron comical observations, or to watch a game at the stadium or a theater show.
Therefore, to observe different types of subjects, also depending on the distance of observation from the same and the light that you usually have available you will have to understand what aspect is better to focus attention, also based on how much you are willing to spend.
Let us briefly analyze all the factors that, to a more or less marked extent, will influence our decision.
Beware of numbers and their meaning
When one is about to buy a pair of binoculars, one of the first things that immediately catches the eye is that for each one, together with the model name and the brand, a couple of numbers are shown, interspersed with an “x” (such as 10 × 50, 7 × 35, 8 × 42).
The first number indicates the magnification power offered by the binoculars: 10x means that the objects you are observing from a certain distance appear magnified 10 times compared to reality. The second number, on the other hand, indicates the diameter of the objective lenses (ie those more distant from the eye) and is expressed in mm (a 10 × 50 pair of binoculars will have an output lens diameter of 50 mm).
The combination of these two numbers is essential to understand the quality and type of binoculars that we are analyzing: a greater magnification corresponds to a lower brightness of the image and a narrower field of view. Dividing the second number for the first we will obtain a third value, called the ” exit pupil “, which is also expressed in mm and that is essentially the diameter of the optical system image.
Clearly depending on the use that you want to make it will be necessary to orientate on different combinations magnification/objective. The most versatile binoculars are 10 × 50; while generally those pocket-sized are characterized by 8-10x magnification and 20-25 mm diameters; those used for hiking, hunting, and bird watching are usually 8 × 42 and those intended for astronomical observations have both magnification and diameter of the upper lenses at 10 and 50 respectively.
The larger the diameter of the lens and the more light can enter it, so if you want to use the binoculars to scan the stars, to observe the sunrise or the sunsets or if in any case in situations where you are in poor lighting conditions it will be good to opt for a big lens.
But be careful to do another type of evaluation: the larger the lens size and the more cumbersome and heavy your binoculars are, so it is not said that you do not want to opt for a measure that represents a good compromise between maneuverability and vision.
Which type of lenses is better to opt?
A fundamental consideration to do when you are about to buy a pair of binoculars is the type of lens you have. best binoculars for the money that are on the market can mount lenses of two different types: those made of plastic and those instead of glass. The majority of products sold glass lenses because even more expensive are able to return images of superior quality compared to plastic ones.
The major problem of glass lenses is due to the reflective properties of light, but this drawback can be remedied with an anti-reflective treatment.
There are some acronyms which are used to identify the type of anti-reflection treatment to which the lenses have been subjected: C means that only a single anti-reflective layer has been applied to certain lenses; FC instead means that all the lenses have been coated; MC indicates that only a few layers have been applied to some lenses and to finish off FMC indicates that all the lenses have been applied multiple layers of anti-reflection, so binoculars with lenses of this type are the best, but also the most expensive.
Plastic lenses, in general, return images of inferior quality, but they are cheaper and more resistant than glass, so you can evaluate a pair of binoculars that mounts if you need to buy a very robust product ( as in the case in which you take it with you for a climb in the high mountains) or very cheap (maybe to give to a child).
Eye relief of binoculars: What is and what is the most performing value?
When we talk about Eye relief we refer to a numerical value (normally between 5 and 20 mm), which indicates the distance at which the eyepiece lenses will have to be held with respect to our eyes. Having a greater eye relief increases comfort in vision, as it is possible to hold the binoculars further away from the face.
For this reason, those who usually wear eyeglasses, it is good that they are oriented towards the purchase of binoculars with a higher eye relief (equal to or greater than 14-15 mm, since the glasses are normally about 10 mm from the face).
Another precaution for those wearing glasses is to choose a model that allows you to lower and/or remove the rubber shells that surround the eyepieces as if they can normally be a useful accessory for those who wear glasses are an annoying and obstructive vision.
Focus and type of prisms
Also with regard to focusing the binoculars can be very different from each other depending on the system they use. First of all, it is good to clarify that there are so-called ” fixed focus ” products that do not include the regulation of the focus.
Most of the binoculars on the market instead have a central focus where the adjustment is done by turning a wheel positioned in the middle between the two tubes of the binoculars. Finally, for the most professional binoculars models, there is often the possibility of individual focusing, that is, separate for each eye, so as to obtain the return of an optimal image.
To deal with the prism discourse, on the other hand, it is necessary to make a premise: a pair of binoculars consists of a series of lenses, through which the image we are observing passes through and we are returned magnified: first we find the front lenses (which are those directly facing the object we are observing); then internally there are the prisms, which are those objects that allow you to straighten the image and finally the eyepieces, which are the lenses to which we approach the eyes and which establish the magnification ratio of the binoculars.
On the market, there are also binoculars without prisms (called Galilean), which are generally used in the theater, but prismatic binoculars, are those able to provide maximum performance and greater magnification and are commonly used in naturalistic observations, for hiking, hunting or bird watching.
So the two types of prisms used in the construction of the binoculars are substantially two. The binoculars that mount Porro prisms (designed in 1800 by the famous Italian optician Paolo Ignazio Pietro Porro) have a classic shape, distinguish by well-separated lenses and eyepieces positioned on a different axis to the objectives. The roof prisms are a more recent discovery and allow binoculars that use them to have a right hull, much more compact and a more attractive and modern look.
The value of Porro prisms is that they return a greater three-dimensionality of the image, and at the same optical yield they have a decidedly lower cost because they are easier to set up.
While binoculars with roof prisms, for the same lens size, are much lighter and more compact, they have a better ability to focus on infinitely positioned objects, such as the sky and reduce the splitting effect, which in general it is generated in the observation of subjects positioned at the minimum focusing distance.
How much does a good pair of binoculars cost?
Obviously, it is difficult to establish a priori what is the right price for a pair of binoculars, because as you can understand, there are many different models on the market and it is not absolutely certain that an expensive and super-equipped model can be the most suitable use that you wish to make of it. The variables that come into play when choosing the perfect binoculars, or better than the one that most suits you, are numerous and consequently the cost varies according to these.
It will be necessary to consider: the brand, the model, the type and the quality of lenses that it mounts, the technical characteristics of the product, the materials with which it is made, its strength, practicality and ease of use, the presence or absence of special accessories and functions, etc …
In general, however, it can be said that the price of the most professional binoculars stands at values starting from 300-500 dollars, but that can easily reach even 1000-2000 dollars and more.
This does not mean that there are not many binoculars on sale, even under $100 (from 50-60 dollars)
Once you have established which best binoculars for the money and the most suitable for you, you can search the internet for the best price; buying online sometimes allows significant savings, but the advice is always to try the binoculars in person before buying it, because as we have seen it is said that a super expensive and performed model is good for everyone!
Comparison of five of the best-selling binoculars
Below you will find what we considered to be five of the best binoculars for the money, remaining in a range of fairly cheap products, but still guaranteeing good performance, also because it refers to some of the best brands of binoculars on the market.
Obviously, it is not an absolute evaluation; each one must make a personal classification based on the personal needs and the type of use that their binoculars want to do. For each of the five products that follow we tried to summarize the main features, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.
Best Binoculars for the money: Under 100$
Binocolo Celestron Up Close G2 10X50 U – Best compact binoculars
The Celestron Up Close G2 is a wide-angle binocular, with a central focus and Porro prisms, equipped with multi-coated anti-reflection lenses.
This is a product with a low price, but which guarantees good performance and for this reason, it is one of the most sold binoculars to date.
On the other hand, the combination that features it between lens diameter (50 mm) and magnification (10x) is one of the most versatile, which offers a good brightness even in cases of lighting shortage and a wide field of vision (6, 8th or 118 but a distance of 1 km – 0.62 mile), which returns sharp and contrasted images.
The body of the binoculars is made of aluminum and is covered with a protective rubber, which guarantees, in addition to its impermeability (resistant to light rain and splashes of water) and protection from minor impacts, also a smoother handle, safe and anti-slip.
As for the weight we are dealing with particularly heavy binoculars (764 g), but the same can not be said for the size: certainly not a “pocket” product since its maximum size is 8 cm in width and 18.5 in length.
It can be mounted on a tripod or other fixed support, using a special adapter to attach to the grooves on the lower part of the binocular body. Therefore, also due to its size, it is more congenial as binoculars for observations from a fixed location,
although it is widely used for excursions and bird watching. It can also be used for amateur astronomical observations, as for this type of activity it would be preferable to have some extra overplaying, but above all more brightness.
This binocular is sold complete with some accessories, namely: a case and a shoulder strap, both made of nylon and designed to facilitate its transport, but also the protections for the lenses (both for the lens and for the eyepiece) and a cloth used for cleaning them.
What we like:
- Versatile (lends itself well to multiple uses)
- Guarantees good brightness
What we don’t like:
- It is not particularly light
- It is not very compact
Bushnell 10X50 Falcon Binoculars – Best cheap binoculars
The Bushnell Falcon 10 × 50 is an amateur binocular, made with prisms of Porro and fixed focus, its price is very low and also for this is one of the best binoculars for the money.
One of its major limits is the construction: the plastic parts are not very solid and that’s why the Bushnell 10X50 Falcon can be a little ‘too fragile and sensitive to shock, even considering that the enclosure supplied is perhaps a little stuffed and too soft.
Despite this, the optical part is of good quality: the lenses are made of BaK-7 glass, with a single layer anti-reflective coating, as well as Porro prisms. It should be noted that, unlike many other products belonging to the same price range, it is equipped for use with fixed supports, or tripod.
A small flaw lies in the fact that the cups of the eyepieces are definitely a little limited, reaching a maximum of up to 9 mm of extraction, which makes this binocular not particularly suitable for those with vision problems.
Moreover, the fact that it is a fixed-focus instrument, if on the one hand makes it an ideal object for those situations where it is necessary to focus very quickly, such as bird watching or hunting, on the other it implies that from another part of the lens is a flexible and fast human eye in adaptation, so it is not an object that goes well without distinction for everyone.
Thanks to the discrete rendering of the image it is able to provide and to its depth of field it is however also suitable for landscape and maritime observation.
The field of view of the Bushnell Falcon 10 × 50 is not particularly performing for this magnification/lens combination; the weight is not excessive and equal to 830 g, but the dimensions appear to be rather generous (20.3 x 17.1 cm).
What we like:
- Quite a competitive price
- Versatile (lends itself to multiple uses)
- Equipped with more than discrete optics
- Ideal for young people and children
- Preparation for fixed supports
What we do not like:
- Not very robust
- It not particularly compact
- Not suitable for everyone
Olympus Compact 10X50 DPS I – Best Compact Binoculars
The Olympus 10 × 50 DPS I is a good product, cheap but able to give clear and clear images. It is a pair of Porro prisms, quadrangular (although the field of vision is not the best), equipped with anti-reflection lenses, with a multi-layer coating to provide maximum brightness and contrast and also UV coatings to protect the eyes from the rays of the sun.
It is able to guarantee a simple adjustment of the focus by means of a central wheel and at the same time a high power of magnification. Among the products in its category offers one of the best image quality, although it is advisable to hold it by holding the elbows resting on the chest in order to reduce flicker, especially if you are observing a moving object.
It should be noted that the Olympus 10 × 50 DPS I was probably designed for people of large size and with a particularly large face, so it may be difficult to use for small people, not only for the size of the eyepieces, but also because the handle is quite wide, so it is not so easy to maintain a firm grip while trying to adjust the focus.
A small flaw to be found in the fact that the zoom is very powerful, makes the images wobble a little, but this inconvenience is easily overcome if you use it fixed on a tripod.
With the Olympus 10 × 50 DPS I it is possible to make observations under various lighting conditions, even in low light conditions, such as sunrise or sunset. It can be considered suitable for bird watching and hiking, even if with the same performances you can find best compact binoculars products on the market (its dimensions are in fact 19.1 × 17.8 cm and its weight is equal to 855 g).
What we like:
- Versatile (lends itself well to multiple uses)
- Guarantees good vision
What we don’t like:
- It is not suitable for everyone
- It is not very compact nor easy to hold
- The images are a bit shaky
Best Binoculars for the money: Under 200$
Binoculars Steiner Safari UltraSharp 10 × 26 – Safari binoculars
The best compact binoculars the Steiner Safari UltraSharp 10 × 26 binoculars, is part of a series of binoculars of the same brand, which are each characterized by different magnifications, but they are all versatile and easy to use.
The world-famous Steiner lenses ensure maximum performance, sharp images and precise colors; moreover, we are dealing with a decidedly robust product.
The eye relief of this binoculars is 11 mm, therefore slightly lower than many other models of the same category; although this value is more than sufficient for the majority of users, it is recommended to try it before buying it, especially if you wear glasses.
Of course, among the binoculars analyzed here is the most compact and lightweight, by virtue of its featherweight (295 g) and its small size of 11.6 x 12 cm, which make it the perfect tool for lovers of travel, as it can also be stored in your pocket. Nevertheless, it guarantees a good magnification (10 times the reality) and the combination of these characteristics makes it versatile and particularly suitable for hiking, safari binoculars, but also for watching sports events.
What we like:
- Ultra compact
- Good quality/price ratio
- Guarantees good vision
What we don’t like :
- Eye relief basso
Binocolo Nikon Aculon A211 10-22 × 50 Zoom
The most expensive among the analyzed binoculars on this list, but that in any case compared to the offered performances certainly is not a dear product, is the Nikon Acon A211 10-22 × 50: reliable and extremely versatile can serve various purposes and is suitable for everyone.
These are binoculars made with Porro prism system and BaK4 multi-layered glass lenses, which offer interesting image quality even in low light conditions.
The focus is adjusted by the central knob, which is shaped to ensure ease of use and better grip: with this binocular you can zoom in anywhere from 10 to 22 times the actual size.
The Nikon Aculon A211 10-22 × 50 is distinguished by an excellent rubber coating, which makes it suitable for all weather conditions, although in fact it is not waterproof.
Despite the dimensions are not particularly contained (19.7 × 19.7 cm) and in terms of weight is not one of the lightest products on the market (960 g), its ergonomics and anti-slip grip ensure that be comfortable, practical and easy to carry binoculars. In addition, the rubber that covers the eyecups makes it easy to place the binoculars on the eyes at the correct point, providing a perfect and very comfortable view.
Obviously allowing a very high magnification can be good even for those who want to use it for observations in the astronomical field; even if in these cases and if you want a high magnification and a stable image is definitely coupled to a tripod (an adapter is already supplied as an accessory at the time of purchase).
What we like:
- Versatile (lends itself well to multiple uses),
- Good materials
What don’t like:
- It is not particularly light
- It is not very compact
Which binoculars should I buy: Opinions
Among best binoculars for the money, certainly, the one that is absolutely the least expensive is the Celestron Up Close G2 10X50, However, if you are willing to invest a little more the model that is more compact, lightweight and ergonomic is undoubtedly the Binoculars Steiner Safari binoculars UltraSharp 10 × 26.
All five still have a good quality/price ratio; as evidenced each has its own quality and its flaws, the important thing is to establish the use that has to be done and thus what should be the aspects to focus on most during the purchase phase.