Buying Guide for bird watching binoculars

Compared to other hobbies, watching Bird has the advantage of requiring only Low initial investment for a maximum hours of pure wonder. A good guide Identification and binoculars are all that need to get started. However, many neophytes think we can get a twin high class low cost (under $ 300). Certainly it in are quite acceptable at lower prices, but today finds that environmental models ($400- $ 1000) and high end ($ 1000 and up) gradually become the norm among people who practice birdwatching regularly, as frequent travelers that buffs feeders. Indeed, beyond the threshold of $ 400, we reaches an optical quality class of a different order. And since a twin can often last for years without requiring maintenance, this hobby still, on balance, more economical. If you are into hiking, then I’d suggest you to check this post about top 10 binoculars for hiking

To guide the consumer in his quest the ideal instrument, we tested several models. There are two kinds of binoculars according to configuration and optical parts used in design: those prisms Porro prisms and those roof. The first present the bent shape classic (gap between the two different objectives one eye) while the latter are formed two straight tubes. After our tests, it appears that the consumer is spoiled for choice between. Few tips to choose the best binocular can be found here.

Many optical high quality models ergonomic. Therefore, it is often small details and personal preferences to guide
her decision. Three models were examined: Bausch & Lomb Custom 10×40, 10×42 Swift Ultralite and Nikon 8x30E. The Custom is well in hand despite its size, but the wheel is narrow and difficult to operate, which suggests possible
use problems in winter. It offers good optical performance, although that the depth of field a little low, reduces the image quality. In addition, a problem of sizable reflection appears when one looks against the light. The design Minimum focus is a little long like that of Swift 10×42. The person who is considering buying a Custom would rather have more advantage to turn to.

Swift, lighter, cheaper and with resolution of the image is slightly better. However, this latter is not recommended for  ens wearers correction due to lack of clearance ocular. As for the Nikon, the only 8x tested in this category, it has  amazing optical quality contrasting with its finish reminiscent of more economical models. His short, lightweight  body  is ideal for those looking for a compact instrument and manageable without requiring sealing. Development minimum is short, but the knob has the same disadvantages than the Custom.

The Twins roof prism midrange

Bausch & Lomb Discoverer 7×42 and 10×42

Ergonomics, both Discoverer are identical and robust. The dial setting to point is soft and pleasant. By against the diopter adjustment is not easy to do because, activating the setting, one hangs constantly developing. optical side, the  x42 has a Excellent eye relief as well as a large brightness, significant benefits to whoever gives priority to comfort  rather than observation magnification. Despite a good resolution power, sharpness of vision is lacking on both models (field curvature). Given the price asked the 7×42 is nevertheless a very good choice since it offers optical  qualities and Ergonomic approaching the top models range. In contrast, the image quality is the 10×42 a bit  disappointing for a twin of this price.


Brunton Eterna 7×42

This large twin is not easy to manipulated by those with small hands. The diopter adjustment is made at the front, close to the right lens or a safe place to avoid Subsequent misalignments. The Eterna comes with a case can remain around the instrument when observed. But, far from being an advantage, this feature adds to the size of the binoculars and decreases again more maneuverability. This model has one of best eye clearances that are as well as a
very good sharpness, providing a comfort of observation Unlike any other. Another advantage is the minimum focusing is short (just over 1.5 m). However, the brightness This twin is a little deficient for 7x, a more apparent defect early morning or late afternoon.


A magnification of 7 to 10 times is enough. In addition, choose binoculars large diameter (50 mm or more) to maintain a good image quality. They are often too large and too heavy for birdwatching. A target of 40 or 42 mm represents the maximum brightness / size, although there are excellent models of other dimensions. Wearing glasses, do not forget to lower the eyecups when you try binoculars, otherwise you will not see properly the field of view. Pay attention to the minimum focusing. Shorter it is, and the more one is able to observe the details of the plumage of birds very together. Try the binoculars with a pair of gloves. Some dials development are difficult to operate with the latter. Choose preferably a model with a flexible and wide wheel, which risk least freeze in the cold. Be sure to compare the twins by their price
sale. The suggested price often has nothing to do with the first. As For example, a merchant informed me that he asks $ 1 350 for the Bausch & Lomb Elite 8×42 while the suggested price is $ 1,970!
It is good to know that the twins say purged with nitrogen only form no internal condensation in cold weather. In addition, a Full multilayer coating (in English “Fully Multicoated” not simply “Multicoated”) significantly reduces unwanted reflections Internal and provides a clearer and more contrasted image.
Learn about these features and ask to see the booklet accompanied. Insist to go outside with the models you want to compare. A review inside the store is equally frustrating and unnecessary.


Bushnell Legend 8×42

This is a twin that handles well, with its rubber coating thick, good support for inches and a flexible wheel. His qualities optics are worse than those the Custom 10×40 or 10×42 for Swift same range. Unlike these models, the Legend is waterproof and offers for spectacle wearers a better eye relief. However, Tasco Rarebird 8×42 is probably better value price quality.

Bushnell 8×42 XtraLite

As the name suggests, this is a very twin lightweight, with good grip but a wheel a little misplaced and a minimum focusing very (too long. Although it has certain qualities (Good eye relief and good depth field), it lacks resolution and brightness compared to Rarebird Tasco 8×42 or Swift Bushnell Legend 10×42

Kahles 10×42

At the boundary between the middle and models high-end, this twin sold Swarovski can be a choice interesting insofar as we can the provide approximately at a price Discoverer. In a neat finish and a excellent maneuverability, it misses by against a little resolution (for 10x) and sharpness and depth field; Optically it compares to the Discoverer
10×42. Note that there is a free version 8×42 perhaps more interesting, but we have unfortunately could not try.

Minox 8×32 and 10×42

Designed by Leica to compete with midrange models, Minox have almost identical to that of their large appearance sisters, Trinovid 8×32 and 10×42. The setting wheel the point however has little control. Featuring very good optics, albeit with a slight lack of eye relief in the 8×32 deserves to be seriously considered. His power
resolution may be somewhat lower than the Zeiss 8×30 Diafun. By cons, the 10×42 is rather optical disappointing side and we prefer another of 10x search.

Nikon 10×40 DCF

This model has hardly rained since it offers us average performance and stands out on any aspect. The minimum focusing is quite far and reduced eye relief. Note however it has a resolving power but interesting does not in itself justify its purchase. It will see the price actual sales to get a better idea of its value.

Tasco 8×42 Rarebird

Here is a very interesting model several viewpoints. its good grip, its flexible wheel and robust finishing make it more
pleasant to handle. clearance eye is good, especially for wearing glasses. The optical characteristics (resolution,
brightness) are similar to other models of this level. The Rarebird comes with a case like “waist bag” more practical. a
good choice for the birder.

In conclusion

This buying guide is not exhaustive. Several models presented in this text are available in versions different magnification and size. In addition, other models on the market deserve serious a look. This is particularly the case of Pentax DCF (Roof prism), strongly recommended by the magazine American Birding, and brand Kowa binoculars.