Binoculars Reviews by Expert Hunters – 2015
Have you decided it’s time to buy a good pair of binoculars? Great, you’ve come to the right place! A great pair of binoculars can help bring the action to you, whether you’re at a sporting event, watching birds or other wildlife, or trying to do some amateur stargazing at night. When you start shopping for binoculars, though, it’s absolutely vital that you do some research first to find out which models shine and which ones fall flat. We review the best and worst binoculars, giving you information about how every pair of binoculars we get our hands on performs. This page will give you a better idea of what we look at in making our evaluations.
Each review we write takes a hard, deep look at the pair of binoculars, carefully examining such things as what you get for your money and how good the optics are. Here’s an overview of what we look for, along with some examples about different pairs of binoculars that have either passed our tests or gone down in a ball of flames.
What Do I Get in the Box?
It isn’t the most important characteristic, but we still look at what you get for your money first. Every binocular comes with a different assortment of accessories, and some are better than others. For example, the Celestron SkyMaster 15×70 binoculars has the claim to fame of including a tripod adapter. Unfortunately, said tripod adapter is made from cheap plastic and isn’t much use in the real world. On the other hand, Swarovski’s Traveler binoculars includes a snap shot adapter that works very well in converting your binoculars into a 10X telephoto camera lens.
What’s the Magnification?
After that, we look at how powerful the binoculars are, letting you know the magnification power of the binoculars along with how good the image clarity and resolution is. In some cases, the magnification can result in serious problems with image quality, such as the muted colors through the Celestron Outland X 10×42 binoculars.
How Good Are the Optics in the Binoculars?
Next, you want to know about the optics. In this section, we let you know whether the binoculars use a roof prism or porro prism design, and what kind of prism glass is included in the optics. Next, we talk about the coating on the air-to-glass surfaces, which is one of the most important factors in getting the best possible light transmission out of the binoculars. Every manufacturer has its own production process, and some cut corners in the coating process, so you should know what we meanby multi-coated, fully multi-coated, etc.
- Fully Multi-coated lenses ensure that all air-to-glass surfaces are protected by multiple layers of anti-reflective coating to help reduce glare and light diffusion, which helps give you the best possible brightness and clarity.
- Multi-coated lenses will have at least one surface, but not all air-to-glass surfaces, coated with multiple layers of protection against glare and reflection.
- Fully coated lenses provide a single layer of protection to all air-to-glass surfaces.
In best-case scenarios, as in the Swarovski EL 10×32 Traveler Binoculars, the optics are fully multi-coated. On the other hand, Bushnell’s H2O binoculars are just fully coated.
In this section, we also take a look at the focus mechanism, talking about how easy it is to focus the image and keep it in focus. The Eagle Optics Ranger ED 10×42 Binoculars, for example, have an excellent focus with a locking diopter adjustment. By way of contrast, Celestron’s SkyMaster 15×70 binoculars have a problem with the focus mechanism drifting, making it difficult to keep things in focus.
What’s the Body Like On the Binoculars?
After we look at the optics, it’s time to examine the housing of the binoculars. We look at whether the housing is rubber-coated for easier grip and better durability, as well as how easy it is to handle the binoculars. Some binoculars have features on the housing that others lack, such as the tripod adapter on the Celestron SkyMaster 15×70 binoculars, and we let you know about those inclusions.
How Durable Are the Binoculars?
How much abuse can the binoculars handle? Our reviews examine durability in detail, from the ability of the binoculars to withstand taking a dunk to the shock resistance of the rubber coating. We also let you know whether the optics chambers are nitrogen-filled, which prevents fogging, and whether or not the lenses are O-ring sealed to make them truly waterproof. Sometimes, we’ll even put the binoculars to the extreme test, like when I dropped my Bushenll H2O 8×25 binoculars to the bottom of a 6-foot-deep swimming pool for 20 minutes and found the binoculars to be exceptionally waterproof.
Finally, we round out our binocular reviews with a summary that wraps up the best and worst features of each binocular we examine. This section is great for those of you who have short attention spans, since it gives you a snapshot of what’s hot and what’s not, as well as providing a final recommendation of “buy” or “don’t buy.”