Best Bird Watching Binoculars

If you’re overwhelmed by the choice of bird watching binoculars available then we’ve narrowed the options down for you.

Here are 5 of the best binoculars for bird watching on the market. They cover a range of prices and specs so you should find something to suit you, whether you are just starting out bird watching or have many years of experience.

1. Olympus 8x 40 DPSI Binoculars

These best-selling Olympus 8x 40 binoculars are the perfect entry model for bird watching. They have been designed specifically for observing nature with anti-reflective lens coating to ensure optimal brightness and contrast.

8x magnification and a wide field of view means you will easily be able to find the bird and focus in on identification details. Porro-prism binoculars have a robust construction and high-quality optics including spherical lenses that minimise distortion.

The eyepiece has a specially formulated UV protection to protect the eyes from the sun’s harmful rays and to help prevent eyestrain during extended use.

They are compact and light, yet rugged, so perfect for taking out in the field or on bird watching camping or hiking trips. Or keep them to hand at home to get up close to the birds that visit your garden. Although the small size is perfect for young birders, smaller children may find them a bit tricky to use as the eyepieces are quite widely set.

These are a fantastic pair of bird watching binoculars for general purpose use.

2. Nikon Prostaff 7S 8x 42 Binoculars

A great value pair of quality binoculars and a favourite for bird watchers. This model has some significant improvements on the previous Prostaff range with enhanced viewing and outstanding performance.

Highly-reflective mirror-coated prisms give sharp, bright images even in low light and phase correction coating ensures high-resolution and clarity so you can zoom in right on the details. They’re completely waterproof and mist-free so can be taken out bird watching in even the wettest weather.

Ease of focusing is excellent. There is great attention to detail on the knurling on the focusing ring so adjusting the binoculars feels intuitive.

The body is made from polycarbonate resin reinforced with fibreglass covered in rubber armouring so the binoculars will survive bumps, knocks, and even drops. They’re lightweight and easy to handle, and can be worn comfortably around the neck without feeling any strain.

The only downside is the lens caps which are fitted badly and loose and will not stay in place even when clipped to the neck strap, so watch out that you don’t lose them.

A fabulous pair of binoculars for anyone passionate about watching birds and wildlife.

3. Celestron 71333 10x 42 DX Nature Binoculars

A brilliant pair of binoculars from Celestron designed with the wildlife and nature lover in mind. They are consistently ranked among the best bird watching binoculars year after year and it’s easy to see why. They are excellent value for money with remarkable image quality for the price.

The binoculars have fully multi-coated lenses which provide high levels of light transmission for crisp, clear images. The eyecups twist up easily to help you find the right positioning for your eyes and are ideal for anyone who wears glasses.

As expected for binoculars designed for outdoor use, they’re fully nitrogen-filled which means you can use them in fog, mist, rain, humidity, or any damp weather conditions. They’ll even survive a dunk in a puddle, and the rubber armouring means they you don’t need to worry about dropping them.

If you want to use them for long periods of time at a fixed spot you can use an adaptor to mount them to a monopod or tripod.

Celestron have clearly concentrated on the optics as the quality of the accessories the binoculars come with including a carrying case, neck strap, rain guard and lens caps are fairly basic.

A great pair of budget binoculars that you can take bird watching anywhere.

4. Barr & Stroud Savannah 8x42 Binoculars

The Barr & Stround brand comes with a great heritage, playing a leading role in developing modern optics and supplying both the Royal Navy and other branches of the Armed Forces in the 20th century. Despite this these Barr and Stroud binoculars are currently made in China and apart from the name have little connection to the original engineering firm.

Having said that these binoculars are excellent value for money. The wide angle and powerful magnification give clear, sharp images with little blur. The central focussing wheel is smooth and simple to use, and soft eye covers with metal twist up eye cups means you can use them while wearing glasses.

Designed for outdoor use the rubber armouring will prevent them from getting damaged in the event of a knock and the included carry case has a semi-solid construction to help protect them. They’re nitrogen filled so won’t fog up in adverse weather conditions.

Dimensions are pretty similar for full size roof-prism binoculars, although at 819 g they’re a little on the heavy side so they may cause some neck strain if worn for long periods of time.

A good, solid pair of binoculars that will last for years to come.

5. RSPB HDX 8x 42 Binoculars

Although they’re are on the expensive side, if you’re looking for high-quality optics with great staying power, then these binoculars from the RSPB are as good as any that the premium brands have to offer.

With a wide field of view the images are bright and sharp even in dull light conditions. There is no obvious chromatic aberration – where one colour is out of focus compared to another – which is sometimes a problem with mid-range binoculars. Colours are rich with great contrast.

They are incredibly lightweight, and the small bridge means they can be held in one hand. The central focussing wheel is simple to operate, and the rubber coated eyecups can be adjusted to 3 positions.

The binoculars are dry-filled with nitrogen gas so are fully waterproof and fog proof. They’ve been tested to a depth of 1 m for 5 mins, so should be ok if you were to drop them in a puddle or a stream. They also have a water and dirt repellent coating on the lenses which makes cleaning simple.

For serious bird watchers these binoculars are well worth considering if you’re looking for high performance at a low cost.

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