Choosing the Best Hunting Binoculars (UK) 17

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Every type of hunting requires the use of good binoculars. Some would say that they are just as essential as a hunter’s gun. As a hunter, you need binoculars to observe your surroundings and get up close to potential targets. This can include things such as determining species, their specific sex, assessing the range or simply getting a closer view of your target. The following guide explains how to choose the best binoculars for hunting. We’ve also short-listed our Top 3 Hunting Binoculars for 2018.

hunting binoculars image

 

Magnification and the FOV

Most hunters and binocular users in general already know that a higher magnification does not always mean a great buy. A larger magnification makes it harder to stabilise the image. When holding high magnification binoculars, even the slightest movement will result in a shaky image. Also, a larger magnification means that your field of view (FOV) is going to be much narrower.

A smaller FOV means that you will have a harder time scouting the wildlife in front of you, especially the ones that are fast. A wide field of view, on the other hand, will give you the ability to scout out larger amounts of ground.

The best magnification should take into consideration the terrain that you hunt in the most. If you like to hunt in the woods, then choose a pair of binoculars that has a lower magnification. This will allow you to achieve a significantly wider FOV, regardless of the brand or model you choose. 8x magnification would be ideal in this case.

If you often hunt in wide-open spaces or observe from longer distances, then you can opt for higher magnification. This will allow you to spot your target from further and in more detail. 10x magnification is a very popular choice in this case. The majority of hunters find that either 8x or 10x magnification best suits their needs.

The Best Lens Size

Some of the best hunting times are during early morning hours or late in the evening. So your binoculars need to be able to gather enough light and make the image as bright as possible.

Basically, with larger lenses, the binoculars will be able to gather more lighting in darker settings. Obviously, there will be other elements such as how well the lenses are crafted; the lenses coatings and the prisms that will determine how well the binoculars can transfer light to your eyes.

The downside to having larger lenses is that they are heavier and more expensive. So, you have to determine whether or not you want large, medium or small lenses, based on your personal preference.

A majority of standard size binoculars will possess an objective lens diameter of 42mm. The smaller sizes will usually have diameters in the range of 20mm to 32mm. Overall, from our experience, 42mm binoculars are by far the favourite choice for most hunters. 8×42 or 10×42 binoculars in specific. These specs represent a great balance between good magnification, good light intake and yet easy to handle binoculars.

Boar hunting binoculars

Waterproof and Fog-Proof Binoculars

When you are out in the bush for any duration, you will encounter all types of different weather conditions. This means that you should ideally opt for binoculars that are waterproof and fog-proof. Sealed binoculars will keep out moisture, dust and other foreign objects. Also, fog-proof binoculars contain argon or nitrogen gas to prevent inside fogging that can result from fluctuating temperatures. Try to purchase binoculars with rubber armour. These will provide a better grip and good protection for those times that you might drop them.

 

Our Top 3 Hunting Binoculars for 2018

Here at Procular, we stock over 400 different hunting binoculars. We are also passionate about testing, studying and reviewing every single one of them! Below is a list of our top pick binoculars for hunting:

** Note: All 5 binoculars recommended below are suitable for eyeglasses users **

 

Avalon 10×42 PRO HD Binoculars

Current Price: £149 (Limited time offer)

Avalon 10x42 PRO HD Binoculars

These are Avalon’s best hunting binoculars yet offer excellent value for money. The Avalon 10×42 PRO HD Binoculars are available for £149, which puts them in the lower range when it comes to pricing. Considering that they are manufactured with excellent optical features they are a very smart choice in terms of both price and quality.

These roof prism binoculars have all the great features to maximise your hunting experience including a wide field of view, very lightweight (550g), fully multicoated lenses, waterproofing and a long eye relief. Their rubber armouring provides a secure and comfortable grip, as well as added shock-resistance.

All in all, if you want to get an affordable pair of great quality binoculars, that work well for hunting, then the Avalon 10×42 PRO HD binoculars are the best choice.

 

Nikon PROSTAFF 10×42 Binoculars

Current Price: £279

Nikon PROSTAFF 10x42

Our #1 pick for mid-priced hunting binoculars. These are also our best selling model for hunting. They’ve been around for a while and are well known and appreciated by hunters worldwide. If you are looking for durable yet lightweight, top-notch binoculars with true low light performance then you will surely appreciate these ones.

The Nikon PROSTAFF 8×42 and 10×42 are made with prime glass and feature sharp images and vivid colours. Flawless performance at nearly dark or very poor light conditions. Their compact design is made with lightweight polycarbonate resin weighing only 650g. They are 100% Waterproof/Fog-proof/Shockproof and offer a wide 6.2° angle of view which is remarkable for their 10x power.

Another good feature of the Nikon Prostaff 10×42 is their close focusing distance. You can focus on subjects less than 4 meters away. The focus wheel works smoothly and is easy to use even with gloves on. They have a long eye relief which makes them suited for viewing with or without glasses (or sunglasses). The razor sharp image of these hunting binoculars will allow you to see your target in more detail.

Nikon Prostaff binoculars were specifically made for hunters and built to last you a lifetime. They feature broadband anti-reflective coatings that result in maximal brightness and resolution, true to life colour fidelity and exceptional contrast. Overall, these are one of the best binoculars you can own for hunting, especially in low light conditions.

And the price tag? £279. A very reasonable price by Nikon for their highest end hunting binocular. Actually quite a bargain compared to European brands such as Zeiss, Swarovski or Leica.

 

The Best Hunting Binoculars Money Can Buy

We often receive customer requests and emails asking which are the “world’s best hunting binoculars”. Although there is no definitive answer, we at Procular like to believe it is the Carl Zeiss binoculars. German manufacturer Zeiss is a world leader in high-end optics. Any binocular by Zeiss will produce crystal clear, razor sharp images with a remarkable 90% to over 95% light intake. Zeiss binoculars were designed for the professional hunter and are second to none in low light performance. They feature a beautiful minimalistic design yet are extremely durable. In terms of optical quality they are in many opinions the world’s best binoculars.

Zeiss Terra ED 10x42 Binoculars

As you can imagine, Zeiss binoculars don’t come cheap! The more affordable Zeiss hunting binocular would be the Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 at £539 which features excellent optical performance. These are world class, award winning binoculars well suited for the most demanding hunter.

The highest-end model by Zeiss is the Zeiss Victory SF 10×42 priced over £2,000.

 
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17 Comments

  1. I am looking for a small lite binocular that will fit in my top pocket that i can use inside the bush for hunting it’s quite often wet and vision is 200m at the most usually a lot less i have 10×42 Bushnell Elite binos for the open stuff to cumbersome for in your face hunting what do you recommend I’m off for the roar on the 1st April

    1. Hi John,

      We can recommend either the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD binoculars or the even more compact Zeiss Terra ED 8×25 binoculars. Both offer an excellent quality image, good power, wide field of view and are 100% waterproof and fog-proof. So it mainly depends on the size you can carry/store in your top pocket. The Zeiss are much more compact, pocket size actually. The Avalon 8×32 are slightly larger. They won’t fit in (pants) pocket but will fit in a small backpack pocket.

      Below are links to both models. If you scroll down these pages there are several photos and videos which show the product’s real life size to help with your decision:

      Zeiss 8×25 Terra ED Binoculars: https://procular.co.uk/zeiss-terra-ed-8×25-compact-binoculars/
      Avalon 8×32 Mini HD Binoculars: https://procular.co.uk/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  2. I need binoculars to see potential historic sites/discoveries from about 1-2km away in rough country in South Spain. Anti fog and tough usage.

    Low light is less important but not too heavy and dust resistant is. With simple operation and I am a glasses wearer.

    My budget is up to 300.

    1. Hi Andrew,

      Have a look at the Avalon 10×42 PRO HD binoculars, they fit all your requirements and are good for use either with or without glasses. They offer an outstanding image quality as well as anti-fog, great durability and light weight. details below: https://procular.co.uk/avalon-10×42-pro-hd-binoculars-black/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  3. Hi there,
    I have seen your guide to hunting binoculars. I have found this very useful, but to be honest I still don’t know which way to turn. I at first wanted a pair of ‘binos’ to see what was about from the farm. I thought around £150.
    Since looking into it I thought I would likes pair that is good in dusk/dawn conditions to spot foxes in the sheep field. When I am doing my checks I have used a pair of Swarovski which are very good,but there not mine and I want a pair of my own but I can’t afford that expense!! Could you recommend a pair that are good For light, wide field of view, and have a good range of distance 500yds). My budget is anything up to £450ish
    Kind regards
    Naomi

    1. Hi Naomi,

      Thank you for your email. We can certainly help with picking good binoculars for your use.

      As you correctly stated to be able to see clearly in dusk/dawn and spot foxes from 500 yards you will need good low-light performance, i.e. optics with good brightness. You should avoid any compact models, these binoculars are good for travelling but useless for seeing in low light. The ideal specs in your case would be 8×42. 8x is a goof magnification that will allow you to see the subjects from 500 yards easily but also not suffer from image shakiness.

      The 42mm lenses (full size) allow you to have a brighter image as these lenses take in more light. The last part is the optical quality. This is of course related to model and price. Within your price range the best model we can recommend is the Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 Binoculars. They feature excellent brightness, they are very easy to use, focus and stabilise. They are also 100% waterproof and fog-proof. Optics wise, Zeiss makes some of the world’s best binoculars and this model is no different. They will not be AS sharp as your £2,000 Swarovski’s but for just over £400 we believe they are fantastic value and of outstanding quality. You can read more about the Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 Binoculars here:

      https://procular.co.uk/carl-zeiss-terra-ed-8×42-binoculars/

      (if you scroll down that page there are tabs showing specs, video, reviews etc.).

      Adam Murray Procular
  4. Hi wonder if you could give me some advice my husband is a shepherd and I am looking to buy him a good pair of binoculars to see sheep far of in very rough mountain terrain they must be waterproof and lightweight any ideas to what would suit him thanks

    Kirsty Cameron
    1. Hi Kirsty,

      As your husband will be looking from quite a long distance, but also needs lightweight binoculars, waterproof and good clarity we recommend a medium to high end model of 10×42 binoculars. These specs will provide enough power to see the sheep in the distance while still remain easy to carry, handle and stabilise handheld. We have several models of 10×42 binoculars that will perform well with the best of them reviewed in the post above. As a good all-around choice we personally like the Nikon Prostaff 10×42 binoculars below:

      https://procular.co.uk/nikon-prostaff-7-10×42-binoculars/

      They are an exceptional value all-around performer and will fit the use you are describing. They have an excellent image quality, 100% water proof, fog-proof and shockproof. They are mid-sized binoculars which is ideal and weigh 665 grams which is very light for their size. Within the high-end range of binoculars we can recommend the Vortex Viper HD 10×42 reviewed in the post above. They have all the features of the Nikon binoculars but with an even brighter and sharper image, especially in low light conditions such as fog, rain or dusk. Being professional hunting glasses they are also extremely durable and reliable. We hope this helps.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  5. Do you have self adjusting. My husband needs them for hunting etc

    1. Hi Joan,

      Yes, we have the Bushnell PermaFocus binoculars which are self adjusting and also excellent quality binoculars. You can view the full range of these binoculars below: https://procular.co.uk/?s=PermaFocus&post_type=product

      For hunting, we can recommend the Bushnell PermaFocus 10×42 Roof model. These are lighter, easier to handle and take to the field than the bulkier 10×50 or 12×50 models. They are also the most popular ones. Details below: https://procular.co.uk/bushnell-10×42-permafocus/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  6. Half decent compact for every day no specific purpose price approx 40/60 pounds

    1. Hi John,

      You can have a look at the Discovery 8×21 – very compact binoculars but with good optical quality. Details below:

      https://procular.co.uk/discovery-8×21-pocket-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  7. An elderly neighbour has asked my advice about buying binoculars as his son will buy him some as a present, “money no object” but I don’t think he knows how much they could cost! He will use them for looking at ships from his flat’s balcony on the coast. He won’t need close focus so I am thinking in terms of long distance hunting binoculars, possibly a pair of 12*50 Bushnell XLT’s. All suggestions welcome.

    Many thanks

    Tom

    1. Hi Tom,

      If your neighbour will use the binoculars to view ships at the distance he might be better off with more magnification than 12x. Preferably 16x to 20x. Hunting binoculars will normally have only 8x to 10x power as hunters can’t shoot from a 2 miles (or 4 miles) range. They will always prefer LESS power but a wider field of view to follow moving targets and to achieve better brightness at low light, dusk or twilight. We suggest having a look at our other blog post on choosing high power binoculars: https://procular.co.uk/choosing-high-powered-binoculars/ If he want good image quality and not overly expensive then we really like the Nikon Aculon 16×50 binoculars. Details below: https://procular.co.uk/nikon-aculon-16×50-cf-binoculars/ They have excellent Nikon BAK-4 prisms and are easy enough to achieve a stable image even with the 16x magnification.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  8. I own the Zeiss Victory HT 10×42 and the Swarovski EL 8×32 SV. As far as a hunting binocular is concerned the Zeiss Victory HT 8×42 would be a better choice for hunting because the low light performance is greater due to the larger exit pupil. I prefer 8x to 10x mainly for this reason and also I’ve never seen an animal with my 10x that I couldn’t have seen with an 8x. For everyday use I prefer the much smaller Swarovski EL 8×32 SV because of the handling and weight. However, If I could choose one binocular for everything with the main emphasis for hunting and low light performance, it would be the Zeiss Victory HT 8×42. I’m going to sell my HT 10×42 and buy the HT 8×42.

  9. I have Zeiss 10*30B MC binocs, and would like to get a 10*42 pair of Zeiss (or Swarowski).
    Could someone tell me why I should pay £2000 for Swarowski, or £1500 for the Zeiss Victory?
    What is wrong with the Terra ED 10*42??

    1. Hi Richard, your question is a very good one.

      We would like to share our thoughts about binocular pricing and in particular the high-end ones. Firstly as you probably already know there are several high-end binocular manufacturers on the market with the industry leaders being the European brands Carl Zeiss, Swarovski and Leica (which is even more overpriced!!). In general the cheapest ones you can get are Porro Prism binoculars with different types of lenses and lens coating. This type of binoculars will cost you between £30 to £100 depending on the brand and model. Roof Prism binoculars, having straight tubes rather than “curved, angled” tubes will be pricier and offer a more compact design and in general better optics. These are nearly always waterproof / fogproof and sometimes shock-proof.

      Now, good 10×42 roof prism binoculars will generally cost between £200 to £1,500. Every optics manufacturer will offer a few lines and price them accordingly. For example Bushnell will have the cheaper Powerview line, then the Legend HD line and then the Elite HD line. Vortex has Diamondback, Viper, Razor HD. Swarovski have theirs and Zeiss as you know have Terra ED, Conquest HD, Victory FL and now Victory HT. The reason why Zeiss/Swarovski are significantly more expensive is more about light intake than product design, weight, field of view or waterproofing. Because the lower range roof prism binos all have waterproofing and many of them have a wide field of view and a compact lightweight design. So the big cash is charged for extra light gathering capability. With Zeiss being leaders in this department reaching over 95% light intake and specialising in hunting/birding binoculars.

      The Terra ED is Zeiss’s newest release (we started selling them late 2013 if i can recall). Terra ED is an interesting one. They look, feel and work exactly like the Zeiss Conquest HD which are double in price! The Terra ED are designed by Zeiss in Germany but are manufactured in China. And here is the reason why Zeiss could offer them cheaper. A-lot of people would shy away from them simply because of that. But as most of today’s products are made in China this is not always a rational decision.

      In theory they are on the “lower-end” line and that is why they are priced around £400 compared to the Victory HT at nearly £1,500. In real life they are fantastic 10×42 binoculars, light, durable and have all the great features as the other Zeiss models. Beautiful image quality like you would expect from Zeiss. We have personal experience with the Zeiss Terra 10×42 because one of our staff members owns a pair and uses it daily. Compared to the Victory – the Victory do excel in low light – this is true. So looking through the Victory, and particularly the Victory HT 10×42 you will notice a brighter image. The rest, such as product design, waterproof, durability, field of view, weight and ease of adjustments (focus) are very very similar. So are the Victory worth the extra price compared to the Terra ED? It is a personal choice and depends on how much you can afford to invest in high-end binoculars and how much you will use the binoculars in low light.

      Adam Murray, ProcularMurray, Procular

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