Best Binoculars for Bird Watching (UK) 51

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Are you looking for binoculars that are specifically designed for bird watching? The following guide talks about what to look for when picking out a pair of binoculars and some of the features that top-notch bird watching binoculars have. We’ve also included our Top 5 Bird Watching Binoculars for 2018. (Note that these selected models are also suitable for wildlife and nature viewing, travel or general use).

Bird watching

 

What Do the Numbers Mean?

Binoculars are always represented by two numbers. The first number is the magnification, also referred to as the power or zoom, and the second number is the lens size. 10×42 binoculars, for example, means 10x magnification and 42mm lenses.

The Ideal Magnification for Birding Binoculars

Any pair of binoculars that you buy should have a powerful zoom feature, after all, you want to get close to the subject to get a better view. This is the number one reason for buying a pair of binoculars. As a result, a majority of people makes the assumption that they should purchase binoculars that have the highest magnification.

Big Does Not Make it the Best

There are many reasons why powerful binoculars are not always the best ones, especially not for bird watching. The following are just a few:

  • The field of view (FOV) is not as wide
  • The depth is not as focused
  • The image is not as bright
  • The slightest amount of movement makes it hard to steady the binoculars

To have a steady view using high magnification binoculars (generally above 10x), you will need to use a tripod. If you want to use the same pair of binoculars each time that you go out bird watching, then the 8x or 10x magnification is considered to be the best option for the following reasons:

Wider field of view: If a bird is in a tree, it would be easier to put your binoculars to your eyes and quickly see it. With a wider field of view, it won’t be as hard to focus. Basically, you won’t have to spend wasted time searching for the bird. Obviously, many subjects are not going to remain still and wait to be observed. Using a slightly lower magnification means that you will have a much wider field of view. This is why bird watchers opt for magnification in the range of 8x to 10x.

The image will have better stabilisation: When it comes to handheld binoculars, having powerful magnification is not always a benefit. A 12x or 16x magnified image will shake significantly more than a 10x magnified image.

Eye Relief: The relief is the amount of distance between your eye and the eyepiece when you can still see your subject. You will find more 8x or 10x binoculars that have a good amount of relief and can be used with glasses. The binoculars will be easier to use if you wear eyeglasses. Your eyes will not need to be as close to the eyepiece.

Bird watching image

All in all, 8x binoculars can be used with most kinds of terrains and many different environments. This applies to both heavily wooded areas as well as wide-open spaces. When using a pair of binoculars with a lower magnification, your images will come out brighter. You will have a wider field of view, which means that you can follow around birds that like to move fast and the ones that are off in the distance.

When you are using a slightly higher magnification, such as with 10x binoculars, you will be able to take in more details. This is very practical when you want to look at different types of wildlife. Slower moving birds will usually be in an open environment, which will not be hard to see even when your binoculars have a narrower field of view.

If you are using binoculars that have extremely high magnification such as 16x or more, you will need a tripod to help you gain a steady image. Also, do not buy the inexpensive binoculars that have a high magnification – they are significantly inferior in image quality, clarity and durability. Cheap, high magnification binoculars often produce distorted images.

For most people and their particular outings, the 8×42 or 10×42 binoculars are the best ones for bird watching as well as for general use.

The Field of View / Angle of View

The width of whatever you can see whenever you look through the binoculars is called the field of view, or FOV. As stated before, a wide FOV is essential and preferred by a majority of bird watchers and available with most binoculars made for bird watchers. Basically, binoculars with a lower magnification will have a wider field of view and vice versa. If the FOV is too wide, this will somewhat distort the borders of the images. This is usually the case when you buy cheaper binoculars.

So, it is recommended that you get a pair of binoculars that have a good amount of magnification. When you are trying to decide which pair of binoculars to get and magnification is not an issue, always go with the ones that have a wider FOV.

Bird watchers

Size and Weight of Bird Watching Binoculars

When it comes to binoculars, you must also pay attention to the size and weight. As can be expected, this might play an essential part in many different instances. But, this will basically depend on what you like to do as a bird watcher. The lens size (also referred to as the objective lens size) is actually much more important than the weight and size of the binoculars.

Small Binoculars

A lot of small binoculars have lenses that are in the range of 20mm to 28mm. Obviously, it will be easier to carry around a lighter pair of binoculars than heavier ones. Also, being compact binoculars, you might take them along more often and come across more bird watching opportunities. Small binoculars are also wonderful for those times when you are travelling because they are portable and can easily be chucked into a bag or a suitcase at a moment’s notice.

However, one of the bad things about smaller binoculars is that they have smaller lenses and are not able to get as much light in as the bigger ones. This means that the images will not be as beautiful and bright as the ones that you can obtain with large lens binoculars. Unfortunately, this situation is even worse in low light conditions.

Standard Size Binoculars

Most standard sized binoculars have lenses that are 40mm or 42mm. These are the most popular choice by bird watchers. Some people still use full sized 50mm binoculars; they are willing to overlook the fact that their chosen binoculars are heavy if those binoculars provide benefits such as a brighter image or a wider view.

Birding binoculars

Eye Relief and Using Binoculars with Eyeglasses

If you are a regular eyeglass wearer and need to wear them when out bird watching, then the eye relief is going to be a very important feature to you. Simply put, it is the distance your eyes can be apart from the eyepiece and still allow you to see a focused image. For anyone who wears eyeglasses, the most suitable pair of binoculars would be those that have a longer eye relief.

So, if you are an eyeglass wearer, always try to get an eye relief that is a minimum of 15mm to see the entire image. On the flip side, understand that a longer eye relief is going to reduce your field of view.

A lot of people want to know if wearing your glasses is a necessity when using binoculars. If you use your glasses for near-to-far or far-to-near vision impairment (near sighted or far sighted), then it is possible to use binoculars without having to wear your glasses. The binoculars will already enhance and magnify the image, eliminating the need for glasses.

However, if you have astigmatism, then you must wear your glasses. The binoculars will not adjust your vision. The bird watching binoculars recommended at the end of this guide are suitable for use either with or without eyeglasses. They all have a long enough eye relief as well as twist down eyecups. These allow you to adjust the binoculars for use with glasses on.

Fog and Waterproofing

A decent pair of binoculars will be okay to use in light rain and humidity. However, you really should think about getting a good pair of waterproofed binoculars, even if you are not the type who likes to look at your subjects while out in the rain. Make sure that your binocular choice is not only waterproofed but also fog proof. If the binoculars have been sealed with O-rings, then they will be moisture proof.

Not only will this seal stop moisture from getting inside, but it will also deter dust and other debris from getting onto the lens and messing up your vision. Also, try to get binoculars that are either Nitrogen or Argon purged. This simply means that the inside air has been substituted with dry gas and will not fog up on the inside. Proper waterproofing will protect your binoculars from corrosion.

Birding binoculars image

Anti-Reflective Lens Protection

A majority of binoculars are available with an anti-reflective lens coating. This helps to transmit light. Anti-reflective coatings can help enhance the amount of brightness that an image has. For instance, binoculars that have small lenses but good anti-reflection coatings can sometimes have a nicer image than large lens binoculars that don’t have as many coatings.

So, watch out for low-quality optics by listening to what the vendor says about its product. The definition of “coated” might mean one layer of anti-reflection protection per some vendors. This is usually just the top and bottom elements or the things that can be seen. The definition of “fully coated” is that all of the air on the glass surface has an anti-reflection coating. This is a good thing. The definition of “multi coated” is that some of the surfaces, normally the bottom and top one have a lot of layers of the coating.

A multilayer coating does a good job of reducing reflected light that cannot be eliminated with just one coating. It also transmits more light. Quite naturally, more than one layer will provide more protection than one. The definition of “fully multicoated” is that the air to the glass surfaces has more than one anti-reflection coating, which is very beneficial when it comes to binoculars.

 

Our Top 5 Bird Watching Binoculars for 2018

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

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

 

Bresser 8X40 Hunter Binoculars

Current Price: £89

Bresser 8x40 Binoculars

The Bresser 8X40 Hunter Binoculars are available for £89, which puts them in the low range when it comes to pricing. Manufactured with excellent level optics, they are a very good choice regarding both price and quality.

These binoculars have all the great features to maximise your bird watching experience including a very wide field of view (8.2 degrees), good weight (740g / 1.6 Pounds), fully multicoated lenses and folding rubber eyecups for complete eye comfort, with or without eyeglasses. Their armouring provides a secure and comfortable grip, as well as added resistance.

When it comes to bad features, there aren’t too many considering that they have so many good features. But, if you really had to be picky and name a bad feature, you would probably want them to have a better carrying case and perhaps a wider carrying strap. However, these are very minor details.

All in all, if you want to get an affordable pair of high-quality binoculars, that are wonderful for bird watching and observing wildlife, then the Bresser 8X40 Binoculars are a great choice.

 

Avalon 8X32 Mini HD Binoculars

Current Price: £119

Avalon 8x32 Mini HD Binoculars

If you like to travel light but still want to enjoy beautiful, sharp images while bird watching then we highly recommend the Avalon 8X32 Mini HD Binoculars. They are slightly larger than your average pocket size binoculars but much smaller than any standard size binoculars. We believe they are a perfect balance between small size (32mm lenses), lightweight (416 grams) and excellent quality optics. They fit in a jacket pocket, glove compartment or a small backpack pocket.

This model combines Avalon’s HD lenses, compact easy to use design and a wide field of view (6.9 degrees) to spot and follow moving birds or wildlife. Just to top things up, the Avalon 8X32 Mini HD binoculars are also 100% waterproof and fog proof. They currently sell for only £119, which is a bargain for a product at this level. Available in BLACK or PLATINUM colour.

 

Avalon 10×42 PRO HD Binoculars

Current Price: £149

Avalon 10x42 PRO HD Binoculars

The Avalon 10×42 PRO HD are the world’s lightest professional level binoculars. They are not strictly bird watching binoculars but more of an all-around performer, suitable for any kind of wildlife exploration, site seeing or travel.

They combine good power (10x) with a wide field of view (5.4 degrees). These modern looking roof-prism binoculars are lightweight (550g), very durable and produce a beautiful image in nearly any setting. Their lenses are fully multicoated. This popular model by Avalon Optics is 100% waterproof, fog-proof and can easily handle rough weather.

The Avalon 10×42 PRO HD binoculars would be an ideal choice for someone looking for the best mid-priced bird watching or general use binoculars. With a solid image quality and attractive design, they can serve as the perfect gift for any nature lover. Available in BLACK or PLATINUM colour.

 

Nikon Prostaff 8×42 and Nikon Prostaff 10×42 Binoculars

Current Price: £279

Nikon Prostaff 10x42 Binoculars

The Nikon Prostaff binoculars feature wonderful optics, fully multilayer coated lenses and are very affordable considering they are built with Nikon’s highest quality optics. These are perhaps the main reasons why this particular binocular is so popular.

The Nikon Prostaff 10×42 and Nikon Prostaff 8×42 binoculars are also 100% waterproof and shockproof. Simply put they combine a unique, comfortable design with superior image quality. As a result, this pair is one of our best sellers and is the number one seller in its class.

The Nikon Prostaff 10×42 are lightweight, offer a wide field of view, waterproof, fog-proof, highly durable and provide a clear, bright image even in very low light conditions. With beautiful colour reproduction, these binoculars by Nikon are a fantastic choice for bird watching or any type of nature observation. This is an all-around good pair of binoculars for a very good price.

 

Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 Binoculars

Current Price: £499

Zeiss Terra ED 8x42 Binoculars

If we had to pick one mighty binocular without taking a second mortgage then these would be the ones!

The latest and greatest from high-end optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss. Unlike previous models of Zeiss binoculars such as the Zeiss Victory HT and the popular Zeiss Conquest HD, this particular model is actually quite affordable. Zeiss certainly didn’t compromised on optical quality here. Featuring their fully multicoated ED glass these binoculars practically produce crystal clear images every time. In our opinion just as beautiful and bright as their more expensive Zeiss Conquest versions.

Looking at the specs of the Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 Binoculars you will notice the immersive 7.1 degrees wide viewing angle for easily spotting and following moving birds and wildlife while still enjoying the 8x magnification. Excellent 18mm eye relief for optimal use with glasses/sunglasses, roof prism design for carrying and handling the binoculars single handed, easy central focus mechanism, solid durability, 100% waterproof and fog-proof and many other great features.

But what you will notice the most when looking through these binoculars is their superior image brightness and optical quality. An optical quality that can only be found in high-end European binoculars such as these. The Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 are excellent for many different uses but are specifically great for bird watchers. They are suitable from close-range (5 foot) up to long range maintaining exceptionally high quality crystal-clear images.

At 720 grams, they are reletivly lightweight and easy to handle. Everything about this product, including the build, focusing, stability and image quality, is simply flawless – as you would expect from the German manufacturer Carl Zeiss. Basically, the Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 is an ideal pair of binoculars for birding and nearly any other application.

Also available at this range are the Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 for those who prefer a little extra magnification.

 
[ Show me all the bird watching binoculars ]

51 Comments

  1. I have a pair of binoculars but they are no good for close up views eg birds on my garden feeder.
    What would be the best combination?
    I really like your site by the way – very clear explanations.
    Thank you
    Lynda

    1. Hi Lynda,

      This is a common issue with many binoculars. Binoculars are designed for longer distances and often fail to focus from very close range. But there are some models on the market which focus from 3-4 meters (10 ft) and even as close as 2 meters (5-6 ft). When looking at a binoculars product page on Procular, if you scroll down the page, click on the tab “Specification” to see the technical specification for the product, including “Closest Focusing Distance”. Overall 3-4 meters is very good while some high-end models can even focus from closer. The Avalon 8×32 and 10×42 binoculars reviewed above can focus from as close as 3-4 meters. The Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 or 10×42 binoculars can focus from as close as 1.6 m (5.2′). Note that these models work just as good from longer distances, birdwatching or any other type of viewing.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  2. I have a pair of 10×40 binoculars but find that I cannot see details of birds such as leg or beak colour. I am looking at higher powers i.e.12+ but should I look at just better optics? A problem is that my viewing point is south of the birds so I am looking into the sun and the bird is shadowed.

    1. Hi Bill,

      Great question. We know exactly what you mean. As you mentioned, the best way to go around this is to test if the issue is the lower magnification or the quality of the optics.

      If you can see the bird’s leg or beak in your field of view at a good size, but blurry, then you can just opt for better optics. If the bird’s head for example is visible and takes let’s say 20-30% of your image then all you need is to achieve a sharper image by using 10×42 binoculars with high-end optics – ED lenses to be exact.

      If the bird’s head seems very small, i.e. 5-10% of your image, then you can opt for 16×50 binoculars. These are larger and bulkier but do magnify better. They are also harder to hold still depending on how stable your hands are. Please note that 12x magnification binoculars won’t show any noticeable difference from your current 10×40 pair.

      Regarding specific models, we like the Avalon 10×42 Titan ED which offer VERY sharp images as well as a nice wide view. They are a hidden gem, as they provide outstanding value for quality high-end ED binoculars compared to any other model on the larger (Zeiss, Swarovski etc.). We will be adding them to our review above. You can read more about the Avalon 10×42 Titan ED binoculars here:

      https://procular.co.uk/avalon-10×42-titan-ed-binoculars/

      Again, if you can see the bird’s head or leg in good size but blurry then these will do the trick! Otherwise, if you like to try high magnification binoculars (less ideal for birding) then we like the Nikon Aculon 16×50 binoculars below:

      https://procular.co.uk/nikon-aculon-16×50-cf-binoculars/

      We hope this helps.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  3. About 20 years ago I treated myself to a pair of Zeiss Night Owls, 10×56. Obviously they weren’t cheap but the clarity and depth of field are great. The only disadvantage is their weight and I don’t know what I would replace them with. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Mike,

      We know what you mean. The 56mm objective lenses of the Zeiss 10×56 do allow for increased brightness but on the downside all that glass makes for very bulky heavy binoculars. Most of our bird watching customers opt for either 8×42 or 10×42 i.e. 42mm lenses. You will find that the image is just as nice and sharp while the binoculars remain light and portable. You can refer to the guide above for some ideas regarding the best 8×42/10×42 models currently recommended. The Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 for example are an excellent choice for birding and not overly expensive. Details below: https://procular.co.uk/zeiss-terra-ed-10×42-binoculars/ alternatively if you want an even smaller pair then we love the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD binoculars below: https://procular.co.uk/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  4. Hello… my problem is weight. I have elderly wrists – like the rest of me! – and looking for low weight low priced bins to use birdwatching in very small garden, 12/20 paces (say yards). I won’t be doing any serious birdwatching but would like to carry with me in bag or car for any ad-hoc opportunities. I also wear varifocal specs. Any ideas please?

    1. Hi SB,

      Have a look at the Bushnell 10×25 H2O binoculars. They are very compact and lightweight (fit in in a handbag). They should be good enough for garden birdwatching and for using on the go. Details below: https://procular.co.uk/bushnell-10×25-h2o-compact-binocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  5. Hi we are going to Costa Rica later this year and I want to get a pair of binoculars for my husband. We will be going out into the jungle and want to use them for bird watching at home. Can you advise which is the better for these uses the 8 x 42 or 10 x 42 please

    1. Hi Gill,

      Both 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars work great for bird watching as well as for travel and general use. They are a good size, not too bulky, but still offer superb images if you choose the right ones (i.e. from a good brand and with good optics). Most bird watchers opt for 8×42 to be honest. There is not a HUGE difference but the 8x magnification allows for a wider field of view which is beneficial for locating and following birds better. If you will be viewing around Costa Rica’s jungles, where there are more tress and less light around, you will certainly benefit from 8×42 as the images are brighter.

      We can recommend the Nikon Prostaff 8×42 which are excellent quality and 100% waterproof & fog-proof. They also have good low light performance and are very suitable for use with or without glasses (long eye relief + twist down eyecups for use with glasses on). You can read more about them, including a video, customer reviews and specs here:

      https://procular.co.uk/nikon-prostaff-7-8×42-binoculars/

      Alternatively, if you need a more compact model, we can recommend the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD binoculars. These are smaller so easier to carry around + they have the same power and a wide field of view similar to the Nikon’s. They are fantastic value for money as the optics are very sharp and clear. The only downfall with these is that the image is less bright in low light conditions due to the smaller lenses. But it comes pretty close to the 8×42’s though. Details, video and reviews below:

      https://procular.co.uk/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  6. Hi

    Thank you very much for your reply. Would your recommendations change at all for 8×42 specifically?

    1. There is not that much of a difference between 8×42 and 10×42. 10×42 binoculars have a-bit more power so are better for general use (not only birding) where you want to look from greater distances. For the sole purpose of birdwatching 8×42 can work better if you are looking up close or need a slightly wider field of view. But all this also depends on make and model. Some 10×42’s are extremely similar to their 8×42 versions while others not. With Avalon binoculars for example, 10×42 and 8×32 both work very well for birdwatching and general use. The 8×32 version is a very interesting one as it has a nice wide view, very sharp images and still a compact size product. The 10×42 is a-bit brighter and with a little more power – so it depends what matters to you most. Portability vs. extra brightness.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  7. Hi

    What birdwatching binoculars would you recommend for a budget of under £150, which, ideally would come with searching lifetime warranty? Close distance focus isn’t so much a consideration. I was considering vortex crossfire 8×42, which overall have good reviews, but the evaluation of their optics isn’t necessarily the greatest.

    1. Hi Victoria,

      Thank you for your message. The best bird watching binoculars we can recommend, under £150, with a lifetime warranty are the Avalon 10×42 PRO HD reviewed in the post above. They are very lightweight for their size (550 grams), have excellent optics and are even waterproof and fog-proof. You can read more about them here:

      https://procular.co.uk/avalon-10×42-pro-hd-binoculars-black/

      Alternatively if you like to travel light, then we also recommend the smaller version Avalon 8×32 Mini HD binoculars. These have a wider field of view and can be used single handed. Details below:

      https://procular.co.uk/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      We don’t have experience with the Vortex Crossfire binoculars unfortunately but their Diamondback and Viper HD versions are quite good (more expensive though).

      Adam Murray, Procular
  8. Good morning,

    In the 1970’s I bought Zeiss 10x40B Dialyts for my late wife and Leitz Trinovids 7 x 42B for myself from Metwood Accessories, long since ceased trading I believe? Recently I’m getting back into birding and I am using the 10 x 40B’s. I know my sight is deteriorating but also wonder if after all these years would these binoculars require a service? The 10 x 40B still seem to function satisfactorily but I was thinking about deterioration of the seals etc.?
    If it was necessary to replace either of these binoculars with similar performance models what would you recommend?

    Gordon Patrick
    1. Hi Gordon,

      We wouldn’t bother servicing the old Zeiss 10x40B Dialyts. Taking apart the seals etc. will probably do more damage than good. Regarding new models, The Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 reviewed in our post above is an excellent option. They have a better, more comfortable design these days, a wider field of view, smoother focus and better optics. Good low light performance too. So overall solid binoculars for birdwatching. You can read more about the Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 binoculars here: https://procular.co.uk/carl-zeiss-terra-ed-8×42-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  9. hi Adam
    I am looking for binoculars on a tripod stand for my living room that would look attractive to watch birds in my fairly large garden. I am a complete novice, can you advise?

    Frances

    frances rollinson
    1. Hi Frances,

      If you are mounting the binoculars on a tripod you can use higher power ones, i.e. higher magnification. But as you will also be looking at birds relatively near (10 to 300 feet), we do not recommend anything more than 10x power. High magnification binoculars are not suitable for close range as they often can’t focus properly from 10-20 feet. We would suggest a good quality pair of 10×42 binoculars with a tripod adapter. The Avalon, Nikon and Zeiss models reviewed is this post are all excellent choices for 10×42 binoculars, depending on how much you can spend. The Zeiss ones are the most “attractive” but not cheap. The Nikon and Avalon are nearly as good! Below are the links to these three 10×42 options (every page has a-lot of info and even a video showcasing the product):

      https://procular.co.uk/avalon-10×42-pro-hd-binoculars-black/
      https://procular.co.uk/nikon-prostaff-7-10×42-binoculars/
      https://procular.co.uk/zeiss-terra-ed-10×42-binoculars/

      You will also need a universal tripod adapter such as the below:

      https://procular.co.uk/universal-binoculars-tripod-mount/

      Regarding a tripod, any photographic tripod will be fine, or if you don’t have one then we have the following tripods on Procular:

      https://procular.co.uk/accessories/tripod-mounts/

      Our favourite tripod would have to be the Avalon Universal PRO Tripod as it has better stability, high quality materials and very smooth operation. Details below:

      https://procular.co.uk/avalon-universal-pro-tripod/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  10. Hi, I’d like a pair of lightweight and easy to take travelling binoculars. I spend a lot of time either in jungles, the savannah or steppe looking for a range of animals large and small. not birds so much! Can you help? I’d like a couple of options if you could, would up to about £150 gt me a decent pair or would I need to look at spending more?

    1. Hi Carlyn,

      As compact lightweight binoculars for seeing the wildlife we can recommend the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD binoculars. They offer excellent durability (waterproof, fog-proof), wide field of view and very nice images. Details below: https://procular.co.uk/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/ within the high end binoculars, if you are an avid user, we like the Zeiss Terra ED 8×25 binoculars below: https://procular.co.uk/zeiss-terra-ed-8×25-compact-binoculars/ — they have better low light performance and outstanding sharp optics.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  11. Hi,
    I’m looking for a pair of binoculars that won’t make me feel dizzy. The only way I can look through my husbands bins are if I am sitting and elbows firmly planted. If we are out and about birding I just can’t risk the dizziness. I am a spectacle wearer. Help please!

    Suzanne Kelly
    1. Hi Suzanne,

      It is very common that high magnification binoculars can make you feel dizzy. This normally results from your eyes trying to stabilise the image. Every small shake of your hands is also magnified by the binoculars which is the reason the image shakes so much. Leaning your elbows on a fixed platform normally solves this issue, or otherwise using a tripod. If you don’t want to experience any of these issues in the first place then we suggest getting either 8x or 10x magnification binoculars – not more than that. These are also the best for birdwatching as explained in the post above. Most people will not find any issue using 10×42 binoculars but in your case, to be on the safe side, we would probably recommend using 8×32. These have enough magnification to see your subjects in details yet do not cause any stabilisation issues. We like the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD for example (https://procular.co.uk/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/). They allow you to use them either with or without glasses. They also have excellent adjustment options to make sure you adjust them to your eye-sight (both right and left eye). We hope this helps.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  12. June 14 2016
    Hi, I have a pair of Leica 8 X 42 which I really like, however I do quite a lot of cycling, & I would like a compact pair which I could just sling around my neck. I am thinking of buying a pair of Avian 10 X 28, or 8 X 28. I would really appreciate your advice on which pair to choose.

    Michael Wiley
    1. Hi Michael,

      Having another, more compact pair of binoculars is always handy. Especially if you like to travel light. We are not personally aware of Avian binoculars so not in a position to give a good or bad review on them. If you are used to very high quality optics such as the Leica have then the best compact model we can recommend would be the Zeiss 8×25 Terra ED Binoculars. These are compact binoculars (309 grams) but still have provide an outstanding image quality and very sharp views. The also have a wide enough field of view for bird watching. Nice design too with a generous eye relief to use with glasses on (a rare feature for compact binoculars!). Details on the Zeiss 8×25 below:

      https://procular.co.uk/zeiss-terra-ed-8×25-compact-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
      1. I have a pair of leica 8×20 and they are the tops. easy put in your top pocket and the field of view is fantastic, powerful, clear and solid. mine are a green color and they will out perform anything in their class.

        Happy hunting.

  13. May 16 2016.

    Hi Adam.

    Thank you for your honest and speedy reply, I will be keeping my Zeiss Terra ED as they are amazing!

  14. May 16, 2016

    Hi Adam

    I have have a pair of Zeiss Terra 8×42 binoculars, I like them a lot but after reading the reviews of the Zeiss Victory sf 10×42, what I have read leads me to believe they would far better then what I have! I would apreshate your views on this and would I really see any difference or would I be just wasting my money?

    1. Hi Norman,

      The Zeiss Victory SF are currently Zeiss’ highest-end model. And yes, they are certainly priced that way. Although we also love and appreciate the Zeiss Terra we must admit that there is a noticeable difference. We like their new open bridge design and better focusing capability (smoother and quicker to achieve focus). But the main strength of the Zeiss Victory models, both the Victory HT and now the Victory SF, is their crystal clear sharp image and their low light performance. Bird watchers that often go out in foggy or rainy conditions appreciate these qualities more. Today, the Zeiss Victory SF are considered to be the BEST around for those who can afford that kind of quality. For the rest of us, the Zeiss Terra ED models are more than enough.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  15. Hi! Wondering if you can help. I’m off to Lundy Island this summer to study Atlantic Puffins and gather data for my dissertation. I’ll be recording how many Puffins are in the area, and locating their nests on the cliff face, looking for the glint of fish and observing their general behaviours so I’m looking for a decent pair of binoculars but don’t know where to start! When I went last year I used the binoculars provided which were 12x, I cannot remember the mm. They were okay, hard to focus especially when trying find a specific site on the cliff face and to follow flying Puffins so I’m thinking 8x or 10x would be better? Also, even though they were “waterproof” the ones I used fogged up badly, even if it was just a little rainy – probably quite an old pair.

    Are there any binoculars out there you can recommend? I am a student so on a budget but I am prepared to spend £100 – to £150 / £200 maximum.

    1. Hi Chloe,

      Even when looking at a distant cliff face you will notice that 8x binoculars will work better than your 12x ones. The lower magnification allows you to spot the Puffins more easily and achieve a nice stable image once you do. Especially if you are viewing for longer periods of time (studying their behaviour). It is also very recommended to get waterproof and fog proof binoculars that were sealed with Nitro gas. This will prevent the fogging you were experiencing. At your price range we recommend the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD binoculars. They have a sharp image, nice colours, easy to use and are 100% waterproof and fog proof. Details below: https://procular.co.uk/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  16. Trying to decide between 8 x 42 terra and Conquest for bird watching what do you think?

    1. Hi Patricia,

      To be perfectly honest, the Conquest HD does not justify such a big price difference compared to the Zeiss Terra 8×42. Most people can hardly tell the difference when looking through them! The Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 is an outstanding pair of binoculars for birdwatching and nearly any other use. They have a very sharp clear image, wide field of view, beautiful and comfortable design and excellent durability. We can highly recommend them. The only Zeiss models that deliver better performance would be the HT models priced at nearly £1500. For 99% of birdwatchers the Zeiss Terra ED are fantastic.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  17. Also looking at the Nikon Monarch 5, as I realise it’s shorter in length. How does the Nikon Monarch 5, compare with the Nikon Prostaff 7s ? OR; would you spend a little more on the Zeiss Terra ED?

    1. Hi Moss,

      The differences between the Nikon Monarch 5 and the Nikon Prostaff are very minor. The Monarch 5 have slightly shorter barrels but the Prostaff are nearly as compact. Some viewers even find the slightly longer barrels easier to hold and stabilise so we wouldn’t consider this a big improvement. Image wise they are quite similar too. If you do want to invest in better quality for bird watching then the Zeiss Terra ED are well worth their price. They have a comfortable yet durable design and an outstanding image quality, sharpness and brightness. They focus very smoothly from both near and far. If you are in the market for high-end birdwatching and general viewing binoculars we believe the Zeiss are well worth the investment.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  18. Hi Adam,
    I bought myself a pair of Opticron Oregon 8 x 32. I love them for watching the Birds on the feeders in our garden. I had thought of buying another pair of 8 x 42 bins; what benefit would I see in buying the Terra ED 8 x 42 ?

  19. Hi – what is the best pair of binoculars for Glasses wearers? General pair for Birdwatching and horse-racing is what I am aiming for.

    Thanks in advance

    Gary

    1. Hi Gary,

      Thank you for your comment. Good question. If you need a good all around pair of binoculars for both birdwatching and horse racing we can recommend 8×42 binoculars. These are mid-sized binoculars so comfortable to hold and use for extended periods of time when following a race or watching birds. The 8x magnification is ideal as it allows for a wider field of view to follow the fast moving horses (ideal for birdwatching as well as explained in the detailed post above). If you use eyeglasses for near-to-far or far-to-near vision impairment then you can use the binoculars without the need for your glasses. The binoculars will already enhance and magnify the image for you. But if you wear the glasses for other causes and need to be able to use the binoculars with the glasses then we recommend getting a n 8×42 pair with a long eye-relief and fold down or twist-down eye-cups. These models allow you to use the binoculars even while wearing your glasses. The best mid-range model we can recommend would be the Nikon Prostaff 8×42 binoculars – they are brilliant for both horse racing and birding. Or otherwise the high-end Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 binoculars. Both models will do a great job and can be easily used either with or without glasses. Details of the Nikon Prostaff 8×42 binoculars below: https://procular.co.uk/nikon-prostaff-7-8×42-binoculars/ and the Zeiss Terra 8×42 binoculars below: https://procular.co.uk/carl-zeiss-terra-ed-8×42-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  20. Hi,
    I am looking to buy our first pair of binoculars for garden birdwatching, wondered if night vision is worth while for seeing garden night life? Not sure whether it’s a gimmick or if it really works.
    Thanks
    Pete

    1. Hi Pete,

      For birdwatching you will be best off with “standard” binoculars. Since you are viewing in your garden you will want a pair that can focus from a short distance (see older comment above for specific models). Also, if you visit product pages on Procular you can scroll down and click on the “Additional Information” tab, it will normally show the closest focusing range of each binocular. Regarding night vision binoculars, these use a special technology and a built-in IR illuminator. With entry level ones, known as Gen-1 night vision, you can see if there is a subject / wildlife animal around from short range. Unfortunately the image quality is a very poor and grainy, so not really useful for most people. Especially not for birdwatching. The only “proper” night vision gear would be Gen-2 night vision or thermal cameras. But you will then be looking at spending around £2,000 or more for a decent pair of night vision binoculars.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  21. The Zeiss Terra binoculars arrived this morning, I took them up to a pal to compare with his very good equipment and was amazed at the excellent vision and clarity from the Zeiss pair.

    I have just been out on the marshes ,for a practice and am really pleased that I bought them.

  22. Thank you, I have just ordered a pair of Zeiss 8×42,so am really looking forward to trying them out.

  23. Hi,
    I have a pair of Rubber cased Bushnell 7×50 glasses we bought about 35 years ago for boating, they are excellent light gathering but very heavy.
    We also have a pair of Minolta Compact, not sure of spec but something like 8×20,and I never really got on with these.

    Your review is most helpful ,at the moment I would go for the Zeiss but is it best to actually go somewhere and try before buying?
    I live relatively near Minsmere.RSPB

    1. Hi Lister,

      Thank you for your comment. We know exactly what you mean. 7×50 binoculars are quite large and bulky. They are not ideal for holding up over long periods of time so not ideal for bird watching or travel. Compact binoculars (8×20, 8×25, 10×25) are ok to get a quick view but most people find them very frustrating to use. Mainly because of their limited field of view. Unfortunately we don’t have a showroom where you can test the binoculars. We find that even retail shops will not give you the real outdoor testing environment either. But we do have a 60 days return policy so you are welcome to order and test. With the Zeiss 8×42 or 10×42 models you can’t really go wrong as they work extremely well for bird watching or any other use. These are mid-sized roof-prism binoculars, very comfortable and intuitive to use and offer an outstanding image quality.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  24. Hi, I wonder if someone can help please. I know nothing of which pair of binoculars to buy and would be grateful for advice. I really enjoy watching the birds in my modest back garden but also wildlife in the fields beyond. I have a pair of binoculars that will not focus when watching birds at around a distance of 8 metres away as the subject is too close. They are not powerful enough to get a clear enlarged look at something in the field around 200 metres away.
    Can someone please point me in the right direction of what type of binoculars I should be looking for, many thanks.

    1. Hi Jenny,

      Every model of binoculars have a specification called “Closest focusing distance” or “nearest focusing distance”. With some binoculars, normally high magnification ones or otherwise low quality models, this distance can be 10-20 meters. So you won’t be able to use these binoculars to see birds in your garden. On the above post we recommend a few specific models that are ideal for bird watching. These will work well to see birds from close range and up to 200-300 meters. The Bresser 8×40 have a close focusing range of 5m. The Avalon 8×32 and 10×42 have a closest range of 3m. The Nikon Prostaff 8×42 focus from as close as 5m. The best are the Zeiss Terra 8×42 which focus from as close as 1.6m.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  25. I want good binoculars suitable for bird watching . We are looking at the Zeiss terra ED 8 x 42 , but what is the benefit of the 10 x 42 ? Or do you have some other suggestion in this price range .

    1. Hi Stephen,

      The Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 are excellent binoculars for birdwatching and highly recommended. They feature outstanding optics, beautiful colours and very comfortable design. There is not much difference between the 8×42 and 10×42 models. The 10×42 offer a-bit more magnification (10x) but its the 8×42 model that is more popular, and more suitable for bird watching. It has a wider field of view to follow moving birds and a brighter image to spot birds in the shadow, around trees and in low light (early mornings, fog etc.).

      Furthermore the Zeiss 8×42 have a longer eye-relief which makes them perfect for use either with or without eyeglasses. If you wear glasses you can twist down their eyepieces and use them while keeping your glasses on. So for bird watching we recommend the Zeiss 8×42 over the 10×42 model. Details of these binoculars below:

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

      Adam Murray, Procular
  26. Hi I’m looking at the Zeiss Terra 10×42 can these be had with a wider eye piece ?

    Thank you

    Kind regards

    Peter Gallagher.

    Peter Gallagher
    1. Hi Peter,

      The Zeiss Terra ED binoculars can only be used with their fixed eye pieces as far as we know. But if you need a wider view we can suggest the Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 model. They have a wide angle viewing of 56° and slightly brighter images too. It is a matter of personal preference but most bird watchers find 8×42 an ideal balance between good magnification yet a stable image and wider field of view than 10×42.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  27. Hi
    What a fantastic find…. your comments have really been most helpful. I have just been to Northumberland with a friend where bird watching is a great delight. My friend lent me her Zeiss 8x20B binoculars which she was able to carry in her handbag which was so convenient. I have my 80th birthday coming up and I would like to put a pair of similar binoculars on the list that everyone keeps asking for……. I wear varifocal lens glasses but found my friend’s binoculars good. I have a field behind my bungalow where many birds visit so will spend a lot of time bird watching Please have you any suggestions for my request list preferably under £200?
    Many thanks
    Jamie

    JAMIE PRICE (MRS)
    1. Hi Jamie,

      Zeiss produce some the world’s best birdwatching binoculars, if not the best. They don’t come cheap though.. Your friend’s 8x20B model is an older version (excellent one) which is now the Zeiss 8×25 Compact, priced at under £400. If you are looking for compact binoculars that will fit in a jacket pocket or purse then this is an outstanding model. Mainly because of its sharp image and quality per size. Details below:

      https://procular.co.uk/zeiss-terra-ed-8×25-compact-binoculars/

      If you want something similar within the £100-£200 range we can recommend the Olympus 10×25 WP II Binoculars. They are also very compact and have a very high image quality for their category. They are also waterproof and fog-proof for those cloudy days. Details below:

      https://procular.co.uk/olympus-10×25-wp-i-binoculars/

      Otherwise if you don’t mind the extra size and weight then any of the 5 birding binoculars suggested in this post are all good choices.

      Adam Murray, Procular

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