Best Value Bird Watching Binoculars

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The Best Value For Money Bird Watching Binoculars

Barn Owl (Tyto alba) in flight - Photo:  Luc Viatour / www.Lucnix.be

Whilst I have already written in depth as to what in my opinion makes a great bird watching binocular and there is already a page on the site that lists the best value for money binoculars that I have reviewed, but up until now what I did not have was a page that combines these two to make the:

Best Value BinocularsBest Value Birding Binoculars

So what makes a good or even the best value for money birdwatching binocular?

Well what I have done is to go through all the binoculars that I have reviewed that I consider to be good for most types of bird watching (good all round birding binoculars) and then filtered out the best value for money ones from that list and so what we have left are the Best Value for Money Bird Watching Binoculars.. easy!

Best Value?
Deciding what is and what is not good value for money can be difficult as what some people may consider good value, others may perceive as being expensive.

Take someone like Bill Gates for example, even the most expensive binoculars on earth would be mere pocket change for him and so as long as they were also very high quality and had a very high level of performance, for him they would seem to be good value for money.

However, for the average person who only occasionally uses their optics, this amount would seem excessive for the relatively small gain in performance when compared to a good quality mid priced binocular.

So as you can see "good value" is related to what you perceive to be a reasonable amount of money. Thus to ensure all types of people are catered for, I have first split the binoculars into price categories and then within those categories found the binoculars that have better components, coatings, features and perform above their price category average. It is in this way I get the best value for money binoculars within each of the price categories.

On this page below are listed the best value binoculars within the main price brackets and all you have to do is decide on your budget and then take a look at the best within that price range.

How are the Best Value Binoculars Chosen?

My definition of a good value for money binocular is one that gives you the most features, best quality components and the best image quality for the least amount of money possible.

All the binoculars that I now review are rated in a number of key areas: Body Construction Quality, Body Stats, Optical Components Quality, Optical Stats, Image Quality and Extras & Attention to Detail. These individual scores combine to give an overall score (for more information on this see my article which explains the Binocular Ratings Scale). So for a binocular to feature on this page and therefore be rated as being best value for money bird binoculars, they must have achieved an excellent score within their price particular category and obviously be ideal for observing most types of birds with:

Best Value Mid Priced Birding Binoculars

The binoculars below are all within the mid price category (approx: $130 - $300 / £130 - £300) and have scored at least 80% on the Best Binocular Reviews Ratings scale and I also recommend them as being ideal for birdwatching:

 

Hawke Endurance ED 8x42 Binoculars

Mid-range binoculars that to my mind offer a level of quality and performance that easily surpasses their price tag.

Highlights include a Magnesium Housing, ED Glass Elements in the Lenses, Phase Corrected BaK-4 prisms, 18mm of eye-relief and a close focus distance of less than 2 meters.

Price: (3/6) Mid Priced Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 8/10 80%
Outstanding
Body Stats: 8/10
Optical Quality: 8/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 8/10
Extras & Details: 8/10

 

Hawke Endurance ED 8x32 Binoculars

Mid-sized, mid-priced Hawke binoculars that impress in almost single every area.

A fully fog and waterproof magnesium housing protects high quality and fully multi-coated optics with highlights that include ED glass lenses, BaK-4 roof prisms that have been phase corrected.

The result is a high quality and bright image that has a wide field of view, good close focus and delivers plenty of eye-relief.

Price: (3/6) Mid Priced Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 8/10 80%
Outstanding
Body Stats: 8/10
Optical Quality: 8/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 8/10
Extras & Details: 8/10

 

Opticron Discovery WP PC 8x32 Binoculars

For a mid-sized binocular, the 8x32 Opticron Discovery is ultra compact and lightweight, has a very wide field of view and extremely minimum close focus.

Add to this good quality optics and a mid range price point and you have an instrument that is ideal in a very wide range of uses and thus will appeal to a huge selection of users.

Price: (3/6) Mid Priced Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 7/10 80%
Outstanding
Body Stats: 10/10
Optical Quality: 8/10
Optical Stats: 9/10
Image Quality 8/10
Extras & Details: 6/10

 

Celestron Trailseeker 8x42 Binoculars

Aimed at the more price conscious user, but who still want a high quality instrument, the Celestron Trailseeker binoculars come with an impressive array of features.

A fully sealed Magnesium alloy body, with metal twist-up eye-cups protect high quality and fully multi-coated optics that include phase and dielectric coated BaK-4 prisms to offer a performance that easily surpasses their price tag and thus almost all of their direct competition.

Price: (3/6) Mid Priced Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 7/10 80%
Outstanding
Body Stats: 8/10
Optical Quality: 8/10
Optical Stats: 9/10
Image Quality 8/10
Extras & Details: 8/10

 

Vanguard 8x42 Spirit ED Binoculars

These 8x42's combine very high quality optics that includes extra low dispersion glass, phase correction coatings on Bak-4 prisims with a tough, lightweight body that is 100% fog and waterproof and what you get is a great pair of binoculars ideal for birdwatching as well as everyday use.

Price: (3/6) Mid Priced Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 8/10 80%
Outstanding
Body Stats: 9/10
Optical Quality: 8/10
Optical Stats: 7/10
Image Quality 8/10
Extras & Details: 8/10

These Binoculars are On SaleDiscounted Binoculars: Vanguard are currently offering a $50 Mail-In Rebate on these bins in the US and a £20 cashback in the UK
>> Check Prices
 

Kowa 8x25 BD Binoculars

Very high quality compact roof prism binoculars that are fully fog and waterproof. They also feature fully multi-coated optics and phase correction coatings on the prisms that produce a excellent qaulity, bright image with a wide field of view.

Price: (3/6) Mid Priced Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 9/10 80%
Outstanding
Body Stats: 7/10
Optical Quality: 8/10
Optical Stats: 7/10
Image Quality 9/10
Extras & Details: 8/10

These Binoculars are On SaleDiscounted Binoculars: These Kowa Binoculars have been reduced in price on Amazon and Eagle Optics in the USA.
>> Check Prices

The optics listed above are in my opinion the very best value for money bird watching binoculars in this price category. It is important to remember that this is just a guide to help you make a shortlist below are a few related links that may also help you:

 

 

Best Value Mid-High Priced Birding Binoculars

The binoculars below are all within the mid-high price category (approx: $300 - $500 / £300 - £500) and have scored at least 85% on the Best Binocular Reviews Ratings scale meaning that I rate them as outstanding. They will also in my opinion make ideal birding binoculars:

 

Hawke Sapphire ED 8x42 Binoculars

High specification, mid priced 8x42 Hawke binoculars with many highlights including a lightweight , water and fog proof magnesium body, quality optical components and coatings including fully multi-coated ED glass lenses, and that produce a high quality image with a very wide field of view.

Price: (4/6) Mid-High Value Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 8/10 85%
Outstanding
Body Stats: 9/10
Optical Quality: 8/10
Optical Stats: 9/10
Image Quality 9/10
Extras & Details: 8/10

 

Vortex 8x42 Viper HD Binoculars

High quality binoculars that includes optical features like extra-low dispersion glass (HD), fully multi-coated lenses, phase correction coatings on the roof prisms, encased in a tough yet lightweight, fog and waterproof body.

Price: (4/6) Mid-High Value Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 8/10 85%
Outstanding
Body Stats: 9/10
Optical Quality: 9/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 9/10
Extras & Details: 8/10

These Binoculars are On SaleDiscounted Binoculars: Vortex Viper's are available at a reduced price on Binoculars.com and Eagle Optics in the USA
>> Check Prices

The binoculars above are in my opinion are ideal for birdwatching and offer the very best value for money within the mid-high price category. It is important to remember that this is just a guide to help you make a shortlist and below are a few more pages that may help with your search:

 

 

Best Value High Priced Birdwatching Binoculars

The binoculars below are all within the high price category (approx: $500-$1200 / £500-£1200) and have scored at least 87% on the Best Binocular Reviews Ratings scale meaning that they are amongst the Very best and will in my opinion be perfect for most types of birdwatching:

 

Swarovski CL Companion 8x30 Binoculars

Weighing just 17.6oz ounces and measuring 4.7 inches long by 4.5 inches wide, it's hard to believe Swarovski can pack so much of their renowned optical excellence into such a compact unit and make it just that bit more affordable, but they have.

Ideal for anyone looking for a premium compact binocular to take travelling, on safari, hiking, camping or to a sporting event, the CL Companion includes their legendary Swarotop & Swarodur anti-reflection coatings as well as phase correction and Swarobright coatings on the roof prisms producing an excellent high quality image even in low light situations.

Price: (5/6) High Value Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 9/10 88%
Outstanding
Body Stats: 10/10
Optical Quality: 8/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 9/10
Extras & Details: 9/10

 

Vortex 8x42 Razor HD Binoculars

The use of the very best quality optical components and coatings like high density ED glass lens elements and dielectric and phase correction coatings on the roof prisms contribute to producing an extremely high quality and bright image.

These Vortex binoculars ooze quality and the water and fogproof body is nice and light as well as strong thanks to a magnesium chassis. I also really like the exterior design that is both comfortable and secure to hold.

Price: (5/6) High Value Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 9/10 90%
The VERY Best
Body Stats: 9/10
Optical Quality: 10/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 9/10
Extras & Details: 9/10

 

Minox 8x43 HG Binoculars

Fully Waterproof & Fogproof binoculars featuring Minox's Quick-Close-Focus mechanism, Fully Multi-Coated optics, Phase coated Bak-4 Roof Prisims and a host of other top of the range features. In short very high quality binoculars manufactured in Germany at a very good price.

Price: (5/6) High Value Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 10/10 87%
Outstanding
Body Stats: 9/10
Optical Quality: 9/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 9/10
Extras & Details: 7/10

These Binoculars are On SaleDiscounted Binoculars: These Minox HG Binoculars are available at a discount on Eagle Optics and Binoculars.com in the US.
>> Check Prices

These ideal bird watching binoculars above are in my opinion the very best value for money within this price category. It is important to remember that this is just a guide to help you make a shortlist and below are a few links that should also help:

 

 

Best Value Expensive Binoculars

The binocular(s) below are the very top of the range, would be ideal to take birdwatching and fall all within the expensive price category (> $1200 / > £1200) as such they have to a score at least 92% on the Best Binocular Reviews Ratings scale, which is very, very tough:

 

Swarovski EL 8.5x42 Binoculars

By combining the highest quality optical components and coatings with their technical expertise, there is no denying that these Swarovski's produce an image that is unsurpassed.

Add to this their tried and tested exterior and the inclusion of their new FieldPro package and you really do have a special pair of optics.

So If you are looking for the ultimate pair of 42mm binoculars, then you will most certainly not be disappointed with the Swarovski EL 8.5x42 binoculars. These are for me now the reference point and by which all others need to aspire towards.

Price: (6/6) Expensive Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 9/10 93%
The VERY Best
Body Stats: 8/10
Optical Quality: 10/10
Optical Stats: 9/10
Image Quality 10/10
Extras & Details: 10/10

 

Swarovski EL 10x32 Swarovision Binoculars

The new Swarovision EL 10x32 binoculars combine the very best optics and coatings with a waterproof, lightweight and tough Magnesium open bridge body to produce one of the very best mid sized binoculars currently on the market.

Optical features include Field flattener lenses to correct field curvature, Phase correction and dielectric coatings on the roof prisms and fully multi-coated Swarobright lens coatings for a much better light transmission.

Price: (6/6) Expensive Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 9/10 95%
The VERY Best
Body Stats: 8/10
Optical Quality: 10/10
Optical Stats: 10/10
Image Quality 10/10
Extras & Details: 10/10

These Binoculars are On SaleDiscounted Binoculars: The Swarovski EL 10x32 SV binoculars are available at a discount on Amazon.com, Binoculars.com and Eagle Optics in the USA
>> Check Prices
 

Nikon 10x42 EDG Binoculars

Designed to compete with the best binoculars in the world, the 10x42 Nikon EDG binocular comes with Nikon's fantastic ED glass lenses and advanced multilayer coating and phase correction roof prisms that produce stunning clear images with a powerful 10x magnification, a tough, waterproof and fog-proof body and so much more.

Price: (6/6) Expensive Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 9/10 92%
The VERY Best
Body Stats: 8/10
Optical Quality: 10/10
Optical Stats: 9/10
Image Quality 10/10
Extras & Details: 9/10

These Binoculars are On SaleDiscounted Binoculars: The Nikon EDG 10x42 binoculars are available at a discount on Amazon.com and Binoculars.com in the USA
>> Check Prices

The binocular(s) above are in my opinion the very best value for money within this price category and would also be ideal as a bird watching binocular, as you can see it is a very exclusive list as the entry requirements are very high! For more choice and further reading:

 

 

Best Value Low Cost Birding Binoculars

These ideal birding binocular(s) below are all within the low cost price category ($50 - $130 / £50 - £130) and have scored at least 70% on the Best Binocular Reviews Ratings scale, as you can see it is a very exclusive list as the entry requirements are very high which makes it very hard for binoculars at this price point to achieve:

 

Levenhuk Sherman PLUS 8x42 Binoculars

Low cost 8x42 porro prism binoculars with a good quality and bright image, very wide field of view and plenty of eye-relief.

In my opinion, you are easily getting your money's worth and then some with the Levenhuk Sherman Plus binoculars...

Price: (2/6) Low Cost Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 6/10 70%
Excellent
Body Stats: 7/10
Optical Quality: 7/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 8/10
Extras & Details: 6/10

 

Helios Nitrosport 8x42 Binoculars

These low cost 8x42 Helios binoculars come with a number of features and components that I would not normally expect to find at this price.

This includes phase correction coatings on the prisms, which when combined with the silver mirror coatings and the fully multi-coated optics help deliver a view that I believe is on a par with any other at this price level.

Price: (2/6) Low Cost Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 7/10 72%
Excellent
Body Stats: 8/10
Optical Quality: 7/10
Optical Stats: 7/10
Image Quality 8/10
Extras & Details: 6/10

 

Meade 8x42 Rainforest Pro Binoculars

These low cost binoculars from Meade Instruments come with features that those in the mid level would be proud to have.

This includes phase corrected and silver coated BaK-4 roof prisms, fully multi-coated optics and a tough nitrogen filled waterproof housing.

Combine these with a wide field of view, good amount of eye-relief and close focus and you have a very capable and versatile binocular that at this price offers excellent value for money.

Price: (2/6) Low Cost Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 7/10 72%
Excellent
Body Stats: 7/10
Optical Quality: 7/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 8/10
Extras & Details: 6/10

 

Tom Lock Series 2 8x42 Binoculars

These low cost binos from Tom Lock come with a surprising selection of higher specification components and coatings that surpass the majority of others in this class and equal that of many mid range instruments.

Examples of this include the all metal focus wheel and eye-cups, phase corrected and silver mirror coated BaK-4 prisms and fully multi-coated optics.

If you are on a tight budget and are after a great all-rounder, this 8x42 Series 2 is well worth taking a closer look at.

Price: (2/6) Low Cost Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 7/10 72%
Excellent
Body Stats: 8/10
Optical Quality: 7/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 7/10
Extras & Details: 6/10

 

Hawke Nature-Trek 8x42 Binoculars

Low cost Hawke binoculars that feature a single open hinge body design that is very lightweight as well as water and fog proof.

Optics are fully multi-coated and the roof prisms are made from quality Bak-4 glass that results in a very good quality image that matches or beats most in this price range.

Price: (2/6) Low Cost Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 7/10 72%
Excellent
Body Stats: 8/10
Optical Quality: 7/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 7/10
Extras & Details: 6/10

 

Celestron Nature DX 8x42 Binoculars

Priced to appeal to those on a fairly tight budget, yet they they still manage to pack in a good amount of higher specification components and features which include very good quality BaK-4 glass and fully multi-coated optics which are protected in a fully sealed and waterproof Polycarbonate body that is filled with nitrogen gas to prevent fogging of the lenses.

The result is a tough, well priced binocular that produces a more than decent view which is as good as or better than most in this price range.

Price: (2/6) Low Cost Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 7/10 72%
Excellent
Body Stats: 9/10
Optical Quality: 7/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 7/10
Extras & Details: 5/10

 

Kowa 8x30 YF Binoculars

This 8x30 Kowa YF Series binocular is great low cost mid-sized porro prism binocular with fully multi-coated optics that produce an excellent quality image.

The body is tough, fully waterproof, fog proof and very lightweight.

Price: (2/6) Low Cost Binoculars
BBR Ratings:
Body Quality: 7/10 70%
Excellent
Body Stats: 7/10
Optical Quality: 7/10
Optical Stats: 8/10
Image Quality 7/10
Extras & Details: 6/10

The binocular(s) above are in my opinion the very best value for money within this price category and would also be ideal as a birding binocular, as you can see it is a very exclusive list as the entry requirements are very high! Further reading:




Comments & Opinions

I would love to get your comments and well as your opinions, have I missed out anything or do you think that some of opinions or assumptions that I have made are wrong or do you agree with them? Do own what you consider to be the best value for money birding binocular? If so please let us know what you think:

 
 
 
 

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