Best Mid Range Binoculars for Xmas 2016
This is the second part in my series of buyers guides to the Best Binoculars for Christmas, here I am focusing on what is probably the largest and most competitive class: Mid Range binoculars covering prices from $150 in the US or £150 in the UK up to a maximum of $300 / £300
Within this class you get a big variance in quality, especially when you consider the type and standard of glass as well as the coatings used in their construction.
So in a bid to make your Christmas shopping a little easier, I have only listed binoculars that I have actually tested and written a full in-depth review on and that I recommend as being a great binocular within this price category. I have also highlighted any deals or special offers that are available leading up to and over the Christmas period:
The Best Christmas Deal
Apart from their physical attributes and optical performance, which are all mostly excellent for their class, there are a couple of added reasons why I am recommending these Vanguard binoculars as the ideal gift for Christmas:
Optics are different to electronics in that even though a few years old now, these Vanguard 10x42 Endeavor ED’s are still completely relevant and up-to-date today as when they were first released and won the Best Value for Money Binocular Award in 2013.
What is more, this award means that you are already assured to get plenty of bang for your buck (or pound) and that was when they were being sold for about $350 / £320 (and were in the mid-high value category).
Incredibly when first released, these Vanguard Endeavor ED’s had a List Price of $429.99, now their standard retail price has dropped to around $290 / £250. However it gets getter than this as they are now listed for sale in some outlets where you can snap them up for as little as $239.99 which makes them even better value and must surely be one of the best mid range binoculars currently on the market…
… but wait, things get even better!
Vanguard currently have a $100 Rebate offer on these and the 8x version of these in the US, which remains valid until the end of December, perfect timing for Christmas shopping and which now also makes them really incredible value for money:
$290 Off Vanguard 10x42 Endeavor ED Binoculars:
- List Price:
- Current Retail Price approx: $290
- Sale Price: $239.99 (On Amazon) – Save $50 on Current Price & $190 on RRP!
- + Mail-In Rebate: -$100
- Vanguard 10x42mm Endeavor ED’s Now Only $139.99!!!
The result is the person you gift these to gets a truly cracking binocular with many high end features including ED glass, fully multi-coated lenses, high quality roof prisms made from BaK-4 glass complete with phase correction coatings wrapped in a tough fog and water proof lightweight open-bridge body… and you get to pay, far, far less than you would normally expect to pay for a pair of optics that come with all these goodies. So everyone’s a winner for a very Merry Christmas!
These Vanguards make cracking general use binoculars as they perform reasonably well to very well in most specific areas and are tough and waterproof as well. So they would really suit an all-rounder, someone who likes a little birding, camping, observing wildlife and if they are into it, hunting.
Mid Range (between $150 & $300 / £150 and £300)
Below are my two top recommendations for saving a whole lot of money on a full sized binocular for Xmas, yet ensuring you not only get a quality product, but one that delivers far more than you expect at this price:
Winner of the Best Value For Money Binocular Award for 2016, this mid-priced (approx. $230 / £180) instrument from Hawke Sport Optics achieved an ‘outstanding’ score of 80% on the BBR scale meaning they are not only one of the best ever binoculars that I have reviewed at this price level, but also rank very highly within the Mid-High End ($300 – $500 / £300 – £500) instruments positioned above them, which I find really impressive and means you are getting some awesome value for money here.
- Top Hinge Body Design
- Magnesium Housing
- Water & Fog Proof
- Tripod Adaptable
- ED Glass Elements in the Lenses
- Fully Multi-Coated Optics
- BaK-4 Roof Prisms
- Phase Corrected Silver Mirror Coatings
- Field of View: 388ft at 1000 yards
- Minimum Focus Distance: 6.6ft
- 18mm of Eye Relief
Also worth Considering
- Hawke Endurance ED 8x32 – Same Endurance ED series from Hawke, but this is the mid-sized version, achieved the same outstanding score and so ideal if you are looking for a smaller, more compact and easier to carry instrument.
Great Value for Money
Best Value for Money Binocular of 2014, the Celestron Tailseeker is now also cheaper than then it won the award (around $200 / £200), yet still offers the same quality.
Along with a lightweight fog and waterproof body, optics that have been fully multi-coated and they have dielectric & phase correction coatings on their BaK-4 roof prisms, which is something that you very rarely see at this price.
What is more, these 8x42 binoculars have a very, very wide field of view (426ft @ 1000yds) that is substantially wider than the majority and thus will bring a smile to most birders, hunters and other wildlife enthusiasts faces.
This along with a whole range of other great reasons is why I have no reservations in recommending these Celestron binoculars as the ideal gift for Christmas within this price range.
As I have mentioned their really wide FOV, combined with their 8x magnification makes them a very good choice as an all-round birding, hunting and wildlife binocular.
Great Value for Money
Even for a mid-sized binocular, this Opticron Discovery is considered compact, yet with the 32mm objectives, you still have a far better low light capability than what you’s expect to get from a true compact binocular.
Other performance highlights include a wide field of view (393 @ 1000yds) and an incredibly close minimum focus distance of only 3.9ft.
Small in size with a wide field of view and great low light performance in it’s class, these are ideal travel binoculars, perfect for safaris and camping trips. This same features also make them an ideal companion to just about any outdoor sporing event.
Add to this a very close minimum focus distance and you now also have the perfect optics for observing butterflies, other insects and flowers.
For these reasons, these bins are my choice as the ideal present for anyone who is planning on a holiday adventure, enjoys camping or is a sports fan and with a current retail price of only $230 / £160 / €220, they are in my opinion fantastic value for money:
More options well worth considering:
If you know someone who likes to travel, enjoys adventure, camping, hiking, watching outdoor sports and maybe even goes on the occasional safari, then this compact Pentax binocular may just be their ideal gift this Christmas!
Winner of my award this year for the best lower cost binocular for travel and safaris and costing around $280 / £275 they come packed with high end coatings and features and sport a 9x magnification that gives you a little bit more detail than an 8x device, but without sacrificing too much on the width of your view as you would with a 10x pair.
Another great value offering from Vanguard in this price bracket: This time it is their Spirit XF that currently costs around $199 / £110 which makes them cheaper than the Endeavor ED’s above and you still get a cracking binocular but without the ED glass or phase correction coatings.
But having said that they still scored an excellent overall score of 78% on my scale when I tested them. Highlights for me included a great quality, lightweight, open bridge body, a good wide view when you compare it to other 10x42 binoculars and a more than decent standard of image for this class.
Sitting well within this price bracket (approx. $240 / £180), these Minox binoculars offer you a slice of quality German engineering and workmanship at a very reasonable price.
Highlights include phase coated BaK-4 roof prisms, fully multi-coated optics and another binocular on this Christmas list with a really wide view when compared to most 10x42 binoculars. Perfect for wildlife observation, hunting and a more than decent birding bin.
Now available for only $140 / £130 on some online stores (check Amazon on the links below) these Celestron binoculars could make it into the cheap category. What is also very impressive is they still manage to fit in a good amount of higher specification components and features to match many higher value bins in this class:
These Nature DX’s have 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, lightweight (one of the lightest I have ever tested in this size) and well priced binocular that produces a more than decent view which is as good as or better than most in this price range.
Further Reading & More Christmas Inspiration:
- Main Binoculars for Christmas Page
- Part 1: Best Low Cost Binoculars for Xmas
- Part 3: The Best Mid-High End Binoculars for Xmas
- Part 4: The Very Best Premium Binoculars for Xmas
Also Check out:
- Best Binoculars under $200 / £200
- Game&Fish: Top 5 Affordable Binoculars Under $400
- Discounted Binoculars
- The Best Value For Money Binoculars
- Best Value Bird Watching Binoculars