Game&Fish: Top 5 Affordable Binoculars Under $400

Game&Fish Magazine CoverGame & Fish Magazine recently ran an article where they highlighted their choices for the best 5 binoculars costing less than $400 (£350).

I am not sure how they made their selections and if there was any bias or loyalty towards advertisers in their magazine, but even so I did think that a few of their picks looked very interesting and even though I have not reviewed them, would really like to do so.

In the past it was a lot harder to purchase good quality bins without spending quite a lot of money, but due to increased competition and improved manufacturing techniques it is possible to get many of the features and components that were up until fairly recently only found on top end optics. This is something I explore in my sections on the best cheap binoculars under $200 / £200.

G&F: Top 5 Binoculars Under $400 (£350)

Below are their five affordable binoculars for you to consider. For each one I have also added my thoughts and a few alternatives within the same price range that I have fully reviewed and which I think may also be of interest to you:

Bushnell 10x42 Legend Ultra HD Binoculars

Bushnell 10x42 Legend Ultra HD BinocularsCosting around $250 / £250, these Legend Ultra HD 10x42’s from Bushnell do look like a cracking set of binoculars for the price:

Highlights:

  • Prime ED glass
  • Magnesium housing
  • Ultra Wide Band and RainGuard Coatings
  • Locking diopter
  • Included Bushnell Binocular harness

More Information & Further Reading:

BBR’s Alternatives:

Hawke Endurance ED 8x42 BinocularsHawke Endurance ED 8x42 Binoculars – With a current price tag of around $200 / £200, these Hawke binoculars were without doubt the Best Value For Money Binocular I tested in 2016/17. As with the Bushnell above, the Endurance ED has Fully Multi-coated optics, Extra-low Dispersion glass elements in their lenses as well as Phase Corrected BAK-4 roof. As well as these features you get a very wide field of view, plenty of eye-relief and all wrapped up in a magnesium chassis.

Vanguard Endeavor ED 10x42 BinocularsAlso well worth a look:

Vanguard 10x42 Endeavor ED Binoculars – Winner of the award for the Best Value For Money Binocular in 2012 and 2013, like the Legend Ultra HD, the 10x42 Endeavor ED uses Extra-low Dispersion glass elements in their lenses to reduce color fringing as well as featuring Fully Multi-coated Lenses, Phase Correction Coatings on the BAK-4 prisms and a lightweight open bridge body that is both water and fogproof.

Zeiss Terra ED Binoculars

Zeiss Terra ED 10x42 BinocularsCosting just $380 / £360, this price level is not what you expect to find on a binocular with the famous blue Zeiss logo on it, but it is true and along with the Bushnell Legend HD’s below, these look to be the best bins o this list.

Highlights:

  • Schott Extra-low Dispersion (ED) Glass
  • Zeiss Fully Multi-coated Lenses
  • Phase Correction Coatings
  • Waterproof & Fogproof
  • 8x42 version has a FOV of 375 feet wide at 1000 yards

More Information & Further Reading:

BBR’s Alternative 01:

Eschenbach Trophy D 8x42 ED Binoculars ReviewEschenbach Trophy D 8x42 ED Binoculars – Another very high end, great value for the money binocular from Germany, these Eschenbach Trophy ED’s won the award for the Best Birding Binocular of 2016/17 and posses all the features you would expect and more. Highlights include the very wide field of view (408ft at 1000 yards) a Magnalium Housing as well as ED glass and phase corrected roof prisms that use the highest reflectivity Dielectric Mirror Coatings to ensure the best and brightest images possible.

Celestron Granite 8x42 BinocularsBBR’s Alternative 02:

Celestron Granite 8x42 Binoculars – Winner of the award for the Best Birding Binocular 2012, these Celestron binoculars are cheaper than the Zeiss above, but also comes with ED glass, Fully Multi-Coated Optics and Phase corrected Bak-4 Prisms. The 8x42 version also has an exceptionally wide field of view (426ft @ 1000 yards).

Redfield Rebel 10x42 Binoculars

Redfield 10x42 RebelWith a price tag of about $160 / £130, I can’t comment too much as I have never tested these or any other Redfield binocular. Their main features look to be pretty decent and what you would expect to find on a better pair of optics within this price range:

Highlights:

  • Fully multi-coated optics
  • BAK4 prisms
  • Aluminum chassis
  • Waterproof & nitrogen filled
  • Limited lifetime warranty

More Information & Further Reading:

BBR’s Alternatives:

Celestron Trailseeker 8x42 BinocularsCelestron Trailseeker 8x42 Binoculars – Also costing around $160 / £160, these Celestron binoculars are packed full of high end features and in my opinion give you plenty bang for your buck and one of the best all-round bins currently on the market. Thus it came as no surprise when they walked away with the tag of value for money in 2014/15, what is more, they are now even cheaper, yet still totally up-to-date! Highlights include a magnesium alloy frame, Dielectric & Phase Coated BaK-4 Roof Prisms, Fully Multi-Coated Optics and a really Wide Field of View (426ft @ 1000yds)

Pentax DCF NV 8x36 BinocularsBBR’s Alternative:

Pentax DCF NV 8x36 Binoculars – At about $150 / £160, these mid size Pentax binoculars have a fully waterproof and fogproof body and produce an excellent quality image thanks in part to their fully multi-coated lenses and phase coated roof prisms and in my opinion are a great option if you are looking for something a little more portable and easy to carry within this price range.

Steiner Champ 8x22 Binoculars

Steiner Champ 8x22 BinocularsThe new Steiner Champ binoculars cost under $100 / £100, making them one of the companies cheapest compact binoculars and thus placed alongside their UltraSharp 8x22 binoculars, winner of Binoculars.com’s Best Compact Binoculars 2013.

Highlights:

  • Ultra compact and great for travel
  • Weight: 9.5 oz
  • Fast close focus
  • BAK-4 Roof Prisms
  • Waterproof and fogproof

More Information & Further Reading:

Vanguard Orros 10x25 BinocularsBBR’s Alternative:

Apart from the Steiner UltraSharp that I have already mentioned, I would recommend taking a look at the Vanguard Orros 10x25 Binoculars – The cheap compacts also come with BaK-4 Roof Prisms and like the Steiner’s are also water & fogproof. They also have multi-coated optics and a unique offset hinge design.

Nikon Aculon 10x42 Binoculars

Nikon Aculon 10x42 BinocularsIf you are going to spend as little as $100 / £100, which is what these Nikon binoculars cost, then it is often better to opt for a porro prism rather than a roof prism bin. This is because this prism design does not require some of the expensive coatings that are needed in a roof prism bin to achieve the same quality and level of transmittance.

Highlights:

  • BAK4 Porro prisms
  • Multi-coated lenses
  • Rubber-armored

More Information & Further Reading:

BBR’s Alternatives:

Celestron LandScout 10x50 BinocularsCelestron LandScout 10x50 Binoculars – Costing well under $100 / £100 The LandScout series of poro prism binoculars from Celestron are available in a variety of magnification and size configurations to suit your needs. The 10x50 model that I reviewed won the award for the Best Value Low Cost Binocular 2015/16 as a result of many factors, but including the fact that unlike many cheap binoculars that have plastic bodies, these are aluminium which is a bit heavier, but much more durable. Also improving on the Nikon above is the fact that these have FULLY multi-coated optics and not just multi-coated. This will certainly make a noticeable difference in the quality and brightness of the image.

Kowa YF 8x30 BinocularsAlso worth considering:

Kowa YF 8x30 Binoculars – Winner of the award for the Best Low Cost Binocular 2013, like the Nikon’s above, these use a porro prism design, but unlike them the Kowa’s have fully multi-coated lenses which in theory should have a higher level of transmittance.



Further Reading:

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