10x50 Binoculars for Birding, Wildlife & Astronomy under $260


Thanks for the question and yes, in general, I think a 10x50 is a good configuration for your particular requirements (wildlife, birding and night sky observation) so the instruments on your shortlist seem to be good options.

Also Consider:

If you want wider views and an even better low light performance as well as a more steady view (which is important, especially when looking up at the stars for long periods without a tripod), you could instead get a 8x50 or 7x50 binocular.

For more info as to why, check out these guides:

However, just keep in mind the downside to reducing the magnification is that you will lose some image detail.

You have a good budget and I think as long as you are careful, you can get a good set that if you look after it, can last you a lifetime 🙂

Vortex 50mm Binoculars

I can’t comment too much on the Vortex crossfire, as I have not tested it myself, but if you take a look at all the Vortex binoculars I have tested you can see that in general, I think they offer a very good performance within their price range.

My review of the Vortex Diamondback HD 15x56 may be of particular interest – not that I think you should go for a 15x56 configuration, but because the 10x50 Diamondback HD is, I think within budget and is at a higher level than the Vortex Crossfire.

Vortex Diamondback HD 15x56 Binoculars

Vortex Diamondback HD 15x56 BinocularsWhilst these 15x56 Vortex Diamondback HD binoculars don’t quite match the 18x56 Maven above or the Vortex Kaibab HD below both in terms of their power or their level of optics, they do cost a whole lot less and yet Vortex has still been able to include a whole host of high end features and optical components and thus after fully testing, I came to the conclusion that they managed to achieve that very difficult balancing act of producing a reasonably priced, reasonably high power, reasonably high performance binocular that delivers a bright, high-quality image.

For all the details, take a look at the full Vortex Diamondback HD 15x56 Binocular Review.

Main Features

  • Powerful 15x Magnification
  • Large 56mm Lenses
  • Magnesium Chassis – Water & Fogproof
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optical System
  • Dielectrically Coated & Phase Corrected Roof Prisms
  • Field of view: 77ft at 1,000 yards
  • Weight: 34.8ozs (987g)
  • ArmorTek® Protective Exterior Lens Coatings
  • Included Tripod Adapter
  • Included Vortex GlassPak Bino Harness / Case
Price & Where to Buy

Hawke Endurance ED 10x50 Binoculars

Also, check out the 50mm Hawke Endurance ED binoculars which they also make in the 10x50 configuration.

I have tested the 7x50, 7x32 (marine versions) 8x42 and 8x32 versions and without exception, they always perform well above what I would expect at this price level:

Hawke Endurance ED Binoculars

Hawke Endurance ED 8x42 BinocularsThe Endurance series from Hawke Sport optics is a mid priced range ($210 to $300 / £110 / €150 – £290 / €300) that in my experience, in terms of features and the quality of components and coatings delivers way more than would you most often find at this level.

On most of the models this includes the use of fully multi-coated optics with phase corrected BaK-4 prisms.

The inclusion of ED (extra low-dispersion) glass on the full sized models is really impressive for this price class and in my opinion (see my full Hawke Endurance ED 8x32 Binoculars Review Here) really does help lift them above much of their direct competition.

The Hawke Endurance series consists of a wide range of configurations. Indeed there are five different sizes on offer (25mm, 32mm, 42mm, 50mm & 56mm) and each is available in a selection of magnifications (8x, 10x & 12x) as well as color variations (green or black).

Sizes & Models Available:

Current Prices & Where to Buy:

Buy & Compare Prices for Hawke Endurance ED Binoculars

Athlon Midas 10x50 Binoculars

Another binocular that springs to mind is the Athlon Midas – I have tested the 12x50 Athlon Midas and whilst it may be just over budget, I found it to be excellent for the price and well worth considering:

Athlon Midas BinocularsAthlon Midas Binoculars

The Midas series from Athlon is an interesting one to me as I believe it is probably the series where you get the biggest bang for your buck from within their stable and here is why:

The single bridge body has a chassis made from a magnesium alloy that as you would expect is both waterproof and filled with Argon gas to protect inner optics from fogging.

The fully multi-coated optical system includes ED glass lens elements, BaK-4 roof prisms with both dielectric coatings and phase correction ones and you get extra protection coatings on outer lens surfaces.

Athlon Midas BinocularsThus as you can see, apart from the body shape, you are getting pretty much the same level of components and features as the Ares, but at a substantially lower price!

So whilst I think the Ares is good value, these Athlon Midas Binoculars look to me to be EXCELLENT value for money binoculars.

Indeed as you can read about in this article, they are what I believe to be the very Best Athlon Binoculars for the Money.

Models & Specifications

As with the Ares series, the Midas comes in the standard 10x42 and 8x42 models, but rather than two mid-size versions, you now have the choice between two large aperture versions, a 10x50, that will excel in low light and a more powerful 12x50 for long distance observation:

Prices & Where to Buy

Further Reading & Related Content

More Options – Above Budget

Not within your budget of $260, but may be of interest to other readers are the following suggestions I would also recommend:

I hope this helps. Jason

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x