Best 42mm Binoculars for Safaris under $450 (£)

8x42mm Safari Binoculars

The question this week come from a very experienced safari guide who is looking for the best mid level binoculars to use on his walking and open vehicle safaris.

Have A Question For Me?Question:

I have been guiding in the Kruger NP. for 20 years or so and am on the hunt for the very best (8x42) or (10X42) mid range. ZAR 3500-R5000 ($300 – $450 / £300 – £450) pair of binoculars for me to guide with – on foot, and in the open vehicle.

I initially wanted the Nikon monarch 7 8X42 but after reading poor reviews started looking around.

I quite fancy the Vanguard 10x42 endeavour ED, I am now really confused – but after looking at your site, all the great info, etc. I thought I’d try to contact you for a personal recommendation.


Hi there, many thanks for the question, which I think will be of interest and also be of use to those going on a safari and not only for guides and so have published the answer on BBR.

My Recommendations

As a kind of heads up, I would first like to say that recommendations I give below are obviously only based on binoculars that I have used and tested myself and I cannot speak for every binocular on the market. I have however used and reviewed many, many pairs of binoculars, so whilst this may be a slightly short list, I think from my experience, you should be pretty happy with any of these:

Celestron Trailseeker 8x42 Binoculars

Celestron Trailseeker 8x42 BinocularsThese Celestron binoculars walked away with my award for the Best Value for Money Binocular in 2014 and whilst they cost quite a lot less than many others featured on this page and so are well under the $450 budget, they posses almost all of the features as the others.

Their very wide field of view makes them perfect for most types of birding and general wid life observation. Add to this their tough, water and fogproof lightweight magnesium body, then you have an ideal 8x42mm safari bin.

A major highlight, especially at this price is that like the best on this page, these also come with Dielectric Coatings on the prisms which boost light transmission to a level way beyond most normal binoculars for improved image quality and low light performance.

Important Highlights:

  • Nitrogen Purged & Waterproof
  • Magnesium Alloy Frame
  • Dielectric & Phase Coated BaK-4 Roof Prisms
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Very Wide Field of View: 426ft @ 1000yds
  • Close Focus: 6.5ft
  • 17mm of Eye Relief
  • Lightweight: 23.1oz (655g)

Price Range
Costing under $240 in the US and £200 in the UK, it is easy to see why with all these great features, they are such great value:


Vanguard Endeavor ED 10x42 Binoculars

Vanguard Endeavor ED 10x42 BinocularsThe Vanguard Endeavour ED’s are for my money one of the best value for money bins on the market, especially within this price range and indeed they won the title in 2013 and 2012! So in my opinion, you really wont go far wrong with these:

Main Specifications:

  • Extra-low Dispersion Glass Lens Elements
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Phase Correction Coatings
  • Eye Relief: 16.5 mm
  • Field of View: 342ft at 1,000 yards
  • Angular Field of View: 6.5°
  • Close Focus: 8.2 ft
  • Length: 6.0in (15.2cm), Height: 2.1in (5.3cm), Weight: 25.8ozs (731g)

Price Range
In the US, these will have a RRP of $430.00, however you can now grab them for as little as $280, whilst in the UK they had a RRP of £380, but now only cost around £250 meaning they are way under budget, yet you still get most of the components and features of much more expensive bins:


Celestron Granite 8x42 Binoculars

Celestron Granite 8x42 BinocularsI also suggest that you take a look at the Celestron Granite Binoculars, which I also really liked when I tested and reviewed the 8x42 version.

The 8x42 Granite is also an award winner taking the title of the best Best Birding Binocular in 2012. One of it’s main strengths besides the great view being the very wide field of view, which for a guide and on safari will be very useful. However Celestron Optics also make a 10x42 if you prefer, but this will obviously have a narrower FOV.

Main Specifications:

  • Magnesium Chassis
  • ED Glass Lens Elements
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Phase Correction Coatings
  • Eye Relief: 17 mm
  • Field of View: 426ft at 1,000 yards
  • Angular Field of View: 8.1°
  • Close Focus: 6.5 ft
  • Length: 5.8in (14.7cm), Height: 2.1in (5.3cm), Weight: 24.0ozs (680g)

Price Range
Now costing around $330, the 8x42 Granite had a RRP of $450 in the US, whilst in the UK they sell for about £340:


Hawke Sapphire ED 8x42 Binoculars

Hawke Sapphire ED 8x42 BinocularsWinner of the best Best Birding Binocular in 2013, these are not only ideal for bird watching, but their top hinge design and lightweight magnesium body make them ideal for taking on safari, including walking safaris.

As you would expect from the award and like the Celestron above, the 8x42 Sapphire ED from Hawke Sport Optics has a very wide view, which will help you spot birds and larger wid life that much easier. However you can sacrifice a little of this and opt for the 10x42 version, which will give you a little more image detail in return.

A feature that these also have which many others don’t in this price bracket are Dielectric Prism Coatings which ensure the best quality and brightest images possible.

Main Specifications:

  • Magnesium Alloy Body
  • ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) glass
  • Dielectric Prism Coating
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Phase Correction Coatings
  • Eye Relief: 18 mm
  • Field of View: 426ft @ 1000yds
  • Angular Field of View: 8.1°
  • Close Focus: 6.6ft
  • Length: 5.5in (14cm), Height: 2in (5.1cm), Weight: 25.7ozs (729g)

Price Range
These new bins have a price tag of around $400 in the US, whilst in the UK they sell for about £350, which once again I feel makes them great value especially considering the very high spec dielectric prism coatings and so are well worth considering. To check current prices in the US, UK, Canada and Germany, take a look at the link below:


Vortex Viper HD 8x42 Binoculars

Vortex Viper HD 8x42 BinocularsOr if you have a little more to spend, I would highly suggest including the Vortex Viper HD binoculars onto your shortlist. They are very well made and make great wildlife and hunting binoculars and come with all the high end features and components you would expect to find and more.

Like the models above and whilst I only tested the 8x42 model, you can also obviously get the 10x42 Viper HD should you prefer a little more of a detailed image, but sacrifice a little in the width of the view.

Main Specifications:

  • Extra Low Dispersion Glass
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Phase Correction Coatings
  • Eye Relief: 20 mm
  • Field of View: 347ft at 1,000 yards
  • Angular Field of View: 6.6°
  • Close Focus: 5.1ft
  • Length: 5.8in (14.7cm), Weight: 24.2ozs (686g)

Price Range
The Vortex Viper originally cost around $700 and so was over budget, but now you can pick them up for about $500, whilst in the UK they currently sell for about £440 to £500:


More Information & Related Content

Below are a few more articles and related content that you may wish to look at that will give you a few more ideas:

I hope that at least some of the advice and recommendations that I have, helps you find the perfect binocular for your guiding.

If you have any further questions, please just use the comment section at the bottom of this page. I would also love to know which pair of optics you eventually choose and how you feel about them after using them for a while.

Have A Question For Me?Need Some Optics Advice?

If you can’t decide between two or more binoculars, or you are confused about what features to look for for your specific needs and it is something that I have not already covered on BBR, I would love to see if I can’t help – Ask your question here

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