Best Compact Binoculars for Sports & Concerts

compact-binoculars

The question I received this week comes from someone looking for a compact binocular ideal for using at a concert and for sporting events:

Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 8x22 vs Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x25

Have A Question For Me?Question:

Hi, I am looking for compact binocular that is under $200 to watch concert/sport. So far I come down to Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 8x22 vs Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x25. Which one I should choose? I’m open to any suggestion. Thanks!


Answer

When choosing between these two binoculars and for your specific requirements of sports and concerts, I think there are two main areas to keep in mind:

Size

A major consideration for any bin that you are going to be taking to sporting events and to concerts is it’s size and so firstly I think you have made the right decision by opting for a compact binocular.

On the plus side for the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x25 is that it has slightly larger 25mm objective lenses than the 22mm ones on the Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 8x22.

This slightly larger shaft of light being delivered to your eyes will probably be a small advantage in poor light. At an indoor concert as it means they will be able to gather that tiny bit more light and possibly create a brighter image. However the larger 10x magnification on the Bushnell means that you get an exit pupil of 2.5mm (25 ÷ 10), which is actually slightly smaller than the 2.75mm (22 ÷ 8) one produced by the 8x22 Steiner.

For more on the importance of this please take some time to read my in-depth article on the Exit Pupil.

FOV
Another very important aspect to look for in a bin for your requirements will be it’s FOV (Field of View). This is the width of the image that you can see when looking through them. For sporting events and at concerts, a wider FOV is desirable as it means that you will be able to see more of the action at once without having to move the view on the binoculars and thus potentially miss something else happening, just outside your view.

Comparisons

Then for me, the best way to Choose Between Binoculars once you have your shortlist of candidates is to compare their main specifications and features on a table as this makes it easier to get a quick overview. Please note that as well as your two choices, I have added a few other pairs that I feel you may also want to consider:

  Steiner Safari UltraSharp 8x22 Binoculars Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x25 Binoculars Hawke Sapphire ED 8x25 Binoculars Levenhuk Energy PLUS 8x25 Binoculars Vanguard Orros 10x25 Binoculars
  Steiner Safari UltraSharp 8x22 Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x25 Hawke Sapphire ED 8x25 Levenhuk Energy PLUS 8x25 Vanguard Orros 10x25
Weight: 228g 230g 241g 369g 280g
Length 11cm ? ? 11.2cm 10.4cm
Width 10cm ? ? 11.7cm 11.4cm
Exit Pupil 2.75cm 2.5mm 3.1mm 3.1mm 2.5mm
Eyecups Rubber Folding Twist-Up Twist-Up Twist-Up Twist-Up
Eye Relief ? 15.5mm 15mm 14mm 10mm
Min Focusing Dist 3m 1.8m 1.6m 2m 2.5m
FOV at 1000m 125m 95m 119m 126m 110m
Hinge Design Dual Hinge Dual Hinge Dual Hinge Dual Hinge Single Offset
Prism Type Roof Roof Roof Roof Roof
Phase Correction No Yes Yes No No
ED Glass No Yes Yes No No
Lens Coatings Think Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Fully Multi-Coated Multi-Coated
Waterproof Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fogproof ? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Approx Price $150 / £95 $160 / £215 $220 / £180 $70 / £80 $90 / £90

Of the two on your shortlist, the Bushnell is obviously much better quality as it has much higher quality optics. This includes fully multi-coated glass, phase corrected prisms and ED glass in the lenses, which will translate to a brighter and better quality image. So whilst the Steiner does produce a slightly larger exit pupil, which may help them almost equal the brightness of the Bushnell in low light, it has lower quality optics and so I doubt they will match the image quality.

As well as the optics, you will also probably get a better build quality on the 10x25 Bushnell, with features like the twist-up eyecups as opposed to the rubber folding ones on the Steiner’s being a good indication of this.

Alternatives to Consider

As well as the two you selected, I have added a few alternative compact binoculars that I feel would also be well worth adding to your shortlist:

Hawke Sapphire ED 8x25 Binoculars

Hawke Sapphire ED 8x25 BinocularsWhilst these compact Hawke binoculars are a little more expensive than the Bushnell’s in the US, in the UK they are actually a little cheaper, so they maybe a pair to consider depending on where you live.

I have added them as an option as they are very similar in quality to the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD, but unlike them these can also be found in an 8x25 configuration – see my article on the Best Compact Binoculars with ED Glass where both of these bins feature.

This means that you get a larger 3.1mm exit pupil and a wider FOV. This with the higher quality optics means that especially in low light conditions like at a concert, they will most probably be a better choice than the Steiner Safari UltraSharp.

Compare Prices & Where to Buy

 

Levenhuk Energy PLUS 8x25 Binoculars

Levenhuk Energy PLUS 8x25 BinocularsIf you are after an inexpensive option then at just $70 / £80, I feel these Levenhuk binoculars are well worth considering:

Whilst they may not have ED glass like some far more expensive compacts, they do come with fully multi-coated optics, which at this price point is not a given and definitely makes for a brighter and better quality image.

However apart from being a compact what I feel will be really beneficial to you is their very wide field of view. At 126m wide at a distance of 1000 meters, their FOV ranks up there with the very best and even beats the Steiner’s on this page, which as we have already discussed is an important aspect, especially when viewing sports and concerts.

Cost & Where to Buy

 

Vanguard Orros 10x25 Binoculars

Vanguard Orros 10x25 BinocularsI have included these Vanguard binoculars as a great option for those who want to keep their budget to less than $100 / £100.

Even though they have a 10x magnification, their FOV is still a respectable 110m at 1000m which approaches that of some of the 8x compacts above, but you still maintain the added reach you get with the higher 10x power. If you like the idea of these, but want to make sure you have a FOV that is wide enough, take a look at the 8x25 version that produces an image that is 113m wide at 1000m and will obviously also have the larger 3.1mm exit pupil to go with it.

Cost & Where to Buy

 

levenhuk-rainbow-8x25-amethyst-binocularsLevenhuk Rainbow 8x25 Binoculars

With a price tag set at about $60 / £55 and produced in a variety of bright colors, including this "Amethyst" version pictured these make a great low cost option for those wanting to either make a statement or in the case of events like golf, tennis and especially horse racing, get a bin to match your outfit.

For sports, I really like double hinge porro prisms like these as it enables them to fold up into a tiny shape when not in use for easy storage when carrying to and from the event.

These also come with an incredibly wide FOV of 133m at 1000m which as we have already discussed is super important for this use.

Compare Prices & Where to Buy

 

Further Reading:

I hope that at least some of my advice helps. If you have any more questions, just use the comments section at the bottom of this page or if you need any more information, please take a look at the links below on some related content:

Have A Question For Me?Have a Binocular Question?

If you are also having problems deciding which binoculars to get for your specific needs and I have not covered it on BBR and would like some advice, please drop me a line giving me as much details as you can regarding what you would like to use them for, your budget etc and I will see what I can do to help.

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