Best Long Distance Binoculars without a Tripod

Below is my answer to a question on high powered binoculars for long-distance observation without a tripod that I received on the BBR YouTube channel in the comments section on a video about the new Vortex Diamondback HD 15x56 binoculars, the answer to which I thought would be of use to others:

I really like your videos.

Can you suggest me binoculars that can view the largest distance without using a tripod, will be using them as a traveler?

Should I buy these? (The Vortex Diamondback HD 15x56 binoculars) and also where can I get the best price.

Thank you.


Hi Paresh, firstly thanks for the kind words.

To answer your question:
You only have to look to the fact that even somewhat more traditional companies like Swarovski Optik are producing more powerful binoculars (see the recent release of their 12x42 Swarovski NL Pure), to see that the current trend is towards higher and higher magnifications on binoculars.

For many reasons, this is not always a good idea as higher powers bring with them a number of issues and one of the most important being that any tiny movement in your hands gets magnified by the power and thus a high power binocular can be very difficult to keep the image still enough to get a good view from.

Being able to keep the view still and shake-free definitely varies from person to person.

For me, it also greatly depends on the position I am in, how large/heavy the binoculars are and how long I am looking through the binocular for.

So for example standing up, I am a little less stable than sitting down and if I am able to rest my elbows onto something like a tabletop, even better.

But yes, I can certainly use these 15x56 Vortex binoculars from the hands for short periods…indeed I was also impressed by how effective the 18x Maven B5 18x56 Binoculars were from the hands when I tested and reviewed them.

However, here it is very important to note that the image is by no means as stable as when I am looking through an 8x binocular and can only be achieved with concentration and for short periods of time, so it is not altogether a relaxing experience.

So ideally you would use higher power binoculars like these with a tripod/monopod (which may be a good idea for travel).

Personally, from the hands, the maximum I would choose would be a 12x, so something like the Athlon 12x50 Midas or Maven 11x45 B2 could be good options.

More Compact for Travel?
Or for travel, you may want something a little more compact, so something like the Steiner Wildlife Pro 12x30, but this configuration and the resulting small exit pupil will obviously mean small binoculars like this will not be very good in low light.

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