OpticsHunt’s Best Binoculars Under 100

Screen-grab of the Best Binoculars Under 100  on OpticsHuntI recently came across and article on a website that made me really angry, so much so that I just had to get it off my chest and write about it!

The offending article is published on the OpticsHunt website and lists their Recommended Top 5 Best Binoculars Under 100 with their reasons for choosing them and the points that they liked and disliked about each. So far so good and whilst I don’t totally disagree with some of their choices, I do have some major issues with the facts and opinions that they offer on each of them. To make matters even worse, I am highly suspicious as to if they have actually ever seen any of the models that they recommend on their best binoculars under $100 list, let alone used or tested them!

Now I will be the first to admit that I don’t know everything about binoculars (far from it) and I am sure that if you take some time to browse though this website you will come across more than a few errors (especially in the spelling department!) and you may even find the odd factual inaccuracy or misunderstanding on my behalf.

But what I do promise you is that not only do I have more than what I would describe as a good understanding of binoculars, how they work, what makes a good or bad pair, but I have also used and tested many, many pairs over they years and when I recommend an instrument, it is always (unless stated otherwise) based on my real world knowledge of the binocular after having used, tested and in most cases fully reviewed it.

This is something that I take real pride in on BBR and is why I get really annoyed when I see sites with binocular reviews and articles written by those that either have very little or no understanding of optics and/or have never used the instrument that they are recommending that you should spend your hard earned money on.

Recommended Top 5 Best Binoculars Under 100 by OpticsHunt

Anyway enough of my ranting, lets go ahead and see what made my blood boil!

Below are OpticHunt’s Recommended Top 5 Best Binoculars Under 100 including their opinions and what they like and do not like on each of them. Note, I have added my two cents worth and where applicable, my recommendations as well. Have fun! Oh and I would also love to get your opinions as well, you can leave them in the comments section at the foot of this page.

  1. Bushnell Falcon 7x35 Binoculars
  2. Olympus 118760 Trooper 10x50 DPS I Binocular
  3. Nikon 8246 ACULON A211 10x42 Binocular
  4. Olympus Trooper 8x40 DPS I Binoculars
  5. Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15x70 Binoculars

Bushnell Falcon 7x35 Binoculars

Their 1st choice is what they call the Bushnell Falcon 133410 binoculars (using the product code!) which have a current retail price of around $35 / £53 (Click here to check), which is well under the $100 budget and whilst in my eyes it may not immediately jump out as being the very best binocular under 100, at first glace I really do not have an issue with this as a valid choice for a cheap binocular.

However it is what they then go on to say about the Bushnell Falcon binocular that really gets me:

Bushnell Falcon 133410 Binoculars - OpticsHunt Best Binoculars Under 100

I think anyone with even the slightest knowledge of optics and/or binoculars will immediately recognise this summation of these Bushnell binoculars as being mostly rubbish. The problem is that there are many people out there who don’t know anything about optics or binoculars, but are looking for advice on what to get. So to offer up nonsense like this is really unforgivable.

What is worse, I noticed that this is not even their own wording, rather it is just copied off of the description used on Amazon!

HD Clarity?
Firstly the mention of "quality optics with stunning HD clarity" is very misleading and to most will imply that these have ED glass in the lenses, which is not the case.

Then apparently, "a Porro-prism and coated lenses" provide sharp viewing" – well every binocular uses some sort of prism, a porro one does not necessarily make for a sharp image. Also coated lenses, single or multi-coated?

Then the 12mm of eye-relief and 5mm exit pupil mean glass wearers will be comfortable – well perhaps so, but 12mm is not really that much eye-relief and there will be many eye glass wearers who will need more in order to get the full view.

I could go on, but you get the picture and let’s perhaps forgive them for this drivel as it was actually someone else who wrote it.

However unfortunately it get’s worse as it is the section underneath the product summary where they list the "Things We Liked" and the "Things We Didn’t Like" where I almost died:

Bushnell Falcon 133410 Binoculars - OpticsHunt Best Binoculars Under 100 Likes & Dislikes

They Liked the "Porro-prism coated lenses" What!!!? this does not even make any sense! I think they meant to say they liked that the lenses are coated, but even then, if they were not there would be a major problem Now if the whole optical were fully-multi coated, then there would be something to like. Simply coated lenses is the bare minimum you can get. Nothing to like here.

They Didn’t Like that these binoculars "Can’t be zoomed" – well if they mean these are not variable magnification binoculars, then they are correct, however this is also true of every other binocular on their list of the Recommended Top 5 Best Binoculars Under 100 and yet they don’t seem to worry about this detail with any of the others!

Price Range
These cheap Bushnell Falcon Binoculars cost about $35 in the US and £53 in the UK:

BBR Opinion:

Best Binoculars Reviews LogoAlthough I have not tested or reviewed these Bushnell’s on BBR, we can take a look at some of the facts to draw up some sort of an opinion to see if they are worth considering:

Main Features & Specifications:

  • Prism Glass: BK-7
  • Fully Coated
    Optics
  • Fold Down Eye-cups
  • Water & Fogproof : No
  • FOV: 420ft @ 1000 yards
  • Close Focus: 6m/20ft

What I don’t Like:

The fact that they are only fully coated and that they use BK-7 glass for the prism. Whilst not common, it is possible to find instruments at this price point with fully multi-coated optics and which have better quality BaK-4 glass prisms. Both of which will ensure that a better quality ad brighter image is produced.

These are neither water nor fog proof – once again, this is a sure indication of the low quality of this product. Whilst you think you may not require either, unsealed binoculars are not only susceptible to moisture getting in and fogging up the interior glass surfaces, but in dry conditions it also means dust can get in as well. More About Fogproof and Waterproof Binoculars.

The minimum close focus distance is terrible, not super important to most, but if you like viewing things like flowers, butterflies etc from close range, stay well clear of these.

Fold Down Eye-Cups are not great, you get less adjustability than twist-up ones and they can perish along the fold if you keep them in this position over long periods.

What I do Like:

The field of view is really good – this is mostly down to the slightly lower than "standard" 7x magnification and is why there are many birders that opt for this as opposed to your more common 8x or 10x devices.

Conclusion:

Whilst not the absolute worst binoculars in the world, I do think that these are really are not great and I don’t think they would make my list of the top 100 Best Binoculars Under 100!

Celestron LandScout 10x50 BinocularsBBR Alternatives:

Firstly I would spend just a little more to make sure I get a binocular that is fully sealed, has twist-up/down eye-cups and comes with fully multi-coated optics and BaK-4 prisms.

A pair that immediately springs to mind that I have tested is the Celestron LandScout 10x50 Binoculars, which is also available in a number of other configurations, including a 7x35 and costs around $80

Also well worth looking at are the ever popular Kowa YF 8x30 Binoculars which continue to be one of the all time best low costing porro prism binoculars.

PLUS: Read my guide to the Best Binoculars Under $100 – I only recommend binoculars that I have fully tested and reviewed!


Olympus Trooper 10x50 DPS-I Binoculars

Olympus Trooper 10x50 Binoculars - OpticsHunt Best Binoculars Under 100Second on the list of Optic Hunts best binoculars under $100 is the Olympus 118760 Trooper 10x50 DPS-I binocular which at the time of writing sells for about $74 / £62 (Click here to check).

Whilst in no ways brilliant, this time their description is a little better and I see that it has not been copied straight from Amazon (click on the image on the right for a larger view), which makes me wonder where they got it from because even the section on the things they like and dislike about it make sense this time (see image below).

Although the fact that they like aspects like the Anti-reflective coating is a little simplistic as pretty much every single binocular on the market comes with at least some of the lens surfaces coated.

Likes & Dislikes - Olympus Trooper 10x50 Binoculars - OpticsHunt Best Binoculars Under 100

Price Range
The 10x50 version of the Olympus Trooper Binocular costs about $74 in the US and £62 in the UK:

BBR Opinion:

Best Binoculars Reviews LogoOnce again I have not tested or reviewed these Olympus Trooper binoculars on BBR, so I can’t comment as to the view through them. But I can take a look at their main features to see if the have any sort of potential:

Olympus Trooper 10x50 DPS-I BinocularsMain Features & Specifications:

  • Prism Glass: BK-7
  • Level of Anti-Reflection Coatings: Coated?
  • Fold Down Rubber Eye-cups
  • Water & Fogproof : No
  • FOV: 342ft @ 1000 yards
  • Eye-Relief: 12mm
  • Close Focus: 6m/20ft
  • Weight 30.2oz (855 g)

What I don’t Like:

Olympus don’t say too much about the level of anti-reflection coatings used on their Trooper series, other than to say that they have an "Anti-Reflective Lens Coating", which leads me to believe that it is a single layer coating that is probably only applied to the exterior lens surfaces on the binocular and not to all the lenses within the system. Whatever the case it almost most certainly means they are not fully multi-coated.

Whilst I do like the use of porro prisms on cheap binoculars like these as they do not require the extra coatings that are needed on a roof prism in order to get the same quality, but the fact that the prisms are fabricated from BK-7 glass is not a good sign as this is almost always considered inferior to BaK-4 glass prisms when used in binoculars.

These are not fully-sealed and thus are not water proof or indeed fog proof – as sure indication of a lower quality product.

Very poor close focus distance, an important factor if butterflies, insect, flower or even birding from closer ranges is of interest to you.

Fold Down Eye-Cups are not great and almost always inferior to twist-up helicoidal ones as you get less options to position your eyes at the perfect distance behind the ocular lenses. As well as this they are known to perish along the fold if you keep them in this position over long periods of time.

What I do Like:

For a 10x binocular these do have a nice wide field of view.

Conclusion:

As with the Bushnell above, these are not completely terrible, but they are also far from being a good cheap binocular and most certainly would not make my list of the Best Binoculars Under 100!

Celestron LandScout 10x50 BinocularsBBR Alternative:

Once again I highly recommend you rather take a look at the Celestron LandScout 10x50 Binoculars.

These cost about the same ($75 / £80) as the Olympus Trooper yet come with fully multi-coated optics, BaK-4 prisms and are fully sealed and filled with nitrogen gas making them both water and fogproof. On top of this you get superior features like twist-up eye-cups.

Making them far better value for your money and almost most certain to deliver a far superior quality image.

ALSO: Take a moment to take a look at the BBR guide to the Best Binoculars Under $100 – only recommends binoculars that I have fully tested and reviewed!

 


Nikon Aculon 10x42 Binoculars

OpticsHunt Top binoculars under 100 - Nikon Aculon 10x42 Binoculars
Third on the Optics Hunt list of the top 5 binoculars under $100 is the Nikon ACULON A211 10x42 binocular (8246 ) which at the time of writing sells for about $77 / £95 (Click here to check).

According to OpticsHunt (see image right) "Other binoculars can cause fatigue in extended periods of time" and "If you spend hours outdoors when you’re viewing, you need this binocular.", but presumably not these because once again and according to them "With turn-and-slide rubber eyecups, you’ll be comfortable viewing for a while."- need I say more!

Also it is interesting to see in the "Things We Didn’t Like" section OpticsHunt found it "difficult to adjust single-eye focus" Not only does this not really make sense, but these actually have a central focus wheel which like most binoculars focuses both sides together. Indeed in the "Things We Liked" section, they actually say they like the "Smooth central focus knob"!

I can only assume here they are talking about the diopter adjustment ring thinking that it is for focusing the device?

Likes and Dislikes - Nikon Aculon 10x42 Binoculars

Price Range
The 10x42 Nikon Aculon A211 Binocular costs about $77 in the US and £95 in the UK:

BBR Opinion:

Best Binoculars Reviews LogoOnce again, I have not tested or reviewed these binoculars on BBR, so cannot comment on the vie through them, but let us take a look at their main details and see what we can make of them:

Nikon Aculon 10x42 BinocularsMain Features & Specifications:

  • Prism Glass: BaK-4
  • Level of Anti-Reflection Coatings: Multi-Coated
  • Twist-Up Eye-cups
  • Water & Fogproof : No
  • FOV: 314ft @ 1000 yards
  • Eye-Relief: 11.6mm
  • Close Focus: 5m / 16.4ft
  • Weight 26.8oz

What I don’t Like:

  • Once again these are only Multi-Coated and not fully multi-coated which is a shame.
  • Field of view is acceptable but not a highlight
  • Close focus distance is not great
  • Not Water or Fogproof

What I do Like:

  • Twist-Up Eyecups
  • BaK-4 glass porro prisms

Conclusion:

Of all the binoculars so far on this list, the Nikon Aculon is the strongest and if I were to test them and depending on how well they performed, I could potentially see me adding them to my own list of the best cheap binoculars under $80, but for $100, I still think you can do better:

Levenhuk Sherman PLUS 8x42 BinocularsBBR Alternative:

At around $100 / £100 the Levenhuk Sherman PLUS 8x42 Binoculars (also available in a 10x50 and a number of other options) are a great value option and in my opinion improve on the Nikon A211 Aculon because not only do they have BaK-4 prisms, but the optics system is fully multi-coated with an anti-reflection material which is sure to ensure a better quality and brighter image.

As well as this they have a hermetically sealed shell and filled with nitrogen making them both water and fog proof.

Minimum Close focus distance is also superior at 9.8ft.

ALSO: BBR guide to the Best Binoculars Under $100 – only recommends binoculars that I have fully tested and reviewed!

 


Olympus Trooper 8x40 DPS-I Binoculars

Likes and Dislikes - OpticsHunt BEST BINOCULARS UNDER 100 - Olympus Trooper 8x40 DPS-I BinocularsInteresting that OpticsHunt decided to put another configuration of the Olympus Trooper DPS-I binoculars onto their top 5 binoculars under $100 list (they must REALLY like this series!) This time it is the 8x40 version which will set you back around $50 to $60 / £55 (Click here to check).

Also very interestingly is although it did not seem to bother them on the 10x50 Trooper (see above), this time they did not like the fact that the "Dioptric correction is only on one eyepiece"! What!! I am sorry but that is how it works! For those who don’t know (and clearly OpticsHunt do not have a clue), you adjust the diopter (usually located near the right eye-piece) when calibrating your binoculars to your particular vision.

OpticsHunt BEST BINOCULARS UNDER 100 - Olympus Trooper 8x40 DPS-I Binoculars

Price Range
The 8x40 version of the Olympus Trooper Binocular costs about $60 in the US and £55 in the UK:

BBR Opinion:

Best Binoculars Reviews LogoApart from the specification differences because of the different configuration, these have the same main features as the 10x50 Olympus Trooper above and so I won’t insult your intelligence and go into all these aspects of what I like and mostly don’t like about these all over again.

But will say that the very wide field of view on these is impressive and that they have a better close focus distance, the rest however remains the same and I would still suggest that you can do better the same amount and far, far better if you were to spend $100.

Olympus Trooper 8x40 DPS-I BinocularsMain Features & Specifications:

  • Prism Glass: BK-7
  • Level of Anti-Reflection Coatings: Coated?
  • Fold Down Rubber Eye-cups
  • Water & Fogproof : No
  • FOV: 429ft @ 1000 yards
  • Eye-Relief: 12mm
  • Close Focus: 13.1ft / 4m
  • Weight 25oz / 710g



Celestron LandScout 10x50 BinocularsBBR Alternative:

Kowa YF 8x30 Binoculars are well worth considering here, whilst they won my award as the best low cost binocular back in 2013, these continue to be relevant and are still one of my options as the best binoculars under 100 on the market.

They are fully multi-coated optics, have BaK-4 prisms and are fully sealed and filled with nitrogen for both water and fogproofing. You also get twist-up eye-cups and a far better looking quality of neck strap and carry case.

PLUS: Take a look at the BBR guide to the Best Binoculars Under $100 – only recommends binoculars that I have fully tested and reviewed!


Celestron SkyMaster 15x70 Binoculars

OpticHunts Best Binoculars under 100 - Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15x70 BinocularsFinally number 5 on OpticHunt’s recommended top 5 Best Binoculars under 100 are the Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15x70 Binoculars that cost around $70 in the US and £73 in the UK (Click here to check).

As I have tested and reviewed both this and more recently the 25x70 Celestron SkyMaster Binoculars, I can speak from experience regarding their optical performance and whilst as a cheap binocular, they will never match a high end product like say for example the Celestron Echelon 20x70 Binoculars, I have to totally disagree with OpticsHunt and say that properly focused images do NOT appear blurry!

Likes & Dislikes - OpticHunts Best Binoculars under 100 - Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15x70 Binoculars

Price Range
The 15x70 Celestron Skymaster Binocular costs about $70 in the US and £73 in the UK:

Best Binoculars Reviews Logo

BBR Opinion:


Celestron SkyMaster 15x70 BinocularsMain Features & Specifications:

  • Prism Glass: BaK-4
  • Level of Anti-Reflection Coatings: Multi-Coated
  • Folding Rubber Eye-Cups
  • Water & Fogproof : No

What I don’t Like:

  • These are only Multi-Coated and not fully multi-coated which is a big shame.
  • Not Water or Fogproof
  • Not Fully Sealed

What I do Like:

  • BaK-4 glass porro prisms
  • You get an entry level Long Range or Astronomy binocular ideal for beginners at an incredibly low price

Conclusion:

If you are looking to get into astronomy and have a very tight budget, these the Celestron SkyMaster series is about as good as it gets.

For sure they nowhere near match the quality that you get from their and other higher end products, but they are also not terrible by any means.

No doubt they would make my list of the Best Astronomy Binoculars under $100 as there is far less competition, but as for the best overall binoculars for under 100, I wouldn’t have these in the top 5 for sure.



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Comments

One Response to “OpticsHunt’s Best Binoculars Under 100”

  1. Ken says:

    As you say BBR there are many errors and their understanding of how binoculars work is almost zero, there may be many in the USA who may read this and believe what they read which is a shame when we have web sites like BBR to get real information on the varius optics available, apart from the Nikon and Celestron which are acceptable one wonders what the other 95 models were like, the mind boggles. Keep up the good work BBR where Truth, Knowledge and Clarity is at the fore.