Binocular Buyer and User Guides

Binocular Reviews Home > Buyer & User Guides

This section of the site contains articles and documents related to two main areas of interest:

  1. Buyers Guides: This area contains all the advice and information that you need to help you buy your ideal pair of binoculars.
  2. User/Owner Guides: In this section I have grouped articles and advice regarding all you need to know as a owner of an optical instrument.

Buyers Guides

Binoculars 101

The place to start if you are looking to buy binoculars and aimed at complete Newbies and beginners up to mid level users.

What to look for in binoculars - contentsWhat To Look For When Buying Binoculars

In this comprehensive guide, I take you through all the most important features and specifications to look for in binoculars when buying. A particular emphasis placed on easy to understand language and thus the aim is to help you to easily, quickly and confidently spot a good value for money binocular within your chosen budget without having to know all the complicated words and jargon (unless you want to!).

Further reading:

20 Most Popular Binoculars Amongst BBR Readers

The Biggest Mistakes Newbies Make When Choosing Binoculars

And How to Avoid Them
The most common mistakes I see people new to binoculars (and other optics) make when choosing binoculars to buy and how not to make them yourself

Introducing 4 New Brands to BBR

New Swarovski EL 8.5x42 BinocularsVery excited to announce that I have just received a number of instruments to test from brands that are new here on BBR.

Look out for my full reviews and thoughts on each these exciting new instruments as they will be up on this site in due course.


Binocular of the Month - August 2018

Eschenbach Trophy D 8x42 ED

This month I have decided to bring to your attention one of Europe's and in particular one of Germany's lesser known manufacturers of super quality bins:

Eschenbach produce some of the best bins available, but because they are perhaps not quite as well known as the other 'alpha brands', their prices are nowhere near as inflated.

These Trophy D 8x42 ED's are a perfect example of this and in regards to their build quality and optical performance are a match for just about anything else out there.

Scoring a mega impressive 9/10 for image quality and with the stats to match, these are without doubt one of the best binoculars for bird watching that I have used and ideal for general wildlife observation and hunting:

Important Optical Features

Wide Field of View
An important feature to many wildlife and in particular birders is one that has a wide field of view which makes it more easily find and then follow animals and birds, especially the small faster moving ones! At 408ft wide at 1,000 yards away, these Eschenbach Binoculars are once again up there with the very best 8x binoculars.

Premium German Quality at a Reasonable Price
Made in Germany to the highest standards, there is no mistaking that the 8x42 Eschenbach Trophy D ED is a quality optical instrument. But what also really impressed me about them was whilst you would never call them cheap, these Mid-High End binoculars currently retial for around: $430 / £309, which is ALOT less than you can expect to pay for many other top of the range premium brands and which is why if you are in the market for a high end pair of optics, you really should take a closer look at these:

Shopping BaketBuy & Compare Prices for these Eschenbach Trophy D-ED Binoculars

Annual Binocular Awards

If you are looking for some advice on some of the very best binoculars in a whole range of categories, why not take a look at some of the winners of awards handed out by my self and other optical experts:

Where to Buy Binoculars Online

USA Shopping Basket IconUK Shopping Basket Icon
Canada Shopping Basket IconGermany Shopping Basket Icon

The BBR recommended list of specialist optical retailers like Eagle Optics in the US and WEX (Warehouse Express) in the UK as well as online superstores like Amazon that sell binoculars in a range of different countries and regions, including the USA, Canada, the UK as well as Germany.

Discounted Binoculars

Minox 10x42 BV BRW Binoculars
Looking for a real bargain?
This section contains a list of binoculars on sale as well as all the current Cashback and rebates being offered by optical manufacturers and online retailers.

Also in this section on the BBR website, you'll find deals on ex-demo and ex-sample binoculars that are as good as new, but being offered at substantially reduced prices.

The Different Binocular Configurations & Which to Choose

Binocular Configuration chart10x42, 8x42, 8x32, 10x26... Which set-up is right for you and your particular requirements?

With the help of my "Binocular Configuration Chart", I go through each of the most common binocular combinations, pointing out their particular strengths and weaknesses to help you decide which is the most suitable for your needs:

Wide FOV Binoculars

Wide Angle Minox Binoculars
Having a really wide field of view (FOV) is really important to some people and in some situations. Many birders particularly look for binocular with a wide viewing angle.

In this section, I explain the field of view, why and when it is important and list some of the widest available:
>> Wide Angle Binoculars
>> Wide Angle 10x42 Binoculars

Value For Money Binoculars

Bird Value Binoculars
What exactly makes good value for money and can you have a really expensive binocular that is better value than a cheap one?

I explore these and other questions as well as list why I believe are the best value optics is a range of different price categories:
>> Best Value For Money Binoculars
>> Best Value Birding Binoculars

High Powered Binoculars for Long Distance Viewing

Barska 20x80 Cosmos BinocularsWhilst the main purpose of almost all binoculars is to magnify your view and thus allow you to see the detail in distant objects, there are limits and quite a few considerations that you need to take into account when looking to get a pair of binoculars with a very high magnification for long distance observation:

Eye-ReliefLong Eye Relief & Eye-Glasses

If you use eyeglasses and want to continue to use them whilst looking through your binoculars, you need a pair of optics with an eyepiece that gives you plenty of room for adjustment to ensure that you still get to view the full image - in other words you need a good amount of eye-relief. For more on exactly what it is, what to look out for and some recommendations view my complete guides to:

Compact Steiner Wildlife XP BinocularsCompact Binoculars - Reviews & Guides

A section on BBR featuring in-depth & independent reviews as well as buyer and user guides to the best compact and pocket binoculars.

This section includes guides to travel, theatre and sporting compacts as well as features on the popular Steiner Safari and Wildlife as well as Pentax, Nikon, Kowa, Swarovski and Minox bins.

Best Binoculars
for less than $200 / £200

Bushnell 10x42 NatureView Binoculars
Over the past few years the amount of good quality binoculars available for less $200/£200 has dramatically increased and you can now get some really great value for money optics that compare surprisingly well to many top of the range options available. So which ones are the best?

In this guide, I highlight some real gems that I have tested and reviewed.

Best ED Binoculars
under $350 / £350

Vortex 8x42 Viper HD Binoculars
In recent times the amount of binoculars using ED (extra low dispersion) glass elements in their lenses has dramatically increased. This added competition has also brought the price down which is great for us.

In this section, I take a look at the best ED bins costing less than $350/£350 that I have reviewed, including the Vortex Viper HD, Vanguard Endeavor ED & the Celestron Granite.

OpticsHunt's Best Binoculars Under $100 / £100 / €100

Swarovski 8x30 CL Companion BinocularsAccording to the OpticsHunt website, these are their top 5 recommended binoculars for less than $100.

I may not necessarily agree with all or indeed any of their choices, but I feel they are worth sharing.

I also offer my own opinions and alternatives for you to take a look at and consider if you are in the market for a cheap binocular.

Cheap vs Expensive Binoculars

Swarovski 8x30 CL Companion BinocularsIn these documents I explore and point out the main differences between cheap, mid range and expensive binoculars to discover just where the extra money goes when you buy a top of the range model.

I also take a look at what makes a binocular good or even great value for money and give some of my recommendations to some of the very best that I have reviewed:

How to Choose Between Binoculars

So you have read all the reviews and narrowed your shortlist down to a few or perhaps even just two binoculars, but now you are not sure which one to choose. Read my guide on how to choose between a few binoculars and make sure that you get the one that is best suited to your specific needs.
20 Most Popular Binoculars Amongst BBR Readers

The 20 Most Popular Binoculars Amongst BBR Readers

Take a look to see which are the best selling binoculars here on BBR - Pentax, Steiner, Nikon, Swarovski, Meade Instruments, Celestron, Vanguard, Levenhuk, Vortex, Eagle Optics... the list includes old favorites as well as some new models that will most certainly be a surprise to most.


Interpupillary Distance (IPD)

On almost all binoculars you can change the distance between the eyecups and therefore the ocular lenses to match the distance between your eyes.

This is usually achieved by opening and closing a hinge, but what if you have particularly close or far set eyes or if you are looking to specifically get a binocular for a child?

Digital Camera Binoculars

By the amount of emails I get on the subject, I can tell that there is a lot of interest in binoculars with built-in cameras and it is not surprising as the concept of being able to photograph or video whatever you are looking at is very appealing.

However the technical difficulties of implementing this means that there are very few that get it right.

This section contains a number of article I have written over the years on the subject and thus explores digital camera binoculars in detail, lists the very few good ones, exposes those that are little better than toys, offers advice, alternatives and discusses the best uses for them.

More Buyers Guides:

User & Owner Guides

Below are what I hope are some useful articles and bits of information, should you already own binoculars and need some advice on things like focusing, repairs, cleaning, aiming, etc.

How to Focus BinocularsHow to Properly Set Up & Focus Binoculars

Many people may ask why I would have a whole article dedicated to focusing binoculars: "It is easy, just turn the dial" they say.

But that is the problem - I have met many people that either did not know that you could or if they did know, did now how to properly adjust their binoculars to compensate for any differences in each of their particular eyes vision.

Using Binoculars in WinterSelecting & Using Binoculars in Winter

Using binoculars with gloves on can get a lot more tricky unless you use a little bit of common sense and if possible choose a binocular that will make it much easier for you.

In this article I pass on some tips on what to look out for when choosing and using binoculars when it is really cold especially when you are wearing gloves. Also includes a small section on using binoculars in the snow.

Cleaning Your Binoculars

Zeiss Lens Cleaning Kit
It is vitally important that when you clean your binoculars, and especially it's lenses that you do it properly and make sure that you don't damage, what are quite often quite delicate coatings on the glass.

In this section, I take a look at a number of ways that this can be achieved using just a cleaning cloth or specialised optical cleaning kits.

Binocular Repairs

Cutaway of the interior of a binocular
What should you do if your device has collimation problems, or what if some of the rubber deteriorates?

In this article we explore what can be repaired, what are the costs and some binocular repair companies that I have been introduced to over the years, in the hope that they may be able to help you with your problem.


How to Focus BinocularsBino Basics: Aiming Your Binoculars

Those of us who use binoculars all the time probably take being able to quickly and accurately lock onto a target a little for granted, thinking that it is easy and everyone can do it.

Well I have seen some people really struggle and the extra time it sometimes takes them can mean the difference between catching a glimpse of that rarest of rate birds or not!

The good news is that anyone can do it, but like most things in life, it takes a little takes practice, in this document I also pass on a few hints and tips that should help.

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