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How to choose the Best

High Powered, Long Distance Viewing Binoculars

Objective Lenses on the Steiner HX 15x56 Binoculars

The questions below are my answers to readers who are looking for a pair of high powered binoculars for long distance viewing and include some advice as well as options and recommendations as to which are the best binoculars for long distance viewing:

>> Skip To The Recommendations

Have A Question For Me?Question 1:

I have a question about which binoculars to buy. The main purpose, is long range scanning of the hill on the opposite side of the loch, which is about a mile away and the mountains behind the house.

I have an old pair of Zeiss Dialyt 10x40B which are wonderful but I would like a really good set of long range binoculars that zoom in more and allow me to see further.

I was told that the first figure is the magnification so should be much better than the Zeiss by a friend who gave me a pair of Bushnell 20x40 that they bought in 2006. They are rubbish! can't really get them setup properly and when they are as good as they get the view looks the same from them as it does with the Zeiss which are a breeze to use.

Any advice and or suggestions for long distance viewing would be really appreciated.

Have A Question For Me?Question 2:

I think you website is a fantastic source of information and I would really appreciate your opinion on a pair of high power binoculars.

I already have 2 average/good quality compact binoculars (10 x 25) and would like something a bit more powerful (say) around 12-15x or possibly up to 20x. Brightness, optical & build quality is important and my budget upper limit would be approx USD400.

I live on the coast in Australia and can view migrating whales from my house. They are usually 2,000-5,000m away with most being 3,000m. I am interested in seeing the whales as closely as possible without needing a tripod although the ability to use them with a tripod is desirable.

The new binoculars would primarily be used at home and we would use our existing compact ones when we are walking.

Can you please advise on some suitable standard long range binoculars and also whether I should also be considering more powerful IS ones? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Page Contents:

  1. What To Look For
  2. Recommendations
  3. 50 - 60mm
  4. 60 - 80mm
  5. 80 - 100mm
  6. Image Stabilized
  7. Long Range At Night
  8. Spotting Scopes


Thank you very much for the questions, which I will try to answer to the best of my ability and knowledge:

Firstly your friend is right in saying when describing a binocular, the first number is the magnification, so your Zeiss Dialyt 10x40B has a magnification of 10x, whilst the Bushnell 20x40 will magnify the image a massive 20x.

If you need more info on this, take a look at my page on What To Look For When Buying Binoculars that includes a section explaining all about what the numbers mean.

What To Look For

Many people make the mistake of assuming that in all cases and for all uses, a larger magnification or more powerful binoculars will be "much better" than those with lesser powers.

Remember, the most powerful binoculars are not always the best option and sometimes it is better to hold back a bit as there are many other important factors to consider when choosing the best long distance viewing binoculars for your specific needs:

Magnification & The Exit Pupil

I am not surprised that the 20x40 Bushnell's that your friend gave you were difficult to use as they produce a shaft of light that exits they eyepiece (exit-pupil) that is only 2mm in diameter (40 ÷ 20 = 2mm).

This is tiny and will almost certainly be smaller that the size of the pupils in your eyes in all but the very best light conditions when your pupils are at their smallest:

The relationship between the Exit Pupil and your eyes pupil diameter is important
The relationship between the Exit Pupil and your eyes pupil diameter is important

Whereas if you take the Zeiss Dialyt 10x40B as another example, they produce a much more respectable 4mm exit pupil (40 ÷ 10 = 4mm) which will be larger than your eyes pupils in good light.

What this means is that not only is the Bushnell transmitting less light to your eyes than those like your Zeiss binoculars that have larger exit pupils and so will appear less bright. But it makes lining up your pupils with those very small (2mm) shafts of light much more difficult than ones that produce larger shafts of light (larger exit pupils).

If you do not line up your eyes with this light, you get dark rings forming around the image and it generally makes viewing and thus using the bins more difficult.

For more on this very important concept, please take a moment to read my guide to the exit-pupil.

Objective Lens Size

By simply increasing the magnification on a binocular and nothing else, the exit pupil will get smaller and smaller.

To counter this and thus make sure you get a good long range binocular, it must not only powerful, but must deliver an image that is of good quality and bright enough. To do this, you need to increase the size of the objective lenses:

Larger lenses have the potential to capture and let in more light and therefore create a larger exit pupil, which we have already discovered means they can deliver more light to your eyes.

So if for example you kept the 20x power, but with objectives twice the size (80mm), they would now produce a shaft of light that is 4mm in diameter (80 ÷ 20 = 4mm), which is much more reasonable and in fact is the same as your 10x40 Zeiss.

The main down side to this is as you increase the objective lenses, the larger and heavier the bins become. A typical 20x80 binocular will weigh around 2kg (4.4 pounds/ 70.4oz) and so can be quite difficult or even impossible to hold steady for a reasonable amount of time. To counter this, you should mount them onto a tripod, which will also ensure image stability. Another important aspect which I will get to a little later on.

Almost all giant binoculars come with integrated tripod adapters that make attaching them to your tripod very simple - for more, see the section on tripods below.

Magnification & FOV

Whilst powerful binoculars give you more image detail, another down side to increasing the magnification is that it reduces the field of view (FOV). Or to put it more simply the width of the image that you can see gets narrower.

This can make locating and following an object more difficult and is also not ideal if you want to scan over a wide area in search of something as at any point you are viewing a smaller area than you would with a bin that has a wider FOV.

If we consider that most full sized 10x42 binoculars have a FOV of between 300ft and 350ft wide at a distance of 1000ft, you can see that the FOV of the much higher powered bins I have listed below is greatly reduced.

Magnification & Image Steadiness

As the magnification of an optical instrument is increased, any movement you make is amplified even more and so it makes keeping the image steadier more and more difficult. For hand held devices you really do not want to go much above 15x - 16x.

So whilst it is possible to hand hold a binocular at higher magnifications, the constant image shake will make it hard to get a good view of whatever you are trying to observe, especially over longer periods and so you may find that you need to support the bin against a post or tree.

So if you want to use a high powered long range binocular, you really should attach them to a good tripod via a tripod adapter.

Fortunately most giant binoculars and many larger bins will come with integrated tripod adapters that makes them really simple to fix securely onto your tripod and even if they don't they are an easy to find and relatively cheap accessory to purchase.

If you are wondering which to get, I personally use this Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT Tripod that I highly recommend, but there are many, many others that I am sure will work just as well.

Image Stabilization Binoculars
By using electronics IS binoculars can help eliminate some image shake. How much depends on many factors, but in some cases it is certainly extremely effective. The range Canon IS Binoculars have been synonymous in this sector for years and I have to say whilst pretty good, I have never been a massive fan, as they tended to be bulky, heavy, have short battery lives, were not particularly robust (unless you got the top-end model), and expensive.

But the technology involved has certainly improved and because of instruments like the Kite APC 16x42 Image Stabilised Binoculars that I recently tested, I am now somewhat a convert as they have addressed many of my issues, but there is no getting away from the fact that they are not cheap and so will not be the right solution for everyone in every situation.

Best Long Distance Binoculars 2024 Awards

Winner Best High-Power Binoculars 2021, Maven 18x56 B5 BinocularsEvery year since 2010, I have highlighted and honored the very best optics in a whole range of categories with a BBR Best Binos award. In recent times, this included an award for a single high magnification instrument ideal for long-distance observation.

This year I have gone a step further and have included a whole section dedicated to the very best binoculars in a whole range of categories that includes:

  • Best Overall High Power Binoculars
  • Best Long-Range Image Stabilized Binoculars
  • Best Long-Range Binoculars for Bird Watching
  • Best Long-Range Binoculars Under $1000 /£/€
  • Best Value High-Power Binoculars Under $400 /£/€

To check out all the winners, be sure to follow the link above.

Featured Powerful Binoculars 2024

Orion GiantView 25x100 Binoculars

Nikon 16x50 Aculon A211 BinocularIf you are looking for a good value mid-to-high level, very powerful, long distance viewing binocular that can be used for astronomy as well as daytime terrestrial observation, then my top recommendation is the 25x100 Orion GiantView.

Features that I like
The massive 25x power is great, but the fact that it is combined with the giant 100mm objectives ensure that not only do you get a very detailed "zoomed in" view, but it remains bright , even in very low light conditions, or indeed at night when using these for stargazing.

Unlike some that only have the outer lenses treated, the optics on these are Fully Multi-Coated, this means that every lens surface throughout the optical system has multiple coatings of anti-reflection material added to them.

This makes a real improvement to both brightness and image quality because far less light is reflected away each time it has to go through a lens in the system before getting to your eyes.

  • Field-of-View: 132ft at 1,000 yards
  • Weight: 161.55ozs (4580g)
  • Length: 17.1in (43.4cm)

Price Range
These Orion GiantView 25x100 binoculars currently retail for around $360 in the US and £320 in the UK:


Recommended High Powered, Long Distance Binoculars

Price - There are few low cost options available, which I have listed below, but just remember that in life you usually get what you pay for. So whilst they will be better than not using any binoculars at all, generally the more you pay, the better quality prisms, lenses and optical coatings are used, which will all go a long way to improving the overall quality of the image that you see and so the best long distance binoculars also tend to be the more expensive options.

42mm - 60mm High Powered Binoculars

Hand Held Options: The 50mm to 60mm recommendations listed below may not have the longest range, but are for many uses ideal for those who are want a higher magnification binocular, but don't necessarily want to have to attach it to a tripod.

Note: Almost all the instruments in this category will still be tripod adaptable, giving you the flexibility to use them as you wish depending on the circumstance. Indeed just how much detail that you can see in your image will be greatly affected by how steady you can keep it still. However I have found that with a something like a 15x56 or 16x50, I am perfectly able to keep them steady enough with just my hands.

So for example it may be nice to have them permanently set-up on a balcony looking out to the ocean on a tripod and then if you wish to take them out with you, just remove them from the tripod and off you go.

Steiner HX 15x56 Binoculars

Steiner HX 15x56 BinocularsAt 15x magnification these may not be the most powerful binoculars on this page, but combined with the 56mm objectives, I just love the flexibility that you get with these Steiner HX binoculars and the extra width of view you get makes them great for scanning wide open areas and in my opinion definitely one of the very best binoculars for long distance viewing.

I found hand holding them and keeping the image steady no problem at all, yet as they are easily fitted to a tripod, should you wish. On top of this, they have a quick-release neck strap system that makes it real easy to quickly swap them over to a over to a binocular harness.

Marketed mainly as a high power hunting binocular, I do feel that these are also ideal in a variety of other situations and uses:

These would be perfect for medium to long range security surveillance, wildlife observation and even birding at longer distances like on the coast where the birds are usually a little further away.

Made in Germany and one of Steiner Optics flagship models, they are up there with the very best when it comes to their build quality and the level of optics and coatings used that combined to deliver a very high quality as well as bright image:

Main Highlights

  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Protective hydrophobic exterior lens coatings
  • Schott BaK1 Roof Prisms that are both Phase Corrected wand Dielectrically coated
  • Field of view: 241ft at 1000yds

Read my full Steiner HX 15x56 Binocular Review

Price & Where to Buy
At around around $1000 / £1000, (check for the current prices in the US, UK as well as other countries by following the links below) the 15x56 Steiner HX is not the cheapest option on this page, but make no mistake, these are really up there with the best in this category and do in my opinion still offer great value for money.

Maven B5 18x56 Binoculars

Maven B5 18x56 BinocularsSuper high powered binoculars with an equally high level of renowned Japanese optics, coatings, components and a build quality to match, the 18x56 Maven B5 binocular is designed to deliver high quality, highly detailed views at long distances and whilst not cheap they are at a price that is well under that of most other "alpha" level instruments.

Optical Highlights
  • Japanese Made Components
  • Abbe-Koenig Roof Prisms
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • Fluorite Glass Lenses
  • Scratch & Oil Resistant Exterior Lens Coatings

Body Facts:

  • Single Top-Hinge Design
  • Magnesium Chassis
  • Water & Fogproof
  • Right Eye Diopter
  • Twist-up Eyecups
  • Dimensions: 8.2in (20.8cm) x 2.5in (6.4cm) x 6.1in (15.5cm)
  • Weight: 45oz (1276g)

Main Strengths:

  • Excellent build quality using a very high level of components: e.g.: the metal focus wheel and all-metal eyepiece housings and removable eye-cups
  • Alpha level optical components made in Japan which directly results in a much higher than average quality of view, far less color fringing and greater image brightness than what I would have expected with such a high magnification
  • When you consider the build quality & components and a price that is far lower than much of their direct competition it makes the Maven B5 18x56 binocular great value for money
  • Long eye-relief with excellent quality metal eye-cups make these an ideal choice should you wear some sort of eye protection or glasses
  • One of the best focus wheels and focus mechanisms in the business: looks great and works even better!
  • Excellent image detail as a result of the 18x magnification and use of high-quality optics

For More, read my full Maven B5 18x56 Binocular Review

Price & Where to Buy
Whilst not cheap, these top-end binoculars still cost way less than much of their direct competition from Europe. At the time of writing, they cost around $1500 / £1500. Check the links below for current prices in the US, UK as well as other countries:

Looking through the Vortex Diamondback HD 15x56 Binoculars mounted on a tripod

Vortex Diamondback HD 15x56 Binoculars

Vortex Diamondback HD 15x56 BinocularsWhilst these 15x56 Vortex Diamondback HD binoculars don't quite match the 18x56 Maven above or the Vortex Kaibab HD below both in terms of their power or their level of optics, they do cost a whole lot less and yet Vortex has still been able to include a whole host of high end features and optical components and thus after fully testing, I came to the conclusion that they managed to achieve that very difficult balancing act of producing a reasonably priced, reasonably high power, reasonably high performance binocular that delivers a bright, high-quality image.

For all the details, take a look at the full Vortex Diamondback HD 15x56 Binocular Review.

Main Features

  • Powerful 15x Magnification
  • Large 56mm Lenses
  • Magnesium Chassis - Water & Fogproof
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optical System
  • Dielectrically Coated & Phase Corrected Roof Prisms
  • Field of view: 77ft at 1,000 yards
  • Weight: 34.8ozs (987g)
  • ArmorTek® Protective Exterior Lens Coatings
  • Included Tripod Adapter
  • Included Vortex GlassPak Bino Harness / Case

Vortex GlassPak Binocular Harness included with the Maven B5 18x56 BinocularsIncluded Accessories:
Also worth mentioning here is that Vortex includes an excellent quality tripod adapter as well as their very popular fully covered GlassPak binocular harness/case with these Diamondback HD 15x56 binoculars. If you had to buy this Vortex GlassPak harness/case separately, it currently retails for $30.

Price & Where to Buy The mid-to-high end binoculars currently retail for around £350 / Ā£350 / €350, which when you consider the level of components used, the coatings and included accessories, then I feel these make excellent value for money.

Vortex Kaibab HD 18x56 Binoculars

Vortex Kaibab HD 18x56 BinocularsIf you are looking for a really high quality, very high power binocular, then the 18x50 Vortex Kaibab is most certainly worth considering.

Whilst the massive 18x magnification will get you greater image detail at longer distances, there is no doubt that the increased image shake you get with high magnifications means you will most probably have to use it with a tripod.

Indeed Vortex Optics recognizes this and as such these Kaibab binoculars come with a tripod adapter included.

As we know, higher powers also reduce your field of view and can be a problem in terms of image brightness and quality which is the main reason for using larger lenses.

At 56mm the lenses on the Kaibab are big, but not massive like some of those giant binoculars below. So in this case it is really important to use an ultra-high level of glass and coatings, which they do on this instrument. This includes an APO Lens System with ED glass elements and the very best dielectric prism coatings.

For all the details, check out my Vortex Kaibab HD 18x56 Binocular Review.

Main Features

  • Massive 18x Magnification
  • Large 56mm Lenses
  • Included Tripod Adapter (Vortex uni-daptor tripod mount)
  • High Definition ED Glass Lenses
  • APO Lens System
  • Fully Multi-Coated (XR Plus Anti-reflection)
  • Dielectrically Coated Roof Prisms
  • Field of view: 194 ft at 1000yds
  • Weight: 11oz
  • ArmorTekĀ® Protective Exterior Lens Coatings
Price & Where to Buy
These top of the range 18x56 Vortex Kaibab binoculars will set you back around $1000 / £1100 / €1100, so not cheap, but you can be confident that you are getting one of the very best high powered binoculars on the market:

Swarovski SLC 15x56 HD Binoculars

Swarovski SLC 15x56 HD BinocularsThe Swarovski SLC 15x56 HD is currently the most powerful binocular in Swarovski's range and has gained a well deserved reputation amongst hunters, in particular, for its quality and low light performance.

However it should not just be looked at as a binocular for hunting, as I have used it very successfully as a high magnification binocular for coastal and wetland bird watching. In these circumstances, most bird watchers will use spotting scopes, but a high power binocular performs extremely well and offers you a far better sense of immersion.

Abbe Koenig Roof Prisms
Unlike the smaller, lower powered models within the SLC series, instead of the usual Schmidt-Pechan design of roof prism, the 15x56 version utilizes Abbe Koenig Roof Prisms inside of them to invert the image.

So whilst these prisms are less compact and a little heavier, Abbe Koenig Roof Prisms have the advantage of utilizing total internal reflection, which incurs no loss of light compared to Schmidt-Pechan prisms, which thus have to also use a reflective material, which no matter how good it is, does lead to some light loss.

For all the details, check out my Swarovski SLC 15x56 HD Binocular Review.

Main Features

  • Magnesium Chassis
  • Large 56mm Lenses
  • Central Focus Wheel with Integrated Lockable Diopter Adjuster
  • Abbe-Koenig Roof Prisms
  • Field of View: 78 m @ 1,000 m, 234 ft @ 1000yds
  • Dimensions: 192 mm, 7.56 in x 141 mm, 5.55 in x 73 mm, 2.87 in
  • Weight: 1,200 g, 42.3 oz
Price & Where to Buy
As they say, the best don't come cheap and this is most certainly the case with these 15x56 Swarovski SLC HD binoculars: Certainly far from cheap, but you can be safe in the knowledge that you are buying the very best that money can buy. Depending on where you buy, be prepared to spend in the region of approx $2300 / £1600 / €1900:

50mm Binoculars Without Image Stabilization

The instruments below are popular and so whilst I have not actually used or tested them, I am adding them for completeness:

Nikon & Pentax 16x50 Binoculars

Nikon 16x50 Aculon A211 BinocularBoth Pentax and Nikon produce a number of different porro prism models, in a range of prices with this 16x50 configuration, which I feel is ideal for a higher power hand held optic for most uses:

The size and weight is not so great as to make them too awkward to use for long periods and the slightly reduced magnification of 16x makes it much easier to keep the image still without the aid of a tripod.

Pentax 16x50 XCF Binoculars
The XCF is their higher end product in this size configuration and uses Pentax's Super Multi-Coating for an improved light transmission.

Note: Whilst they don't come with a tripod adapter included, they are tripod adaptable.

  • Field-of-View 183ft @ 1000 yds. / 61m @ 1000m
  • Weight 1.98lb / 900g
  • Dimensions 7.80 x 6.54 x 2.20" / 19.8 x 16.6 x 5.6cm

Nikon 16x50 Aculon A211 Binoculars
With Multi-coated optics and the porro prism design, the Nikon Aculon binocular looks to me to be a good lower cost option for those on a budget. Also worth noting that considering their 16x power these have a good field of view:

  • Field-of-View 220 ft@ 1000 yd / 73m @ 1000m
  • Weight 32.6oz / 924g
  • Dimensions 7.8 x 7" / 19.81 x 17.78cm

Pentax 16x50 S-Series SP BinocularsPentax 16x50 S-Series SP Binoculars
This is the cheap option, but still use Porro Prisms made from BaK-4 glass and have Fully Multi-coated Optics which is good news.

  • Field-of-View 183ft @ 1000 yd / 61m @ 1000m
  • Weight 32oz / 907g
  • Dimensions 7.8 x 6.5 x 2.3" / 19.8 x 16.5 x 5.8cm

Price Range
As I mentioned earlier, both Nikon and Pentax have a number of different options within the 16x50 configuration ranging in price from around $80 up to $200 in the US and £80 - £200 in the UK.

60mm - 80mm High Magnification Binoculars

Possible Hand Held Options: Whilst I have listed these high range binoculars below that can be hand held if you don't want to use a tripod, you will still get a better experience if you attach them to a tripod using a tripod adapter as it will not only ensure a steadier image but give your arms a rest if you spend long periods scanning wide areas:

Celestron SkyMaster 25x70 Binoculars

Celestron SkyMaster 25x70 BinocularsThe 25x70mm Celestron SkyMaster binoculars combine a very high powered 25x magnification with large 70mm objective lenses and whilst the can be attached to a tripod for the most stable views, they are just light and small enough for most people to be able to hand hold them.

The FOV on these is 141 wide @ 1000 yards (47m @ 1000m), which for a binocular with such a high power is pretty impressive.

Read My Full Review for all the details on what I believe is a great low cost long distance binocular for use during the day and a good astronomy binocular at night.

Price Range
At the time of writing, the Celestron SkyMaster 25x70 Binoculars were available for around $90 in the US and £80 in the UK, which makes them great value for money.



Celestron Echelon 20x70 Binoculars

Celestron Echelon 20x70 BinocularsThis award winning Echelon is similar to that of the SkyMaster above, except where the SkyMaster focuses on being great value for money, the Echelon's main aim is simply to be the best and indeed these are up there with the best long distance binoculars that I have tested.

All Celestron Echelon binoculars are put together by hand in the USA, but they use the best optical components imported from Japan, thus combining a very high build quality with exceptional quality glass and coatings, to produce a stunning instrument.

Scoring an "outstanding" 82% when I reviewed them they performed well above average in every department. Highlights include a full water and fog proof aluminium tripod adaptable body, BaK-4 porro prisms and Fully Multi Coated optics.

Whilst these 20x binoculars are not quite as powerful as the SkyMaster above, but the advantages being that you get a bigger exit pupil, for a much better low light performance and a wider field of view: The FOV on these is 157 wide @ 1000 yards (52m @ 1000m).

For more details, please take time to Read My Full Review of this exceptional instrument.

Price Range
Costing around $800 in the US, they are not the cheapest, but when you consider the additional quality, I do still believe they make good value for the discerning long distance observer.



Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II Binoculars

Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II BinocularsThese high powered long distance binoculars with their 60mm objectives have a exit pupil of 3mm, which should be just enough for day time observation. They also use Pentax's Super Multi Coated lenses to increase the transmission levels to around 98%, which will help with image brightness.

They weigh 3.09lb / 1.40 kg, which is a lot lighter than the larger 80mm binoculars listed below and so is possible to hand hold. However to keep the image completely steady over longer periods you may need to use something like a post or a tree if you don't want to use a tripod.

The FOV on these is only 114ft wide @ 1000 yards (38m @ 1000m), which may be a consideration if you need to scan large areas.

Price Range
The Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II Binoculars cost about $200 in the US and £220 - £300 in the UK.


Nikon Monarch 5 20x56 Binoculars

Nikon Monarch 5 20x56 BinocularsThese very high quality, high powered binoculars from Nikon are a great option and possibly my favorite choice if you are looking for a binocular that can be hand held as well as attached to a tripod as they weigh just 1.2kg (43.5 oz).

Whilst they only have 56mm objectives, they come with a host of very high end optical features to improve image quality and boost the brightness. This includes: Extra-low dispersion (ED) glass, phase corrected Bak-4 roof prisms that also have dielectric high-reflective coatings and all lenses and prisms are fully-multilayer-coated.

The FOV on these is an impressive 174ft wide @ 1000 yards (58m @ 1000m), which is a lot better than many others with this amount of power.

Price Range
The Nikon 20x56 Monarch 5 binoculars cost about $850 - $900 in the US and £700 in the UK.

Giant Binoculars - 80mm+

Giant high zoom binoculars, with objective lenses of around 80mm like some of those listed below are commonly used for astronomy as they have large objective lenses to let in as much of the little light that is available and have a high magnification to bring distant objects like the moon, stars and galaxies into closer view. However this does not mean that they can't be used as effectively as a terrestrial long distance binoculars.

Low Cost Giant Binoculars:

Zhumell 20x80 SuperGiant Binoculars's Best Astronomy Binocular 2012 - Zhumell 20x80 SuperGiant BinocularsWinner of's award for the Best Astronomy Binocular in 2012, the Zhumell 20x80 SuperGiant Binoculars are a pretty good option if you are looking of a cheap, but high powered binocular.

Despite their giant 80mm objectives, they have kept the weight down to 70.4 oz. / 4.4 pounds / 2kg, making them just small enough to use in the field, but of course are best mounted to a tripod.

The FOV on these is 168 ft. wide at 1000 yards away

They also feature fully multi-coated optics and BaK4 prisms, and custom adjustment with center and right diopter focus knobs. Perfect for lunar viewing, locating deep space objects, or as you need, long range terrestrial viewing.

Price Range
Zhumell SuperGiant 20x80 Binoculars cost about $100 in the US, but are a little harder to find in the UK.


Celestron SkyMaster 20x80 Binoculars

Celestron SkyMaster 20x80 BinocularsLike the Zhumell's above, these have a powerful 20x magnification combined with 80mm objective lenses to produce a 4mm exit pupil. The also use high quality BAK-4 prisms, but they only come with Multi-Coated optics as opposed to the Fully Multi-Coated ones on the Zhumell's. Having said that they are a fraction of the price when compared to high spec giant binoculars and will still produce a more than decent view during the day.

Weighing 75 oz (2126 g), they have a FOV of 167 ft. at 1000 yards.

If the 20x80 configuration is not right for you, Celestron produce the SkyMaster in a range of different setups:

Price Range
Celestron SkyMaster 20x80 Binoculars cost about $100 in the US and about £100 in the UK:


Mid-Level Giant Binoculars:

Zhumell Tachyon 25x100 Binoculars's Best Astronomy Binocular 2013 - Zhumell Tachyon 25x100 Astronomy BinocularsIf you are looking for even more power a good mid-cost option would be these Super Giant Zhumell Tachyon binoculars with their massive 25x magnification and 100mm objective lenses that produce an exit pupil of 4mm.

Winner of the award for the Best Astronomy Binocular in 2013 at, the optics on the Tachyon include the use of BaK4 prisms and fully multi-coated lenses and they have a relatively wide FOV of 157 ft. @ 1000 yards.

Their weight is 4.7kg (164.8 oz.) and so as you can see you will definitely be needing a tripod!

Price Range
Zhumell 25x100 Tachyon's cost about $240 in the US.


Barska 20x80mm Cosmos Binoculars

Barska 20x80 Cosmos BinocularsThe Barska 20x80 Cosmos uses BAK-4 prisms combined with fully multi-coated optics, and a large 80mm objective lens to allow for maximum light transmission and clear, crisp imaging.

These fully waterproof, heavy-duty, binoculars are ideal for long-distance and astronomy viewing, they have a braced in tripod mounting post allows for quick and easy setup. Whilst these use a lightweight and high quality aluminium body, they still weigh 2.5kg (88 oz).

Field of view is 157 ft. wide at 1000yards.

Price Range
The Barska 20x80mm Cosmos Waterproof Binoculars cost about $200 - $250 in the US:


High-Magnification Image Stabilized Binoculars

To get the best view out of any of these very powerful binoculars you simply must have some way of removing the image shake that comes from the tiny movements in your hands and body as without it you simply cannot take in and appreciate the extra detail that the higher magnifications present you with.

For the most part and as with most of the instruments on this page, this involves the use of a steady base like a tripod or monopod to mount the instrument onto. However there are times when carrying about a large tripod may not be convenient, or for example if you are on an unsteady platform like a boat/plane where using a tripod won't actually help. So it is in these circumstances where onboard image stabilization really comes into its own.

Winner Best Image Stabilization Binoculars 2024 - Kite APC 50 Image-Stabilized BinocularsKite APC 50 Image-Stabilized Binoculars

Available in 14x50 and the more powerful 18x50 configurations, the Kite Optics second generation APC binos have taken image stabilization and optical performance on binoculars to an whole new level.

Optical Quality
In the past, to keep the costs down, most makers of IS binoculars would often sacrifice on optical quality, and thus whilst you got a more stable view, the image quality would lag behind standard binoculars in the same price range. With the Kite APC 50 Image-Stabilized Binoculars, this is gladly no longer the case.

Featuring ED lenses and treated with Kite's own MHR Advance+ anti-reflection coatings, they are not only able to deliver a very impressive 86% light transmission, but levels of chromatic aberration are very low despite the higher magnifications, meaning you get the best of all worlds: a fully stable, clear and bright image that is sharp and true to life

Image Stabilization
Powered by Kite's latest KT 3.0 processor, updated software and with the revolutionary KDGS-2 at its core, the APC stabilized binoculars redefine this niche by completely eliminating the small image movements you normally see which truly makes the sensation of looking through binoculars vanish and allows you to clearly observe details that you would otherwise struggle to see.

Full Review: Kite APC 14x50 Image-Stabilized Binoculars
Technical Review:
New KITE APC 50 Binoculars: Next-Level Image Stabilization

Build Quality
The KITE APC 50 binoculars also boast an impressive IPX 7 waterproof rating. Add to this the impressive battery life up to 38 hours and the ingenious APC mode, which extends its operation to cover an entire season on a single charge it means they are not only tough enough to be used through rain-soaked jungles or braving the misty peaks of rugged mountains without worry, but you can go on repeated extended trips without having think about charging the device.

Main Specs & Features:

  • High-End Binoculars, RRP Approx: €/$/£/ 1700
  • ED Optical System
  • 14x or 18x Magnification
  • 50mm Objective Lenses
  • 86% Light Transmission
  • Field of view: 65m at 1000m
  • Minimum Close Focus: 5.5 meters
  • IPX7 Waterproof Rating & Fogproof
  • Angle power control (APC)
  • Tripod Adaptable
  • Weight from: 1009g
  • 30 Year Warranty
Buy & Compare Prices: Kite APC Binoculars

Kite APC 16x42 Image Stabilised Binoculars

Kite APC 16x42 Image Stabilised Binoculars - Best Long Range, High Power Birding BinocularsWinner of the awards for Best Long-Range Image Stabilized Binoculars 2021 and 2022 these 16x42 APC IS binoculars from Kite Optics were a real revelation to me when I tested them. Indeed they proved to be way better than I had ever imagined.

In the past, I have never been a big fan of IS binoculars, as they always tended to be bulky, heavy, have short battery lives, were not particularly robust, and expensive! But the technology involved has certainly moved on and I am now a convert and because of how well they performed, I have zero hesitations in recommending the Kite APC 16x42 Image Stabilised Binoculars for use in the right situations.

Image Stabilization
Firstly IS technology has come a long way in recent years and as I say in my review of them, the first time I turned the Kite APC 16x42 binoculars on and looked through them I was blown away by just how much more stable the image was. This lack of image shake really helps in enabling you to fully enjoy and soak up all the extra image detail that the powerful magnification provides.

16x42 Configuration
This unique and somewhat extreme combination does have it's down-sides which I go into in great detail in my review which I urge you to read if you are interested, but for long-distance observation of just about anything, but in particular wildlife and birds where you may be at the coast, on a lake front, on rolling hills or out in wide-open fields and don't want the hassle of carrying about a tripod, then these Kite APC IS binoculars are well worth considering.

  • High-End Binoculars - approx $1000 / £950 / €950
  • Image Stabilization
    IS Correction Angle: 2°
    Batteries: 2x AA (+ 2xAA spare)
    Battery Life: 120 hours(including use of the internal spare battery)
  • Waterproof: IPX7
  • Fogproof: Nitrogen Filled
  • Fov: 204ft @ 1000yds / 68m @ 1000m
  • Eye Relief 14mm
  • Close Focus: 4m / 13.0ft
Current Price & Where to Buy: Kite APC Binoculars

High Powered Binoculars at Night

Have A Question For Me?Question 3:

I'm 70, still can't figure out the social platforms you mentioned - sorry.

Absolutely love the web site. Clear, concise, good balance on color changes and fonts that old people can see. Pretty amazing.

Single recommendation if possible - please - thank you. We retired to Las Vegas, just built a new house up the side of Black Mountain. Entire Las Vegas valley below us. Strip and downtown about 8 miles away. Would like best binoculars and tripod for night viewing. View is fantastic. Thinking of the Fujinon 12x60 on tripod. What would you get - thanks again


Fujinon HB 12X60 BinocularsHi Ryan, many thanks for your question and the kind words.

Whilst I have not had the opportunity to test the Fujinon 12x60, I don't think you will go far wrong with them as I have heard only but good things about the brand in relation to long range, larger objective binoculars.

The only thing I have reviewed that is similar to these and which I may recommend are the Celestron Echelon 20x70 Binoculars (see above or Read My Full Review here), which are in my opinion excellent.

However as you are planning on using your long distance binoculars mostly for night, I think you are right in keeping the magnification down to a reasonable amount, to maintain the exit pupil size. Whilst not the case for everyone, I think this is even more important when we consider your age, where your pupils may not dilate as much as when you were younger. For more on this please take time to read my complete guide to the exit pupil which goes over it all in detail.

I hope this helps and I would love to know what you do eventually get and how they perform for you.


Spotting Scopes

Another option would be to get a spotting scope which are in their most basic form, telescopes designed for terrestrial observation.

These generally have higher magnifications than even the strongest binoculars and come with larger objective lenses for the reasons that we have already discussed. The down side is that they only have one eye-piece (the are essentially half a binocular). Whilst this saves weight and makes them smaller, but in general I feel that a good quality high power binocular is easy to use, provides a better view and to me offers improved comfort, especially during extended periods of use than most spotting scopes.

If this option interests you, take a look at the Best Spotting Scope Reviews Website that includes much more information as well as reviews on a selection of spotting scopes that I have used.

Further Reading:

I hope that at least some of the advice I have given is useful and that you are able to find the right long range binoculars for your needs and within your budget. If you or anyone else has any more questions related to this topic, please don't hesitate to ask it in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Have A Question For Me?Need Advice?

If you have a question relating to binoculars, or just want to know more about a specific technical optical term, then I would love to try and answer it for you. Submit your question here.