High powered binoculars can be used for multiple purposes. Whether watching birds off in the distance, or viewing game when hunting, watching whales from a large ship, or even gazing up at the night sky.
There are many factors to consider when looking into long distance binoculars such as lens quality, field of view, magnification, weight, and much more. You first want to decide how you will use your binoculars and the purpose they will serve for you.
- Will you be needing heavy duty binoculars for hunting that can see long distances with a great field of view?
- Will you need a casual pair of bird watching binoculars?
- Do you expect to be in extreme weather conditions and need waterproof binoculars?
We took a look at some of the industry’s best binoculars for long distance and here are our top 5 picks.
Our 5 Best Binoculars for Long Distance
Field of view
|Vortex Optics Diamondback|
|Nikon Prostaff 5|
1. Vortex Optics Diamondback – Large Field Of View
The Vortex Diamondback has a magnification of 10X, a field of view of 345 feet, a 42mm objective diameter, and 16mm eye-relief. It is best used for hunting and birdwatching.
These binoculars also feature a durable rubber coating that adds to the overall durability and lengthevity of the optics.
The lenses are multi-coated and allow for very bright and clear images. It has the ability to resist glare and fog, due to the nitrogen filled o-ring that keeps the view clear.
The field of view is one of the largest on the market today at 345-feet. This makes tracking game a lot easier and aids in following fast targets. The 16-mm eye-relief makes them perfect for users wearing glasses and they are quite functional in all environments as well.
The Diamondback comes with a lifetime warranty, which makes them well worth the price. They are ideal for long distance viewing and they enable the user to keep track of animals and even birds in flight. These are highly recommended for birdwatchers as well as advanced hunters.
2. Nikon PROSTAFF 5 – Arsenic-Free and Environment Friendly
The Nikon Prostaff 5 is an arsenic-free, eco-glass binocular set with 10X magnification, a field of view of 293 feet, an objective diameter of 50mm, 19.6 mm eye-relief, and anti-reflection, multi-coated optics.
The large 50mm objectives offset the dimming that can occur with high magnification and draws in plenty of light to boost its light-gathering ability in challenging conditions such as at dawn and dusk, or in dense fog.
The Nikon ProStaff 5 Binoculars produce bright and clear high-contrast images, with true color rendition across the entire field of view in all lighting conditions, due to anti-reflection, multi-coated optics.
The optical tubes are nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed to be waterproof and submersible, as well as resistant to internal fogging when moving through extreme temperature variations and environmental conditions.
Further Reviewing the Nikon PROSTAFF 5 Binoculars
It is equipped with a tethered, one-piece ocular rain guard that covers the eyecups as they hang around the neck and prevents rain and spraying water from filling them. There is precise focus control due to a large slip center focus wheel. It is easy to use even with gloves on. The rubber eyecups can be used with or without eyewear and are very comfortable.
The Nikon Prostaff 5 is relatively lightweight and durable due to fiberglass-reinforced polycarbonate chassis. The chassis material is temperature resistant, preventing the expansion and contraction that is common with metal, which can cause the optical components to move out of alignment over time and prevent sharp focus.
The grip is slip-resistant due to textured, protective rubber armoring. Indents on the sides of the optical tubes are ergonomically placed where the hands naturally fall for a more comfortable feel in the hand and a more secure grip. The Nikon Prostaff 5 is a great set of heavy duty binoculars for the serious outdoorsman.
3. Celestron Echelon – High magnification, great for Astronomy
The large-aperture Celestron Echelon series is the binocoular designed especially for use in low-light, terrestrial conditions or for astronomy purposes. It has a 20X magnification, a field of view of 157 feet, a 70mm objective diameter, and eye-relief of 19.5mm.
The Echelons have BaK-4 prisms for contrast and sharpness and have the same proprietary XLT lens coating that is used on their observatory-grade spotting scopes for increased contrast and resolution.
It is housed in aluminum alloy with rubber armor coating. While this material may not be as cheap or as lightweight as the polycarbonate ones, it is definitely stronger and certainly contributes to the quality of the instrument.
The Echelon is fully sealed and nitrogen-purged, which allows it to be fully waterproof. It also includes a waterproof case. Each eyepiece can be focused for your right and left eye so it’s great if you have different vision in both eye.
More on the Celestron Echelon Binoculars
The Echelon has an extended eye-relief of 19.5 mm, which is very long and great for people with glasses. If you wear glasses, you can just roll down the cup and keep your glasses on, while you position your eyes to the correct distance behind the ocular lens.
It is equipped with extra-low dispersion glass lenses that provide brighter images and compensate for color fringing. Dielectric, high-reflective multilayer prism coating allows for sharper, brighter, and clearer whites across the entire field of view.
These special coatings are added to the glass surfaces to increase transmittance levels for a brighter image, but also improve the view by eliminating unwanted reflections that can cause undesired results.
With a large binocular like this with a powerful magnification, balance becomes a very important feature when using them without the aid of a tripod. The Celestron is equipped with a couple of smooth depressions on the underside of the body that are positioned so that it can aid in finding a good balance.
Additional Features on the Celestron Echelon Binoculars
This model uses an individual focus system, which means that you need to focus each eyepiece individually by simply turning the eyepiece. It does take a little longer to focus on closer objects than most binoculars that only require you to turn a single, often centrally located, focus wheel that adjusts the focus on both eyepieces simultaneously.
At 59oz, they are a little more than double the weight of most standard sized binoculars. However, they compare well to other giant binoculars and, remember, that these have higher spec features like a full aluminum body, rather than a polycarbonate one that many cheaper options use.
The obvious advantage of a high magnification is that you get a more detailed view. On the flip side, you usually also get a far narrower width or field of view, which is why the Echelons only have a field of view of 157 feet. Overall, these are a great pair of long distance and astronomy binoculars.
4. Bushnell Powerview – Best value
The Bushnell Powerview offers 16X magnification, a field of view of 182 feet, and an objective diameter of 50mm.
It has a non-slip, rubber armored body that absorbs shock and is tripod adaptable.
The Powerview is a bit difficult to hold steady with a magnification of 16X, so the use of a tripod or some sort of stabalization system is recommended for optimal viewing.
The Powerview has fully coated optics for superior light transmission and brightness, even in low light. The air-to-glass magnesium fluoride coating reduces light loss and glare due to reflection.
Additional Reviewing the Bushnell Powerview Binoculars
It is equipped with a 1-touch InstaFocus system that allows you to focus quickly and holds your subject in sharp focus. The right ocular can be further focused by rotating it. This is a great accommodation if the user’s two eyes require different focus.
The eye-cups are soft and flexible for comfortable viewing. The eye-cups also roll down easily for people with eyeglasses. It includes a soft carrying case, neck strap, and lens cloth.
These are the ideal binoculars for hunters, hikers, anglers, naturalists, and outdoor professionals. They are a great, affordable set of entry-level binoculars.
5. Bushnell H2O – Great waterproofing
The Bushnell H2O offers a magnification of 10X, a field of view of 305 feet, an objective diameter of 42mm, and an eye-relief of 17mm.
The Bushnell H2O is rubber coated for extra durability and comfort. Additional grip on the sides makes these binoculars easy to handle in all weather conditions and they will not slip out of your hands in wet weather.
The BAK-4 prisms have been multi-coated for greater light transmission, they also have the ability to resist glare, and the nitrogen purged o-ring will ensure no fog buildup is present.
Unfortunately, since the binoculars are just multi-coated instead of fully multi-coated, the image isn’t as pristine as it could be. These binoculars are best used in bright light conditions. This is not an ideal low light viewing optic.
Further Reviewing for the Bushnell H2O Binoculars
The H2O is equipped with a nitrogen-purged body, which makes it completely waterproof and fog proof, perfect for wet or constantly changing weather conditions. With a 17mm eye-relief, the H2O is a great option for those with glasses.
They have a very high field of view, which is great for tracking your targets such as birds or game animals. This allows you to see moving objects extremely well, especially in the brush.
The focus knob is central, and easy to adjust. The neck strap is a little flimsy and could use an improvement in durability. However, it can be replaced with a more comfortable and reliable option. It also includes a lifetime warranty.
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Other Best Selling Options
- Multi coated optics
- Large aperture perfect for low light conditions and stargazing
- Diopter adjustment for fine focusing; Angular field of view 4.4 degrees
- Large 70 millimeter objective lens offers maximum image brightness in low light and long range conditions
- Tripod adapter 13 millimeter (0.51 inch) long eye relief ideal for eyeglass wearers; Linear Field of View (@1000 yards) / @1000 meter) 231 feet (77 meter)
- Powerful long-zoom binocular with 20x to 144x magnification range
- 70mm objective lenses with fully coated BaK7 glass
- Easy-to-adjust center focus wheel; porro prism system
- Easy-to-adjust center focus wheel; carrying case with strap
- Measures 12 x 9 x 4 inches (W x H x D); weighs 5 pounds
- The world’s most powerful binoculars
- High quality multi coated optics with BAK-4 prisms complimented by rubber armoured body
- Sliding zoom lever for instant zooming and centre focus knob for quick sharp focusing
- Built-in dioptric eyepiece correction to suit individual eyesight
- Magnification: 30x - 160x
Choosing Your Long Distance Binoculars
When choosing high power binoculars for a concert, watching birds or for hunting, there are some things to look for so that you are not disappointed with the higher magnification for long distance viewing.
Binoculars’ viewing power refers to three main values: the number of magnifications, the aperture diameter and the field of view.
The first value represents the number of magnifications of the binoculars or degree of magnification, while the second value refers to the aperture, the diameter (in millimeters) of the outer lens or the lens farthest from our eyes.
The larger the magnification, the bigger you will see the object, but also less clear. The aperture diameter indicates the amount of light that will penetrate the device.
Since binoculars are for viewing distant images, one of the fundamental aspects of your choice is the magnification. The more increase magnification binoculars have, the more you will be able to see things clearly. Normal use usually requires binoculars from 6 to 10 times.
If you want to spot wildlife, birds, hunting or other targets at long distances, you should look for high magnification. This can range as low as 10x but reach up to as high as 30x. Once you hit 16x, you usually have to use in combination with a tripod, bipod, monopod, or some other support.
Keep in mind, the higher the magnification, the more difficult it is to hold the binoculars steady and it reduces the brightness of your sights through the binoculars. You can balance the brightness reduction by choosing binoculars with strong low light performance capabilities.
Field of View
The field of view is the area that you see when looking through the lens. For long distance use, such as hunting, a larger field of view is very important and helps you keep track of your target. The larger the magnification is, the smaller the field of view will be.The optimal field of view for long distance trekking and bird watching is around 300-feet or more.
Lens type is an extremely important element to consider when buying the best binoculars for long distance. Glass lenses have a high resolution and do not distort the image.
Extra-Low Dispersion lenses enhance low light performance and are well worth the investment. This lens is made of specially formulated glass that corrects for chromatic aberration and delivers stunning, life-like views in the field. The enhanced contrast will allow you to pick out subtle movement in the brush so you can spot more targets.
Lens coating is really important, especially out in the elements. It aids in keeping glare out from the reflection of the sun which could have an effect on the image that you see.
The material that your binoculars are made out of will not only have a different weight but also present a greater or lesser durability. There are several options on the market created with plastic, fiberglass, polycarbonates, alloys of aluminum or pure aluminum.
The lower quality binoculars are made of plastics and usually do not have any additional coating to ensure durability. Metal alloys or aluminum binoculars offer the most long-lasting qualities.
Look for a robust construction with rubber armoring that will protect from drops and bumps. Water resistance, waterproofing, and fog proofing are other features to consider, especially if you’ll be carrying your optic into uncertain weather conditions.
Color and Brightness
Not all binoculars display images with their natural colors. Look for binoculars that show natural and vivid colors, without adding any dye or artificial effects to the image.
The lighting conditions of the environment are fundamental to ensure adequate vision in your binoculars. Luminosity is an important factor, depending on the use and conditions. Less luminosity doesn’t allow us to see in low light, while higher luminosity provides extreme clarity in the sun.
Weight and Size
One of the main things you should keep in mind when buying binoculars is the amount of time you will spend using them. If they are too heavy, you might become tired and also your hands might start to shake. If you will be hunting, you will want something lightweight and small that can easily be carried around. The material of composition will play a huge factor in weight.
If you are someone with glasses, you will need to look for optimal eye-relief. If there is little eye-relief, you might feel your eyes burning or becoming painful. The high-end brands do have better eye-relief and won’t cause any real eye strain. Most smaller binoculars have an eye-relief under 16mm and while this might be fine for those without glasses, someone with glasses should look for something over 16mm.
Our Final Review for Best Binoculars for Long Distance
Decide what you will be viewing and what conditions you will frequently be in before choosing a set of binoculars. Keep in mind that quality is more important than price if you expect lengthevity out of your optics.
The main factor to choose between is having a large field of view or high magnification capabilities. They cancel each other out, so be sure you really know what you want to use your binoculars for.
Lens coating and clarity is also another main factor. You want to be sure that you aren’t distorting your image with a cheap lens that isn’t properly coated.
Binoculars should be waterproof and allow you to continue using them in tough conditions. Should they fall, you do not want any of the lenses to be damaged so look for shockproof binoculars. If the binoculars are fogging up, they become hard to use. Almost all high-end brands are fog proof.
The top binoculars are generally made from metal alloys or aluminum for greater durability. If you are looking for something more affordable, plastic will be an option, but they are not as reliable.