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Best Binoculars for Long Distance Reviews: Complete Buyer’s Guide

We took a look at some of the industry's best binoculars for long distance, Here's our review of the top 5 models with pros and cons

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.

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.

Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 8x32 Binoculars
  • 8x magnification & 32mm objective lenses, these Diamondback HD binos are optimized with select glass elements to deliver exceptional resolution, cut chromatic aberration and provide outstanding color fidelity, sharpness and light transmission.
  • Fully multi-coated lenses increase light transmission with anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. Dielectric coating provides bright, clear, color-accurate images. Armortek coating protects exterior lenses from scratches, oil and dirt.
  • Adjustable eyecups twist up and down for comfortable viewing with or without eyeglasses. Center focus wheel adjusts the focus of both binocular barrels at the same time. Diopter (located on right eyepiece) adjusts for differences in a user's eyes.
  • Rubber armor provides a secure, non-slip grip, and durable external protection. Binoculars are tripod adaptable allowing use on a tripod or car window mount.
  • Argon purging and O-ring seals provide water and fog proof performance in all environments. Rugged construction withstands recoil and impact. Does not include harness.

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.

Pros
  • Durable and lightweight
  • Good light transmission
  • Fog proof, shockproof, waterproof
  • Great eye-relief
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • The focus know is a bit difficult to use

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.

Nikon 7572 PROSTAFF 5 10X50 Binocular (Black)
  • See the outdoors up close in bright, lifelike color thanks to fully multicoated lens and prism system.
  • Large 50mm objective lenses enhance viewing capability in lower light, lower contrast situations accompanying dawn and dusk.
  • PROSTAFF 5's turn-and-slide eyecups and long eye relief provide a comfortable view for everyone, even when wearing eyeglasses,

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.

Pros
  • Arsenic-Free/Eco-Glass
  • Waterproof, fog proof, shockproof
  • Great light transmission
Cons
  • The eyepiece could be more durable

3. Celestron Skymaster – High magnification, great for Astronomy

The large-aperture Celestron Skymaster series is the binocular 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 Skymasters 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.

Celestron 20x80 SkyMaster Pro High Power Astronomy Binoculars
  • Large 80 mm objective lenses for excellent light gathering in low light conditions or for astronomical observing
  • Detachable RSR rail for attaching an optional red dot finderscope
  • Rubber armored for improved ergonomics and protection from every day use in the field
  • Waterproof and nitrogen purged for use in all weather conditions

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 Skymasters Binoculars

The Skymaster 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 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.

Pros
  • Aluminum housing
  • 20x magnification
  • Lifetime warranty
  • High eye-relief
Cons
  • Adjusting each eyepiece is slow
  • Lens cover quality could be improved
  • Expensive

4. Bushnell Powerview 2 – 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.

Sale
Bushnell PowerView 2 Binoculars_20x50_PWV2050, Grey
  • Bushnell Poweview 2 is a trusted line of Binoculars from a USA company that has been serving the outdoor and wildlife enthusiast for more than 70 years.
  • LONG LASTING DURABLILITY: Aluminum alloy chassis provides durability without adding unnecessary weight and bulk.
  • MODERN EXTERIOR DESIGN: High quality, soft touch rubber and brushed metal texture finishes provide classic performance in a great looking, modern design.
  • EASY TO USE AND CONFIDENT GRIP: Updated ergonomics with soft touch rubber and easy grip texture along the sides of the binocular, and on the bridge, reduce the chance of dropping and give a confident hand feel….even with one hand.
  • GREAT IMAGE QUALITY WITH SHARP FOCUS: Multi-coated optics draw an incredible amount of light for clear vibrant images, even in low-light. Ultra-smooth focus wheel allows you to focus in on your subject quickly for perfect definition when you need it.

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.

Pros
  • InstaFocus system
  • Fully coated optics
  • Absorbs shock
  • Price
Cons
  • Low field of view
  • Difficult to stabalize

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.

Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism Binocular, 10 x 42-mm, Black
  • Quality optics with stunning HD clarity; Exit Pupil: 4.2 millimeter / 0.165 inch
  • 100 percentage quality materials used and tested extensively; Field of view 305/102 feet@1000 yards/meter@1000 meter
  • Beautiful design and durability built to last
  • 100 percent waterproof, O ring sealed and nitrogen purged for reliable, fog free performance
  • BaK 4 prisms and multi coated optics offer crisp clear images with improved light transmission

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.

Pros
  • Durable
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Great field of view
  • Good eye-relief
Cons
  • Flimsy neck strap
  • Image could be clearer

Time for the hunting guys! Don’t miss this cool review of the best long range scope under 1000. Hope, you will enjoy this post.

Other Best Selling Options

SaleBestseller No. 1
Celestron - SkyMaster 25x70 Binocular - Large Aperture Binoculars with 70mm Objective Lens - 25x Magnificiation High Powered Binoculars - Includes Carrying Case
  • 25x magnification Porto prism binocular
  • Large 70 mm objective lens offers maximum image brightness in low-light and long-range conditions
  • Ultra sharp focus across the field of view. Linear Field of View (@1000 yds.) / @1000 m): 141 feet (47 m)Exit Pupil: 0. 11 inches. Eye Relief: 0. 51 inches
  • Multi-coated optics for sharp, clear views
  • Suitable for terrestrial or astronomical viewing. Ipd max: 2. 83 inch
Bestseller No. 2
Celestron - SkyMaster Giant 15x70 Binoculars - Top Rated Astronomy Binoculars - Binoculars for Stargazing and Long Distance Viewing - Includes Tripod Adapter and Case
  • Multi coated optics
  • Large aperture perfect for low light conditions and stargazing
  • 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)
  • 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
SaleBestseller No. 3
12x42 Powerful Binoculars with Clear Weak Light Vision - Lightweight (1.1 lbs.) Binoculars for Birds Watching Hunting Sports - Large Eyepiece Binoculars for Adults with BAK4 FMC Lens
  • 【Powerful 12x42 Binoculars, but Lightweight Enough】 Weight only 1.1 pounds (0.6 Pounds lighter than 10x50 full size binoculars). Equipped with 12x powerful magnification, 42mm large objective lens and 367ft/1000yds large field of view. Capable of delivering a clear face from more than 650 feet away.
  • 【18mm Large Eyepiece Binoculars, Larger Image, Clearer Details】2.25 times the image size of 12mm eyepiece binoculars (e.g. 10x25, 12x25, 10x21 compact binoculars). Large eyepiece makes full use of 12x magnification, deliver larger image, ensure clearer details
  • 【HD Vison with Quality Optics】 Large 16.5mm BAK4 Prism and Fully Multi-coated lens guarantee the key elements of an HD vision, brighter view and crisp images. Perfect for birds watching, hunting, Concerts and Sports.
  • 【Clear Weak Light Vision】 Adorrgon Binoculars can deliver clear vision in weak light condition, but not in not completely darkness. Perfect for Hunting or Concerts at night. Comes with Carrying Case*1, Eyepiece *1 Lens Protection Covers*1, Cleaning Cloth *1 and Neck Strap*1.
  • 【Lightweight, Durable and Anti-slip Grip】 Binoculars with only 1.1 pounds, perfect for traveling or hunting. Durable structure with odorless rubber armor for shock-resistance and Anti-slip grip.
Bestseller No. 4
BetaOptics 144X Military Zoom Binoculars
  • 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
Bestseller No. 5
12X50 Powerful Binoculars, High Power HD Binocular for Adults with Smartphone Holder & Tripod, Waterproof Binoculars with Durable and Clear FMC BAK4 Prism Binoculars for Bird Watching, Camping, Hiking
  • 【Professional 12X50 HIGH POWER MAGNIFICATION】A full 12x magnification and 50mm object lens diameter binoculars, provides a clearly and bright image, enjoy the beauty of the distance. Anthter binocular has large field of view (360ft 1,000Yds), have the best view in your outdoor adventures, just feel free to enjoy bird watching, hunting, hiking, camping, travelling, wildlife, scenery, etc.
  • 【HIGH CONTRAST AND RESOLUTION IMAGES】 Latest optics technology, the HD binocular equipped with BAK-4 prism and fully muti-coated lens, guarantee superior light transmission and brightness and the light transmittance reaches up to 99.5%. Anthter binocular has low-light-level night vision, it could help you see things in low light (can't see anything in complete darkness), provide you a amazing viewing experience.
  • 【Adjustable Eye Relief, WATERPROOF & FOG PROOF】Twist up and down eye cups to adjust the most suitable distance between your eyes and the optical lens. Enjoy comfortable viewing even you are a eyeglasses wearers. IPX7 Nitrogen-Filled Waterproof with a fog resistant coating and O-ring sealed optics prevent moisture, dust and debris to keep it clear all the time
  • 【BINOCULARS WIDELY COMPATIBLE OF SMARTPHONE】Anthter binoculars comes with a 2019 newest quick alignment smartphone holder and tripods. Perfect for iPhone 8/8 plus, 7/7 plus, 6/6s plus, Samsung GALAXY S9/S9 Edge, S8/S8 Edge, S7/S7 Edge, LG, HTV, Sony, and almost all other smartphones on the market. Easy to install, provide HD image or video to share with your friends.
  • 【100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE】Anthter Binoculars with strict Quality Control system and 2-year Warranty. If you are not satisfied with our binoculars, we promised you will get your money back or a new replacement binoculars. If you have any question, please feel free to contact us(Through the orde
Bestseller No. 6
Sunagor Mega Zoom Binoculars 30-160x70 ,Black
  • 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.

Viewing Power

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.

Magnification

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.

Long distance binoculars for hunting
Long distance binoculars for hunting

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

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.

Composition

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.

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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.

Eye-Relief

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.

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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.

Adrienne is a traveller and blogger with many years experience of the outdoors life. An adrenaline junkie at heart she loves to try different sports and activities all year round. With a degree in journalism she combines her love of sports with writing here at BeActiveOutdoors.com Contact adrienne@beactiveoutdoors.com

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