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5 Best Binoculars for Whale Watching Reviews: Buyer’s Guide

There are many factors to think about when choosing the ideal pair of whale watching binoculars. In this guide we review the top models for whale watching from shore and land

Most whale watching tours operate from a marine vessel which have been designed or modified for whale watching, giving you a variety of locations both inside, in case of bad weather, and outside to get the best possible view.

Typically, whales will keep their distance from ships. This is where a great pair of whale watching binoculars come in handy.

The distances involved in sighting whales will be medium to fairly large. There are many main requirements we need to think about when choosing whale watching binoculars.

Such as appropriate magnification for distance and stabilization, collection and transmission of as much light as possible, waterproofing, and a wide field of view to make quick target location as simple as possible.

We took at look at some of the industry’s top whale watching binoculars and here are our 5 Top Picks for best binoculars for whale watching.

Our 5 Best Binoculars For Whale Watching

1. Bushnell 7×50 H2O Porro Binoculars – Heavyduty

These Bushnell binoculars are specifically aimed towards those that spend time on the water. The waterproof, fogproof, and corrosion resistance provides a stable tool for marine situations, even when fully submerged.

The magnification and objective lens diameter meets Coast Guard recommendation, so it is undoubtedly perfect for large bodies of water, such as lakes and oceans.

Intended for all weather use in all types of locations, these binoculars have a waterproof O-ring seal, and they are filled with nitrogen to prevent fogging. The large objectives make the viewing field bright for use on cloudy days, at daybreak and at nightfall. It is perfect for a concert as well.

The eyecups make it possible for you to view with eyeglasses or sunglasses on, and there is a center focusing knob included in the design that is super easy-to-use, even when wet. It also is equipped with a right eye diopter to customize to personal preference. They have a generous eye relief of 20mm.

Further Reviewing the Bushnell 7×50 H2O Porro Binoculars

The BAK-4 Porro prisms deliver bright, clear, crisp viewing; and stabilization is quite easy. Multi-coated optics reduces light loss and glare due to reflection offering a brighter, higher-contrast image.

While roof prisms dominate the majority of the market, the porro design still has some advantages. They are substantially more cost effective than other options. Porro prisms also offer better contrast and light efficiency.

The 7x magnification allows for spotting the smallest of objects hundreds of feet away. This is the perfect amount for whale spotting at both medium and long distances. The close focus is just 25 feet, with a field of view of 380 ft.

They are heavily constructed, built from non-slip rubber material that resists saltwater corrosion and easily survives when dropped into water. Their only downside is that they are full sized binoculars and weigh nearly 35 oz.

Pros
  • Water and fog proof
  • BAK-4 prisms for bright viewing
  • 20mm eye relief
Cons
  • On the heavier side

2. Nikon Aculon 7×35 Binoculars – Best Value

Incredibly light in weight, these binoculars are perfect when you don’t want to carry the extra weight. The Aculon 7×35 include 7x power multi-coated lenses. Their 35mm objectives are constructed out of eco-glass, which is completely free of lead and arsenic.

Featuring a BAK-4 Porro prism system, the binoculars make it possible to see in optimally high resolutions in any type of lighting condition. This low light binocular is great for providing bright and crisp images in lower light situations.

They feature sharp Nikon optics and rubber armor which is water resistant and shock proofed. The Nikon Aculon 7×35 binoculars have an extremely wide field of view at 488 ft, which allows you to spot the whales easily and enjoy a full ocean view.

They are also equipped with long eye relief at 12mm and twist-up, rubber eyecups, so they are perfect with or without eye or sunglasses. The center focus wheel is also easy to use in dry or wet conditions. The Aculon 7×35 model is an affordably priced binocular, making them perfect for people looking for high quality gear on a budget.

Pros
  • Eco-Glass: free of lead and arsenic
  • BAK-4 Porro Prism System
  • Waterproof, shock-resistant
  • Field of view of 488 ft.
  • Price
Cons
  • The lenses are multi-coated instead of fully
  • The eye-relief is on the lower end for eye glasses

3. Wingspan Optics Ultra HD 8×32 Binoculars – ED Glass and Close Focus

These binoculars are super compact and lightweight at just 19 ounces. The objective lenses are smaller, so there will be less brightness compared to bigger ones and they won’t be quite as good at dusk or in dim light conditions.

The lenses are multi-coated and include a phase correction coated prism that provides an ultra HD quality image.

The combination of extra-low dispersion (ED) glass and the close focus technology allows you to zoom up to 8x without experiencing chromatic aberration or color fringing that usually happens due to too much lighting and lens flare.

The Wingspan comes with a wide field of view which is great for viewing large areas of space and a magnification of 8x that provides a clear, yet stable image.

The lens aren’t scratch proof, so be careful when storing them that you have proper caps on for protection.The Wingspan is fog proof and waterproof; however, it still won’t last when submerged in water. It is designed to only be able to withstand rain, drizzle and the likes. The Wingspan also includes a lifetime warranty.

Pros
  • Extra-low dispersion glass
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Lenses aren’t scratch proof
  • Less brightness
  • Not the best option for dim light

4. Athlon Optics Midas 8×42 – Magnesium Bodied and Expansion Resistant

The Athlon Midas is a great mid-range binocular with a single bridge, magnesium body. It includes a central focus wheel for ease of use, diopter adjustment for customization, and twist-up eyecups for eyewear.

The body is made of magnesium chassis which is less susceptible to temperature-related expansion and contraction which can cause minor optical misalignments. The outer surface is encased in a rubber armor which protects the unit and offers grip.

It is O-ring sealed and waterproof, as well as fog proof due to Argon gas. The interior is airtight and impervious to dust as well. These binoculars will definitely survive being accidentally dropped into a stream.

Features of the Athlon Optics Midas 8×42 Binoculars

The BAK-4 prisms includes phase correction and dielectric coatings for clear images. The lenses contain lens elements made from glass that has extra-low dispersion abilities that is able to better direct the individual wavelengths of light and thus deliver a sharper image with fewer anomalies.

In addition, the whole optical system has been treated with anti-reflection coatings as well as XPL coating to prevent lens scratching. These lenses also repel dirt and oil, therefore, they stay claner longer.

The Midas has a large field of view of 426 ft and 42mm objective lenses. The eye relief is set at 17mm. By opening and closing the central hinge, you can adjust the distance between the eye-pieces so that it matches that of the distance between your eyes.

Pros
  • Waterproof, fog proof, scratch proof
  • BAK-4 prisms
  • Extra-low dispersion abilities
  • Large field of view
Cons
  • A bit pricey

 

5. Snypex Optics 8×32 Binoculars – Lightest Weight

The Snypex Optics are a great pair of binoculars that offers rich features for durability and clear imaging.

These binoculars are equipped with dielectric mirror coatings on the prism which aids in preventing light reflection. Therefore, you get a image with a more accurate color reproduction and improved image brightness as more light gets reflected through the prism and towards your eyes.

The Snypex utilizes BAK-4 roof prisms that are phase corrected. The glass elements are made of extra-low dispersion properties that enable improved control of individual light wavelengths and thus can make lead to a better quality image that shows less color fringing.

More on the Snypex Optics 8×32 Binoculars

The glass is also coated with anti-reflection material which further aids the brightness and quality of the image. The exterior lens surfaces are coated with water repellant material. These have twist up eye-cups with a single click stop at the mid point between fully retracted and fully extended. This makes them a great choice for users with eye glasses or sunglasses.

The mechanism is easy to adjust yet stable enough to maintaim the cups at any point. For eye-glass wearers, there is 17mm of eye-relief, which is on the lower side, but should still be enough to be compatible. You can calibrate the binoculars to your particular vision by use of the diopter adjuster located on the right eyepiece.

The Snypex comes with a large aluminum focus wheel that is smooth and easy to use and grip in the cold or with gloves on.

The chassis are made from fiberglass reinforced polycarbonate which makes it lighter weight than binoculars made of magnesium. However, the use of a polycarbonate chassis could be an issue if you absolutely must have a binocular that is super robust and resistant to expansion with large temperature variances.

The field of view is a bit smaller than the other options on this list, clocking in at 351 ft. However, it still provides a wide enough view to whale watch.

Pros
  • BAK-4 Roof Prisms
  • Lightweight
  • Water proof
  • Anti-reflection material, clear image
Cons
  • Polycarbonate chassis not expansion resistant
  • Smaller field of view
  • Pricey

Other Best Selling Options

SaleBestseller No. 1
12x42 Binoculars for Adults with New Smartphone Photograph Adapter - 18mm Large View Eyepiece - 16.5mm Super Bright BAK4 Prism FMC Lens - Binoculars for Birds Watching Hunting - Waterproof (1.25 lbs)
  • 【18mm Large Eyepiece Binoculars, Larger Image, Clearer Details】2.25 times the image size of 12mm eyepiece (e.g. 10x25, 12x25, 10x21 binoculars), 1.28 times of 16mm eyepiece (e.g. Ordinary 10x42, 12x42 binoculars). Large eyepiece binoculars make full use of 12x magnification, deliver larger image, ensure clearer details
  • 【16.5mm Big BAK4 Prism Lens Binoculars, Super Bright, Crisp View】Collect 32% more light than 12.5mm prism lens (e.g. 10x25, 12x25, 10x21 binoculars), 13.7% of 14.5mm prism lens (e.g. Ordinary 10x42, 12x42 binoculars). 16.5mm Prism lens take 100% advantage of 42mm objective lens, collect more lights, deliver brighter view
  • 【Powerful 12x42 Binoculars for Adults with only 1.25lbs.】With only 560g weight, Adasion 12x42mm binoculars deliver 367ft/1000yds large field of view. Perfect binoculars for bird watching, hunting, sports events. Binoculars with adjustable eye cups, suitable for glasses wearers.
  • 【Binoculars with New Phone Adapter, Enjoy Photographing】Quick alignment, compatible with phone case, portable and stable. Suitable for iPhone X, 8P, 8, 7P, 7, 6, 6s, 6P, 5, 5s, Samsung GALAXY S8, S7, S6, S6 Edge, S5, Note, Huawei, LG, HTC, Sony, Etc.
  • 【Quality Binoculars, Order without Risk】With 100% thorough Quality Control, Adasion provides High Quality Binoculars. Contact us if you encounter any issues, we will solve it in 24 hours.
SaleBestseller No. 2
20x50 High Power Military Binoculars, Compact HD Professional/Daily Waterproof Binoculars Telescope for Adults Bird Watching Travel Hunting Football-BAK4 Prism FMC Lens-with Case and Strap (20X50)
  • [Wide Field of View]- 20x magnification, 23mm eye lens diameter and 50mm objective diameter; 56m field of view at 1000m; When you use this binoculars, the vision is broad and it is very clear for the gain of binoculars.
  • [Professional Powerful Binoculars]- Multilayer-coated aspherical lenses elements provide superior light transmission and minimal distortion, better image brightness, contrast and quality. The Bak-4 prism has a perfectly round exit pupil. Providing bright, clear and razor-sharp viewing.
  • [Sleek and Solid]- Daily Waterproof body with rubber coated finish for shock-resistance and a firm, comfortable grip, durable and portable for outdoors, even suitable for hostile environment. But please don’t immerse the binoculars in water.
  • [Easy to Adjust]- The centre-focus knob of this compact binoculars fast and high precision focusing. And it can also focus on the different distance with right eyepiece ring. Being used with tripod is OK. So it is very convenient when you watch something for a long time.
  • [Versatile to Use]-These binoculars are designed for birding watching, hiking, hunting, climbing, trip, football basketball, or any Sports competition, concert. And it is also an ideal Christmas gift for adults, kids, children. Tip:These binoculars have low-light night vision and can be used at night, but not in complete darkness.
SaleBestseller No. 3
Occer 12x25 Compact Binoculars with Low Light Night Vision, Large Eyepiece Waterproof Binocular for Adults & Kids,High Power Easy Focus Binoculars for Bird Watching,Outdoor Hunting,Travel,Sightseeing
  • 【HIGH-POWERED LARGE EYEPIECE BINOCULARS】 This binoculars has 12x magnification, 25mm objective lens and wide field of view, 273ft/1000yds, letting you look farther and see wider. Coating with FMC Broadband coating and premium BAK4 prism, it ensure imaging verisimilar.
  • 【ADJUSTABLE EYE CUPS FIT EYEGLASS WEARERS OR NOT】The binocs can be pull down the rubber eyepieces and more fit the glasses wearer, getting close to lens and see easily. The long eye relief combined with large eyepiece give you a comfortable viewing while wearing sunglasses or eye glasses. For those who do not wear glasses, will gain more focused slight and feel more easeful through rising eye cups. The compact binoculars has 15mm large eyepieces, can see more clear image than other binoculars.
  • 【FMC BROADBAND COATING TECHNOLOGY】The lightweight cruise binoculars is cover with BAK4 prism texture. The objective lens use optical FMC multilayer broadband green film, and the eyepiece-optical is made of blue FMC coating. All design can can mostly reflect the light to keep a good image and make you have a amazing experience.
  • 【PORTABLE, COMPACT AND SMALL BINOCULARS DESIGN】 One hand can be mastered when you use the birding binoculars for opera,bird watching camping, traveling,wildlife watching,football games,cruise or other outside activity, the low light night vision goggles(Not for completely dark night) is more convenient for using and carrying.
  • 【DURABLE AND LIFE WATERPROOF, COMFORTABLE TOUCH】 The binoculars are made of ABS plastic and it also come with a cruise binocular strap, you can use this item in different situations. And nonslip rubber armor is made for secure grip, shockproof, light water resistant.The pocket size binoculars is not only suitable for men and women,but also suitable for kids.It is wonderful to be a gift on Father's Day and Children's Day.

Choosing Binoculars For Whale Watching

There are two important numbers to pay attention to when choosing a pair of binoculars. The first number is their magnification (or power/zoom) and the second number is the size of their objective lenses. For example, 8×32 binoculars mean that they have 8x magnification and 32mm lenses.

Magnification

As you will be viewing from onboard a moving marine platform, it is recommended not to use binoculars with any more than 8x magnification.

This is because every shake of the boat is also magnified resulting in an unstable image. A higher magnification will also decrease your field of view so you see less space in the lens.

If you intend to view whales from shore, then you can go with higher magnification binoculars. If you intend to use your whale watching binoculars from onboard a boat then 7x or 8x magnification binoculars  are more than enough.

Objective Lens Diameter

A large lens gathers more light and provides clearer and brighter images than a small one due to a bigger exit pupil. Be sure to consider the fact that the bigger the lens, the larger and heavier the entire binocular set will be. This could get tiring when carrying around or holding in front of your eyes for a long period of time.

Field Of View

The higher the field of view, the wider the view you will have looking through the lens. This is great for scanning large areas and searching for moving targets such as playing whales. For whale watching you want to search for something with a field of view between 380-500 ft.

Quality and Configuration of the Optics

Here are some key lens features to be on the look out for when considering a pair of binoculars:

  • Extra-low dispersion glass, this ensures that outline of objects will be sharp and you won’t experience chromatic aberration.
  • Lens coating offers extra protection. Look for fully coated lenses for the most bright and vivid images.
  • Roof prisms make for compact binoculars that are easy to carry and comfortable to hold, but may result in a somewhat higher price tag for the product.
  • Porro prism binoculars are bulkier and heavier, however, they do have better depth of field and may cost less.
  • Eye relief is the allowable distance between the eyepiece and your eyes. This is a key feature for eyeglass wearers.

Waterproofing

The advantage of waterproofing in binoculars is that it usually comes with fog proofing. This means that your binoculars will not fog up in varying temperatures. Good waterproofing will also prevent moisture inside your binoculars and extend their lifespan. It is also a key feature to protect against rain or boat splashing.

Size and Weight

7×35 or 8×32 binoculars work best for whale watching. They have the ideal magnification but are also more compact and easy to handle. They aren’t quite as bulky as the more standard 7×50 marine binoculars.

Enjoy Your Whale Watching Experience

Get Binoculars For Whale Watching That Work For You

As you can see, there are many varying factors included in a good pair of whale watching binoculars. The main thing to consider is finding a pair that offers the best image.

This means you want to search for highly coated lenses that include fog proofing and anti-reflection materials. Many factors can alter the image that you see through you lenses, so it is well worth the investment to ensure the clearest brightest image.

Start by considering your price range and then search for the highest quality features within your budget to gain the most out of you whale watching adventures.

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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