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The Best Binoculars for Birds, Nature, and the Outdoors

Updated Dec 12, 2022
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To find the best binoculars, we had a professional ornithologist spend over 100 hours field-testing 17 pairs against his own $2,500 Leica Ultravids. After using our test pairs in the mountains and hills of Southern California, and then on a research trip to the rain forests of southern Mexico, he found that the Athlon Optics Midas ED 8x42 pair was the best of the group: The Midas pair offered performance comparable to his Leica binoculars, for a fraction of the price, and had the widest field of view of all the binoculars tested. This means you’ll see more, and it will look better.

Athlon Optics Midas ED, the best binoculars for nearly everyone

Athlon Optics Midas ED

The best binoculars for nearly everyone
Relatively affordable with great optics, these binoculars have comparable performance to many models that cost thousands more.
We recommend
Celestron Trailseeker ED, for a smaller grip

Celestron Trailseeker ED

For a smaller grip
These binoculars are a close second to the Athlons, with just-as-clear optics, solid construction, and easy-to-use focusing. They also have a slightly smaller grip than the sturdier Athlons.
Another good choice
Carson VP, splendid views at a great price

Carson VP

Splendid views at a great price
Proof that binoculars have undergone a quality revolution, these are high quality at a price that once would have gotten you little but junk.
Budget friendly
Pentax AD 8x25 WP, the best compact binoculars

Pentax AD 8x25 WP

The best compact binoculars
Compact binocs aren’t the best for birding, but these combine pocket-size convenience with enough magnification to actually identify things.
Another good choice

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