Some Insight Into The Binocular Market

Note: The binocular information in this blog post was revised on May 11, 2011 

Here are images, with links to product descriptions of binoculars, coupled with editorial and customer derived reviews - these will help you find what you want in the way of optical goods.

For those who do not yet know what they want, here is a selection of specific reviews to give you a feel for the market:

Swarovski Optik SLC 10x42 HD - This is the expensive end of the market;  the highest quality optical goods with a price to match. 

Swarovski Optik SLC 10x42 HD


The SLC 10x42 model--which boasts a 10x magnification and a 42mm objective lens diameter--offers excellent image quality and maximum operating comfort, making it perfect for users who demand viewing precision throughout the day and well into dusk.

The true stars of the SLC 42 HD binocular, however, are the high-performance, fluoride-containing HD optics, which minimize the color fringing that's inevitable with conventional glass. The HD lenses produce high-contrast, natural-color images with razor-sharp outlines, bringing you even closer to the awe-inspiring beauty of nature. 


Carl Zeiss Conquest Binocular (10x40) - Here is the high performance end of the spectrum; optical goods that are a pleasure to own and use, but less expensive than the previous model.

Carl Zeiss Conquest Binocular (10x40)


Carl Zeiss has engineered the all-purpose Conquest (10x40) binoculars with superior optical performance and rugged durability in mind....These premium waterproof binoculars also feature a patented multi-layer, anti-reflective lens coating for optimum performance across a wide visual spectrum and waterproof nitrogen-filled lenses for use in inclement weather.


"This was a step up in bins for me, a five-year birder, on a trip to the Amazonas with birding experts. They worked well; I had a bit of trouble adjusting the distance/closeness in time to catch the bird. May be my lack of experience, but the bins seemed stiff. They were much bettter than the old ones; 8x40. They held up well in the heat and humidity."


Here is the middle of the market; a terrific, lightweight, waterproof, fogproof, magnesium alloy binocular that performs and feels good in your hands.

Nikon Premier LX-L 10 x 25 Binoculars 

Nikon Premier LX-L 10 x 25 Binocular


Optically, they are unmatched in the world of compact offerings. Not only do they offer an amazing field of view for a compact, but they also deliver exceptional close-focus distance and long eye relief.


I have used these binoculars in the Amazon jungle, the Galapagos Islands, at a political rally, and several Spurs games. I find them perfect for me because they are a compromise of size and magnification. I don't like to carry heavy binoculars and usually opt to leave them behind. These are light enough to be taken along and powerful enough to be beneficial in the diverse situations I listed above.


Nikon Travelite V 10 x 25 Binocular ; Nikon ProStaff ATB 10 x 25 Waterproof Binocular 

These binoculars are an example of the "value" portion of the market; reliable, lightweight, waterproof  binoculars that are a mix of quality and affordability. 

Nikon 7510 Travelite 10 X 25 mm V Binoculars


I am extremely impressed with the Nikon Travelite 10 x25 binoculars. I am a professionl environmental scientist working for an international engineering consulting firm and my work requires long days in the field. Purchasing these binocs was an excellent decision due to their light weight and clear optics. After many years of using different types of binoculars, these have been by far the best ones. I spent an entire week looking for listed bird species at an Air Force base in Florida and several times my colleagues would ask to borrow it...I think this says it all!

Nikon ProStaff ATB 10x25 Waterproof Binocular


These binoculars are not the best in comparison to others that are more expensive. However, for the size, weight, waterproof, fogproof and function I recommend the Prostaff ATB ! I enjoy hiking in almost all weather conditions and that means that I must bring water and proper layer clothing in my small pack. I have enough weight to worry about and having heavy binoculars was not for me. I didn't want to sacrifice reliability just to have less weight, because I needed a waterproof binocular that wouldn't fill up with water during rain or snow. I love these binoculars- they are perfect for me and I don't feel their weight when I bring them; it fits in my cargo pant pockets!

Well I hope this post provided you with some useful information - good hunting! 


"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal" - Albert Pike

Red throated Loon - Alaska
Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Wood Duck
Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


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