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BEST HUNTING BINOCS: ULTIMATE BUYERS GUIDE 2016

If you want to be the best hunter in the forest, you cannot overlook the importance of a high-quality set of binoculars. If you are new to hunting, this may not have occurred to you. But every experienced hunter knows that the difference between bagging that prized game and going home empty-handed can have everything to do with your ability to spot the target.

With the best hunting binoculars, you can effectively spot that elusive game that other hunters miss, and head home with a beautiful trophy. I have also reviewed the top rated binoculars.

Click the item in the table below to go directly to answers to your most important question.

Why are Top Rated Binoculars so Vital to Hunters?

The right set of binoculars can give you two great advantages over animals which have a natural ability to blend in with their environment.

Hunting Binoculars

First, the best hunting binoculars can help you spot animals at a farther distance away. This is the most obvious advantage. When animals are farther away, they are more difficult to see with the naked human eye. But not all binoculars are equal in this ability. Some low-quality binoculars may heavily blur images which make them next to useless. Sure, things are bigger, but if you cannot see them clearly, what’s the point?

Second, the best hunting binoculars with special lens features can actually help you see animals at a closer range which may naturally blend with the surrounding environment. High-quality lenses can sharpen and enhance close images to make game easier to spot.

Which Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Hunting Binoculars

When considering binoculars, there are four essential features that you MUST consider, and a few optional features that you might want to think about.

Magnification

The first essential factor to consider is the level of magnification offered. Magnification simply refers to how much larger the image will appear when you look through the binoculars. For hunting binoculars, we recommend the magnification ranges from 7x to 12x.

The lower magnification is great for those hunters who need to quickly scan tree lines or who will be hunting in close forest situations. Magnification levels of 7x to 9x should be good for these kinds of hunters.

High magnifications of 10x-12x are better for open areas like fields or mountainous areas. As you move to magnifications higher than 12x, the images are harder to keep clear and require a much more steady hand. This is not ideal for the typical hunter.

Objective Size

The second essential factor to consider is the lens objective size. This refers to the actual physical diameter (measured in millimeters) of the lenses. Most effective hunting binoculars have a standard objective size of 42mm. If you have much weaker, natural eyesight, you might consider a higher objective size as this will let in more light, but most hunters find 42mm more than sufficient.

Field of View

The third essential factor to consider is the field of view. This refers to the range of vision offered when peering through the binoculars. For example, binoculars which have a “300-foot field of view” means that at a distance of 1,000 feet you will have a field of view 300 feet across.

For hunters that need to see more at a farther distance, then a higher field of view would be desirable. But for hunters who work in more close settings, you need to be able to scan an area quickly at a closer distance. For these hunters, narrower fields of view would be preferable.

Lens Glass and Coating

The fourth essential factor to consider is the lenses themselves. Good hunting lenses have two important features: ED (extra-low dispersion) Glass and multi-layer coating.

ED glass is important because the standard lens “disperses” a good amount of the light, making it somewhat blurry. ED lenses correct for this, giving you a crystal clear, sharp image without as much dispersion.

Coating refers to layers of protection offered on the lenses. Multi-layer coating enhances picture quality, sharpness, and contrast. Further, it adds a layer of protection over the lenses which will help reduce scratching.

Size, Weight and Accessories

A few non-essentials that you might want to consider is the size and weight of the binoculars. The weight of binoculars may not be too much of a concern for the typical hunter. This is really only an issue if portability is important to you. The best hunting binoculars can range anywhere from 3oz to several pounds.

The lighter and smaller binoculars may lack certain features mentioned above (like lower objective size), but heavy binoculars may be too clunky for some hunters who don’t want to feel like they have a telescope around their necks.

Lastly, you might consider what accessories come with the binoculars. Most will come standard with caps for the lenses, a carrying case, and straps to wear around your neck.

Which hunting binoculars should I buy?

You should consider the factors discussed above to determine the features that are best for you, Below are our recommendations that should fit well with several hunting types.

The Nikon Monarch Series

If you are familiar with Nikon cameras, you know that Nikon is one of the most respected companies when it comes to lenses and photography. With the Monarch series, Nikon has taken their expertise and applied to the needs of the hunter!

Nikon 7530 Monarch 3 (8×42)

Nikon 7530 Monarch 3
With magnification of 8x, these binoculars are good for any hunter, but particularly those hunting closer game. These binoculars are compact and lightweight, which will make them more convenient for those carrying a lot of equipment. With multi-layered coating on the lenses, these should be well protected in your pack, plus they come standard with lens covers and a carrying case.

Pros:

  • Magnification: 8x
  • Objective Size: 42mm
  • Lightweight at 25oz
  • Field of View approx. 310ft
  • Waterproof and Fog-proof
  • Fully multi-layered lens coating for protection

Cons:

  • The Monarch 3 uses “prism coating” on the lenses to give a sharper picture rather than ED lenses. So, the picture won’t quite be as clear as those with ED lenses.
  • Some uses have experienced problems with the eye cups and lens caps falling off.

Nikon 7576 Monarch 5 (8×42)

Nikon 7576 Monarch 5
Because the Monarch 5 uses ED lenses, they are clearly the better option over the Monarch 3. These might be considered the industry standard for minimum essential features of quality hunting binoculars. They are slightly heavier than the Monarch 3, but that comes with greater durability, so they can handle more punishment. And with with the ED lenses, you will have crystal clear images that make spotting animals much easier.

Pros:

  • Magnification: 8x
  • Objective Size: 42mm
  • 1.34 lbs.
  • Field of View: 330ft
  • ED Lenses
  • Waterproof and Fog-proof
  • Fully multi-layered lens coating for protection

Cons:

  • Like the Monarch 3, some uses have experienced problems with the eye cups and lens caps falling off.

Nikon 7578 Monarch 5 (12×42)

Nikon 7578 Monarch 5
The 12×42 Monarch 5 is perfect for those wanting high quality images and who will be in more open spaces. With the greater magnification, you will be able to see much more from farther away. These are great for those hunting in large, open fields or in mountainous areas. The ED lenses will give you a wonderfully clear picture. They are a bit heavier than other models, but that’s essential for the image quality at such distances.

Pros:

  • Magnification: 12x
  • Objective Size: 42mm
  • 2.25 lbs.
  • Field of View: 262ft
  • ED Lenses
  • Waterproof and Fog-proof
  • Fully multi-layered lens coating for protection

Cons:

  • With such a large degree of magnification, hunters will need a steady hand to keep focused.
  • Not the best option for those in closer hunting conditions

The Bushnell Legend Series

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD L-Series (10×42)

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD L-Series
The Bushnell Legend series are lightweight and durable binoculars. Made with a magnesium chassis and using Bushnell’s RainGuard® HD coating, these binoculars are good for those look for high-quality, relatively inexpensive binoculars. The waterproof and fog proof coating on the Legend series make these especially useful for those in wetter climates.

Pros:

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Size: 42mm
  • 1.5 lbs.
  • Field of View: 340 ft
  • ED Lenses
  • Waterproof and Fog-proof
  • Fully multi-layered lens coating for protection

Cons:

  • May not be as durable as similarly priced binoculars.
  • Some users have experienced problems with Bushnell’s warranty department.

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism (10×42)

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Roof Prism
Comes with twisting, adjustable eye-caps for more comfort options and to help remove excess light flooding your view. The Roof Prism optics offer an ED prime glass and “ultra-wide band coatings” for clearer image quality than the L-Series. These also have Bushnell’s RainGuard® HD coating for use in wetter climates.

Pros:

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Size: 42mm
  • 22.5 oz.
  • ED Lenses
  • Waterproof and Fog-proof
  • Fully multi-layered lens coating for protection

Cons:

  • The “ultra HD” lenses may over-promise on the quality of image suggested by “high-definition.”
  • Some users have experienced problems with Bushnell’s warranty department.

Our Number One Choice: Nikon 7549 Monarch 7 (10×42)

Nikon 7549 Monarch 7
The Monarch 7 series are the most advanced, highest quality binoculars in the Monarch series. They are much lighter than the comparable Monarch 5 series, but just as durable. The main reason these binoculars are superior to the 5 series is due to the premium ED lenses. The resolution and brightness offered by the 7 series are perfect for those who will be hunting in fog and low-light conditions. More light will be coming through the binoculars and the image will be much sharper than that offered by the Monarch 5 or 3.

Pros:

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Size: 42mm
  • 1.3 lbs.
  • Field of View: 351ft
  • Premium ED Lenses
  • Waterproof and Fog-proof
  • Fully multi-layered lens coating for protection

Cons:

  • Some may object to the price, but those who want the highest quality binoculars must be willing to pay for that quality.

Our Best Value Choice: Nikon 7577 Monarch (10×42)

Nikon 7577 Monarch 5
Consider these the “Goldilocks” of the Monarch series. With a magnification 10x and an objective size of 42mm, these binoculars are the best choice for all around binoculars. These would be a good choice for the hunter who doesn’t need the narrow focus of 8x magnification, and the field of view will be good for a variety of setting. Consider these your best option for your starting set of binoculars.

Pros:

  • Magnification: 10x
  • Objective Size: 42mm
  • 2.2 lbs.
  • Field of View: 288 ft
  • ED Lenses
  • Waterproof and Fog-proof
  • Fully multi-layered lens coating for protection

Cons:

  • Not as high image quality at the Monarch 7.

Conclusion

No serious hunter should be without a high-quality set of binoculars. With a little research, you can find the perfect set to fit your particular hunting needs. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different sets of binoculars for different situations. Match your binoculars to the specific needs of the hunt!

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