The best binoculars in different categories

🕒 6 minutes

city binoculars

Whether you choose military, marine, or civilian binoculars, its basic design will remain the same: two eyepieces that allow you to see a three-dimensional image at a considerable distance, which depends on its model and purpose. Therefore, we will talk in detail about how to choose binoculars below

All about binoculars for the city, tourism, fishing, and military affairs

Binoculars are not just two magnifying glasses inserted into a cylindrical frame. This is a complex optical system in which the main parameters are the magnification and the diameter of the lens. These indicators determine how far and clear you can see. Both markings are indicated by almost all manufacturers in the very name of the model.

Interesting to know: most products have a fixed magnification, but there are also those on sale that have a variable magnification, called a zoom. It is good in cases where you need both a general panorama and an approximation. Similarly useful in the case when the object is moving, and you are motionless.


The next important element is the lens. The degree of collection of light needed to build an image depends on its quality. And in order to see the result, you need an eyepiece. The latter, in fact, works like a magnifying glass familiar to us. This is where size matters. Quality binoculars are those that have a rather large diameter.

What are the best binoculars in terms of diameter?

You can find different options, but the main ones are:

  • 25 mm,
  • 35-40 mm,
  • 50-60 mm,
  • 70 mm or more.

Let’s talk about each in more detail.

Diameter 25 mm

binoculars for children

It is enough for a clear examination of objects in the daytime at a short distance. It is sufficient to use in a city, but twilight or nighttime is a serious challenge to such optics. But one cannot deny the obvious advantage – compactness, since the dimensions are only 10×25.


If you want to select children’s binoculars for a teenager who wants to get his own travel equipment, this option is the most suitable both in terms of cost and capabilities.

Diameter 30-40 mm 

rating of binoculars

The average indicator of field binoculars. They can be used both during the day and night. They are considered universal by performing most of the usual tasks both on the hunt and within the city.


This is a quality mid-range lens diameter: you can select for hunting or urban use. There are good options from European and Chinese manufacturers. We will tell you more about them in our rating.

Diameter 50-60 mm

binoculars for hunting

Almost at the maximum weight limit, which is comfortable to hold in your hands. Can be used in fog or cloudy weather: the picture will be clear, without interference and with minimal distortion. However, a tripod is still needed for long-term use, especially if you are standing still: your hands will quickly get tired of holding it.


If you are travelling by car, the weight of the unit will not be a problem. But if you are going on a multi-day hike with a heavy backpack, think about whether you really need high-quality “optics” that add about one and a half kilograms to your equipment.

Diameter 70 mm or more

military binoculars

A really powerful binoculars option, which you will only find in the Navy, sailors and other professionals whose work is directly related to the quality and accuracy of the transmitted image. There are specialized models, diameter of which can be even more than 150 mm, and thus they compete with telescopes. Therefore, do not be surprised if you see astronomers using such binoculars: you can even see the beauties of the Milky Way and large nebulae with them.


The price of the equipment is really rather big, however, you get exceptionally high optical performance. These binoculars can be considered a step-down from telescopes.

Types of binoculars by purpose

The gradation is not completely accurate, and some models can be in several categories at once:

  1. Standard models are compact, have 6-8x magnification and minimal or no additional features action. The good thing is that during operation it is easier to understand what is missing, and choose the next model taking into account these points.
  2. Marine models always have a waterproof frame and ergonomic grips. Particularly high-quality ones do not even sink, remaining afloat. They are characterized by large lenses, sometimes they have a zoom. They are often equipped with an image stabilizer so that pitching does not become a hindrance.
  3. All military binoculars have maximum protection against drops and damage. Military binoculars typically have a built-in compass and night vision device, as they require universal use no matter the time of day.
  4. Tourist binoculars have the greatest selection, since tourists are the largest group of buyers of such equipment. Such models can have a huge variety of additional features: a rangefinder, a zoom, a stabilizer, and many more things that can come in handy when hunting, fishing, or on a long trip.

tourist binoculars

But do you need all these “bells and whistles” or will good optics be enough? We suggest looking at the reviews of users who have already tried various modifications of binoculars and were satisfied with them.

Binoculars rating based on real reviews

The main pool of models belongs to the universal category which can be used both in the city and as special equipment, meaning the optics are good, the cost is not high, and the characteristics are in balance with the price.

pentax SP 8x40WP

Pentax SP 8x40WP demonstrates an eight-fold zoom, hidden in a metal case. It is considered the best for fishing or hunting: it provides clear images both in rain and snow, and can even be immersed in up to 1 meter of water.

Nikon Action EX 8×40 CF

Nikon Action EX 8×40 CF has the same zoom as the Pentax, but utilizes more plastic, which reduces its rating and durability. Some advantages include moisture protection and good aperture for work at dusk. The disadvantage is the weight of 855 g, which is why it will be difficult to carry it around your neck for a long time.

Canon 12×36 IS

Canon 12×36 IS is ideal for those who are using binoculars on a boat or other unstable surface. This equipment has excellent stabilization, there is a double gyro sensor for independent control of the optics in each eyepiece, and a rubber coating for a better grip.

Bresser Spezial Zoomar 12-36×70

Bresser Spezial Zoomar 12-36×70, needs a tripod: do not hold it in your hands for a long time. Good as marine binoculars or for observing the night sky, because its maximum magnification is impressive – x36. A tripod adapter is included, which is a big plus.

8x magnification is enough for most situations. And if you want to not only bring the object closer, but also take a photo that is impossible in other conditions (sneak up on a tiger, for example), you should take a closer look at electronic models. They have a built-in zoom camera, but the characteristics of such units should still be considered from the point of view of the camera, and not binoculars.
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