Best 8×42 Binoculars – Our Top 5 Reviewed
Finding which binoculars are best for you and your activities can be an overwhelming process.
These binoculars are best for wildlife viewing because they have incredible optical quality and are easy to use. Since there is a lot of down time with wildlife viewing, these binoculars have to be comfortable to use for extended periods of time.
Finding the best pair of binoculars for your particular activities can be difficult, but we have put together a comprehensive list to pick from.
Nikon Monarch 5 (Editor’s Choice)
Nikon has been a leader in the cameras for decades, but their binoculars are also very well made.
The Nikon Monarch 5 8×45 binoculars are some of the best binoculars on the market today for such an affordable price. These impeccably designed binoculars are perfect for any activity and skill level.
If you are looking for binoculars on a budget, you cannot do better than the Nikon Monarch 5.
Viewing with the Nikon Monarch 5 binoculars is exceptionally clear. These binoculars produce crisp, striking images in any weather.
In testing, these binoculars were able to pick out small identification marks on birds and could even count pine needles from 100 feet away.
This pair of binoculars is perfect for bird watching, as they produce a bright, clear image no matter what time of day they are used.
The focus knob on the Nikon Monarch 5 is solid and smooth and allows for easy adjustment. Users can quickly lock in on the perfect focus with the knob.
The diopter knob on the Nikon Monarch is pretty stiff, so there is little chance of the user inadvertently moving it. When you do need to make a diopter adjustment, however, it moves smoothly.
The eyecups twist easily and have four specific stopping points.
In addition to having well designed knobs and adjustments, these binoculars are best because they are very comfortable to hold in your hands. This is thanks to the rubber coating.
The rubber coating on these binoculars is tacky enough that gripping them feels very secure, but it is not sticky enough to make your hands feel grimy on a hot day. The coating also thins down to the bottom of the barrels, which provides enough space for your thumbs to go.
In addition, this particular model comes with a padded neoprene neck strap with a non slip coating on the inside.
These binoculars are well made of high quality components. The rubber coating, hinge, and all of the other movements are comfortable and smooth.
The close focus range of the Nikon Monarch 5 binocular is 7.8 feet, which is not limiting at all for day to day use. This close focus range is especially well suited to birding Its field of view at 1000 yards is 330 feet.
These binoculars which are best for dedicated wildlife viewing trips are suited to users of any experience level. They are lightweight enough that you can wear them around your neck for hours without any muscle strain or fatigue.
- The magnification achieved by this particular model is very impressive considering their price.
- The Nikon Monarch binoculars are very easy to grip and hold.
- The images produced by the Nikon Monarch are crystal clear.
- This pair of binoculars presents a bit of blurring around the far edges of the image.
- This binocular does not have a locking diopter.
Over all, the Nikon Monarch 5 is perhaps the best pair of binoculars on the market today for buyers on a budget. Even better is that you can purchase these binoculars at Argos.
It is no surprise that another Nikon model makes it onto our list of the best 8×42 binoculars available today.
The Nikon Prostaff 8×42 binoculars are some of the best selling binoculars in the UK. They are great for both beginners and and experts alike.
Weighing in at only 650 grams, these binoculars are extremely lightweight and portable. You can bring these on any camping trip or hike without much fuss.
This Nikon model are prism binoculars, which means that they produce a very bright image. They are mirror coated which means that they are especially good at activities like watching wildlife or hunting.
These 8×42 pair of binoculars come with turn and slide rubber eyecups. This means that the eyecups rest gently against your eyes and will not slip. Adjusting your position via the eyepieces in this binocular is easier than it is in others.
The Nikon Prostaff comes finished with a rubber coating. This coating protects the binocular from shock and accidents; it also makes holding them much more easy and comfortable.
This model includes a long eye relief design. This is especially important for people who wear eyeglasses; they will not get in the way when using the Nikon Prostaff.
These multi coated binoculars display a rather wide field of view. The brightness and clarity produced by this model are spectacular.
This 8×42 pair of binoculars is extremely easy to use and operate. Whether you are adjusting the focus ring or eyecups, anyone can use the Nikon Prostaff model.
- This particular device is water proof up to one metre for 10 minutes.
- The 3D rendering and clarity produced by these binoculars is of extremely high quality.
- This pair of binoculars is extremely affordable.
- This model is only suited to outdoor use, they cannot be used for indoor activties.
- These binoculars are great for casual use, but if you are a serious birder, you may want to invest in a more sophisticated pair.
The Nikon Prostaff binoculars offer an exceptionally wide field of view. They are perfect for camping, hiking, bird watching, fishing, and spectator sports.
Celestron binoculars are some of the best models for bird watching on the market today.
The Celestron 71332 binocular is extremely affordable and is suited to lots of different outdoor activities.
This affordable pair of binoculars includes features such as fully multi coated optics, roof prisms, phase correction coatings, and long eye relief. These prism binoculars are also fully waterproof and nitrogen purged.
This 8×42 pair of prism binoculars feature a traditional roof prism design and a single hinge on the central bridge that connects the two sight barrels.
The main frame on the Celestron 71332 is made of strong polycarbonate which contributes to the low cost of the binocular. This adds durability and stability to the binocular as well.
The outside of the binocular is covered in a dark green rubber coating. The coating is thinner and harder compared to other devices in the same price range.
The coating protects the binocular from impact shattering. The coating is not as good for gripping as it is on other similar models.
The main sections that you will grip on the Celestron 71332 are textured, which makes holding them comfortable. The surfaces of the binocular are not reflective at all, which is handy as you will not give your position away to wildlife on a sunny day.
The told of the body of the binocular has small indents for your fingers, which adds to the ergonomics of the entire design.
Unlike most objective lenses in 8×42 binoculars that are positioned about 8 to 10 mm from the ends of the barrels, the lenses in the Celestron are only 4 mm from the ends of the barrels. This can help to prevent lens flaring.
The eyecups on this particular model are made of thick and soft rubber to fit comfortably against your face.
Eye relief on this model is 17.5 mm, so you will not have a problem using this device if you wear eyeglasses.
By opening and closing the centre hinge, you can easily adjust the distance between the lenses from 5.6 cm to 7.4 cm. This is a great inter pupillary distance range for the price point.
The Celestron binocular has a focus wheel of 29 mm that is ridged and has a soft rubber coating. The focus wheel adjusts magnification very easily, even if you happen to be wearing thick winter gloves.
This model is lightweight and fits easily into the palm of most people’s hand.
The objective lenses on the Celestron reduce optical aberrations during viewing. They also help to create a bright image, even when being used in low light.
As far as image quality is concerned with this particular model, it is very good for such an affordable price. While colours may appear a bit more muted when compared to state of the art models, they nevertheless look natural.
Over all, image quality with the Celestron is bright, even in poor light conditions. There is little to no colour fringing or image softening observed with these binioculars.
Purchase of these 8×42 binoculars comes with several accessories as well. You will receive a carrying case, neck strap, objective lens covers, rain guard, and a lens cloth.
- The Celestron binocular can be easily mounted on top of a tripod.
- These binoculars are completely waterproof.
- The image quality produced with these 8×42 binoculars is better than most comparably priced binoculars.
- Since the lenses in this pair of binoculars is only 4 mm from the ends of the barrels, they are more prone to scratching compared to other similar pairs.
- The diopter adjustment on this pair of binoculars cannot be locked.
Over all, these 8×42 binoculars are great for both beginners and experts. They produce a high quality image and are lightweight enough to bring with you anywhere.
If you are willing to spend a little more cash on your next pair of binoculars, Leica is an extremely good brand to go with.
The Leica Trinovid binocular is designed with portability in mind. At under 15 cm with the eyecups fully extended, you can easily pack these away in your rucksack when you are on the go.
The black rubber armouring has a sleek matte finish and is tacky enough to make gripping the binoculars extremely comfortable.
These roof prism binoculars are fully sealed, nitrogen purged, and completely waterproof.
One of the outstanding characteristics of the Leica Trinovid model is their ability for close focus. The 8×42 model can focus an image as close at 2 metres from the observer. This close focus range is perfect for birding.
The eyecups on this specific roof prism binocular can twist both ways, but there is also another feature that is unique to them. The eyecups can also be locked into five different stable positions between fully up and fully down.
The stable positions are marked each by a firm indent so that the eyecups will not collapse during use.
One of the reason that the Leica Trinovid models are some of the best binoculars is because of the additional accessories that come with their purchase. It comes with a lens cap and strap.
The ocular lens cap consists of a pair of rubber caps that are linked with a flexible bridge. The lens cap fits snugly over the lenses and will stay in place even with vigorous shaking.
The strap is designed like a harness for extra stability during use. It is made with soft neoprene so that the use can endure hours of wear.
The optics of the Trinovid are very sharp even right up to the edge of the field of view. ED glass helps with this; even in dark conditions, the objective lenses produce a fantastic image. With extra low dispersion glass, you will view a much cleaner image.
The lenses of this binocular are coated with HDC coating, which keeps stray light at an absolute minimum. The prisms in these 8×42 binoculars are also covered in an anti reflective phase coating.
All of these features allow more light to pass through the lenses to produce a clean image, even in low light conditions.
- This binocular produces a sharp, crisp image even up to the edge of the field of view thanks to ED glass.
- This model is ergonomically designed and are comfortable to hold.
- These 8×42 binoculars are made of magnesium and are completely waterproof.
- Some of the important components like the focus wheel and diopter adjustment are made of flimsy plastic.
All in all, the Leica Trinovid 8×42 binoculars are state of the art. From its extra low dispersion to its fully multi coated objective lenses, you can be sure these are some of the best models on the market today.
Nikon Aculon A211
Another affordable option from Nikon is the Nikon Aculon A211 8×42.
These 8×42 binoculars feature multi coated lenses to increase light transmittance and a smart rubber cover that helps to resist shock contact.
This model features high end design combined with incredible components. They are perfect for beginners and experts alike.
The lenses are quality made with eco glass. They can regulate light in the environment as well as produce bright, clear images no matter the time of day.
The eyecups on these 8×42 binoculars are flexible and easy to twist. Using this model for hours at a time is no problem thanks to how comfortable the eyecups are.
The central focus knob makes producing the best image quality super easy. It can be adjusted to different angles for perfect focus with every use.
The body of these 8×42 binoculars is coated with a rubber armour. Not only does this make them easy and comfortable to use, but it protects them from impact shock as well.
Zooming in to focus on specific objects with these binoculars is incredibly easy. This model even comes with a zoom finger tip button.
This model comes with the ability to mount it on a tripod. This is an especially important feature for bird watchers.
There is a tripod port at the bottom of the device so that you can give your arms and hands a rest when you are using the binoculars for a long period of time.
There is an eyepiece lever on the Aculon A211 8×42 binoculars enables the user to adjust them to 140 metre over an 1000 wide metre area.
Of course, a lens cap comes with purchase of this model. It fits the roof prism lenses snugly and will protect the ED glass from any damage.
Other accessories that come with this 8×42 pair of roof prism binoculars are a carrying case and a neck strap.
- These 8×42 binoculars are perfect for marine viewing because they are waterproof and protected against corrosive salt water.
- Unlike binoculars that offer 10x magnification, this model is much more easy to use.
- The magnification of this model is superb.
- Hand shaking is reduced thanks to the shaping of the hand grip.
- The neck strap included with purchase of the Nikon Aculon A211 8×42 binoculars is not adjustable.
- Even though the centre of the image is crisp and clear, some users have complained that there is some blurring along the edges of the field of view.
The Nikon Aculon A211 8×42 binoculars produce a quality image and are extremely easy to use. From the ED glass to the easy to use focus knob, using this model is a no brainer.
How to Choose Binoculars
If you are thinking of buying your first pair of binoculars, it can be quite a daunting task. There are a lot of features and considerations to mind when picking out a model, so keep these things in mind.
Before you buy a model, consider the activities that you plan to do with them.
If you want to use them for backpacking and hiking, go for a compact pair with 8x magnification or 10x magnification and an objective lens diameter less than 28. Also, the best pair for these kinds of activities will have a durable rubber coating and should be water resistant or even better, waterproof.
If you are looking for a device for birding, you can consider midsize or full size models. 8×32 and 8×42 models are perfect for this activity.
8x magnification models have a rather wide field of view, which is imperative for locating birds. Water resistance is also a feature you should look for. Also keep an eye out for models that will not fog up. Depending on how close the birds are to you, you may also want a pair with a good close focus setting.
If you want to buy a model for wildlife viewing, safaris, or whale watching, spring for a pair with a higher magnification. This is important for locating animals that may be very far away.
If you need a model for paddling, obviously pick a waterproof device. 8×32 is the most popular size and magnification for paddling.
If you fancy stargazing, the ability to mount the binoculars to a tripod is absolutely necessary.
Magnification affects field of view as well as vice versa. If you have a lower magnification, you will get a wider field of view. Conversely, if you have a higher magnification, you will end up with a more narrow field of view.
Having a more narrow field of view can make it more difficult to locate small and moving objects. A narrow field of view also lets in less light, so while the image quality remains unaffected, the image produced will be slightly darker.
Eye Relief refers to the distance between the eyepiece and the user’s eye while the entire field of view is visible. Eye relief is an especially important facet to consider if you wear eyeglasses.
Objective Lens Diameter
The diameter of the objective lenses in a binocular determines how much light it can gather. The larger the objective lens, the more light it will capture.
Models that have higher quality optics will also produce brighter and clearer images.
Models that are waterproof are great for activities like whaling and paddling.
Waterproof binoculars use O rings to close the inside of the body off from moisture. These binoculars can survive a quick splash of water, but typically cannot be submerged for an extended period of time.
Water resistant models are not fully waterproof. These can handle light rain or moisture, but should not be used for water sports.
A quality pair of binoculars will have a solid rubber coating on its body. Rubber coating is necessary for protecting binoculars against minor bumps and impact.
Make certain the rubber coating can protect the model you buy, especially if you plan to take them on the trail.
While rubber coating will not fully protect your device from extreme impacts, it will definitely help keep them protected in day to day situations.
If you plan to use binoculars early in the morning or in particularly foggy environments, make sure they are fog proof.
In order to make a model fog proof, manufacturers replace the air inside the body of the binocular with nitrogen. This works because nitrogen has no moisture content, and therefore will not condense into fog.
Nitrogen proofing binoculars only prevents fog buildup on the inside of them, not on the outside.
The Final Verdict
Our pick for the best 8×42 binoculars on the market today are the Nikon Monarch 5. From the quality components to the incredible optical quality of these binoculars, they are perfect for any outdoor activity.
Any view through these binoculars is crisp and clear.
If you want to buy an affordable pair of binoculars, go with this model.