Best Binoculars For Plane Spotting? Top Picks For Your Money 2021

Written by 

Kirsten

Updated on: 

June 11, 2021

Product
Top Pick
Nikon Action EX 8x40 CF Binocular
Alternative
Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25 x 70 Binocular
Bushnell - Legend Ultra HD Binocular - 10x42 - Black - Roof Prism - Rainguard HD - Ultra-Wideband Coating - ED Glass - 191042
Product Dimension
21.1 x 20.8 x 8.9
10.92 x 27.94 x 22.1 cm
13.4 x 10.2 x 17.5 cm
Weight
0.85 kg
1.47 kg
0.71 kg
Magnification Level
8x
25x
10x
Objective diameter
40 mm
70 mm
42 mm
Field of view at 1,000 m
143 m
47 m
113 m
Exit pupil
5 mm
2.8 mm
4.2 mm
Relative brightness
25
7.84
17.6
Close focusing distance
5 m
23 m
2 m
Type
Porro
BaK-4
BaK-4
Waterproof
Yes
Water Resistant
Yes
Rating
Top Pick
Product
Nikon Action EX 8x40 CF Binocular
Brand
Product Dimension
21.1 x 20.8 x 8.9
Weight
0.85 kg
Magnification Level
8x
Objective diameter
40 mm
Field of view at 1,000 m
143 m
Exit pupil
5 mm
Relative brightness
25
Close focusing distance
5 m
Type
Porro
Waterproof
Yes
Rating
Buy Now
Alternative
Product
Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25 x 70 Binocular
Brand
Product Dimension
10.92 x 27.94 x 22.1 cm
Weight
1.47 kg
Magnification Level
25x
Objective diameter
70 mm
Field of view at 1,000 m
47 m
Exit pupil
2.8 mm
Relative brightness
7.84
Close focusing distance
23 m
Type
BaK-4
Waterproof
Water Resistant
Rating
Buy Now
Product
Bushnell - Legend Ultra HD Binocular - 10x42 - Black - Roof Prism - Rainguard HD - Ultra-Wideband Coating - ED Glass - 191042
Brand
Product Dimension
13.4 x 10.2 x 17.5 cm
Weight
0.71 kg
Magnification Level
10x
Objective diameter
42 mm
Field of view at 1,000 m
113 m
Exit pupil
4.2 mm
Relative brightness
17.6
Close focusing distance
2 m
Type
BaK-4
Waterproof
Yes
Rating
Buy Now

Short On Time?

Our Recommended Best Binoculars For Plane Spotting Is The Nikon Action EX 8x40 CF Binocular!

Nikon Action EX 8x40 CF Binocular
  • Waterproof (up to 1m for 5 minutes) and fog-free with nitrogen gas filling
  • High-eyepoint design provides a clear field of view even for eyeglass wearers
  • Turn-and-slide rubber eyecups with multi-click facilitate easy positioning of eyes at the correct eyepoint
  • Multilayer-coated lenses and large objective diameter for optimal image clarity
  • Rubber armouring for shock resistance and a firm, comfortable grip

The Best Plane Spotting Binoculars Reviews & Buying Guide

For people who enjoy going to air shows or like spotting aircraft in general, plane binoculars will come in good use to help you see these planes in more detail due to their magnification. 

However, there is a vast range of aeroplane binoculars on the market, ranging in different sized objective lenses, fields of view and stabilisation, which is very important when using your pair of binoculars on its high magnification to reduce that shaky image quality. 

So to help your narrow down and find the best pair of binoculars for plane spotting on the market, we have compared and reviewed the top models out there so as you can choose the ideal binocular for plane spotting.


The Product Below May Be Currently Unavailable,

Our recommended alternative is The Nikon Action EX 8x40 CF Binocular!

Nikon Action EX 8x40 CF Binocular
  • Waterproof (up to 1m for 5 minutes) and fog-free with nitrogen gas filling
  • High-eyepoint design provides a clear field of view even for eyeglass wearers
  • Turn-and-slide rubber eyecups with multi-click facilitate easy positioning of eyes at the correct eyepoint
  • Multilayer-coated lenses and large objective diameter for optimal image clarity
  • Rubber armouring for shock resistance and a firm, comfortable grip

Our Top Plane Spotting Binoculars -

The Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF Binocular (Editor's Choice)

Nikon is very well-known in the optics industry for creating some highly reliable binoculars. 

This Nikon action model in particular features a 12x magnification level with a 50mm objective lenses size, it also has a Porro prism design and uses multi-coated lenses to improve image quality seen through the device. 

Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF Binocular

Design-wise, the Nikon high-powered binoculars weigh only three pounds and use turn and slide rubber eyecups for comfort, it has a rubber exterior to allow for firmer grip too and is fully waterproof. It uses a height eye-point vision to be more comfortable for eyeglass wearers. 

Conclusion

If you are after a high-powered pair of handheld binoculars, then these Nikon binos are one of the best options on our list. 

The model is very light in weight yet does not compromise on image quality thanks to its coated lenses and large objective lenses size which helps in light transmission. 

Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF Binocular

Negatives of this Nikon action model are its extras such as its neck strap which is reported by some people to not be included or be of poor quality. It is also noted that you can see some slight colour fringing through the lens. 

Pros 

  • Strong magnification. 
  • Very light in weight. 
  • Rubber material. 
  • Multi-coated lenses. 
  • Large objective lenses size. 
  • Easy to use as hand-held bincoulars.

Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF Binocular

Cons 

  • The neck strap is said to be of poor quality. 
  • Some colour fringing is reported. 

View Price


Our Alternative Pick - Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25 x 70 Binocular

These Celestron pair of binoculars come with a 25x magnfication rating and a 70mm objective lenses size. 

Feature-wise, the Celestron binoculars use a Porro prism design and have multi-coated optics, it likewise has BAK-4 prism coatings and a sharp focusing system when using in a wide field of view. The model has a 13mm eye relief and fold-up/down eyecups too. 

Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25 x 70 Binocular

In terms of design, the magnification binoculars are tripod adaptable and have an armoured quality exterior along with a larger centre focus dial. The bincoulars in total weigh around 1.4kg and a carry case is included in the price to transport the model. 

Conclusion 

To conclude, if you use these magnification binoculars by Celestron with a tripod, then you might be able to spot some planes from a very far distance, thanks to the binoculars powerful objective lens which helps keep your magnified image bright. 

Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25 x 70 Binocular

These Celestron pair of binoculars do have some disadvantages for plane spotting, however. For example, the binoculars are reported to be very hard to focus on and would need a tripod at all times to improve stabilisation, it also said to be uncomfortable to use. 

Pros

  • High magnification with large objective lenses size. 
  • Great image quality with multi-coated lenses. 
  • Tripod adaptable. 
  • Fold up/down eyecups. 
  • Rugged exterior.
  • Large focus dial. 

Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25 x 70 Binocular

Cons 

  • Hard to focus. 
  • Uncomfortable to use. 
  • Has to be used with a tripod.

View Price


Bushnell - Legend Ultra HD Binocular

The Bushnell pair of binoculars features a 10x magnification and have a 42mm objective lenses size. 

Specs-wise, these plane spotting binoculars use ED multi-coated glass on their larger lenses to reduce chromatic aberration and improve image quality, they also have a roof prism design, 15.2mm eye relief and an exit pupil size of 4.2mm. 

Bushnell - Legend Ultra HD Binocular - 10x42 - Black - Roof Prism - Rainguard HD - Ultra-Wideband Coating - ED Glass - 191042

For design, the professional-level binoculars are ergonomic and o-ring sealed to make them waterproof and fog proof, it also has a locking diopter and weighs a total of around 710g. 

Conclusion

Overall, these Bushnell ultra HD binoculars for aircraft spotting are great value for money and come with superb quality optical lenses which will help to give a sharp image of planes, even from a far distance due to the special multi-coatings. 

Bushnell - Legend Ultra HD Binocular - 10x42 - Black - Roof Prism - Rainguard HD - Ultra-Wideband Coating - ED Glass - 191042

We also like this Bushnell model due to its weight, which isn't too heavy to handle for long periods when spotting aircraft. 

Downfalls of these Bushnell ultra HD bincoulars have to be its eyepieces and lens caps which are said to be awkward to use and can fall off easily during use. 

Pros 

  • ED multi-coated glass, 
  • 10x42. 
  • 15.2mm eye relief for better comfort. 
  • Waterproof and fog proof. 
  • Ergonomic. 
  • Roof prism design.

Bushnell - Legend Ultra HD Binocular - 10x42 - Black - Roof Prism - Rainguard HD - Ultra-Wideband Coating - ED Glass - 191042

Cons 

  • Eyepieces and lens caps are poorly designed. 

View Price


Kepler 8-20x50 Zoom Binoculars

The Kepler zoom binoculars are budget binoculars and come with a variable magnification ranging from 8x-20x to see planes, they also have a 50mm objective lenses size. 

Kepler 8-20x50 Zoom Binoculars - BAK4 optics - Ideal for Aviation/Ship Spotting/Long Range Observation

Main features of these binoculars are their BAK4 multi-coated lenses and their 79m/1000m wide field of view for an increase in quality seen. These adjustable zoom binoculars weigh around 870g and have a rubber armoured body for their design, they can be mounted on a tripod too for extra stability. 

Conclusion

If you are after a pair of budget binoculars that can help you spot the occasional plane in the sky with excellent quality, then these Kepler binoculars might be the best option in comparison to other high price range models. 

Kepler 8-20x50 Zoom Binoculars - BAK4 optics - Ideal for Aviation/Ship Spotting/Long Range Observation

We like these Kepler bincoulars due to the fact they have a wide field of view which is great for tracking planes, they also allow you to adjust your magnification, which is great when your want to zoom in further on an aircraft to see more detail of the aviation. 

However, this Kepler model does have some negatives such as its need of use with a tripod for stability, especially due to its adjustable magnification. 

Pros 

  • Budget level price. 
  • Adjustable zoom magnfication. 
  • Wide field of view. 
  • Rubber armoured. 
  • Tripod adaptable.

Kepler 8-20x50 Zoom Binoculars - BAK4 optics - Ideal for Aviation/Ship Spotting/Long Range Observation

Cons 

  • Might need to be used with a tripod for extra stability when used on high magnification. 

View Price


BRIGENIUS 10x50 Binoculars

The Brigenius binoculars feature a 10x magnification and use a 50mm objective lens to spot planes.

Top specs of these binoculars are its layer coated lens system and 367ft wide field of view, the model has a BK7 prism design too and has a quick focus system with an exit pupil of 5mm. They also include a 6.2-degree angle of vision.

Binoculars, BRIGENIUS 10x50 Binoculars for Adults, BAK7 Full-size Powerful Night Vision Binoculars for Adults Bird Watching, Football Safari Sightseeing Climbing Hiking Hunting 

For design, these Brigenius binoculars can be adapted to a tripod and weigh only 705g, they are covered in rubber for durability too and have flexible foldable eyecups, as well as a diopter system. 

Conclusion

Overall, these Brigenius binoculars are one of the best budgets binoculars within the low price categories on our list, they have a standard magnification that is perfect for bird watch or plane spotting and you can make easy adjustments on binoculars model due to the quick focusing system and diopter.

Binoculars, BRIGENIUS 10x50 Binoculars for Adults, BAK7 Full-size Powerful Night Vision Binoculars for Adults Bird Watching, Football Safari Sightseeing Climbing Hiking Hunting 

They also have a great sturdy design thanks to their rubber armouring. 

The drawbacks of these Brigenius binoculars are their overall weight which is said to be a little heavy, the eyecups on the binoculars are also reported to be uncomfortable to use. 

Pros 

  • Affordable price. 
  • Multi-coated lenses. 
  • The generous field of view. 
  • Can be used with a tripod.

Binoculars, BRIGENIUS 10x50 Binoculars for Adults, BAK7 Full-size Powerful Night Vision Binoculars for Adults Bird Watching, Football Safari Sightseeing Climbing Hiking Hunting

Cons

  • Heavy.
  • Eyecups are uncomfortable. 

View Price


Which Are The Best Pair Of Binoculars For Plane Spotting?

To round up our top plane spotting binocular reviews, the best model on our list has to be the Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF Binocular. 

Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF Binocular

We rate these binoculars as our number one due to their powerful magnification which is great for bird watching or plane spotting, they also an easy-to-function type of binoculars that are very comfortable due to their soft rubber eyecups and lightweight. 

As a second option, we would suggest having a look at the Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25 x 70 Binocular thanks to its high magnfication and sharp focusing system which make them great aviation binoculars

Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25 x 70 Binocular

The only reason we placed this model second is due to the fact it would need to be used with a tripod at all times to reduce having a shaky quality image. 

What To Look For In The Best Binoculars For Plane Spotting (Our Buying Guide)

Now we have found the top two pair of bincoulars for plane spotting on our list, it's useful to familiarise yourself with all the essential features you should be looking out for in your model.

We have composed a short buying guide below that will highlight the most important ones to consider. 

  • Magnification - Magnification is one of the top features to look out for in your binoculars specs, the higher your magnification goes, the more detail you will be able to zoom into on planes, the magnification should generally be a maximum of 12x, otherwise you will have to be using a tripod. 
  • Objective lens - The size of your objective lens will make you see a brighter image or a darker one, for most compact models, this will be around 50mm. In general, it always best to watch out for a bigger objective lens.
  • Stabilisation/tripod - If you are planning to use a binocular model with high magnification then you should ensure it has some stabilisation to reduce a shaky effect, for some very high magnification models it might be best to set your binoculars up with a tripod.
  • Field of view - A wider field of view is especially important if you are a bird watcher or plane spotter, as it will allow you to track movement across the field of view, a wider field of view might compromise on magnification, however. 
  • Material - Your binoculars should be made with durability so as you can use the device in all kinds of weather, rubber armoured coating is a great exterior to look for as this will also help with grip. 
  • Weight and size - If you are planning to use your binoculars without a tripod then you will need to make sure you can use it for long periods to spot planes without your hands getting fatigued.
  • Lens coating - Multi-coated lenses will reduce any colour fringing and chromatic aberration that you see on your binocular images.
  • Eyecups - Plane spotting can be a time-consuming task so having comfortable eyecups will allow you to look through your device with optimum comfort.

FAQs About The Best Binoculars For Plane Spotting

Should I get 20x bincoulars for plane spotting? 

You can use high-magnification binoculars for plane spotting but they might require the use of a tripod to steady the stabilisation, as the higher you magnify, the more the binoculars will shake.

What are the pros and cons of having a large objective lens? 

A large objective lens will help you see more detail on magnified objects during the dark and cloudy days, however, this extra lens size will mean heavy binoculars which are not easy to hold for long periods. 

How much do binoculars for plane spotting typically cost? 

This depends on the model that you buy and the features it comes with, but they can range from £50-£400 for a budget and mid-range model.

Can you use plane spotting binoculars with contact lenses? 

Yes, most of the time you will still be able to use your binoculars with contact lenses, this may also be more comfortable than wearing eyeglasses.

What does ED mean on multi-coated lenses? 

ED multi-coated lenses stand for extra-low dispersion, this means the lens will be better at dispersing chromatic aberration and other colour fringes on the lens.

Our #1 Binoculars For Helping You Spot Planes 

Our number one pair of binoculars for spotting planes is the Nikon Action EX 12x50 CF Binocular thanks to its durable and easy-to-use design, as well as strong magnification. 

View Price

As an alternative, we also suggested having a look at the  Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25 x 70 Binocular if you want to have even better magnification, you will however have to use this model with a tripod for better stabilisation.

View Price

Kirsten Carter is a freelance content writer who specialises in writing about travel, technology and health. When she's not traveling between her home of Tanzania and England, she writes for her blog Rightminded Travelling and features on a variety of different travel and technology sites.

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