Sometimes, bird watching is all about seizing a special moment. When you’re outdoors or enjoying a trip, it may be a bit difficult to carry your standard and heavy binoculars. Compact binoculars are ideal for such situations. They’re much smaller and often, the quality of optics is spectacularly high.

Take some time to compare various products before choosing the one that’s right for you. If you need a bit of assistance, take a look at the following list. It features a couple of suggestions for people that are trying to identify the best compact binoculars.

Carl Zeiss Compact Binoculars 8x20

Many bird watching professionals identify the Carl Zeiss Compact as the best product in the respective range. The 8x magnification competes with the bulkier models designed by the same company. The compact binoculars are four inches long and their weight is 7.94 ounces.

The binoculars are waterproof/fogproof and equipped with non-slip rubber armor. Twist-up eyecups can be adjusted individually and there’s a user-friendly focus knob.

A set of 20mm objective lenses ensure clarity and beautiful contrast. A few other characteristics include phase-corrected roof prisms, T anti-reflective multicoating, 8.53 feet close focus, 13.5mm eye relief and nitrogen-filled casing.

Safari UltraSharp

This is another compact set of binoculars that’s perfect for wildlife viewing, sports and even concerts. Safari UltraSharp is available in 8x22 and 10x26 magnification varieties. Its length is slightly over four inches and the piece weighs 9.1 ounces.

Safari UltraSharp features wrap-around eyecups that can fold down for individual wearing glasses, an automatic focus system and a large focus knob that’s incredibly easy to use. When folded, the binoculars will fit comfortably in a jacket pocket.

The magnification of this particular model is x8. The close focus distance is 12.7 feet and there’s a 12.6mm eye relief. The body is water resistant and it also has UV protective coating that increases the lifespan of the casing.

Vortex Optics 8x28 Viper Series Compact Binoculars

This is another optical product that features proprietary lens coating that increases the transmission of light. Vortex Optics Viper also has extra-low dispersion glass that improves the resolution and increases the clarity.

The binoculars measure six by 2.2 by 5.8 inches and the weight is 11.8 ounces.

Objective lenses deliver true colors and high contrast. As the name indicates, the magnification is x8, there’s 20mm eye relief and close focus of 7.5 feet. The single-hinge binoculars are waterproof, which enhances the bird watching experience regardless of the environmental conditions.

Alpen Wings EDHD Compact Waterproof and Fogproof Binoculars

A product that costs less than 200 dollars and that features sufficiently high quality is difficult to find. This is why Alpen Wings EDHD Compact has gotten such a big number of positive customer reviews.

The binoculars measure 6.9 by 5.7 by 2.9 inches and the weight is 15.2 ounces, which makes the piece slightly bigger than the other entries in the list.

Extra-low dispersion glass and multi-coated PXA lens guarantee clarity and the transmission of light. The focus knob is located on the far end of the bridge, which is a somewhat unusual characteristic. The magnification is x8, there’s a 16mm eye relief and close focus of 6.5 feet.

Nikon 8x24 Compact Zoom Binocular

Nikon 8x24 Compact Zoom Binocular measures 4.8 inches in length and 4.3 inches in width. The weight of this compact binocular is 12.3 ounces. Apart from being compact, it also brags high quality of the optical equipment.

Bright, multicoated lenses ensure the transmission of light. The binoculars are characterized by excellent contrast, brightness and resolution. The lenses also feature anti-reflective coating. A few other wonderful characteristics include Bak4 high index prisms, standard central knob focus, 13mm of eye relief and 13.1 feet close focus distance.

The rubber-coated body of these binoculars is ergonomic and easy to grip. Nikon 8x24 Compact Zoom Binocular is a waterproof and fogproof piece of equipment that can be used in even the most unfavorable weather conditions.


Selecting the right binoculars for bird watching is a lengthy process. Most people will require years to identify the brand and the model that correspond 100 percent to personal preferences.

Things are a little bit confusing because binoculars come in several price ranges. Low-end products cost less than 200 dollars and some of the top pieces exceed 2,000 dollars. Choosing one variety or the other will depend on budget. Still, regardless of the price range you feel comfortable with, there are items to buy and some products to avoid at any cost.

Carl Zeiss Optical 8x42 Victory

The general consensus is that Carl Zeiss Victory is the best high-end bird watching piece of optical equipment. It has excellent eye relief, it works well for people that wear glasses and it brags spectacular lenses made inGermany.

Victory features the exclusive Schott HT High-Transmission Glass technology that Carl Zeiss is known for. This technology, together with the enhanced T coating, will guarantee 95 percent light transmission.

The lens are also designed to maximize color fidelity and to be easy on the eyes. Easy grip, ergonomic body and comfort focus are two other characteristics that add to the convenience of using the binoculars. The 8x bird magnification is ideal for people that have perfect eyesight and the ones that don’t see so clearly.

Swarovski Optik El Swarovision Binoculars

This product also belongs to the high-end range of binoculars. With a price of almost 2,000 dollars, Swarovski Optik El Swarovision has a number of cool characteristics. Swarovision is the company’s long-range optical technology that improves quality and boosts clarity.

According to reviewers, this product is characterized by incredible sharpness of the image. The field of view is perfectly flat – a feature that very few binoculars brag. The contrast is guaranteed, even when the binoculars are used in the evening. Thus, El Swarovision binoculars come with a spectacular price to quality ratio.

A few other cool characteristics worth mentioning include easy diopter adjustments, an open-bridge design, excellent eye relief and lifelike color reproduction.

Leica Binocular 8x42 Trinovid

Belonging to the up to 1,000 dollars price range, Leica Trinovid is a spectacular piece of bird watching equipment that’s a bit more affordable than the first two entries in the list.

The binoculars are also lighter and easier to use for a long period of time. The specialized lens coating ensures the clarity and the beautiful contrast of the binoculars. Magnesium housing and waterproof design increase the quality of the product even further.

Leica Trinovid features easy and convenient diopter adjustments, smooth rubberized design, comfortable eyecups and a limited lifetime warranty. The quality is almost the same as in the case of the more expensive Leica Ultravid. Thus, if you’re looking for a bargain and superior quality, these binoculars will be perfect for you.

Alpen Rainier Waterproof and Fogproof Binoculars

High definition optics and multi-coated lens ensure the sharpness and the perfect contrast of Alpen Rainier. The open-bridge binoculars have ergonomic design and hollows on the underside of the barrels for the placement of the thumbs.

The eye relief is 18mm and the focus is close-range (6.5 feet). The diopter adjustment mechanism is located right underneath the focus knob for added convenience.

As the name indicates, the binoculars are both waterproof and fogproof to enable bird watching even in bad weather. A few other noteworthy characteristics include diopter locking system, 1.5 turns from close focus to infinity, quick release neck strap and specialized eyecups that are typical for Alpen optics.

Nikon 7548 Monarch 7

This product is the leader in the 200 to 600 dollars price range. Nikon 7548 Monarch 7 is the most affordable entry in the list but the product is still recognized for the superior quality and clarity of the optical pieces.

Monarch 7 has a wide field of view, high contrast lenses and accurate color reproduction. The extra-low dispersion glass is the feature that contributes to superior clarity. The lenses are multi-coated and they also feature an anti-reflective layer.

The binoculars come with nitrogen-filled housing that makes them waterproof and fogproof. A few other characteristics include rubber armored body, retractable eye pieces, roof prisms with phase correction, 8.2 feet focus distance, 17.1mm eye relief and a body that can be mounted on a compatible tripod.


Everybody should have a pair of binoculars laying around for a quick grab when an interesting bird lands in your yard. One of the biggest binocular-based hobbies is birding, or as they used to call it in the old days “bird-watching”. While backyard birds will allow you to admire them closely while they skim bird baths and graze in your lovely feeders, the more wild bird will require a great set of binoculars.

The Best Binoculars for Birding

Binoculars are more complicated of a choice than simply just purchasing a pair. Such as a hunter is going to have different requirements in his binoculars, birding has a baseline requirement for binoculars. Features like color accuracy, sharpness, close-focusing ability, portability, and low-light performance are useful applications in bird watching.

Other necessary specifications for birding would be to use a 8x zoom glass; while more may seem better with a super-zoon capability, understand the impossibility behind holding those binoculars steady without feeling sick after awhile. In that moment, you will wish you had gone with the 8x. Plus for a brighter image and wider depth of field, this is the optimal lens. Another huge consideration is opting for waterproof binoculars, as water vapor sneaks ups inside the binoculars and then becomes worthless.

Let’s take a closer look at the top choices for birding binoculars.

Celestron Nature DX 8x42 Binoculars Review

Stacking the Celestron Nature DX 8x42 Binoculars up against any other birding specs, is difficult. The Nature DX series produces a great quality and highly affordable set of binoculars. Celestron aimed to create a superior product meant for new and intermediate users.

Selected Features
  • Fully Multi-Coated Optics
  • BaK-4 Roof Prisms
  • Phase Correction Coatings on Prisms
  • Fully Waterproof and Nitrogen Purged
  • Wide field of view - 388ft @ 1000yds
  • Long eye relief - 17.5mm

The Celestron Nature DX 8x42 Binoculars won first place award at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for their price class, with a gentle price of $139.95 at Amazon. These birding binoculars are well-rounded and exceptionally functional. The optics work very well, as opposed to other optic reviews on binoculars. The focus wheel is a traditional roof prism located on the centrally placed bridge which turns easy.

The only downside is the loss of detail away from the sweet-spot, as you would expect with any binocular of this type. The 8x42 Nature DX is made from a simple polycarbonate, which is durable and lightweight for this type of binocular. The more expensive ones use aluminum which is considerably heavier, and stronger.

Celestron has covered the exterior in dark green rubber armor, making it a bit harder compared to others, yet they did provide a lightly textured grip to combat this. Another great feature on this binocular is the fore-finger indents on each side of the main hinge. The finger-thumb positioning encourages correct holding to achieve a stable, perfect balance.

Celestron Granite 9x33 Binocular Review

When Celestron designed the 9x33 it appeared like an odd specification, yet leaves it to Celestron to know exactly what they are doing. Now this new 9x33 magnification sits nicely between the 8x and the 10x, made for those who wanting a more compact model.

Selected Features:

  • High index ED Glass objective lenses for the truest color rendition.
  • Padded neck strap with a soft rubber easy-fitting articulated rain guard
  • Waterproof & Fog proof -Nitrogen purged
  • Phase Coated BaK-4 Prisms with Dielectric High Reflectivity Coatings
  • Metal focus knob and twist-up eyecups for precision movement.

The construction of the Celestron Granite 9 xs33 Binocular is magnesium, making it hard but it is also has a contoured rubber with teardrop cutaways. This positions the thumbs perfectly. There are additional oval-shaped cutaways to increase the grip where the fingertips naturally place. Like other Celestron models, there are click-in objective lens caps which are removable.

What makes these binoculars sweet is the ED glass and fully multi-coated optics. This makes for a superior image. Even in the poorest of light conditions, the contrast remains great. The only downside is the slight ‘fish-eye’ effect due to panning from side to side. For general use, this is unnoticeable.

If you are looking for a superior product in a birding binocular count on Celestron to design one which performs quite well and won’t break the budget. The best price on this model is $251.26 at Amazon. Comfort is the number one focus with Celestron, especially if you wear glasses. All of Celestron binoculars come with the adjustable eyecups with eye-relief settings.

Celestron even went the extra mile with accessories. Included with the binoculars is a nice padded neck strap, soft rubber rain guard and a supporting shoulder harness. This is a quality binocular which performs excellent and stays within budget.