When packing your bags for the next great adventure one key item that is always included is a pair of compact binoculars. Binoculars are handy when you are trying to get a closer look at distant landscape features or wildlife. All outdoor enthusiasts agree that wherever you can shed weight is best when hiking, this is where compact binoculars begin to fit into your bag. When you start shopping for your first or even a new pair of binocular the amount of pairs on the market can become overwhelming. Along with the shear number of binoculars out there each pair has a slight difference in specifications compared to the next. Here are the Best Compact Binoculars available for 2022.
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- National Park Obsessed’s Quick Guide Best Compact Binoculars
- Comparison Table for Best Compact Binoculars
- How to Choose the Best Compact Binoculars
- Reviews – Best Compact Binoculars
- Wingspan Optics FieldView 8×32
- Carl Zeiss Terra ED 8×25
- Pentax U-Series Papillio II 8.5×21
- Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 10×26
- Nikon Aculon T11 Zoom 8-24×25
- Bushnell H20 10×25
- Wingspan Optics NatureSport 8×32
- Vortex Optics Vanquish 10×26
- Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10×25
- Nikon Trailblazer ATB Waterproof 8×25
- Nikon Prostaff 7s 10×30
- Final Thoughts on Best Compact Binoculars
- Pin for Later: Best Compact Binoculars
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National Park Obsessed’s Quick Guide Best Compact Binoculars
Best Compact Binoculars – Carl Zeiss ED 8×25 – Buy NOW
Best Compact Binoculars for Hiking – Nikon ProStaff 7s 10×30 – Buy NOW
Best Backpacking Binoculars – Pentax U-Series Papillio II 8.5×21 – Buy NOW
Best Compact binoculars under $100 – Nikon TrailBlazer ATB Waterproof 8×25 – Buy NOW
Best Lightweight Binoculars – Nikon TrailBlazer ATB Waterproof 8×25 – Buy NOW
Best Compact Binoculars for Birding – Steiner Safari UltraSharp 10×26 – Buy NOW
Comparison Table for Best Compact Binoculars
How to Choose the Best Compact Binoculars
Magnification and Objective Lens Diameter (Aperture)
The two most common magnifications you will be deciding between is 8 or 10. An 8x magnification yields a wider field of view compared to the more detailed and narrow 10x magnification. Along with magnification, another big deciding factor is Objective Lens Diameter. The most important thing to remember is the larger the Objective Lens Diameter the more light is gathered by the binoculars. However, along with that the larger the Objective Lens Diameter the larger the binoculars become.
Exit Pupil Diameter
The exit pupil diameter effects how much light is allowed to enter the binoculars in low-light situations. For exit pupil diameter the larger the number the more light will be allowed to enter. For low-light situations a number of 5 or more is ideal while for daylight viewing a number of 2 or less is ideal.
Field of View
The field of view for a pair of binoculars is based on the magnification and eyepiece design. The feature that effects the field of view the most is the overall magnification of the binoculars. The field of view is commonly read as a distance in feet divided by 1000yds. The value is understood as the width in feet that you can observe when you are 1000yds away from where you are standing. Having a narrower field of view can create difficult situations when locating smaller wildlife. Along with making it difficult to locate wildlife, less light is allowed to enter with a narrower field of view.
Eye relief is measured as the distance between your eye and the eyepiece when the binoculars are at the widest available field of view. Eye relief is the most important spec if you wear eye glasses. Many modern binoculars feature twisting eye caps that allow the eye relief to be adjusted; however, the spec stated is the lowest value. Eye Relief is also referred to as Exit Pupil Distance. If you commonly wear glasses, an eye relief of 11mm or more is preferred while a value around 15 is otherwise preferred.
Lens coating and optics is the area that will set a high-end pair of binoculars apart from the rest. The design of the glass and coating used in the binoculars will effect how much reflection is reduced and the overall clarity of the image. The best way to determine the difference in lens coating is to visually test a few pair of binoculars. However, many times this is not possible and the next best thing to refer to is previous buyers reviews.
Fog and Water Proofing
Fog and Water Proofing are key features to be on the lookout if you plan to take your new pair of binoculars on the water or in harsh conditions. When comparing binoculars the feature to look for is Waterproof or Water-resistant. If the binoculars are Waterproof they are sealed with O-Rings and filled with nitrogen to prevent fogging. However, water-resistant binoculars are sealed to handle light rain and not submersion.
Reviews – Best Compact Binoculars
Wingspan Optics FieldView 8×32
The Wingspan Optics FieldView 8×32 are pocket-size binoculars that are perfect for someone looking for their first pair of binoculars. Even though they have a cheaper price tag compared to other binoculars found on this list, these binoculars are not short of many premium features. The body of the binoculars is sealed and filled with nitrogen to help prevent fogging of the lens, even when dropped in water. With a lightweight design, non-slip grip, and wide field of view these are the perfect entry-level pair of binoculars.
Carl Zeiss Terra ED 8×25
The Carl Zeiss Terra ED 8×25 are the perfect pair of binoculars for someone who is looking for a high-end pair. These binoculars are the most expensive on the list and have many high-end premium features. This pair of binoculars allows 88% light transmission, this allows users to operate in darker conditions. The Zeiss T* Coating on the lens creates high-contrast images which transmit maximum detail to the user. One of the best features of the Terra ED is the LotuTec Coating which provides an unhindered view in wet weather. With these high-end features, these are the perfect pair of binoculars for someone who is looking for the best pair currently on the market.
Pentax U-Series Papillio II 8.5×21
The Pentax U-Series Papillio II 8.5×21 is one of the best pair of binoculars for everyday use. They feature one of the smallest minimum focal lengths at roughly 2ft. While they do not have any waterproofing or fog proofing they make up for it in portability. This is one of the most compact pair of binoculars for the price. With excellent portability and comfort these are perfect for short range wildlife viewing.
Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 10×26
The Steiner Safari Ultrasharp 10×26 are the perfect binoculars for any traveler. With premium image quality, color, and exceptional low-light ability they are the perfect all around pair of binoculars. The extended magnification compared to many other compact binoculars get you closer to the wildlife on the other side of the lens.
Nikon Aculon T11 Zoom 8-24×25
The Nikon Aculon T11 Zoom 8-24×25 is the most compact pair of zoom binoculars on the market. When looking to purchase a pair of binoculars it can be hard to determine the best magnification power to purchase, Nikon solved this by building in a variable magnification. The small design ensures they are not a burden to carry along on your next hike.
Bushnell H20 10×25
The Bushnell H20 10×25 are the best general use binoculars on the market. With 100% waterproof protection and a very low price tag they will outperform their expectation. The 10x magnification will get you closer to your subject, but lengthens the minimum focal length to 15ft. These binoculars are excellent for birdwatching and general wildlife viewing.
Wingspan Optics NatureSport 8×32
The Wingspan Optics NatureSport 8×32 are perfects binoculars for on the go people. Sporting one of the lowest price tags on this list is perfect for activities where your gear might get damaged. The ultra-light and rugged design ensures you can spot the wildlife no matter the conditions. These are the perfect pair of binoculars for wildlife viewing on a smaller budget without comprising your enjoyment.
Vortex Optics Vanquish 10×26
The Vortex Optics Vanquish 10×26 is the perfect pair of binoculars for on-the-go individuals. The compact design packs high-end optics and key waterproof features. The high-end optics ensure the image on the other side is going to be crisp and bright. The wide field of view is directed towards general landscape viewing rather than small wildlife viewing. The compact and lightweight design is perfect for individuals looking for a pair of high-quality binoculars for hiking.
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10×25
The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10×25 is a high-performing pair of binoculars. These binoculars tend to fall in the middle ground compared to other options. They feature many premium features like a high quality build, RainGuard lens coating, and optimal viewing resolution. These binoculars are perfect as either a starting pair or an upgrade for an experienced user. The lightweight and compact design is perfect for wildlife viewing on the trail.
Nikon Trailblazer ATB Waterproof 8×25
The Nikon Trailblazer ATB Waterproof 8×25 is one of the lightest pair of binoculars on this list. Any outdoor enthusiast knows that anywhere you can save weight is key. With the lightweight design and build these binoculars are perfect for use of the trail. The short magnification makes them perfect for up-close bird watching or wildlife viewing. Included in the design is waterproofing, fog proofing, and a semi-protective rubber armor system. The Trailblazer ATB is one of the best pairs of binocular to take out on the trail hiking with you.
Nikon Prostaff 7s 10×30
The Nikon ProStaff 7s 10×30 are one of the more popular pair of binoculars on the market. These binoculars boast premium build quality, optics, and waterproofing compared to other compact binoculars. Along with the premium features follows a higher price tag and larger size compared to other binoculars found on this list. The Nikon ProStaff 7s are the perfect binoculars for all around use no matter what is on the other side of the lens.
Final Thoughts on Best Compact Binoculars
Thanks for reading all about the best compact binoculars. Be sure to check out some of our other gear and national park guides:
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