Gear Advice

Category: Midrange

The top-scoring binoculars in the $500–$1,000 range.

If you're looking to upgrade your binoculars but you don't want to shell out for high-end models, all of the optics in this category offer exceptional value. They're made of quality components, including high-density or extra-low-dispersion glass, which enhances color, contrast, and resolution.

In this category, as with all five categories, we asked reviewers to test every pair of binoculars within the group, so they'd be comparing similarly priced optics. In this category, weight emerged as one of the most-discussed characteristics. That's because the Vortex Vipers, which took best in class, are so light in comparison of many of the other contenders.  

Once you've perused these standouts, check out the top picks for four other price categories in our complete Audubon Guide to Binoculars.

 

Vortex Viper HD 8x42

Price: $689
Score: 4.33
The takeaway: Everyone agreed that these binoculars have superb handling; among all binoculars tested, they alone received a perfect ‘5’ in the weight category. They're also optically excellent, with super clarity and crispness, and reveiewers with glasses praised the eye relief.
More specs: 24.2 oz, waterproof/fogproof, 347 ft/1,000 yd FOV, unlimited lifetime warranty

 

Maven B1 8x42

Price: $900
Score: 4.03
The takeaway: Fantastic optics that provide a bright image and a relatively large field of view. Great focusing capacity, though some reviewers found the wheel a bit stiff for their liking. "Handsome" was used multiple times to describe these bins, and birders like the option of color-customizing various components.
More specs: 29.13 oz, waterproof/fogproof, 388.5 ft/1,000 yd FOV, unconditional lifetime warranty

 

Zeiss Conquest HD 8x42

Price: $970
Score: 4.02
The takeaway: As you'd expect from Zeiss, these bins deliver optically, with a clear, bright image and true color rendition. They performed slightly less well than the rest of the cohort when it came to close-focus capacity.
More specs: 28 oz, waterproof/fogproof, 384 ft/1,000 yd FOV, limited lifetime transferable warranty

 

Eagle Optics Golden Eagle HD 8x42

Price: $590
Score: 3.95
The takeaway: A fine instrument, with rich color and a sharp, bright image from a comparatively compact pair of binoculars. 
More specs: 24.2 oz, waterproof/fogproof, 347 ft/1,000 yd FOV, unlimited lifetime warranty

 

Leica Trinovid HD 8x42

Price: $949
Score: 3.88
The takeaway: Also praised for their size, these bins have good feel and a fantastic image. 
More specs: 25.8 oz, waterproof/fogproof, 372 ft/1,000 yd FOV, limited lifetime warranty

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