- 1 Quick Recommendation
- 2 High Powered Binoculars – Our Top Picks
- 3 Nikon’s Affordable But Powerful Option: Nikon Aculon 8250 16×50
- 4 Our Verdict
- 5 Giant Magnification and Lens Size: Orion 9326 Giant View 25×100
- 6 Our Verdict
- 7 Your Affordable Astronomy Binoculars: Meade 15×70 Astro 125080
- 8 Our Verdict
- 9 Pentax’s Affordable Binoculars: Pentax 16×50 S-Series SP
- 10 Our Verdict
- 11 High-Powered and Affordable Celestron: Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25×70 Binoculars
- 12 Our Verdict
- 13 Celestron’s Premium Binoculars: Celestron 71454 Echelon 20×70
- 14 Our Verdict
- 15 Nikon 7583 MONARCH 5 20×56 Binoculars
- 16 Our Verdict
- 17 Massive 80mm Binoculars: Barska 20x80mm Cosmos AB12416
- 18 Our Verdict
- 19 Celestron 71018 SkyMaster 20×80 Binoculars
- 20 Our Verdict
- 21 Guide To Buy Powerful Binoculars
- 22 Exit Pupil
- 23 Lens Size and Weight
- 24 Field of Vision
- 25 Image Steadiness
- 26 Low-Light and Night Viewing
- 27 Which Brands You Should Consider?
- 28 Conclusion
Long distance viewing made possible with high powered binoculars, but not every binocular is equipped to give the best experience.
High-powered binoculars are binoculars with large magnification and lens size, which usually also make the binoculars themselves bigger and heavier.
They are usually used for long-distance terrestrial and/or astronomical viewing usage, where large magnifications are absolutely necessary.
In this guide, we will learn the ins and outs of high-powered binoculars, along with several reviews from the best products from various price ranges.
High Powered Binoculars – Our Top Picks
Without further ado, let us begin with the first one:
Nikon’s Affordable But Powerful Option: Nikon Aculon 8250 16×50
The Nikon Aculon 8250 16×50 is one of Nikon’s more affordable options for high-powered binoculars. Yet, it is packed with a plethora of nice features that in our opinion, exceeds its price value.
If you are looking for an affordable high-powered binocular the Nikon Aculon 8260 16×50 is definitely worth considering.
Giant Magnification and Lens Size: Orion 9326 Giant View 25×100
As the name ‘Giant View’ suggests, the key value of the Orion 9326 Giant View is the massive 25x magnification and 100mm objective diameter.
However, we all know that binoculars are not solely about magnification, as other features will also dictate its overall quality.
So, how will the Orion Giant View fare as a mid-high value binoculars? Let us take a look at its key features.
Similarly priced to the Nikon Aculon 16×50 with many similar features, the Pentax XCF 16×50 is a better choice for eyeglass wearers or those looking for slightly lighter binoculars.
The only downside of the Pentax XCF 16×50 compared to Nikon Aculon is the slightly smaller field of view at 1000 yards of 183 ft, compared to Nikon Aculon’s 220 ft.
Your Affordable Astronomy Binoculars: Meade 15×70 Astro 125080
The Meade 15×70 Astro is designed for astronomy and low-light application. For a pair of astronomy binoculars, it has an attractive price tag of just below $300.
So, let us take a look at the key features of the Meade Astro 15×70.
Being relatively affordable, long-range astronomical and terrestrial binoculars, the Meade Astro 15×70 is a decent economical choice for beginners looking for a pair of versatile binoculars.
Pentax’s Affordable Binoculars: Pentax 16×50 S-Series SP
Another one from Pentax, with a similar 16×50 configuration. The Pentax S-Series SP is a more affordable option compared to the previously discussed Pentax XCF.
However, the S-Series SP still packs some serious features, as we will discuss below.
The Pentax SP 16×50 offers a very affordable option with a decent set of features. If you don’t need the adjustable magnification feature of the more expensive Pentax XCF, the Pentax SP 16×50 is the better choice.
High-Powered and Affordable Celestron: Celestron 71008 SkyMaster 25×70 Binoculars
Celestron SkyMaster 25×70 combined a very high-powered 25x magnification with 70mm objective lenses. Yet, those are not the only interesting features of the Celestron Skymaster.
The Celestron Skymaster 25×70 is an extremely affordable option offering high-powered magnification and great overall features. While it’s not as durable and versatile as other most expensive option, it is a very decent on-budget pick.
Celestron’s Premium Binoculars: Celestron 71454 Echelon 20×70
Another one by Celestron, the Celestron Echelon is their more premium option of high-powered binoculars, priced at just below $800.
As we can see, we get similar 70mm objective lenses but a slightly less powerful 20x magnification.
So, what justifies the price of the Celestron Echelon? Let us take a look at its key features.
The Celestron Echelon 20×70 is simply one of your best options for astronomy and long distance terrestrial viewing. Although it is relatively expensive, the rich features included justifies its price tag.
Another, more premium option by Nikon, the Nikon Monarch 5 20×56 features Nikon’s well-renowned Extra-low Dispersion (ED) lenses.
Being relatively expensive with just below $700, the Nikon Monarch offers a rich set of high-quality features.
The Nikon Monarch 5 20×56 is an excellent premium option packed with high-quality features and technologies. If you are willing to spend the money, the Nikon Monarch 5 is worth every penny.
Massive 80mm Binoculars: Barska 20x80mm Cosmos AB12416
The Barska Cosmos features a very large objective diameter of 80mm and high-powered magnification of 20x. For its high-powered specifications, the price is relatively modest at just below $250.
The Barska Cosmos is a decent affordable pick that looks good with its aluminum body and black-matte finish. The binoculars pack a serious magnification and objective lens size, ideal for long-distance viewing and astronomy applications.
Another one from the Celestron SkyMaster series, this time featuring larger, 80mm objective lenses instead of 70mm. So, we can expect the 20×80 to be a little more expensive in price, but there are also several differences in features.
Being fairly affordable, the water-resistant Celestron Skymaster 20×80 is an excellent pick if you want a slightly more clarity over the 25×70 but a little less magnification (20x instead of 25x).
Guide To Buy Powerful Binoculars
High-powered binoculars are essential for long-distance terrestrial viewing and astronomy gazing. So, if you are enjoying those activities, purchasing a pair is a must.
Yet, there are quite a number of factors that might affect your purchase decision in buying high-powered binoculars. For example, strong magnification and large objective lenses diameters will strongly affect your decision.
There are also other factors you should consider, and here, we will explain each of them to help you make your decision.
When you hold the binoculars further away from your eyes, around 30 cm away, you can see two bright circles within each eyepiece. These circles are what we called the exit pupil, a virtual aperture in any optical systems.
Only the light that passed through the exit pupil can then enter your eyes. So, the larger the exit pupil is, the more brightness and clarity you can get.
To calculate exit pupil, we can divide the objective diameter with the magnification. For example, in 20 x 70 binoculars, the exit pupil is 70 divided by 20, and so we get 3.5.
Lens Size and Weight
Above, we have discussed how objective lens diameter will affect exit pupil, which in turn will affect image clarity and brightness.
However, the larger the lenses are, the bigger the body of the binoculars should be, and the heavier it will get.
So, if you are planning to carry the binoculars around, you should consider a good balance between the lens size and weight. The issue of weight can generally be eliminated with the use of a tripod, sacrificing your mobility.
So, consider your needs and how you plan to use the binoculars. If you need mobility, you will need to opt for lighter binoculars with smaller lens size, and vice versa.
Field of Vision
Binoculars’ field of vision is typically measured at a 1000-yard range. Obviously, the bigger the number, the wider the field of vision is.
One common misconception is that the larger the binoculars are, the wider the field of vision will be. That is not always the case .
Generally, however, the wider the field of vision is, the more expensive the binoculars will be. So, one of the key considerations you should have is to find the most affordable binoculars with the widest field of vision.
For both long-range viewing and astronomy gazing, image steadiness is a very important factor you should consider before buying high-powered binoculars.
As the name suggests, image steadiness is how steady your viewing will be with specific binoculars. Here’s the catch: the bigger the magnification and the larger the lenses, the heavier the binoculars will be.
No matter how strong we are, our arms will start to shake as we are holding heavier things, and that is also the issue with heavier binoculars.
As a general rule of thumb, hand-held 10×50 binoculars are generally regarded as the limit before we sacrifice image steadiness.
To tackle the image steadiness issue, there are generally two approaches we can take: using a tripod or opt for the expensive, image-stabilized binoculars.
Most decent binoculars offer a tripod adapter (sometimes included) to use the binoculars with a standard photography tripod. This is a relatively affordable and accessible way to get more image steadiness.
Image-stabilized binoculars use battery-powered technology to achieve image steadiness without the use of a tripod. This is achieved by using a motion sensor and what’s essentially a movement-cancellation technology.
Image-stabilized binoculars can be very expensive exceeding thousands of Dollars. The better the image stabilization technology is, the more expensive the binoculars will be.
So, ask yourself whether you need both mobility and steadiness to invest in image-stabilized binoculars, or whether using a tripod is sufficient.
Low-Light and Night Viewing
Different binoculars will offer different brightness, and the mid-priced ones of $300 and above are generally decent enough in low-light conditions.
If you are planning to stargaze with the binoculars, generally you won’t need a specific type to address the image brightness. Magnification, lens size, and weight should be your primary concerns.
However, if you are planning to use the binoculars for extremely low-light conditions viewing non-illuminating objects (i.e. night hunting), you might need to invest in night-vision binoculars with an infrared sensor.
Which Brands You Should Consider?
There are several reputable brands producing optical devices including binoculars. In our product recommendation section above, we only recommended products from reputable brands.
Here are several trustworthy brands you can consider:
The most important consideration you should have when purchasing high-powered binoculars is the balance. The balance between magnification-lens size with weight, the balance between image clarity and magnification, and most importantly, the balance between the price and features.
Based on that consideration, we feel that there are two pairs of binoculars that stand out: the Nikon Aculon 8250 16×50 and Orion 9326 Giant View 25×100.
The Nikon Aculon offers a nice overall balance for entry-level binoculars. The Orion Giant View, on the other hand, is a balanced option for the mid-high price range.