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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.

Quick Recommendation

If you are in a hurry and looking for the best buy Orion 9326 Giant View while if you are on a budget go for Echelon 20×70 Binoculars

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

Below, we will review ten of the best high-powered binoculars available in the market. They all belong to various price ranges and have different sets of features. However, this list is compiled with value and balance being the utmost consideration: the ones giving more value for its price are the winner.

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.

Nikon-Aculon-8250

Key Features

Affordability

As we have mentioned, the price tag is definitely one of the key values of the Nikon Aculon 8250 16×50.

Image Brightness and Clarity

Nikon Aculon 8250 16×60 offers three key features to ensure its superior image brightness and clarity.
First, aspherical lenses allow a flat field of vision. Next, Nikon’s Eco-glass lenses are arsenic-free, lightweight, and delivering superior clarity.
Last but not least, the lenses are multicoated to deliver excellent image brightness.

Weight

Weighing only 924 grams or 2 lbs, the Nikon Aculon 8260 16×50 is also one of the lighter high-powered binoculars.

Twist-Up Rubber Eyecups

The turn-and-slide rubber eyecups offer easy and comfortable eye positioning for prolonged use.

16x Magnification and 50mm objective diameter

Offering 16x magnification and objective diameter of 50mm, the Nikon Aculon 8260 16×50 is far more powerful than what its price suggested.

Durability

With its rubber-armored coating, the Nikon Aculon 8260 16×50 can withstand any environment while also offering non-slip grip on any weather conditions.

Our Verdict

If you are looking for an affordable high-powered binocular the Nikon Aculon 8260 16×50 is definitely worth considering.

It offers a very nice set of features commonly available in binoculars twice or three times its price tag, and is overall, very reliable.

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. Orion is perfect pair of binoculars for your hunting trips.

orion 9326 giant view

Key Features

Image Brightness

The Pentax 16×50 XCF features a relative brightness of 17.4. It is a decent number for 16x magnification binoculars, and you will be able to have a decent view even during low light conditions.

Weight

The Pentax XCF 16×50 is even lighter than the Nikon Aculon 16×50 with only 1.98 lbs (900 grams) of weight.

Lens Coating

Pentax’s super multi-coating feature allows protection from ultraviolet rays while also promoting excellent contrast and reducing glare.

Versatile Application

With four different magnifications to choose from up to 16x, the Pentax 16×50 XCF is very versatile for almost any application.

Durability

Made from a soft yet durable rubber material. Comfortable for prolonged usage yet very durable. Also, you can easily fold the eyepiece rings back to allow space for eyeglasses.

Tripod-Adaptable

Although the Pentax 16×50 XCF don’t come with an included tripod adapter, you can use a separate tripod with it.

Our Verdict

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.

meade 15x70

Key Features

Objective Lens and Magnification

The Meade Astro offers large objective lenses of 70mm. The magnification level seems relatively modest at only 15x, but it is suitable for both long-range terrestrial or astronomy viewing.

Lens Coating and Image Brightness

The lenses are multi-coated for ultra-sharp focus and sharp, bright views even during low-light conditions.

Weight

The Meade Astro 15×70 is relatively light considering its size, weighing only slightly above 3 lbs (1.4 kg).

Tripod-Adaptable

While the Meade Astro 15×70 is relatively light, it is best used when mounted on a tripod. A separately-sold Meade Tripod Adapter is available.

Beginner-Friendly

In our opinion, the Meade Astro 15×70 is one of the most beginner-friendly high-powered binoculars we have on this list. Its adjustable focus allows versatile applications, and you can easily adjust focus with a large, centered focus knob.

Great Package

For its price, you will also get a soft carrying case and neck strap. They help with easy transportation and safe storage during your travels.

Eye Relief Feature

The long, 18mm eye relief is ideal for eyeglass wearers, while also ensuring comfort.

Our Verdict

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.

Pentax 16x50 series review

Key Features

Objective Lens and Magnification

As mentioned, the Pentax SP still features the 50mm objective lenses with the powerful 16x magnification. However, it does not feature the versatile magnification options of the Pentax XCF.

Lens Coating and Image Brightness

The Pentax SP also still features the fully multi-coated optic and BaK-4 Porro Prism. So, you will still get the superior image brightness of the Pentax XCF.

Rubber Cups for Eyeglass Wearers

For eyeglass wearers, the rubber cups will allow a comfortable viewing without needing to remove your glasses. The rubber cups will also aid comfort in general.

Durable Aluminum Body With Rubber Armor

The aluminum material allows the Pentax SP to have decent resistance to shock, water, oil, dirt, and dust while maintaining its lightweight quality.

Focus and Diopter Adjustment

While it doesn’t over the magnification adjustment feature of the Pentax XCF, it still offers some form of versatility with focus and diopter adjustment knobs.

Our Verdict

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.

Celestron-71018

Key Features

Affordability

For its massive magnification and objective lenses, the Celestron Skymaster 25×70 is extremely affordable, if not the most affordable option on this list.

High-Quality Japanese Optics

Affordable binoculars are often associated with low-quality lenses. That’s not the case with Celestron Skymaster, offering high-quality and fully multi-coated Japanese lenses for sharp and clear images.

Comfortable Rubber Body

The Celestron Skymaster is almost entirely made of rubber, allowing a firm grip and decent durability.

Tripod Adaptability

Although the Celestron Skymaster 25×70 is fairly light (around 1.47 kg), you can also attach it to a tripod for increased stability. A tripod adapter, along with a carrying case is included with the package.

Viewability in Low-light Conditions

Being designed as astronomy binoculars, the Celestron Skymaster 25×70 offers a decent image brightness.

Our Verdict

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.

Celestron-71454

Key Features

High-Quality, Multi-Coated Japanese Lenses

The Celestron Echelon is hand-assembled in the US, featuring high-quality Japanese optics that are multi-coated with Celestron’s XLT coating technology. The result? Excellent optical performance.

Waterproof and Fogproof

The Celestron Echelon 20×70 is fully waterproof, fog-proof and comes with a free waterproof hard case.

Image Brightness and Magnification

With the very large 70mm objective aperture, 20x magnification, and 3.5mm exit pupil, you can see amazing detail with the Celestron Echelon even in low-light conditions.

Individual Eyepiece Focus System

With the Echelon, you can rotate each eyepiece to set the proper focus for each of your eyes.

Extended Eye Relief

With 19.55 mm of eye relief, eyeglass wearers can use the Celestron Echelon with utmost comfort without removing their optical aid.

Tripod Adaptable

You can easily attach the Echelon to a tripod using a separately-sold tripod adapter.

Our Verdict

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.

Nikon 7583 MONARCH 5 20×56 Binoculars

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.

Key Features

Extra-Low Dispersion Lenses

The Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) lenses are a legend in the photography world for a reason. Developed by Nikon, ED lenses are designed to offer superior sharpness and color correction.

ED lenses work by minimizing chromatic aberration. When light rays pass through an optical glass (such as a lens), the image and color are dispersed so they are no longer ‘correct’ to our eyes.

In the past, chromatic aberration is corrected through the use of calcium-fluoride crystals in lenses. However, fluoride is extremely temperature sensitive and easily cracks, and can alter the lens’ focus and refractive index.

The Extra-low Dispersion (ED) lens is designed to correct chromatic aberration without using calcium-fluoride glass, thus avoiding the drawbacks. The result? Excellent sharpness and contrast even with the largest objective lenses.

Objective Lens and Magnification

The Nikon Monarch 5 20×56 features relatively large, 56mm objective lenses and 20x magnification. You can also adjust the Monarch 5 to use the modest 8x magnification or the high-powered 16x magnification for more versatile applications.

Dielectric High-Reflective Mirror Coatings

As if the ED lenses are not enough, the lenses are coated with dielectric high-reflective mirrors to ensure even higher contrast and accurate color reproductions.

Focus Wheel

The focus wheel is large, rubberized, and located in the center to ensure ease of use.

Rubber Eyecups and Extended Eye Relief

The Nikon Monarch 5 features 16.4mm eye relief with rubber eyecups, allowing comfortable usage even for eyeglass wearers.

Waterproof and Fogproof

The Nikon Monarch 5 is nitrogen-filled to be totally waterproof and fog-proof, as expected from binoculars of its price range.

Our Verdict

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.

Barska

Key Features

Objective Lens Size and Magnification

Definitely, the biggest selling point of the Barska Cosmos is the very large objective lenses of 80mm diameter and 20x magnification.

Multi-Coated Optics

The Barska Cosmos features BAK 4 Porro prisms and multi-coated lenses. Combine them with the massive objective lenses, we get a superior image clarity and light transmission, as well as excellent brightness during low-light conditions.

Waterproof

The Barska Cosmos is fully waterproof, which is nice for binoculars for its price range.

Individual Eyepiece Focus

It is relatively rare for binoculars within this price range to offer individual eyepiece focus adjustment. With the Barska Cosmos, you can easily adjust the focus for each of your eyes.

Weight

Weighing around 5.5 lbs (88.4 oz), the Barska Cosmos is relatively light, especially considering the massive lenses and magnification.

Our Verdict

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.

Celestron 71018 SkyMaster 20×80 Binoculars

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.

Celestron-71018

Key Features

Affordability

Being only slightly more expensive than the Celestron Skymaster 25×70, the 20×80 is also one of the most affordable options on this list.

High-Quality Japanese Optics

As with the Skymaster 25×70, the 20×80 features high-quality and fully multi-coated Japanese lenses for sharp and clear images.

Comfortable Rubber Body

The Celestron Skymaster is almost entirely made of rubber, allowing a comfortable, firm grip and decent durability.

Tripod Adaptability

Although the Celestron Skymaster 20×80 is fairly light (around 2.1 kg), you can also attach it to a tripod for increased stability. A tripod adapter, along with a carrying case is included with the package.

Viewability in Low-light Conditions

The Celestron SkyMaster 20×80 offers a relative brightness of 16, which is pretty decent. You can expect decent visibility even in low-light conditions.

Our Verdict

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.

Exit Pupil

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.

Exit Pupil

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.

lens size and weight

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 .

field of vision

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.

Image Steadiness

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.

Image steadiness

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.

low light and night viewing

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:

  • Nikon
  • Canon
  • Pentax
  • Celestron
  • Orion
  • Barska
  • Meadet

Conclusion

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.