Hidden Gems: The Best Specialty Binoculars

If you sometimes feel overwhelmed when shopping for binoculars, you’re not alone. At last count, we carried more than 750 different binoculars here at BinocularsPlus.com. Of course, there are a few bestselling models from the top brands that enjoy name recognition and impressive sales. But what about the rest?

Not every binocular brand has the resources or budget to promote every single item in their catalogue. So we’ve scoured our entire site and rounded up the top 10 “hidden gems” from smaller brands that focus less on marketing and more on quality.

You’ll also find a few unique specialty binoculars in this list. Get ready to discover something a little unusual!


Opticron 8x30 Savanna WP Binocular
Why we love it: Porro prisms are the unsung heroes of the binocular world. While roof prism binoculars are having a moment, we love the classic appeal of the Savanna 8x30 porros by Opticron. Compared to roof prism binoculars in the same price range, these offer superior image brightness and clarity. Their compact size and wide field of view make them an excellent all-around performer perfect for sporting events, concerts, and hikes. Shop this binocular now >>

Swift Audubon 8.5x44mm HP Roof Binocular
Why we love it: Throughout this list, we’re spotlighting odd binocular sizes, but these just might be the most unusual. Of course, the 8x42 is the gold standard for bird watching, offering a great balance of magnification and brightness. But for experienced birders who want to punch in for a little more detail, this 8.5 magnification model from Swift Audubon adds a nice boost. To prevent your image quality from suffering, Swift has added 2mm to the objective lens size. It’s not enough to weigh you down, but it does keep your image sharp and bright. Shop this binocular now >>


Pentax 6.5x21 Papilio II Binocular
Why we love it: Normally we’re impressed with any binocular that can achieve close focus under 6 feet. The Pentax 6.5x21 Papilio II blows that number out of the water with an unbelievable 20” macro focus! These ultra-compact binoculars double as a magnifying glass out in the field, making them perfect for bird watchers and nature walks. Named after the Latin word for butterfly, the Papilio will reveal insects, plants, and much more. Shop this binocular now >>


Vanguard 10x42 Endeavor ED II Binocular
Why we love it: Extra-low dispersion (ED) glass has been a buzzword in hunting optics for years, but when you’re shopping for ED, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting. For its Endeavor ED II, Vanguard has sourced high quality Japanese Hoya ED glass. That means you get superior low light performance and tack-sharp images free of color fringing and other visual defects. Best of all, Vanguard has kept the design of this classic hunting binocular simple and streamlined, so we can offer it to you at under $400. Everything you need, nothing you don’t. Shop this binocular now >>


Celestron Outland X 10x42mm Binocular
Why we love it: Celestron’s sporty Outland X series is our pick for those new to binoculars or experienced outdoorsmen looking for a backup optic. At under $70 for this 10x42 model, Outland X is an extremely economical choice. Unlike most budget binoculars, it still offers luxe features like twist-up eyecups and multi-coated optics, so you can get a feel for your new hobby without your binoculars holding you back.  They’re also fully waterproof and covered with a protective rubber armoring, so you can carry them confidently in unfamiliar terrain. Shop this binocular now>>


Eagle Optics 8x42 Denali Binocular
Why we love it: The best binocular is the one that goes wherever you do. The 8x42 Denali by Eagle Optics is that binocular. Weighing just under 22 ounces, it’s extremely lightweight for a full-size binocular. And the views through the Denali are just as comfortable thanks to a generous 18mm of eye relief. You’ll enjoy full frame views with or without eyeglasses—just twist up the eyecups for a custom fit. Beyond superior comfort, the Denali also offers all the bells and whistles you’d expect: phase coated BaK-4 prisms, fully multicoated optics, and a waterproof housing. Shop this binocular now >>


Vixen 10x50 Ascot Super Wide Binocular
Why we love it: In optics, the higher the magnification, the narrower the field of view. Vixen has pushed that conventional wisdom aside with the Ascot Super Wide Binoculars. Despite boasting 10x magnification, these 50mm binoculars still offer an 8.5-degree field of view. Best known as an astronomy brand, Vixen designed this binocular for panning the Milky Way and viewing large celestial objects, so it’s no wonder it was hailed a Hot Product by Sky & Telescope magazine. But we love it just as much for long range glassing. Shop this binocular now >>


Celestron 7x33 Granite ED Binocular
Why we love it: Another non-traditional size, the Granite ED 7x33 from Celestron is perfect for the spectator who’s serious about optical quality. This lightweight, compact optic features 7x magnification for a wider field of view, ideal for viewing more of the football or baseball field or watching performers move across the stage. The ED glass adds a boost in brightness, contrast, and overall image quality. Celestron’s Granite line is one of the most affordable ED series on the market, with this model checking in at just $250. Shop this binocular now >>


Pentax AD 9x32 WP Binocular
Why we love it: If you want to invest in one high-quality binocular that can perform in a variety of conditions, the Pentax AD 9x32 strikes a great balance. It’s an excellent choice for travel with its small form factor but still offers 9x magnification for detailed views. One of our favorite features is the unique double hinge design. This gives you more room to get a secure grip on the binoculars. Since they’re so lightweight, you could even hold them with one hand. Shop this binocular now >>


Alpen Shasta Ridge 8x30mm Super Close IPD Binocular
Why we love it: Younger viewers and adults with close set eyes know the frustration of looking through traditional binoculars. If your pupils are closer together than your binocular’s eyepieces, you’ll experience a limited field of view and poor image quality. Enter the compact Shasta Ridge 8x30 Super Close IPD (interpupillary distance) Binoculars from Alpen. The two barrels fold closer together than most other binoculars of this size, making them a perfect fit for just about everyone. Shop this binocular now >>

Ask The Experts

Have questions about an item or need advice on selecting the right optic? Our team of experts is here to help! Avid outdoor enthusiasts themselves, they've tested gear in the field and can provide personalized product recommendations for just about any activity, from birding and hunting to sports and travel.

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