How many times have you left your binoculars because they were too heavy? And how many times, in that situation, did you come across beautiful birds? A lot of times, yes? Well, birds are funny creatures. They can appear anywhere at any time. Most times, they choose to show up in your most unprepared moments, leaving you bereaved that you left your binoculars at home.
Say no more to such occurrences. This article will focus on introducing to you the best pocket binoculars for birdwatching, those ones which are not only small and light that you wouldn’t even feel the weight when you go out, but also have very powerful optics and quality construction.
Isn’t that exciting? You will never miss a bird again!
Before you go gung ho and buy the first pocket you see in the nearest binocular retail store, there are some things you should know. Things like the features you miss out on pocket binoculars that regular-sized ones have. To truly understand the differences, we analyze the advantages and limitations of pocket binoculars.
- 1 The advantages and limitations of Pocket binoculars
- 2 5 Best Pocket Binoculars for Birdwatching
- 3 Wrap Up
The advantages and limitations of Pocket binoculars
Do all pocket binoculars have a specific trade-off for their smallness in size; definitely not. Some small-sized models can stand toe-to-toe with full-sized counterparts in terms of image clarity and brightness. However, they do have their limitations—they are cheap after all.
- First, they have small objective lenses, which usually measures about 20 to 25mm in diameter. There is no way around a small objective lens diameter; they cannot produce bright images as a 42mm objective lens would. In daylight though, quality pocket binoculars can produce impressive bright images but under low-light conditions, they aren’t great.
- Secondly, the field of view of pocket binoculars is not so wide. They aren’t narrow either, just relatively narrower than full-sized binoculars. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a wide view of bird habitat, it usually depends on the eyepiece design. And only a handful of small-sized models offer at least 330-foot FOV at 1,000 yards.
- Thirdly, be mindful with the eyecups if you’re going to share your binoculars with someone. The measurements could adjust accidentally from time to time. Fourthly, compact binoculars may feel weird to hold as the focus knob is wedged in between small joints. Fifth, they may not be waterproof. And even if the manufacturer claims that they are, they definitely will not give clear images submerged.
What You’ll Enjoy
- Size and Weight: Most pocket binoculars come in 8×20 magnification and objective lens diameter. The tiniest you’ll see are 7×15 like Swarovski, Zeiss and Leica models. This size makes it easy to carry about.
- Eye Relief: This isn’t affected by the size of the binoculars. If you wear glasses, you can still look through a compact binocular and see the whole picture.
- Neck straps and Carrying Cases: Pocket binocular neck straps are quite fancy. They weigh next to nothing. However, they could become uncomfortable when placed on your bare neck. Manufacturers of compact binoculars only provide carrying bags to go with so.
Without further ado, we rank the 5 best pocket-sized binoculars for birding available on the market in 2019.
5 Best Pocket Binoculars for Birdwatching
Wingspan Optics ProBirder Ultra HD 8×32 Compact Binoculars
Price: $129.92 at present (check latest price on Amazon here)
This pocket binocular has the workings of a full-sized binocular. It comes with a roof prism. Minimum close focus range is set at 2m, which is a feature found in high-grade bins. Field of view is beyond fantastic and measures at 393 ft. / 1000 yards. It is fully waterproof and fog-proof.
Eye-relief of 17.8mmis great; it allows long use without colors in images fringing at increased magnification. To top it all, it is lightweight and durable. A ton of accessories follows the Wingspan Optics ProBirder like the Neck strap, Nylon Mesh Carrying Case, Eyepiece and Lens Protection Covers and Microfiber Lens Cleaning Cloth.
- Lifetime Limited Warranty
- Lightweight and durable
- Equipped with ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) Glass that prevents color fringing
- It is very expensive
Leica 8×20 Ultravid Compact Binocular
Price: $729 at present (check latest price on Amazon here)
What standouts for the Leica Ultravid is the fact that it is foldable into a smaller size, making it even easier to carry around in your pocket. It is super lightweight at 0.5 pounds; you couldn’t even notice it in your coat pocket or backpack. Images on the lenses which have HDC multi-coating are crystal clear and crisp. The binocular is filled with nitrogen which protects it from changes in temperature, especially wet conditions. Basically, it is waterproof. Eye relief is great at 15mm and it has a roof prism.
- Super portable and easy to carry around in pockets
- High optics quality
- Eyepieces for glass wearers
- Astronomically expensive for a pocket binocular.
Zeiss 8×25 Terra ED Compact Binocular
Price: $349.99 at present (check latest price on Amazon here)
Like all other models from Zeiss, this model is very strong and durable without being heavy at all. It is enforced with a fiber-glass reinforced polyamide which accounts for its durability. It then uses nitrogen gas to act as protection against wet conditions such as rain and fog. It comes with a roof prism and is equipped with extra-low dispersion glass.
Unlike other binoculars, it uses a special hydrophobic multi-coating which keeps images bright and clear, with no distortion whatsoever in color. Its center focus wheel is placed where the index finger rests making it easily accessible for the user when they adjust focus. Having an adjustable dioptre helps its user lock in on a particular focus. The model has a good close focus distance of 1.9m and a respectable field of view of 390 feet at 1000m.
If you need a very nice set of pocket binoculars for wildlife viewing, nature observation, hunting, hiking, and birdwatching, this is the one.
- Folding design that makes it super portable and lightweight
- It is both waterproof and fog-proof
- Good value for money
- Only has a 2-year warranty
- May not be very affordable for many beginners
Celestron Nature DX Compact Binoculars
Price: $87.69 at present (check latest price on Amazon here)
They may be cheap, but that doesn’t mean they lack in quality. In fact, these particular set of binoculars are designed for beginners. This makes it the right tool for novices to get to grips with the use of binoculars. The lenses are full-multi coated and phase-coated. With this combination of coatings, users are guaranteed clarity and enhanced brightness in images, with nothing like color fringing possibly happening.
The body of the binoculars is protected by rubber armoring, which makes for a very comfortable grip; it also protects the binoculars from accidental falls on hard surfaces. The Celestron Nature DX is lightweight so you can hold them for long hours without feeling a strain. Has about 17.5mm of eye relief; a good measurement for a low-priced bin.
- Waterproof and fog-proof
- Has a wide field of view
- Has great close focus range of 6.5 feet
- Too basic for professional birdwatchers and hikers.
Price: $256.49 at present (check latest price on Amazon here)
The price isn’t something you overlook though, is it? But its good value for money because it fits in with any activity like birdwatching, hunting, hiking, sporting events, wildlife viewing, and stargazing. It comes with an ED glass and fully-multi coated lenses that give you the best clarity and colors in images. It also has a very wide field of view which measures 392 feet at 1000 yards. Eye-relief is at 19.5mm which is pretty impressive.
Its Phase Corrected Prisms enhances the resolution, color fidelity and contrast of images. Fully O-ring sealed with Nitrogen gas, these binoculars are waterproof and fog-proof. To seal it all up, the body is rubber armored which has thumb indentations put in convenient locations for proper grip and handling. All of these features are embedded in what is a lightweight tool of binoculars.
- Has many 3D features like extra-long eye relief, mountable tripod, and dielectric coated prisms.
- Comes with a lot of accessories on purchase
- Not cheap
- For pocket binoculars, it isn’t so lightweight.
There’s a lot to consider when making the decision to purchase a binocular for bird watching. While large binoculars often offer higher quality image or a higher zoom power, they’re also heavier and bulkier. If you prefer something with small size and low weight, a pocket binocular will be the best for you.
Regardless of your preference, be sure to assess each binoculars unique features, size, and weight plus what you will be primarily using them for, before making a decision.
Hope this guide was helpful for finding the best pocket binoculars for birdwatching which fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a set of binoculars we didn’t include, please leave us your feedback below. We are looking forward to hearing from you.