10×50 binoculars – Buying guide & Comparison
If you’re in the market for some good 10×50 binoculars but aren’t keen on spending your time by browsing through reviews and product comparisons, then the following short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know. After going through many specialized articles and 10X50 binoculars reviews, we have concluded that the Nikon 8248 Aculon A211 is the product that will most likely meet your demands for high performance but a still affordable piece. The Aculon A211 received great appreciation for its remarkably sharp contrast, on level with the best Nikon products, and comfortable turn-and-slide rubber eyecups, which make them well suited for extended use, even by people that have to use powerful prescription glasses. There are also durable and relatively easy to carry. If you’re after something basic but highly proficient, then the Olympus 118760 will prove a good purchase.
The 42 lens might give you the answer to life, the universe, and everything but if you want high magnification power at little to no cost to the field of view and brightness, then the 10×50 will surely provide. These make for great boating and stargazing binoculars, and if you aren’t bothered by the extra weight, then bird watching or hunting will feature among its uses. What are some things you need to know in order to pick the best 10×50 binoculars for your needs?
The prism, prism design and how it affects performance
There are two main prism systems out there, Porro and roof mounted. A Porro design can be recognized by the fact that the back lenses don’t align to the objective or front lens. This gives them wider spacing, which among other things, will contribute to a significant increase in the field of view, which is something you will require from a 10×50.
Not just this, but the Porro performs significantly better than similarly priced roof top designs in all metrics indicative of performance. It offers better image clarity and focus, better brightness and falsifies the colorless. However, the more expensive roof top makes for a lighter, more compact piece, and is generally considered more durable.
In regards to material, BAK4 is considered to offer the best results, closely followed by BK7. An important mention is that the quality of glass used is less important for Porros than roof tops since the “superior” arrangement of the system can make up for some loss in quality.
Field of view is important in all situations
If not self-explanatory enough, the field of view refers to how much of the background you will be able to see through the objective. Only the width is considered as a metric, either expressed in units of distance at 1000 yards or two separate angles of view.
Without going into the details of each, the apparent angle of view is equal to the actual one multiplied by the binoculars’ magnification factor. For example, the apparent angle of view for a 10×50 will be 10 times the actual angle.
The angle of view is especially important for binoculars that are in the higher ranges in regards to magnifying power since often times you will have to look at objects that are closer in distance than the maximum effective reach and without an appropriately large background this can be confusing.
Light, filters, and brightness
Fairly obvious, the brightness factor, often referred to as the exit pupil diameter, indicates how bright the image will appear, thus giving you an indication of how well the binoculars will handle in low light conditions. This is calculated by simply dividing the front lens diameter (50 mm) by the magnification figure (10x).
Cheap 10×50 binoculars with a Porro design should allow for decent levels of brightness without any additional features, but it’s always nice to have higher specs. Besides the size of the objective, other factors that regulate brightness are lens quality, prism quality, and light absorption coating.
Besides reducing glare, which causes light to be reflected instead of getting through to your eye, the coating also facilitates the transmission of certain wavelengths that would otherwise be absorbed by the glass, thus falsifying color.
Comfort and eye relief
If you expect to be staring through the binoculars for a considerable amount of time, then this is something you should definitely consider. Some models have soft rubber padding on the eyecups to prevent strain for your socket.
Also, glasses wearers should opt for a product that makes allowances for their condition. Eye relief is the metric that lets you know how much the eyepiece can move to get into focus with your glasses. The bigger this figure is, the better.
Weight might also be an issue with large 10×50 binoculars, so you might want to invest in a comfortable strap or pouch.
Top 10×50 binoculars reviews in 2017
If you still have trouble deciding upon a good product from what’s available for sale, then allow us to make a few suggestions. The products showcased below have proven to be of great value to customers and scored top marks in specialized tests when compared to similar binoculars.
Nikon 8248 Aculon A211
You’ll see far and wide with this remarkable Nikon model, while not having to sell the farm to afford it. The field of view extends to 341 feet, which is a pretty good number for the 10x magnification it provides.
The 50 mm ecological lenses (no arsenic or lead had been used during the manufacturing process) will let plenty of light through, and the special coating will allow for better performance in low visibility settings.
The image sharpness received great praise, and the strong contrast will make even small objects easy to distinguish. The color fidelity might not be perfect, but then again, this varies pretty significantly depending on weather and time of day anyway.
It allows for plenty of eye relief with the turn and slide cups that are also coated in soft rubber for better comfort. The body is anything but soft with a significant texture to make it easier to grip.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($96.95)
This Olympus model offers some nice resilience in a relatively light body to allow you to take it anywhere without much worry, strain, or trouble. They are UV protected for those long sunny days on the sea while also coated in rubber for some extra toughness and superior grip.
Regarding performance, a customer reports on having tried them out against a 1300$ pair and being impressed with how well it compared in regards to image clarity, sharpness, and brightness. As a 10×50 they should behave equally well during sunny days or at twilight hours.
Coupled with their good resilience, this should make them well fit for use while hunting or bird watching in dark woods. The 374 yards field of view will help you follow your mark as it sprints or takes flight.
The item also comes with a strap and its own carry bag, so you won’t have to worry about finding a one that fits.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($67.73)
Celestron UpClose 71257-CGL
This Celestron product doesn’t dazzle you with its specs but offers all the functionality you would expect from a 10×50 at a remarkably reasonable price. Many satisfied customers felt the need to remark that this doesn’t automatically translate into poor quality, praising its sturdy aluminum body, which is also covered in rubber for extra grip and protection.
The BK7 prism gives it adequate sharpness and the brightness is good enough to make it suitable for night use and fairly accurate in low light conditions. You’ll be able to use it for stargazing, bird watching and hunting, without finding it wanting, as the good score it received on retail sites would indicate.
It does allow for eye relief, but at 12 mm this isn’t exactly stellar. You could also find an issue with the somewhat large weight of 3 pounds, but the item can easily fit on a tripod.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($26.26)
While a shaking image and less than ideal portability are something every 10×50 Porro will have to live with, they’ll generally get good optical quality in all lighting conditions at an unbeatable price.
Fortunately, the Bushnell 131056 model doesn’t break from the mold in this regard, with happy customers praising its image clarity, brightness, and contrast. A field of view of 341 yards will make it easier to keep track of moving objects and will make it more bearable to discern what’s happening at shorter ranges.
What sets it apart, however, is its remarkably low weight. At only 1.5-1.6 pounds it can even outcompete some roof prism models with smaller lenses and less magnification. The body is well protected enough to carry it around dense forests with little worry of hitting branches, and the permanently adjusted focus will make your life easier by not having to tinker with it all the time.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($37.99)
Simmons ProSport 899890
“Very nice for the price” seems to be the impression these Simmons binoculars give to most folks. You’ll get most of everything you are after from them — good image clarity, lots of brightness, easily adjustable focus, a durable body and a good enough field of view — without having to go too deep into your wallet.
Their fog resistance seems to be pretty good, although the manufacturer doesn’t specify a rating. One customer using them in conditions where condense was a significant threat reported that although fogging did appear on the outside of the lens (it would be unreasonable to expect otherwise) the inside remained clear, suggesting that the body is tight enough to keep atmospheric air out.
There are a few issues with blue contours forming at the extreme edges of the field of vision, but this doesn’t threaten to significantly affect their functionality for any given task.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($29.97)