12×50 Binoculars – Buying guide & Comparison
If you are in the market for the best 12×50 binoculars money can get you, but you don’t have the needed time to do the research on the topic, this short paragraph should help you out. Because we are well aware of the difficulties of choosing a reliable device, we have done the legwork on your behalf and we have concluded that the Celestron 71376 12×50 is the unit that you should have your eyes on. This product has fully multicoated optics and phase coated BaK-4 Prisms that are highly proficient. Moreover, the model comes fitted with twist-up eyecups so that enough eye relief is provided to glass wearers. If the Celestron 71376 12×50 is out of stock, give the Nikon 7573 PROSTAFF 5 a good look as it is an alternative that you might equally enjoy using while out exploring nature.
Our Top Choice
The 50mm ED objective lenses provide outstanding performance even in low-light conditions. The glass and the premium coatings are all lead and arsenic free, giving you a product that is eco-conscious and safe to use by everyone.
A few customers noticed that the image this unit provides tends to get fuzzy quickly off-center in the field of view. This can be distracting.
The Celestron variant is a great purchase for users that want a pair of binoculars that comes with lots of features and benefits, as long as you do not mind having to spend a little more for it.
The multi-coated lens and the prism system will bring the outdoors to life. You will be able to observe any object up close in bright and lifelike color. The 50mm objective lenses enhance this unit’s capability of handling lower light conditions.
The lack of a tripod adaptor makes this unit a bit unsteady when using it at the full 12x magnification power, especially since it’s not exactly lightweight.
You can’t go wrong with a Nikon product, and this true in the case of the 7573 PROSTAFF 5 as well. You get quality and performance in a lightweight and durable body.
Also To Consider
The large objective lens elements this device utilizes give it maximum light gathering capabilities which means that if you want to see clearly even in low light condition, the Pentax is what you should get. The body is also extremely rigid and rugged.
Finding a downside for this model is quite hard, though you should keep in mind that at 2.4 pounds, this is quite a heavy model.
If you are on a tight budget but you still want a high-quality device, this is the pick that customers recommend. It offers excellent viewing clarity, and a durable body built to last.
As all those that are trying to find good 12×50 binoculars know, one of the most difficult tasks is knowing what are the particular features that one should pay attention to. Because we are well aware of this situation, we have decided to make this job easier for you by putting together a list of features that you should not settle without in an item of this type. So, read ahead and pick the unit that best fits your needs.
Roof prism vs. Porro prism
One of the first aspects that one should pay attention to when looking for quality binoculars is the type of prism used in the making of the product. In fact, at a close comparison, you might realize that two nearly identical units that make use of two distinct types of prisms have varying prices.
The reason for this has to do with the fact that models that use the roof prism system are significantly smaller, more compact than their counterpart and, consequently, pricier. However, we feel like it is crucial that we point out that the prism only determines the device’s design and, some might argue its portability. Still, the prism has nothing to do with the unit’s power or reliability.
Therefore, if you don’t want to invest in an expensive model, we recommend that you purchase a wider model that has been constructed using the Porro prism system. This way you can rest assured knowing that you’ll end up with a dependable unit that is budget friendly.
Magnification and objective
Before you settle for the first pair of 12×50 binoculars for sale, we suggest that you pay attention to a product’s magnification ratio and its objective. According to the specialists, a device that features a powerful magnification ratio (meaning, anything that is more than 10x) should also come provided with a significantly wide objective, that is wider than 42mm
Therefore, in the case of 12×50 binoculars, you should not worry about the image’s stability. Nevertheless, as you already know, the units that have large objectives are also a bit heavier than their smaller counterparts.
However, before you make your purchase, we recommend that you stay clear from cheap 12×50 binoculars as they might not be as sturdy and steady as you might expect them to be. Even more so, chances are that these models don’t have sufficient coatings and, as a result, are prone not to last you a long period of time.
Last but not least, all 12×50 binoculars reviews advise in favor of settling for a device that comes provided with eye relief. This feature is particularly important to have if you are a glasses wearer. Usually, the eyecups installed by the manufacturer require that a certain distance is placed between the user’s eyes and the eyepieces.
Because of these eyecups, those that wear glasses might experience difficulties when it comes to seeing the image correctly and clearly; hence, most of them opt to remove them. Nevertheless, the situation is a bit tricky if a glass wearer has to share the glasses with a person that does not.
In order to avoid such unexpected situations, it is best that you purchase a pair of binoculars that have twist-up eyecups. This way you can effortlessly adjust the unit in order to fit your needs.
What is more, before ordering a product, we suggest that you select the device that has a wide field of view so that you won’t feel hindered by the lack of perspective. Likewise, your binoculars should be waterproof and fog resistant so that weather won’t stand in your way of having a great time.
The viewing experience you get while using a binocular depends on the quality of the glass that the lenses are made of and also on the coatings used to enhance image quality. Image quality refers to how sharp the image is and to the reduction of chromatic aberration, which is seen as a little rainbow that surrounds the objects or the whole image.
The viewing experience is one of a number of things that you should consider when purchasing 12x power binoculars because these, having a higher magnification power, are usually used to see details, so image quality is very important here.
The optical glass and the binoculars’ performance
A binocular is an instrument that needs a lot of precision when it comes to the image quality it produces so the glass used for the lenses is very important. The prisms are as important as the objective lens and the eyepiece, so we are going to cover them all here.
Crown glass vs flint glass
Crown grass is a type of glass used for precision lenses designed to make achromatic lenses with a low refractive index. This means it is a little bit thicker than flint glass which has a higher refractive index but has a lower Abbe value. The Abbe value measures how the lens disperses the light. Very low Abbe values can lead to chromatic aberrations.
Crown glass is usually used for BK7 prisms. BK7 glass is also known as borosilicate crown glass and is used for prisms used in low budget binoculars.
Barium crown glass, however, also known as BAK-4, is a higher quality type of glass that is usually used to produce prisms for high-quality binoculars. It offers a much larger clarity and sharpness of the image, improving the viewing experience.
The ideal lens will not allow the dispersion of light while it travels through it. So far, the closest to this ideal is the Extra-Low-Dispersion glass or ED glass. Because of the costs of production, this type of glass is encountered only in premium binoculars and the image you see through the lenses made of ED glass has high contrast and high sharpness and clarity.
Objective lens coatings and why they are important
There are many types of coatings and their use is essential to producing a high-quality image, but also to make the objective lens more durable. Depending on your needs and on how much you want to invest, you will have to consider them.
The objective lens is an essential part of the binocular and it has the role of gathering the light that goes through the binocular’s barrels. An important thing you should know about the objective lens is that it is made of a material that does not allow all the light to pass through it and some of the light will be reflected back into the environment.
The more light enters the binoculars, the better we will see, so manufacturers have developed a way to maximize the amount of light that enters through the objective lens and they do this by adding anti-reflection coatings.
Anti-reflection coatings have one single purpose, to eliminate reflection as much as possible. An objective lens can be uncoated, single-coated, and multi-coated. Cheap 12×50 binoculars usually have uncoated lenses, the good-quality ones are single coated and the best 12×50 binoculars are multi-coated.
As you can imagine, an uncoated lens will not eliminate reflections and will let only 96 percent of the light enter the binocular. This might seem like a lot, but even 1 percent more can make a lot of difference when it comes to image quality.
A single-coated objective lens will allow 98.5 percent of the light to pass and a multi-coated objective lens will allow 99.5 percent which is almost 100 percent. You will see a huge difference even when there is a lot of light present in the environment, but imagine what big of a difference it will be when the lights are dim and you need to capture as much as you can.
Coatings can be applied to prisms as well and high-quality binoculars use multilayered coatings for prisms as well to reduce the chromatic aberration, which means that they reduce the rainbow effect.
The coatings that protect the lenses from being scratched usually work in different ways. Some of them make the lens tougher, but some of them work in preventing dust and debris from sticking to the lens to avoid scratching. Some coatings protect the lens from oils produced by the skin, so even if you touch the lens, you will be able to easily wipe your fingerprints.
To protect the lens, manufacturers provide lens covers. They are very useful because they do not allow dust particles or debris to get on the lens and damage it. However, do not confuse lens coatings with lens covers. A good pair of binoculars will have the types of coatings that we have discussed above but also lens covers.
5 Best 12×50 Binoculars (Reviews) in 2020
To make this task easier for you, we have composed a list of top products that you should take a good look at before ordering anything.
1. Celestron 71376 12 x 50 Granite Series Roof Prism ED Binocular
With a great price to value ratio and overall positive reviews, the Celestron 71376 is a product that you should definitely consider. The unit was constructed using ED Glass so that its objective lenses are reliable and capable of rendering life-like colors.
Moreover, the device has lenses that are fully multi-coated, the reason why it is safe to assume that they are long lasting and of high-quality. Additionally, the lenses’ ability to transmit light has been greatly improved.
As a plus, this device uses BaK-4 Prisms that have been coated with what the manufacturer calls dielectric high reflectivity coatings. Consequently, this pair of binoculars is compact, portable and resistant.
Likewise, the model has an ergonomic design that features an open bridge body, non-slipping finger ridges as well as practical thumb indentation. Additional features include a focus knob that is made out of metal, twist-up eyecups and a diopter ring.
The image is very sharp and the chromatic aberration is reduced to the minimum due to the ED glass that the lenses are made of.
The sharpness of the image is taken to another level due to the use of BAK-4 prisms that are combined with the ED-glass lenses, and therefore, it offers the highest performance that a pair of binoculars can offer in terms of the quality of the image.
Above all this, the light that enters the binoculars is maximized due to the fully multi-coating feature, which means that all of the lenses, including the prisms, are multi-coated, so the reflection is reduced as much as possible.
It is environmentally friendly compared to other products in the line because it is lead and arsenic-free. It can also be used in extreme weather conditions because it is waterproof and fog-proof.
Because it is a roof prism binocular, it is a little bit pricier than other products; however, the incredibly clear image you will get is worth every penny.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($351.95)
2. Nikon Prostaff 5 12×50 Binocular
Another model that you should take a good look at is the Nikon 7573. This device is capable of offering you the possibility of seeing an object clearly and in true-to-life colors. This is possible thanks to the unit’s top-notch prism system as well as its fully multi-coated lenses.
The model was fitted with large, 50mm objective lenses that can make it possible for you to see well in low light situations, something that other units cannot do. Also, the unit was developed using Eco-glass that does not contain lead and arsenic.
If you wear glasses, it might be helpful to know that this device has both eye relief and turn-and-slide eyecups. Therefore, the product is particularly convenient to use and gentle on your eyes. Moreover, you can now share the unit with your loved ones without having to worry about not being able to easily adjust it.
The loss of light that can occur while using binoculars is reduced to the maximum due to the fact that every lens of this product is multilayer-coated, including the prisms.
The eyecups allow you to adjust the eye relief and the product offers a wide view field for people who wear eyeglasses due to the turn-and-slide eyecups that are also multi-click.
It is lightweight, fog-proof, and also waterproof, features that allow you to easily use it in different situations and for long periods of time.
These binoculars are very durable because they are made of fiberglass-reinforced polycarbonate resin, a material that is very strong and resistant to deterioration over time.
It does not have a tripod adaptor so this might cause some inconveniences to people who are not able to keep it steady, especially because the magnification will cause the image to be more sensitive to movement. However, it is relatively lightweight compared to other products in its category and you will be able to hold it in a fixed position easier.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($216.94)
3. Pentax SP 12 x 50 WP Porro Prism Binocular
Another product that previous buyers recommend is the one developed by Pentax. This model is cost effective and comes outfitted with large objective lenses that recommend it as a go-to device in case you need to use it in low lighting conditions.
These binoculars have been multi-coated in order to ensure sufficient light transmission. Still, the protective coating that the device was covered in is said to repel water, dust, and grease in order to keep your optics spotless.
However, one of the most appreciated features that the model has is its rigid, sturdy body construction. Thanks to it, the product is said to keep its optical alignment at all times and deliver you the capacity of effortlessly maneuvering the model.
As a plus, the device is water resistant and it is filled with nitrogen so that it can do its job well no matter the harsh weather conditions that you might face.
This product is great to be used in extreme weather conditions due to its waterproof feature and because it is nitrogen purged.
The great thing about it is that the lenses are also covered with a hydrophobic coating that does not allow water to stay on the lens, making the image clearer and reducing the risk of dust and debris scratching the lenses.
The image is very clear and sharp due to the fact that every lens inside the binocular is multi-coated.
It is very durable as the body is made of die-cast aluminum, a material that is resistant to rust and corrosion and also very strong.
The product weighs 2.4 pounds, so if you want to use it for prolonged periods of time, it might be a little heavy. However, its other features are great if you think of the durability and quality of the image, so you have to analyze your priorities before you make a choice.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($199)
4. Celestron 71363 LandScout 12X50 Porro Binocular
If you are looking for a unit that has a durable and strong housing that guarantees that your product is stable at all times, check out this model constructed by Celestron. According to its manufacturer, this product comes equipped with fully multi-coated optics and BaK-4 prisms that cater to your needs of great contrast and good light transmission.
The device has sizeable objective lenses and a powerful magnification that makes it possible for you to see objects clearly and in great detail. In order to make the model even easier to use, its manufacturer has outfitted it with eye relief so that those that wear glasses won’t feel hindered in any way while using the device
The Celestron 71363 is very versatile in terms of eye relief and is suited for both eyeglass wearers and people who don’t need eyeglasses, as the eyecups are sturdy and flexible at the same time and offer great resistance compared to other similar products.
It combines durability and the advantage of being relatively lightweight due to the fact that its body is made of aluminum.
It prevents internal fogging and is suitable for any weather conditions as it is also waterproof.
It provides a very clear image because the multi-coating and BAK-4 prisms combination offers sharp and bright images that also have a high resolution.
The focus adjustment is manual and for people who are not very good at this and want a product that has autofocus, this might be a minus. However, learning how to adjust the focus is not that hard and you will find that you will be able to see a lot clearer in different situations if you know how to adjust the focus yourself.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
5. Coleman Silhouette 12×50 Multi-Purpose Wide Angle Binoculars
Last but not least, we feel like it is important that we mention the Coleman Silhouette. This model is suitable for those that are not looking to make a costly investment. Similarly to the already discussed products, this unit comes provided with a high magnification ratio and a sizeable field of view of no less than 1000 yards
The lenses that the product includes are considered to be of high quality and the fact that they are multi-coated is a good argument in favor of this assertion. This pair of binoculars is impact resistant because it is covered in rubber armor.
If you settle for the model, you will also receive a neck strap, a soft case, lens caps, and a 25-year warranty that you’ll be able to use in case of unfortunate accidents.
Current users of the product are happy with their purchase and point out that these binoculars are lightweight and fit to deliver a clear, sharp picture
It has a very good price-quality ratio and it has a lot of features that make it similar to expensive products.
For general activities and occasional bird watching, this product is the perfect choice if you are looking for affordable binoculars.
It is well protected against shocks as it has a rubber armor and is also impact-resistant. This is why the manufacturers offer a 25-year warranty, which is a lot higher than products that are similar in terms of costs.
All of the lenses are multi-coated, so the reflections are diminished and the image will be clearer and brighter.
Even though this product has a long eye relief, the eyecups are adjusted only by being folded. This is not such a big problem in terms of the wideness of the view field in normal circumstances, but some of the users who use eyeglasses might find it hard to find the perfect adjustment.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($51.21)
Frequently asked questions:
Q: Is 12×50 good for binoculars?
We can not emphasize enough that the power of a pair of binoculars depends on what you want to use them for. 12×50 means that the binoculars magnify the image 12 times and the objective lens has a diameter of 50 millimeters. This is great for hunters and for people who perform activities that involve observing objects at a faraway distance.
However, a 12×50 binocular weighs about 1.5 – 2 pounds, so it depends on what you want to achieve by using your binoculars. For example, if you want to go birdwatching, you might want to consider bringing a tripod because you probably will not be able to hold it in the same position for a long period of time and a 12x magnification makes the image more sensitive to movement.
While hunting, on the other hand, you will not need to hold the binoculars in the same position for prolonged periods of time, so it is a perfect choice. Either way, a 12×50 binocular brings benefits both in seeing details and in having a bright image.
Q: What are the different types of binoculars?
There are many types of binoculars, but we are going to classify them according to their construction. If we consider this, there are 3 types of binoculars: roof prism binoculars, Porro prism binoculars, and night vision binoculars.
You can identify the roof prism binoculars by observing the alignment of the eyepiece and the objective lens. If they are aligned, you are examining a roof prism binocular. If not, you are dealing with a Porro prism binocular. Roof prism binoculars seem simpler in terms of construction, but it turns out that producing them is a lot more expensive.
This is why they have higher prices, but the quality of the image is also very good. Night vision binoculars use an image intensifier and they enhance the brightness of the image for us to see through the darkness. However, they are useless in complete darkness because they need at least a small amount of light to be able to intensify it.
Q: What’s a reasonable budget for good binoculars?
There are binoculars that have very advanced features, like astronomy binoculars, that can cost around 3000 dollars, but if we talk about good binoculars for hunting, bird watching, and other general purposes, you will need a budget between 100 and 500 dollars. In this range, you will be able to find quality instruments that will bring benefits.
It all depends on what you need. If you need one that you use only occasionally and never during harsh weather conditions or one that does not deliver the clearest image possible, 100-200 dollars will suffice.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a strong binocular body and a very clear image that allows you to observe details, one between 200 and 500 dollars will do a great job. You just have to understand your needs and priorities, only then you will know which one will serve you best according to the circumstances.