Best lightweight binoculars for birding – Guide & Reviews

Best lightweight binoculars for birding – Guide & Reviews

Last Updated: 19.10.18

Top Lightweight Binoculars for Birding Reviewed & Buying Guide

We understand that people seldom have the time to research and try each model before they find the best lightweight binoculars for birding, which is why this short paragraph contains enough information to help the consumer make a good purchase. After reading the most popular reviews of birding binoculars and taking into account the criteria of value and quality, we have concluded that the model to get is the Nikon MONARCH 7. This model provides a vast field of view to allow the user to find the subject much more easily. The high-reflective multilayer prism coatings will provide high-contrast images and accurate color reproduction. As a plus, these high-quality birding binoculars are not only lightweight but also extremely durable thanks to a rubber-armored coating. If you are unable to find our preferred choice for sale but you still want to get good lightweight binoculars for birding, we recommend you consider the Carl Zeiss Victory as your second-best alternative.

Finding the best lightweight birding binoculars can end up becoming a real adventure if you are not equipped with the proper knowledge. If you are short on time but you are resolute about making a good decision, we have outlined all the critical points of consideration in our buyer’s guide below.

Magnification

The magnification of the unit that you intend to purchase plays a huge part in the experience that you are going to get. Most people that know little about the world of optics would assume that the more powerful the magnification, the better, but that is not entirely true.

While magnification might play a bigger role when looking to buy quality hiking binoculars where you need to focus on very distant objects, the same is not true for birding. For these purposes, a magnification of between 7x and 10x should be more than fine since having a too powerful magnification can have its drawbacks.

A very powerful binocular will make it very difficult for the user to keep the image that they are looking at still since any slight movement is magnified exponentially. A simple shaking of the hand due to the wind, for example, could make you lose sight of whatever gorgeous bird you are observing.

These problems can be solved with the help of a compatible binocular tripod adapter, but that might defeat the purpose of a lightweight option. High magnification units should only be used for places with wide open areas like lakes, dams, on at the coast.

Image quality and objective lens diameter

While you can make do with units that feature lower-quality optics in other fields, such as when purchasing a new golfing binocular, for birding we recommend you focus on quality. You need to be able to see all the beautiful colors in the bird's plumage.

The best way to ensure that you will get a good image quality is to get a product that will not only gather as much light as possible, but that is also capable of transmitting as much of it to your eyes. This is an important feature, especially once you consider that in forested areas much of the light is blocked out by trees.

This is where the objective lens diameter becomes a crucial factor. Large objective lenses can collect much more light. The problem is that the bigger the lens diameter, the bigger and heavier the binoculars tend to become. This raises a question: can you get good image quality with a lightweight option?

The answer is yes, but you will have to settle for an option that has objective lenses of about 42mm or smaller. Most compact binoculars tend to have objective lenses of less than 28mm, but you can still find some options that manage to pack larger lenses in a small and lightweight frame.

Built to last

When buying a compact device there is this misconception that you are going to sacrifice the longevity of your purchase. After reading some lightweight binoculars reviews and other specialized resources, we’ve learned that is not the case at all as long as you go for an option that utilizes quality materials and boasts a dependable construction.

It’s not just important for the binoculars to be able to handle a few drops -- they should also be built to handle the harsh weather conditions you might encounter in the wild. For this exact reason, we recommend you focus your attention on models that are waterproof and fog proof.

If you are the kind of person that likes to babysit their new purchase, you may also consider getting a quality binocular case and strap to ensure the protection of the unit when you are not using it. If you are lucky enough, you might even find an option that comes with these accessories in the package.

Our 2018 list: Find the right lightweight binocular for your needs

Sometimes it can be tough to narrow down all the options you have available, especially as it is not always easy to know which model will be a right fit for your needs. For this exact reason, we have selected some of the top-rated models currently on the market.

Nikon MONARCH 7

You can’t go wrong with an option from Nikon, and the MONARCH series is built to satisfy the needs of today’s incredible outdoorsmen and women. It features high-quality optics and a rugged performance that will leave no doubt about its long-standing all terrain binocular heritage.

The optical system features a seamless carrier of light that utilizes premium Extra-low dispersion glass and proprietary lens and prism coatings. This will allow the binocular to push resolution and brightness to outstanding levels. What’s more, your viewing experience will be further enhanced with the amazingly wide field of view.

The advanced multilayer coatings will provide an even, and higher light transmittance across the entire visible light spectrum. With an objective lens diameter of 42mm, this option will help you see the plumage of all birds in an entirely new light. As a plus, the unit is also nitrogen-filled for waterproof and fog proof performance.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($419.95)

Carl Zeiss Victory

If you want the right performance and you don’t mind spending equal amounts of money for it, the Carl Zeiss option will not disappoint. The built-in rangefinder inside this device can determine the precise target distance up to a maximum range of 2,300 meters.

The 10x magnification and the 32mm lens will offer optimum light transmission for outstanding results even in low-light conditions. The use of a real-time ballistic system will make the Victory model a great hunting binocular. The various measuring functions of the rangefinder will take a multitude of relevant data into account to help you in all of your outdoor pursuits.

Despite all these impressive features, this model is ergonomically designed to offer great comfort during prolonged use. What’s more, you can synchronize the data that the binocular records with the ZEISS app via Bluetooth where you can take factors such as temperature and air pressure into account.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($2099.99)

Leica Trinovid BCA

The Trinovid BCA series is built to offer the most versatile of all compact binoculars currently available on the market. The high-quality optics provide great resolving power in a small size without sacrificing on image quality. The desire to not settle for anything but the best makes it the ideal companion for all your various activities.

This particular model features the use of Leica’s innovative High Durability Coating combined with a transmission enhancing multi-coating. These features will guarantee superior light transmission and great color fidelity. Durability is also not forgotten because the lenses are designed to handle the rough outdoor conditions.

It is made to fit easily in any pocket, pack, or purse, which is why it features a dual-hinge system to allow the optical tubes to fold and tuck under the closed bridge. This feature will also provide a wide interpupillary distance for easier use for children and teenagers.

Click to see the price on Amazon!

Wingspan Optics Spectator

If you are looking for a pocket-sized binocular that you can take anywhere but you are on a tight budget, the Wingspan model will give you an affordable device that will not compromise on detail, clarity or brightness. The unit is ideal for bird watching, nature watching, star gazing, or any other outdoor activity.

You also get a wide field of view to enjoy a better look at the surrounding area without losing sight of the bird that you are observing. The 8x magnification and the 32mm objective diameter will ensure that you will get a clear image of faraway objects even in low-light conditions.

The non-slip grip will allow you to go bird watching for hours without the fear of accidentally dropping the binocular, even when the device is wet. It even comes with a nice carrying case to transport the model with no risks of damage.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($67.92)

Nikon 8217 Trailblazer

Compact and lightweight, the Nikon Trailblazer is an ideal companion for birding, watching the wildlife on the trail, when hiking or when simply sightseeing around town. It is also highly affordable which means that you will not need to burn up all your cash to get this nifty product.

The combination of high-quality BAK4 roof prisms and anti-reflection fully multi-coated optics will work hand in hand to maximize light transmission. That means that even if the binocular boasts modest 25mm lenses, the coated optics will ensure bright and clear high-contrast images with accurate color fidelity even in low-light conditions.

It’s not just the quality optics that makes the Nikon alternative well worth your attention, but also the comfortable and durable design that is soft to touch and easy to hold. The polycarbonate chassis will help reduce the weight of the unit without sacrificing on strength or stability.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($82.97)
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