Best binoculars for nature watching

Hi all,
What full-size binoculars would you recommend for nature-watching? I have compact ones for travel but would like some with a wider field of view.
Thank you.

What’s your budget? Top of the line binoculars can be well over $1000 but you can find some pretty good ones for just a couple hundred. I used to use Vortex Diamondback 8x42 which can be found for about $180 but recently upgraded to Vortex Viper 8x42 which are about $490.

$500, give or take. I know I can spend lots more but would rather spend it on macro photo gear.

…So your Vortex ones sound just right. Where’s a good place to buy? Thank you.

I got my Viper 8x42 from Amazon but you can find them at most outdoor or optics retailers like Cabela’s or B&H. No matter where you get them they come with the Vortex VIP warranty so if anything happens to them you just send them in to Vortex and they’ll make things right. I had their budget spotting scope get knocked out of alignment right before a trip so I sent it to them for repair and they had it shipped to my hotel. I’m a huge fan of Vortex optics.

Thank you. Sounds like a great company.

I’ve heard good things about the Pentax Papilio II recently. They have 2 models 6.5x & 8.5x. The main feature of these is the close focus, about 20", while keeping the 2 images from each lens aligned so you can use both eyes.


Thank you. I have wanted these for a long time for observing insects.

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How about if the budget is <$300, and they are for someone who wears glasses (so I need a long eye relief…>17 mm), and waterproof? In my research I read that Nikon and Pentax have good optics. It sounds like Vortex is a good choice. Also, I know the 8 x will be easier to find things like a moving bird, but wouldn’t 10 x be better to see more detail from far away? I would rather not buy new ones in a few years.

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