It is entirely possible to enjoy birding in your backyard without binoculars. But, there is so much more to see once you have good set. Binoculars allow you to get an up close view of birds without disturbing them. When you first start trying to select the perfect pair for you, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are a ton of options in a variety of price ranges, magnification, etc. So, what is actually best for the backyard birder?
First, I highly recommend pairs that are 8×42. That means they have 8 times magnification with 42mm objective lenses. For birding, you mostly don’t need any more magnification than that, especially in the backyard. With 42mm objective lenses, you get fantastic light collection while not making the binoculars too heavy. There are also some pairs with 32mm objective lenses that are great as well.
Here are my top five suggestions.
Celestron Nature DX 8×42 – $140
This is the best pair of binoculars for under $200. These are a great starter pair and are also wonderful for kids.
Vortex Diamondback 8×42 – $269
The Diamondback offers a very good image and is a great value. I really like the newly designed exterior of this pair.
Eagle Optics Ranger ED 8×42 – $330
This pair has significantly better image quality than the previous two mentioned but is a bit more expensive.
Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 – $400
The Zeiss Terra EDs are the best pair of binoculars that you can buy for under $500. They have fantastic image quality and the design feels very good in the hand.
Leica Trinovid HD 8×42 – $949
Leica has managed to create a pair of binoculars with incredible image quality for just under $1,000. They have also just released the Trinovids with a 32mm objective lens. They provide great image quality and an incredible close focus!