Best Binoculars For Safari of 2018 & Buying Guide

There are usually beautiful sights to behold when on safari adventures: both small and big! However, it can be frustrating if the actions taking place are far away from you. A great pair of binoculars will come in handy at this time!

Firstly, we have carefully explained several key things to consider when purchasing your preferred Binoculars for safari. Then, we reviewed the best binoculars for your safari adventure.

What kind of brand should I go for?

It can be confusing picking a brand because the choice of binoculars is rather extensive. Few names we recommend and trust are: Nixon, Steiner, Tento, Leica, Bushnell, Fujinon, Zeiss, Canon, Swarovski and Pentax

What is the cost of a quality safari binocular?

If you love products which will last a long period, you should not hesitate to pay a little over the average prices. However, it all depends on the reason for buying, and perhaps how careful you handle and maintain the products too.

Choosing a pair of binoculars which range between $200 and $300 would be a safe bet. If your budget is lower than that, there are still good binoculars available at $100 (it’s advisable not to buy with lesser than this amount). To start with, good models include the Nixon Monarch or the Pentax Papilio.

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 8×42 Binoculars

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 8×42 Binoculars

If you can’t afford these amounts and would like something cheaper, there are ways to get second-hand binoculars, mostly online. You can check out places like Amazon or EBay.

What about Eye relief?

Nikon Monarch 5 ED ATB 8×42 Binoculars

Nikon Monarch 5 ED ATB 8×42 Binoculars

The eye relief is the optimal distance which is between the eyepiece (the combination of lenses which are at the viewing end of the binoculars) and your eye. When the eyes are either too far away or too close to the eyepieces, seeing the whole image is usually almost impossible, and some part of the viewed image is also blacked out.

For those who use glasses, we recommend that you have an eye relief (distance) of 15mm minimum (this does not apply to people who have good eyesight).

What is the best field of view for Safari binoculars?

A field of view is the breadth of the view at a certain distance. The lesser the magnification is, the larger the field of view (FOV).

The field of view becomes essential when one is following mammals (such as tiger chasing a prey), or fast moving objects (like birds). In such cases, it is advisable to consider a magnification less than eight times.

For the best views on an African safari, buy a pair of binoculars which has a field of view (FOV) of between 330 ft and 1000 yards.

Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 8 x 32 Binoculars

Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 8 x 32 Binoculars

Is the Objective lens/Aperture/Lens Size important?

Swarovski CL Pocket 8×25 Binoculars

Swarovski CL Pocket 8×25 Binoculars

All binoculars are imprinted with certain sets of numbers like 10 x 50, or 8 x 42. The 2nd number represents the diameter of the objective lens. As the number increases, more light is passed through the lens; hence the more colorful and brighter the viewed image is.

Read
Best Mini Binoculars of 2018 & Buying Guide

The lens size is critical when viewing in fading light, like viewing an image in the shade. For a great image quality and an optimal result, we recommend “completely multi-coated” lenses for your binocular.

What of the magnification power?

The magnification power corresponds to how large you see a particular scene or image compared to how small or big it looks from where you are. For instance, a magnification power of 4x means the image viewed will be four times larger than what the naked eye sees. For instance, if the technical specs of a pair of binoculars are 8×42, then images are magnified by 8.

N.B.: Though magnification is important, the image stability will tend to reduce as its importance is increased. For magnification that is more than ten times, you should consider the use of a window mount or a tripod (some more costly binoculars have image stabilizing systems inbuilt)

N.B.: While magnification is essential, image stability tends to decrease as you increase its importance. For magnification greater than 10X consider using a tripod or a window mount (some of the more expensive binoculars have built-in image stabilizing systems).

Why should I buy a binocular?

For what reason are you buying and how do you intend using the pair of binoculars? Having a clear purpose will help you know how much you wish to spend in purchasing them.

How often will you be using the binoculars? There’s no need spending hundreds (or thousands in few cases) of dollars if you’ll be using them once or twice, so carefully think about it!

Are you enthusiastic about animals or more of a bird lover? As previously stated (refer to ‘FOV’ section), if the magnification is too large, fast moving objects can’t be easily followed.

Quick Recap:

  • For viewing birds, get binoculars with a maximum magnification of 8x (8 x 42 for optimal results).
  • For game viewing and animal spotting generally (or when scanning the horizon), the 10 x 50 safari binoculars is a great recommendation.

Quality and Shock Resistance

Two important aspects to reflect on are the ‘quality of the glass’ from which the prisms are made and the ‘armoring of the binoculars’. Look for a protective rubber (a synthetic housing will do too) to help prevent damage and scratches from bumpy roads. The prisms should also be Bak-4 models (rather than BK-7 models).

Is waterproofing important?

Waterproofing will not only shield the binoculars from humidity and moisture but will also prevent damage from dust.

Does size and weight matter?

Compact binoculars are usually light and can easily be transported anywhere. Fit for viewing birds.

Disadvantage: The compact binoculars though light will lose out in precision, image detail and magnification.

So, you need to find the compromise between your needs and your wants.

Best Binoculars For Safari Reviews

We have researched on many brands and different styles of binoculars to give this review. For a safari adventure, these are the best binoculars.

1. Nikon Monarch 5 ED ATB 8×42 Binoculars

The Nikon Monarch 5 provides the best balance between price and quality. Its lenses are completely multi-coated giving a high quality image.The Nikon Monarch 5 is fog proof, ultra-rugged, waterproof and in its class is the lightest. It weighs just 20 Oz (590g).

Read
Steiner Binoculars Review of 2018 & Buying Guide

Its armored rubber body gives a good grip even when the binocular is wet, which prevents the risk of it slipping through one’s fingers. Also, the chassis provides excellent protection from shocks, so even if it accidentally drops, the binoculars will not be damaged.

These pair of binoculars are very eco-friendly because no arsenic or lead is present in the glasses.The only drawback with these binoculars is that its lens cap tends to remove too easily.

Features Roundup

  • Roof prism type
  • Full-sized binoculars
  • 8x magnification
  • Fog proof/Waterproof
  • Completely multi-coated lenses
  • 42mm objective lenses
  • 20Oz (590g) weight(very light)
  • Rubber armor body
  • Eco-friendly glasses (arsenic and lead-free)
  • 5mm Eye Relief
  • 2 ft/2.5m close focus distance

Overall, the Nikon Monarch 5 is a good gear for safari visitors looking to view long range targets. Its eye relief ensures you don’t stress your eyes while the 42mm objective lens means you get a wider field of view.

2. Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 8×42 Binoculars

The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD binoculars are much affordable which make them very popular. The Bushnell Legend has an Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) Prism Glass which provides a high-resolution image.

The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD chassis is designed using magnesium which lightens the binoculars excellently.The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Has a very wide field of view (FOV) which makes it pretty easy to view the wildlife from a distance effortlessly and still provide sharp images up to 6 ft (1.9m).

Hence, the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD binoculars are the best pick for observing birds up close as well as for game adventures to watch the mega fauna from a distance.

Features Roundup

  • Roof prism type
  • ED Prime Glass
  • 42mm objective lenses
  • 8x magnification
  • Full-sized binoculars
  • 1mm (0.68 in)eye relief
  • Fog proof/Waterproof
  • 4 Oz (630g) light weight and magnesium chassis
  • Completely multi-coated optics
  • 5 ft (1.9m) close focus distance
  • 426 ft at 1000 yards field of view

Overall, the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD binoculars are built for long range safari viewing. It has great eye relief and a completely multicoated for perfect light transmission. It is a top choice for safari enthusiasts seeking a top Ultra HD binocular.

3. Carl Zeiss Conquest HD 8 x 32 Binoculars

Zeiss is a German company which is one of the top global producers of lenses. They manufacture products of high-quality.

The Zeiss Conquest is about the best binoculars in the market. Hence, they are pretty expensive but also worth it!

If you have a high budget and wish to buy just one pair of binoculars, without bothering yourself with other binoculars for various purposes, then it will be ideal to get the Zeiss Conquest HD binoculars. These binoculars are very rugged and are designed to last a lifetime! They can even be passed to other generations unborn!

The outer lens of the Conquest HD binoculars is coated with LotuTec; a product which resists scratching and moisture.

The Conquest HD provides an excellent high-quality image even in low light environments. The fully multi-coated lenses transmit over 90% of the light, as a result of this producing a high-quality image.

Features Roundup

  • Midsize binoculars
  • 8x magnification
  • Roof prism
  • 32mm HD Objective lens
  • Fog proof/Waterproof
  • 16mm (0.63 in) Eye relief
  • 2 Oz (620g) weight
  • 5m/4.9 ft Close Focus Distance
  • T Premium coated lens for extreme brightness
  • External lens coating with LotuTec to avoid moisture and scratching
  • 420ft at 1000 yards/130m at 1000m Field of view
Read
Best Leupold Binoculars of 2018

Carl Zeiss optics is a reputable optics, and this conquest is no doubt one of the best binoculars out there. It’s built for safari trips and long range sighting with its large 32mm HD objective lens which ensures you don’t miss a target.

4. Swarovski CL Pocket 8×25 Binoculars

The Swarovski CL Pocket binoculars are very expensive products. These binoculars deliver superb quality images.

To get high-resolution images, Swarovski uses sophisticated prism and lenses. Hence, the Swarovski CL binoculars are quite pricey.

The chassis of the Swarovski CL binoculars have to be sturdy to withstand abuse and shocks. Hence, the frame is designed with a metal case, which is costlier than plastic cases.

The Swarovski CL binoculars field of view is same with that of most full-size binoculars.

The Swarovski CL binoculars have an eye relief of 17mm (0.67 in) which for compact-sized binoculars is above average. So, whether the user wears glasses or not, the binoculars still fits.

The Swarovski CL binoculars are superb for walking safaris, hiking, and bird watching. The reason is the dual hinge feature helps in folding the binoculars to 2.6 in (6.5 cm) size, which will fit perfectly in a side pocket! If you do not like the idea of wearing binoculars hung around your neck all the time, but rather prefer them in a pocket, the Swarovski CL binoculars are just what you need.

Features Roundup

  • Compact size binoculars
  • 8x magnification
  • Completely multi-coated optics
  • Fog proof/Waterproof
  • 25mm objective lenses
  • Roof prism type
  • 17mm (0.67 in) eye relief
  • 2 Oz (346 g) weight
  • Metal chassis for comfortable grip
  • Dual hinge for compatibility
  • 2 ft/2.5m close focus distance

Overall the Swarovski CL binoculars promise safari enthusiasts a great viewing pleasure with the 8x magnification zoom range which ensures you don’t have to be up close and personal with a wild animal before capturing perfect images of intricate details.

Final Thoughts

On a final note, all the binoculars reviewed above are excellent choices for a safari adventure. However, the following should be put into consideration when purchasing a pair of binoculars for safari excursion:

Safari Type: If you are on a walking safari, compact binoculars will do well. However, for a game drive, a pair of binoculars with a vast field of view will be great.

Budget: No worries! These days, it’s easy to purchase binoculars of high quality without emptying your bank account!

If you are going on a bird-watching safari, without carrying too much equipment to view different species of birds, then you need the Swarovski CL Pocket binoculars.

If you have a low budget, then the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD is what you need. The full-size binoculars have the greatest value over others in same price category. Their versatility makes them ideal for everyday use. The Bushnell Legend binoculars can be used to observe images from afar and up close too. They produce high-quality views. So, if you are on a constrained budget, and yet want great binoculars, go for Bushnell Legend Ultra HD!