The experience of watching a sporting event on TV and being at the stadium where the match is are vastly different. If you’re not into crowds and prefer watching a game with your family, friends or alone, then your coach is the best spot to be. If however prefer to be part of the game’s atmosphere, attending the sporting event, even with all its hustles, is a lot of fun. The problem comes in when from your vintage point, all you can see are dots and specks moving around the field.
With a good pair of sporting binoculars, that doesn’t have to be your experience. There are a variety of binoculars that you can purchase to bring you closer to the action. Picking the right one can prove to be difficult if you’re not sure what to look for. This guide will walk you through terms used when describing the specifications to look for in binoculars and what they mean. It will also share with you our best picks for watching sporting events.
Our Best Pick: Wingspan Optics Wing Catcher
With these binoculars, you see further and images have more clarity and brightness. These Ultra HD binoculars are designed with bird-watching in mind. You get to see them in action as they dart from place to place or fly. This pair can take your hobby or sport to the next level.
The binocular gives you an extra full view. It makes spotting birds on trees or those flying far easier than standard binoculars can. With the Wing Catcher, you can spot an eagle that’s 1000ft in the air and still be able to see the details on its feathers. The 430ft field of view doesn’t give birds a chance to fly out of your sight.
The Wingspan lenses give you high-resolution images with perfect contrast and color. You won’t have focus issues or experience blurriness. The roof prisms have a phase-correction coating and high index which gives you those clear and sharp HD images we all love. The 42mm diameter multi-coated lens lets you experience the colors of the wings in all their glory.
The 8X magnification adds to the experience. It makes you feel like the bird is flying right in front of you. You’ll be able to notice details about the bird that you’d never have from far. You’ll see how it flaps its wings or hops around from branch to branch and in what manner. It makes bird watching that much more fascinating.
Wing Cather comes with a lifetime warranty- a clear indication that the manufacturer is confident about the durability of the product. You will be able to repair or get a replacement if it’s damaged. It weighs 1.2 pounds and is waterproof. You also get a neck strap, a nylon mesh case, lens and eyepiece protection covers and a lens cleaning cloth containing non-abrasive microfibers.
- It caters mainly to birdwatchers
- It has an impressive 430 ft. FOV
- The 42mm diameter lens gives you clarity
- Has an 8X magnification which is ideal for sporting far-off birds
- It comes with a lifetime warranty
- It also comes with added accessories for easy use, care, and storage
- You can only use it for bird watching; the FOV is too large for watching games at a stadium
- It is quite expensive
- It is heavy
Why get a binocular for sports
The euphoria you get when watching a game live is undeniable. It cannot compare with the experience you’ll have on your couch even if you’re with fellow sporting fans. While you are closer to the action at the stadium, depending on your seats, you can still find yourself pretty far from the action. If the people on the field look like figurines and the ball like a speck of dust, then sporting binoculars are definitely for you.
You don’t have to use them for the entire game, but it does bring the best parts of it into close focus for your enjoyment.
What features to look for
There are a couple of things to look out for when you want to purchase binoculars for watching sports
Field of View (FOV)
It is how broad your viewing field is. How much of the landscape, from left to right, can you see? FOV is measured in linear feet at a distance of 1,000 yards. Manufacturers are now also expressing the measurement in meters and reads as 1,000m. The higher the number, the more you can see through your binoculars. It makes it ideal for ball games or car racing because you have an edge to edge view; you don’t have to continually turn your head to follow the action.
It is one of the most important features to consider when purchasing optical binocular. Most brands capitalize on this feature when marketing their product. Another term used to describe FOV is the angle. If you’re in a massive stadium, a wider the field of view is better. In a smaller arena, like little league, a more modest area of vision works better. You’ll be able to catch all the action without everything seeming too spread apart. A good pair of binoculars should have a FOV of between 300 to 375 feet or between 6 to 7.5 degrees.
Power and Objective Diameter
It is the specification with an ‘X.’ The number before the x is an indication of how many times an object appears to be closer to you than it is. The number that comes after is the diameter of the objective lens measured in millimeters. Binoculars come with different settings of how close you’d like the object to appear.
The misguided perception is that the higher the magnification the better. When it comes to viewing sporting action, a very high magnification can have you missing out on a lot of what’s happening on the field. This is because an increasing in magnification reduces your field of view. This causes you to turn a lot looking for the direction in which a ball or player went. You might be able to notice how well trimmed the grass is or that mud stain on a players pants, but let’s face it, this is not what you went to see.
High powered binoculars also give you a hard time keeping an image in focus. If you’re continually trying to keep the game in view, your eyes will begin to hurt, and a headache will follow soon after. The ideal magnification for binoculars is between 7x and 10x. It provides a right balance between magnification and FOV. You’ll be able to keep the image still for a more extended period of time, allowing you to enjoy the game.
Another downside of high magnification is that it makes images appear dull. To counter this, you can get a larger objective lens that allows more light. This increment will however equally rise the weight of the binocular.
Rule of thumb: A 10x magnification will make 100 yards look like it’s 10 yards away.
Eye relief refers to how far your binoculars can be away from your eye and still see a full and focused image. If you wear eyeglasses, this number matters a great deal. Look for binoculars that have 15-18mm eye relief range; your ear wear can put you beyond the standard 5-14 millimeter range. The eyecups are another aspect to look into before making a purchase. Some brands require you to fold the rubber eyecups out of the way to reduce the eye relief.
Roof Prism vs. Porro Prism
When looking for sporting binoculars, you’re presented with the option of a roof prism or Porro prism. To know which works best we must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Roof prism binoculars have a compact design meaning it has less internal moving parts. It makes it long lasting. The Porro prism provides a broader field of vision and a better stereoscopic image. They are also cheaper than roof prism binoculars
The downside of roof prism is that the quality of the image suffers in low-end binoculars. It is because the manufacturers do not align the prisms or use coatings that ensure complete internal reflection. When it comes to Porro prism, they are bulky and have more moving parts that tend to attract dust. They are also not waterproof and tend to get damaged faster than roof prims binoculars.
When choosing a binocular for watching sports, we, therefore, recommend roof prisms. They are lighter and tend to be dust and waterproof. We advise that you purchase mid to high range prices binoculars because they don’t have the same problem as their cheap counterparts. If you’re on a budget, we suggest that you go for a Porro prism instead because they’ll serve you longer.
Types of sports
There is an unlimited selection of games, mostly outdoor, that you can watch using a binocular optic. Sporting events that many require you to use binoculars include football, baseball, basketball athletics, soccer, tennis, ice hockey, beach volleyball, and bird watching. You can also use them for concerts and safaris- anything that gets you closer to the action.
Big stadium vs. small pitch
For a big stadium, a 7x or 8x binocular works best. For a modest-sized arena, you want something with a magnification of 6x and below. You don’t want to be seeing the acne on a youth’s face as you try focus on the ball and where it’s been kicked to. It’ll also give you a comfortable FOV, and you won’t have to keep moving around or refocusing to catch the action.
Weight, Size, and Portability
The mass of binoculars and what to go for is mostly a preference issue. Compact ones are however better for sporting events as they are easy to carry around and tuck away after use.
Bigger binoculars tend to have a full field of view than compact ones. They also allow in more light into the lens making the image brighter, giving it more clarity. During day events there isn’t much of a difference between the two but at night or when indoors you’ll be able to tell the difference.
Compact binoculars should not be underestimated. They contain high-quality glass and coatings and produce better imaging than cheap full-sized binoculars. When it comes to size, taking a 20 to 25mm binocular is easy to carry along with your food and drinks. While that’s a plus, they are harder to hold steady. If you don’t mind the size or extra weight, you can choose a 30 to 44mm range binocular.
Let’s talk pricing. We strongly advise that you do not get cheap binoculars. If you’re on a tight budget, you are better off saving to get a high-quality brand than settling for something that won’t serve you very long. In the long run, cheap is expensive because you might end up replacing them often.
Though not necessary, you can get water and fog proof binoculars for lousy weather. You can, however, make sure that it is water resistant in case you spill your drink on it. Consider getting binocular with rubber armor for protection against bumps that come with maneuvering a crowd or tight spaces. Another thing to look out for is a warranty.
Best Binoculars for watching sports: Our top picks
The Carson Falconer is an excellent binocular to take with you for bird watching, sporting events, hiking, concerts and other outdoor activities. It has the magnification power of 7x with a lens diameter of 20mm. Most love it because of how extraordinarily compact and lightweight it is. It’s all of 9.2 ounces. Young children would have no difficulty carrying these binoculars around with them.
The prism is the brands BAK-4 with multi-coated lenses that give you sharp and crystal clear images. Your field of view is 430 feet at 1,000 yards which makes it perfect for watching people, animals, birds or objects from a long distance away. It has a 15mm eye relief and ideal for people with eyewear.
It features twist down eyecups and a central focusing knob. Your binocular will come with a neck strap, a pouch, a lens cloth and protective eyecups. It also comes with a warranty that replaces or repairs the binocular for only $15.00 regardless of what happened to them. It includes free shipping and handling. If the product is defective due to the manufacturer own fault, you get a new pair free.
- Ideal for birdwatching and exploring nature
- You can use it for most outdoor activities
- It comes with a neck strap, a pouch, a lens cloth and protective eyecups
- It is incredibly compact, and lightweight meaning children can use it
- The 15mm eye relief makes it ideal for people who wear glasses
- It has a unique design
- The field of view makes it not suitable for small stadiums
- You are charged for replacement or repair
- It has a Porro prism
This pair of binoculars is 4x of 900ft with a lens diameter of 30mm. The field of view is about three times that of regular binoculars. The Bak-4 Porro prisms are multi-coated and produce bright images. It also has a free focus system that allows you to follow fast moving people or objects.
It has two fold-down eyecups and an eye relief of 10mm. It weighs 14.5 ounces. It is used mainly for those watching car races, football or a show in an enormous arena. It also comes with a neck strap and a case.
- It’s cheaper than most brands
- It works well for small stadiums
- It is lightweight
- It has a unique design
- It has a low FOV
- Not ideal for most outdoor activities
- It has a short eye relief and therefore not suitable for people who wear glasses.
Wingspan Optics Spectator
This brand is perfect for bird watching and other outdoor activities. It is compact, and you can enjoy long hours of viewing without getting tired. It’s also pocket-sized, making it hustle free to carry around. Both adults and children can use them. They work great if you’re out camping and want to stargaze.
It has an 8x field of view and a 32mm objective diameter. It focuses brilliantly on every detail that is 1000 yards away. You get to watch with clarity the wind ruffle a bird’s feathers, catch that tackle or your favorite musician performing on stage. You never have to miss the action. The non-slip grip gives people with sweaty palms easy use. You can also use for long hours without fearing damage from moisture.
Wingspan gives you a lifetime warranty, and a 30-day Money Back Guarantee. You can get the binoculars replaced when damaged. It weighs 15.2 ounces and comes with a neck strap and a nylon mesh case as well as lens and eyepiece covers and a lens cleaning cloth.
- Has a lifetime warranty and a 30-day money back guarantee
- It is light, compact and can fit into your pocket
- Ideal for outdoor activities
- It has a non-slip grip
- Suitable for children
- It is a Porro prism
- It’s cumbersome for use in small stadiums
Nikon 7245 Action
This brand gives you water and fog proof binoculars. It has a long eye relief of 17.2, making it ideal for people with eyewear. The objective diameter is 50mm and has a FOV of 341/1000 making it suitable for outdoor activities. It is part of the Nikon All Terrain Binocular series. It has an eco-glass lens made of lightweight, high-quality glass. It gives you those bright high-resolution images that we like. The central focus knob runs smoothly for quick range focus and immediate viewing.
The body of the binoculars is rubber armored and can hold up to life’s small bumps. The material is also non-slip when your hands are wet or dry. It is nitrogen filled with an O-ringed seal. It weighs 36 ounces.
If the binoculars need repairs not covered by the limited lifetime warranty, you can send it back to Nikon for repair or replacement at no cost. It however does not include products intentionally damage.
- Nikon is a trusted brand
- It is waterproof and fog proof
- It has a non-slip rubber amour
- It comes with a warranty
- Ideal for outdoor activities
- It is pricey compared to other brands
- It is a Porro prism
Pentax Papilio II
This Porro prism pair of binoculars has an objective diameter of 21mm and a 6.5x FOV. What makes these binoculars different from other Porro prisms is that it has less moving parts which ensure that it’ll function optimally for years to come. It is due to the single-body design with locking objective lenses. The sharpness of the entire image is thanks to the aspherical lens elements. It means that the picture at the edge of the glass does not differ from what’s in the middle.
The multi-coated lenses produce a bring high-quality view. It weighs in at 10.4 ounces
- It is a Porro prism that mimics the unity of roof prism binoculars
- It is ideal for small stadiums and spaces
- It is durable
- It is lightweight
- It is a Porro prism
- It is expensive
- It is not suitable for watching outdoor activities that require you to have a more significant focus to enjoy
Olympus 118760 Trooper
These binoculars have a 50mm objective diameter and a FOV of 10x. It is a Porro prism and has no autofocus. It does, however, have a big center focus that facilitates smooth and fast focusing. Trooper weighs a whopping 855g, making it a heavy-duty binocular to use and is only suitable for places that do not require you to zoom. The anti-reflective lens coating gives you increased image brightness.
The binoculars have a rugged finish of a grip rubber coating. Its lenses are UV-protected so your eyes are safe. You get a field of view of 342ft which gives you a panoramic view. They are ideal for looking out into far-off distances. They also work well for safaris and can capture images well in both bright and low light. Olympus is known for creating lenses with optical precision.
- Manufactured by a world-renowned brand
- They are excellent for safaris and outdoor activities
- The price is pocket-friendly
- You get high maximum protection in intense lighting
- The broad objective diameter is idea for a panoramic view of the landscape
- It is cumbersome
- It is a Porro prism
- It is bulky
How you experience sports is about to change when you purchase any of these suggested brands. They help you bring closer to the action, and you end up getting value for your money after buying a ticket. You don’t have to watch dots in an arena or a stadium anymore. From however many yards away, you still get to feel like you have a front row seat.