It is incredible how high-quality optics have become widespread in local stores at very affordable prices. In the past, this wasn’t the case. To get a nice pair of binoculars, you had to cough up quite a substantial amount of money. To make it worse, the gadgets were only found in specific stores. Technological advancements have made it possible to manufacture binoculars that fit well with a person’s needs while still working within their budget range.
In this guide, we are going to focus on four binoculars that stand out in the under $100 price range category. I will look into their specifications and what features make them good enough to be on the recommended list. We will also look at the cons to make sure you know exactly what you are buying.
For amateurs who are looking to buy their first binoculars or for people who don’t have much experience with these gadgets, I have included a section that explains what features you should be looking out for before purchasing a pair of binoculars.
- Bushnell H2O 8×42 binoculars
This product is a wise pick if you are looking for a cheap but decent pair of binoculars. It gives incredible results when it comes to outdoor viewing. Whether you are bird watching, heading to the super bowl, attending a concert, or going hunting, its performance will exceed your expectations and contribute positively to your general experience. It has a large center of focus button that makes it easy to adjust for a more focused view within a short period.
A feature that truly sets it apart from others is the fact that it can be used to explore the marine without having to worry about them getting water damaged. The Bushnell H2O 8×42 is completely waterproof making it a perfect choice for people who love to explore the underwater life. The binocular is an all-round device that can be used for a variety of activities. Though not compact, it can easily be carried around the neck using a strap.
The BaK-4 prism makes it possible to get bright, clear and smooth images. This type of prism is superior quality as compared to its counterpart the BaK-7. To improve image quality, it also has multi-coated optics to ensure top-notch light transmission. The eyecups have the provision to twist up with ease while the rubber used facilitates a firm grip to prevent constant falls. The package comes with the binoculars, a protective case, a neck strap, and a lens cover.
Power – 8x
Eye relief- 17mm
Measurements – 2.99×7.76×5.91 (L x W x H)
Weight – 1.56 lbs.
Objective lens diameter – 42mm
Field of view – 410 meters at 1000 yards
Exit pupil – 5.25mm
Glass prism – BaK-4
Close focus – 18/5.5
Tripod adaptable – no
- Super clear images with bright optics
- Easy to use controls for sharper images.
- 100% waterproof and can be able to withstand all kinds of harsh weather.
- Made to pass the test of time i.e., it is made with durable material meant to make it last for a long time
- Quick focusing even when exposed to water.
- Has an above average prism roof system
- Ability to twist the eyecups up
- Non-slip feature facilitated by a rubber armor
- The protective case is not sufficient enough to protect the binoculars
- Eyepiece focusing is a bit poor
- Weak straps that break easily
- It is quite uncomfortable to wear around the neck for long periods of time as it tend to lean more on the heavy side
- It is partially coated thus making it less clear that one would want it to be.
Customer reviews on Bushnell H2O 8×42
These binoculars have some of the best reviews in its category of binoculars under $100. Most users praised it for its ability to produce superb images with a large field of view. Those who use glasses praised it for having a considerable large eye relief that enables them to use their glasses while viewing. Most users are outdoors enthusiasts with a flair for adventure which they seek through birding, hunting, watching sports matches, and going into the sea. The bushel is a highly recommended.
The only hitch that seems to bother some of the customers is that the images don’t seem to be as bright as they would want it to be. This, however, is not an indication that the images are dull and not visible. They are good just not great which should be expected considering the price range.
Why would one want a binocular?
Different people buy binoculars for varying reasons. Whether it is for going on a safari in Africa, birding trips, hunting, or simply just to enjoy the views from your balcony, binoculars facilitate in bringing those images closer to your eyes in 3 dimensions. It is an essential thing to have with you if you love the outdoors and usually find yourself going for walks or trips.
Different types of binoculars
The number of binoculars out there on the market is numerous. However, they can be easily classified according to size, function or shape.
Size: binoculars come in varying sizes from small, medium, large and extra-large depending on one’s preference or the specific function a person wants it for.
Function: there are binoculars designed for people who enjoy specific activities like birding or hunting, others are designed for life in water, therefore, are made to be waterproof, while others are made for astronomers.
Shape: type of prism used usually determines which shape binoculars will take. The two types of prisms are;
- The roof prism: the prisms are placed in a straight fashion making the binoculars more compact. They usually take on an H shape.
- The Porro prism: the prisms are not aligned together appear to have a wide joint between the oculars.
Features to look for
Magnification: binoculars usually have 6x to 12x and sometimes even higher. 8x means that the binoculars will make an object appear eight times closer than it is. Most people go for 8x, 10x or 12x depending on their need to get the best image.
Objective lens size: this indicates the size of the binoculars. Compact ones usually have an objective lens size of 25mm and below, mid-size have between 30mm-35mm, and the full-size lens start from 40mm going upwards.
Exit pupil: this is calculated by dividing the objective lens size with the magnification. This is done to determine how well the binoculars will perform under low light. An exit pupil of 5 and above indicated good performance in low light instances.
Field of view: this is the size of the area the binoculars will cover once you focus on a specific target. The larger the field of view, the more the coverage.
Eye relief: this is the safe distance that one can place their eyes from the lenses to get a clear image. For people wearing glasses, an eye relief of 12mm and above is ideal.
Weight: when you are always on the move, a light pair of binoculars is usually recommended but if you mostly keep at one location to do your viewing probably by use of a tripod, weight isn’t much of a factor.
Size and portability: while others would like a gadget that can fit into their pockets, others just want quality binoculars regardless of the size.
Water/fog proof: do your ventures include getting caught in the rain of going for rides on a canoe? If yes, you need binoculars that can withstand all these harsh conditions.
- Celestron 71330 nature DX 8x32mm binoculars
This particular binocular was created to meet the needs of every outdoor fanatic out there. It has the ideal features to suit birders, sports fans, and hunters. It has fully multi-coated lenses, phase coated BaK-4 proof and waterproof features that make it a product worth a mention in the under $100 category. For amateur users, the package comes with an instructional manual to guide them on how to use it best. Also, inside the box, you find an eyepiece rain guard, neck strap, and a cleaning cloth.
- Detailed, focused, and bright images enabled by BaK-4 prism phase coating and multi-coated optics
- Its features allow for birders to experience a great combination of a big field of view, quick adjustments, and close focus distance.
- Portable and easy to carry around especially for people who go for long distance walks exploring the outdoors
- Made to withstand all types of weather including rain and fog
- Can be used by all persons including those who wear glasses
- During unfavorable weather conditions, e.g., a cloudy day, they tend to give a darker and less detailed view.
- There are cases of potential issues with the micro-adjustable eye relief for people who use glasses when trying to get a clear image.
- Takes sometimes for one to focus on an object or an action which might lead to a person missing out on important details.
- Nikon 8245 ACULON A211 8×42 binoculars
These pair of binoculars brings nature at its best to your eyes. An 8x magnification, BaK-4 Porro prism, and eco-friendly multifaceted lenses are some of the best features you will find in this device. Its images are crisp, clear and very bright. The Nikon 8245 ACULON A211 8×42 binocular has a wide viewing area of 420 feet at 1000yards. It contains a center focusing knob that creates room for easy adjustments to get a clear image. Also, it has an eye relief of 12mm making it easy to use for everybody including people with glasses.
The lenses are coated with a special treatment to separate its images from the rest. It can produce good images lighting conditions notwithstanding. Whether in dim light, bright light or extra bright light, they produce sharp and clear images.
- Offers high quality and clear images for a binocular in its price range
- Its ergonomic design allows easy holding and simplicity in operating the gadget
- Can withstand harsh conditions like the scorching sun, rainfall, and fog
- Comes with straps that make it easy to access it for use anytime
- It is compact making it easy to carry around
- The straps are non-adjustable
- There have been reports of blurred images around the edges
- Wingspan Optics Go Hawk HD Compact Binoculars
These binoculars bring you a step closer to having that amazing birding experience you have been yearning for. Its price range limits some features but this gadget can offer you an impressive birding and general outdoor experience. Compared to its rivals in the same category, it has sharper and brighter images with better clarity and resolution. It also fits perfectly into the pocket making it easy to carry around.
Its waterproof ability makes it perfect for rainy weather or water activities like kayaking and surfing. Its extended field of view of 414 feet at 1000 yards makes it easy to follow birds while they are on the move, so you never have to miss any action.
- Top-notch quality when it comes to images. It delivers some of the best images in its categories.
- It does not compromise on color display as it exhibits it as it appears
- Compact enough to fit in a pocket
- Great value for money as it has impressive features
- Noticeable rubber smell
- Breaks easily especially from falls.
These are just among the many options out there for people working with the under $100 budget. Take time to go through customer reviews for each pair of binoculars to get to see how people think of it and its functionality. Each of these gadgets listed above is an excellent choice if you are looking for something that will give you superior image quality, long-term use, large field of view, and good value for your money.