Updated: May 29, 2015

Compact Binocular Reviews:

If you spend any amount of time outdoors, there are certain things you'll need to have: sunscreen, proper clothing, and binoculars top the list. These last are tremendously handy whether you're hunting, fishing, or watching your child play football on a fall afternoon. While there are a lot of specs and features that may baffle someone who has never purchased binoculars before, there is no mystery behind their goal. They are designed to help you see better - and right side up. The degree to which they are able to do that separates the bad from the good and the good from the great. How well do compact binoculars improve your vision range and clarity? Many say that full-size binoculars give you the best quality: should you avoid compact binoculars? Absolutely not. There are situations in which the compact versions are preferable. We'll help you decide if compact binoculars are right for you and which models will serve you best.
compact binocular

Why Use Compact Binoculars? - Very few things in life are perfect - despite what they tell you in ads. And it is true of compact binoculars as well. Ironically, their biggest advantage is also their biggest drawback. Because they are small, you may find it difficult to keep an image still. With full-sized binoculars, the exit pupil is larger. This means that if your hand shakes or moves slightly, your eye remains in the exit pupil. Your brain integrates the image so seamlessly that you won't even realize there was a disruption. With compact binoculars, the smaller exit pupil makes it harder to hold an image - which can be a pain if you're jacked up on coffee or there's a stiff wind. Even small movements can have a big effect on the stability of the image. You have to adjust compact binoculars more often, which can lead to eye fatigue. Another common issue with compact binoculars is that they do not give you as much resolution at a distance as their full-sized brothers. So, with these issues, why bother with compact binoculars? They are far more portable than full-sized versions, and this can be vital in any number of situations. You can easily pack them in a suitcase for travel; you can keep a pair folded up in your glove compartment in case you need them; put a pair in your hiking backpack for use on the trail. While it is true that they do not offer the same type of quality you will see with full-sized binoculars, they do offer the convenience of accessibility and easy transport. One other difference you may well appreciate in the field: compact binoculars are much lighter. You may not fully realize this when you pick them up, but you will after a long day of trekking in the field. For this reason, they are often the better choice for children. And they tend to be easier on your wallet than their full-sized counterparts. You can browse the best selling compact binoculars online here.

Best Compact Binoculars:

Top brands include Nikon, Pentax, Swarovski, Zeiss, Steiner, Minolta, Leica, and Celestron. These are really the best when it comes to compact binoculars - and you guessed it, they're also the most expensive. Olympus is a brand that is almost up there with the big guys. You will also find Tasco, Jason, and Bushnell binoculars very common: these are definitely lower end, but for your budget and needs, they may be just right so don't count them out just yet. Let's take a closer look at those Pentax Papilions. These were named by ConsumerSearch as the best compact binoculars. They feature CLOSE - convergent lens optical system engineering, so you can focus down to 1.6 feet. They are excellent for viewing any number of subjects at close ranges and have a rugged rubber exterior, innovative dual-axis, single body housing, and synchronized eye-piece adjustment. They are ideal for those who want to have binoculars along with hikes, walks, bike trips, or anywhere they may find themselves. The Pentax compact binoculars, which are well reviewed by Amazon consumers, cost $96. A good deal; you will use these binoculars a lot and will be happy with their performance. If you really want to go all out, try the Leica Trinovid 10x25 BCA compact binoculars. This outstanding compact binocular is recommended by BirdWatching.com; they say they "tie" in terms of quality with the more expensive Zeiss binoculars. The Trinovids offer coated roof prisms for better resolution, detail, and contrast, wide carrying strap, ergonomic, comfortable design, polyurethane armor, smooth matte surface, high density optical glass, and multi-coatings. These will cost you a tidy $500. If you were thinking the Pentax Papilions were expensive, you'll want to skip these and the Zeiss binoculars for sure! Are there good budget brands? You can find high quality Nikon binoculars on Amazon for well under $100. You cannot go wrong with Nikon, so feel confident in choosing from their line of "pocketable" binoculars. See Nikons here. Nikon could hardly be called a "budget" brand, however. If you're looking for less expensive still, you can still find it. Look at the Olympus Tracker 8x25 PCI; these are well reviewed by Amazon consumers and are recommended on BirdForum.net as one of the best budget compact binoculars. The Trackers have a 315-foot field of view at 1000 yards, high index prisms for great images, twisting eyecups, central focus knob and dioptric correction, compact, lightweight design, UV protective lenses, BAK-4 prisms, and long eye relief. These are a great option - and the sub-$60 price tag adds to the appeal. These are great travel, hiking, hunting, fishing, and/or birding binoculars. You will also find excellent prices on Bushnell, Tasco, Olympus, and other "low-end" brands - but if you look at reviews, consumers are satisfied and many of these less expensive models get consistently positive reviews. If you are an avid and very serious birdwatcher, you may want to spring for Pentax, Leica, Zeiss, or one of the big brands. If you want a great pair of binoculars that you can throw in your car or a backpack, then the Bushnells, Tascos, Jasons, and Bruntons are perfectly suitable. View top rated compact binoculars here.

Compact Binoculars for Bird Watching:

My parents are avid bird watchers in their backyard and they invested in a quality compact binocular. We found reviews for birdwatching binoculars on several websites including Birdwatching.com and Birdwatchersdigest.com. The Leica brand was recognized most often as the top choice amongst birdwatchers. The problem is that many of their models are $500, $600, $700 and more. The reason they are recommended so often is because of their compact feel and optical ability. When trying to figure out what type of bird you are looking at, it's nice to have great detail and be able to decipher the exact markings that make many birds so unique. You can see Leica binoculars here. Another important note was to make sure the binoculars were waterproof, since birdwatching takes place in all weather conditions. Another brand worth mentioned are the Brunton birdwatching binoculars which rate quite well - the Eterna is one to consider at less than $200 and owners are very happy with the overall performance and features.