A quality pair of binoculars is a must-have accessory for the avid wildlife photographer. If you enjoy exploring outdoors and capturing wildlife in its natural habitat, a pair of high-quality binoculars helps greatly. But top-end options can be pretty expensive. If you can’t or don’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars, it is possible to get decent binoculars under $100.
So, what do you need to look for in a budget pair, without losing the high-quality features? When choosing a pair of binoculars, consider the following factors:
- Size & weight
- Field of view
- Exterior coating
Ideally, you want a lightweight pair that has excellent magnification. Furthermore, a wide field of view and weatherproof coating is also preferable.
Not only are binoculars ideal for wildlife photography, but they also enhance any outdoor experience. You can spot things in landscapes that you didn’t notice before and enjoy activities like bird watching.
Finally, binoculars are excellent accessories for zoom lenses – you can scout the area using your binoculars, without continually readjusting the position of your lens and tripod.
Once you have considered all the factors, check out our picks for the best binoculars under $100:
1. Vortex Optics Raptor 8.5×32
Vortex offers a myriad of quality optical viewing devices including this excellent model under $100. The Vortex Optics Raptor 8.5×32 binoculars are a superb bargain.
You can expect a high-quality build including multi-coated lenses and weatherproofing. Furthermore, the Porro prism design has an excellent field of view – images look clear and sharp.
In addition to the stellar design features, these binoculars are relatively lightweight and compact. They are perfect for handheld spotting. The viewing rings are also comfortable against your eyes and for those wearing glasses too. This pair of binoculars is just at the price limit, but it is certainly one of the best binoculars under $100.
2. Nikon ACULON A211 8×42
Nikon has a quality range of binoculars and the ACULON A211 8×42 is an excellent budget option under $100. The design of these binoculars uses a combination of ergonomics and lightweight materials.
The result is a comfortable, portable pair of binoculars that are easy to transport and use. The rubber eyecups can be rotated and provided comfortable usage for prolonged periods.
Furthermore, the lens technology is fantastic – the 8×42 lens uses aspherical, multi-coated glass that offers crystal clear image quality without distortion. For hiking and nature observation, this is a top choice – the standard package also comes with a neck strap, case, and lens caps.
3. Bushnell Legacy WP 8×42
The Bushnell Legacy WP 8×42 binoculars are mainly used for hunting, but they are a fantastic multi-purpose device, particularly for wildlife spotting. The build of these binoculars is durable and robust – perfect for use in adverse weather conditions for prolonged periods.
Moreover, the lens coating has a Porro prism system and utilizes multi-coated optics with weatherproofing. This means images look amazing and have excellent clarity.
With a magnification level of 8x and an aperture of 42mm, these binoculars offer flexible viewing options and allow you to get close to your subject from a safe distance.
Finally, the Bushnell Legacy binoculars also feature an 18mm eye-relief which means images are accurate without loss of magnification.
4. Celestron Outland X 10×42
As one of the most affordable items in this list of best binoculars under $100, the Celestron Outland X is a steal. The design and weatherproofing of these binoculars are fantastic.
The device features advanced weatherproofing to withstand adverse conditions. Furthermore, the interior is filled with nitrogen gas to prevent fogging and distortion.
When using these binoculars, users appreciate the twistable rubber eyecups that offer a comfortable viewing experience. Moreover, the binoculars can be adapted to fit on a tripod which makes them an excellent choice for long stakeouts. Finally, the lens quality and magnification system offer sharp images for a range of uses.
5. Celestron SkyMaster 25×70
The Celestron SkyMaster 25×70 binoculars are the best model for long-range spotting. The main downside with this product is the relative weight and size – at 52 ounces, these binoculars are heavy and bulky.
Therefore, they are best used when you are in a stationary position, spotting in a particular area. Furthermore, you ideally need a tripod to mount the binoculars on.
That being said, the design is fantastic, and the quality of this product is brilliant. The magnification offers excellent vision, and the 70mm aperture is just amazing. Moreover, this device has several protective features for the lens glass and a weather-proof coating on the exterior material. It is a quality device for stargazing and wildlife spotting.
6. Bushnell H20 10×42
This second pair of Bushnell binoculars are relatively small and compact. Regardless, the H20 still offers 10x magnification and a 42mm aperture.
The field of view is impressive at 114, and it has a decent eye relief of 12mm. When using this device, the rubber eyecups are comfortable without putting to much pressure on your eyes.
In addition, the Bushnell H20 10×42 binoculars have various weatherproofing features. The lens is sealed against water which means the image quality remains sharp and clear. For outdoor usage like hiking and wildlife spotting, these binoculars are a perfect choice.
7. Tasco Essentials 10×25
Finally, we have binoculars under $100 that are extra cheap but effective. The Tasco Essentials 10×20 binoculars are less than $30 and are a great choice if you do not intend to use them regularly, but still want a pair as a backup.
Measuring 11.81 inches at the longest dimension, and weighing just 0.58lbs, these binoculars are lightweight and compact.
Furthermore, this item uses a roof-prism design and has a 10×25 magnification which is fine for basic wildlife spotting. While not as robust and useful as the other products in this list, the Tasco Essentials 10×25 binoculars are an excellent bargain.
Improve Your Vision and Spotting
A pair of binoculars is an excellent accessory for your photographic adventures. Binoculars can be utilized in conjunction with a zoom lens for wildlife spotting, and are also fantastic for bird watching and outdoor pursuits.
If you have a bit more money to play around with, you might want to look into higher-end binoculars if you need even more power.