Binoculars Test

02/2020

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3
products tested
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34.5
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Binoculars

Test winners are the 8-16x40 Zoom DPS I binoculars from Olympus and the Zavarius 7x50 marine binoculars. Both finished with a grade of 9.3/10. Olympus convinces with compactness, weight and image quality. Zavarius stands out with functionality, operation, and robustness.

We have tested 3 universal binoculars for different occasions and paid special attention to visual quality and operation as well as comfort.

Binoculars are a great companion for trips into nature: To explore birds or look out for ships on the horizon, binoculars give you the feeling of being close to the action even from far away.

We test independently. Askgeorge.com uses affiliate links. For a purchase via a link marked with a or our price comparison, we may receive a small commission.

last modified: 04.02.2020, 9:11
Winner Winner
Best price winner
Our winner: Zavarius Waterproof Marine Binoculars 7x50 with OLED Our winner: Olympus DPS I Binoculars 8-16x 40-zoom Relags Origin Outdoors Binoculars Mountain View Review

Zavarius Waterproof Marine Binoculars 7x50 with OLED

Olympus DPS I Binoculars 8-16x 40-zoom

Relags Origin Outdoors Binoculars Mountain View

Test seal: Zavarius Waterproof Marine Binoculars 7x50 with OLED, Rating 1.5
Test seal: Olympus DPS I Binoculars 8-16x 40-zoom, Rating 1.5
Test seal: Relags Origin Outdoors Binoculars Mountain View, Rating 1.9
  • Many functions
  • Good operating instructions
  • Good quality
  • Very robust
  • Good optics
  • No shadows
  • Grip-proof rubber coating
  • UV protection
  • Zoom
  • Large control knobs
  • Bright image
  • Lies well in the hand
  • Easy to operate
  • Suitable for spectacle wearers
  • Lies quite heavy in the hand after prolonged use
  • No zoom
  • Adjusting wheel partly somewhat stiff
  • After looking through the binoculars for some time it becomes very strenuous
  • Less suitable in the twilight

A versatile binocular that is suitable for both the hobby observer and for professional purposes.

Very high quality and robust. Very suitable for various occasions, especially in nature.

Solid binoculars: A good choice for travelers, hikers, sports events or animal observation.

Weight 1,400 g 789 g 531 g
Depth 18 cm 15.2 cm 12.8 cm
Height 15 cm 5.8 cm 4.7 cm
Width 5.5 cm 18.2 cm 12.8 cm
Waterproof No information
Carrying bag Yes
Suitable for spectacle wearers ✔(long eye distance)
Twilight factor/ light intensity 18.7 25 - 6.3 16/0.0625
Objective lens diameter 50 mm 40 mm 50 mm
Zoom factor 7-fold 8-fold 8-fold
Integrated dioptre correction No
Visual field at 1000m 131 m 87 - 59 129 m
Fast Close Focus No
Ergonomic eyecup No No
- - -
Packaging Good Good Good
Quality of instructions Good Excellent Okay
Manual language Good EN, BG, GER, AR, LT, NL, SK GER, GB, N
Quality impression Excellent Excellent Good
Scope of delivery Binoculars, protective bag, 4x lens cover, binocular carrying strap, cleaning cloth, CR2 battery, operating instructions Binoculars, operating instructions, carrying bag Binoculars, operating instructions, lens protection, lanyard, cleaning cloth, binocular protective cover
Additional warranty No information 2 years No information
Handling
Ergonomics
Comfort
Quality of vision
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*All prices include VAT (if applicable, extra charge for delivery. Check the particular online shop to find information about the availability. Changes of indicated prices since the last update remain reserved.

Tested products

1st place: Zavarius Waterproof Marine Binoculars 7x50 with OLED

Test seal: Zavarius Waterproof Marine Binoculars 7x50 with OLED, Rating good

The Waterproof Marine Binoculars 7x50 with OLED Screen by Zavarius convince with their clear view, easy handling and additional functions such as the display of air pressure, altitude, and temperature. The only drawback: no zoom function.

read review
Olympus DPS I Binoculars 8-16x 40-zoom - thumbnail Test seal: Olympus DPS I Binoculars 8-16x 40-zoom, Rating good

2nd place: Olympus DPS I Binoculars 8-16x 40-zoom

The Binoculars 8-16x40 Zoom DPS I convinces not only with the stable housing and the very secure rubber grips but especially with the many functions and the bright image with excellent quality.

read review
Relags Origin Outdoors Binoculars Mountain View - thumbnail Test seal: Relags Origin Outdoors Binoculars Mountain View, Rating good

3rd place: Relags Origin Outdoors Binoculars Mountain View

The Origin Outdoors binoculars "Mountain View" is powerful, with a wide field of view and good compact lenses. Due to the small size, the binoculars can be taken anywhere. However, the quality of vision decreases somewhat in twilight.

read review

Zavarius - Waterproof Marine Binoculars 7x50 with OLED

Winner: read review

Binoculars can be divided into different price categories and, as always, the price is open at the top. Usable compact binoculars are available from around 80 EUR, while universal binoculars start at around 100 EUR. If a specialist dealer is available nearby, it is best to buy binoculars locally, as they can be tried and tested there. Of course you can also buy online. In this case you should make sure that your own requirements for the binoculars are defined and that the desired binoculars are purchased based on these requirements.
Then nothing stands in the way of productive use of the new binoculars.

When buying binoculars you should also pay attention to the following:

  • Magnification and lens diameter
  • Field of vision, luminous intensity, and twilight factor
  • Try before you buy at the dealer
 

In the run-up to the test, we defined practical requirements and established the following test criteria:

  • Operation
  • Ergonomics
  • Comfort
  • Quality of vision

To be able to evaluate these criteria, we have defined several tests for the binoculars. In these tests the following objects are sighted with all binoculars: Nature and animals. In addition, we test how well the binoculars can be operated and how they fit in the hand. Furthermore, it is tested whether the binoculars are waterproof. Finally, the cleaning is evaluated.

binoculars
binoculars under test

In order to exclude errors and to ensure that the test is not affected by everyday use, each test is carried out in several runs.

The test criteria are given percentages according to their importance. The final mark is finally calculated objectively from the test criteria using an algorithm.

Product selection

Our product selection is based on the observation of the current market. In addition to popular brand products, we also include insider tips in our selection. Criteria such as price and range of functions are an important factor for us. The test field is also determined by analysis and evaluation of customer reviews and external tests (e.g. Stiftung Warentest).

The devices are purchased anonymously or lent to us by the manufacturer. Dealers and manufacturers have no influence on the tests and our evaluation.

As soon as new relevant products come on the market, our test field will be expanded to include them. The new products undergo the same tests as already tested devices.

Binoculars are familiar to everyone and their function is clearly defined. Something that can be seen in the distance can be viewed more closely with binoculars. But binoculars differ and there are a lot of facts worth knowing about this helpful object.

A pair of binoculars is a portable telescope and in everyday language, the term usually refers to binocular prism binoculars. These are binoculars that are designed to be used with both eyes and which use special prisms inside to redirect the light to the observer.

A pair of binoculars is used to magnify the person being viewed. This magnification is achieved by the lenses used and their arrangement.

The first figure you will notice on a pair of binoculars is a figure according to the scheme 10 x 40. The first figure indicates the magnification factor. In the example, these binoculars would provide a magnification of 10 times. The second value indicates the diameter of the front lens, the so-called front lens, in millimetres.

If an object to be observed is at a distance of a thousand meters, the object will appear to be only a hundred meters away when viewed through these binoculars.

The front lens of the binoculars, which is always the largest lens in such a binocular, is decisive for the image quality. The larger the lens, the more light it captures and the higher the quality of the lens, the better the final result. Conversely, this means: The larger the lens is, the more adverse conditions it can be used in. In normal daylight, a lens diameter of 20 to 32 millimetres is perfectly adequate; the situation is different at dusk or even at night. Here, diameters from 40 millimeters to 80 millimeters or more are recommended.

Two types of construction

In addition to the design, which is determined by the size and intended use, binoculars are divided into roof-edge and porroprism binoculars. These designations refer to the internal structure of the prisms in the binoculars. The task of the prisms is, among other things, to correctly display the generated image upside down again.

Porroprism binoculars are the classic design. Porroprism binoculars lead to larger binoculars, while smaller binoculars can be realized with roof-edge binoculars. However, it is more difficult to produce good binoculars with roof-prism binoculars, so that such models should be purchased with caution, especially in the inexpensive beginner's range.

Binoculars are offered in a wide variety of types and sizes. The best known to the layman are probably so-called compact binoculars. Other binoculars include universal binoculars, bird binoculars, twilight binoculars, large binoculars and special binoculars for maritime purposes.

Opera binoculars

Opera glasses are among the smallest binoculars and, as the name of the glasses suggests, are used in the theatre or opera. They usually magnify by a factor of 3 and, unlike ordinary binoculars, look quite elegant.

Compact binoculars

Compact binoculars are the most common. These are relatively light and cheap in price. The optics of these binoculars are usually above those of opera glasses. They are normally used at up to 10x magnification and have a front lens size of up to 30 millimetres.

These binoculars are well suited for occasional use during the day. Even wearing these binoculars for longer periods is no problem due to their light weight. The size of the binoculars and the optics have a negative effect on their usability in twilight or at night.

In addition, binoculars in this class are usually not suitable for spectacle wearers, so that glasses must be removed when using compact binoculars.

Universal binoculars

While compact binoculars might be smiled at, universal binoculars are "real" binoculars in terms of form factor and size. As the name suggests, universal binoculars try to reconcile the most diverse requirements.

Universal binoculars usually offer magnifications of 8 to 12 times, with front lenses ranging from 40 to 50 millimetres. In addition to daylight observation, universal binoculars can also be used for twilight observation.

Many universal binoculars can be used together with glasses so that they do not have to be removed. When used with glasses, the field of view of the binoculars is slightly smaller than when used without glasses.

Due to their size and the built-in optics, universal binoculars weigh more. On average, such binoculars weigh between 600 and 800 grams. For longer hikes, they could be too heavy for one or the other user.

Large binoculars

The largest class of binoculars are large binoculars. This already starts with the diameter of the front lens. In large binoculars, it starts at just under 70 millimetres and usually ends at 100 millimetres. These types of binoculars offer high magnification, a large field of view, good light intensity and are suitable for astronomical observations.

Some of these glasses can even replace telescopes. However, due to their weight, these binoculars can usually only be used in conjunction with a tripod. For this purpose, these binoculars have a corresponding connection thread, which connects the binoculars and tripod.

Special binoculars

In addition to the glasses already presented, which are defined by their design and size, there are a number of glasses for special applications.

There are special binoculars for the observation of birds. These are particularly true to colour in their image. These binoculars are usually much more expensive than universal binoculars, in whose size class most of the binoculars for bird watching are.

When using binoculars on boats and ships, so-called marine binoculars are used. These are characterized by a moderate magnification, usually 7x. Higher magnifications are not useful because they reduce the field of view and would otherwise be of limited use in rough seas. In contrast to other types, marine binoculars are usually waterproof and have a dimension that allows the estimation of distances. In addition, in many cases, a compass is built into this class of binoculars.

Twilight binoculars are suitable for hunters and other users of binoculars who need them at night. These binoculars have a high light intensity and correspondingly large front lenses between 50 and 70 millimetres. Compared to universal binoculars, these special glasses are usually slightly larger and correspondingly heavy.

Binoculars can be used for many different things. Depending on their use, the types suitable for this purpose differ. For example, binoculars can be used for astronomical observations, bird watching, hunting, sports or theatre.

Depending on the intended use, appropriate binoculars should be chosen. When observing birds, for example, it is important to have very high colour fidelity of the glass in order to determine their movements. If the colour is incorrectly displayed, the species may not be determined or may not be determined correctly in such an observation

Closely related to the magnification of binoculars is the so-called field of view. The field of view includes the actual field of view and the apparent field of view. The actual field of view is relevant for practice.

This is usually specified in two variants, one as a degree and the other in meters. For comparison: humans have a field of view of 180 degrees. Binoculars try to provide the widest possible field of view, but compromises have to be made.

The indication in meters refers to the width of the field in meters when something is viewed at a distance of 1000 meters. For most people, this value is easier to understand than the value in degrees.

In general, the higher the magnification, the smaller the field of view. With the field of view, it is important that the sharpness does not diminish at the edges of the field. With cheap binoculars, it happens that although they provide a large field of view, only a small area around the center is in focus.

Luminous intensity

Another important property of binoculars is their luminous intensity. The luminous intensity defines the brightness of the image being viewed. The value is calculated by dividing the size of the front lens by the magnification of the binoculars.

For binoculars with the imprint 10 x 40, this would mean that 40 is divided by 10 and the value for luminous intensity is therefore 4. The larger this value is, the more light is captured by the binoculars and finally used for imaging.

Twilight factor

In addition to the light intensity, the twilight factor plays a major role in the selection of suitable binoculars for observations at twilight or at night. This value is also calculated based on the magnification and the size of the front lens.

The product of the magnification and the size of the front lens is calculated and the square root is taken from this. For binoculars with the imprint 10 x 40, this would result in the twilight factor 20.
It should be noted that the luminous intensity and twilight factor are simplifications which in themselves provide only an inadequate indication of the quality and usability of the binoculars.

When enlarging, the layman might get the idea that the more the better. However, magnifications of between seven and ten times the magnification have proven themselves in practical use. Binoculars with higher magnifications are also available, such as those with 15x magnification.

These binoculars, however, cause problems in handling. Since binoculars can never be held one hundred percent steady, the image to be displayed will wobble. If the magnification is too high, the image wobbles or shakes so much that the object under observation cannot be observed well.

At the recommended magnifications of between 7 and 10x, observation is easily possible despite a slightly unsteady hand. The market has addressed this problem by developing binoculars that can switch between the different magnifications, for example from 15x magnification to 10x magnification.

There are also binoculars with image stabilizers that compensate for the natural trembling of the hands. If these image stabilizers are used, the user gets the feeling of an invisible tripod. A distinction is made between electronic and mechanical systems for the stabilizers. The electronic systems require a power supply in the form of batteries, which in the end makes the binoculars heavier. In addition, there are purely mechanical systems that work with a special suspension and damping of the optical system in the binoculars.

The magnification value printed on the binoculars should always be taken as a guide, as the actual magnification varies slightly in most cases.

Nowadays most binoculars have dioptre compensation. With this, it is possible to adjust the optics of the binoculars to your own vision or defective vision.

In addition, the closest focusing distance can be adjusted for most binoculars. This limit determines the minimum distance from which an object can be sharply focused.

How do we test at askgeorge.com?

Live and authentic: We get the devices into our Hamburg test laboratory. Here we take a close look at everything.

Each test is preceded by an extensive search:

  • Which suppliers are on the market?
  • What current products are there?
  • What are the comparison criteria?
  • What tests are we going to run?
  • What is the test procedure?

When everything's settled, we'll bring the devices to us. For each product the test procedure, the measured values and product properties are documented in detail. We create photos and videos. We evaluate the results for you, summarize everything in a test report and calculate the test grade.

Have fun!

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Questions

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2020-02-04
What are the best binoculars?
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AskGeorge.com

Test winners are the 8-16x40 Zoom DPS I binoculars from Olympus and the Zavarius 7x50 marine binoculars. Both finished with a grade of 9.3/10. Olympus convinces with compactness, weight and image quality. Zavarius stands out with functionality, operation, and robustness.

We have tested 3 universal binoculars for different occasions and paid special attention to visual quality and operation as well as comfort.

Binoculars are a great companion for trips into nature: To explore birds or look out for ships on the horizon, binoculars give you the feeling of being close to the action even from far away.

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