From the flimsy to the fortified, this year’s field of 14 full-size binos and 4 mid-size binos have something for everyone. The most interesting trend is the continuing integration of electronics into hunting optics. Three binoculars feature rangefinders. See our review of the best new hunting binoculars on the market.
These binoculars are from 2013. Looking for 2015's best binoculars? Check out our Optics Test here.
Units with ranging features include the plasticky Pulsar Expert ($800), Bushnell’s Fusion 1-Mile ARC ($1,200), and the new Geovid HD-B from Leica ($2,945), which represents the pinnacle of this alliance of electronic and optical technology.
The Pulsar’s rangefinder is a simple laser unit with no angle-calculating inclinometer or ballistics information.
Bushnell has come a long way with its ranging bino since the first Fusion was launched a couple of years ago. The objective lens coatings are much clearer and the dot-matrix display is much easier to read. The Bushnell includes a sophisticated inclinometer, a bullet-drop calculator that displays holdover references for eight families of rifle calibers, separate bow and rifle settings, and a laser that ranged targets out to 1,800 yards. Bowhunters will like the Fusion’s close-in ranging ability.
The more traditional full-size binos ranged from Carson’s handy $250 3D to Steiner’s Tactical ($799), which sports bat-wing eyecups and a blacked-out finish.
Weaver’s Kaspa makes the case that a headache-inducing binocular is no bargain even at $125. Other disappointing optics included the Redfield Rebel ($175), the Sightmark Solitude XD ($399), and Leupold’s McKinley HD ($775), which had such boxy eyecups that most testers couldn’t get the binocular to comfortably fit their face.
Three super-size binoculars completed the field: Alpen’s well-priced and appealing 10x50 Teton ($445); a tight and bright Vortex Razor HD in 10x50 ($1,289); and the behemoth 15x56mm Minox BL ($899), which ships with a tripod adapter to minimize hand shake and fatigue.