Best Compact Binoculars (Australia / NZ) 14

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Binoculars get you closer to the action or the nature around you but not all of us want to carry around big heavy binoculars. For those of us who like to travel light, compact binoculars are a great choice. This guide covers the most important features to look for when choosing compact binoculars. We’ve also included our Top 3 Compact Binoculars for 2019.

Compact binoculars


Why Choose Compact Binoculars?

The advantages are quite obvious. You can permanently keep compact binoculars in your bag and take them out quickly when the opportunity arises. Compact binoculars will typically be much lighter and easier to hold and use for extended periods of time. Compact binoculars are perfect for hiking and are easy to carry single-handed while freeing up your other hand. They are also very suitable as spectator binoculars for watching sports, concerts and other events. Compact binoculars are an elegant choice for when you simply need a closer look.

What Do the Numbers Mean?

Two numbers always represent binoculars. These are magnification and lens size. So, for example, 8×21 binoculars mean 8x magnification and 21mm lenses.

What is a Good Magnification for Compact Binoculars?

High magnification binoculars allow you to see further and in more detail. The problem with high magnification though is that you will find it difficult to stabilise the image. When holding binoculars, every small shake of your hands is also magnified – this creates a shaky image. A magnification higher than 10x will usually require the use of a tripod.

Lower magnification binoculars actually have a very clear advantage. Besides having a more stable image, they also provide a wider field of view. This allows you to simply see more. Because you can see a wider area you are also able to spot and follow fast moving subjects. So when choosing compact binoculars always look for a wide field of view.

Compact binoculars will typically have a magnification of 6x to 10x. The lower magnification models will have a wider field of view.

What is the Best Lens Size?

Large lenses allow more light into the binoculars. This means that you will see brighter images, especially in poor light conditions. Large lenses also mean that your binoculars will be much bigger, bulkier and heavier. So if you don’t intend to use your binoculars at dusk or in poor light, then you don’t really need large lenses. Compact binoculars usually have small to medium sized lenses between 20mm to 36mm. These are big enough to provide a clear and bright view during daytime.

What is a Good Weight for Compact Binoculars?

One of the main considerations when choosing the best compact binoculars will be their lightweight. In general, anywhere between 200g and 500g is considered very light binoculars.

Should I Get Waterproof Compact Binoculars?

If you decide to go for waterproof binoculars, just know that there are various types of available waterproofing. A lot of vendors say that they have waterproof binoculars, but they are only protected against water. If you need good waterproofing make sure that you get compact binoculars that are nitrogen purged.

This signifies that the body has been charged with dry nitrogen gas that stops the fogging, which usually occurs when the temperatures change very quickly. This will make sure that your compact binoculars are protected from all types of water and moisture and will not fog up. This also means that the inside of your binoculars will have protection from corrosion, which will be an added benefit if you like to use them while around water.

Which Brand Should I Get?

When it comes to compact binoculars, European brands have the best optics. This is why they are also the most expensive ones. Zeiss binoculars are probably the best around if you can afford them. Prices for these average between $600 to $1,000. Some of our more affordable brands include Nikon, Avalon, Bushnell and Vortex. These all offer excellent compact binoculars for every type of user. Prices range from $100 to $500 for a perfectly good pair of compact binoculars you can use for the long term.

How Much Should I Spend on Compact Binoculars?

You can buy very basic compact binoculars for as cheap as $50-$60. Russian binoculars as well as lower range models of Tasco, Barska and others. Unfortunately these will often have a distorted image – especially when using the higher magnifications. Cheap binoculars will also provide a darker, blurry image in lower light conditions. Here at Procular we believe in providing the right binoculars to the right users and at the right price. We only stock quality brand name binoculars you will love to use! You can purchase a quality pair of compact binoculars for as low as $100-$200. With optics you really do get what you pay for but we have a few outstanding choices for very affordable prices. Below is a list of our best selling compact binoculars that we believe are also the best bang for your money:


Our Top 3 Compact Binoculars for 2019

** Note: All 3 binoculars recommended below are suitable for eyeglasses users **

Discovery Pocket 8×21 – Just need a pair of compact binoculars? The Discovery 8×21 have a very compact folding design, lightweight (165g) and attractive price. Surprisingly these are actually very good quality binoculars! Image clarity on these is noticeably better than most compact binoculars on the market. $79 inc. free delivery

Avalon 8×32 Mini HD – Compact to mid-sized, lightweight binoculars (416 grams). 8x magnification, very easy to hold and stabilise single-handed. Wide 6.9 degrees view which is superb for a compact model. 100% Waterproof and fog-proof. High quality optics at an affordable price. $195 inc. free delivery

Zeiss Terra ED 8X25 – Looking for that extra quality and style? Designed by German manufacturer Carl Zeiss and built to perfection. Compact and ultra light (309g). Crystal clear views and detail rich high-contrast images. Our top pick for compact binoculars, for those who can afford them. $599 inc. free delivery

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14 Comments

  1. Discovery 8X21 Pocket Binoculars

    Hi Adam

    I’m interested in the above item. I am shorted-sighted, so wear glasses. Is it suitable for my requirement?

    Belinda

    Belinda Andrews
    1. Hi Belinda,

      Yes, most people can use these binoculars without the need of their glasses. This is because the binoculars already enhance and magnify the image making up for near-to-far or far-to-near vision impairments.

  2. Hello Adam,

    I would like to ask a question about the compact binoculars. I work at sea and I’m thinking about purchasing my own pair. I don’t want to lug around a standard size pair. What are your thoughts on a good high powered for picking up smaller targets, water proof, maybe stabilized?

    1. Hi Mick,

      Any decent high powered binoculars are never compact size. The compact models are normally 7x, 8x or 10x. Compact binoculars with higher magnifications have very poor quality optics, limited field of view and are nearly impossible to stabilise the image with. Normally high powered binoculars, such as 16x or 20x, would be large and bulky. Image stabilised binoculars are another option but also normally quite bulky. The Fujinon 12×32 are not too bad in terms of size and weight so they would be a great option. They are popular with marine users. Details below: https://procular.com.au/fujinon-12×32-techno-stabi-is-binoculars/ In regard to your question, it all depends where you will be using your binoculars the most – either onboard a boat/ship or from land. If used onboard then your only choices are 7x or 8x binoculars (these can be compact and waterproof), or otherwise image stabilised ones such as the Fujinon 12×32. Any more magnification than that will result in very shaky images due to the shakes of the boat. Compact ones we really love for use at sea are the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD binoculars below: https://procular.com.au/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/ — If you’re using the binoculars from land, then you can get high powered ones. But as mentioned, these are NOT compact. Here’s the most recommended high powered models: https://procular.com.au/choosing-high-powered-binoculars/#binoculars , they are all full sized (bulky) binoculars.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  3. I’m going on a Norwegian fjord cruise (their Summer) and the packing list suggests binoculars.The cherry on the cake will be to see puffins but I’m sure there will be lots of “wows”. I’m thinking something travel/lightweight – say $250 – $300 or less. I wear glasses. What would you suggest?

    1. Hi Jen,

      Have a look at the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD Binoculars. They are perfect for the cruise as well as using when not on onboard. Excellent optics, compact design, waterproof & fog proof and very affordable. We have personal experience with this model onboard boats and ships, viewing wildlife, birds, surf conditions, sports and travelling! they work very well for any use. You can read more about the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD binoculars, including a video, specs and customer reviews here: https://procular.com.au/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  4. Hi, I’m after a pair of binoculars as a Christmas present and have around $100 to spend. They are wanted for family camping trips and walks so need to be convenient and have a case.

    1. Hi Sophie,

      We can recommend the Discovery 8×21 binoculars which are very compact and come with a small case. Details below: https://procular.com.au/discovery-8×21-pocket-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  5. Hi! My partner is crazy about watching sport especially Rugby Union and wants a compact binocular for his brthday. Therefore I am looking for your advice. I live in Perth Western Australia. Thanks for your help

    Margaret Collingwood
    1. Hi Margaret,

      Thank you for your comment. We have a very good buyer’s guide specifically for watching horse racing or sports. It is very relevant for watching Rugby Union as well because you are sitting/standing in the stadium and watching fast moving subjects. Just people rather than horses 🙂 Her’e a link to this guide which also lists our most recommended compact binoculars for the job: https://procular.com.au/best-binoculars-for-watching-a-horse-race/#binoculars

      Adam Murray, Procular
  6. Hi there, I would like bird binoculars light enough to carry with me while im outside on my property doing jobs etc.
    I wear glasses so am looking for binoculars suitable for these.

    I can spend approx $600 so am interested in your thoughts?

    1. Hi Catherine,

      We can recommend the Zeiss Terra ED 8×25 binoculars. These are the highest quality ones you can get at that price range. They are suitable for use either with or without glasses on. Details below: https://procular.com.au/zeiss-terra-ed-8×25-compact-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  7. My husband is wanting Binoculars for the farm to check on tanks, gates etc his eye sight isn’t as good as it should be owing to cataracts.
    I have picked out two, Gallop Porro 12×50 $129 or Bresser 7×50 Hunter $129. Which of these Binoculars will do the job as its to go in a ute,bike so needs to be sturdy with a good case.

    1. Hi Patricia,

      The Bresser 7×50 will probably be more suitable. They are very durable too. Please note that these 2 models are of good quality but are NOT compact. They are full-sized 50mm binoculars.

      Adam Murray, Procular

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