Best High-Powered Binoculars (Australia, NZ) 26

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If you are viewing scenery or spotting subjects from a longer distance, typically over 2 Km, then high-powered binoculars are a great choice. More magnification means that you will be able to see further and in more detail. The following guide explains how to choose binoculars for very long distance viewing. We also cover the features to look for when buying high magnification binoculars and the best models around for every budget.

High Powered binoculars

 

How to Identify Binoculars Power?

Two numbers always represent binoculars, for example 10×50. The first number is their power (or magnification) and the second is the diameter of their lenses. Generally, binoculars power will range between 8x to 20x. If you are spotting a very distant subject across your land or a sailing boat 3 Km from shore then you should opt for 16x to 20x binoculars.

Are High-Powered Binoculars the Right Choice?

It is very important to know that high-powered binoculars can be difficult to stabilise handheld. This is because every shake of your hands is also magnified as much as the image is. This can lead to a shaky image and is a common issue with using powerful binoculars. Most people can still use up to 20x binoculars to quickly see something in the distance. If you are viewing for longer periods of time, it is recommended that you support your binoculars on a table, stand or tripod. This will eliminate the shakiness of the image. Or otherwise choose other binoculars with lower magnification.

Do I Need a Tripod for High-Powered Binoculars?

Not necessarily. If you just need to “quickly see something” then you’ll probably be perfectly fine without one. You can also try leaning your elbows on a table, stand, veranda or other platforms to support your arms while using your binoculars. If you are often using binoculars from a fixed location or for longer periods of time then a tripod is still recommended. The good news is that nearly any tripod will do. We usually recommend that you first purchase the binoculars and then visit your local camera shop to pick up a tripod for them (if you feel it’s needed). We also offer some heavier duty tripods specifically built for binoculars and spotting scopes. These are designed for carrying heavier weights so can sometimes be more expensive than your standard camera tripod.

Binoculars view

What is the Best Lens Size and Weight?

Bigger lenses in binoculars increase the brightness of the images. High magnification models are usually full sized binoculars with lenses of 50mm. These are still very easy to hold, stabilise and carry but are definitely not compact. They will weigh anywhere between 700g to 1.5 Kg. Astronomy binoculars will have larger lenses, 50mm to 100mm, and can be even heavier than that.

Which Brand Should I Get?

There are plenty of good optic brands out there. Each brand has various binocular model lines depending on optical quality. Ranging from entry-level binoculars to high-end professional ones. With optics, you really get what you pay for! Some reputable brands to look at are Nikon, Fujinon (FujiFilm), Avalon, Bushnell, Vortex and Zeiss. These all offer excellent binoculars for every type of user. Prices range from $200 to $500 for a good pair of high-powered binoculars.

 

Our Top 3 High-Powered Binoculars for 2018

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

Avalon 20×50 Outpost – Designed for seeing more detail from longer distance (2-5Km). The most powerful pair you can own without dealing with a monstrous sized product. With an impressive 20x magnification they are extremely powerful yet still easy to handle. Can be used with or without a tripod. $279 inc. free delivery

 

Meade 15×70 Astro Binoculars – Astronomy binoculars but are just as good for watching land or sea. At 1.4 Kg they are not light but manageable handheld. Sharp lenses, bright vivid colours and oversized lenses ideal for star gazing. $299 inc. free delivery

 

Nikon Aculon 16×50 – High power binoculars by Nikon. Perfect for both long distance and general viewing. Made with environmentally friendly Eco-Glass. Wide field of view and bright, high contrast images. Nicely finished product and easily comparable to Nikon’s higher-end models. $359 inc. free delivery

 

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26 Comments

  1. Hi Adam, we have a bush valley view from our covered balcony and I would like to observe to the opposite ridge distance of approximately 1km, section of river view at approx 2 km and more distant bushland 5-10 km on the horizon. I do have small binoculars for viewing wildlife in the immediate bush land and assume a spotting scope may be suitable?

    1. Hi David,

      Yes, a spotting scope works well to observe from 100m and up to even 10-20Km and see good detail. High powered binoculars can also be used for these distances but the scope will simply give you extra magnification. up to 60x to be exact. You can view our buyer guide on choosing spotting scopes here: https://procular.com.au/choose-spotting-scope/#scopes — the Avalon 80mm Venture HD is a popular choice with the smaller 60mm model also an option if you want to take it along on trips for example.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  2. Hi Adam:I recently got interested in bald eagle viewing in Massachusetts. Any recommendations?Thanks.

    Paul Malone
    1. Hey Paul,

      Have a look at our birdwatching binoculars guide, it has some excellent info on how to choose them as well as some recommended models: https://procular.com.au/choosing-binoculars-for-bird-watching-the-complete-guide/ — Overall a good pair of 10×42 will always do the trick 🙂

      Adam Murray, Procular
  3. My girlfriend likes to watch whales – I’m not sure why, but there you go. She already has a set of Bushnell 10 x 42 waterproof binoculars and would like Santa to get her something more powerful. She watches from dry land, not a boat, and only occasionally, but she’s quite happy to sit there for hours when she does. I’ve read your high power guide. Questions – given weight will be a “thing” – the Bushnells weigh about 600g, what’s the recommendation? Of the 3 choices in the article, weight would put the Meade out.

    I’m assuming that she doesn’t need waterproof, as her current set has – if she ever goes on a boat she can take the Bushnell set as presumably she’ll be close enough for them.

    She also, when we’re on rural holidays, uses them for looking at birds and animals etc.

    My other question is about tripods. Do they just fit to standard camera tripods, and if so, how about a monopod? I have a decent camera which I normally take and have tripods and monos as well, so it’d be good if Santa didn’t need to fork out for a specialist binocular tripod as well… 🙂 Cheers

    1. Hi David,

      We’ll start from the end.. binoculars can be mounted on any photographic tripod, as long as the tripod is strong and stable enough to hold their weight. You need to use an adapter which sits on the tripod and screws onto the binoculars. If you have a good tripod that can hold 3Kg it will work fine with the binoculars. You mentioned that she wants higher power binoculars (more magnification) for whale watching. But also a light enough weight to use them handheld. Our best option would be the Nikon Aculon 16×50 binoculars. They offer more power than the Bushnell she already has. They are not 100% waterproof but can easily handle bad weather, light rains and humidity. They offer an outstanding quality image as far as high powered binoculars go, but also a wide enough view to actually spot the whales. As whales don’t show themselves for too long over the water, we don’t suggest using higher power than the Nikon 16×50 if she is not using a tripod. Also note, that these can be mounted on your photo tripod and will work quite well with it – they are not as large and bulky as the Meade ones. You can read more about the Nikon Aculon 16×50 binoculars here: https://procular.com.au/nikon-aculon-16×50-cf-binoculars/

      they weigh 924 grams but unfortunately there are no good quality, high powered binoculars weighing less than that. Weight comes with the 50mm+ multiple lenses used in this type of binoculars. If she wants to mount them on a tripod, here’s the link to the adapter:

      https://procular.com.au/avalon-binoculars-tripod-adapter/

      Adam Murray, Procular
      1. Thanks Adam – I’ll check with her and probably order a pair in that case. Looking at the product page, it says for the Nikon “in the box” is a tripod adapter already, however. If this is the case, then I wouldn’t need a separate adapter such as you’ve linked to, correct?

        1. Yes, correct.

          Adam Murray, Procular
  4. I own and run a safari company in Uganda https://steadysafaris.com. I have been buying and using several types of Binoculars. I am interested in good recommendations if anyone knows some good ones please.

    1. Hi Carlos,

      We have an excellent buyer’s guide on choosing binoculars for safari trips. It also lists the currently most recommended models for safari. Details below: https://procular.com.au/best-safari-binoculars-the-complete-guide/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  5. Hi,
    I’m looking for binoculars for my wife to do whale watching (from shore). We have one pair of Bushnell 10×50 but she finds they get heavy.
    What would you recommend as a lighter weight binoculars?
    Any chance they come in pink?

    Regards,
    Mark

    1. Hi Mark,

      We can recommend the Avalon 10×42 PRO HD binoculars which are lighter and easier to handle than the Bushnell 10×50’s. They have the same magnification but a much nicer, lighter design. We don’t have any pink ones, sorry. They come in black-olive colour. Details below: https://procular.com.au/avalon-10×42-pro-hd-binoculars-black/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  6. Hi Adam,

    I am looking for a suitable binoculars to be used for Power Transmission and distribution conductors and switch gears from distances of 500m or less.

    Kindly assist me with a most suitable binoculars.

    Thanks,
    Alex

    Alexander Kama Tomba
    1. Hi Alex,

      As you are viewing from 500m or less, you will not need more than 10x magnification. Especially if you plan to use the binoculars handheld, i.e. with no tripod. We therefore recommend a good pair of 10×42 binoculars. The Avalon 10×42 PRO HD are fantastic value and quality + lightweight. These should work well we believe. You can read more about them, including a demo video and all specs and reviews here: https://procular.com.au/avalon-10×42-pro-hd-binoculars-black/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  7. Great read. Thank you. My grandchildren love my level 23 views from Chapel St South Yarra. Is there anything that will pick up trains below, boats on Bay, Arthurs Seat Eagle, the Dandenongs and stars?

    1. Hi Daisy,

      Thank you for your comment. If your grandchildren would like to also look at the moon and stars, as well as distant boats in the bay then your best option would be the Meade 15×70 binoculars reviewed above. They offer a very nice and bright image so great for long distance as well as star gazing! Details below: https://procular.com.au/meade-15×70-astro-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  8. Hi, being a consulting Arborist, im looking at getting binoculars for inspecting trees from the ground. Things like buds, fruit, leaves, cracks etc. Can you give me some ideas on best binoculars for looking at trees etc

    Regards
    Craig

    1. Hi Craig,

      Thank you for your comment. As you are viewing trees from a relatively short distance, i.e. 5 to 500 meters for example, you will be best off with binoculars that do not have TOO much magnification. This is because high powered binoculars are not ideal for short range viewing. So 7x or 8x magnification will be plenty for your needs and will also be easier to hold still. Also, it will be handy to have lighter weight rather than full size bulky binoculars, as you will be holding and pointing them upwards. Last but not least you will need good quality optics in order to achieve a bright enough image and make up for shadows from the branches and trees. We would therefor avoid compact models as they normally don’t provide enough brightness. We can recommend either the Nikon Aculon 7×35 binoculars or for an even better image quality the Nikon Prostaff 8×42 binoculars. The Nikon 7×35 are smaller (and cheaper) but the Nikno 8×42 have brighter images and a-little more power (to see buds or cracks in more detail). Overall both will do the job nicely. Details of the Nikon Aculon 7×35 binoculars below: https://procular.com.au/nikon-aculon-7×35-binoculars/ and the Nikon Prostaff 8×42 binoculars below: https://procular.com.au/nikon-prostaff-7-8×42-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  9. Thanks Adam. Can you also suggest a pair where you wouldn’t need to lean on something even if this means we have to sacrifice on something? We would pick the quality of the viewing firstly over distance for sighting I think? Thanks

    1. Hi Renae,

      You can also consider the Olympus 10×50 binoculars. They are good for stargazing, have no issue of using handheld but have less power (10x). We wouldn’t go with anything smaller than these as you do need the large lenses for viewing at dark. Details of the Olympus 10×50 binoculars below: https://procular.com.au/olympus-10×50-zoom-dps-i-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  10. Hi Adam,
    I’ve recently moved and I am lucky to have a wide view of the city from the back of our house. Would like to view the city buildings which is approximately 6 or 7kms away. What type of binoculars would you recommend? I have a compact 10×25 Barska which are ok but would like more magnification without having to use a tripod. Is 16×50 the best range for 6kms or so?
    Thanks,
    Chris

    1. Hi Chris,

      To see better detail on the buildings from 6-7 Km you will need quite powerful binoculars. Without a tripod you can use either 16×50 or 20×50 depending on how stable your hands are. Both will provide enough magnification. Anything more than than that would prove impossible to hold still.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  11. Hi Adam

    I was wondering if you could provide a good recommendation for me.

    I am going to the Australian Melbourne Grand Prix next year. I have a balcony room facing the track at around the 16th floor. Not sure of what the diagonal distance from room to track would be but at a guess i reckon you could say about 1km max but maybe slightly less.

    What would you recommend that would be good for viewing movement, comfortable on the eye socket, easy to focus and comfortable to hold?

    Thanks heaps for your help.

    Regards

    Darren

    Darren Blythman
    1. Hi Darren,

      Being on the 16th floor means you’ll need to cover quite a distance. But you also need to follow very fast movement so we wouldn’t recommend anything more than 10x magnification. Focus shouldn’t be an issue because from that distance you’ll probably won’t even need to play around with it while you’re watching. Size and weight are important as you’re likely to hold the binoculars for extended periods of time. So overall we would say a 10×42 pair would work best in this situation. But it needs to be lightweight and with a wide field of view. The Avalon 10×42 PRO HD should be very suitable. It is also a great all-around binocular. Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/avalon-10×42-pro-hd-binoculars-black/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  12. G’day mate i am looking for binoculars for a general use but i want to be able to use them on Fraser island to look at ships and whales in the distance i am thinking of maybe a 12 to 16 magification but have told they will need a tripod if you go over a 10 magnification

    1. Hi Rick,

      If you will be carrying your binoculars often and use them without a tripod then 16×50 could be a better choice. That would be enough power for seeing ships and whales but not too much so you can’t use the binoculars handheld. They are indeed harder to stabilise than 10x but certainly not impossible. As long as you lean your elbows on something while holding them you’ll be perfectly fine. The Nikon Aculon 16×50 are a good match for example. They are high powered and of excellent quality. Note that they weigh around 900 grams so not lightweight travel binoculars. Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/nikon-aculon-16×50-cf-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular

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