The Best Compact Binoculars in Australia [2019]

Binocular reviews

Author: The Adventure Lab Staff

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A good pair of binoculars are an essential piece of kit for hunting, bird-watching or safari. They are also great to have for boating, hiking, and watching sport.

The world of binoculars can, however, be a bit difficult to navigate. Prices vary drastically, as do sizes and features.

After the summary table below we will discuss the key things to keep an eye out for when shopping for binoculars, followed by detailed reviews of some of our recommended products on the market.


iMAGE
PRODUCT
OUR #1 RATED
Celestron 71400 TrailSeeker 8x32 Binoculars (Army Green)
OUR #1 RATED

CELESTRON TRAILSEEKER 8X32

  • High-end full featured binoculars
  • Superior image quality
  • Waterproof
  • Fogproof
  • Tripod mountable


Safari binocular

STEINER WILDLIFE 8X42

  • Very high image quality in a range of environments
  • Lightweight and impact-resistant
  • Weatherproof
  • Tripod mountable


Bird watching binoculars

NIKON MONARCH 5 8X42

  • Waterproof
  • Fog-proof
  • Lightweight and compact


Hunting binoculars

BUSHNELL 10X42 H2O

  • 100% waterproof
  • Fog-proof
  • Rugged
  • Affordable


Celestron 71330 Nature DX 8x32 Binocular (Green)

CELESTRON NATURE DX 8X32

  • Affordable
  • Waterproof
  • Fog-proof
  • Rubber casing
  • Twist-up eyecups

compact binoculars BUYERS GUIDE

Binocular sizes are stated as a set of numbers e.g. 10x25.

The first number represents magnification (how many times closer what you are looking at will appear). 8x and 10x are the most popular for hunting, bird-watching, and general wild-life viewing. While 10x will get you a more magnified image, this usually comes with a narrower field of view and more noticeable hand-shake.

The second number is the size in mm of the lens furthest from your eyes (the “objective lens”). Unless you are set on getting a very compact pair of binoculars, you should look at objective lens sizes of 30mm and upwards. 40mm+ will provide superior brightness and image quality but keep in mind this comes with additional weight.

Binocular size chart

Size

Good For

Common specs

Pros

Cons

Full-Size

Boating, wildlife

7×50, 10x42, 10x50

Good image quality, good in low-light, steady, wider field of view

Heavy and bulky

Medium

General outdoors, hunting, bird watching and wildlife, sports

8×42, 10x32, 10×42

Balance size and performance

Usually too heavy for hiking

Compact

Hiking, daytime use

8x25, 10x25, 7×35

Small, lightweight

Image quality, comfort

Binocular features

Aside from the size, here are a few key features you should keep an eye out for:

Waterproofing - be sure to check if they are fully submersible or just shower-proof

Fogproof and dustproof - usually achieved through nitrogen-purging

Lens quality and coating - important to get sharp and bright images

Weight - holding binoculars up to your eyes can get tiring. They can also add unnecessary extra weight to your pack.

Eye Strain - high end binoculars are designed for extended use with little eye strain while cheaper models are often only usable for minutes at a time

​Price

It’s worth noting that the price of binoculars varies significantly. Top of the line pairs will set you back in excess of $3,000, while there are also pairs that work perfectly fine for less than $100.

Generally, you get what you pay for with binoculars. So decide on your budget and start your research from there.


compact binocular Reviews

#1 ​Celestron TrailSeeker 8X32 review

Best multi-purpose compact binoculars for the outdoors

TOP PICK

The TrailSeeker is Celestron’s high-end, full-featured binocular, suitable for a wide range of uses including hunting, bird-watching, and safari.

BaK-4 prisms and fully multi-coated optics provide superior viewing quality for both close focus and wide field.

With a magnesium alloy body and rubber armoured casing, the TrailSeekers are tough yet lightweight. They are also waterproof and nitrogen filled (fogproof).

These binoculars are also tripod adaptable and come with objective lens caps, rainguard, neck strap, harness strap, carrying case, and lens cloth.

Pros
  • High-end full featured binoculars
  • Superior image quality
  • Waterproof
  • Fogproof
  • Tripod mountable                                            
cons
  • Expensive                                                   

#2 ​​​​Steiner Wildlife 8x42 Binocular review

Best high-end nature binoculars

Safari binocular

BUY AT camera house

Utilising the latest in German optics technology, made in the USA, and popular with law enforcement and military, Steiner Optics produce some of the highest quality binoculars on the market (with a price tag to match).

The Steiner Wildlife binoculars are designed for multi-purpose outdoors use for those who won’t accept compromise.

Very high image quality is achieved through phase-corrected BAK4 roof prisms and high-contrast anti-reflection coatings. The result is bright, clear images with accurate colour representation.

A short minimum focus distance means nearby animals can be viewed easily, while the exit pupil and field of view combination provide high definition viewing even in low light conditions.

Pros
  • Very high image quality in a range of environments
  • Lightweight and impact-resistant
  • Weatherproof
  • Tripod mountable 
cons
  • Very Expensive                                        

#3 ​​​Nikon Monarch 5 8x42 Binoculars review

Best mid-range binoculars for bird watching

Bird watching binoculars

BUY AT camera house

A favourite of bird watchers around the world, the Nikon Monarchs offer superior image quality in a compact package.

Designed for use even under difficult light conditions, these binoculars are perfect for serious hunters and nature watchers.

Sharp bright images are the name of the game, and are achieved through Nikon’s ED glass and multilayer-coated lenses.

The Monarch’s are 100% waterproof and fogproof and have a rugged rubber armoured design that provides a secure and comfortable grip.

Pros
  • Waterproof
  • Fog-proof
  • Lightweight and compact                      
cons
  • Some users may prefer 10x magnification                                              

#4 ​​​​Bushnell 10x42 H2O Binoculars review

Best binoculars for hunting

Hunting binoculars

BUY AT camera house

Based in America, Bushnell specialise in producing high-end, affordable sporting optics. In addition to binoculars, their products include telescopes, spotting scopes, riflescopes, red dot sights, GPS devices, laser rangefinders, game cameras, and night-vision devices.

The Bushnell H2Os represent a pair of really solid, high magnification binoculars, at the mid-lower end of the price spectrum.

A shock resistant, non-slip rubberised armour mean these are more than suitable for activities such as boating or hunting. Being O-ring sealed, the H2Os are 100% waterproof, even when fully submerged, and are also nitrogen-purged for fogproof viewing.

Multiple layers of coatings on lens surfaces increase light transmission and brightness, making these a favourite for those who sometimes find themselves in low light environments.

Pros
  • 100% waterproof
  • Fog-proof
  • Rugged
  • Affordable                                                     
cons
  • Heavier than other options                      

#5 ​​​​​​​Celestron Nature DX 8X32 Binocular review

Best affordable compact binoculars

best value

Celestron 71330 Nature DX 8x32 Binocular (Green)

BUY AT aMAZON

The cheapest binoculars on our list, the Celestron Nature DXs are certainly still a great quality product and come with almost all features included in the high-end models.

Designed specifically for outdoors, birdwatching and sporting events, these binoculars are waterproof, and nitrogen-purged to ensure they remain fogproof and dust free.

Being small and lightweight make these a great option for kids as well.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Waterproof
  • Fog-proof
  • Rubber casing
  • Twist-up eyecups                                    
cons
  • Missing some high-end features                          

VERDICT

At the end of the day, you need to find the best binoculars to suit your needs and budget.

All binoculars on this list are great products, however for us the Celestron Trailseeker come out on top for providing the perfect balance between size, performance, and price.