The Best birding binoculars under $500

Nikon Monarch 7

Last Updated on January 12, 2024 by Greg Gillson

I have found these binoculars to be the very best under $500. The specs are all excellent and the materials are all the very best. On paper, these are all very similar. So I’ve scoured the internet looking for accurate reviews to help guide you in making a purchasing decision.

The very best birding binoculars under $500 are these:

  • Vortex Viper HD 8×42
  • Hawke Frontier ED 8×42
  • Nikon Monarch 7 ATB 8×42
  • Zeiss Terra ED 8×42
 Summary: They are all good. I own and recommend the Nikon Monarch 7 ATB 8×42.  

Update: A recent binocular review by Cornell’s All About Birds (source) has these three birding binoculars as best birding binoculars in their mid-range: 
Celestron TrailSeeker ED 8×42
Nikon Monarch M7 8×42
Kowa BDII XD 8×42

I also have found 4 binoculars in the $250 to $350 price range to recommend for birding.

  • Athlon Optics Midas G2 UHD 8×42
  • Bushnell Engage EDX 8×42
  • Barska WP Level ED 8×42
  • Celestron Trailseeker ED 8×42

Read on to learn why I do NOT recommend the best selling birding binocular!

Many of the binocular reviews I found online are outdated or just plain wrong.

A review from Bird Watchers Digest that ranks at position 2 in Google for “birding binoculars under $500” was written in 2003!

Most binocular articles are slanted toward general use or hunting.

Even if the articles have been updated, they often still have old specs. Many binocular models have been updated with the best ED glass and BaK-4 prisms in recent years.

Many models have also recently become unavailable, across manufacturers. So I have to wonder if there is a supply or trade problem.

The good thing, though, is that there are more binoculars than ever before with excellent glass and materials. You really do have a wide choice from many excellent manufacturers at all price ranges.

But this can make reaching a final decision more difficult and confusing. With any of the 8 here you will have no regrets.

Photo of Nikon Monarch 7 binocular
Cognitive bias says that since I recently bought
these Nikon Monarch 7 binoculars
I should say they are the very best.

What makes a good birding binocular?

Birders demand more from their optics than any other user group.

Bird watching binoculars must be sharp and bright, even in low-light conditions, such as dawn and dusk or deep woods. The color rendition must be perfect, edge-to-edge. They must handle any weather by being waterproof and fog proof. They must be rugged and stand up to handling that might be considered abusive by some.

Additionally, the field of view must be as wide as possible for scanning the horizon and quickly locating a distant bird flying overhead. They must have sufficient comfortable adjustment for eyeglass wearers. They must be lightweight for carrying in the field all day. They must focus down to birds in the bushes nearly at arm’s length or at a window feeder without having to step back.

Notice that I didn’t say that they should magnify an image as large as possible? If you want to magnify distant birds you want a spotting scope, not a more powerful binocular.

The best magnification for bird watching binoculars are full-sized 8×42. These have the ideal magnification and best light gathering ability for bird watching. They have the widest field of view, which I value above many other specs for bird watching binoculars. Read my article on why 8×42 binoculars are the ideal size for bird watching.

Bird watching binoculars near $500 are in the “best value” range. Paying more money above this price has less and less return. You can pay $2000+ and get binoculars that are only optically 5% better. You can pay $2000 and get binoculars that aren’t any better at all than the $500 pairs. On the other hand, if “status symbol” binoculars are important to you, then you’ll be willing to pay the higher amount.

What do you look for in a birding binocular?

Below is a table of specs that I look for with an optimal range and a minimum acceptable range. These are my desired specs; they may not be yours. After the table I’ll talk about why I desire the optimal specs listed. There are hundreds of binocular models. Only a very few, at any price, do I consider optimal in all specs.

Desired Birding Binocular Specs
Specification Optimal Minimum acceptable
Magnification 8x 7x to 10x
Objective lens >40 mm >32 mm
Field of View 8x >420 ft @ 1000 yds >390 ft @ 1000 yds
Field of View 10x >350 ft @ 1000 yds >330 ft @ 1000 yds
Close focus <6 ft <10 ft
Exit pupil >5 mm >4 mm
Eye relief >17.5 mm >15.5 mm
Weight <24 oz <30 oz

Why? 8x almost always gives a larger field of view, closer focus, larger exit pupil, longer eye relief, and lighter weight than the 10x version of the same model binocular. These are all good things. They make finding and viewing birds easier and give a brighter, more crisply-focused image.

Eye relief is only important if you wear eyeglasses. These binoculars may last you 20 years. If you don’t wear eyeglasses now, you will likely do so in 20 years! Longer is better, especially if the bridge of your nose sticks out farther than normal from the plane of your cornea. Did I just say you want longer eye relief for a big nose? Yes, I guess I did. However, larger eyeglass lenses also sit farther from your eyes, and will need more eye relief than smaller eyeglass lenses. This is a very important spec for me.

Close focus is for viewing close birds in the brush, hummingbirds at your window feeder, butterflies at your feet.

Wide field of view helps you more quickly locate birds. This is especially true for warblers hopping and flitting through the forest canopy or single swallows zigzagging high in the sky. It is necessary for scanning the horizon or doing a sea watch (where you spot birds by scanning with wide angle binoculars and then switch to a spotting scope when you’ve seen something). This is perhaps my most desired spec, all other things being equal.

The exit pupil of 5mm or above is simply the magnification divided into the objective lens size. Thus, 8×42 is 5.25, while 10×42 is 4.2. A spec for relative brightness is simply the exit pupil squared. So 8×42 has a relative brightness of 27.56 and a 10×42 binocular has a relative brightness of only 17.6. All this to tell you that in low light situations (dawn, dusk, forests, overcast) the 8×42 will be noticeably brighter and colorful. In full daylight in open country you will not see the difference.

Desired Birding Binocular Materials/Construction

Once you cross over $200 mark almost all binoculars will now be made with the very best materials. The rest of the cost is in how well and how much the manufacturer applies the materials and controls quality assurance.

All my recommendations for birding binoculars are the straight-barrel roof prism design. They are more rugged and easier to make waterproof. They are easier to align and keep in alignment. They don’t have as good as depth-of-field as the zigzag Porro prism design. 

Roof prism binoculars are a bit more expensive at the low end of the price scale (you might get a better optical quality Porro prism for $300, but it might not be as rugged as a roof prism binocular at the same price). If your birding is going to be of birds out the window at your feeder, you might rather have a Porro prism binocular.

The best glass is extra low-dispersion (ED) glass. HD glass doesn’t actually mean anything. It just sounds nice, like High Definition TV. Make sure all glass surfaces are “fully multi-coated.”

The best prism material is BaK-4. They should be “phase coated.” Dielectric mirror coatings on the prisms are better than silver coating.

Binoculars should have o-ring seals to keep out water and should withstand submersion in at least 3 feet (1 meter) of water for at least 10 minutes (“waterproof”). They should be filled with either nitrogen or argon inside to remove any water vapor and keep your binoculars from fogging on the inside (“fog proof”). Then you can take these out in rain or snow and be able to use them perfectly at all times.

The outer lenses are sometimes coated with a film that makes water bead up and run off, and keeps oil and dirt from sticking, and is scratch resistant.

Most birding binoculars now come with a soft rubber “armor” surface. That will enhance the ruggedness and, perhaps, provide some insulation to keep your hands warmer in cold weather?

The last thing to mention is the warranty. Most binoculars provide a repair or replacement for manufacturing defects for the life of the original buyer (or 25 years). That’s as long as you still have proof of purchase (“limited lifetime warranty”). Some manufacturers have a lifetime “no fault” warranty. If you drop them off a cliff or drive off with them on the roof of your car and smash them or drive over them accidentally, they will be replaced. As long as they aren’t lost or stolen, they will be replaced at no cost. Now that’s standing behind your product!

For more information on binocular specs and materials, please see my birding binocular buying guide.

Best birding binoculars $400 to $500

There are four birding binoculars available at an online price of about $450-500. There is no additional competition until about $800, and these may still be better.

1000 yds
Vortex Viper HD 8×42 $639 409 ft 6.5 ft 5.25 mm 18 mm 24.5 oz
Hawke Frontier ED 8×42 $519 426 ft 6.6 ft 5.25 mm 18 mm 24.4 oz
Nikon Monarch 7 8×42 $479 420 ft 8.2 ft 5.25 mm 17.1 mm 22.9 oz
Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 $449 410 ft 5.25 ft 5.25 mm 18 mm 25.6 oz

Specs and materials

Despite the manufacturers suggested retail price, Vortex Viper HD are consistently advertised online for under $475.

The Nikon Monarch 7 has wide field of view and light weight, but not enough so as to make it seriously better than the others. It weighs a bit less than the others but, again, probably not noticeable. The eye relief and close focus is adequate.

The Zeiss Terra ED has the closest focus. If butterflies and dragonflies are on your list of frequently-viewed wildlife, then getting 3 feet closer than the Nikons may be an important determining factor.

The Hawke Frontier ED has nearly optimal specs throughout.

There are no significant spec differences and no material differences that make any of these binoculars better or not. They are very similar. All the specs are good to optimum, with no short-comings. All use fully multi-coated ED glass and BaK-4 prisms with phase coatings and dielectric coatings. They are waterproof, fog proof, and have rubber armor.

Both the Vortex Viper and the Hawke Frontier come with the excellent “no fault” warranty that covers accidental damage. Zeiss and Nikon have a limited lifetime warranty against workmanship defects only.

I eliminated from consideration the Bushnell Forge 8×42 at $459, as it weighs over 30 ounces and also has close focus of 10 feet. The Vanguard Endeavor ED II 8×42 at $499 has only an average field of view at 377 feet and were tending toward the heavy side at 27 ounces.


Last summer I purchased the Nikon Monarch 7 8×42 for myself. At the time I was mostly comparing with the Nikon Monarch 5 8×42. The real clincher for me was the difference in field of view: 420 feet for Monarch 7 versus only 330 feet for Monarch 5. That is a huge difference! For me it was worth the $200 price difference. That is the only real difference between those two binoculars, now that the Monarch 5 has been updated with ED glass. 

                    Nikon Monarch 7

I found no chromatic aberration in the Monarch 7. There is some softness in focus at the very edge of the wide field. I’m very happy with my purchase. I replaced an old pair of Bushnell Legends 8×42 (the version before the great Legend L that recently went out of production). These were only 330 feet field of view and I wanted something better. Plus, I didn’t heed the lens cleaning instructions and scratched away the lens coatings by using paper towels and my shirt tails to clean them! Lesson learned.

An Audubon buying guide from 2017 ( selected the Zeiss Terra ED as its number one choice among several reviewers in the $200-$500 price range, with the Nikon Monarch 7 in second place. This same review selected the Vortex Viper as a clear winner in the $500-$1000 range. Though online they can be bought for the same under $500 price.

Best Binocular Review includes the Hawke Frontier in its list of best birding binoculars. This binocular won the 2019 “best birding binocular” award.

The Nikon Monarch 7 is listed in the Top 10 nature viewing binoculars by Optics4Birding, praising its extreme affordability and impressive image quality. names the Nikon Monarch 7 as the best binocular for 2019 in the $400-$799 range. Paul Johnson describes the wide field of view for Nikon Monarch 7 as giving a “picture window view.” Indeed, that can be said for all 4 of these binoculars. then goes on to name the Zeiss Terra ED as the best birding binocular in the $300-$399 range, even though the manufacturers suggested retail price is $449, only $30 less than the Monarch 7. Elsewhere, Johnson declared the Zeiss Terra ED as preferable to the Nikon Monarch 5 ED, because of the focusing knob turns (1 rotation from close to infinity) and the wider field of view of the Zeiss.

                           Zeiss Terra ED 8×42

Outdoor Gear Lab chose the Vortex Viper HD 8×42 as the Editor’s Choice. “The only models that bested the Viper HD in our image quality testing were those that cost more than two thousand dollars.” High praise. It received a score of 92 when compared to the 100 of the Swarovski EL 8.5×42 ($2954). The 10x Nikon Monarch 7 received a score of 87. But it has poor field of view, close focus, and eye relief compared to the 8x version. Still, a comparison point.

               Vortex Viper HD 8×42

Conclusion for birding binoculars priced $400-$500

There is no clear winner among these 4 binoculars priced between $400 to $500. Nikon and Zeiss are perhaps better-known names in the United States. There are no bad choices here.

If you force me to choose one, then it is the Nikon Monarch 7 8×42. I have done a complete review of just the Monarch 7 here.

My second choice would be the Vortex Viper. The reviews are all good. Perhaps I am swayed by the typical $170 online savings that brings them well into this price range.

Best birding binoculars $250 to $350

I have selected 4 birding binocular models to compare. I also added the Nikon Monarch 5 because it is a best selling birding binocular. But I think that the very narrow field of view should really eliminate it from contention as a birding binocular. [See the special note on Nikon 5 below.]

1000 yds
Athlon Optics Midas G2
8×42 UHD
$361 426 ft 6.5 ft 5.25 mm 17.2 mm 23.3 oz
Bushnell Engage
$343 426 ft 6.0 ft 5.25 mm 19 mm 23.5 oz
Barska WP Level ED
$329 425 ft 6.0 ft 5.25 mm 17.5 mm 24.8 oz
Nikon Monarch 5
$279 330 ft 7.8 ft 5.25 mm 19.5 mm 20.8 oz
Celestron Trailseeker ED
$267 426 ft 6.5 ft 5.25 mm 17.2 mm 23.5 oz

Specs and materials

As you can see there are 4 binoculars that have superior field of view compared to the Nikon Monarch 5. The other specs are also optimum on all the other 4 brands.

The Bushnell Engage has excellent specs. It excels at eye relief for eyeglass wearers assuring that they don’t lose any field of view while wearing their eyeglasses.

     Bushnell Engage EDX 8×42

The Barska WP Level ED is the only one of these binoculars with an open bridge. Instead of a single closed bridge the Barska has a hinge near the focus knob and another small one near the end of the binoculars at the objective lens.

         Barska WP Level ED 8×42

As with the more expensive range, all these binoculars have fully multi-coated ED glass, BaK-4 prisms with phase coatings and dielectric coatings. They are waterproof, fog proof, and have rubber armor.

Athlon Optics has a warranty for damage from normal use as well as workmanship. The others are limited lifetime warranties against workmanship defects only.

 Athlon Optics Midas G2 UHD 8×42

I do not consider here the Vortex Diamondback HD 8×42 as it has only average field of view (393 feet) and does not have ED glass. It is priced under $200. Two other binoculars well under $200 to consider are the Wingspan SkyView Ultra HD 8×42 and the Celestron Nature DX ED 8×42. Both of these do have ED glass and BaK-4 prisms.

I did not include the Wingspan Optics Thunderbird 8×42 at $279 as it is over 30 ounces in weight. The praises the Carson 3D ED at $284 as the best birding binocular in the $200-$300 range. However, the narrow field of view at 341 feet and the poor 9.8 feet close focus, drop this out of contention as a good birding binocular for me.

A special note on Nikon Monarch 5 8×42

Nikon Monarch 5, the best selling birding binocular, is not a good choice as a birding binocular any more, in my opinion. The optical qualities are excellent. However, the field of view is much too narrow–like looking through a straw.

            Nikon Monarch 5

In about 2014 Nikon improved the Monarch 5 by adding ED glass and improved the optics over what it was. This was likely to compete with the Zeiss Terra ED. This was Zeiss’s first venture into a low or mid-priced binocular, priced similarly at the time. As a result, according to, the Monarch 5 became equal in optical quality to the Monarch 7, which sells for $200 more. The only substantial difference between the Nikon Monarch 5 and Monarch 7 (see my article) is that the Monarch 5 has a very narrow field of view (330 feet @ 1000 yards). The Monarch 7 has a very wide field of view (420 feet @ 1000 yards).

Field of view is very important to me in defining a birding binocular. If the field of view was even average on the Monarch 5, say, 375-390 feet, then the excellent optics of The Monarch 5 at such a low price would make the Monarch 7 perhaps unnecessary. As it is, the Monarch 5, though the best selling birding binocular, is NOT a worthy bird watching binocular because of its narrow field of view. There is now lots of competition in the around $300 price range, as the table above shows.


At he reviews and compares several binoculars, though none of the price/performance competitors directly. As expected, the Nikon 5 8×42 is clearer and brighter than the under $200 non-ED glass Vortex Diamondback. Likewise, the triply more expensive Vortex Viper is optically superior to the Vortex Diamondback. And the Celestron Trailseeker ED has better optical performance than the under $150 Celestron Nature DX. These fit with the maxim ‘you get what you pay for’ when the prices are significantly different. In general, up to at least $1000 with well-known manufacturers, the more you pay the better optical image you get.

Also at he reviewed the Bushnell Engage 8×42 and was impressed with the sharp, clear, and “fantastic” contrast of this binocular. He noted this binocular seemed to have a brighter image than other “under $300” binoculars. That should include all the binoculars in our table of $250 to $350 binoculars, including the Nikon Monarch 5, which has always been praised for superior optics.

Wirecutter selects Athlon Optics Midas ED 8×42 as best birding binocular under $350.

BBR ( had a favorable review of the Celestron Trailseeker ED. It praised the bright image in low light. Minimal chromatic aberration was noted. The image was sharp nearly edge-to-edge. It took 1.5 turns of the focus knob to reach from near to infinity. BBR prefers 1.0 turns.

          Celestron TrailSeeker ED 8×42

Outdoor Gear Lab tested and compared 16 binoculars across all types and prices. Of note to our discussion is that the Athlon Midas 8×42 did not produce an image clarity as good as the Nikon Monarch 5 8×42. The brightness and construction quality were also rated a step below. In a separate review they received 72 out of 100 for various features as compared to Swarovski EL 8.5×42 ($2954). The focus knob was “finicky” in their review. For comparison purposes, the Monarch 5 8×42 received a score of 78.

Binoculars Guru noted slight chromatic aberration at the edge of the field of view on the Bushnell Engage. Clarity also diminishes somewhat at the edge.

Optics4birding found that the Barska Level ED is a worthy replacement for the out-of-business Eagle Optics Ranger ED, the “champion of the mid-$300 price range.”

Wrapping Up

The Bushnell Engage seems to be the replacement for the wonderful Bushnell Legend L birding binocular. The Barska Level ED seems to be an equal replacement for the Eagle Optics Ranger ED. These would be my first two choices to buy as birding binoculars in this price range. The goal is to have as good of optical image quality as the Nikon Monarch 5, but with wider field of view.

I’m confused by the Athlon Midas ED reviews, perhaps because one model became unavailable recently and the new model (G2 UHD) is different? How can one reviewer call it the best binocular under $350 and other reviewers say it has poorer optical qualities than the Monarch 5?

I haven’t seen the Celestron Trailseeker compared directly with any of these binoculars. But at the lower price point can’t imagine it is as good as the Nikon 5. The Trailseeker is supposed to be optically better than the Celestron Nature DX. Yet one reviewer said to get the Nature DX at half the price of the Athlon, without recommending the Trailseeker. Lots of conflicting opinions.

I’m going to keep my eyes open for further comparison reviews, but for now the Bushnell Engage and the Barska Level ED are my choices here. Again, these are all acceptable birding binoculars. Any of these are of better quality and optical performance than binoculars under $200. But these are not as good as the $400-500 binoculars in the top list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are binoculars better than a scope for bird watching?

Choosing between binoculars and a spotting scope for bird watching depends on your specific needs and preferences. Both tools have their advantages and disadvantages:



  • Wider field of view: Binoculars allow you to scan a larger area quickly, making it easier to locate birds.
  • Portability and convenience: Binoculars are smaller and lighter than spotting scopes, making them easier to carry and use on the go.
  • Depth perception: Binoculars provide depth perception, which can be helpful for estimating distances and differentiating between similar species.
  • Better for viewing moving birds: Binoculars are easier to track moving birds with than a spotting scope.
  • Generally more affordable: Binoculars are typically less expensive than spotting scopes.


  • Lower magnification: Binoculars usually have lower magnification than spotting scopes, making it harder to see fine details on distant birds.
  • Less stable for viewing: Holding binoculars can cause shaky images, especially at high magnification.
  • May not be suitable for very distant birds: For birds at extremely long distances, binoculars may not provide enough magnification to identify them clearly.

Spotting Scope:


  • Higher magnification: Spotting scopes offer much higher magnification than binoculars, allowing you to see even the smallest details on distant birds.
  • Greater stability: Spotting scopes are typically mounted on a tripod, providing a much more stable viewing experience.
  • Ideal for detailed observation: Spotting scopes are perfect for studying specific features of birds, such as plumage patterns and bill shapes.
  • Can be used for astronomy and other observation tasks: Many spotting scopes can also be used for stargazing and other types of observation.


  • Narrow field of view: Spotting scopes have a much narrower field of view than binoculars, making it harder to locate birds.
  • Less portable and convenient: Spotting scopes are larger and heavier than binoculars, making them less practical for casual outings.
  • No depth perception: Spotting scopes do not provide depth perception, which can make it difficult to estimate distances.
  • Less suitable for tracking moving birds: Keeping up with moving birds can be challenging with a spotting scope due to the narrow field of view and magnification.
  • Generally more expensive: Spotting scopes are typically more expensive than binoculars.

Here are some additional factors to consider:

  • What kind of birdwatching do you do? If you mainly watch birds near your home or in open areas, binoculars may be the better choice. If you spend more time in birding hotspots or want to see distant birds, a spotting scope might be more suitable.
  • Your budget: Binoculars can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, while spotting scopes can cost even more.
  • Your personal preferences: Try using both binoculars and a spotting scope if possible to see which one you prefer.

Is 8×42 or 10×42 better for birding?

Both 8×42 and 10×42 binoculars have their advantages and disadvantages for birding, and the best one for you depends on your specific needs and preferences. Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:



  • Wider field of view: Easier to scan large areas and locate hidden birds in dense foliage.
  • Brighter image: Larger exit pupil (4.2mm) allows more light in, resulting in a brighter image, especially in low light conditions.
  • Easier to hold steady: Lower magnification makes them less shaky, useful for handheld use.
  • More comfortable for long viewing sessions: Less strain on your eyes due to lower magnification.


  • Lower magnification: Can be harder to see fine details on distant birds.
  • May not be enough power for some situations: If you frequently bird in open areas or want to identify very small birds, 10x might be better.



  • Higher magnification: Allows you to see fine details on distant birds, making identification easier.
  • Ideal for open areas: Great for viewing birds soaring high or at a far distance.
  • Can help with identifying smaller birds: Higher magnification brings out finer details like plumage patterns.


  • Narrower field of view: Makes it harder to find and track birds, especially in dense cover.
  • Dimmer image: Smaller exit pupil (4mm) allows less light in, making the image dimmer, especially in low light conditions.
  • More difficult to hold steady: Higher magnification makes them shakier, requiring a tripod or resting surface for optimal viewing.
  • May cause eye strain during long viewing sessions: Higher magnification can be harder on your eyes, especially for beginners.

In my view the 8×42 is a better fit for bird watching.

Related Articles


Please read my in-depth Nikon Monarch 7 8×42 review.

If this price range is still a bit high for you, see my article on birding binoculars priced under $200

The binocular I recommend under $200 is the Celestron Nature DX ED 8×42. See my in-depth review.

Comments 14
  1. Jarko,

    Thanks for pointing out these Tract binoculars. They are really nice.

    They are about $200 more expensive than the Monarch 7. This extra cost went into the magnesium body, steel eye pieces. It is a much more robust binocular, at least in theory.

    The specs and optical glass and prisms are almost identical.

    The Monarch 7 has a much better (wider) field of view at 420 feet compared to 377 feet. Not a bad FOV, just not great.

    The close focus for both is just over 8 feet, so not an at-your-feet butterfly watching binoculars.

    Weight is similar.

    The eye relief is better on the Tract. So more comfortable for eyeglass wearers.

    The Tract's are physically larger by 1/2 inch or so length and width.

    The Tract has a lifetime warranty that is better than the Monarchs.

    As to how the optical qualities compare, BBR says the optics are great, nearly as good as the best. So right up there with the Monarchs.

    The padded neckstrap is a plus for the Tract. But no carrying case may be a poor point.

    The Tract Toric 8x is a better constructed binocular than the Monarch 7, as represented fairly in the $200 additional price. Optically they are similar, or the Toric better.

  2. You will need a pair of field glasses to help enhance the wildlife and beauty that you cannot see with your own two eyes. Two abbreviations for binoculars include glasses and bins. Binoculars give users a 3 dimensional image. Best binoculars for hunting

  3. I will leave your comment up. But your site is confusing to read.

    You have apparently used something like Google translate to supply improper English words to a different language.

    That, and your review doesn't have any original content, just bullets from the Amazon ad description.

    These don't give one confidence in your expertise or the depth of your research and personal experience in the products offered.

    This is not meant as an insult. But if you wish to earn an income from your site, it really needs more hands-on experience and better English in order for your readers to trust you enough to buy from your recommendations.

  4. The Bushnell Engage binos come in X, DX and EDX models, according to Bushnell's web site. Which is reviewed above? Have you tried all 3? I'd expect the EDX to compete better with the many ED glass binoculars which gain high ratings. Are the lesser glass Engage models truly competitive?
    Current Amazon listing of the Athlon Midas UHD 8×42 is Cheap. No mention of the G2 label? Are these the same as reviewed in this Jan. '20 article?
    Please open up your comments better to people who greatly prefer to Not play with Google? How does one communicate with 'Greg' privately?

  5. Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for pointing out where the text was not clear. I have edited it.

    Bushnell Engage EDX is the model discussed. Athlon Midas UHD G2 is the model. Amazon links point to those.

    You used Google search engine or a Google clone to Google my website which is a Google Blogger site with Google comment form. Basically all (non-Chinese) websites track you with Google Analytics. The ads come through ad brokers but conform to Google AdSense and are really from Google. You are up to your neck playing with Google every time you use the web.

    However, if you purchase a product through my Amazon links you can give your money to Jeff Bezos instead.

    My friends can communicate with me privately.

  6. Actually, I use duckduckgo for my net searches. On rare occasions it won't return decent hits, so I resort to Google when absolutely necessary. But even then, the right options with Firefox browser keeps the ex-"Don't be evil" company at arm's length.
    Thanks for the clarification on the models. If only Amazon was as clear. Still waiting for an answer from Amazon readers? on the actual Bushnell Engage model offered.
    Any chance of comments on any improvements of the Athlon Midas G2 UHD over the discontinued Midas UHD, which is still available on Amazon at $60 less.
    Given my history with optics, Athlon's unlimited warranty may be well worth the cost above some other binos.
    I found this site/page very helpful, and will be referring others to it, as I'm looking for the best glass on a very limited income. (Making the Celestron Nature DX my most likely purchase.) As I live next door to the Joseph Campbell Wildlife Refuge, birding is a constant activity.
    My one wish is more would be covered on similar cost porro prism binoculars. Or a link to where you might have previously commented? Like many my age, cataract surgery has removed any accommodation (ability to focus at different distances), and any greater depth of focus built into the binocular design makes finding and identifying birds at varying distances over one of the large feeding ponds, or in the air, faster, and with much less eyestrain. Seems the brain still wants to refocus the missing lens in my eyes.

  7. I found a cached Midas page on Google so I could compare the discontinued Midas UHD 8×42 with the newer G2 version….

    The only difference I could see was a change from ED glass to UHD glass, which is also ED (extra low-dispersion). None of the "features" text changed. All the specs are the same. However, the new G2 is an ounce and a half lighter.

    What does that mean? I don't know.

    The glass can't be that much lighter. So there must have been some other design change. But I don't see it.

    Funny thing is, the first model is from May 2019. The G2 ("generation 2"?) is December 2019.

    My guess? Some sourcing problem (trade war?) with whoever they got their ED glass from in China.

    Both are magnesium, not aluminum, as stated in one place on Amazon.

    I don't see any difference. The discontinued product seems just as good as the G2 version on specs, except for the 1.5 ounce change in weight that you probably wouldn't notice holding a different one in each hand.

  8. The Celstron brand is infamous for poor warranty service, as well as poor quality of manufacture (go read the hundreds of bad reviews on Amazon), so for me, they are off the list. Athlon has a good warranty (lifetime of the optic, no matter who owns it, with no proof of purchase and no registration required). The Athlon Midas (Gen1) has many good reviews, both from neophyte and pro. The Gen2 has what looks to be a better ergonomic rubber cover, and their eye cups have been updated/improved. I'm buying a pair tomorrow! Thanks for the concise Greg!

  9. The updated body rubber looks far more ergo, and the Athlon website speaks about the eye cups being updated/improved upon. They also added a few additional terms regarding the coating methodology, but it sounds like marketing hype to me!

  10. Thanks for your comments, Adam. I am quite happy with my Celestron Nature DX ED, under $200. Quite impressed, actually with the optical quality.

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